ambassadors, upon their inquiring which should succeed to their father's kingdom, that the first to kiss his mother should obtain the power over the Romans, he kissed the earth, pretending to have fallen down accidentally; for he regarded her as the mother of all mankind.
Brutus overthrew the Tarquins for the following reason. During the siege of Ardea the sons of Tarquin were one day dining with Brutus and Collatinus, since these two were of their own age and relatives; and they fell into a discussion and finally into a dispute about the virtue of their wives, each one giving the preference to his own spouse. And, as all the women happened to be absent from the camp, they decided straightway that night, before they could be announced, to take horse and ride away to all of them simultaneously. This they did, and found all engaged in revelry except Lucretia, the wife of Collatinus,
Zonaras 7, 11.
who should succeed to their father's kingdom, the god replied that the first who kissed his mother should obtain the power. Then Brutus, comprehending, fell down as if by chance and kissed the earth, rightly deeming her to be the mother of all.
This Brutus overthrew the Tarquins, taking as his justification the fate of Lucretia, though these princes were, quite apart from that, hated by all for their