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Though their acts were under strict control, they were, in one sense, allowed a will of their own; for they were permitted, even when under age, to make their own testaments.
They occupied reserved seats at public entertainments; and if they happened to meet a criminal in custody, they had the privilege of releasing him from the hands of the police of the period.
The legend states that one Procas, belonging to the family of the Silvii, or Silvers, had two sons,—the elder, to whom the kingdom was left, being called Numitor, and the younger going by the name of Amulius.
Though Numitor was the bigger brother, he does not seem to have been, pugilistically speaking, the better man, for he was deprived of the kingdom by Amulius, who, to prevent the chances of the law of primogeniture again taking effect, by placing any of Numitor's descendants on the throne, caused Rhea Silvia, the only daughter of that individual to become a virgin in the Temple of Vesta.
Tradition tells us further that neas had a son, Ascanius, sometimes called Parvus Iulus, or little Juli, who subsequently left Lavinium, and built Alba Longa—a sort of classical long acre—in that desirable neighbourhood known as the Alban Mount, which, from its becoming subsequently the most fashionable part of the city, may deserve the name of the Roman Albany.The descendants of Ascanius are said to have reigned 300 years, and an attempt has been made to fill up the gap of these three centuries with a quantity of dry rubbish of the antiquarian kind, which occupies space, without affording anything like a solid foundation for the structure to be built upon it.Of such a nature is the catalogue of matters alleged to have connected neas with the actual founders of Rome; but though names and dates are given, there is little doubt that the value of names is not even nominal, and that if we trust the dates, we shall rely on the falsest data.His method of telling a story may be objected to; nevertheless, if he does his utmost to tell it truly, he ought not, perhaps, to be very severely criticised for adopting the style in which he feels himself most at home; and if his opinions are found to be, in the main, such as just and sensible persons can agree with, he only asks that his views and sentiments may be estimated by what they contain, and not by any peculiarity in his mode of expressing them.The writer of this book is animated by an earnest wish to aid, as far as he is able, in the project of combining instruction with amusement; and he trusts he shall not be blamed for endeavouring to render such ability as he possesses available for as much as it is worth, in applying it to subjects of useful information.
Though the style professes to be light, he would submit that truth does not necessarily make more impression by being conveyed through a heavy medium; and although facts may be playfully told, it is hoped that narrative in sport may be found to constitute history in earnest.