Death of Romulus
We are told that Romulus reigned over the Romans for thirty-seven years. Although he was at first a very good ruler, he soon grew proud and cruel. As he was king, he wanted to have his own way in everything; and as he soon ceased to care whether what he wished would be good for the Romans, they began to dislike him.
A man who thinks only of himself can have no real friends, and Romulus soon stood alone. But although the people hated him, they feared him too much to defy him openly and show him their displeasure.
One day, when Romulus and all the people had gone to the plain beyond the citadel, a sudden storm arose. The darkness became so great that the people fled in terror, leaving the senators and king to look out for themselves.
When the storm was over, the Romans all came back again. To their surprise, however, Romulus did not appear. He was sent for, but no one could find him. The people were amazed, and were all talking about his sudden disappearance, and wondering what could have become of him, when one of the senators stood up and called for silence.
As soon as he could make himself heard, this man told the assembled Romans that he had seen Romulus being carried up to heaven. The king, he said, had called out that he was going to live with the gods, and wished his people to worship him under the name of Quirinus.
The Romans in those days were so ignorant and superstitious that they believed all this man told them. They therefore built a temple on the hill whence the senator said that Romulus had risen to heaven. This hill was called Mount Quirinal, and here for many years the Romans worshiped Romulus, the founder of their city, and their first king, whom they now called Quirinus.
In later times the Romans did not believe that Romulus was carried up to heaven; and many of them thought that the senators were so tired of the king's tyranny that they murdered him during the storm, cut his body to pieces, and carried it off, hidden under their long mantles.