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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book I Chapter 50: Turnus Herdonius
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Tarquin had now gained considerable influence amongst the Latin nobility and he sent word for them to meet on a fixed date at the Grove of Ferentina, as there were matters of mutual interest about which he wished to consult them. They assembled in considerable numbers at daybreak; Tarquin kept his appointment, it is true, but did not arrive till shortly before sunset. The council spent the whole day in discussing many topics. Turnus Herdonius, from Aricia, had made a fierce attack on the absent Tarquin. It was no wonder, he said, that the epithet " Tyrant " had been bestowed upon him at Rome -- for this was what people commonly called him, though only in whispers - could anything show the tyrant more than his thus trifling with the whole Latin nation? After summoning the chiefs from distant homes, the man who had called the council was not present. He was in fact trying how far he could go, so that if they submitted to the yoke he might crush them. Who could not see that he was making his way to sovereignty over the Latins? Even supposing that his own countrymen did well to entrust him with supreme power, or rather that it was entrusted and not seized by an act of parricide, the Latins ought not, even in that case, to place it in the hands of an alien. But if his own people bitterly rue his sway, seeing how they are being butchered, sent into exile, stripped of all their property, what better fate can the Latins hope for? If they followed the speaker's advice they would go home and take as little notice of the day fixed for the council as he who had fixed it was taking. |
Just while these and similar sentiments were being uttered by the man who had gained his influence in Aricia by treasonable and criminal practice, Tarquin appeared on the scene. That put a stop to his speech, for all turned from the speaker to salute the king.
When silence was restored, Tarquin was advised by those near to explain why he had come so late. He said that having been chosen as arbitrator between a father and a son, he had been detained by his endeavours to reconcile them, and as that matter had taken up the whole day, he would bring forward the measures he had decided upon the next day. It is said that even this explanation was not received by Turnus without his commenting on it; no case, he argued, could take up less time than one between a father and a son, it could be settled in a few words; if the son did not comply with the father's wishes he would get into trouble.
Event: Death of Turnus Herdonius
|Iam magna Tarquini auctoritas inter Latinorum proceres erat, cum in diem certam ut ad lucum Ferentinae conveniant indicit: esse, quae agere de rebus communibus uelit. Conveniunt frequentes prima luce: ipse Tarquinius diem quidem seruavit, sed paulo ante quam sol occideret venit. Multa ibi toto die in concilio variis iactata sermonibus erant. Turnus Herdonius ab Aricia ferociter in absentem Tarquinium erat inuectus: haud mirum esse Superbo inditum Romae cognomen.—Iam enim ita clam quidem mussitantes, volgo tamen eum appellabant.—an quicquam superbius esse quam ludificari sic omne nomen Latinum? longe ab domo excitis, ipsum, qui concilium indixerit, non adesse. temptari profecto patientiam ut, si iugum acceperint, obnoxios premat. Cui enim non apparere, adfectare eum imperium in Latinos? quod si sui bene crediderint ciues, aut si creditum illud et non raptum parricidio sit, credere et Latinos quamquam ne sic quidem alienigenae debere: sin suos eius paeniteat, quippe qui alii super alios trucidentur exsulatum eant bona amittant, quid spei melioris Latinis portendi? si se audiant, domum suam quemque inde abituros neque magis obseruaturos diem concilii quam ipse qui indixerit obseruet. Haec atque alia eodem pertinentia seditiosus facinorosusque homo hisque artibus opes domi nactus cum maxime dissereret, intervenit Tarquinius. Is finis orationi fuit; aversi omnes ad Tarquinium salutandum. Qui silentio facto monitus a proximis ut purgaret se quod id temporis venisset, disceptatorem ait se sumptum inter patrem et filium cura reconciliandi eos in gratiam moratum esse, et quia ea res exemisset illum diem, postero die acturum quae constituisset. Ne id quidem ab Turno tulisse tacitum ferunt; dixisse enim nullam breuiorem esse cognitionem quam inter patrem et filium paucisque transigi verbis posse: ni pareat patri, habitrum infortunium esse.|