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Romulus presented Hostus Hostilius1 with a crown of leaves, for being the first to enter Fidense. This Hostus was the grandfather of King Tullus Hostilius. P. Decius the elder, the military tribune, was presented with a crown of leaves by the army which had been saved by his valour, under the command of Cornelius Cossus,2 the consul, in the war with the Samnites. This crown was made at first of the leaves of the holm oak, but afterwards those of the æsculus3 were preferred, as being a tree sacred to Jupiter: this, however, was soon employed indifferently with the quercus, according as each might happen to present itself, the honourable distinction given to the acorn being the only thing observed. Rigorous laws were, however, enacted, to maintain the lofty glories of this wreath, by which it was placed upon an equality even with the supreme honours of the wreath that is given by Greece in presence of Jove4 himself, and to receive which the exulting city of the victor is wont to break5 a passage through its very walls. These laws are to the effect that the life of a fellow-citizen must be preserved, and an enemy slain; that the spot where this takes place must have been held by the enemy that same day; that the person saved shall admit the fact, other witnesses being of no use at all; and that the person saved shall have been a Roman citizen.

To preserve an ally merely, even though it should be the life of a king that is so saved, confers no right to this high reward, nor is the honour at all increased, even if it is the Roman general that has been thus preserved, it being the intention of the framers of the law that it should be the status of the citizen that is everything. When a man has received this wreath, it is his privilege to wear it for the rest of his life. When he makes his appearance at the celebration of the games,6 it is customary for the Senate even to rise from their seats, and he has the right of taking his seat next to the senators. Exemption, too, from all civic duties is conferred upon him as well as his father and his father's father. Siccius Dentatus, as we have already mentioned7 on an appropriate occasion, received fourteen civic crowns, and Manlius Capitolinus8 six,9 one, among the rest, for having saved the life of his general, Servilius. Scipio Africanus declined to accept the civic crown for having saved the life of his father at the battle of Trebia. Times these, right worthy of our everlasting admiration, which accorded honour alone as the reward of exploits so mighty, and which, while other crowns were recommended by being made of gold, disdained to set a price upon the safety of a citizen, and loudly proclaimed thereby that it is unrighteous to save the life of a man for motives of lucre.

1 He is called Tullus Hostilius by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the same as his grandson.

2 A.U.C. 411. The leaves of the holm-oak were employed by Romulus on the occasion above-mentioned.

3 These varieties of the oak will be considered in the next chapter.

4 At the Olympic games celebrated in honour of Jupiter. At Olympia there was a statue of that god, one of the master-pieces of Phidias.

5 Implying thereby, that the city that could produce a man who could so distinguish himself, stood in no need of walls.

6 In the Circus.

7 In B. vii. c. 29.

8 B. vii. c. 29.

9 Livy says eight. He saved the life of Servilius, the Master of the Horse.

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