Romulus slays Remus, and founds Rome. The story of Hercules and Cacus, the arrival of Evander, and the institution of the cult of Hercules.
It is said that the augury came to Remus first, six vultures ; and yet when the augury was announced, twice the number had shown themselves to Romulus, and his own following saluted each as king : they both claimed the throne, the former by priority of time, and the latter by number of birds. From this, although they contended by talks, owing to the conflict of their passions, they turned to murder ; there in the tumult, Remus fell under a blow. The story more widely known is that for mockery of his brother, Remus had jumped over the new walls ; from that he was killed by Romulus, in anger, and he added insult to injury, berating, “Thus comes next for anyone else who jumps over my walls.” Thus Romulus alone was the possessor of authority ; the founded city was called by the name of the founder.
He fortified the Palatium first, where he himself had been raised. He made it sacred to other gods by an Alban rite, and to Greek Hercules, as was instituted by Evander. They recounted how Hercules, at that place, after he had slain Geryon, driven off the oxen, a wonder to behold, and near the river Tiber, over which he transferred the cattle, leading them by swimming to a grassy place, such that by a pleasant rest and nourishment he restored the oxen and he himself sank down, wearied by the road. There, once a deep sleep overtook him, weighed down by food and wine, a shepherd, neighbour to his place, Cacus by name, ferocious because of his strength, was struck by the beauty of the cattle, and he wished for that booty to turn around, because if he herded the cattle to a cavern by doing this, then the master who sought them by their hoof-prints would be turned away from him, and so, after turned the cattle around, whichsoever were the most choice in beauty, he drew them by their tails to the cavern. Hercules, roused from sleep at the first light of dawn and once he had looked over the herd1 and perceived that a part were missing from their number, he proceeded to the nearest cave, if by chance the hoof-prints bore in that direction. Out of where, he saw, that they were all turned forth, and did not bear in any other way, and so confused and troubled in his spirit, he commenced to lead the cattle forward, away from a place made unsafe. From there, once led away, some of the cows were lowing in longing for those left behind, as does happen, and the returned voice from the cavern, of the cattle enclosed within, caused Hercules to turn. He whom, rushing to the cave, Cacus tried to prevent by force, and thus he fell in death under the blow of a cudgel, fruitlessly invoking the loyalty of shepherds. At that time, Evander, a fugitive from the Peloponnese, was ruling that place more by reputation and influence than by any right to rule, a man venerated for the marvel of letters, a novel thing among men uncultivated in the arts, and venerated more for the believed divinity of his mother, Carmenta, whom, prophesying prior to the arrival of Sibylla to Italy, the clans there had marveled. Evander, then, roused by the rush of shepherds, to sound an alarm, around the intruder, accused of proven murder, and after he heard the deed and the reason for the deed, observing that the form and deportment of the man was considerably more glorious and more august than human, asked who the man was. And when he received the name, father and fatherland, “Child of Jove, Hercules, good tidings,” he said. “My mother, a truthful interpreter, sang to me that you will be exalted as a god, a member of the heavenly host, and that an altar will be consecrated here for you which will be the greatest the clan, one day the most opulent in the world, will appeal to, and will worship by your rite.” Hercules gave his right hand and affirmed that he accepted the omen and intended to fulfill the oracles by an altar built and consecrated. There and then the first sacrifice was made to Hercules with a choice cow taken from the herd, by the Potitii and the Pinarii, called to the ministry and the sacrificial feast, who at the time were the most illustrious families dwelling at that place. Thus by chance it occurred that the Potitii were at hand on time, and the internal organs were set before them, the Pinarii came for the remaining feast, after the organs were eaten. From this the custom remained as long as there was a Pinarius descendant, that they would not be fed the organs of their ceremonies. The Potitii, instructed by Evander, were the overseers of his sacrifice for many generations, until the solemn ministry of the family was handed over to public slaves and the entire descent of the Potitii was lost. Romulus, then, took up this one foreign sacrament from them all, even then a patron to the path of immortality by virtue to which his fates were leading him.
1. The Latin here is a wonderful Latin idiom: gregem perlustrasset oculis, “he traversed all through the herd with his eyes”.