A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. — Alexander Tytler

Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber

The Great Wall

Trajan was succeeded by his cousin Hadrian, a good and true man, who had received an excellent education, and was very talented. Hadrian had fought with Trajan in most of his campaigns, and gladly accepted the title of emperor, which the legions gave him, and which was confirmed by the Roman senate.

The first act of the new emperor was to reward his soldiers for their devotion, and his next, to pardon all who had ever injured him. Thus, we are told that on meeting an enemy he said: "My good friend, you have escaped, for I am made emperor."

Hadrian was very affable, and always ready to serve others. When asked why he, an emperor, troubled himself thus about others, he replied: "I have been made emperor for the benefit of mankind and not for my own good."

Instead of continuing to enlarge the Roman Empire, as Trajan had done, Hadrian now said that it was large enough; so he did all that he could to have it governed properly. He did not always remain at Rome, but made a grand journey through all his vast realm.

Accompanied by able men of every kind, he first visited Gaul, Germany, Holland, and Britain. Everywhere he went he inspected the buildings, ordered the construction of new aqueducts, temples, etc., and paid particular attention to the training of his armies. He shared the soldiers' fatigues, marched at their head twenty miles a day in the burning sun, and lived on their scanty fare of bread, lard, and sour wine; so none of his men every dared complain.

Wherever he went, Hadrian planned great improvements; and in Britain he built a rampart, or wall, seventy-three miles long, to protect the Britons from the barbarians who at that time lived in Scotland. Then, passing through the western part of Gaul, Hadrian went up into Spain, and from thence into Africa.

He also visited the East, and made a long stay in Athens, where he took part for the first time in a religious ceremony called the Eleusinian Mysteries. During his stay there, he ordered that the Temple of Jupiter should be finished, and heard much about the new religion which the Christians taught.

Although he had at first objected greatly to the Christians, Hadrian now began to like them, and even proposed to place Christ among the Roman gods, as Tiberius is said to have done many years before.


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