When the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again. — Edith Hamilton

Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor




The King Disappears

As the years passed, the city of Rome became ever larger and more powerful. The king, too, grew haughty, and as his greatness increased, careless of the welfare of his people. His subjects, who had formerly loved Romulus, now began to hate him, so insolent seemed to them his behaviour.

Dressed in a scarlet robe, the king spent his days lying on a couch, while young lads, called Celeres, waited upon him. This name was bestowed upon them because of the swiftness with which they sped to do the king's behests.

Nor was this all, but when Romulus at times roused himself to walk through the streets of the city, the Celeres went before him, bearing staves. These they used, to thrust aside any of the common people who dared to disturb the king by their presence.

The staves angered the people, but even more did they resent the leather thongs which the Celeres wore, for these were used to bind and take prisoner whoever displeased the king.

After he had reigned forty years a strange thing happened.

Romulus ordered the people to assemble on the Field of Mars, which reached from the city to the river Tiber, for here a festival was to be held. But when the king and his subjects met, a terrible storm arose. Dark and yet darker grew the sky, while fierce gusts of wind, blowing now in one direction, now in another, confused the terrified crowd. Flashes of lightning s gleamed across the faces of the throng, then darkness, more dense, fell across the field, hiding each from the other. Thunder rolled until the earth seemed to shake at the sound.

In terror and distraught with fear, the crowd fled to their homes, lashed by a ceaseless torrent of rain.

And the king? When the storm was over the king was nowhere to be found. He had disappeared, and was seen no more on earth in human form.

'His enemies have slain him,' said some among the people. But others thought that the god Mars had carried the king to heaven in a chariot.

Proculus, a friend of Romulus, told the people a story, which made them believe that their king had himself become a god.

One day, as Proculus was walking from Alba to Rome, Romulus stood before him, clad in shining armour.

His friend was afraid when he saw the king, so tall and comely had he become, and he cried: 'Why, O King, have you abandoned us, and left the whole city to bereavement and endless sorrow?'

Proculus did not seem to know that Romulus had lost the love of his people many years before.

The figure in shining armour answered his friend in these wise words:

'It pleased the gods, O Proculus, that we, who came from them, should remain so long a time amongst men as we did, and having built a city to be the greatest in the world for empire and glory, should again return to heaven.

'Farewell, and tell the Romans that by the exercise of temperance and fortitude they shall attain the height of human power. We will be to you from henceforth the god Quirinus.'

The Romans listened eagerly to Proculus, and when his story ended, they determined to build a temple on the Quirinal hill in honour of their new god.

And each year, on the 17th February, the day that Romulus had been taken from their sight, the Romans held a festival in honour of Quirinus, calling it the Quirinalia.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

The Lady Roma
The She-Wolf
The Twin Boys
Numitor's Grandson
The Sacred Birds
The Founding of Rome
The Sabine Maidens
The Tarpeian Rock
The Mysterious Gate
The King Disappears
The Peace-Loving King
Horatius Slays His Sister
Pride of Tullus Hostilius
King Who Fought and Prayed
The Faithless Friend
A Slave Becomes a King
Cruel Deed of Tullia
Fate of the Town of Gabii
Books of the Sibyl
Industry of Lucretia
Death of Lucretia
Sons of Brutus
Horatius Cocles
Mucius Burns Right Hand
The Divine Twins
The Tribunes
Coriolanus and His Mother
The Roman Army in a Trap
The Hated Decemvirs
The Death of Verginia
The Friend of the People
Camillus Captures Veii
The Statue of the Goddess
Schoolmaster Traitor
Battle of Allia
The Sacred Geese
The City Is Rebuilt
Volscians on Fire
Battle on the Anio
The Curtian Lake
Dream of the Two Consuls
The Caudine Forks
Caudine Forks Avenged
Fabius among the Hills
Battle of Sentinum
Son of Fabius Loses Battle
Pyrrhus King of the Epirots
Elephants at Heraclea
Pyrrthus and Fabricius
Pyrrhus is Defeated
Romans Build a Fleet
Battle of Ecnomus
Roman Legions in Africa
Regulus Taken Prisoner
Romans Conquer the Gauls
The Boy Hannibal
Hannibal Invades Italy
Hannibal Crosses the Alps
Battle of Trebia
Battle of Lake Trasimenus
Hannibal Outwits Fabius
Fabius Wins Two Victories
Battle of Cannae
Despair of Rome
Defeat of Hasdrubal
Claudius Enjoy a Triumph
Capture of New Carthage
Scipio Sails to Africa
Romans Set Fire to Camp
Hannibal Leaves Italy
The Battle of Zama
Scipio Receives a Triumph
Flamininus in Garlands
Death of Hannibal
Hatred of Cato for Carthage
The Stern Decree
Carthaginians Defend City
Destruction of Carthage
Cornelia, Mother of Gracchi
Tiberius and Octavius
Death of Tiberius Gracchus
Death of Gaius Gracchus
The Gold of Jugurtha
Marius Wins Notice of Scipio
Marius Becomes Commander
Capture of Treasure Towns
Capture of Jugurtha
Jugurtha Brought to Rome
Marius Conquers Teutones
Marius Mocks the Ambassadors
Metellus Driven from Rome
Sulla Enters Rome
The Flight of Marius
Gaul Dares Not Kill Marius
Marius Returns to Rome
The Orator Aristion
Sulla Besieges Athens
Sulla Fights the Samnites
The Proscriptions of Sulla
The Gladiators' Revolt
The Pirates
Pompey Defeats Mithridates
Cicero Discovers Conspiracy
Death of the Conspirators
Caesar Captured by Pirates
Caesar Gives up Triumph
Caesar Praises Tenth Legion
Caesar Wins a Great Victory
Caesar Invades Britain
Caesar Crosses Rubicon
Caesar and the Pilot
The Flight of Pompey
Cato Dies Rather than Yieldr
Caesar is Loaded with Honours
Nobles Plot against Caesar
The Assassination of Caesar
Brutus Speaks to Citizens
Antony Speaks to Citizens
The Second Triumvirate
Battle of Philippi
Death of Brutus
Antony and Cleopatra
Battle of Actium
Antony and Cleopatra Die
Emperor Augustus