is said to have been the first to receive an omen: six vultures appeared to him. The augury had just been announced to Romulus
when double the number appeared to him. Each was saluted as king by his own party.
The one side based their claim on the priority of the appearance, the other on the number of the birds. Then followed an angry altercation; heated passions led to bloodshed; in the tumult Remus
was killed. The more common report is that Remus
contemptuously jumped over the newly raised walls and was forthwith killed by the enraged Romulus
, who exclaimed, ‘So shall it be henceforth with every one who leaps over my walls.’
Romulus thus became sole ruler, and the city was called after him, its founder.
first work was to fortify the Palatine
hill where he had been brought up. The worship of the other deities he conducted according to the use of Alba, but that of Hercules
in accordance with the Greek rites as they had been instituted by Evander
It was into this neighbourhood, according to the tradition, that Hercules
, after he had killed Geryon, drove his oxen, which were of marvellous beauty. He swam across the Tiber
, driving the oxen before him, and wearied with his journey, lay down in a grassy place near the river to rest himself and the oxen, who enjoyed the rich pasture.
When sleep had overtaken him, as he was heavy with food and wine, a shepherd living near, called Cacus, presuming on his strength, and captivated by the beauty of the oxen, determined to secure them. If he drove them before him into the cave, their hoof-marks would have led their owner in his search for them in the same direction, so he dragged the finest of them backwards by their tails into his cave. At the first streak of dawn Hercules
awoke, and on surveying his herd and saw that some were missing.
He proceeded towards the nearest cave, to see if any tracks pointed in that direction, but he found that every hoof-mark led from the cave and none towards it. Perplexed and bewildered he began to drive the herd away from so dangerous a neighbourhood. Some of the cattle, missing those which were left behind, lowed as they often do, and an answering low sounded from the cave.
turned in that direction, and as Cacus tried to prevent him by force from entering the cave, he was killed by a blow from Hercules
' club, after vainly appealing for help to his comrades.
The king of the country at that time was Evander
, a refugee from Peloponnesus, who ruled more by personal ascendancy than by the exercise of power.
He was looked up to with reverence for his knowledge of letters —a new and marvellous thing for uncivilized men-but he was still more revered because of his mother, who was believed to be a divine being and regarded with wonder, by all as an interpreter of Fate, in the days before the arrival of the Sibyl
, alarmed by the crowd of excited shepherds standing round a stranger whom they accused of open murder, ascertained from them the nature of his act and what led to it. As he observed the bearing and stature of the man to be more than human in greatness and august dignity, he asked who he was.
When he heard his name, and learnt his father and his country, he said, ‘Hercules
, son of Jupiter
, hail! My mother, who speaks truth in the name of the gods, has prophesied that thou shalt join the company of the gods, and that here a shrine shall be dedicated to thee, which in ages to come the most powerful nation in all the world shall call their Ara Maxima
and honour with thine own special worship.’
's right hand and said that he took the omen to himself and would fulfil the prophecy by building and consecrating the altar.
Then a heifer of conspicuous beauty was taken from the herd, and the first sacrifice was offered; the Potitii and Pinarii, the two principal families in those parts, were invited by Hercules
to assist in the sacrifice and at the feast which followed.
It so happened that the Potitii were present at the appointed time and the entrails were placed before them; the Pinarii arrived after these were consumed and came in for the rest of the banquet.
It became a permanent institution from that time that as long as the family of the Pinarii survived they should not eat of the entrails of the victims. The Potitii, after being instructed by Evander
, presided over that rite for many ages, until they handed over this ministerial office to public servants after which the whole race of the Potitii perished.
This, out of all foreign rites, was the only one which Romulus
adopted, as though he felt that an immortality won through courage, of which this was the memorial, would one day be his own reward.