Zonaras 7.7: The Reign of Ancus Marcius

Rome’s neighbors underestimate Ancus Marcius’ peaceful disposition

When Tullus Hostilius died, Ancus Marcius succeeded to the throne, which he took with the approval of the Roman people. He was not perfectly formed respecting his hand, because his arm had been mutilated; it was for this reason that he received the name “Ancus.” Though he was a reasonable man, he was compelled to change, and turned himself toward military affairs. For, on account of the destruction of Alba Longa, the other Latin cities feared that they themselves might suffer something similar, and so they held themselves in hostility to the Romans while Tullus Hostilius, whom they feared as a bitter enemy, still lived. However, because they thought that Ancus Marcius could easily be attacked with impunity on account of his peaceful mindset, the Latins set upon the land and plundered it. Ancus, reasoning that war could be the cause of peace, he set upon those who had set upon the Romans, and he seized their cities, one of which he razed to the ground. He treated many of the citizens of these captured cities as prisoners, and forced some others to emigrate to Rome. As the Roman population increased and their land holdings grew in proportion, those from neighboring areas were vexed and made war against the Romans. Whereupon, the Romans overcame the people of Fidenae in a siege, and distressed the Sabines by falling upon them as they were scattered and taking the field. By instilling fear in the others, they prepared them, however unwilling, to make peace. After all of this, the life of Ancus Marcius came to an end, after he head reigned for twenty four years and given much care to the gods, as did his grandfather Numa.

᾿Επεὶ δ’ ῾Οστίλλιος ἐτελεύτησε, διεδέξατο τὴν βασιλείαν ὁ Μάρκιος, παρ’ ἑκόντων τῶν ῾Ρωμαίων ταύ-ην λαβών. ἦν δὲ τὴν χεῖρα οὐκ ἄρτιος· τὴν γὰρ ἀγκύλην πεπήρωτο, ὅθεν καὶ ῎Αγκος ἐπώνυμον ἔσχηκεν. ἐπιεικὴς δὲ ὢν ἠναγκάσθη μεταβαλέσθαι, καὶ πρὸς στρατείας ἐτράπετο. οἱ γὰρ λοιποὶ Λατῖνοι διά τε τὸν τῆς ῎Αλβης ὄλεθρον καὶ περὶ ἑαυτῶν δεδοικότες μή τι πάθωσιν ὅμοιον δι’ ὀργῆς μὲν εἶχον ῾Ρωμαίους, ἕως δὲ περιῆν ὁ Τοῦλλος, δεδιότες ἐκεῖνον ὡς μάχιμον, συνεστέλλοντο. τὸν δὲ Μάρκιον εὐεπίθετον ἡγησάμενοι διὰ τὸ εἰρηναῖον τῆς γνώμης, τῇ τε χώρᾳ ἐπῆλθον καὶ αὐτὴν ἐληίσαντο. συνεὶς δ’ ἐκεῖνος εἰρήνης εἶναι τὸν πόλεμον αἴτιον, ἐπιτίθεται τοῖς ἐπιθεμένοις καὶ ἀντημύνατο, καὶ πόλεις εἷλεν αὐτῶν, ὧν μίαν κατέσκαψεν, καὶ πολλοῖς τῶν ἁλόντων ὡς αἰχμαλώτοις ἐχρήσατο, καὶ ἐς τὴν ῾Ρώμην δὲ συχνοὺς ἑτέρους μετῴκισεν. αὐξανομένων δὲ τῶν ῾Ρωμαίων καὶ τῆς χώρας σφίσι προστιθεμένης οἱ πλησιόχωροι ἤχθοντο καὶ ἑαυτοὺς ῾Ρωμαίοις ἐξεπολέμωσαν· ὅθεν αὐτῶν Φιδηνάτας μὲν πολιορκίᾳ ἐκράτησαν, Σαβίνους δ’ ἐκάκωσαν, αὐτοῖς τε προσπεσόντες ἐσκεδασμένοις καὶ τὸ σφῶν ἑλόντες στρατόπεδον, ἑτέρους δ’ ἐκφοβήσαντες εἰρηνεῖν καὶ ἄκοντας παρεσκεύασαν. καὶ ἐπὶ τούτοις Μαρκίῳ ἐπέλιπε τὸ βιώσιμον, εἴκοσιν ἐνιαυτοὺς καὶ τέσσαρας ἄρξαντι, καὶ πολλὴν τοῦ θείου κατὰ τὸν πάππον Νόμαν ποιουμένῳ τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν.