Tarquinius the Proud had been the King of Rome but had been expelled by the people
Tarquinius the Proud
Lars Porsena, king of the Etruscan town was scared that the growing Roman power might be threatening his town. So when Tarquinius asked him for support to reclaim Rome, he saw this as an opportunity to protect his power
The road between Etruria and Rome was defended by a fortress on a hill called the Janiculum. Here the Romans stationed a fortress with a defensive force. The force also defended a river called the River Tiber.
However, when the Romans saw the size of the Etruscan army, they ran back into the city, leaving the river undefended
But, Horatius Cocles realised that the bridge was very narrow, and the army could not easily get across. At once, Horatius and his two friends, Spurius Lartius and Titus Herminius, rushed to the bridge to defend it. While the three friends defended the bridge, the Romans were hacking away at the foundation
Quickly! Hack faster! We need to destroy this bridge!
Horatius Cocles and his two friends
Just before the bridge would collapse, Horatius told his friends to go back to the safety of the riverbank. Horatius then prayed to the River Tiber to protect him and jumped into the river just as the bridge collapsed
Quickly friends! Return to the safety of the river shore!
Horatius' pray to the River Tiber was fulfilled! He survived and was hailed as a her. In addition to this, he was given as much land as he could plough in one day. There was also a statue erected in his honour in Rome.