The evil implanted in man by nature spreads so imperceptibly, when the habit of wrong-doing is unchecked, he himself can set no limit to his shamelessness. — Cicero

Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber




End of the Empire of the West

A few years after the death of the terrible Attila, Valentinian was murdered; and during the next twenty years nine emperors reigned, and there were troubles and wars without end.

The people were very superstitious in those times; and, as their troubles increased, some one suddenly remembered that Romulus, the founder of Rome, had seen twelve vultures. The report was soon spread all over the country that these twelve vultures represented as many centuries, and that, as Rome had been founded about twelve hundred years before, its rule would soon be at an end.

In the course of these twenty years, Genseric, King of the Vandals, came over from Africa, captured Rome, and allowed his soldiers to sack it for fourteen days. As his men were very rough indeed, they destroyed many things which they could not carry away; and when they departed they took with them the widow of Valentinian, and her daughters, and reduced many noble Romans to slavery.

Romulus Augustulus was the last of these nine emperors. Soon after his election, Odoacer, the leader of a tribe of Germans, made himself king of Italy, deposed Romulus Augustulus, and began to rule in his stead.

The empire of the West then came to an end (A.D. 476), and Rome, which had been founded by one Romulus, was shorn of its glory under another emperor of the same name, after having ruled nearly all the known world for many a year.

The Roman senate, seeing that the Western empire was ended, now sent the tiara and purple robes to Constantinople, where the Eastern empire continued until the city fell into the hands of the Turks in 1453.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

The First Settlers
Escape from the Burning City
The Clever Trick
The Boards Are Eaten
The Wolf and the Twins
Romulus Builds Rome
The Maidens Carried Off
Union of Sabines and Romans
Death of Romulus
Strange Signs of the Romans
The Quarrel with Alba
The Horatii and Curiatii
Tarquin and the Eagle
The Roman Youths
The King Outwitted
The Murder of Tarquin
The Ungrateful Children
The Mysterious Books
Tarquin's Poppies
The Oracle of Delphi
The Death of Lucretia
The Stern Father
A Roman Triumph
A Roman Triumph (Cont.)
Defense of the Bridge
The Burnt Hand
The Twin Gods
The Wrongs of the Poor
Fable of the Stomach
The Story of Coriolanus
The Farmer Hero
The New Laws
Death of Virginia
Plans of a Traitor
A School-Teacher Punished
Invasion of the Gauls
The Sacred Geese
Two Heroes of Rome
Disaster at Caudine Forks
Pyrrhus and His Elephants
The Elephants Routed
Ancient Ships
Regulus and the Snake
Hannibal Crosses the Alps
The Romans Defeated
The Inventor Archimedes
The Roman Conquests
Destruction of Carthage
Roman Amusements
The Jewels of Cornelia
Death of Tiberius Gracchus
Caius Gracchus
Jugurtha, King of Numidia
The Barbarians
The Social War
The Flight of Marius
The Proscription Lists
Sertorius and His Doe
Revolt of the Slaves
Pompey's Conquests
Conspiracy of Catiline
Caesar's Conquests
Crossing of the Rubicon
Battle of Pharsalia
The Death of Caesar
The Second Triumvirate
The Vision of Brutus
Antony and Cleopatra
The Poisonous Snake
The Augustan Age
Death of Augustus
Varus Avenged
Death of Germanicus
Tiberius Smothered
The Wild Caligula
Wicked Wives of Claudius
Nero's First Crimes
Christians Persecuted
Nero's Cruelty
Two Short Reigns
The Siege of Jerusalem
The Buried Cities
The Terrible Banquet
The Emperor's Tablets
The Good Trajan
Trajan's Column
The Great Wall
Hadrian's Death
Antoninus Pius
The Model Pagan
Another Cruel Emperor
An Unnatural Son
The Senate of Women
The Gigantic Emperor
Invasion of the Goths
Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra
A Prophecy Fulfulled
First Christian Emperor
Roman Empire Divided
An Emperor's Penance
Sieges of Rome
End of the Western Empire