The wife of Romulus, according to Livy1 and Plutarch2 but, according to Dionysius,3 Macrobius,4 and one of the accounts in Plutarch,5 of Hostus Hostilius, or Hostus, grandfather of Tullus Hostilius, fourth king of Rome. Those who made Hersilia wife of Romulus, gave her a son Aollius or Avillius, and a daughter Prima;6 those who assigned her to Hostus, called her son Hostus Hostilius.
Hersilia was the only married woman carried off by the Romans in the rape of the Sabine maidens, and that unwittingly, or because she voluntarily followed the fortunes of Prima her daughter. In all versions of her story, Hersilia acts as mediator — in Livy7 with Romulus, for the people of Antemnae — in Dionysius and Plutarch,8 between the Romans and Sabines, in the war arising from the rape of the women. Her name is probably a later and a Greek addition to the original story of Romulus. As Romulus after death became Quirinus, so those writers who made Hersilia his wife raised her to the dignity of a goddess, Hora or Horta, in either case, probably, with reference to boundaries of time (Ὥρα) or space (ὅρος).
- Augustine. City of God iv, 16.
- Ennius. Annales i.
- Gellius. Noctes Atticae xiii, 22.
- Nonius, s.v. Hora.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.