When a quarrel arose between the herdsmen of Numitor and Amulius,1
and some of the latter's cattle were driven off, the brothers would not suffer it, but fell upon the robbers, put them to flight, and intercepted most of the booty. To the displeasure of Numitor they gave little heed, but collected and took into their company many needy men and many slaves, exhibiting thus the beginnings of seditious boldness and temper.
But once when Romulus was busily engaged in some sacrifice, being fond of sacrifices and of divination, the herdsmen of Numitor fell in with Remus as he was walking with few companions, and a battle ensued. After blows and wounds given and received on both sides, the herdsmen of Numitor prevailed and took Remus prisoner, who was then carried before Numitor and denounced. Numitor himself did not punish his prisoner, because he was in fear of his brother Amulius, who was severe, but went to Amulius and asked for justice, since he was his brother, and had been insulted by the royal servants.
The people of Alba, too, were incensed, and thought that Numitor had been undeservedly outraged. Amulius was therefore induced to hand Remus over to Numitor himself, to treat him as he saw fit.
When Numitor came home, after getting Remus into his hands, he was amazed at the young man's complete superiority in stature and strength of body, and perceiving by his countenance that the boldness and vigour of his soul were unsubdued and unharmed by his present circumstances,
and hearing that his acts and deeds corresponded with his looks, but chiefly, as it would seem, because a divinity was aiding and assisting in the inauguration of great events, he grasped the truth by a happy conjecture, and asked him who he was and what were the circumstances of his birth, while his gentle voice and kindly look inspired the youth with confidence and hope.
Then Remus boldly said:
‘Indeed, I will hide nothing from thee; for thou seemest to be more like a king than Amulius; thou hearest and weighest before punishing, but he surrenders men without a trial. Formerly we believed ourselves (my twin brother and I) children of Faustulus and Larentia, servants of the king; but since being accused and slandered before thee and brought in peril of our lives, we hear great things concerning ourselves; whether they are true or not, our present danger is likely to decide.
Our birth is said to have been secret, and our nursing and nurture as infants stranger still. We were cast out to birds of prey and wild beasts, only to be nourished by them,—by the dugs of a she-wolf and the morsels of a woodpecker, as we lay in a little trough by the side of the great river. The trough still exists and is kept safe, and its bronze girdles are engraved with letters now almost effaced, which may perhaps hereafter prove unavailing tokens of recognition for our parents,
when we are dead and gone.’
Then Numitor, hearing these words, and conjecturing the time which had elapsed from the young man's looks, welcomed the hope that flattered him, and thought how he might talk with his daughter concerning these matters in a secret interview; for she was still kept in the closest custody.