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This paper argues that Ovid uses the story of the hasta Romuli in Met. 15 to inform our reading of the Cipus story, to which it is juxtaposed. Specifically, the poet demonstrates that the challenge Cipus faces, namely, to avoid kingship, constitutes not a moral dilemma, as it is often understood, but an historical dilemma. That is, at issue for Ovid is not whether Cipus should or should not avoid being king, but whether he or anyone else at Rome can avoid the legacy of kingship that Romulus left to the city by his foundational act.