Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber

Varus Avenged

Tiberius had been summoned to Rome several years before the emperor's death, for Augustus little suspected what a bad man his stepson really was. He even adopted Tiberius as his own son and successor, and gave him the titles of Cæsar and emperor. These were given to him, however, only upon condition that he would, in his turn, adopt his nephew Germanicus.

This young man was as good and true as Tiberius was bad and deceitful. As he was very brave indeed, he was given the command of the Roman legions stationed on the Rhine; and here he soon won the affections of all of his soldiers.

Tiberius had a bad motive for nearly everything that he did; and he had sent his nephew to the Rhine because of the hatred that he felt towards the young man. He hoped that in this dangerous position Germanicus would soon die like Varus; for the Germans, encouraged by their one victory, were constantly trying to win more.

On one occasion, while Germanicus was absent for a short time, the Roman legions revolted. The young general, fearing for the safety of his wife, Agrippina, and his children, sent them all away. Now it seems that those rude men had taken a great fancy to his youngest child, who was only three years old. The boy, too, was fond of the soldiers, and wore little boots like theirs; and on account of these he was known by the name of Caligula.

To have their little favorite back among them once more, the revolted soldiers humbly came and begged Germanicus to forgive them. He did so freely, but took advantage of their new resolutions of good conduct to lead them against the Germans. After a few victories, the Roman army came to the very spot where Varus and his legions had so treacherously been slain; and here Germanicus paused with his men.

The bones of the dead Romans were piously collected and buried under a great mound, upon which Germanicus laid the first sod. Then, while his soldiers were thirsting to avenge their countrymen's death, he led them on further and further, until they met and defeated Arminius.

In the mean while, Tiberius had begun his reign. He pretended at first that he did not want the imperial crown; but he secretly bribed the senators to get down on their knees before him and implore him to accept it.

The new emperor, unlike most Romans, took no delight in chariot races, pantomimes, or shows of any kind. These amusements, however, were constantly taking place, and the people thronged into the circuses to see the fun. Very often the benches were overcrowded; and on one occasion a theater at Fidenæ gave way under the great weight, and twenty thousand persons were killed.

Tiberius was jealous of the victories won by Germanicus, and of the affection which his soldiers had for him; so the young commander was summoned home soon after his victory over Arminius. Germanicus returned as a victorious general, and the senate awarded him a magnificent triumph, in which Thusnelda, the wife of Arminius, preceded his car with her children.

Triumph of Germanicus.

In memory of this triumph, a coin was struck in Rome, bearing on one side the name and picture of Germanicus, and on the other his return from Germany with the broken ensigns of Varus. The inscription around it was, in Latin, "The return of good luck." This coin, like many others thus struck for special occasions, is very rare and precious, and can be seen only in the best collections.


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