When those who were around had raised up the king in a dying state, the lictors seize on the men who were endeavouring to escape. Upon this followed an uproar and concourse of people, wondering what the matter was. Tanaquil, during the tumult, orders the palace to be shut, thrusts out all who were present: at the same time she sedulously prepares every thing necessary for dressing the wound, as if a hope still remained; at the same time, in case her hopes should disappoint her, she projects other means of safety.
Sending immediately for Servius, after she had showed to him her husband almost expiring, holding his right hand, she entreats him not to suffer the death of his father-in-law to pass unavenged, nor his mother-in-law to be an object of insult to their enemies.
“Servius,” she said, “if you are a man, the kingdom is yours, not theirs, who, by the hands of others, have perpetrated the worst of crimes. Exert yourself, and follow the guidance of the gods, who portended that this head would be illustrious by having formerly shed a blaze around it. Now let that celestial flame arouse you. Now awake in earnest. We, too, though foreigners, have reigned. Consider who you are, not whence you are sprung. If your own plans are not matured by reason of the suddenness of this event, then follow mine.”
When the uproar and violence of the multitude could scarcely be withstood, Tanaquil addresses the populace from the upper part of the palace through the windows facing the new street (for the royal family resided near the temple of [p. 56]
Jupiter Stator). She bids them “be of good courage;
that the king was stunned by the suddenness of the blow; that the weapon had not sunk deep into his body; that he was already come to himself again; that the wound had been examined, the blood having been wiped off; that all the symptoms were favourable; that she hoped they would see him very soon; and that, in the mean time, he commanded the people to obey the orders of Servius Tullius. That he would administer justice, and would perform all the functions of the king.”
Servius comes forth with the trabea and lictors, and seating himself on the king's throne, decides some cases, with respect to others pretends that he will consult the king. Therefore, the death being concealed for several days, though Tarquin had already expired, he, under pretence of discharging the duty of another, strengthened his own interest. Then at length the matter being made public, and lamentations being raised in the palace, Servius, supported by a strong guard, took possession of the kingdom by the consent of the senate, being the first who did so without the orders of the people.
The children of Ancus, the instruments of their villany having been already seized, as soon as it was announced that the king still lived, and that the power of Servius was so great, had already gone into exile to Suessa Pometia.