After this, the property of the royal family was given to the Romans to plunder, and their house and palace were razed to the ground. But the pleasantest part of the field of Mars, which had belonged to Tarquin, was dedicated to that god. Now it chanced that it had just been reaped, and the grain still lay upon the ground; but since the field had been consecrated, they thought it not right to thresh it or use it in any way. They therefore with one accord carried the sheaves to the river and cast them in.
In like manner also they cast in the trees which had been cut, and left the place wholly untilled and barren for the god of war. The quantities of stuff thus heaped together were not borne along by the current very far, but the advanced portions stopped and accumulated at the shallows which they encountered. The portions that followed these could not get through them, but impinged upon them and blended inextricably with them, and time aggregation was made increasingly firm and fast by the action of the stream.
For this brought along great quantities of mud, the addition of which increased the size and cohesion of the mass. And besides, the impacts of the current were not rude, but with a gentle pressure pushed and moulded everything together. Owing to its size and position the mass acquired fresh size, and an extent sufficient to receive most of what was brought down by the river. It is now a sacred island over against the city, containing temples of the gods and covered walks,1
and is called in the Latin tongue
Inter duos pontes
Some, however, say that this did not happen when the field of Tarquin was consecrated, but in later times, when Tarquinia devoted another field adjacent to this. Now Tarquinia was a holy virgin, one of the Vestals, and received great honours for this act, among which was this, that of all women her testimony alone should be received. The people also voted her permission to marry, but she did not avail herself of it. This is how the thing happened, as the tale runs.