The consideration and disposal of these matters diverted the thoughts of the whole people from violence and arms. Not only had they something to occupy their minds, but their constant preoccupation with the gods, now that it seemed to them that concern for human affairs was felt by the heavenly powers, had so tinged the hearts of all with piety, that the nation was governed by its regard for promises and oaths, rather than by the dread of laws and penalties.
And while Numa's subjects were spontaneously imitating the character of their king, as their unique exemplar, the neighboring peoples also, who had hitherto considered that it was no city but a camp that had been set up in their midst, as a menace to the general peace, came to feel such reverence for them, that they thought it sacrilege to injure a nation so wholly bent upon the worship of the gods.
There was a grove watered by a perennial spring which flowed through the midst of it, out of a dark cave. Thither [p. 75]
Numa would often withdraw, without witnesses, as1
if to meet the goddess; so he dedicated the grove to the Camenae, alleging that they held counsel there with his wife Egeria.
He also established an annual worship of Faith, to whose chapel he ordered that the flamens should proceed in a two-horse hooded carriage, and should wrap up their arms as far as the fingers before sacrificing, as a sign that faith must be kept, and that even in men's clasped hands her seat is sacred.
He established many other rites, as well as places of sacrifice, which the pontiffs called Argei.2
But of all his services the greatest was this, that throughout his reign he guarded peace no less jealously than his kingdom.
Thus two successive kings in different ways, one by war, the other by peace, promoted the nation's welfare. Romulus ruled thirty-seven years, Numa forty-three. The state was not only strong, but was also well organized in the arts both of war and of peace.