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Cocles, Publius Horatius

(given by Niebuhr as Marcus Horatius). A Roman who, at first with Sp. Lartius and Titus Herminius, and then alone, opposed the whole army of Porsenna at the head of the Sublician bridge, while his companions behind him were cutting off the communication with the other shore. When the bridge was destroyed, Cocles, after addressing a short prayer to the god of the Tiber, leaped into the stream, and swam across in safety with his arms. As a mark of gratitude, every inhabitant, while famine was raging within the city, brought him all the provisions he could stint himself of; and the State afterwards raised a statue to him and gave him as much land as he could plough round in a day (Liv.ii. 10). As Polybius relates the story, Horatius defended the bridge alone from the first and then perished in the river. Macaulay's spirited ballad on the subject is familiar to all.

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