Horatius marched in front, carrying before him the spoils of the three brothers: his maiden sister, who had been betrothed to one of the Curiatii, met him before the gate Capena; and having recognised on her brother's shoulders the military robe of her betrothed, which she herself had worked, she tore her hair, and with bitter wailings called by name on her deceased lover. The sister's lamentations in the midst of his own victory, and of such great public rejoicings, raised the ire of the hot-tempered youth. So, having drawn his sword, he ran the maiden through the body, at the same time reproaching her with these words: "Go hence with thy ill-timed love to thy spouse, forgetful of thy brothers that are dead, and of the one who survives--forgetful of thy country. So fare every Roman woman who shall mourn an enemy.Titus Livius, Roman History, Books I-III
But what happened after Numa’s reign, and under the other kings, when the Albans were provoked into war, with sad results not to themselves alone, but also to the Romans? The long peace of Numa had become tedious; and with what endless slaughter and detriment of both states did the Roman and Alban armies bring it to an end! For Alba, which had been founded by Ascanius, son of Æneas, and which was more properly the mother of Rome than Troy herself, was provoked to battle by Tullus Hostilius, king of Rome, and in the conflict both inflicted and received such damage, that at length both parties wearied of the struggle. It was then devised that the war should be decided by the combat of three twin-brothers from each army: from the Romans the three Horatii stood forward, from the Albans the three Curiatii. Two of the Horatii were overcome and disposed of by the Curiatii; but by the remaining Horatius the three Curiatii were slain. Thus Rome remained victorious, but with such a sacrifice that only one survivor returned to his home. Whose was the loss on both sides? Whose the grief, but of the offspring of Æneas, the descendants of Ascanius, the progeny of Venus, the grandsons of Jupiter? For this, too, was a “worse than civil” war, in which the belligerent states were mother and daughter. And to this combat of the three twin-brothers there was added another atrocious and horrible catastrophe. For as the two 50 nations had formerly been friendly (being related and neighbors), the sister of the Horatii had been betrothed to one of the Curiatii; and she, when she saw her brother wearing the spoils of her betrothed, burst into tears, and was slain by her own brother in his anger. To me, this one girl seems to have been more humane than the whole Roman people. I cannot think her to blame for lamenting the man to whom already she had plighted her troth, or, as perhaps she was doing, for grieving that her brother should have slain him to whom he had promised his sister. For why do we praise the grief of Æneas over the enemy cut down even by his own hand? Why did Marcellus shed tears over the city of Syracuse, when he recollected, just before he destroyed, its magnificence and meridian glory, and thought upon the common lot of all things? I demand, in the name of humanity, that if men are praised for tears shed over enemies conquered by themselves, a weak girl should not be counted criminal for bewailing her lover slaughtered by the hand of her brother. While, then, that maiden was weeping for the death of her betrothed inflicted by her brother’s hand, Rome was rejoicing that such devastation had been wrought on her mother state, and that she had purchased a victory with such an expenditure of the common blood of herself and the Albans.Sto. Agostinho (354-430 d.C.), De Civitate Dei, [413-426], tradução de Marcus Dodd. Tradução francesa, online, com instrumentos de estudo. Texto original, em latim.
Why allege to me the mere names and words of “glory” and “victory?” Tear off the disguise of wild delusion, and look at the naked deeds: weigh them naked, judge them naked. Let the charge be brought against Alba, as Troy was charged with adultery. There is no such charge, none like it found: the war was kindled only in order that there
“Might sound in languid ears the cry
Of Tullus and of victory.”
ACTE II , SCENE VIIPierre Corneille (1606-1684), Horace, Paris, L. Hachette, 1862, nouv. éd. revue et augm. par Ch. Marty-Laveaux, pp. 311-313
Le vieil horace
Qu' est-ce-ci, mes enfants ? écoutez-vous vos flammes,
et perdez-vous encor le temps avec des femmes ?
Prêts à verser du sang, regardez-vous des pleurs ?
Fuyez, et laissez-les déplorer leurs malheurs.
Leurs plaintes ont pour vous trop d' art et de tendresse.
Elles vous feroient part enfin de leur foiblesse,
et ce n' est qu' en fuyant qu' on pare de tels coups.
N' appréhendez rien d' eux, ils sont dignes de vous.
Malgré tous nos efforts, vous en devez attendre
ce que vous souhaitez et d' un fils et d' un gendre ;
et si notre foiblesse ébranloit leur honneur,
nous vous laissons ici pour leur rendre du coeur.
Allons, ma soeur, allons, ne perdons plus de larmes :
contre tant de vertus ce sont de foibles armes.
Ce n' est qu' au désespoir qu' il nous faut recourir.
Tigres, allez combattre, et nous, allons mourir.
ACTE II , SCENE VIII
Mon père, retenez des femmes qui s' emportent,
et de grâce empêchez surtout qu' elles ne sortent.
Leur amour importun viendroit avec éclat
par des cris et des pleurs troubler notre combat ;
et ce qu' elles nous sont feroit qu' avec justice
on nous imputeroit ce mauvais artifice.
L' honneur d' un si beau choix seroit trop acheté,
si l' on nous soupçonnoit de quelque lâcheté.
Le vieil horace
J' en aurai soin. Allez, vos frères vous attendent ;
ne pensez qu' aux devoirs que vos pays demandent.
Quel adieu vous dirai-je ? Et par quels compliments...
Le vieil horace
Ah ! N' attendrissez point ici mes sentiments ;
pour vous encourager ma voix manque de termes ;
mon coeur ne forme point de pensers assez fermes ;
moi-même en cet adieu j' ai les larmes aux yeux.
Faites votre devoir, et laissez faire aux dieux.