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40. About the thirty-eighth year of Tarquin's reign, Servius Tullius was in the highest esteem, not only with the king, but also with the senate and people. [2] At this time the two sons of Ancus, though they had before that always considered it the highest indignity that they had been deprived of their father's crown by the treachery of their guardian, that a [p. 54]stranger should be king of Rome, who was not only not of a civic, but not even of an Italian family, yet now felt their indignation rise to a still higher pitch at the notion that the crown would not only not revert to them after Tarquin, but would descend even lower to a slave, so that in the same state about the hundredth year1 after Romulus, descended from a deity, and a deity himself, occupied the throne as long as he lived, a slave, and one born of a slave, should now possess it. [3] That it would be a disgrace both common to the Roman name, and more especially to their family, if, whilst there was male issue of king Ancus still living, the sovereignty of Rome should be accessible not only to strangers, but even to slaves. They determine therefore to prevent that disgrace by the sword. [4] But both resentment for the injury done to them incensed them more against Tarquin himself, than against Servius; and (the consideration) that a king was likely to prove a more severe avenger of the murder, if he should survive, than a private person; and moreover, in case of Servius being put to death, whatever other person he might select as his son-in-law,2 it seemed likely that he would adopt as his successor on the throne.3 For these reasons the [5] plot is laid against [p. 55]the king himself. Two of the most ferocious of the shepherds being selected for the daring deed, with the rustic implements to which each had been accustomed, by conducting themselves in as violent a manner as possible in the porch of the palace, under pretence of a quarrel, draw the attention of all the king's attendants to themselves; then, when both appealed to the king, and their clamour reached even the interior of the palace, they are [6] called in and proceed before the king. At first both bawled aloud, and vied in interrupting each other by their clamour, until being restrained by the lictor, and commanded to speak in turns, they at length cease railing. According to [7] concert, one begins to state the matter. When the king, attentive to him, had turned himself quite that way, the other, raising up his axe, struck it into his head, and leaving the weapon in the wound, they both rush out of the house.

1 The hundredth year. 138 years had elapsed since the death of Romulus: they diminish the number of years designedly, to make the matter appear still worse.

2 Son-in-law. Why not one of his two sons, Lucius and Aruns? Dio. iv. 1. If these were not his grandchildren rather, they must have been infants at the time. Dio. iv. 4, 6. —At this time infants could not succeed to the throne. —Ruperti.

3 This sentence has given some trouble to the commentators. —Some will have it that three distinct reasons are given for assassinating Tarquinius rather than Servius Tullius, and that these are severally marked and distinguished by et —et —trum, the second only having quia. —Stroth will have it that only two reasons are assigned, one, why the king should be killed, and the other, why Servius Tullius should not be killed, arising from the danger and uselessness of the act —the former has not a quia, because it was a fact, (et injuriae dolor, &c.,) while the latter has it in the first part (the danger, et quia gravior, &c., quia being understood also before the other, the uselessness, turn, Servio occiso, &c.) because it contained the reasoning of the youths. Doering says there were only two powerful reasons, revenge and fear, and a ratio probabilis introduced by tum; which has the force of insuper. According to Dr. Hunter, there are two formal assertions, one, that resentment stimulated the sons of Ancus against the king himself; the other, that the plot is laid for the king himself upon two considerations, of reason and policy.

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load focus Summary (Latin, Benjamin Oliver Foster, Ph.D., 1919)
load focus Summary (English, Benjamin Oliver Foster, Ph.D., 1919)
load focus Summary (Latin, W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1898)
load focus Latin (W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1898)
load focus English (Rev. Canon Roberts, 1912)
load focus Latin (Benjamin Oliver Foster, Ph.D., 1919)
load focus English (Benjamin Oliver Foster, Ph.D., 1919)
load focus Latin (Robert Seymour Conway, Charles Flamstead Walters, 1914)
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  • Commentary references to this page (5):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.39
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 36.14
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 38.32
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 38.7
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 39-40, commentary, 39.49
  • Cross-references to this page (5):
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (26):
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