The state being increased by the enlargement of the city, and every thing modelled at home and abroad for the exigencies both of peace and war, that the acquisition of power might not always depend on mere force of arms, he endeavoured to extend his empire by policy, and at the same time to add some ornament to the city.
The temple of Diana at Ephesus was at that time in high renown; fame represented it to have been built by all the-states of Asia, in common. When Servius, amid some grandees of the Latins with whom he had taken pains to form connexions of hospitality and friendship, extolled in high terms such concord and associa- [p. 60]
tion of their gods, by frequently insisting on the same subject, he at length prevailed so far as that the Latin states agreed to build a temple to Diana at Rome, in conjunction with the Roman people.
This was an acknowledgment that Rome was the head of both nations, concerning which they had so often disputed in arms. Though that object seemed to have been left out of consideration by all the Latins, in consequence of the matter having been so often attempted unsuccessfully by arms, fortune seemed to present one of the Sabines with an opportunity of recovering the superiority to his country by his own address.
A cow is said to have been calved to a certain person, the head of a family among the Sabines, of surprising size and beauty. Her horns, which were hung up in the porch of the temple of Diana, remained, for many ages, a monument of this wonder.
The thing was looked upon as a prodigy, as it was, and the soothsayers declared, that sovereignty would reside in that state of which a citizen should immolate this heifer to Diana.
This prediction had also reached the ears of the high priest of Diana. The Sabine, when he thought the proper time for offering the sacrifice was come, drove the cow to Rome, led her to the temple of that goddess, and set her before the altar. The Roman priest, struck with the uncommon size of the victim, so much celebrated by fame, thus accosted the Sabine: “What intendest thou to do, stranger?” says he. “Is it with impure hands to offer a sacrifice to Diana? Why dost not thou first wash thyself in running water? The Tiber runs along in the bottom of that valley.”
The stranger, being seized with a scruple of conscience, and desirous of having every thing done in due form, that the event might answer the prediction, from the temple went down to the Tiber. In the mean time the priest sacrificed the cow to Diana, which gave great satisfaction to the king, and to the whole state.