One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic. — Joseph Stalin

Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor




The Sabine Maidens

When Romulus had built his city and surrounded it with a wall, he began to fortify the hill on which it was built. This was necessary because hostile tribes held the neighbouring hills, and might at any moment attack the new city.

The king ordered his followers to scrape the steep slopes of the Palatine until they were smooth. Then great slabs of stones, fitted into each other without mortar, were built into the sides of the hill, from the base to the summit.

Romulus was pleased when he saw this great fortification finished, for he knew that it was almost impossible that an enemy should scale the smooth surface of the hill and lay siege to the city.

Not far from the foot of the Palatine flowed the river Tiber, a safe highway to the sea. So the king as he gazed, first at his well-fortified city and then down to the swift flowing river, felt that he had indeed chosen his site with wisdom.

The Palatine was only one of seven hills, and each of the other six was added to the city during the reign of the six kings who ruled after Romulus. Five of these hills were called montes or mountains, while the other two, being only spurs that jutted out from the tableland, were called colles or hills.

But I have not yet told you the name of the city! Amid the shouts of his people the king named it Rome, after its founder Romulus.

Rome was built and fortified, yet the king was dissatisfied, for now he found that he had not enough people to dwell in the city.

The king must by this time have taken possession of the Capitoline hill, which was close to the Palatine, for here he resolved to build a city of refuge, that those who fled to it might gradually be removed to Rome.

Asylum, which is the Greek word for refuge, was the name of this city, and it was open to all those who had been forced by crime or misfortune to flee from their own homes.

To this Asylum hastened robbers, exiles, slaves who had fled from their masters, as well as those who had stained their hands with blood.

The city of refuge was soon crowded, and many of these rough and criminal folk were then sent to Rome, until Romulus had as many subjects as he wished.

But there were no women among those who fled to the king for protection, and Romulus saw that he would have to find wives for his new subjects.

So he begged the neighbouring tribes, among which was a tribe called the Sabines, to allow their daughters to marry his new subjects. But the king's request was refused. Give their daughters to robbers and murderers, to men who had been outlawed! The tribes did not hesitate to mock at Romulus for thinking that such a thing could be.

Romulus was not a king to be lightly thwarted. He was determined at any cost to gain wives for his subjects.

So, as his neighbours had proved churlish and refused his request, he made up his mind to capture their daughters by guile, or by a trick, as we would say. Nor did he take long to lay his plans. He invited his neighbours, among whom were the Sabines, to a feast and games which he wished to celebrate in honour of the god Consus.

They, eager to enjoy the feast and the great spectacle of the games, came flocking into Rome on the appointed day, bringing with them their wives and daughters.

Fearlessly they came, and were greeted with great hospitality by the king, who knew that he must hide his anger until his plot had been successful.

The feast began with solemn rites, sacrifices being offered to the gods, and especially to Consus, in whose name the festival was held.

When the sacrifices were ended, the guests mingled carelessly with the Romans, thinking only of the games and races.

The king, seeing that the moment had come, gave the signal for which his people were waiting.

A band of armed men at once rushed in among the guests, and in spite of their screams and struggles, carried away the Sabine maidens.

The parents of the maidens hastened to leave the city where the laws of hospitality had been so cruelly transgressed. As they went, they called down the anger of the gods upon Romulus and his people.



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