Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber

The Roman Empire Divided

Julian became emperor when Constantius II. died. As soon as the authority was entirely in his own hands, he ordered that the Christian churches and schools should all be closed, and encouraged the people to worship the old pagan gods.

All the soldiers in his army were forced to give up Christianity, under penalty of being dismissed; and he made an attempt to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem so as to prove to the Christians that the prophecy of Christ was not to be believed. But an earthquake frightened his builders away from the work, and a war against the Persians prevented its ever being renewed.

During this campaign, Julian was mortally wounded, and he is said to have died exclaiming: "Thou hast conquered, Galilean!" The emperor's body was carried to Tarsus, and buried there; and, as Julian had appointed no successor, the army at once gave the empire to one of his officers, named Jovian.

A good man and a fervent Christian, Jovian quickly reestablished the Christian religion. His reign, however, was very brief, and he was succeeded by two brothers, Valentinian and Valens, who again divided the Roman world into two parts, intending to make a final separation between the empires of the East and the West (A.D. 364).

Valentinian kept back the northern barbarians as long as he lived, but after his death Valens was forced to allow the Goths to settle in Thrace. Here they found some of their brothers who had been converted to Christianity by the efforts of Ulfilas, a learned man, who wrote a translation of the Bible for them in their own Gothic language.

Valens failed to keep many of the promises which he had made to the Goths, and they became so angry that they revolted and killed him at Hadrianople.

The next emperor of the East was Theodosius. He was so good a general, and still so very just, that he soon succeeded in making peace with the Goths, many of whom entered his army and became Roman soldiers.

After years of continual warfare against the barbarians and the emperors of the West, Theodosius became sole ruler of the whole Roman Empire, and thus won the surname of Great. During his reign, he induced his subjects to renounce all the pagan gods except Victory, whom they would not consent to give up.

Many reforms were also made among the Christians, the Arians were again said to be heretics, and then the true Christians for the first time took the name of Catholics. Theodosius was the last Roman emperor whose sway extended over the whole empire; and when he died he left the rule of the East to his son Arcadius, and of the West to his son Honorius.


Front Matter

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