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The Story of the Brave Horatius Cocles, One-Eyed Hero

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Through the centuries there have been many brave men who wrote their name in history with blood. One of these men was the glorious Roman Publius Horatius Cocles, a young officer in the army of the Roman Republic. His name went down in history as synonymous of bravery and sacrifice, which he showed during the battle of Pons Sublicius Bridge in Rome, Italy.

Horatius Cocles, a 1586 engraving by Hendrick Goltzius. (Public Domain)

Attack on Rome

The story begins in 509 BC with the exile of the last monarch of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus who reigned from 535 BC until the establishment of the Roman Republic. After a series of failed attempts to regain the throne, the deposed king sought assistance in Clusium, an Etruscan city.

As Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was of Etruscan ancestry, the powerful king of Clusium, Lars Porsena promised to conquer Rome in his name. It is not clear what spurred Lars Porsena to lead his army against Rome: his altruism to restore the last Roman monarch to the throne, or his own personal ambition of prevailing as the king of Rome. Whatever the reason, Lars Porsena and the Etruscans marched against the Romans in 508. – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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