Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor

The Death of Lucretia

The idle suggestion that had made Sextus and Collatinus ride from the camp to Rome and Collatia led to terrible disaster.

Sextus, having seen how wise and beautiful Lucretia was, wished to win her from her husband; and one day, leaving the camp, he again rode to Collatia, but this time he rode alone.

Lucretia, believing the prince was her husband's friend, received him with fitting hospitality when he arrived at her house, hot and tired after his ride. But when she found that he was not a true friend to Collatinus she was no longer kind. Then the prince grew angry, and treated Lucretia so cruelly that she knew she could never again be happy.

The next day she clad herself in black, and sent messengers to her father and her husband, bidding them come to Collatia with all possible speed.

When they arrived, she told them how Sextus had treated her, and making them swear to avenge her wrongs, she plunged a dagger into her heart and died.

Brutus, the king's nephew, had ridden from the camp with Collatinus, and he, too, swore to avenge Lucretia, and to see that never more should any of the race of Tarquin sit upon the throne of Rome.

This oath was also taken by the husband and father of Lucretia, as well as by two brave Romans named Publius Valerius and Spurius Lucretius.

The dead body of the Roman matron was carried to the market-place, and when the people were told what had happened, they broke out into loud cries, and mourned for her sad fate.

Brutus then hastened to Rome to tell the terrible tale. In the Forum, amid the assembled people, his voice rang out clear and fearless as he reminded them of the crimes of Tarquin the Proud, and denounced the king and his son Sextus.

'Will you suffer such a tyrant or any of his race to rule longer over you, O Romans?' demanded Brutus sternly. And the people in a storm of indignation shouted 'No.'

The Romans were in earnest. An army was at once enrolled, and, led by Brutus, set out to attack the king at Ardea.

Tullia, the queen, meanwhile, startled by the tumult in the Forum, fled from the palace. As her chariot drove along the streets the people muttered curses, calling down upon her the vengeance of her murdered father.

Rumours had already reached the camp that Rome was in revolt, and Tarquin at once marched to the city with a division of his army to punish the rebels.

Brutus, on his way to Ardea, took care to avoid the king. He had determined to win over the army that was left before the besieged town.

When he reached the camp, he quickly roused the soldiers by the tale of Lucretia's wrongs.

They swore never again to own Tarquin or any of his race as king, and at once prepared to march to Rome.

Meanwhile, the king had reached the city only to find the gates closed, and the citizens, stern and resolute, manning the walls. No threats, no promises would make them open to the king whom they had determined to dethrone.

Tarquin, knowing that if he lingered he would have to face the army led by Brutus, turned away from the city and hastened to seek refuge in Etruria.

The Romans, having thus expelled their king, appointed a day to be celebrated as the Feast of Flight, or the Feast of the Expulsion of the Kings. This feast was held each year on the 24th February.


Front Matter

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