Not to be a liberal at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head. — Francois Guizot

Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor




A Slave Becomes a King

Among the slaves of the king was a young boy named Servius Tullius. One day the lad fell fast asleep in the doorway of the palace.

As he slept, it chanced that Tanaquil, the queen, came out to walk in the palace grounds. When she saw Servius she would have roused him, save that a flame of fire was playing around his head, yet doing him no hurt.

But the attendants of the queen also saw this strange sight, and at once rushed off in search of water with which to put out the flame.

Tanaquil, however, called to them to return, saying: 'Leave the lad to sleep. The flame will not injure him.'

Then, hastening back to the palace, she told the king what she had seen, adding: 'The gods have appointed Servius to great honour.'

From that day the boy was no longer treated as a slave, but as the king's son, and when he was older he was married to the daughter of Tarquinius.

Little by little Servius Tullius was entrusted with the cares of State, while the Senate or elders of the people treated him as a prince.

Now the sons of Ancus, from whom Tarquinius had stolen the crown, were indignant when they saw the former slave treated with more honour than were they, and they grew afraid lest the king should appoint Servius to succeed him. That this might not be, they determined to kill Tarquinius.

Hiring two men, they bade them go kill the king, and they should be well rewarded for their deed.

So the men disguised themselves as shepherds, and begged to be admitted to the presence of Tarquinius, that he might settle their dispute, for, so they pretended, they had quarrelled with one another while they tended their flocks.

When they stood before the king one of the shepherds began to tell a piteous tale. While Tarquinius was listening, the other suddenly raised his axe, and with one great blow killed the king. The false shepherds then fled from the palace.

But the sons of Ancus had forgotten that Tanaquil was left to thwart their plans.

No sooner was the king slain, than she ordered the doors of the palace to be closed. Then, when the people heard it rumoured that the king was dead and rushed to the palace, Tanaquil opened an upper window and spoke to the crowds below.

'The king is but wounded,' she told them, 'he is not dead. He has commanded that you should obey Servius until he is again able to rule.' But all the while Tarquinius lay in the palace, dead.

But the people, loyal, as they thought, to the wishes of their king, allowed Servius to rule. And the sons of Ancus knew that they had killed the king in vain.

A few days later it was known that the king was really dead; yet, although neither the Senate nor the people had chosen Servius to be king, he continued to sit upon the throne and to rule over Rome. Moreover, he was wise enough to try to win the hearts of the people by promising to give them land and to rule justly.

So well did he perform his royal duties, that when he called together an assembly of the people he was at once elected king.



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