romulus & remus

Curantes magna cum cura tum cupientes
regni dant operam simul auspicio augurioque.
in Murco Remus auspicio sedet atque secundam
solus avem servat. at Romulus pulcer in alto
quaerit Aventino, servat genus altivolantum.
certabant urbem Romam Remoramne vocarent.
omnibus cura viris uter esset induperator.
expectant veluti consul quom mittere signum
volt, omnes avidi spectant ad carceris oras
quam mox emittat pictos e faucibus currus:
sic exspectabat populus atque ore timebat
rebus utri magni victoria sit data regni.
interea sol albus recessit in infera noctis.
exin candida se radiis dedit icta foras lux
et simul ex alto longe pulcerrima praepes
laeva volavit auis. simul aureus exoritur sol
cedunt de caelo ter quattuor corpora sancta
avium, praepetibus sese pulcrisque locis dant.
conspicit inde sibi data Romulus esse propritim
auspicio regni stabilita scamna solumque.
(Ennius, Ann. 1.80-100)

Carefully then, with great care, desiring kingly power, together they turn their attention to auspices and augury. On the Murcus Remus sits waiting for auspices and keeps watch alone for a favourable bird. But handsome Romulus searches on the high Aventine, keeping watch for the high-flying race. They were contending whether to call the city Roma or Remora. All men cared which of the two became commander. They wait as when a consul is about to give the signal and everyone greedily looks towards the mouths of the starting gates to see how soon he sends out the painted chariots from the traps. So the people were waiting, and fear for the outcome showed on their faces, to which of the two the victory of high rule had been granted. Meanwhile the white sun set into the depths of night. Then a bright light shone out, struck by the sun’s rays, and at once on high in the distance a very fine bird of favourable omen flew on the left. Just as the golden sun rises, twelve holy bodies of birds descended from the sky and alighted in fine and favourable places. From this, Romulus perceived that it was to him alone that, confirmed by auspices, the seat and territory of rule were granted. (tr. Nora Goldschmidt)

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