Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Hounds of Actaeon

There were times, in the lore of the ancient world, when the gods and goddesses rewarded the benevolent, humbled the proud, cursed the wicked and blessed the pure. Yet the gods could succumb just as readily to the passions and impulses of nature as the mortals they ruled over. In the order of the Cosmos, there were and will always be casualties of imbalance, and pure misfortune. One such man, who tragically suffered so, was Actaeon.

Diana - the Lady of the Hunt
Painting by Titian
King Cadmus, founder of the great city of Thebes and hero of his people, had enjoyed a wondrous life. Now in his old age, he watched his grandsons mature to adulthood, and nothing gave him more joy, especially when it came to his favourite - Actaeon. But alas, that ancient maxim cannot be forgotten, "Call no man happy until he is dead" (for the story behind this saying, please click here). For such a tragedy there scarcely was when the grandson of Cadmus fell afoul of chance. Actaeon had grown into a strong young man, handsome, and skilled in the pursuits of men. Indeed, more than anything else, he was impressively skilled as a hunter. His fellow men marvelled at the vast array of game he could bring back in one ride, many times more than any of them. Though he triumphed so often through his immense prowess, it was the strong bond that Actaeon shared with his beloved dogs which set him apart. He knew each of their names, and each of their talents. First there was Blackfoot, always the first to sound out their quarry. Then there was Tracker, bred on Crete, who never missed a scent. Of Wingdog too, no there was no swifter hound than he. White as the snow on the high mountains was the coat of Sheen, and black as night was the body of Soot. Such a din there was when Yelper let out his bark, verily did one's eardrums shake! Poor Sylvan, a valiant beast but limping now, a savage boar had gored his flank. Then came Harpy with her puppies, eager to serve. Blacklock too, first to maul their chosen quarry, followed by Beast-Killer and Mountain-Boy, who never desisted from their prey. Never before has man and beast bonded so closely as Actaeon and his dogs. As one, they were a match for the lady Diana herself, chaste goddess of the hunt.

One day, as the chariot of the Sun god rode high in the Heavens, far below in the wooded glades rode Actaeon and his gathered friends. The morning had been kind. The hunters' party had an impressive array of game, though of course, none eclipsed Actaeon's. The day grew late and soon the mighty Actaeon called a halt to the day's chase. The nets were soaked and their spears wet with blood. His faithful dogs, delighted to have caught so many for their master, wagged their tails eagerly, keen for a morsel when they returned home. Actaeon's friends laughed merrily at the thought of the magnificent feast that was sure to come that night, and bent down to pack away the panoply of the hunt.

Actaeon stumbles upon Diana
Painting by Titian
But the towering man himself decided to take a stroll in the pleasant late-afternoon sun. The falling sun was just bursting through the trees, its golden touch cast on the dappled forest floor. It all seemed so quiet, so tranquil, that Actaeon kept walking on. Soon, the serene silence was weakened. A strange, ethereal sound drifted through the trees. It was a little while before Actaeon recognised it as the sound of song, the sound of women singing not far ahead. He could not explain why he followed it, there was just something about it, so beautiful and pure, that he felt compelled to follow. Imagine, if you can, a secret valley, alive with bushy pine and towering cypress, holding a tranquil lake in their leafy embrace. No man had ever come here; all was as Gaia had first made it, pure from the mightiest trunk to the smallest droplets of water on the tips of the leaves. It was here that the lady Artemis and her maids came to bathe. Diana, the goddess of the moon, childbirth and the hunt, was fiercely chaste. Many a god had sought her hand in marriage, such was the beauty of the daughter of Zeus and the Titaness Leto, but she scorned them all. It was here, in the shade of the forest, that the goddess, weary from the hunt, would come to rest her weary limbs. Handing her bow and quiver to her maidens, she stepped into the perfectly calm water, while others unrobed her. Taking her golden hair in her hands, her nymphs gently poured urns of water over her head. This was the scene which the grandson of Cadmus stumbled upon.

Actaeon's tragic end
Painting by Titian
Unsure of where he was, this was unfamiliar forest to him, Actaeon rounded the clearing and then, he saw it all. For a moment he could not move, so stunned by the sight was he. Never before had he seen such beauty, and no matter how great he tried, he could not turn his eyes from this forbidden scene. For just a moment, there was blissful peace. But then, aware of the presence of a man, a terrible scream rent the air. The nymphs bounded forward, frantically reaching for their mistress' clothes. They surrounded her, shielding her from view, but the daughter of Zeus, alas was taller by far than they. Her blushing cheeks red as the setting sun, shock and fury mingled in her immortal form. Fury that her bow was not to hand, fury that she could not slay the intruder with a murderous arrow. Desperate now, Actaeon tried to find something to say, to express his sincere sorrow, for truly he was, but the great huntress gave him not a chance. Words cannot describe the terror poor Actaeon felt as he gazed into those merciless eyes, but worse was yet to come. In a flash, the unstoppable goddess took up a handful of water from the peaceful pool, and hurled it in Actaeon's face:

                          " Now you may tell the story of seeing Diana naked -
                             if storytelling is in your power! "
                                                  - THE CURSE OF DIANA

Panic flooded over Actaeon as a towering wave, as his body convulsed violently. A stabbing pain, and as he placed his sorry head in his hands, he felt to his horror two stumps growing rapidly out of his head. His neck began to stretch itself outward painfully, and his ears lurched into points. In his humility he looked down, and saw his once powerful feet harden and shrink before his eyes, now cloven to a point. Coarse fur rent its way through his flesh, until soon all his body was enveloped in a mighty coat. Then the huntress filled his mind with thoughts only of flight, and verily did Actaeon run. With a speed most extraordinary, the grandson of Cadmus bounded to a nearby pool, and gazed within its glassy waters. Gone was the handsome face of Actaeon, instead, the head of a mighty stag. The terrible realisation dropped like a stone. The vengeful goddess had made him into a beast. Tears streaming from his eyes, poor Actaeon moaned "Oh, dear god!", but no words came from within,  strange sounds and deep grunts instead.

Diana and Actaeon
Painting by Francesco Albani
Frantically, Actaeon thought of what to do, but each plan seemed helpless. Go back to the palace? But he could not speak, how would tell them what had transpired in that wretched glade? Or hide in the woodland? But to live forever as a beast, and know only melancholy forever more? "He wavered in fearful doubt". It was then that Actaeon knew the meaning of terror. For the silence of the wood was broken once again. This time, however, it was not a beautiful sound. Barking. Dogs barking. Hunting dogs barking. His dogs barking. Actaeon recognised at once the cry of Yelper, and it was the cry that betrayed that Tracker had caught a scent. The scent of prey. Frantically, Actaeon took to flight from his dearest friends, his friends who now spelled his doom. "Stop! It is I, Actaeon, your master. Do you not know me?", he cried in vain. But all that was heard was his desperate baying, drowned under the roar of the hunt. As he sprinted for his very life, he felt it. Sharp teeth sank into his neck, as Blacklock was first onto his prey. Then came Beast-Killer and Mountain-Boy. Moaning with agony under his wounds, his majestic body crashed into the ground, as the hounds pinned their own master. Just then, human voices. His breath giving away, Actaeon called out in vain hope, pleading to his friends. It was his friends, shouting in exultation at the magnificent stag they had caught. "Actaeon! Actaeon!... Why aren't you here, you indolent man, to enjoy the sight of this heaven-sent prize?" With that, his spirit broken at last, so passed Actaeon grandson of Cadmus, as his beloved hounds tore at his mortal form, eager to bring back another catch for their beloved master...

United Kingdom

Penguin Classics:
Metamorphoses: A New Verse Translation (Penguin Classics)
(A classic Roman epic poem, which has a good blend of readability and poetic meter)

Oxford World's Classics:
Metamorphoses (Oxford World's Classics)
(A classic Roman epic poem, which is charmingly archaic, but possibly too much so for some - choose if you like poetry of the 'old ways')

United States

Penguin Classics:
Metamorphoses (Penguin Classics)
(A classic Roman epic poem, which has a good blend of readability and poetic meter)

Oxford World's Classics:
Metamorphoses (Oxford World's Classics)
(A classic Roman epic poem, which is charmingly archaic, but possibly too much so for some - choose of you like poetry of the 'old ways')

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Heart of the Inferno

Shivering violently in the chill wind, Dante and Virgil ventured onward, closer and closer to very centre of the Inferno. Leaving the deranged shouting of Count Ugolino far behind (for the previous episode in the story of the Inferno, please click here), our poet could not veil his fear, try though he might, for he was grimly aware that somewhere down here, the greatest of all traitors must lie - Lucifer himself...

Dante and Virgil upon Cocytus
Painting by Gustave Doré
After a precarious march further along the frozen lake of Cocytus, Dante noticed that the souls appeared to be fixed deeper into the ice, with all but their tortured faces swallowed by Cocytus. The souls were in agony, for in their plight they wept, but the sheer cold had frozen their tears, as though each bore a visor of crystal over their faces. One such soul gave a muffled cry, and begged our pilgrims to break the ice from his stricken face. Dante, hearing his voice, called back, "If this is what you want, tell me your name; and if I do not help you, may I be forced to drop beneath this ice!" The sinner replied that he was Friar Alberigo, and that he paid the price in Hell even whilst his body still lived on, far above. Years before, at a banquet, he had ordered the deaths of his own brother and nephew. The Friar had called for some figs, and at this prearranged signal, his guards had rushed in and slain his kin. For his heinous betrayal of his guests and family, his immortal soul had been cast by Fate into Hell, as a demon took possession of his mortal form. This penultimate area of Cocytus was Tolomea, Round Three of the Ninth Circle of Hell, to which are condemned those who violate the holy bond between a host and his guest. Unlike all other regions of Hell, the sinners here can well still be alive on Earth, yet bound too, in unholy Cocytus. The Friar speaks too of Branca D'Oria, a fellow sinner bound in the ice, a man whom Dante knew in life. Stunned at this news, and appalled at his crimes, Dante ignored the Friar's plea to clear the ice from his eyes, and sternly walked on.

Photograph taken by the author in the Baptistery
of St. John, Florence
At last, after braving all the perils of the Inferno, Dante had now arrived at the final lair of evil, Judecca, the Fourth Round of the Ninth Circle of Hell. To here are banished the very gravest of sinners, those who have betrayed their own benefactors. In the distant fog, a gargantuan outline began to take form, just as a mountain emerges from a thick mist. The deathly cold gale was so intense that Dante held his head down, as his eyes fell upon a morbid sight. For here, the souls of the damned were frozen deep within Cocytus, their condemned bodies held in suspended animation, in cruelly contorted positions, for as far as the eye could see into the depths of the lake. Completely submerged in ice, no sound came from their lips, but for frantic whimpering destined never to be heard. Dante shuddered at the eerie silence, but Virgil took his arm and led him on. The time had come. Bracing him, Virgil consoled his fellow poet:

                            " This is he, this is Dis; this is the place
                               that calls for all the courage you have in you.

                               How chilled and nerveless, Reader, I felt then;
                               do not ask me - I cannot write about it -
                               there are no words to tell you how I felt.

                               I did not die - I was not living either!
                               Try to imagine, if you can imagine,
                               me there, deprived of life and death at once... "
                                           - DANTE LOOKS UPON THE FACE OF SATAN

Satan Bound
Engraving by Gustave Doré
The mist lifted, and there, in all his infernal glory, lay Lucifer himself, bound to the waist by the icy clutches of Cocytus. Once the most beautiful of all the angels of Heaven, Lucifer, the Morning Star, was perfect in all things but for the most terrible of things, his pride. Refusing to bow to the Son of God, he dared to openly challenge God for the throne of Heaven, and open war thundered across the vaults of Heaven (for more about this, please click here). Defeated, he, along with the one third of the angelic host that had sided with him, were cast out of Heaven, and hurled to ruinous perdition in Hell. Taking the new name of Satan, as one of only two beings to have committed open treachery against God, he now endured an eternity of retribution for his crimes, at the very Pit of Hell. Dante stood transfixed, overcome with awe at the sight of him. Nothing could have prepared him for the colossal being now bound before him. "My height is closer to the height of giants than theirs is to the length of his great arms", Dante remarks. The former archangel towered high above Cocytus, even though his body from the waist down stretched far below the surface. From his titanic head, three faces burst angrily forth, each holding a sinner tight in its jaws. A pair of vast, bat like wings lay fixed below each, the pure white plumage that once adorned them having been burned away after his treachery against the Most High. Tears flowed from his blazing eyes, tears of rage mingled with grief at his lost Paradise. Six streams of tears flowed down his body, mixing with the blood dripping from his mouth. Still he sought to escape his infernal prison, as he violently flapped his enormous wings, desperate to break free of Cocytus. But in his pride, he was blind to the reality that the icy winds generated by his wings merely prolonged his suffering, constantly freezing the waters of the lake.

In the jaws of the left face, one as black as the night, a sinner convulsed in desperation. Virgil revealed to Dante his identity as Marcus Junius Brutus, the man who drove the blade into Julius Caesar, betraying his ruler, and the united Italy that he brought. In the jaws of the right face, one yellow as sulphur, another sinner jerked in pain. He was Gaius Cassius Longinus, a fellow conspirator of Brutus, and another of the assassins of Caesar. But in the central face, one red with fury, was the only other soul apart from Satan himself who had directly betrayed God, all for thirty pieces of silver - Judas Iscariot. The teeth of Satan crunched down upon his twitching body without end, but he also suffered another brutal torture, as the claws of the devil slashed open his body, tearing the flesh asunder.

Dante gazes upon Mount Purgatory
Painting by Bronzino 
The grisly sight caused a ripple of nausea in Dante, and Virgil saw that the time had come to leave the Inferno at last, though alas there was only one way to leave. Waiting for the opportune moment, Virgil seized Dante's arm and dashed forwards, latching onto the tangled and matted hair that grew on Satan's sides. Dante held on for dear life to Virgil's shoulder, as the great Roman poet descended down and down, past the surface of freezing Cocytus. Then, just as the two pilgrim reached Satan's thigh, the world seemed to Dante to turn on its head. Virgil adjusted his grip, and turned to face the feet of the devil, and began to climb. Puzzled, Dante held on still. At last, they came to a rocky cavern, and the two stopped for a rest. Glancing back, there stood the two towering legs of Satan, bursting forth into the air. For they had passed the very core of the cosmos, and gravity had turned on its head. Virgil explained that Satan had been thrown down to Hell with such force that he had smashed his way through the Earth, and now lay frozen in the same position he had fallen, many millennia ago. The very cavern they sat in now was caused when the land had been forced upward by the Morning Star's fall. Eager to put as much distance between themselves and Satan as possible, the two set off together along the rising road, in darkness. After what seemed an age, Dante spotted something that seemed more glorious than anything he had seen for an age. Stars! They had done it, they had reached the surface at last. But for Dante, the adventure had only just begun. Ahead lay a vast mountain, towering high. The Mountain of Purgatory...

With this, the story of the Inferno comes to an end, but the Divine Comedy has only begun, as Dante slowly makes his way toward the ultimate destination, the light of God in Heaven itself. The Inferno, however, has become legendary in its own right, and immortalised Dante as the greatest of all Italian poets, and a father of Western literature. Written in short and easily read chapters, or cantos as they are called, the Inferno is a remarkable read, as engaging today as it was when Dante wrote it as an exile from his native Florence, in the early years of the fourteenth century. Few things have been written which so emphatically warn of the consequences of evil...

The Inferno is readily, and easily available from Amazon, and is more than worthy of a position on your shelf:

United Kingdom

Penguin Classics:
Dante: Inferno (Penguin Classics)
(A translation which retains much of the poetic meter, with good illustrations and notes, as well as the original Italian alongside the English)

Oxford World's Classics:
The Divine Comedy (Oxford World's Classics)
(A combined translation of all three parts of the Divine Comedy; the Inferno, the Purgatorio and the Paradisio, all in a highly accessible style)

United States

Penguin Classics:
The Divine Comedy: Volume 1: Inferno (Penguin Classics) (Pt. 1)
(A translation which retains much of the poetic meter, with good illustrations and notes, as well as the original Italian alongside the English)

Oxford World's Classics:
The Divine Comedy (Oxford World's Classics)
(A combined translation of all three parts of the Divine Comedy, the Inferno, the Purgatorio and the Paradisio, all in a highly accessible style)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Heroes of the Republic

Some months ago, we looked at the story of Horatius Cocles, and his incredible valour in defence of the city of Rome at the birth of the Republic (for the story, please click here). Through tremendous bravery, Rome had been saved from destruction at the hands of the Etruscans, and their mighty King Lars Porsenna of Clusium. Yet, despite this extraordinary moment, Tarquinius Superbus, the exiled seventh and final King of Rome, refused to give in. Through treachery, deceit and lies he had been forced from his rightful throne, and would not so easily be stopped in getting it back...

The City of Clusium today
Photograph taken by the author
Though impressed by Horatius' fortitude, Lars Porsenna pushed forward, and for the first time since her foundation two hundred and forty four years earlier, Rome herself endured the humiliation of a siege. Tarquin demanded Porsenna to force the surrender of Rome, and the submission of her people to him once more. Not only had the Romans expelled him from the city, the Senate had decreed that the property of Tarquin was now public land. The theft of his land drove the king into fits of rage at the very mention of his old city. Fearing the might of the Tarquins still, Porsenna dared not disobey his fellow king and ally. Through his own strategic brilliance, Porsenna cut off Rome from her supplies, and overran her lands, but could not extinguish the city itself, well defended as it was. The siege grew in its ferocity. Starvation began to stalk the streets of Rome, slowly strangling the life out of her people. The Senate, in desperation, sent envoys to the Latin cities to the South, calling for aid. Alas it was in vain, for the Latin ambassadors saw the Roman plight as hopeless, and made their peace with the Etruscans. Rome was on her own. Lars Porsenna, a shrewd yet honourable man, saw the desperation of the Romans, sent envoys to the city one last time. The war, and their famine, could all be over if they would just accept Tarquin once more. Though dire was their state, the Romans held their honour still. Never again would a Roman bow to an Etruscan King, and the envoys returned with a defiant refusal to their king. The end seemed near, for though they retained their freedom, for now, it seemed they had condemned themselves to death. It was from this hopelessness that a man emerged among the Romans.

His name was Gaius Mucius, an aristocrat of considerable position, yet little known at the time, but whose name would one day be legend. Unable to tolerate the shame that Rome now endured any longer, Mucius summoned the Senate to put forward a proposition. Careful to avoid revealing too much, lest a traitor unveil his ploy to the foe, Mucius' request was cryptic, yet brief. "'I wish', he said, 'to cross the river and to enter, if I can, the enemy's lines. My object is neither plunder nor reprisals, but, with the help of God, something more important than either'". Intrigued, and filled with desperate hope, the Senate granted his request. Concealing a dagger in his clothes, Mucius took leave of the city.

Scaevola thrusts his hand into the fire
Painting by Rubens and Van Dyck
Emerging on the far side of the Tiber, Mucius approached the Etruscan camp. Successfully deceiving the guard on account of his not carrying any weapon openly, and his knowledge of their language, which he had learned from his Etruscan nurse as a boy, Mucius made his way to the heart of their encampment. Passing the endless stretches of tents, Mucius came at last to a clearing, in which a vast crowd were gathered, all apparently queuing before a raised dais at the centre. Atop the platform there were seated two men in magnificent attire - robed in purple and bearing the symbols of power, each looked every part the king of the great city of Clusium. No one stopped Mucius as he approached, seeing no weapon, and now was his chance. But he was wracked with uncertainty. He did not know what Porsenna looked like - which was he?! One of the two was receiving a great many addresses from the crowd, and Mucius reasoned that this must be the king. With a shout of fury, Mucius revealed his concealed blade, and drove it into the man. In an instant, as blood spurted from the man's throat, a hundred pairs of hands seized Mucius and dragged him before the other man. Mucius realised to his horror that he had stabbed the wrong man, for it was the king's secretary now lifeless on the floor. It was pay day for the army, and the soldiers had simply been collecting their wages from him. There was no help at hand, the situation was desperate. But brave Mucius flinched not once as the true Lars Porsenna fixed him with a baleful glare, demanding to know who this man was before he died:

"'I am a Roman', he said to the king, 'my name is Gaius Mucius. I came here to kill you - my enemy. I have as much courage to die as to kill. It is our Roman way to do and to suffer bravely. Nor am I alone in my resolve against your life; behind me is a long line of men eager for the same honour. Gird yourself, if you will, for the struggle - a struggle for your life from hour to hour, with an armed enemy always at your door. That is the war we declare against you: you need fear no action in the field, army against army; it will be fought against you alone, by one of us at a time...'"
                   - SCAEVOLA'S THREAT

Scaevola and Porsenna
Painting by Matthias Stom
In rage mingled with alarm, Porsenna at once ordered the prisoner to be burned alive unless he immediately revealed the plot he at alluded to. Mucius, with a shout of "See how cheap men hold their bodies when they care only for honour!", thrust his right hand into the nearby fire, and left it there to burn. The flames roared and licked his arm, and his flesh charred away, yet Mucius held it still. Never once did the Roman shout in pain, never once did he flinch in agony, never once did he pass out through pain. The gathered crowd looked on, stunned into silence, unable to believe what they saw. Porsenna himself, astonished at Mucius' seemingly divine endurance, ordered his guards to set the man free, so impressed was he. The king blessed his staggering courage, and promised Mucius that "I, as an honourable enemy, grant you pardon, life and liberty". Withdrawing his hand from the conflagration without any hint of the terrible agony he had just felt, Mucius bowed, and revealed to the king that three hundred other men, young and of noble blood like himself, had all sworn to kill him in their turn, and that he drew the first lot. "The rest will follow, each in his turn and time, until fortune favour us and we have got you". So impressed was the King of Clusium at the valour of the Roman people, and so shaken was he at the thought of three hundred more assassins, he at once bade envoys to go to Rome to negotiate peace.

Mucius returned to Rome a hero. He became known ever after as Scaevola (Latin for ' the Left-Handed Man') and his fame was everlasting, his descendants holding the very highest offices of state in the Republic for centuries to come. The people of Rome shouted his name, and the Senate lavished gifts upon him, and even today, you will find Scaevola and the immolation of his hand immortalised through painting in the finest palaces across the world. Soon the ambassadors of the Clusian King came before the Senate once more. Lars Porsenna had been astounded by the resolve of the Romans, but had not yet been robbed of his sense of reality. Once again, bound by honour to his ally, he urged the Romans to accept Tarquin's rule. Once again, the Romans refused. Unfazed, the king demanded the return of territory to the Etruscans that Rome had taken in ages past. Seeing this as fair, the Senate agreed, on the condition that the Etruscans withdraw their garrison from the Janiculum Hill. This Porsenna agreed to, on the condition that he be handed over hostages as a sign of good faith. Both sides agreed, and the Clusians withdrew with their prisoners.

Cloelia and the women of Rome
Painting by Rubens
But such was the heroism of Scaevola, now all Romans were inspired to emulate him. Another hero of the Republic now rose, though this time it was no great nobleman or warrior, but a young girl. Not long after Scaevola's triumphant return, on the banks of the Tiber alongside the Etruscan camp, the hostages lay. Rising up, the maiden Cloelia rallied the women in the camp to action, for the sake of their honour. Then, for the glory of Rome, she hurled herself into the Tiber, breaking free of the guards. Under a hailstorm of arrows and javelins, the women followed her, shaking off their bonds and forcing their escape. With selfless devotion, Cloelia led them all ashore and back to the city. Tarquin was furious that the treaty had been broken, and ordered Porsenna to take them back. But the King of Clusium had never before been faced with such a conflict within. The women were received with more glory than even Horatius and Scaevola, and the morale of the Roman people soared to towering heights. The Senate, however, ridden with guilt over the breach of the oath, send ambassadors to Porsenna, declaring that the women had acted of their own accord, and not under order. The king was impressed at the valour of the women of Rome, and requested only that they return Cloelia as a hostage - the others, he declared, were free. He assured them, however, that he believed Cloelia to be greater than Scaevola or Horatius, and that if they returned her, he would set her free too.

Both Roman and Etruscan were loyal to honour, and ill feeling between Roman and Clusian was sapping away. Cloelia willingly returned of her own accord to Porsenna. The guards approached to restrain her, but Porsenna stayed their hand. Praising her and offering his protection, the king offered her to choose which other hostages she might take with her back to Rome. It is said that off all of them, she chose the young men out of her maiden modesty, and so that Rome's future could be assured. Delighted, Porsenna ordered them all released, and not for the first time, Cloelia was received in triumph back in Rome. To her the Senate accorded a special honour - they raised a magnificent statue of her on horseback on the Sacred Way, an accolade no woman had ever received before.

Cloelia and the women of Rome make their escape
Painting by Wouters
Tarquin, however, was vehement in his condemnation. When he sent forth a squadron to intercept the women on their return, Porsenna's mind was made up, and they were protected. The Roman Senate, grateful for his support, sent to the Etruscan King a rare embassy. Roman and Clusian could be enemy no more, but friend. The Roman ambassadors urged Lars Porsenna not to ask again if they would accept the yoke of the Tarquins. "There was not a man in the city who did not pray that the end of liberty, should it come, might also be the end of Rome", and they urged Porsenna that, "if he had the good of Rome at heart, to accept the fact that she would never surrender liberty". Lars Porsenna of Clusium was deeply impressed. "'Since', he said, 'it is clear that nothing can shake your determination, I will no longer weary you with requests which I know now to be useless; nor shall I deceive the Tarquins with the hope of aid which I have no power to give. They must find - by force of arms or otherwise, as they please - some other place to spend exile in: for nothing must disturb the friendly relations between myself and Rome'". The king's actions spoke even greater than his words, as he released all prisoners, and returned to Rome to territory he had taken. Severing his alliance once and for all, he renounced his cause to restore the Tarquins to the Roman throne. After a public vote, the Roman people gave to Porsenna a throne of ivory, a crown of gold and a triumphal robe. Peace was at hand. Rome and Clusium parted company as firm friends. But there was one among them all who was far from happy. For Tarquin the Proud withdrew in cold fury. The Siege of Rome was over, but Tarquin's ambition was not. For he was a Roman King, and once a Roman, always a Roman. He could never give in. Setting out one final time, Rome's old king would return in vengeance, and deliver one last blow to the city which had betrayed him...

United Kingdom

The Early History of Rome: Bks. 1-5 (Penguin Classics)
(The full story of the Rise of Rome, from its humble origins to its mastery of the world, which recounts the stories of the heroism of the Romans during the siege)

Dionysius of Halicarnassus:
Roman Antiquities: v.3: Vol 3 (Loeb Classical Library)
(The third volume of a vast history of Rome, told with more detail than Livy, and in more archaic language)

United States

Livy: The Early History of Rome, Books I-V (Penguin Classics) (Bks. 1-5)
(The full story of the Rise of Rome, from its humble origins to its mastery of the world, which recounts the stories of the heroism of the Romans during the siege)

Dionysius of Halicarnassus:
Dionysius of Halicarnassus: Roman Antiquities, Volume III, Books V-VI, 48 (Loeb Classical Library No. 357)
(The third volume of a vast history of Rome, told with more detail than Livy, and in more archaic language)