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

Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber

Invasion of the Goths

During the reign of Decius, a new and terrible race of barbarians, called Goths, came sweeping down from the north. They were tall and fierce, and traveled with their wives and children, their flocks, and all they owned.

The Goths were divided into several large tribes: the Ostrogoths, or East Goths, the Visigoths, or West Goths, and the Gepidæ, or Laggards, so called because this tribe followed the others. All these barbarians spoke a rude Teutonic dialect, like the one from which the present German language has grown; and among the gods whom they worshiped was Odin.

The Goths met the Romans in several battles, and spreading always farther, ruined many towns, among others, Philippopolis, in Thrace, a city which had been founded by the father of Alexander the Great. Here they killed more than one hundred thousand people.

Decius marched against the Goths, hoping to punish them for this massacre; but he fell into an ambush, where he was killed with his son. His successor, Gallus, made a dishonorable peace with the barbarians, and allowed them to settle on the other side of the Danube.

Gallus and his general Æmilian, who succeeded him, were both slain by their own troops; and the next emperor was Valerian, who was the choice of the Roman legions in Rætia. This last named prince was both brave and virtuous. He arrived in Rome to find both Gallus and Aemilian dead, and took possession of the throne without dispute.

Although already a very old man, Valerian directed his son Gallienus to attend to the wars in Europe, while he went off to Asia to fight Sapor, King of Persia. This monarch had overrun much Roman territory, and had surprised the city of Antioch while the inhabitants were at the theater.

Valerian recovered Antioch from the enemy, but was finally defeated and taken prisoner. We are told that he was treated very harshly by Sapor, who used the emperor's neck as a mounting block whenever he wanted to get on his horse.

Some writers of history say that when Valerian died, the Persian king had him flayed. His skin was then dyed red, stuffed, and hung up in a temple, where Sapor insolently pointed it out to the Roman ambassadors, saying, "Behold your emperor!"