Thenceforward the two kings held the regal power not only in common, but in concord also. Several years after, some relatives of king Tatius beat the ambassadors of the Laurentes, and when the Laurentes commenced proceedings according to the law
of nations, the influence of his friends and their importunities had more weight with Tatius.
He therefore drew upon himself the punishment due to them; for he is slain at Lavinium, in a tumult which arose on his going thither to an anniversary sacrifice. They say that Romulus resented this with less severity than the case required, either by reason of their association in the kingly power being devoid of cordiality, or because he believed that he was justly killed.
He therefore declined going to war; in order, however, that the ill-treatment of the ambassadors and the murder of the king might be expiated, the treaty was renewed between the cities of Rome and Lavinium. With this party, indeed, peace continued, contrary to expectation; another war broke out much nearer home, and almost at the very gates. The Fidenates, thinking that a power too near to themselves was growing to a height, resolve to make war, before their strength should become as great as it was apparent it would [p. 21]
be. An armed body of young men being sent in, all the land is laid waste between the city and Fidenae.
Then turning to the left, because the Tiber confined them on the right, they continue their depredations to the great consternation of the peasantry. The sudden alarm reaching the city from the country, served as the first announcement.
Romulus, roused at this circumstance, (for a war so near home could not admit of delay,) leads out his army: he pitches his camp a mile from Fidenae.
Having left there a small garrison, marching out with all his forces, he commanded a party of his soldiers to lie in ambush in a place 1
hidden by thick bushes which were planted around. Then advancing with the greater part of the foot and all the horse, and riding up to the very gates of the city in a disorderly and menacing manner, he drew out the enemy, the very thing he wanted.
The same mode of fighting on the part of the cavalry likewise made the cause of the flight, which was to be counterfeited, appear less surprising: and when, the horse seeming irresolute, as if in deliberation whether to fight or fly, the infantry also retreated, the enemy suddenly rushed from the crowded gates, after they had made an impression on the Roman line, are drawn on to the place of ambuscade in their eagerness to press on and pursue.
Upon this the Romans, rising suddenly, attack the enemy's line in flank. The standards of those who had been left behind on guard, advancing from the camp, further increase the panic.
The Fidenates, thus dismayed with terrors from so many quarters, turn their backs almost before Romulus, and those who had accompanied him on horseback, could wheel their horses round; and those who a little before had pursued men pretending to fly, now ran back to the town in much greater disorder, for their flight was in earnest.
They did not however get clear of the enemy: the Romans pressing on their rear rush in as it were in one body before the gates could be shut against them.