Laws are like spider-webs which, if anything small falls into them they ensnare it, but large things break through and escape. — Solon of Athens

Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor




The Tribunes

The people of Rome were divided into two great classes, the patricians or nobles, the plebeians or common people.

After the death of Tarquin the Proud, the patricians began to oppress the plebeians even more than they had done in the time of the kings.

Sometimes the poor were forced to borrow from the rich, and the rich, although they lent their money, demanded such heavy interest that the plebeians were often unable to pay their debts.

Then the patricians swept down upon the miserable debtors, drove their wives and children from their home, and carried them away to work as bondsmen.

When at any time war threatened Rome, the plebeians were called on to fight, and while they were at war their fields lay untilled, unless they hired labourers to work in them. In either case the plebeians suffered. Did they hire labourers, they must borrow money from the patricians to pay them. Did they leave their fields untilled, they must borrow money to buy food and seed.

Driven at length to desperation, the plebeians rose against their oppressors, and at the very time that a hostile army was marching against Rome, they left the city, and encamped on a hill near the river Anio, about three miles away. Here they determined to build a city for themselves.

But the patricians could not hope to hold Rome against the approaching foe without the help of the plebeians. So the Senate sent a messenger to the 'seceders,' offering terms of peace and protection from the patricians, if they would return to Rome to fight against the common enemy.

The plebeians agreed to go back to the city, and for a time, at least, the patrician magistrates ceased to treat them unjustly.

To make them more secure, the plebeians were now, in 493 B.C., allowed to elect two magistrates of their own, who were to be called tribunes.

As the patricians were able to appeal to the Consuls, so the plebeians could now appeal to their tribunes against unjust treatment.

The tribunes were elected for one year, and during that year they were obliged to live in Rome, while their doors were to stand open day and night, that the plebeians might claim their protection at any hour.

This new law was made a sacred law, and the hill on which the seceders had encamped was named the Sacred Hill.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

The Lady Roma
The She-Wolf
The Twin Boys
Numitor's Grandson
The Sacred Birds
The Founding of Rome
The Sabine Maidens
The Tarpeian Rock
The Mysterious Gate
The King Disappears
The Peace-Loving King
Horatius Slays His Sister
Pride of Tullus Hostilius
King Who Fought and Prayed
The Faithless Friend
A Slave Becomes a King
Cruel Deed of Tullia
Fate of the Town of Gabii
Books of the Sibyl
Industry of Lucretia
Death of Lucretia
Sons of Brutus
Horatius Cocles
Mucius Burns Right Hand
The Divine Twins
The Tribunes
Coriolanus and His Mother
The Roman Army in a Trap
The Hated Decemvirs
The Death of Verginia
The Friend of the People
Camillus Captures Veii
The Statue of the Goddess
Schoolmaster Traitor
Battle of Allia
The Sacred Geese
The City Is Rebuilt
Volscians on Fire
Battle on the Anio
The Curtian Lake
Dream of the Two Consuls
The Caudine Forks
Caudine Forks Avenged
Fabius among the Hills
Battle of Sentinum
Son of Fabius Loses Battle
Pyrrhus King of the Epirots
Elephants at Heraclea
Pyrrthus and Fabricius
Pyrrhus is Defeated
Romans Build a Fleet
Battle of Ecnomus
Roman Legions in Africa
Regulus Taken Prisoner
Romans Conquer the Gauls
The Boy Hannibal
Hannibal Invades Italy
Hannibal Crosses the Alps
Battle of Trebia
Battle of Lake Trasimenus
Hannibal Outwits Fabius
Fabius Wins Two Victories
Battle of Cannae
Despair of Rome
Defeat of Hasdrubal
Claudius Enjoy a Triumph
Capture of New Carthage
Scipio Sails to Africa
Romans Set Fire to Camp
Hannibal Leaves Italy
The Battle of Zama
Scipio Receives a Triumph
Flamininus in Garlands
Death of Hannibal
Hatred of Cato for Carthage
The Stern Decree
Carthaginians Defend City
Destruction of Carthage
Cornelia, Mother of Gracchi
Tiberius and Octavius
Death of Tiberius Gracchus
Death of Gaius Gracchus
The Gold of Jugurtha
Marius Wins Notice of Scipio
Marius Becomes Commander
Capture of Treasure Towns
Capture of Jugurtha
Jugurtha Brought to Rome
Marius Conquers Teutones
Marius Mocks the Ambassadors
Metellus Driven from Rome
Sulla Enters Rome
The Flight of Marius
Gaul Dares Not Kill Marius
Marius Returns to Rome
The Orator Aristion
Sulla Besieges Athens
Sulla Fights the Samnites
The Proscriptions of Sulla
The Gladiators' Revolt
The Pirates
Pompey Defeats Mithridates
Cicero Discovers Conspiracy
Death of the Conspirators
Caesar Captured by Pirates
Caesar Gives up Triumph
Caesar Praises Tenth Legion
Caesar Wins a Great Victory
Caesar Invades Britain
Caesar Crosses Rubicon
Caesar and the Pilot
The Flight of Pompey
Cato Dies Rather than Yieldr
Caesar is Loaded with Honours
Nobles Plot against Caesar
The Assassination of Caesar
Brutus Speaks to Citizens
Antony Speaks to Citizens
The Second Triumvirate
Battle of Philippi
Death of Brutus
Antony and Cleopatra
Battle of Actium
Antony and Cleopatra Die
Emperor Augustus