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Helene A. Guerber

Union of Sabines and Romans

T HE Sabine army had taken the citadel, thanks to Tarpeia's vanity; and on the next day there was a desperate fight between them and the Romans who lived on the Palatine hill. First the Romans and then the Sabines were beaten back; and finally both sides paused to rest.

The battle was about to begin again, and the two armies were only a few feet apart, threatening each other with raised weapons and fiery glances, when all at once the women rushed out of their houses, and flung themselves between the warriors.

In frantic terror for the lives of their husbands on one side, and of their fathers and brothers on the other, they wildly besought them not to fight. Those who had little children held them up between the lines of soldiers, and the sight of these innocent babes disarmed the rage of both parties.

Instead of fighting any more, therefore, the Romans and Sabines agreed to lay down their arms and to become friends. A treaty was made, whereby the Sabines were invited to come and live in Rome, and Romulus even agreed to share his throne with their king, Tatius.

Thus the two rival nations became one, and when Tatius died, the Sabines were quite willing to obey Romulus, who was, at first, an excellent king, and made many wise laws.

As it was too great a task for him to govern the unruly people alone, Romulus soon formed an assembly of the oldest and most respected men, to whom he gave the name of senators. They were at first the advisers of the king; but in later times they had the right to make laws for the good of the people, and to see that these laws were obeyed.

The younger and more active men were named cavaliers, or knights. These were the men who fought as horsemen in time of war; but before long the name was given only to those who had a certain amount of wealth.

The sons and relatives of the senators and knights, and all the earliest inhabitants of Rome, received also the name of Patricians, or nobles; while the people whom they had conquered, or who came to dwell there later, were called Plebeians, or ordinary people.