Historical story

Horatii and Curiatii:the Epic Clash between History and Legend

The Oath of the Horatii (Jacques-Louis David)

The clash between Horatii and Curiazi is a legend dating back to the dawn of Roman history that we have all heard about since elementary school.

Just pure fantasy or can there be some reference to real events?

As almost always happens, even in this case the legend overshadows real events, even if, wrapped as they are by the mists of time, not easily decipherable.

In this regard, I wrote an article some time ago for the news.it site which I propose below:good reading.

The oath of the Horatii (David):detail

The clash in which Orazi faced each other and Curiazi is a legend dating back to the most ancient period of Roman history, the one we know least because of the scarcity and lack of reliability of the sources, heavily clouded by an aura of myth and fantasy that does not allow us to orient ourselves in a certain and definitive way on what is real and what is pure invention.

During the reign of Tullo Ostilio (VII BC), Rome came into conflict with the city of Alba Longa, against which he waged a war that risked not only dragging on for a long time but also constituted a serious act of impiety due to the common descent from Romulus that both cities could boast.

So it was decided to entrust the fate of the battle to a duel involving only six people, avoiding further and unnecessary bloodshed.

In defense of Alba Longa the triplets Curiazi, were chosen for Rome the triplets Orazi , who would have faced each other to the death by fighting with the sword.

At first, the Curiazi seemed to have the upper hand, as they were able to immediately kill two Horatii with only minor injuries.

But just when the fate of Rome seemed to be sealed, the surviving Horace, who could never have managed to face three opponents alone, decided to play cunning, and pretending to flee to Rome, certain that he would be pursued, succeeded to separate the opponents and finally to kill them one by one.

Rome therefore won, while the rival Alba Longa was forced into submission.

So far the legendary tale, but is there any proven historical evidence?

Like any other mythical tale, even that of the duel between Horatii and Curiazi certainly hides a part of the truth.

archeology has brought to light finds from the Augustan age and a republican sepulcher that refer to the legend, but the elements available are too few to allow us to trace the origins of the legendary tale in a timely and precise manner.

What we know for sure is that the war between Rome and Alba Longa, which really happened, was long and bloody, to the point that the defeated king of Alba, Mezio Mufezio, was hideously quartered by the winners ( Article taken from:Notizie.it).