Zonaras 7.5 Part II – Numa Pompilius, The Reluctant King

The Romans and Sabines are united in their choice of Numa Pompilius as king, but he is not eager to accept the crown:

Nevertheless, tumults arose from the suspicion that the patricians were converting the state to an oligarchy and did not wish for a king. The people revolted from this. When all agreed that a ruler should be selected, the Sabines gave the first choice to the Romans, who selected from among the Sabines a certain Numa Pompilius, a man who was well known by all for his virtue. Ambassadors from Rome were therefore sent to him. Numa did not live in Rome, but stayed among the Sabines and and inhabited the city of the Quirites. His father was a well-renowned man named Pomponius, who was adorned by every virtue which can be bestowed by either nature or education. For this reason, he has a great name and a certain amount of fame, such that Tatius, when he ruled with Romulus, married Numa to his only daughter, Tatia. She remained married to Numa for three years before she departed from this life. Numa then left behind his occupations in the city so that he could live for the most part in the open, where he wished to spend his time in the meadows and glades.

Therefore, the ambassadors came from Rome to call him to the throne as he was finishing his fortieth year of life. He declined their offer. The ambassadors, however, pressed hard upon him, having contrived every way to persuade him, and fearing lest the city should again fall into rebellion and civil war, since there was no other man to whom both parts of the state would readily grant their assent. In private, even, Numa’s father urged his son to accept the throne as a divine gift and a form of service of god, as well the sort of thing which would be the source of noble and great deeds for a wise man; moreover, it would serve as a pledge of goodwill and friendship between the entire Sabine race and a powerful, thriving city.

᾿Αλλὰ καὶ οὕτως ἐξ ὑπονοίας ἐφύοντο θόρυβοι, ὑποπτευομένων τῶν πατρικίων εἰς ὀλιγαρχίαν τὴν πολιτείαν περιιστᾶν καὶ μὴ βούλεσθαι βασιλεύεσθαι· ἐκ δὲ τούτου κατεστασίαζον. ὁμονοησάντων δὲ πάντων αἱρεθῆναι τὸν βασιλεύσοντα, οἱ Σαβῖνοι τοῖς ῾Ρωμαίοις προτέροις τὴν αἵρεσιν ἔδοσαν· οἱ δ’ ἐκ Σαβίνων εἵλοντο Νόμαν Πομπίλιον, ὄντα ἄνδρα γνώριμον πᾶσι δι’ ἀρετήν. στέλλονται γοῦν πρὸς ἐκεῖνον ἐκ ῾Ρώμης πρέσβεις· οὐ γὰρ ἐν τῇ ῾Ρώμῃ μετῴκιστο, ἀλλ’ ἐν Σαβίνοις ἦν καὶ πόλιν ᾤκει τὴν Κυριτῶν, πατρὸς ὢν Πομπωνίου ἀνδρὸς εὐδοκίμου, πᾶσαν ἀρετὴν φύσει τε καὶ παιδείᾳ ἐξησκημένος. ὅθεν καὶ ὄνομα μέγα καὶ δόξαν εἶχεν, ὡς καὶ Τάτιον τὸν τῷ ῾Ρωμύλῳ συμβασιλεύσαντα κηδεστὴν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ Τατίᾳ θέσθαι τῇ θυγατρί, ἣν μίαν ἐκεῖνος ἐγείνατο· ἣ δέκα ἐπὶ τρισὶν ἐνιαυτοὺς τῷ Νόμᾳ συνοικήσασα μετήλλαξε τὴν ζωήν. ὁ δὲ Νόμας ἐκλιπὼν τὰς ἐν ἄστει διατριβὰς ἀγραυλεῖν τὰ πολλὰ καὶ διατρίβειν ἤθελεν ἐν λειμῶσι καὶ ἄλσεσιν.

῟Ηκον οὖν ἀπὸ ῾Ρώμης οἱ πρέσβεις καλοῦντες ἐπὶ τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτὸν ἤδη τεσσαρακοστὸν ἔτος ἀνύοντα· ὁ δὲ ἀπείπατο. οἱ πρέσβεις δ’ ἐνέκειντο, πάντα τρόπον πείσειν αὐτὸν μηχανώμενοι, καὶ δεόμενοι μὴ τὴν πόλιν αὖθις εἰς στάσιν ἐμβαλεῖν καὶ ἐμφύλιον πόλεμον, οὐκ ὄντος ἑτέρου πρὸς ὃν ἄμφω τὰ μέρη συννεύσουσιν. ἰδίᾳ μέντοι καὶ ὁ πατὴρ παρεκίνει τὸν Νόμαν δέξασθαι τὴν ἀρχὴν ὡς θεῖον δῶρον καὶ ὑπηρεσίαν θεοῦ καὶ πράξεων καλῶν καὶ μεγάλων ἀνδρὶ φρονίμῳ τε καὶ χρηστῷ ἐσομένην αἰτίαν, σύνδεσμόν τε τῇ πατρίδι καὶ παντὶ τῷ Σαβίνων ἔθνει εὐνοίας τε καὶ φιλίας πρὸς πόλιν δυνατὴν καὶ ἀκμάζουσαν.

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