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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book II Chapter 15: Final Attempt to restore the Tarquins (Cont.)[506 BC]
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The new consuls were Spurius Lartius and Titus Herminius. This year Porsena made the last attempt to effect the restoration of the Tarquins. The ambassadors whom he had despatched to Rome with this object were informed that the senate were going to send an embassy to the king, and the most honourable of the senators were forthwith despatched. They stated that the reason why a select number of senators had been sent to him in preference to a reply being given to his ambassadors at Rome was not that they had been unable to give the brief answer that, kings would never be allowed in Rome, but simply that all mention of the matter might be for ever dropped, that after the interchange of so many kindly acts there might be no cause of irritation, for he, Porsena, was asking for what would be against the liberty of Rome. The Romans, if they did not wish to hasten their own ruin, would have to refuse the request of one to whom they wished to refuse nothing. Rome was not a monarchy, but a free City, and they had made up their minds to open their gates even to an enemy sooner than to a king. It was the universal wish that whatever put an end to liberty in the City should put an end to the City itself. They begged him, if he wished Rome to be safe, to allow it to be free. Touched with a feeling of sympathy and respect, the king replied, "Since this is your fixed and unalterable determination, I will not harass you by fruitless proposals, nor will I deceive the Tarquins by holding out hopes of an assistance which I am powerless to render. Whether they insist on war or are prepared to live quietly, in either case they must seek another place of exile than this, to prevent any interruption of the peace between you and me." He followed up his words by still stronger practical proofs of friendship, for he returned the remainder of the hostages and restored the Veientine territory which had been taken away under the treaty. As all hope of restoration was cut off, Tarquin went to his son-in-law Mamilius Octavius at Tusculum. So the peace between Rome and Porsena remained unbroken. |
Event: War of Porsena against Rome.
|Sp. Larcius inde et T. Herminius, P. Lucretius inde et P. Valerius Publicola consules facti. Eo anno postremum legati a Porsenna de reducendo in regnum Tarquinio uenerunt; quibus cum responsum esset missurum ad regem senatum legatos, missi confestim honoratissimus quisque ex patribus. Non quin breuiter reddi responsum potuerit non recipi reges, ideo potius delectos patrum ad eum missos quam legatis eius Romae daretur responsum, sed ut in perpetuum mentio eius rei finiretur, neu in tantis mutuis beneficiis in uicem animi sollicitarentur, cum ille peteret quod contra libertatem populi Romani esset, Romani, nisi in perniciem suam faciles esse uellent, negarent cui nihil negatum uellent. Non in regno populum Romanum sed in libertate esse. Ita induxisse in animum, hostibus portas potius quam regibus patefacere; ea esse uota omnium ut qui libertati erit in illa urbe finis, idem urbi sit. Proinde si saluam esse uellet Romam, ut patiatur liberam esse orare. Rex uerecundia uictus "quando id certum atque obstinatum est" inquit, "neque ego obtundam saepius eadem nequiquam agendo, nec Tarquinios spe auxilii, quod nullum in me est, frustrabor. Alium hinc, seu bello opus est seu quiete, exsilio quaerant locum, ne quid meam uobiscum pacem distineat." Dictis facta amiciora adiecit; obsidum quod reliquum erat reddidit; agrum Veientem, foedere ad Ianiculum icto ademptum, restituit. Tarquinius spe omni reditus incisa exsulatum ad generum Mamilium Octauium Tusculum abiit. Romanis pax fida cum Porsenna fuit.|