Then the Alban army, that had been spectators of the fight, was marched down into the plains. Mettus congratulates Tullus on his defeat of the enemy; Tullus on his part addresses Mettus with great civility. He orders the Albans to unite their camp with the Romans, which he prayed might prove beneficial to both; and prepares a sacrifice of purification for the next day.
As soon as it was light, all things being in readiness, according to custom, he commands both armies to be summoned to an assembly. The heralds, 1
beginning at the outside, summoned the Albans first.
too with the novelty of the thing, in order to hear the Roman king harangue, crowded next to him.
The Roman legions, under arms, by concert surrounded them; a charge had been given to the centurions to execute their orders without delay. Then Tullus begins as follows: “Romans, if ever before at any other time in any war there was (an occasion) on which you should return thanks, first to the immortal gods, next to your own valour, that occasion was yesterday's battle. For the contest was not more with enemies than with the treachery and perfidy of allies, a contest which is more serious and more dangerous.
For that a false opinion may not influence you, the Albans retired to the mountains without my orders, [p. 40]
nor was that my command, but a stratagem and the pretence of a command: that so your attention might not be drawn away from the fight, you being kept in ignorance that you were deserted, and that terror and dismay might be struck into the enemy, conceiving themselves to be surrounded on the rear.
Nor does that guilt, which I now state, extend to all the Albans. They followed their leader; as you too would have done, if I had wished my army to make a move to any other point from thence. Mettus there is the leader of that march, the same Mettus is the contriver of this war; Mettus is the violator of the treaty between Rome and Alba.
Let another hereafter attempt the like conduct, unless I now make of him a signal example to mankind.” The centurions in arms stand round Mettus, and the king proceeds with the rest as he had commenced: “It is my intention, and may it prove fortunate, auspicious, and happy to the Roman people, to myself, and to you, O Albans, to transplant all the inhabitants of Alba to Rome: to grant your people the rights of citizenship, and to admit your nobles into the rank of senators: to make one city, one republic; that as the Alban state was formerly divided from one people into two, so it may now return into one.”
On hearing this the Alban youth, unarmed, surrounded by armed men, however divided in their sentiments, yet restrained by the common apprehension, continue silent.
Then Tullus proceeded: “If, Mettus Fuffetius, you were capable of learning fidelity, and how to observe treaties, that lesson would have been taught you by me, while still alive. Now, since your disposition is incurable, do you at least by your punishment teach mankind to consider those things sacred which have been violated by you. As therefore a little while since you kept your mind divided between the interest of Fidenae and of Rome, so shall you now surrender your body to be torn asunder in different directions.”
Upon this, two chariots drawn by four horses being brought, he ties Mettus extended at full length to their carriages: then the horses were driven on in different directions, carrying off the mangled body on each carriage, where the limbs had been fastened by the cords.
All turned away their eyes from so shocking a spectacle. That was the first and last instance of a punishment among the Romans regardless of the laws of humanity. In other cases we may [p. 41]
boast that no nation whatever adopted milder forms of punishment.