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

The Good Trajan

The wicked Domitian was succeeded by Nerva, a good, wise, and generous old man, who did all he could to repair the wrong which Domitian had done, and to induce the Romans to lead better lives.

Unfortunately, however, Nerva was too old to reign long, and after two years he felt that his death was near. As he knew that the Romans would be happier in the hands of a good man, he chose Trajan to be his successor.

This Trajan was the Roman general who was in command of the troops in Germany. He had recently become the adopted son of Nerva, but he had staid at his post, and was still in Germany when he heard that Nerva was dead, and that he was now emperor in his turn.

The Romans were very eager to have Trajan return, that they might welcome him; but the new emperor knew that duty comes before pleasure, so he remained on the frontier until the barbarians were all reduced to obedience.

Then, only, did he march southward. He entered Rome, on foot, not as a conqueror, but as a father returning to his waiting children. The people cheered him wildly, and all approved when they heard him say, as he handed a sword to the chief of the pretorian guard, "Use this for  me if I do my duty; against  me if I do not."

Trajan was so gentle and affable that he won the hearts of all the people. This kindness never changed as long as he lived; and it won for him the title "Father of his Country," which has never been given to any except the very best of men.

Ever ready to make his people happy and comfortable, Trajan built large granaries in which wheat could be stored in great quantities. This grain was sold to the poor, in good honest measures, at the lowest possible rate; for the emperor had said that they should never again be at the mercy of the rich, who had sometimes starved the people in their eagerness to get more money for their grain.

Trajan's wife, Plotina, was as good and charitable as he, and seconded him in all his generous plans. She was dearly loved by all the Romans, and during the emperor's absence she always looked after the welfare of his people.