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Three other institutions of a similar nature were afterwards established; namely, the Isthmian games, celebrated near Corinth; the Pythian, at Delphi ; and the Nemean, at Argolis. These took place on the various years which intervened between the successive festivals at Olympia ; but, although they acquired considerable celebrity, none of them rose to the importance and splendor of that of Iphitus. The games which were celebrated at the festivals consisted of foot and chariot races, wrestling and boxing matches, and other contests, requiring strength and agility, together with competitions in music and poetry. The victors in the Olympic games were crowned with an olive wreath, an honor which it was esteemed by the Greeks one of the highest objects of ambition to attain.
About the time when Lycurgus was settling the institutions of Sparta, Italy was possessed by a set of tribes, some of which, from the traces of their language and arts which have been preserved, appear to have been of Eastern origin, being probably colonies from Greece and Asia Minor. The Etrurians, who occupied modern Tuscany, were the most refined of these races.
In the country of the Latins, more to the south, in the middle of the eighth century before Christ, a small settlement was formed on a hill near the Tiber, under the conduct, it is said, of a youthful leader named Romulus.
The history of this individual is embellished by the ancients with a variety of ingenious fables. He is represented as the son of Mars and Ilia. When an infant, he and his twin brother, Remus, were thrown into the Tiber by a usurper of the crown, but they were miraculously saved by a she-wolf, which came forth and fed them with her milk. They were at length found by one of the king's shepherds, who reared them as his own children.
When the two brothers had reached manhood, they undertook to build a city, and it was decided by an omen that Romulus should be its ruler. A line drawn by the plough, after the fashion of the Etrurians, became the boundary of the town, which at first was composed of only a few huts, occupied by shepherds, freebooters, aud other rude people. From such a beginning rose the mighty city, and finally the empire of Rome, taking their name from Romulus, the founder'.
This enterprising leader became king of the little state, and, as such, established certain laws and regulations for the general advantage. The lands, which extended several miles around the city, were divided into three portions, one for the support of government, another for the maintenance of religion, and a third for the people themselves, each person having about two
A senate was established, consisting of a hun. dred (afterwards two hundred) members, who were styl. ed patres (fathers), and whose descendants, under the name of patricians, or the equestrian order, formed the nobility of Rome. The senate prepared all measures ; but these were ultimately deliberated on by the plebs, or bulk of the people, and through the medium of representatives, as in modern states, by a general assembly held in the open air. At first, to increase the numbers of the people, all kinds of malefactors, who could get no settled footing elsewhere, were invited to the new city ; it was then found that the male sex preponderated, and the deficiency was supplied by a stratagem, of a nature which marks a very rude state of society.
The Sabines, a neighbouring people, were invited to witness the games at Rome; and, while these were proceeding, the young men laid hands each on one of the young Sabine women, whom they carried off, and compelled to become their wives. The Sabines were enraged at this act; but the women themselves, when
: reconciled to their new situation, interposed to prevent bloodshed, and ultimately the transaction had the effect of uniting the Sabines with the Romans, and thus increasing the power of the infant state. • Such is the history usually given of the origin of Rome. A late German writer, M. Niebuhr, has shown reason for regarding it as in a great measure fabulous. He considers Romulus ás a being little better than imaginary, and the laws and regulations bearing his name as having sprung up in the course of time, and all of them after the period when Romulus is represented as having lived.
The Roman people, from the earliest period of their history, bore a marked resemblance, in religion, manners, and general pursuits, to the Greeks, from whom it is obvious that they drew their origin. They believed in the same imaginary deities, such as Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Mars, Venus, &c., besides a great number, which, in the course of time, they added to this monstrous system of mythology. Like the Greeks, also, they dressed themselves in a simple manner, with a loose mantle, or toga, over a kind of kilt, which left the legs exposed. At the outset, their dependence was almost entirely on agriculture ; but for the cultivation of the peaceful arts generally they seem to have possessed no taste. War and plunder were their favorite pursuits, in which they far exceeded the Greeks, and almost all other nations of ancient or modern times. Their language, founded on the Greek, was that since known as the Latin, a term derived from Latium, the early name of the country in which Rome was situated.
During the early period of its history, the Roman government was monarchical, but restricted by a senate and popular assembly, and therefore favorable to social advancement. From Romulus is reckoned a series of seven kings, the ablest of whom, Servius Tullius, placed Rome at the head of the small states, forming what has been called the Latin confederacy, and considerably improved the municipal institutions of the kingdom. The last of the seven kings of Rome was Tarquinius, surnamed the Proud. His son Sextus having committed an atrocious act of violence on Lucretia, the wife of Collatinus, she, unable to survive the dishonor, killed herself. By this transaction, the disgust of the people with their royal family, and with monarchy in general, was brought to a head; and under a noble Roman, named Brutus, they rose and expelled Tarquinius, with all his family. Thus ended the regal power in Rome, in the year 509, B. C.
The monarchy was succeeded by a republic, in