F Heritage History | Story of Rome by Mary Macgregor
Contents 
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




The City Is Rebuilt

When the Dictator had cut the Gallic host to pieces, he returned to Rome. The brave defenders of the Capitol went out to meet their deliverer, tears of joy streaming down their gaunt, hungry-looking faces. Scarcely yet could they believe that they were saved.

But when they saw the vestal virgins returning to their temple, bearing with them the fire they tended, still undimmed, and the priests also coming back to the city, they grew quiet and unafraid, for were not the ministers of the gods again in their midst?

Before aught else, the sacred places that had been pulled down must be restored. It was difficult amid the ruins of the city to find the very spot on which the temples had stood, but they were rebuilt as nearly as could be in the places where the people had been used to see them.

As the touch of the barbarian had made the sites unholy, they were dedicated anew to the gods, with solemn rites and sacrifices.

Under the buildings which had been destroyed some relics were found, as by a miracle unharmed. One of these was the staff or crook used by Romulus when he dwelt upon Mount Palatine, a careless shepherd lad, while another was the Laws of the Twelve Tables.

But the ancient records of the history of the seven kings were never found, and this is why the story of the early days of Rome is so full of fancy as well as of fact.

When the sacred places were restored, many of the poorer citizens felt that they had done all that was needful. They shrank from the labour of rebuilding the city. Many of them, too, had houses of their own in Veii, which they had built while the Gauls were in Rome. They wished to return to their new homes and found a new city.

Camillus was grieved that the people should wish to desert Rome, the city of their birth, and he appealed to them by the things they held most sacred to remain.

Was it not in Rome that their beautiful temples stood? Was it not here that they had ofttimes heard the sacred voices of the gods? The people, touched by the words of Camillus, wavered. At that moment a band of soldiers halted without the Comitium or place of Assembly, the centurion calling to his standard-bearer: 'Pitch thy standard here, for this is the best place to stop at.'

Surely such words were not spoken by chance, thought the citizens. Surely they were words sent by the gods, bidding them to stay in Rome.

In this strange way the die was cast, and the people, throwing aside their indolence, began to build, pulling down the houses at Veii and bringing the stones to Rome to complete the rebuilding of the city.

Even with the help of material from Veii, the plebeians were forced to borrow money from the patricians before their houses were finished, and their shops and farms replenished.

As in earlier days, the patricians showed no mercy to their debtors, and when they could not pay, threw them into prison or sold them as bondsmen.

Now Manlius, who had saved the Capitol from the Gauls, was a rich man, and the troubles of the poor folk made him sad.

One day he saw a famous centurion, who had fought by his side in many a battle, being dragged from the Forum to prison, because he was unable at once to pay some haughty patrician what he owed.

Manlius could not look on at such cruelty and do nothing. He hastened to the spot, paid his old comrade's debt, and set him free. This was only one of the kindnesses by which he won from the grateful people the title, 'Father of the Commons.'

The patricians soon heard that Manlius was winning the hearts of the people. Jealous as ever, they determined to crush him.

On one pretext or another he was arrested, and when he stood before the assembly of the people he was accused of treason, for he had, so his enemies said, tried to make himself king.

Manlius was standing in the Forum when he was accused, and looking up he could see the Capitol.

Pointing to the temple, Manlius appealed to the gods and to the gratitude of the Romans to save him. And the people, remembering all that he had done, refused to condemn him, in spite of the anger of the patricians.

But the patricians were still determined to destroy the Father of the Commons. The very name was an offence to them.

They succeeded in once more bringing Manlius to trial; but this time they arranged that it should take place in a grove, from which no glimpse of the Capitol could be caught.

Here he was sentenced to death, and as his crime was treason, it was decreed that he should be thrown down the Tarpeian Rock.

The struggle between the patricians and the plebeians lasted for nearly half a century after the death of Manlius.

But in the year 376 B.C., and for ten years afterwards, a wise man named Licinius did all that he could to make better laws for the people. The laws of this tribune were called the Licinian Laws.

Let me tell you three of the laws by which Licinius tried to gain fair treatment for the plebians.

He made it unlawful for the patricians to take an unjust rate of interest from the poor. As the patricians had grown rich with the money that they had extorted from the plebeians, they disliked this Licinian law. But to the poor it was of the greatest use.

Public land, which belonged to the poor as much as to the rich, had in the past been seized by the powerful and already wealthy patricians. This, said the tribune, should no longer be allowed. The land should henceforth be divided justly.

And of all these new laws, perhaps the most important was this, that one Consul should be chosen from among the plebeians. The patricians did their utmost to prevent this law from being passed, and when they were forced to yield, they did so with a bad grace.

To make it clear that they still had privileges which were not shared by the people, they decreed that certain new magistrates should be elected. These new magistrates were called prætors, and only patricians could be chosen for this new office.

Yet even so, the Licinian Laws improved the position of the plebeians, and were considered by them to be both wise and just.