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Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor

The Roman Legions in Africa

The Roman soldiers did not wish to sail to a strange land. Their dislike to the voyage grew as they listened to bewildering tales of these unknown regions.

So they began to grumble, saying that the heat would overpower them, that they would be lost in the great forests of which they had been told, and that huge and poisonous serpents would certainly strangle them. Even one of the tribunes was disloyal, and encouraged the soldiers to complain.

But Regulus paid no heed to the distress of the soldiers, and the fleet sailed on, until it reached the coast of Africa.

The soldiers disembarked, and in a short time they found how foolish had been their fears. Instead of being lost in dark and fearful forests, they found themselves in a country that was beautiful and glad as a garden.

Figs, larger than the Romans had ever seen, grew in abundance; harvests, more plentiful than they had deemed possible, waved golden in the fields. Houses, surrounded by vineyards, oliveyards and rich pasture land, roused the envy as well as the delight of the soldiers.

Over this beautiful country the Roman army was soon scattered to plunder and to destroy. Houses were burned, fields were trampled down, cattle was stolen, and it is said that 20,000 persons, many of whom had lived in comfort all their lives, were now captured and sold as slaves.

And while their land was destroyed and their people were taken prisoners, the Punic army kept to the hills, and left the enemy unmolested.

Then the Romans, knowing that on such steep ground neither cavalry nor elephants would be of much use to the enemy, attacked the Carthaginian army and defeated it.

After this victory, Manilus, with one army, was recalled to Rome.

Regulus continued to ravage the country unchecked, for the Carthaginians, after their defeat, were unable to hinder his onslaughts. The Consul indeed is said to have boasted that he had taken and plundered more than three hundred walled villages.

To add to the misery of the people, the wild tribes of the desert also began to attack the defenceless village folk, and to rob their homesteads.

Then, from far and near, the wretched inhabitants flocked into Carthage for shelter and protection, until the city was so full that there was scarcely enough bread to feed the hungry multitude.

The Senate of Carthage sent, in despair, to Regulus, to beg for peace.

But the Consul received the ambassadors with scant courtesy, while the terms he offered were intolerable.

Among other things, he demanded that the Carthaginians should make neither alliance nor war, unless by the permission of Rome, that they should never send more than one ship of war to sea for their own ends, while if Rome demanded help they must be ready to provide her with a fleet of fifty vessels. The Consul also said that they must agree to pay, not only the expenses of the war that was going on, but a yearly tribute to Rome as well.

When the ambassadors protested that it would be impossible for Carthage to accept such degrading terms, Regulus drove them from his camp, rudely saying, 'Men who are good for anything, should either conquer or submit to their betters.'

The Senate, with one voice, agreed that the terms offered by the Consul deserved no consideration.

It was plain that Regulus would not help them, and so the people, in their despair, turned to their gods. Lest the city of Carthage itself should fall into the hands of the enemy, they must be appeased with sacrifices.

In the temple, one of the gods stood with arms outstretched, while at his feet a furnace flamed. Into the cold and lifeless arms little children of noble rank were laid. But the god was unable to hold the treasures given into his keeping, and they rolled out of his arms and fell into the furnace below. By such terrible sacrifices the Carthaginians strove to appease their gods.

After the sacrifices had been offered the Senate determined to send for hired soldiers to Greece, that the army might be strengthened. Among those who came to fight for the Carthaginians was a Spartan officer, named Xanthippus.

As he belonged to Sparta, Xanthippus, like all the youths of his land, had been trained from the age of seven to endure hardships, and to suffer pain without a murmur.


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