years subsequently the kinsmen of King Tatius ill-treated the ambassadors of the Laurentines. They came to seek redress from him in accordance with international law, but the influence and importunities of his friends had more weight with Tatius than the remonstrances of the Laurentines.
The consequence was that he brought upon himself the punishment due to them, for when he had gone to the annual sacrifice at Lavinium
, a tumult arose in which he was killed.
is reported to have been less distressed at this incident than his position demanded, either because of the insincerity inherent in all joint sovereignty, or because he thought he had deserved his fate.
He refused, therefore, to go to war, but that the wrong done to the ambassadors and the murder of the king might be expiated, the treaty between Rome
in this direction an unhoped-for peace was secured, war broke out in a much nearer quarter, in fact almost at the very gates of Rome
. The people of Fidenae considered that a power was growing up too close to them, so to prevent the anticipations of its future greatness from being realised, they took the initiative in making war.
Armed bands invaded and devastated the country lying between the City and Fidenae. Thence they turned to the left-the Tiber
barred their advance on the right-and plundered and destroyed, to the great alarm of the country people.
A sudden rush from the fields into the City was the first intimation of what was happening.
A war so close to their gates admitted of no delay, and Romulus
hurriedly led out his army and encamped about a mile from Fidenae. Leaving a small detachment to guard the camp, he went forward with his whole force, and whilst one part were ordered to lie in ambush in a place overgrown with dense brushwood, he advanced with the larger part and the whole of the cavalry towards the city, and by riding up to the very gates in a disorderly and provocative manner he succeeded in drawing the enemy.
The cavalry continued these tactics and so made the flight which they were to feign seem less suspicious, and when their apparent hesitation whether to fight or to flee was followed by the retirement of the infantry, the enemy suddenly poured out of the crowded gates, broke the Roman line and pressed on in eager pursuit till they were brought to where the ambush was set.
Then the Romans suddenly rose and attacked the enemy in flank; their panic was increased by the troops in the camp bearing down upon them. Terrified by the threatened attacks from all sides, the Fidenates turned and fled almost before Romulus
and his men could wheel round from their simulated flight.
They made for their town much more quickly than they had just before pursued those who pretended to flee, for their flight was a genuine one.
They could not, however, shake off the pursuit; the Romans were on their heels, and before the gates could be closed against them, burst through pell-mell with the enemy.