Then the Alban army, which had been a1
spectator of the battle, was led down into the plain. Mettius congratulated Tullus on the conquest of his enemies; Tullus replied kindly to Mettius, and commanded the Albans in a good hour to join their camp to that of the Romans.
He then made preparations to perform, on the morrow, a sacrifice of purification. At dawn, when all things were in readiness, he issued to both armies the customary order, convoking them to an assembly.
The heralds, beginning at the outskirts of the camp, called out the Albans first, who being moved by the very novelty of the occasion, took their stand close to the Roman king, that they might hear him harangue his army.
The Roman troops, by previous arrangement, were armed and disposed around them, and the centurions were bidden to execute orders promptly. Then Tullus began as follows:
“Romans, if ever anywhere in any war you have had reason to give thanks, first to the immortal gods and then to your own valour, it was in the battle of yesterday. For you fought not only against your enemies, but a harder and more dangerous fight —against the treachery and the perfidy of your allies.
For, to undeceive you, I gave no orders that the Albans should draw off towards the mountains. What you heard was not my command, but a trick and a pretended command, devised in order that you might not know you were being deserted, and so be distracted from the fight; and that the enemy, thinking that they were being hemmed in on the rear, might be panic-stricken and flee.
And yet this guilt which I am charging does not attach to all the Albans; they but followed [p. 103]
their general, as you, too, would have done, had I2
desired to lead you off anywhere. It is Mettius yonder who led this march; Mettius, too, who contrived this war; Mettius who broke the treaty between Roman and Alban.
Let another dare such a deed hereafter if I do not speedily visit such a punishment on him as shall be a conspicuous warning to all mankind.”
Thereupon the centurions, sword in hand, surrounded Mettius, while the king proceeded: “May prosperity, favour, and fortune be with the Roman people and myself, and with you, men of Alba! I purpose to bring all the Alban people over to Rome, to grant citizenship to their commons, to enroll the nobles in the senate, to make one city and one state. As formerly from one people the Alban nation was divided into two, so now let it be reunited into one.”
Hearing these words the Alban soldiers, themselves unarmed and fenced in by armed men, were constrained, however their wishes might differ, by a common fear, and held their peace.
Then Tullus said: “Mettius Fufetius, if you were capable of learning, yourself, to keep faith and abide by treaties, you should have lived that I might teach you this; as it is, since your disposition is incurable, you shall yet by your punishment teach the human race to hold sacred the obligations you have violated.
Accordingly, just as a little while ago your heart was divided between the states of Fidenae and Rome, so now you shall give up your body to be torn two ways,” He then brought up two four-horse chariots, and caused Mettius to be stretched out and made fast to them, after which the horses were whipped up in opposite directions, and bore off in [p. 105]
each of the cars fragments of the mangled body,3
where the limbs held to their fastenings.
All eyes were turned away from so dreadful a sight. Such was the first and last punishment among the Romans of a kind that disregards the laws of humanity. In other cases we may boast that with no nation have milder punishments found favour.