It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare. — Edmund Burke

Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber




The Second Triumvirate

Caesar, the greatest man in Roman history, was dead. He had been killed by Brutus, "an honorable man," who fancied it was his duty to rid his country of a man whose ambition was so great that it might become hurtful.

Brutus was as stern as patriotic, and did not consider it wrong to take a man's life for the good of the country. He therefore did not hesitate to address the senate, and to try and explain his reasons for what he had done.

But to his surprise and indignation, he soon found himself speaking to empty benches. The senators had all slipped away, one by one, because they were doubtful how the people would take the news of their idol's death.

Brutus, Cassius, and the other conspirators were equally uncertain, so they retired to the Capitol, where they could defend themselves if need be. The Romans, however, were at first too stunned to do anything. The senators came together on the next day to decide whether Cæsar had really been a tyrant, and had deserved death; but Cicero advised them to leave the matter unsettled.

Thus, by Cicero's advice, the murderers were neither rewarded nor punished; but a public funeral was decreed for the dead hero. His remains were exposed in the Forum, where he was laid in state on an ivory bed. There Cæsar's will was read aloud, and when the assembled people heard that he had left his gardens for public use, and had directed that a certain sum of money should be paid to every poor man, their grief at his loss became more apparent than ever.

As Cæsar had no son, the bulk of his property was left to his nephew and adopted son, Octavius. When the will had been read, Mark Antony, Cæsar's friend, pronounced the funeral oration, and made use of his eloquence to stir up the people to avenge the murder.

He gradually worked them up to such a pitch that they built the funeral pyre with their own hands, and wished to put the murderers to death. The conspirators, however, succeeded in escaping from the city; and before long Brutus and Cassius made themselves masters of Macedonia and Syria.

With Cæsar dead, and Cassius and Brutus away, Mark Antony was the most powerful man in Rome. He soon discovered, however, that Octavius and the ex-consul Lepidus would prove his rivals. After fighting against them for a short time, without gaining any advantage, he finally made peace with them.

These three men then formed what is know in history as the Second Triumvirate (43 B.C.). They agreed that Antony should rule Gaul, Lepidus Spain, and Octavius Africa and the Mediterranean; but Rome and Italy were to be held in common.



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