F Heritage History | Story of the Romans by Helene Guerber
Contents 
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 Death of Virginia

The next day, at the appointed hour, the client appeared before Appius Claudius, and claimed Virginia as his property, saying that her mother had once been his slave. Now this was not true, and Virginia's uncle protested against such a judgment; but Appius declared at once that the girl must go with the client. He said this because he had arranged that the man should give Virginia to him; and he fancied that no one would guess his motive or dare to resist.

The client laid hands upon the unwilling Virginia, and was about to drag her away by force, when her unfortunate father appeared. Breathless with the haste he had made to reach Rome in time to save his child, he began to plead with Appius Claudius to set her free. He soon saw, however, that all his prayers were vain, and that in spite of all he could say or do his daughter would be taken away from him, and given over to the mercy of those wicked men.

In his despair, he now asked that he might, at least, be allowed to take leave of Virginia, and he sadly led her to one side. He knew that none of the spectators would have the courage to help him save her, and that death was far better than the life which awaited her in the house of Appius Claudius. All at once, he caught up a knife from a neighboring butcher's shop, and stabbed her to the heart, saying:

"Dear little daughter, only thus can I save you."

Then, drawing the bloody dagger from her breast, he rushed through the guards, who did not dare to stop him, and left Rome, vowing that he would be avenged. When he reached the army, and told his companions about the base attempt of Appius Claudius, they all swore to help him, and marched towards Rome.

The decemvirs had not expected a revolt, and had made no preparations to defend the city. The army therefore marched in unhindered, and Appius was flung into prison. There he was found soon after, strangled to death; but no one ever took the trouble to inquire how this accident had happened.

The decemvirs were now entirely set aside, and the government was restored as it had been before; but the brazen tablets remained, and the laws which the tyrants had chosen continued to be enforced, because they were, in general, good and just for all the people.