However, Tarpeia was buried there, and the hill was called from her Tarpcius, until King Tarquin dedicated the place to Jupiter, when her bones were removed and the name of Tarpeia died out, except that a cliff on the Capitol is still called the Tarpeian Rock, from which they hurl male-factors.
The citadel thus occupied by the Sabines,1
Romulus angrily challenged them to battle, and Tatius was bold enough to accept, since he saw that the Sabines, if worsted, had a strong place of retreat. For the intervening space, in which they were to join battle, being surrounded by many hills, seemed to impose upon both parties a sharp and grievous contest, owing to the difficulties of the field, where flight and pursuit must be narrowly confined and short.
It happened, too, since the river had overflowed not many days before, that a deep and blind slime had been left in the valley where the forum is now. Wherefore it was not apparent to the eye, nor yet easy to avoid, and besides it was soft beneath the surface and dangerous. On to this the Sabines were ignorantly rushing, when a piece of good fortune befell them.
Curtius, a conspicuous man among them, eager for glory and high design, was advancing on horseback far in front of the rest, when his horse sank in the gulf of mud. For some time he tried to drive him out, with blows and cries of encouragement, but since it was impossible, he abandoned his horse and saved himself. Accordingly, the place to this day is called from him
‘lacus Curtius.’ But the Sabines, having avoided this peril, fought a sturdy fight, and one which was indecisive, although many fell, among whom was Hostilius.
This man, they say, was husband of Hersilia2
and grandfather to the Hostilius who was king after Numa. Afterwards many conflicts raged within a short time, as might be expected, but one is most memorable, namely the last, in which Romulus was hit on the head with a stone and almost fell to the ground, abandoning his resistance to the Sabines. The Romans thereupon gave way and began to fly to the Palatine, now that they were repulsed from the plain.
But presently Romulus, recovering from his blow, wished to stem the tide of fugitives and renew the battle, and called upon them with a loud voice to stand and fight. But as the waves of flight encompassed him and no man dared to face about, he stretched his hands towards heaven and prayed Jupiter to stay his army and not suffer the Roman cause to fall, but to restore it.
No sooner was his prayer ended than many stopped out of reverence for their king, and courage returned to the fugitives. They made their first stand, then, where now is the temple of Jupiter Stator, which epithet might be interpreted as Stayer.
Then they closed their ranks again and drove the Sabines back to where the so-called Regia3
now stands, and the temple of Vesta.