Ascanius, Aeneas' son, was not yet ripe for authority; yet the authority was kept for him, unimpaired, until he arrived at manhood. Meanwhile, under a woman's regency, the Latin State and the kingdom of his father and his grandfather stood unshaken —so strong was Lavinia's character —until the boy could claim it.
I shall not discuss the question —for who could affirm for certain so ancient a matter? —whether this boy was Ascanius, or an elder brother, born by Creusa while Ilium yet stood, who accompanied his father when he fled from the city, being the same whom the Julian family call lulus and claim as the author of their name.
This Ascanius, no matter where born, or of what mother —it is agreed in any case that he was Aeneas' son —left Lavinium, when its population came to be too large, for it was already a flourishing and wealthy city for those days, to his mother, or stepmother, and founded a new city himself below the Alban Mount.
This was known from its position, as it lay stretched out along the ridge, by the name of Alba Longa. From the settlement of Lavinium to the planting of the colony at Alba Longa was an interval of some thirty years.
Yet the nation had grown so powerful, in consequence especially of the defeat of the Etruscans, that even when Aeneas died, and even when a woman became its regent and a boy began his apprenticeship as king, neither Mezentius and his Etruscans nor any other neighbours dared to attack them.
Peace had been agreed to on these terms, that the River Albula, which men now call the Tiber, should be the boundary [p. 17]
between the Etruscans and the Latins.
Next Silvius reigned, son of Ascanius, born, as it chanced, in the forest. He begat Aeneas Silvius, and he Latinus Silvius. By him several colonies were planted, and called the Ancient Latins.
Thereafter the cognomen Silvius was retained by all who ruled at Alba. From Latinus came Alba, from Alba Atys, from Atys Capys, from Capys Capetus, from Capetus Tiberinus.
This last king was drowned in crossing the River Albula, and gave the stream the name which has been current with later generations. Then Agrippa, son of Tiberinus, reigned, and after Agrippa Romulus Silvius was king, having received the power from his father. Upon the death of Romulus by lightning, the kingship passed from him to Aventinus. This king was buried on that hill, which is now a part of the City of Rome, and gave his name to the hill.
Proca ruled next. He begat Numitor and Amulius; to Numitor, the elder, he bequeathed the ancient realm of the Silvian family. Yet violence proved more potent than a father's wishes or respect for seniority. Amulius drove out his brother and ruled in his stead.
Adding crime to crime, he destroyed Numitor's male issue; and Rhea Silvia, his brother's daughter, he appointed a Vestal under pretence of honouring, her, and by consigning her to perpetual virginity, deprived her of the hope of children.