Horatius, also called Horatius Cocles (meaning "one-eyed"), was a mythical Roman hero credited with saving Rome from Etruscan invaders in the 500s B . C . According to the legend, Horatius led a group of warriors who were defending the Sublician Bridge, which led across the Tiber River into Rome. He ordered his troops to take down the bridge, while he and two companions fought off the Etruscans. Horatius sent these men back over the bridge just before it collapsed. As the bridge fell, he jumped into the Tiber while still wearing his armor and swam to safety. Because Horatius's bravery saved Rome from invasion, the city erected a statue of him and gave him a large amount of land as a reward.

A statue of a figure with one eye stood near the famous bridge of ancient Rome. Early Romans said it was Horatius because of its location and because the figure had only one eye. The sculpture, however, almost certainly represented the god Vulcan*, who is typically shown in works of art as having one eye and being crippled.

See also Roman Mythology ; Vulcan .

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