UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
the time the supreme command should be vested in an officer called Dictator, who
should exercise discretionary power in all matters pertaining to the war. The
first to be chosen to this high office was Marcus Valerius, who now took command
for the defense of the city against Tarquin and the Latin league. The two armies
met at Lake Regillus, and a bloody battle was fought, in which for a long time
victory inclined to neither side. At length the Romans, hotly assailed by a band
of their exiled countrymen, led by Tarquin himself, began to waver. In the
supreme crisis Valerius vowed a temple to Castor and Pollux if they would save
his people from defeat. At that instant the twin gods themselves, mounted on two
white chargers, appeared suddenly at the head of the Roman knights and led them
upon the foe. The tide immediately turned against the Latins. They were
completely routed. Tarquin escaped to Cumae, and found refuge with Aristodemus
until his death. Rome was no more alarmed with the rumor of his coming.
It will thus be seen that the tradition of ancient, Rome runs forward to a time
subsequent to the overthrow of the kingdom. The early Republic is as much
involved in the shadows of fable as are the later times of the kings. Until the
present century these old legends were accepted as historic truth; but the age of
credulity has given place to the age of skepticism and critical inquiry. In the
light of careful research the old-time fictions are brushed away like gossamer.
Of contemporary records early Rome has left us not a vestige. Vague traditions,
handed down orally from generation to generation, are the substance of what the
modern world has had to rely on relative to the beginnings and earlier
development of the Roman state. Why, therefore, should such stories be believed?
If we are called to look over the ground calmly and decide what is and what is
not entitled to credence, the amount preserved would be but trifling. What should
be said of such a story as that of Romulus? Look at his birth, Ilis nurture by a
she-wolf, his mythical