Having got possession of Gabii, Tarquinius1
made peace with the Aequian nation and renewed the treaty with the Etruscans. He next turned his attention to affairs in the city. Here his first concern was to build a temple of Jupiter on the Tarpeian Mount2
to stand as a memorial of his reign and of his name, testifying that of the two Tarquinii, both kings, the father had made the vow and the son had fulfilled it.
And that the site might be free from all other religious claims and belong wholly to Jupiter and his temple, which was building there, he determined to annul the consecration of several fanes and shrines which had been first vowed by King Tatius at the crisis of the battle against Romulus, and had afterwards been consecrated and inaugurated.
At the very time when he began this task the gods are said to have exerted their power to show the magnitude of this mighty empire. For whereas the birds permitted that the consecrations of all the other shrines should be rescinded, they refused their consent for the shrine of Terminus.
This omen and augury was thus construed: the fact that the seat of Terminus was not moved, and that of all the gods he alone was not called away from the place consecrated to him, meant that the whole kingdom would be firm and steadfast.
When this auspice of permanence had been received, there followed another prodigy foretelling the grandeur of their empire. A human head, its features intact, was found, so it is said, by the men who were digging for the foundations of the temple.
This appearance plainly foreshowed that here was to be the citadel of the empire and the head of the world, and such was the interpretation of the soothsayers, both those who were in [p. 193]
the City and those who were called in from Etruria3
to consider the matter.
This made the king all the more ready to spend money on the work. Hence the Pometian spoils, which had been destined to carry the building up to the roof, barely sufficed for the foundations.
This disposes me to believe the statement of Fabius (who is, besides, the earlier writer) that the spoils were only forty talents, rather than Piso's, who writes that forty thousand pounds of silver were put aside for this work.
So great a sum of money could not be expected from the booty of a single city of that time, and there is no building, even among those of our own day, for the foundations of which it would not be more than enough.