Zonaras 7.2 – Alba Longa Retaken

Romulus and Romus come of age; their identity is revealed; Amulius is expelled.

When they [Romulus and Romus] grew up, they were both manly and high-spirited. Romulus seemed more distinguished for his intelligence and was more inclined to command than obey. When a dispute arose between the cowherds of Numitor and those of Amulius, the brothers beat them and took a great share of the cattle. The cowherds of Numitor then laid a trap for Romus when he was walking alone with a few others; they captured him and brought him to Numitor. He feared retribution for coming up against Amulius, being his brother and often maltreated by the members of his household. But Amulius gave Romus to Numitor to do with him as he wished. As Numitor was returning home and gazing upon Romus, who was distinguished for his size and strength, he marveled at his boldness and indomitable nature, and then asked him in a low voice who he was and who his parents were. Romus boldly replied, ‘We are twin brothers; our lineage is said to be unspeakable, and our rearing and nursing is even more incredible, since we were nursed by beasts and birds after being set in a tiny cradle next to the great river; indeed, it still exists, with some faint words engraved on the bronze ribs which hold it together.’

Numitor was then led on by both the speech and appearance of Romus to think about the exposure of his daughter’s children. When Faustulus learned of the seizure of Romus, he urged Romulus to help him, and at that time told him clearly about his own lineage which was previously kept secret in order to prevent them from becoming small-minded. He then got the cradle and brought it to Numitor in the full bloom of zeal and anxiety. When he was seen by the guards posted outside the gates of Amulius, and appeared to be anxious under their questioning, it did not escape notice that he was hiding the cradle underneath his mantle. Thinking that he was concealing something which he had stolen, they brought the cradle out into the open. There happened to be present one of the men who had exposed the boys. He recognized the cradle, and ran to tell Amulius. When Faustulus was interrogated by the king, he laid out that the boys were alive, and further were cowherds in Alba Longa. He brought the cradle to Ilia, the mother of the boys, who wanted to see it. Disturbed by all of this, Amulius sent a man to Numitor to find out whether he could learn anything of the boys, since they were still alive. The man who had been sent on this expedition was one of Numitor’s friends. He went away and found Numitor lost in the complicated puzzle about Romus; he then urged Numitor on and counseled that there should be no delay, and he himself helped with the deed. Just then, Romulus arrived with a large band of rustics. A few of the city dwellers had also joined him from hatred of Amulius. Since matters had fallen out those, Amulius – neither doing nor contriving anything – ran away to save his life.

Αὐξανόμενοι δὲ θυμοειδεῖς ἦσαν καὶ ἀνδρώδεις ἀμφότεροι· ὁ δὲ ῾Ρωμύλος ἐδόκει συνέσει διαφορώτερος καὶ ἡγεμονικὸς μᾶλλον τὴν φύσιν ἢ πειθαρχικός.γενομένης δέ ποτε πρὸς τοὺς Νομίτωρος βουκόλους τοῖς τοῦ ᾿Αμουλίου διαφορᾶς, συγκόπτουσιν αὐτοὺς οἱ ὁμαίμονες καὶ τῆς ἀγέλης συχνὴν ἀποτέμνονται μοῖραν. μόνῳ δὲ τῷ ῾Ρώμῳ σὺν ὀλίγοις ἄλλοις βαδίζοντι οἱ τοῦ Νομίτωρος βουκόλοι λοχήσαντες συνέλαβον αὐτὸν καὶ ἀπήγαγον πρὸς Νομίτωρα· καὶ ὃς πρὸς ᾿Αμούλιον ἐλθὼν ἐδεῖτο τυχεῖν δίκης, ἀδελφὸς ὢν καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν οἰκείων αὐτοῦ ὑβρισμένος. ὁ δὲ παραδίδωσι τῷ Νομίτωρι τὸν ῾Ρῶμον ὡς βούλοιτο χρήσασθαι. ὃς οἴκοι ἐλθὼν καὶ τὸν νεανίσκον ὁρῶν ὑπερφέροντα μεγέθει καὶ ῥώμῃ, καὶ τὸ θαρραλέον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀδούλωτον τῆς ψυχῆς θαυμάζων, ἀνέκρινεν ὅστις εἴη καὶ ὅθεν γένοιτο, φωνῇ πραείᾳ. ὁ δὲ θαρρῶν ἔλεγεν ὡς “δίδυμοι μέν ἐσμεν ἀδελφοί, γοναὶ δὲ ἡμῶν ἀπόρρητοι λέγονται καὶ τροφαὶ καὶ τιθηνήσεις θαυμασιώτεραι, θηρίοις καὶ οἰωνοῖς τραφέντων παρὰ τὸν μέγαν ποταμὸν ἐν σκάφῃ τινὶ κειμένων, ἣ ἔτι σώζεται, χαλκοῖς ὑποζώμασι γραμμάτων ἀμυδρῶν ἐγκεχαραγμένων.”

῾Ο μὲν οὖν Νομίτωρ τοῖς τε λόγοις τοῦ ῾Ρώμου καὶ τῇ ὄψει πρὸς ἔννοιαν τῆς ἐκθέσεως τῶν τῆς θυγατρὸς ἐνήγετο παίδων, ὁ δὲ Φαυστοῦλος τὴν τοῦ῾Ρώμου μαθὼν σύλληψιν τὸν μὲν ῾Ρωμύλον βοηθεῖν παρεκάλει, τότε σαφῶς διδάξας αὐτὸν περὶ τῆς γενέσεως, πρότερον γὰρ ὑπῃνίττετο, ὥστ’ αὐτοὺς μὴ μικροφρονεῖν, αὐτὸς δὲ τὴν σκάφην κομίζων ἐχώρει πρὸς τὸν Νομίτωρα σπουδῆς καὶ δέους μεστός. τοῖς δὲ περὶ τὰς πύλας τοῦ ᾿Αμουλίου φρουροῖς ὑφορώμενος, καὶ ταραττόμενος περὶ τὰς ἀποκρίσεις, οὐκ ἔλαθε τὴν σκάφην τῷ χλανιδίῳ περικαλύπτων. ὑπολαβόντες δὲ κλοπιμαῖόν τι φέρειν αὐτόν, εἰς μέσον τὴν σκάφην προήγαγον. ἔτυχε δέ τις παρὼν ἐκεῖ τῶν τὰ παιδάρια ἐκθεμένων· ὃς τὴν σκάφην γνωρίσας, δραμὼν φράζει τῷ ᾿Αμουλίῳ. καὶ ὁ Φαυστοῦλος ἀνακρινόμενος παρὰ τοῦ βασιλέως σώζεσθαι μὲν τοὺς παῖδας κατέθετο, πόρρω δὲ τῆς ῎Αλβης νέμοντας εἶναι· τὴν δὲ σκάφην πρὸς τὴν ᾿Ιλίαν κομίζειν τὴν τῶν παίδων μητέρα, ποθοῦσαν ἰδεῖν. τεταραγμένος δὲ τούτοις ᾿Αμούλιος ἄνδρα πρὸς τὸν Νομίτωρα πέπομφε πυνθανόμενος εἴ τι μάθοι περὶ τῶν παίδων ὡς περιόντων. ἦν δὲ τῶν φίλων ὁ πεμφθεὶς τοῦ Νομίτωρος. ἀπελθὼν οὖν καὶ ἐν περιπλοκαῖς τοῦ῾Ρώμου εὑρηκὼς τὸν Νομίτωρα, παρεθάρρυνέ τε καὶ μὴ μέλλειν αὐτοῖς συνεβούλευε, καὶ αὐτὸς δὲ συνέπραττεν. ἄρτι δὲ καὶ ὁ ῾Ρωμύλος ἐγγὺς ἦν, χεῖρα συχνὴν ἀγροικικὴν ἐπαγόμενος· καὶ τῶν πολιτῶν δὲ αὐτῷ οὐκ ὀλίγοι προσῄεσαν μίσει τοῦ ᾿Αμουλίου. ὃς οὕτω τῶν πραγμάτων συνενεχθέντων οὐδὲν οὔτε πράξας οὔτε βουλεύσας σωτήριον ἀνῃρέθη.

New Hobby: Limericks on Byzantine (and Hellenistic?) Scholars

Earlier, Palaiophron quoted a dubious and amusing etymology from the inimitable John Tzetzes. Because I might never stop being at least partly an adolescent, I started coming up with a limerick

The eminent John Tzetzes
must have had remarkable testes.
That he weighs all the same
myriad dubious claims
attests to a nice pair of hefties.

Continue reading “New Hobby: Limericks on Byzantine (and Hellenistic?) Scholars”