Girding thus against the Roman king, the Arician quitted the council. Tarquinius was considerably more vexed than he appeared to be, and at once looked about him for the means of destroying Turnus, that he might inspire in the Latins the same terror with which he had broken the spirit of the Romans.
And since he could not openly put his man to death by virtue of sovereign right, he charged him with a crime of which he was innocent, and so destroyed him. Through the agency of certain men of the opposite party in Aricia, he bribed a slave of Turnus with gold to allow a large quantity of swords to be brought secretly into his master's lodging.
Having accomplished this in a single night, Tarquinius, shortly before dawn, summoned the chief men of the Latins to his quarters, pretending to [p. 179]
have received alarming news, and informed them1
that his tardiness on the preceding day, as though somehow providentially occasioned, had been the means of saving himself and them.
For he was told that Turnus was plotting his murder and that of the chief men of the different cities, that he might be sole ruler over the Latins. He would have attacked them the day before in the council, but had postponed the attempt because the summoner of the council, whom he chiefly aimed at, was not there.
That was the reason Turnus had railed at him in his absence, for his delay had balked the Arician's expectation. Tarquinius said that he had no doubt, if his information was true, that Turnus would come at dawn, when they had assembled in the council, and would be armed and attended by a band of conspirators.
It was said that a great quantity of swords had been carried to his lodging; the falsity or truth of this could be ascertained immediately, and he asked them to go with him to Turnus's quarters.
The charge was made plausible both by the aggressive spirit of Turnus and his speech of the day before, and by Tarquinius's delay, since it seemed that the massacre might have been postponed on that account. The nobles went therefore with a disposition to believe the story, but still, if the swords should not be found, they were prepared to conclude the other charges false.
As soon as they reached the place they wakened Turnus from his sleep and surrounded him with guards; and having overpowered the slaves, who out of affection for their master would have resorted to force, they proceeded to pull out the hidden swords from every corner of the inn. There was now no doubt that Turnus was [p. 181]
caught in the act, and he was cast into chains, while2
the summons was instantly sent out, amidst intense excitement, for a council of the Latins.
There such bitter resentment was aroused by the public display of the swords, that the accused was not permitted to plead his cause, but suffered a new kind of death, being plunged into the source of the Ferentine Water and sunk beneath a wicker crate heaped up with stones.