In the fifth year of the reign of Tatius, some retainers and kinsmen of his, falling in with ambassadors from Laurentum on their way to Rome, attempted to rob them of their money,1
and when they would not stand and deliver, slew them. It was a bold and dreadful crime, and Romulus thought its perpetrators ought to be punished at once, but Tatius tried to put off and turn aside the course of justice.
This was the sole occasion of open variance between them; in all other matters they acted in the utmost concert and administered affairs with unanimity. The friends of the slain ambassadors, shut out as they were from all lawful redress, through the efforts of Tatius, fell upon him as he was sacrificing with Romulus at Lavinium, and killed him, but escorted Romulus on his way with loud praises of his justice.
Romulus brought the body of Tatius home and gave it honourable burial, and it lies near the so-called Armilustrium, on the Aventine hill; but he took no steps whatsoever to bring his murderers to justice. And some historians write that the city of Laurentum, in terror, delivered up the murderers of Tatius, but that Romulus let them go, saying that murder had been requited with murder.
This led some to say and suspect that he was glad to be rid of his colleague, but it caused no disturbance in the government, nor did it lead the Sabines into faction, nay, some through the good-will they had for him, others through their fear of his power, and others because they regarded him as a benevolent god, all continued to hold him in reverence to the end.
Romulus was held in reverence also by many foreign peoples, and the earlier Latins sent ambassadors and established friendship and alliance with him. Fidenae, a neighbouring city to Rome, he took,2
as some say, by sending his horsemen of a sudden with orders to cut away the pivots of the gates, and then appearing himself unexpectedly;
but others say that the men of Fidenae first made an incursion, driving off booty and devastating the territory and outskirts of the city, and that Romulus set an ambush for them, killed many of them, and took their city. He did not, however, destroy or raze it to the ground, but made it a colony of Rome, and sent thither twenty-five hundred colonists, on the Ides of April.