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

Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor

Gaius Mucius Burns His Right Hand

Lars Porsenna had been repulsed, but he had not been defeated. He now besieged Rome so closely, that the people were soon suffering all the horrors of famine.

Then a youth, named Gaius Mucius, determined to save Rome by killing Lars Porsenna.

Gaining the consent of the Senate to his scheme, he disguised himself as a countryman, and found his way into the camp of the enemy. Beneath the folds of his simple dress, Mucius had concealed a dagger.

It had been easy to enter the camp, but now the lad was in a difficult position, for he did not know the king, nor did he dare to ask any one to point him out.

But seeing a courtier wearing a purple robe and distributing money to the soldiers, he believed he had found him. Drawing near, he stealthily drew his dagger and stabbed—not Lars Porsenna, but his treasurer.

Before he had time to escape, Mucius was seized and taken before the king.

The king threatened the young noble with torture, even with death, in order to make him reveal the condition of the Roman army. But Mucius thrust his right hand into a flame that was alight on an altar beside him, and held it there until it was burned to ashes. This he did without flinching, that Lars Porsenna might see that he feared no torture. As for death, when it came, he would bear it as a Roman should.

But the king, amazed at the courage of the youth, forgot his anger, and bade him return unharmed to Rome.

Then Mucius, touched by the kindness of the king, told him that three hundred Roman youths had sworn to take his life, and would not rest until one of them had succeeded in doing so.

Lars Porsenna was a wise king. He listened to the warning given to him by Mucius, and offered terms to the starving city, promising if they were accepted to withdraw with his army. But the terms were hard, for the king demanded that Tarquin's possessions should be sent to him, that the Romans should give up all their dominions on the right bank of the Tiber, that they should not use iron save to cultivate the ground, and that ten noble youths and maidens should be sent to him as hostages.

With starvation staring them in the face, the Romans were forced to agree to these terms, and the hostages that he had demanded were sent to the king as a pledge of good faith.

Among the hostages was a noble maiden named Clœlia. In the Etruscan camp she pined for the freedom of her own home, for the joy of seeing her own friends, and at length she determined to escape.

So one night, when it grew dark, she slipped out of the camp unnoticed, and found her way to the edge of the river.

Without hesitation she plunged into the water and swam across to the other side—to home, to freedom.

But a sad disappointment was in store for the maiden. The Romans refused to allow her to stay in Rome, for although they admired her courage, their treaty with Lars Porsenna must be kept.

So poor Clœlia was sent back to the king. But he, pleased that the Romans had behaved so honourably, set Clœlia free, and allowed her to take many of the other hostages back with her to Rome.

Soon after this, Lars Porsenna refused to help Tarquin the Proud any longer, and breaking up his camp on the Janiculum he went back to his own country. His tents, which were full of corn and provisions, he gave to the starving city.

So grateful were the Romans for the food that they rewarded Lars Porsenna with royal gifts—a throne and sceptre of ivory, a golden crown, and a purple robe.

And these gifts the king well deserved, for he had proved a generous foe.