Part 5 out of 13
capital. The Romans were driven in great panic from the field. It would be
impossible to picture the consternation and despair that reigned at Rome
when the fugitives brought to the city intelligence of the terrible
disaster. It was never forgotten, and the day of the battle of Allia was
ever after a black day in the Roman calendar. The sacred vessels of the
temples were buried; the eternal fires of Vesta were hurriedly borne by
their virgin keepers to a place of safety in Etruria; and a large part of
the population fled in dismay across the Tiber. No attempt was made to
defend any portion of the city save the citadel. This stronghold was kept
by a little garrison, under the command of the hero Marius Manlius. A
tradition tells how, when the barbarians, under cover of the darkness of
night, had climbed the steep rock and had almost effected an entrance to
the citadel, the defenders were awakened by the cackling of some geese,
which the piety of the famishing soldiers had spared, because these birds
were sacred to Juno.
News was now brought the Gauls that the Venetians were overrunning their
possessions in Northern Italy. This led them to open negotiations with the
Romans. For one thousand pounds of gold, according to the historian Livy,
the Gauls agreed to retire from the city. As the story runs, while the
gold was being weighed out in the Forum, the Romans complained that the
weights were false, when Brennus, the Gallic leader, threw his sword also
into the scales, exclaiming, "_V�, victis!_" "Woe to the vanquished."
Just at this moment, so the tale continues, Camillus, a brave patrician
general, appeared upon the scene with a Roman army that had been gathered
from the fugitives; and, as he scattered the barbarians with heavy blows,
he exclaimed, "Rome is ransomed with steel and not with gold." According
to one account Brennus himself was taken prisoner; but another tradition
says that he escaped, carrying with him not only the ransom, but a vast
THE REBUILDING OF ROME.--When the fugitives returned to Rome after the
withdrawal of the Gauls, they found the city a heap of ruins. Some of the
poorer classes, shrinking from the labor of rebuilding their old homes,
proposed to abandon the site and make Veii their new capital. But love for
the old spot at last prevailed over all the persuasions of indolence, and
the people, with admirable courage, set themselves to the task of
rebuilding their homes. It was a repetition of the scene at Athens after
the retreat of the Persians (see p. 136). The city was speedily restored,
and was soon enjoying her old position of supremacy among the surrounding
states. There were some things, however, which even Roman resolution and
perseverance could not restore. These were the ancient records and
documents, through whose irreparable loss the early history of Rome is
involved in great obscurity and uncertainty.
TREASON AND DEATH OF MANLIUS.--The ravages of the Gauls left the poor
plebeians in a most pitiable condition. In order to rebuild their
dwellings and restock their farms, they were obliged to borrow money of
the rich patricians, and consequently soon began again to experience the
insult and oppression that were ever incident to the condition of the
debtor class at Rome.
The patrician Manlius, the hero of the brave defence of the Capitol, now
came forward as the champion of the plebeians. He sold the larger part of
his estates, and devoted the proceeds to the relief of the debtor class.
It seems evident that in thus undertaking the cause of the commons he had
personal aims and ambitions. The patricians determined to crush him. He
was finally brought to trial before the popular assembly, on the charge of
conspiring to restore the office of king. From the Forum, where the people
were gathered, the Capitol, which Manlius had so bravely defended against
the barbarians, was in full sight. Pointing to the temples he had saved,
he appealed to the gods and to the gratitude of the Roman people. The
people responded to the appeal in a way altogether natural. They refused
to condemn him. But brought to trial a second time, and now in a grove
whence the citadel could not be seen, he was sentenced to death, and was
thrown from the Tarpeian Rock. [Footnote: The Tarpeian Rock was the name
given to the cliff which the Capitoline Hill formed on the side towards
the Tiber (or towards the Palatine, according to some). It received its
name from Tarpeia, daughter of one of the legendary keepers of the
citadel. State criminals were frequently executed by being thrown from
this rock.] This event occurred 384 B.C.
PLEBEIANS ADMITTED TO THE CONSULSHIP.--For nearly half a century after the
death of Manlius the most important events in the history of Rome centre
about the struggle of the plebeians, for admission to those offices of the
government whence the jealousy of the patricians still excluded them. The
Licinian laws, so called from one of their proposers, the tribune C.
Licinius, besides relieving the poor of usurious interest, and effecting a
more just division of the public lands, also provided that consuls should
be chosen yearly, as at first (see p. 238), and that one of the consuls
should be a plebeian. This last provision opened to any one of the
plebeian class the highest office in the state. The nobles, when they saw
that it would be impossible to resist the popular demand, had recourse to
the old device. They effected a compromise, whereby the judicial powers of
the consuls were taken from them and conferred upon a new magistrate, who
bore the name of pr�tor. Only patricians, of course, were to be eligible
to this new office. They then permitted the Licinian laws to pass (367
During the latter half of the fourth century B.C. (between the years 356-
300) the plebeians gained admittance to the dictatorship, the censorship,
the pr�torship, and to the College of Augurs and the College of Pontiffs.
They had been admitted to the College of Priests having charge of the
Sibylline books, at the time of the passing of the Licinian laws. With
plebeians in all these positions, the rights of the lower order were
fairly secured against oppressive and partisan decisions on the part of
the magistrates, and against party fraud in the taking of the auspices and
in the regulation of the calendar. There was now political equality
between the nobility and the commonalty.
WARS FOR THE MASTERY OF ITALY.
THE FIRST SAMNITE WAR (343-341 B.C.).--The union of the two orders in the
state allowed the Romans now to employ their undivided strength in
subjugating the different states of the peninsula. The most formidable
competitors of the Romans for supremacy in Italy were the Samnites, rough
and warlike mountaineers who held the Apennines to the east of Latium.
They were worthy rivals of the "children of Mars." The successive
struggles between these martial races are known as the First, Second, and
Third Samnite wars. They extended over a period of half a century, and in
their course involved almost all the states of Italy.
Of the first of this series of wars we know very little, although Livy
wrote a long, but unfortunately very unreliable, narration of it. In the
midst of the struggle, Rome was confronted by a dangerous revolt of her
Latin allies, and, leaving the war unfinished, turned her forces upon the
REVOLT OF THE LATIN CITIES (340-338 B.C.).--The strife between the Romans
and their Latin allies was simply the old contest within the walls of the
capital between the patricians and the plebeians transferred to a larger
arena. As the nobles had oppressed the commons, so now both these orders
united in the oppression of the Latins--the plebeians in their bettered
circumstances forgetting the lessons of adversity. The Latin allies
demanded a share in the government, and that the lands acquired by
conquest should be distributed among them as well as among Roman citizens.
The Romans refused. All Latium rose in revolt against the injustice and
tyranny of the oppressor.
After about three years' hard fighting, the rebellion was subdued. The
Latin League was now broken up. Some of the towns retained their
independence (Tibur, Pr�neste, and Cora); some received full Roman
citizenship (Aricia, Lanuvium, and Nomentum); while others received only
the private rights of Roman citizens, the right of suffrage being
SECOND AND THIRD SAMNITE WARS (326-290 B.C.).--In a few years after the
close of the Latin contest, the Romans were at war again with their old
rivals, the Samnites. Notwithstanding the latter were thoroughly defeated
in this second contest, still it was not long before they were again in
arms and engaged in their third struggle with Rome. This time they had
formed a powerful coalition which embraced the Etruscans, the Umbrians,
the Gauls, and other nations.
Roman courage rose with the danger. The united armies of the league met
with a most disastrous defeat (at Sentinum, 295 B.C.), and the power of
the coalition was broken. One after another the states that had joined the
alliance were chastised, and the Samnites were forced to acknowledge the
supremacy of Rome. A few years later, almost all of the Greek cities of
Southern Italy, save Tarentum, also came under the growing power of the
WAR WITH PYRRHUS (282-272 B.C.).--Tarentum was one of the most noted of
the Hellenic cities of Magna Gr�cia. It was a seaport on the Calabrian
coast, and had grown opulent through the extended trade of its merchants.
The capture of some Roman vessels, and an insult offered to an envoy of
the republic by the Tarentines, led to a declaration of war against them
by the Roman Senate. The Tarentines turned to Greece for aid. Pyrrhus,
king of Epirus, a cousin of Alexander the Great, who had an ambition to
build up such an empire in the West as his renowned kinsman had
established in the East, responded to their entreaties, and crossed over
into Italy with a small army of Greek mercenaries and twenty war-
elephants. He organized and drilled the effeminate Tarentines, and soon
felt prepared to face the Romans.
The hostile armies met at Heraclea (280 B.C.). It is said that when
Pyrrhus, who had underestimated his foe, observed the skill which the
Romans evinced in forming their line of battle, he exclaimed, in
admiration, "In war, at least, these men are not barbarians." The battle
was won for Pyrrhus by his war-elephants, the sight of which, being new to
the Romans, caused them to flee from the field in dismay. But Pyrrhus had
lost thousands of his bravest troops. Victories gained by such losses in a
country where he could not recruit his army, he saw clearly, meant final
defeat. As he looked over the battle-field, he is said to have turned to
his companions and remarked, "Another such victory, and I must return to
Epirus alone." He noticed also, and not without appreciating its
significance, that the wounds of the Roman soldiers killed in the action
were all in front. "Had I such soldiers," said he, "I should soon be
master of the world."
The prudence of the victorious Pyrrhus led him to send to the Romans an
embassy with proposals of peace. When the Senate hesitated, its resolution
was fixed by the eloquence of the aged Appius: "Rome," exclaimed he,
"shall never treat with a victorious foe." The ambassadors were obliged to
return to Pyrrhus unsuccessful in their mission.
Pyrrhus, according to the Roman story-tellers, who most lavishly
embellished this chapter of their history, was not more successful in
attempts at bribery than in the arts of negotiation. Upon his attempting
by large offers of gold to win Fabricius, who had been intrusted by the
Senate with an important embassy, the sturdy old Roman replied, "Poverty,
with an honest name, is more to be desired than wealth."
After a second victory, as disastrous as his first, Pyrrhus crossed over
into Sicily, to aid the Grecians there in their struggle with the
Carthaginians. At first he was everywhere successful; but finally fortune
turned against him, and he was glad to escape from the island. Recrossing
the straits into Italy, he once more engaged the Romans, but at the battle
of Beneventum suffered a disastrous and final defeat at the hands of the
consul Curius Dentatus (274 B.C.). Leaving a sufficient force to garrison
Tarentum, the baffled and disappointed king set sail for Epirus. He had
scarcely embarked before Tarentum surrendered to the Romans (272 B.C.).
This ended the struggles for the mastery of Italy. Rome was now mistress
of all the peninsula south of the Arnus and the Rubicon. It was now her
care to consolidate these possessions, and to fasten her hold upon them,
by means of a perfect network of colonies and military roads. [Footnote:
"Colonies were not all of the same character. They must be distinguished
into two classes--the colonies of Roman citizens and the Latin colonies.
The colonies of Roman citizens consisted usually of three hundred men of
approved military experience, who went forth with their families to occupy
conquered cities of no great magnitude, but which were important as
military positions, being usually on the sea-coast. These three hundred
families formed a sort of patrician caste, while the old inhabitants sank
into the condition formerly occupied by the plebeians at Rome. The heads
of these families retained all their rights as Roman citizens, and might
repair to Rome to vote in the popular assemblies."--Liddell's _History
The Latin colonies numbered about thirty at the time of the Second Punic
War. A few of these were colonies that had been founded by the old Latin
Confederacy; but the most were towns that had been established by Rome
subsequent to the dissolution of the League (see p. 244). The term Latin
was applied to these later colonies of purely Roman origin, for the reason
that they enjoyed the same rights as the Latin towns that had retained
their independence. Thus the inhabitants of a Latin colony possessed some
of the most valuable of the private rights of Roman citizens, but they had
no political rights at the capital.]
THE FIRST PUNIC WAR.
CARTHAGE AND THE CARTHAGINIAN EMPIRE.--Foremost among the cities founded
by the Phoenicians upon the different shores of the Mediterranean was
Carthage, upon the northern coast of Africa. The city is thought to have
had its beginnings in a small trading-post, established late in the ninth
century B.C., about one hundred years before the founding of Rome.
Carthage was simply another Tyre. She was mistress and queen of the
Western Mediterranean. At the period we have now reached, she held sway,
through peaceful colonization or by force of arms, over all the northern
coast of Africa from the Greater Syrtis to the Pillars of Hercules, and
possessed the larger part of Sicily, as well as Sardinia, Corsica, the
Balearic Isles, Southern Spain, and scores of little islands scattered
here and there in the neighboring seas. With all its shores dotted with
her colonies and fortresses, and swept in every direction by the
Carthaginian war-galleys, the Western Mediterranean had become a
"Phoenician lake," in which, as the Carthaginians boasted, no one dared
wash his hands without their permission.
CARTHAGINIAN GOVERNMENT AND RELIGION.--The government of Carthage, like
that of Rome, was republican in form. Corresponding to the Roman consuls,
two magistrates, called Suffetes, stood at the head of the state. The
Senate was composed of the heads of the leading families; its duties and
powers were very like those of the Roman Senate. So well-balanced was the
constitution, and so prudent was its administration, that six hundred
years of Carthaginian history exhibited not a single revolution.
The religion of the Carthaginians was the old Canaanitish worship of Baal,
or the Sun. To Moloch,--another name for the fire-god,--"who rejoiced in
human victims and in parents' tears," they offered human sacrifices.
ROME AND CARTHAGE COMPARED.--These two great republics, which for more
than five centuries had been slowly extending their limits and maturing
their powers upon the opposite shores of the Mediterranean, were now about
to begin one of the most memorable struggles of all antiquity--a duel that
was to last, with every vicissitude of fortune, for over one hundred
As was the case in the contest between Athens and Sparta, so now the two
rival cities, with their allies and dependencies, were very nearly matched
in strength and resources. The Romans, it is true, were almost destitute
of a navy; while the Carthaginians had the largest and most splendidly
equipped fleet that ever patrolled the waters of the Mediterranean. But
although the Carthaginians were superior to the Romans in naval warfare,
they were greatly their inferiors in land encounters. The Carthaginian
territory, moreover, was widely scattered, embracing extended coasts and
isolated islands; while the Roman possessions were compact, and confined
to a single and easily defended peninsula. Again, the Carthaginian armies
were formed chiefly of mercenaries, while those of Rome were recruited
very largely from the ranks of the Roman people. And then the subject
states of Carthage were mostly of another race, language, and religion
from their Phoenician conquerors, and were ready, upon the first disaster
to the ruling city, to drop away from their allegiance; while the Latin
allies and Italian dependencies of Rome were close kindred to her in race
and religion, and so, through natural impulse, for the most part remained
loyal to her during even the darkest periods of her struggle with her
THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR.--Lying between Italy and the coast of Africa is
the large island of Sicily. It is in easy sight of the former, and its
southernmost point is only ninety miles from the latter. At the
commencement of the First Punic War, the Carthaginians held possession of
all the island save a strip of the eastern coast, which was under the sway
of the Greek city of Syracuse. The Greeks and Carthaginians had carried on
an almost uninterrupted struggle through two centuries for the control of
the island. The Romans had not yet set foot upon it. But it was destined
to become the scene of the most terrible encounters between the armaments
of the two rivals. Pyrrhus had foreseen it all. As he withdrew from the
island, he said, "What a fine battlefield we are leaving for the Romans
In the year 264 B.C., on a flimsy pretext of giving protection to some
friends, the Romans crossed over to the island. That act committed them to
a career of foreign conquest destined to continue till their arms had made
the circuit of the Mediterranean.
The Syracusans and Carthaginians, old enemies and rivals though they had
been, joined their forces against the insolent newcomers. The allies were
completely defeated in the first battle, and the Roman army obtained a
sure foothold upon the island.
In the following year both consuls were placed at the head of formidable
armies for the conquest of Sicily. A large portion of the island was
quickly overrun, arid many of the cities threw off their allegiance to
Syracuse and Carthage, and became allies of Rome. Hiero, king of Syracuse,
seeing that he was upon the losing side, deserted the cause of the
Carthaginians, and formed an alliance with the Romans, and ever after
remained their firm friend.
THE ROMANS GAIN THEIR FIRST NAVAL VICTORY (260 B.C.).--Their experience
during the past campaigns had shown the Romans that if they were to cope
successfully with the Carthaginians, they must be able to meet them upon
the sea as well as upon the land. So they determined to build a fleet. A
Carthaginian galley that had been wrecked upon the shores of Italy, served
as a pattern. It is affirmed that, within the almost incredibly short
space of sixty days, a growing forest was converted into a fleet of one
hundred and twenty war galleys.
The consul C. Duillius was entrusted with the command of the fleet. He met
the Carthaginian squadron near the city and promontory of Myl�, on the
northern coast of Sicily. Now, distrusting their ability to match the
skill of their enemy in naval tactics, the Romans had provided each of
their vessels with a drawbridge. As soon as a Carthaginian ship came near
enough to a Roman vessel, this gangway was allowed to fall upon the
approaching galley; and the Roman soldiers, rushing along the bridge, were
soon engaged in a hand-to-hand conflict with their enemies, in which
species of encounter the former were unequalled. The result was a complete
victory for the Romans.
The joy at Rome was unbounded. It inspired in the more sanguine splendid
visions of maritime command and glory. The Mediterranean should speedily
become a Roman lake, in which no vessel might float without the consent of
THE ROMANS CARRY THE WAR INTO AFRICA.--The results of the naval engagement
at Myl� encouraged the Romans to push the war with redoubled energy. They
resolved to carry it into Africa. An immense Carthaginian fleet that
disputed the passage of the Roman squadron was almost annihilated, and the
Romans disembarked near Carthage. Regulus, one of the consuls who led the
army of invasion, sent word to Rome that he had sealed up the gates of
Carthage with terror. Finally, however, Regulus suffered a crushing
defeat, and was made prisoner. A fleet which was sent to bear away the
remnants of the shattered army was wrecked in a terrific storm off the
coast of Sicily, and the shores of the island were strewn with the
wreckage of between two and three hundred ships and with the bodies of one
hundred thousand men.
Undismayed at the terrible disaster that had overtaken the transport
fleet, the Romans set to work to build another, and made a second descent
upon the African coast. The expedition, however, accomplished nothing of
importance; and the fleet on its return voyage was almost destroyed, just
off the coast of Italy, by a tremendous storm.
REGULUS AND THE CARTHAGINIAN EMBASSY.--For a few years the Romans
refrained from tempting again the hostile powers of the sea, and Sicily
became once more the battle-ground of the contending rivals. At last,
having lost a great battle (battle of Panormus, 251 B.C.), the
Carthaginians became dispirited, and sent an embassy to Rome, to negotiate
for peace, or, if that could not be reached, to effect an exchange of
prisoners. Among the commissioners was Regulus, who since his capture,
five years before, had been held a prisoner in Africa. Before setting out
from Carthage he had promised to return if the embassy were unsuccessful.
For the sake of his own release, the Carthaginians supposed he would
counsel peace, or at least urge an exchange of prisoners. But it is
related, that upon arrival at Rome, he counselled war instead of peace, at
the same time revealing to the Senate the enfeebled condition of Carthage.
As to the exchange of prisoners, he said, "Let those who have surrendered
when they ought to have died, die in the land which has witnessed their
The Roman Senate, following his counsel, rejected all the proposals of the
embassy; and Regulus, in spite of the tears and entreaties of his wife and
friends, turned away from Rome, and set out for Carthage to bear such fate
as he well knew the Carthaginians, in their disappointment and anger,
would be sure to visit upon him.
The tradition goes on to tell how, upon his arrival at Carthage, he was
confined in a cask driven full of spikes, and then left to die of
starvation and pain. This part of the tale has been discredited, and the
finest touches of the other portions are supposed to have been added by
LOSS OF TWO MORE ROMAN FLEETS.--After the failure of the Carthaginian
embassy, the war went on for several years by land and sea with varying
vicissitudes. At last, on the coast of Sicily, one of the consuls,
Claudius, met with an overwhelming defeat. Almost a hundred vessels of his
fleet were lost. The disaster caused the greatest alarm at Rome.
Superstition increased the fears of the people. It was reported that just
before the battle, when the auspices were being taken, and the sacred
chickens would not eat, Claudius had given orders to have them thrown into
the sea, irreverently remarking, "At any rate, they shall drink."
Imagination was free to depict what further evils the offended gods might
inflict upon the Roman state.
The gloomiest forebodings might have found justification in subsequent
events. The other consul just now met with a great disaster. He was
proceeding along the southern coast of Sicily with a squadron of eight
hundred merchantmen and over one hundred war galleys, the former loaded
with grain for the Roman army on the island. A severe storm arising, the
squadron was beaten to pieces upon the rocks. Not a single ship escaped.
The coast for miles was strewn with broken planks, and with bodies, and
heaped with vast windrows of grain cast up by the waves.
CLOSE OF THE FIRST PUNIC WAR.--The war had now lasted for fifteen years.
Four Roman fleets had been destroyed, three of which had been sunk or
broken to pieces by storms. Of the fourteen hundred vessels which had been
lost, seven hundred were war galleys,--all large and costly quinqueremes,
that is, vessels with five banks of oars. Only one hundred of these had
fallen into the hands of the enemy; the remainder were a sacrifice to the
malign and hostile power of the waves. Such successive blows from an
invisible hand were enough to blanch the faces even of the sturdy Romans.
Neptune manifestly denied to the "Children of Mars" the realm of the sea.
It was impossible for the six years following the last disaster to infuse
any spirit into the struggle. In 247 B.C., Hamilcar Barcas, the father of
the great Hannibal, assumed the command of the Carthaginian forces, and
for several years conducted the war with great ability on the island of
Sicily, even making Rome tremble for the safety of her Italian
Once more the Romans determined to commit their cause to the element that
had been so unfriendly to them. A fleet of two hundred vessels was built
and equipped, but entirely by private subscription; for the Senate feared
that public sentiment would not sustain them in levying a tax for fitting
up another costly armament as an offering to the insatiable Neptune. This
people's squadron, as we may call it, was intrusted to the command of the
consul Catulus. He met the Carthaginian fleet under the command of the
Admiral Hanno, near the �gatian islands, and inflicted upon it a crushing
The Carthaginians now sued for peace. A treaty was at length arranged, the
terms of which required that Carthage should give up all claims to the
island of Sicily, surrender all her prisoners, and pay an indemnity of
3200 talents (about $4,000,000), one-third of which was to be paid down,
and the balance in ten yearly payments. Thus ended (241 B.C.), after a
continuance of twenty-four years, the first great struggle between
Carthage and Rome.
THE SECOND PUNIC WAR.
ROME BETWEEN THE FIRST AND THE SECOND PUNIC WAR.
THE FIRST ROMAN PROVINCE.--For the twenty-three years that followed the
close of the first struggle between Rome and Carthage, the two rivals
strained every power and taxed every resource in preparation for a renewal
of the contest.
The Romans settled the affairs of Sicily, organizing all of it, save the
lands belonging to Syracuse, as a province of the republic. This was the
first territory beyond the limits of Italy that Rome had conquered, and
the Sicilian the first of Roman provinces. But as the imperial city
extended her conquests, her provincial possessions increased in number and
size until they formed at last a perfect cordon about the Mediterranean.
Each province was governed by a magistrate sent out from the capital, and
paid an annual tribute, or tax, to Rome.
ROME ACQUIRES SARDINIA AND CORSICA.--The first acquisition by the Romans
of lands beyond the peninsula seems to have created in them an insatiable
ambition for foreign conquests. They soon found a pretext for seizing the
island of Sardinia, the most ancient and, after Sicily, the most prized of
the possessions of the Carthaginians. The island, in connection with
Corsica, which was also seized, was formed into a Roman province. With her
hands upon these islands, the authority of Rome in the Western, or Tuscan
Sea, was supreme.
THE ILLYRIAN CORSAIRS ARE PUNISHED.--At about the same time, the Romans
also extended their influence over the seas that wash the eastern shores
of Italy. For a long time the Adriatic and Ionian waters had been infested
with Illyrian pirates, who issued from the roadsteads of the northeastern
coasts of the former sea. The Roman fleet chased these corsairs from the
Adriatic, and captured several of their strongholds. Rome now assumed a
sort of protectorate over the Greek cities of the Adriatic coasts. This
was her first step towards final supremacy in Macedonia and Greece.
WAR WITH THE GAULS.--In the north, during this same period, Roman
authority was extended from the Apennines and the Rubicon to the foot of
the Alps. Alarmed at the advance of the Romans, who were pushing northward
their great military road, called the Flaminian Way, and also settling
with discharged soldiers and needy citizens the tracts of frontier land
wrested some time before from the Gauls, the Boii, a tribe of that race,
stirred up all the Gallic peoples already in Italy, besides their kinsmen
who were yet beyond the mountains, for an assault upon Rome. Intelligence
of this movement among the northern tribes threw all Italy into a fever of
excitement. At Rome the terror was great; for not yet had died out of
memory what the city had once suffered at the hands of the ancestors of
these same barbarians that were now again gathering their hordes for sack
and pillage. An ancient prediction, found in the Sibylline books, declared
that a portion of Roman territory must needs be occupied by Gauls. Hoping
sufficiently to fulfil the prophecy and satisfy Fate, the Roman Senate
caused two Gauls to be buried alive in one of the public squares of the
Meanwhile the barbarians had advanced into Etruria, ravaging the country
as they moved southward. After gathering a large amount of booty, they
were carrying this back to a place of safety, when they were surrounded by
the Roman armies at Telamon, and almost annihilated (225 B.C.). The
Romans, taking advantage of this victory, pushed on into the plains of the
Po, captured the city which is now known as Milan, and extended their
authority to the foot-hills of the Alps.
CARTHAGE BETWEEN THE FIRST AND THE SECOND PUNIC WAR.
THE TRUCELESS WAR.--Scarcely had peace been concluded with Rome at the end
of the First Punic War, before Carthage was plunged into a still deadlier
struggle, which for a time threatened her very existence. The mercenary
troops, upon their return from Sicily, revolted, on account of not
receiving their pay. Their appeal to the native tribes of Africa was
answered by a general uprising throughout the dependencies of Carthage.
The extent of the revolt shows how hateful and hated was the rule of the
great capital over her subject states.
The war was unspeakably bitter and cruel. It is known in history as "The
Truceless War." At one time Carthage was the only city remaining in the
hands of the government. But the genius of the great Carthaginian general
Hamilcar Barcas at last triumphed, and the authority of Carthage was
THE CARTHAGINIANS IN SPAIN.--After the disastrous termination of the First
Punic War, the Carthaginians determined to repair their losses by new
conquests in Spain. Hamilcar Barcas was sent over into that country, and
for nine years he devoted his commanding genius to organizing the
different Iberian tribes into a compact state, and to developing the rich
gold and silver mines of the southern part of the peninsula. He fell in
battle 228 B.C.
Hamilcar Barcas was the greatest general that up to this time the
Carthaginian race had produced. As a rule, genius is not heritable; but in
the Barcine family the rule was broken, and the rare genius of Hamilcar
reappeared in his sons, whom he himself, it is said, was fond of calling
the "lion's brood." Hannibal, the oldest, was only nineteen at the time of
his father's death, and being thus too young to assume command, Hasdrubal,
[Footnote: Not to be confounded with Hannibal's own brother Hasdrubal.]
the son-in-law of Hamilcar, was chosen to succeed him. He carried out the
unfinished plans of Hamilcar, extended and consolidated the Carthaginian
power in Spain, and upon the eastern coast founded New Carthage as the
centre and capital of the newly acquired territory. The native tribes were
conciliated rather than conquered. The Barcine family knew how to rule as
well as how to fight.
HANNIBAL'S VOW.--Upon the death of Hasdrubal, which occurred 221 B.C.,
Hannibal, now twenty-six years of age, was by the unanimous voice of the
army called to be their leader. When a child of nine years he had been led
by his father to the altar; and there, with his hands upon the sacrifice,
the little boy had sworn eternal hatred to the Roman race. He was driven
on to his gigantic undertakings and to his hard fate, not only by the
restless fires of his warlike genius, but, as he himself declared, by the
sacred obligations of a vow that could not be broken.
HANNIBAL ATTACKS SAGUNTUM.--In two years Hannibal extended the
Carthaginian power to the Ebro. Saguntum, a Greek city upon the east coast
of Spain, alone remained unsubdued. The Romans, who were jealously
watching affairs in the peninsula, had entered into an alliance with this
city, and taken it, with other Greek cities in that quarter of the
Mediterranean, under their protection. Hannibal, although he well knew
that an attack upon this place would precipitate hostilities with Rome,
laid siege to it in the spring of 219 B.C. He was eager for the renewal of
the old contest. The Roman Senate sent messengers to him forbidding his
making war upon a city which was a friend and ally of the Roman people;
but Hannibal, disregarding their remonstrances, continued the siege, and,
after an investment of eight months, gained possession of the town.
The Romans now sent commissioners to Carthage to demand of the Senate that
they should give up Hannibal to them, and by so doing repudiate the act of
their general. The Carthaginians hesitated. Then Quintus Fabius, chief of
the embassy, gathering up his toga, said: "I carry here peace and war;
choose, men of Carthage, which ye will have." "Give us whichever ye will,"
was the reply. "War, then," said Fabius, dropping his toga. The "die was
now cast; and the arena was cleared for the foremost man of his race and
his time, perhaps the mightiest military genius of any race and of any
THE SECOND PUNIC WAR.
HANNIBAL'S PASSAGE OF THE ALPS.--The Carthaginian empire was now stirred
with preparations for the impending struggle. Hannibal was the life and
soul of every movement. His bold plan was to cross the Pyrenees and the
Alps and descend upon Rome from the north.
With his preparations completed, Hannibal left New Carthage early in the
spring of 218 B.C., with an army numbering about one hundred thousand men,
and including thirty-seven war elephants. Crossing the Pyrenees and the
Rhone, he reached the foot-hills of the Alps. Nature and man joined to
oppose the passage. The season was already far advanced--it was October--
and snow was falling upon the higher portions of the trail. Day after day
the army toiled painfully up the dangerous path. In places the narrow way
had to be cut wider for the monstrous bodies of the elephants. Often
avalanches of stone were hurled upon the trains by the hostile bands that
held possession of the heights above. At last the summit was gained, and
the shivering army looked down into the warm haze of the Italian plains.
The sight alone was enough to rouse the drooping spirits of the soldiers;
but Hannibal stirred them to enthusiasm by addressing them with these
words: "Ye are standing upon the Acropolis of Italy; yonder lies Rome."
The army began its descent, and at length, after toils and losses equalled
only by those of the ascent, its thinned battalions issued from the
defiles of the mountains upon the plains of the Po. Of the fifty thousand
men and more with which Hannibal had begun the passage, barely half that
number had survived the march, and these "looked more like phantoms than
BATTLES OF THE TICINUS, THE TREBIA, AND LAKE TRASIMENUS.--The Romans had
not the remotest idea of Hannibal's plans. With war determined upon, the
Senate had sent one of the consuls, L. Sempronius Longus, with an army
into Africa by the way of Sicily; while the other, Publius Cornelius
Scipio, they had directed to lead another army into Spain.
While the Senate were watching the movements of these expeditions, they
were startled with the intelligence that Hannibal, instead of being in
Spain, had crossed the Pyrenees and was among the Gauls upon the Rhone.
Sempronius was hastily recalled from his attempt upon Africa, to the
defence of Italy. Scipio, on his way to Spain, had touched at Massilia,
and there learned of the movements of Hannibal. He turned back, hurried
into Northern Italy, and took command of the levies there. The cavalry of
the two armies met upon the banks of the Ticinus, a tributary of the Po.
The Romans were driven from the field by the fierce onset of the Numidian
horsemen. Scipio now awaited the arrival of the other consular army, which
was hurrying up through Italy by forced marches.
In the battle of the Trebia the united armies of the two consuls were
almost annihilated. The Gauls, who had been waiting to see to which side
fortune would incline, now flocked to the standard of Hannibal, and hailed
him as their deliverer.
The spring following the victory at the Trebia, Hannibal led his army, now
recruited by many Gauls, across the Apennines, and moved southward. At
Lake Trasimenus he entrapped the Romans under Flaminius in a mountain
defile, where, bewildered by a fog that filled the valley, the greater
part of the army was slaughtered, and the consul himself was slain.
The way to Rome was now open. Believing that Hannibal would march directly
upon the capital, the Senate caused the bridges that spanned the Tiber to
be destroyed, and appointed Fabius Maximus dictator.
In one respect only had events disappointed Hannibal's expectations. He
had thought that all the states of Italy were, like the Gauls, ready to
revolt from Rome at the first opportunity that might offer itself. But not
a single city had thus far proved unfaithful to her.
FABIUS "THE DELAYER."--The fate of Rome was now in the hands of Fabius.
Should he risk a battle and lose it, the destiny of the capital would be
sealed. He determined to adopt a more prudent policy--to follow and annoy
the Carthaginian army, but to refuse all proffers of battle. Thus time
might be gained for raising a new army and perfecting measures for the
public defence. In every possible way Hannibal endeavored to draw his
enemy into an engagement. He ravaged the fields far and wide and fired the
homesteads of the Italians, in order to force Fabius to fight in their
defence. The soldiers of the dictator began to murmur. They called him
_Cunctator_, or "the Delayer." They even accused him of treachery to
the cause of Rome. But nothing moved him from the steady pursuit of the
policy which he clearly saw was the only prudent one to follow.
THE BATTLE OF CANN�.--The time gained by Fabius enabled the Romans to
raise and discipline an army that might hope successfully to combat the
Carthaginian forces. Early in the summer of the year 216 B.C. these new
levies, numbering 80,000 men, confronted the army of Hannibal, amounting
to not more than half that number, at Cann�, in Apulia. It was the largest
army the Romans had ever gathered on any battle-field. But it had been
collected only to meet the most overwhelming defeat that ever befell the
forces of the republic. Through the skilful manoeuvres of Hannibal, the
Romans were completely surrounded, and huddled together in a helpless mass
upon the field, and then for eight hours were cut down by the Numidian
cavalry. From fifty to seventy thousand were slain; a few thousand were
taken prisoners; only the merest handful escaped, including one of the
consuls. The slaughter was so great that, according to Livy, when Mago, a
brother of Hannibal, carried the news of the victory to Carthage, he, in
confirmation of the intelligence, poured down in the porch of the Senate-
house, nearly a peck of gold rings taken from the fingers of Roman
EVENTS AFTER THE BATTLE OF CANN�.--The awful news flew to Rome.
Consternation and despair seized the people. The city would have been
emptied of its population had not the Senate ordered the gates to be
closed. Never did that body display greater calmness, wisdom, prudence,
and resolution. By word and act they bade the people never to despair of
the republic. Little by little the panic was allayed. Measures were
concerted for the defence of the capital, as it was expected that Hannibal
would immediately march upon Rome. Swift horsemen were sent out along the
Appian Way to gather information of the conqueror's movements, and to
learn, as Livy expresses it, "if the immortal gods, out of pity to the
empire, had left any remnant of the Roman name."
The leader of the Numidian cavalry, Maharbal, urged Hannibal to follow up
his victory closely, "Let me advance with the cavalry," said he, "and in
five days thou shalt dine in the capital." But Hannibal refused to adopt
the counsel of his impetuous general. Maharbal turned away, and, with
mingled reproach and impatience, exclaimed, "Alas! thou knowest how to
gain a victory, but not how to use one." The great commander, while he
knew he was invincible in the open field, did not think it prudent to
fight the Romans behind their walls.
Hannibal now sent an embassy to Rome to offer terms of peace. The Senate,
true to the Appian policy never to treat with a victorious enemy (see p.
245), would not even permit the ambassadors to enter the gates. Not less
disappointed was Hannibal in the temper of the Roman allies. For the most
part they adhered to the cause of Rome with unshaken loyalty through all
these trying times. Some tribes in the South of Italy, however, among
which were the Lucanians, the Apulians, and the Bruttians, went over to
the Carthaginians. Hannibal marched into Campania and quartered his army
for the winter in the luxurious city of Capua, which had opened its gates
to him. Here he rested and sent urgent messages to Carthage for re-
inforcements, while Rome exhausted every resource in raising and equipping
new levies, to take the place of the legions lost at Cann�. For several
years there was an ominous lull in the war, while both parties were
gathering strength for a renewal of the struggle.
THE FALL OF SYRACUSE AND OF CAPUA.--In the year 216 B.C., Hiero, King of
Syracuse, who loved to call himself the friend and ally of the Roman
people, died, and the government fell into the hands of a party unfriendly
to the republic. An alliance was formed with Carthage, and a large part of
Sicily was carried over to the side of the enemies of Rome. The
distinguished Roman general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, called "the Sword
of Rome," was intrusted with the task of reconquering the island. After
reducing many towns, he at last laid siege to Syracuse.
This noted capital was then one of the largest and richest cities of the
Grecian world. For three years it held out against the Roman forces. It is
said that Archimedes (see p. 213), the great mathematician, rendered
valuable aid to the besieged with curious and powerful engines contrived
by his genius. But the city fell at last, and was given over to sack and
pillage. Rome was adorned with the rare works of Grecian art--paintings
and sculptures--which for centuries had been accumulating in this the
oldest and most renowned of the colonies of ancient Hellas. Syracuse never
recovered from the blow inflicted upon her at this time by the relentless
[Illustration: MARCELLUS, "The sword of Rome."]
Capua must next be punished for opening her gates and extending her
hospitalities to the enemies of Rome. A line of circumvallation was drawn
about the devoted city, and two Roman armies held it in close siege.
Hannibal, ever faithful to his allies and friends, hastened to the relief
of the Capuans. Unable to break the enemy's lines, he marched directly
upon Rome, as if to make an attack upon that city, hoping thus to draw off
the legions about Capua to the defence of the capital. The "dread
Hannibal" himself rode alongside the walls of the hated city, and,
tradition says, even hurled a defiant spear over the defences. The Romans
certainly were trembling with fear; yet Livy tells how they manifested
their confidence in their affairs by selling at public auction the land
upon which Hannibal was encamped. He in turn, in the same manner, disposed
of the shops fronting the Forum. The story is that there were eager
purchasers in both cases.
Failing to draw the legions from Capua as he had hoped, Hannibal now
retired from before Rome, and, retreating into the southern part of Italy,
abandoned Capua to its fate. It soon fell, and paid the penalty that Rome
never failed to inflict upon an unfaithful ally. The chief men in the city
were put to death, and a large part of the inhabitants sold as slaves.
Capua had aspired to the first place among the cities of Italy: scarcely
more than the name of the ambitious capital now remained.
Hasdrubal attempts to carry Aid to his Brother.--During all the years
Hannibal was waging war in Italy, his brother Hasdrubal was carrying on a
desperate struggle with the Roman armies in Spain. At length he determined
to leave the conduct of the war in that country to others, and go to the
relief of his brother, who was sadly in need of aid. Like Pyrrhus,
Hannibal had been brought to realize that even constant victories won at
the cost of soldiers that could not be replaced, meant final defeat.
Hasdrubal followed the same route that had been taken by his brother
Hannibal, and in the year 207 B.C. descended from the Alps upon the plains
of Northern Italy. Thence he advanced southward, while Hannibal moved
northward from Bruttium to meet him. Rome made a last great effort to
prevent the junction of the armies of the two brothers. At the river
Metaurus, Hasdrubal's march was withstood by a large Roman army. Here his
forces were cut to pieces, and he himself was slain (207 B.C.). His head
was severed from his body and sent to Hannibal. Upon recognizing the
features of his brother, Hannibal exclaimed sadly, "Carthage, I see thy
WAR IN AFRICA: BATTLE OF ZAMA.--The defeat and death of Hasdrubal gave a
different aspect to the war. Hannibal now drew back into the rocky
peninsula of Bruttium, the southernmost point of Italy. There he faced the
Romans like a lion at bay. No one dared attack him. It was resolved to
carry the war into Africa, in hopes that the Carthaginians would be forced
to call their great commander out of Italy to the defence of Carthage.
Publius Cornelius Scipio, who after the departure of Hasdrubal from Spain
had quickly brought the peninsula under the power of Rome, led the army of
invasion. He had not been long in Africa before the Carthaginian Senate
sent for Hannibal to conduct the war. At Zama, not far from Carthage, the
hostile armies came face to face. Fortune had deserted Hannibal; he was
fighting [Footnote: Son of the consul mentioned on page 259.] against
fate. He here met his first and final defeat. His army, in which were many
of the veterans that had served through all the Italian campaigns, was
almost annihilated (202 B.C.). Scipio was accorded a splendid triumph at
Rome, and given the surname Africanus in honor of his achievements.
[Footnote: Some time after the close of the Second Punic War, the Romans,
persuading themselves that Hannibal was preparing Carthage for another
war, demanded his surrender of the Carthaginians. He fled to Syria, and
thence to Asia Minor, where, to avoid falling into the hands of his
implacable foes, he committed suicide by means of poison (183 B.C.).]
[Illustration: PUBLIUS CORNELIUS SCIPIO (Africanus).]
THE CLOSE OF THE WAR.--Carthage was now completely exhausted, and sued for
peace. Even Hannibal himself could no longer counsel war. The terms of the
treaty were much severer than those imposed upon the city at the end of
the First Punic War. She was required to give up all claims to Spain and
the islands of the Mediterranean; to surrender her war elephants, and all
her ships of war save ten galleys; to pay an indemnity of five thousand
talents at once, and two hundred and fifty talents annually for fifty
years; and not to engage in any war without the consent of Rome. Five
hundred of the costly Phoenician war galleys were towed out of the harbor
of Carthage and burned in the sight of the citizens.
Such was the end of the Second Punic, or Hannibalic War, as called by the
Romans, the most desperate struggle ever maintained by rival powers for
THE THIRD PUNIC WAR.
EVENTS BETWEEN THE SECOND AND THE THIRD PUNIC WAR.
The terms imposed upon Carthage at the end of the Second Punic War left
Rome mistress of the Western Mediterranean. During the fifty eventful
years that elapsed between the close of that struggle and the breaking-out
of the last Punic war, her authority became supreme also in the Eastern
seas. In a preceding chapter (see p. 170), while narrating the fortunes of
the most important states into which the great empire of Alexander was
broken at his death, we followed them until one after another they fell
beneath the arms of Rome, and were successively absorbed into her growing
kingdom. We shall therefore speak of them here only in the briefest
manner, simply indicating the connection of their several histories with
the series of events which mark the advance of Rome to universal empire.
THE BATTLE OF CYNOSCEPHAL� (197 B.C.).--During the Hannibalic War, Philip
V. (III.) of Macedonia had aided the Carthaginians, or at least had
entered into an alliance with them. He was now troubling the Greek cities
which were under the protection of Rome. For these things the Roman Senate
determined to punish him. An army under Flamininus was sent into Greece,
and on the plains of Cynoscephal�, in Thessaly, the Roman legion
demonstrated its superiority over the unwieldy Macedonian phalanx by
subjecting Philip to a most disastrous defeat (197 B.C.). The king was
forced to give up all his conquests, and Rome extended her protectorate
THE BATTLE OF MAGNESIA (190 B.C.).--Antiochus the Great of Syria had at
this time not only overrun all Asia Minor, but had crossed the Hellespont
into Europe, and was intent upon the conquest of Thrace and Greece. Rome,
that could not entertain the idea of a rival empire upon the southern
shores of the Mediterranean, could much less tolerate the establishment in
the East of such a colossal kingdom as the ambition of Antiochus proposed
to itself. Just as soon as intelligence was carried to Italy that the
Syrian king was leading his army into Greece, the legions of the republic
were set in motion. Some reverses caused Antiochus to retreat in haste
across the Hellespont into Asia, whither he was followed by the Romans,
led by Scipio, a brother of Africanus.
At Magnesia, Antiochus was overthrown, and a large part of Asia Minor fell
into the hands of the Romans. Not yet prepared to maintain provinces so
distant from the Tiber, the Senate conferred the new territory, with the
exception of Lycia and Caria, which were given to the Rhodians, upon their
friend and ally Eumenes, King of Pergamus (see p. 171). This "Kingdom of
Asia," as it was called, was really nothing more than a dependency of
Rome, and its nominal ruler only a puppet-king in the hands of the Roman
Scipio enjoyed a magnificent triumph at Rome, and, in accordance with a
custom that had now become popular with successful generals, erected a
memorial of his deeds in his name by assuming the title of Asiaticus.
[Illustration: PERSEUS, of Macedonia.]
THE BATTLE OF PYDNA (168 B.C.).--In a few years Macedonia, under the
leadership of Perseus, son of Philip V., was again in arms and offering
defiance to Rome; but in the year 168 B.C. the Roman consul �milius Paulus
crushed the Macedonian power forever upon the memorable field of Pydna.
This was one of the decisive battles fought by the Romans in their
struggle for the dominion of the world. The last great power in the East
was here broken. The Roman Senate was henceforth recognized by the whole
civilized world as the source and fountain of supreme political wisdom and
power. We shall have yet to record many campaigns of the Roman legions;
but these were efforts to suppress revolt among dependent or semi-vassal
states, or were struggles with barbarian tribes that skirted the Roman
THE DESTRUCTION OF CORINTH (146 B.C.).--Barely twenty years had passed
after the destruction of the Macedonian monarchy before the cities and
states that formed the Ach�an League (see p. 175) were goaded to revolt by
the injustice of their Roman protectors. In the year 146 B.C. the consul
Mummius signalized the suppression of the rebellion by the complete
destruction of the brilliant city of Corinth, the "eye of Hellas," as the
ancient poets were fond of calling it. This fair capital, the most
beautiful and renowned of all the cities of Greece after the fall of
Athens, was sacked, and razed to the ground. Much of the booty was sold on
the spot at public auction. Numerous works of art,--rare paintings and
sculptures,--with which the city was crowded, were carried off to Italy.
"Never before or after," says Long, "was such a display of the wonders of
Grecian art carried in triumphal procession through the streets of Rome."
THE THIRD PUNIC WAR.
"CARTHAGE MUST BE DESTROYED."--The same year that Rome destroyed Corinth
(146 B.C.), she also blotted her great rival Carthage from the face of the
earth. It will be recalled that one of the conditions imposed upon the
last-named city at the close of the Second Punic War was that she should,
under no circumstances, engage in any war without the permission of the
Roman Senate. Taking advantage of the helpless condition of Carthage,
Masinissa, King of Numidia, began to make depredations upon her
territories. She appealed to Rome for protection. The envoys sent to
Africa by the Senate to settle the dispute, unfairly adjudged every case
in favor of the robber Masinissa. In this way Carthage was deprived of her
lands and towns.
Chief of one of the embassies sent out was Marcus Cato the Censor. When he
saw the prosperity of Carthage,--her immense trade, which crowded her
harbor with ships, and the country for miles back of the city a beautiful
landscape of gardens and villas,--he was amazed at the growing power and
wealth of the city, and returned home convinced that the safety of Rome
demanded the destruction of her rival. Never afterwards did he address the
Romans, no matter upon what subject, but he always ended with the words,
"Carthage must be destroyed" (_delenda est Carthago_).
ROMAN PERFIDY.--A pretext for the accomplishment of the hateful work was
not long wanting. In 150 B.C. the Carthaginians, when Masinissa made
another attack upon their territory, instead of calling upon Rome, from
which source the past had convinced them they could hope for neither aid
nor justice, gathered an army, and resolved to defend themselves. Their
forces, however, were defeated by the Numidians, and sent beneath the
In entering upon this war without the consent of Rome, Carthage had broken
the conditions of the last treaty. The Carthaginian Senate, in great
anxiety, now sent an embassy to Italy to offer any reparation the Romans
might demand. They were told that if they would give three hundred
hostages, members of the noblest Carthaginian families, the independence
of their city should be respected. They eagerly complied with this demand.
But no sooner were these in the hands of the Romans than the consular
armies, numbering eighty thousand men, secured against attack by the
hostages so perfidiously drawn from the Carthaginians, crossed from Sicily
into Africa, and disembarked at Utica, only ten miles from Carthage.
The Carthaginians were now commanded to give up all their arms; still
hoping to win their enemy to clemency, they complied with this demand
also. Then the consuls made known the final decree of the Roman Senate--
"That Carthage must be destroyed, but that the inhabitants might build a
new city, provided it were located ten miles from the coast."
When this resolution of the Senate was announced to the Carthaginians, and
they realized the baseness and perfidy of their enemy, a cry of
indignation and despair burst from the betrayed city.
THE CARTHAGINIANS PREPARE TO DEFEND THEIR CITY.--It was resolved to resist
to the bitter end the execution of the cruel decree. The gates of the city
were closed. Men, women, and children set to work and labored day and
night manufacturing arms. The entire city was converted into one great
workshop. The utensils of the home and the sacred vessels of the temples,
statues, and vases were melted down for weapons. Material was torn from
the buildings of the city for the construction of military engines. The
women cut off their hair and braided it into strings for the catapults. By
such labor, and through such means, the city was soon put in a state to
withstand a siege.
When the Romans advanced to take possession of the place, they were
astonished to find the people they had just treacherously disarmed, with
weapons in their hands, manning the walls of their capital, and ready to
bid them defiance.
THE DESTRUCTION OF CARTHAGE.--It is impossible for us here to give the
circumstances of the siege of Carthage. For four years the city held out
against the Roman army. At length the consul Scipio �milianus succeeded in
taking it by storm. When resistance ceased, only 50,000 men, women, and
children, out of a population of 700,000, remained to be made prisoners.
The city was fired, and for seventeen days the space within the walls was
a sea of flames. Every trace of building which the fire could not destroy
was levelled, a plough was driven over the site, and a dreadful curse
invoked upon any one who should dare attempt to rebuild the city.
Such was the hard fate of Carthage. It is said that Scipio, as he gazed
upon the smouldering ruins, seemed to read in them the fate of Rome, and,
bursting into tears, sadly repeated the lines of Homer:
"The day shall come in which our sacred Troy,
And Priam, and the people over whom
Spear-bearing Priam rules, shall perish all."
The Carthaginian territory in Africa was made into a Roman province, with
Utica as the leading city; and Roman civilization was spread rapidly, by
means of traders and settlers, throughout the regions that lie between the
ranges of the Atlas and the sea.
WAR IN SPAIN.
SIEGE OF NUMANTIA.--It is fitting that the same chapter which narrates the
destruction of Corinth in Greece, and the blotting-out of Carthage in
Africa, should tell the story of the destruction of Numantia in Spain.
The expulsion of the Carthaginians from the Spanish peninsula really gave
Rome the control of only a small part of that country. The war-like native
tribes--the Celtiberians and Lusitanians--of the North and the West were
ready stubbornly to dispute with the new-comers the possession of the
The war gathered about Numantia, the siege of which was brought to a close
by Scipio �milianus, the conqueror of Carthage. Before the surrender of
the place, almost all the inhabitants had met death, either in defence of
the walls, or by deliberate suicide. The miserable remnant which the
ravages of battle, famine, pestilence, and despair had left alive were
sold into slavery, and the city was levelled to the ground (133 B.C.).
The capture of Numantia was considered quite as great an achievement as
the taking of Carthage. Scipio celebrated another triumph at Rome, and to
his surname Africanus, which he had received for his achievements in
Africa, added that of Numantinus. Spain became a favorite resort of Roman
merchants, and many colonies were established in different parts of the
country. As a result of this great influx of Italians, the laws, manners,
customs, language, and religion of the conquerors were introduced
everywhere, and the peninsula became rapidly Romanized.
THE LAST CENTURY OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC.
We have now traced the growth of the power of republican Rome, as through
two centuries and more of conquest she has extended her authority, first
throughout Italy, and then over almost all the countries that border upon
the Mediterranean. It must be our less pleasant task now to follow the
declining fortunes of the republic through the last century of its
existence. We shall here learn that wars waged for spoils and dominion are
in the end more ruinous, if possible, to the conqueror than to the
THE SERVILE WAR IN SICILY (134-132 B.C.).--With the opening of this period
we find a terrible struggle going on in Sicily between masters and slaves
--or what is known as "The First Servile War." The condition of affairs in
that island was the legitimate result of the Roman system of slavery. The
captives taken in war were usually sold into servitude. The great number
of prisoners furnished by the numerous conquests of the Romans caused
slaves to become a drug in the slave-markets of the Roman world. They were
so cheap that masters found it more profitable to wear their slaves out by
a few years of unmercifully hard labor, and then to buy others, than to
preserve their lives for a longer period by more humane treatment. In case
of sickness, they were left to die without attention, as the expense of
nursing exceeded the cost of new purchases. Some Sicilian estates were
worked by as many as 20,000 slaves. That each owner might know his own,
the poor creatures were branded like cattle. What makes all this the more
revolting is the fact that many of these slaves were in every way the
peers of their owners, and often were their superiors. The fortunes of war
alone had made one servant and the other master.
The wretched condition of these slaves and the cruelty of their masters at
last drove them to revolt. The insurrection spread throughout the island,
until 200,000 slaves were in arms, and in possession of many of the
strongholds of the country. They defeated four Roman armies sent against
them, and for three years defied the power of Rome. Finally, however, in
the year 132 B.C., the revolt was crushed, and peace was restored to the
distracted island. [Footnote: In the year 102 B.C. another insurrection of
the slaves broke out in the island, which it required three years to
quell. This last revolt is known as "The Second Servile War."]
THE PUBLIC LANDS.--In Italy itself affairs were in a scarcely less
wretched condition than in Sicily. When the different states of the
peninsula were subjugated, large portions of the conquered territory had
become public land (_ager publicus_); for upon the subjugation of a
state Rome never left to the conquered people more than two-thirds of
their lands, and often not so much as this. The land appropriated was
disposed of at public sale, leased at low rentals, allotted to discharged
soldiers, or allowed to lie unused. [Footnote: These land matters may be
made plain by a reference to the public lands of the United States. The
troubles in Ireland between the land-owners and their tenants will also
serve to illustrate the agrarian disturbances in ancient Rome.]
Now, it had happened that, in various ways, the greater part of the public
lands had fallen into the hands of the wealthy. They alone had the capital
necessary to stock and work them to advantage; hence the possessions of
the small proprietors were gradually absorbed by the large landholders.
These great proprietors, also, disregarding a law which forbade any person
to hold more than five hundred jugera of land, held many times that
amount. Almost all the lands of Italy, about the beginning of the first
century B.C., are said to have been held by not more than two thousand
persons; for the large proprietors, besides the lands they had secured by
purchase from the government, or had wrested from the smaller farmers,
claimed enormous tracts to which they had only a squatter's title. So long
had they been left in undisturbed possession of these government lands
that they had come to look upon them as absolutely their own. In many
cases, feeling secure through great lapse of time,--the lands having been
handed down through many generations,--the owners had expended large sums
in their improvement, and now resisted as very unjust every effort to
dispossess them of their hereditary estates. Money-lenders, too, had, in
many instances, made loans upon these lands, and they naturally sided with
the owners in their opposition to all efforts to disturb the titles.
These wealthy "possessors" employed slave rather than free labor, as they
found it more profitable; and so the poorer Romans, left without
employment, crowded into the cities, especially congregating at Rome,
where they lived in vicious indolence. The proprietors also found it to
their interest to raise stock rather than to cultivate the soil. All Italy
became a great sheep-pasture.
Thus, largely through the workings of the public land system, the Roman
people had become divided into two great classes, which are variously
designated as the Rich and the Poor, the Possessors and the Non-
Possessors, the Optimates (the "Best"), and the Populares (the "People").
We hear nothing more of patricians and plebeians. As one expresses it,
"Rome had become a commonwealth of millionaires and beggars."
For many years before and after the period at which we have now arrived, a
bitter struggle was carried on between these two classes; just such a
contest as we have seen waged between the nobility and the commonalty in
the earlier history of Rome. The most instructive portion of the story of
the Roman republic is found in the records of this later struggle. The
misery of the great masses naturally led to constant agitation at the
capital. Popular leaders introduced bill after bill into the Senate, and
brought measure after measure before the assemblies of the people, all
aiming at the redistribution of the public lands and the correction of
THE REFORMS OF THE GRACCHI.--The most noted champions of the cause of the
poorer classes against the rich and powerful were Tiberius and Caius
Gracchus. These reformers are reckoned among the most popular orators that
Rome ever produced. They eloquently voiced the wrongs of the people. Said
Tiberius, "You are called 'lords of the earth' without possessing a single
clod to call your own." The people made him tribune; and in that position
he secured the passage of a law for the redistribution of the public
lands, which gave some relief. It took away from Possessors without sons
all the land they held over five hundred jugera; Possessors with one son
might hold seven hundred and fifty jugera, and those with two sons one
At the end of his term of office, Tiberius stood a second time for the
tribunate. The nobles combined to defeat him. Foreseeing that he would not
be re-elected, Tiberius resolved to use force upon the day of voting. His
partisans were overpowered, and he and three hundred of his followers were
killed in the Forum, and their bodies thrown into the Tiber (133 B.C.).
This was the first time that the Roman Forum had witnessed such a scene of
violence and crime.
Caius Gracchus, the younger brother of Tiberius, now assumed the position
made vacant by the death of Tiberius. It is related that Caius had a dream
in which the spirit of his brother seemed to address him thus: "Caius, why
do you linger? There is no escape: one life for both of us, and one death
in defence of the people, is our fate." The dream came true. Caius was
chosen tribune in 123 B.C. He secured the passage of grain-laws which
provided that grain should be sold to the poor from public granaries, at
half its value or less. This was a very unwise and pernicious measure. It
was not long before grain was distributed free to all applicants; and a
considerable portion of the population of the capital were living in
vicious indolence and feeding at the public crib.
Caius proposed other measures in the interest of the people, which were
bitterly opposed by the Optimates; and the two orders at last came into
collision. Caius sought death by a friendly sword (121 B.C.), and three
thousand of his adherents were massacred. The consul offered for the head
of Caius its weight in gold. "This is the first instance in Roman history
of head-money being offered and paid, but it was not the last" (Long).
The people ever regarded the Gracchi as martyrs to their cause, and their
memory was preserved by statues in the public square. To Cornelia, their
mother, a monument was erected, simply bearing the inscription, "The
Mother of the Gracchi."
THE WAR WITH JUGURTHA (111-106 B.C.).--After the death of the Gracchi
there seemed no one left to resist the heartless oppressions and to
denounce the scandalous extravagances of the aristocratic party. Many of
the laws of the Gracchi respecting the public lands were annulled. Italy
fell again into the hands of a few over-rich land-owners. The provinces
were plundered by the Roman governors, who squandered their ill-gotten
wealth at the capital. The votes of senators and the decisions of judges,
the offices at Rome and the places in the provinces--everything pertaining
to the government had its price, and was bought and sold like merchandise.
Affairs in Africa at this time illustrate how Roman virtue and integrity
had declined since Fabricius indignantly refused the gold of Pyrrhus.
Jugurtha, king of Numidia, had seized all that country, having put to
death the rightful rulers of different provinces of the region, who had
been confirmed in their possessions by the Romans at the close of the
Punic wars. Commissioners sent from Rome to look into the matter were
bribed by Jugurtha. Even the consul Bestia, who had been sent into Africa
with an army to punish the insolent usurper, sold himself to the robber.
An investigation was ordered; but many prominent officials at Rome were
implicated in the offences, and the matter was hushed up with money. The
venality of the Romans disgusted even Jugurtha, who exclaimed, "O venal
city, thou wouldst sell thyself if thou couldst find a purchaser!"
In the year 106 B.C. the war against Jugurtha was brought to a close by
Caius Marius, a man who had risen to the consulship from the lowest ranks
of the people. Under him fought a young nobleman named Sulla, of whom we
shall hear much hereafter. Marius celebrated a grand triumph at Rome.
Jugurtha, after having graced the triumphal procession, was thrown into
the Mamertine dungeon, beneath the Capitoline, where he died of
INVASION OF THE CIMBRI AND TEUTONES.--The war was not yet ended in Africa
before terrible tidings came to Rome from the north. Two mighty nations of
"horrible barbarians," three hundred thousand strong in fighting-men,
coming whence no one could tell, had invaded, and were now desolating, the
Roman provinces of Gaul, and might any moment cross the Alps and pour down
The mysterious invaders proved to be two Germanic tribes, the Teutones and
Cimbri, the vanguard of that great German migration which was destined to
change the face and history of Europe. These intruders were seeking new
homes. They carried with them, in rude wagons, all their property, their
wives, and their children. The Celtic tribes of Gaul were no match for the
newcomers, and fled before them as they advanced. Several Roman armies
beyond the Alps were cut to pieces. The terror at Rome was only equalled
by that occasioned by the invasion of the Gauls two centuries before. The
Gauls were terrible enough; but now the conquerors of the Gauls were
Marius, the conqueror of Jugurtha, was looked to by all as the only man
who could save the state in this crisis. Accompanied by Sulla as one of
his most skilful lieutenants, Marius hastened into Northern Italy. The
barbarians had divided into two bands. The Cimbri were to cross the
Eastern Alps, and join in the valley of the Po the Teutones, who were to
force the defiles of the Western, or Maritime Alps. Marius determined to
prevent the union of the barbarians, and to crush each band separately.
Anticipating the march of the Teutones, he hurried over the Alps into
Gaul, and falling upon them at a favorable moment (at Aqu� Sext�, not far
from Marseilles, 102 B.C.), almost annihilated the entire host. Two
hundred thousand barbarians are said to have been slain. Marius now
recrossed the Alps, and, after visiting Rome, hastened to meet the Cimbri,
who were entering the northeastern corner of Italy. He was not a day too
soon. Already the barbarians had defeated the Roman army under the
nobleman Catulus, and were ravaging the rich plains of the Po. The Cimbri,
unconscious of the fate of the Teutones, sent an embassy to Marius, to
demand that they and their kinsmen should be given lands in Italy. Marius
sent back in reply, "The Teutones have got all the land they need on the
other side of the Alps." The devoted Cimbri were soon to have all they
needed on this side.
A terrible battle almost immediately followed at Vercell� (101 B.C.). The
barbarians were drawn up in an enormous hollow square, the men forming the
outer ranks being fastened together with chains, to prevent the lines
being broken. This proved their ruin. More than 100,000 were killed and
60,000 taken prisoners to be sold as slaves in the Roman markets. Marius
was hailed as the "Saviour of his Country."
"The forlorn-hope of the German migration had performed its duty; the
homeless people of the Cimbri and their comrades were no more" (Mommsen).
Their kinsmen yet behind the Danube and the Rhine were destined to exact a
terrible revenge for their slaughter.
THE SOCIAL, OR MARSIC WAR (91-89 B.C.).--Scarcely was the danger of the
barbarian invasion past, before Rome was threatened by another and greater
evil arising within her own borders. At this time all the free inhabitants
of Italy were embraced in three classes,--_Roman citizens_, _Latins,_
and _Italian allies_. The Roman citizens included the inhabitants of
the capital and of the various Roman colonies planted in different parts
of the peninsula (see p. 246, note), besides the people of a number of
towns called _municipia;_ the Latins were the inhabitants of the Latin
colonies (see p. 246, note); the Italian allies (_socii_) included the
various subjugated races of Italy.
The Social, or Marsic War (as it is often called on account of the
prominent part taken in the insurrection by the warlike Marsians) was a
struggle that arose from the demands of the Italian allies for the
privileges of Roman citizenship, from which they were wholly excluded.
Their demands were stubbornly resisted by both the aristocratic and the
popular party at Rome. Some, however, recognized the justice of these
claims of the Italians. The tribune Livius Drusus championed their cause,
but he was killed by an assassin. The Italians now flew to arms. They
determined upon the establishment of a rival state. A town called
Corfinium, among the Apennines, was chosen as the capital of the new
republic, and its name changed to Italica. Thus, in a single day, almost
all Italy south of the Rubicon was lost to Rome. The Etrurians, the
Umbrians, the Campanians, the Latins, and some of the Greek cities were
the only states that remained faithful.
[Illustration: COIN OF THE ITALIAN CONFEDERACY. (The Sabellian Bull goring
the Roman Wolf.)]
The greatness of the danger aroused all the old Roman courage and
patriotism. Aristocrats and democrats hushed their quarrels, and fought
bravely side by side for the endangered life of the republic. The war
lasted three years. Finally Rome prudently extended the right of suffrage
to the Latins, Etruscans, and Umbrians, who had so far remained true to
her, but now began to show signs of wavering in their loyalty. Shortly
afterwards she offered the same to all Italians who should lay down their
arms within sixty days. This tardy concession to the just demands of the
Italians virtually ended the war. It had been extremely disastrous to the
republic. Hundreds of thousands of lives had been lost, many towns had
been depopulated, and vast tracts of the country made desolate by those
ravages that never fail to characterize civil contentions.
In after-years, under the empire, the rights of Roman citizenship, which
the most of the Italians had now so hardly won, were extended to all the
free inhabitants of the various provinces, beyond the confines of Italy
(see p. 327).
THE CIVIL WAR OF MARIUS AND SULLA.--The Social War was not yet ended when
a formidable enemy appeared in the East. Mithridates the Great, king of
Pontus (see p. 170, note), taking advantage of the distracted condition of
the republic, had encroached upon the Roman provinces in Asia Minor, and
had caused a general massacre of the Italian traders and residents in that
country. The number of victims of this wholesale slaughter has been
variously estimated at from 80,000 to 150,000. The Roman Senate instantly
A contest straightway arose between Marius and Sulla for the command of
the forces. The sword settled the dispute. Sulla, at the head of the
legions he commanded, marched upon Rome, entered the gates, and "for the
first time in the annals of the city a Roman army encamped within the
walls." The party of Marius was defeated, and he and ten of his companions
were proscribed. Marius escaped and fled to Africa; Sulla embarked with
the legions to meet Mithridates in the East (87 B.C.).
THE WANDERINGS OF MARIUS: HIS RETURN TO ITALY.--Leaving Sulla to carry on
the Mithridatic War, we must first follow the fortunes of the outlawed
Marius. The ship in which he embarked for Africa was driven back upon the
Italian coast at Circeii, and he was captured. A Cimbrian slave was sent
to despatch him in prison. The cell where Marius lay was dark, and the
eyes of the old soldier "seemed to flash fire." As the slave advanced,
Marius shouted, "Man, do you dare to kill Caius Marius?" The frightened
slave dropped his sword, and fled from the chamber, half dead with fear.
A better feeling now took possession of the captors of Marius, and they
resolved that the blood of the "Saviour of Italy" should not be upon their
hands. They put him aboard a vessel, which bore him and his friends to an
island just off the coast of Africa. When he attempted to set foot upon
the mainland near Carthage, Sextius, the Roman governor of the province,
sent a messenger to forbid him to land. The legend says that the old
general, almost choking with indignation, only answered, "Go, tell your
master, that you have seen Marius a fugitive sitting amidst the ruins of
A successful move of his friends at Rome brought Marius back to the
capital. He now took a terrible revenge upon his enemies. The consul
Octavius was assassinated, and his head set up in front of the Rostrum.
Never before had such a thing been seen at Rome--a consul's head exposed
to the public gaze. The senators, equestrians, and leaders of the Optimate
party fled from the capital. For five days and nights a merciless
slaughter was kept up. The life of every man in the capital was in the
hands of the revengeful Marius. If he refused to return the greeting of
any citizen, that sealed his fate: he was instantly despatched by the
soldiers who awaited the dictator's nod. The bodies of the victims lay
unburied in the streets. Sulla's house was torn down, and he himself
declared a public enemy.
Rumors were now spread that Sulla, having overthrown Mithridates, was
about to set out on his return with his victorious legions. He would
surely exact speedy and terrible vengeance. Marius, old and enfeebled by
the hardships of many campaigns, seemed to shrink from again facing his
hated rival. He plunged into dissipation to drown his remorse and gloomy
forebodings, and died in his seventy-first year (86 B.C.).
SULLA AND THE MITHRIDATIC WAR.--When Sulla left Italy with his legions for
the East, he knew very well that his enemies would have their own way in
Italy during his absence; but he also knew that, if successful in his
campaign against Mithridates, he could easily regain Italy, and wrest the
government from the hands of the Marian party.
We can here take space to give simply the results of Sulla's campaigns in
the East. After driving the army of Mithridates out of Greece, Sulla
crossed the Hellespont, and forced the king to sue for peace. He gave up
his conquered territory, surrendered his war ships, and paid a large
indemnity to cover the expenses of the war.
With the Mithridatic War ended, Sulla wrote to the Senate, saying that he
was now coming to take vengeance upon the Marian party,--his own and the
The terror and consternation produced at Rome by this letter were
increased by the accidental burning of the Capitol. The Sibylline books,
which held the secrets of the fate of Rome, were consumed. Such an event,
it was believed, could only foreshadow the most direful calamities to the
THE PROSCRIPTIONS OF SULLA.--The returning army from the East landed in
Italy. With his veteran legions at his back, Sulla marched into Rome with
all the powers of a dictator. The leaders of the Marian party were
proscribed, rewards were offered for their heads, and their property was
confiscated. Sulla was implored to make out a list of those he designed to
put to death, that those he intended to spare might be relieved of the
terrible suspense in which all were now held. He made out a list of
eighty, which was attached to the Rostrum. The people murmured at the
length of the roll. In a few days it was extended to over three hundred,
and grew rapidly, until it included the names of thousands of the best
citizens of Italy. Hundreds were murdered, not for any offence, but
because some favorites of Sulla coveted their estates. A wealthy noble
coming into the Forum, and reading his own name in the list of the
proscribed, exclaimed, "Alas! my villa has proved my ruin." The infamous
Catiline, by having the name of a brother placed upon the fatal roll,
secured his property. Julius C�sar, at this time a mere boy of eighteen,
was proscribed on account of his relationship to Marius; but, upon the
intercession of friends, Sulla spared him: as he did so, however, he said
warningly, and, as the event proved, prophetically, "There is in that boy
many a Marius."
Senators, knights, and wealthy land-owners fell by hundreds and by
thousands; but the poor Italians who had sided with the Marian party were
simply slaughtered by tens of thousands. Nor did the provinces escape. In
Sicily, Spain, and Africa the enemies of the dictator were hunted and
exterminated like noxious animals. It is estimated that the civil war of
Marius and Sulla cost the republic over one hundred and fifty thousand
When Sulla had sated his revenge, he celebrated a splendid triumph at
Rome, and the Senate enacted a law declaring all that he had done legal
and right, caused to be erected in the Forum a gilded equestrian statue of
the dictator, which bore the legend, "To Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the
Commander Beloved by Fortune," and made him dictator for life. Sulla used
his position and influence in recasting the constitution in the interest
of the aristocratic party. After enjoying the unlimited power of an
Asiatic despot for three years, he suddenly resigned the dictatorship, and
retired to his villa at Puteoli, where he gave himself up to the grossest
dissipations. He died the year following his abdication (78 B.C.).
THE LAST CENTURY OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC (_concluded_). (133-31 B.C.)
POMPEY THE GREAT IN SPAIN.--The fires of the Civil War, though quenched in
Italy, were still smouldering in Spain. Sertorius, an adherent of Marius,
had there stirred up the martial tribes of Lusitania, and incited a
general revolt against the power of the aristocratic government at Rome.
Cn�us Pompey, a rising young leader of the oligarchy, upon whom the title
of Great had already been conferred as a reward for crushing the Marian
party in Sicily and Africa, was sent into Spain to perform a similar
For several years the war was carried on with varying fortunes. At times
the power of Rome in the peninsula seemed on the verge of utter
extinction. Finally, the brave Sertorius was assassinated, and then the
whole of Spain was quickly regained. Pompey boasted of having forced the
gates of more than eight hundred cities in Spain and Southern Gaul.
Throughout all the conquered regions he established military colonies, and
reorganized the local governments, putting in power those who would be,
not only friends and allies of the Roman state, but also his own personal
adherents. How he used these men as instruments of his ambition, we shall
learn a little later.
SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE GLADIATORS.--While Pompey was subduing the Marian
faction in Spain, a new danger broke out in the midst of Italy.
Gladiatorial combats had become, at this time, the favorite sport of the
amphitheatre. At Capua was a sort of training-school, from which skilled
fighters were hired out for public or private entertainments. In this
seminary was a Thracian slave, known by the name of Spartacus, who incited
his companions to revolt. The insurgents fled to the crater of Vesuvius,
and made that their stronghold. There they were joined by gladiators from
other schools, and by slaves and discontented men from every quarter. Some
slight successes enabled them to arm themselves with the weapons of their
enemies. Their number at length increased to one hundred thousand men. For
three years they defied the power of Rome, and even gained control of the
larger part of Southern Italy. Four Roman armies sent against them were
cut to pieces. But at length Spartacus himself was slain, and the
insurgents were crushed.
The rebellion was punished with Roman severity. The slaves that had taken
part in the revolt were hunted through the mountains and forests, and
exterminated like dangerous beasts. The Appian Way was lined with six
thousand crosses, bearing aloft as many bodies--a terrible warning of the
fate awaiting slaves that should dare to strike for freedom.
THE ABUSES OF VERRES.--Terrible as was the state of society in Italy,
still worse was the condition of affairs outside the peninsula. At first
the rule of the Roman governors in the provinces, though severe, was
honest and prudent. But during the period of profligacy and corruption
upon which we have now entered, the administration of these foreign
possessions was shamefully dishonest and incredibly cruel and rapacious.
The prosecution of Verres, the propr�tor of Sicily, exposed the scandalous
rule of the oligarchy, into whose hands the government had fallen. For
three years Verres plundered and ravaged that island with impunity. He
sold all the offices, and all his decisions as judge. He demanded of the
farmers the greater part of their crops, which he sold, to swell his
already enormous fortune. Agriculture was thus ruined, and the farms were
abandoned. Verres had a taste for art, and when on his tours through the
island confiscated gems, vases, statues, paintings, and other things that
struck his fancy, whether in temples or private dwellings. He even caused
a Roman trader, for a slight offence, to be crucified, "the cross being
set on the beach within sight of Italy, that he might address to his
native shores the ineffectual cry 'I am a Roman citizen.'"
Verres could not be called to account while in office; and it was doubtful
whether, after the end of his term, he could be convicted, so corrupt and
venal had become the members of the Senate, before whom all such offenders
must be tried. Indeed, Verres himself openly boasted that he intended two
thirds of his gains for his judges and lawyers, while the remaining one
third would satisfy himself.
At length, after Sicily had come to look as though it had been ravaged by
barbarian conquerors, the infamous robber was impeached. The prosecutor
was Marcus Tullius Cicero, the brilliant orator, who was at this time just
rising into prominence at Rome. The storm of indignation raised by the
developments of the trial caused Verres to flee into exile to Massilia,
whither he took with him much of his ill-gotten wealth.
WAR WITH THE MEDITERRANEAN PIRATES (66 B.C.).--The Roman republic was now
threatened by a new danger from the sea. The Mediterranean was swarming
with pirates. Roman conquests in Africa, Spain, and especially in Greece
and Asia Minor, had caused thousands of adventurous spirits from those
maritime countries to flee to their ships, and seek a livelihood by
preying upon the commerce of the seas. The cruelty and extortions of the
Roman governors had also driven large numbers to the same course of life.
These corsairs had banded themselves into a sort of government, and held
possession of numerous strongholds--four hundred, it is said--in Cilicia,
Crete, and other countries. With a full thousand swift ships they scoured
the waters of the Mediterranean, so that no merchantman could spread her
sails in safety. They formed a floating empire, which Michelet calls "a
wandering Carthage, which no one knew where to seize, and which floated
from Spain to Asia."
These buccaneers, the Vikings of the South, made descents upon the coast
everywhere, plundered villas and temples, attacked and captured cities,
and sold the inhabitants as slaves in the various slave-markets of the
Roman world. They carried off merchants and magistrates from the Appian
Way itself, and held them for ransom. At last the grain-ships of Sicily
and Africa were intercepted, and Rome was threatened with the alternative
of starvation or the paying of an enormous ransom.
The Romans now bestirred themselves. Pompey was invested with dictatorial
power for three years over the Mediterranean and all its coasts for fifty
miles inland. An armament of five hundred ships and one hundred thousand
men was intrusted to his command. The great general acted with his
characteristic energy. Within forty days he had swept the pirates from the
Western Mediterranean, and in forty-nine more hunted them from all the
waters east of Italy, captured their strongholds in Cilicia, and settled
the twenty thousand prisoners that fell into his hands in various colonies
in Asia Minor and Greece. Pompey's vigorous and successful conduct of this
campaign against the pirates gained him great honor and reputation.
POMPEY AND THE MITHRIDATIC WAR.--In the very year that Pompey suppressed
the pirates (66 B.C.), he was called to undertake a more difficult task.
Mithridates the Great, led on by his ambition and encouraged by the
discontent created throughout the Eastern provinces by Roman rapacity and
misrule, was again in arms against Rome. He had stirred almost all Asia
Minor to revolt. The management of the war was eventually intrusted to
Pompey, whose success in the war of the pirates had aroused unbounded
enthusiasm for him.
In a great battle in Lesser Armenia, Pompey almost annihilated the army of
Mithridates. The king fled from the field, and, after seeking in vain for
a refuge in Asia Minor, sought an asylum beyond the Caucasus Mountains,
whose bleak barriers interposed their friendly shield between him and his
pursuers. Desisting from the pursuit, Pompey turned south and conquered
Syria, Phoenicia, and Coele-Syria, which countries he erected into a Roman
province. Still pushing southward, the conqueror entered Palestine, and
after a short siege captured Jerusalem (63 B.C.).
[Illustration: MITHRIDATES VI. (The Great) ]
While Pompey was thus engaged, Mithridates was straining every energy to
raise an army among the Scythian tribes with which to carry out a most
daring project. He proposed to cross Europe and fall upon Italy from the
north. A revolt on the part of his son Pharnaces ruined all his plans and
hopes; and the disappointed monarch, to avoid falling into the hands of
the Romans, took his own life (63 B.C.). His death removed one of the most
formidable enemies that Rome had ever encountered. Hamilcar, Hannibal, and
Mithridates were the three great names that the Romans always pronounced
with respect and dread.
POMPEY'S TRIUMPH.--After regulating the affairs of the different states
and provinces in the East, Pompey set out on his return to Rome, where he
enjoyed such a triumph as never before had been seen since Rome had become
a city. The spoils of all the East were borne in the procession; 322
princes walked as captives before the triumphal chariot of the conqueror;
legends upon the banners proclaimed that he had conquered 21 kings,
captured 1000 strongholds, 900 towns, and 800 ships, and subjugated more
than 12,000,000 people; and that he had put into the treasury more than
$25,000,000, besides doubling the regular revenues of the state. He
boasted that three times he had triumphed, and each time for the conquest
of a continent--first for Africa, then for Europe, and now for Asia, which
completed the conquest of the world.
THE CONSPIRACY OF CATILINE.--While the legions were absent from Italy with
Pompey in the East, a most daring conspiracy against the government was
formed at Rome. Catiline, a ruined spendthrift, had gathered a large
company of profligate young nobles, weighed down with debt and desperate
like himself, and had deliberately planned to murder the consuls and the
chief men of the state, and to plunder and burn the capital. The offices
of the new government were to be divided among the conspirators. They
depended upon receiving aid from Africa and Spain, and proposed to invite
to their standard the gladiators in the various schools of Italy, as well
as slaves and criminals. The proscriptions of Sulla were to be renewed,
and all debts were to be cancelled.
Fortunately, all the plans of the conspirators were revealed to the consul
Cicero, the great orator. The Senate immediately clothed the consuls with
dictatorial power with the usual formula, that they should take care that
the republic received no harm. The gladiators were secured; the city walls
were manned; and at every point the capital and state were armed against
the "invisible foe." Then in the Senate-chamber, with Catiline himself
present, Cicero exposed the whole conspiracy in a famous philippic, known
as "The First Oration against Catiline." The senators shrank from the
conspirator, and left the seats about him empty. After a feeble effort to
reply to Cicero, overwhelmed by a sense of his guilt, and the cries of
"traitor" and "parricide" from the senators, Catiline fled from the
chamber, and hurried out of the city to the camp of his followers, in
Etruria. In a desperate battle fought near Pistoria (62 B.C.), he was
slain with many of his followers. His head was borne as a trophy to Rome.
Cicero was hailed as the "Saviour of his Country."
C�SAR, CRASSUS, AND POMPEY.--Although the conspiracy of Catiline had
failed, it was very easy to foresee that the downfall of the Roman
republic was near at hand. Indeed, from this time on only the name
remains. The basis of the institutions of the republic--the old Roman
virtue, integrity, patriotism, and faith in the gods--was gone, having
been swept away by the tide of luxury, selfishness, and immorality
produced by the long series of foreign conquests and robberies in which
the Roman people had been engaged. The days of liberty at Rome were over.
From this time forward the government was really in the hands of ambitious
and popular leaders, or of corrupt combinations and "rings." Events gather
about a few great names, and the annals of the republic become
biographical rather than historical.
There were now in the state three men--C�sar, Crassus, and Pompey--who
were destined to shape affairs. Caius Julius C�sar was born in the year
100 B.C. Although descended from an old patrician family, still his
sympathies, and an early marriage to the daughter of Cinna, one of the
adherents of Marius, led him early to identify himself with the Marian, or
democratic party. In every way C�sar courted public favor. He lavished
enormous sums upon public games and tables. His debts are said to have
amounted to 25,000,000 sesterces ($1,250,000). His popularity was
unbounded. A successful campaign in Spain had already made known to
himself, as well as to others, his genius as a commander.
Crassus belonged to the senatorial, or aristocratic party. He owed his
influence to his enormous wealth, being one of the richest men in the
Roman world. His property was estimated at 7100 talents (about
With Pompey and his achievements we are already familiar. His influence
throughout the Roman world was great; for, in settling and reorganizing
the many countries he subdued, he had always taken care to reconstruct
them in his own interest, as well as in that of the republic. The offices,
as we have seen, were filled with his friends and adherents (see p. 285).
This patronage had secured for him incalculable authority in the
provinces. His veteran legionaries, too, were naturally devoted to the
general who had led them so often to victory.
THE FIRST TRIUMVIRATE.--What is known as the First Triumvirate rested on
the genius of C�sar, the wealth of Crassus, and the achievements of
Pompey. It was a coalition or private arrangement entered into by these
three men for the purpose of securing to themselves the control of public
affairs. Each pledged himself to work for the interests of the others.
C�sar was the manager of the "ring," and through the aid of his colleagues
secured the consulship (59 B.C.).
C�SAR'S CONQUESTS IN GAUL AND BRITAIN.--At the end of his consulship, the
administration of the provinces of Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul was
assigned to C�sar. Already he was revolving in his mind plans for seizing
supreme power. Beyond the Alps the Gallic and Germanic tribes were in
restless movement. He saw there a grand field for military exploits, which
should gain for him such glory and prestige as, in other fields, had been
won and were now enjoyed by Pompey. With this achieved, and with a veteran
army devoted to his interests, he might hope easily to attain that
position at the head of affairs towards which his ambition was urging him.
In the spring of 58 B.C. alarming intelligence from beyond the Alps caused
C�sar to hasten from Rome into Transalpine Gaul. Now began a series of
eight brilliant campaigns directed against the various tribes of Gaul,
Germany, and Britain. In his _Commentaries_ C�sar himself has left us
a faithful and graphic account of all the memorable marches, battles, and
sieges that filled the years between 58 and 50 B.C. The year 55 B.C.
marked two great achievements. Early in the spring of this year C�sar
constructed a bridge across the Rhine, and led his legions against the
Germans in their native woods and swamps. In the autumn of the same year
he crossed, by means of hastily constructed ships, the channel that
separates the mainland from Britain, and after maintaining a foothold upon
that island for two weeks withdrew his legions into Gaul for the winter.
The following season he made another invasion of Britain; but, after some
encounters with the fierce barbarians, recrossed to the mainland without
having established any permanent garrisons in the island. Almost one
hundred years passed away before the natives of Britain were again
molested by the Romans (see p. 311).
In the year 52 B.C., while C�sar was absent in Italy, a general revolt
occurred among the Gallic tribes. It was a last desperate struggle for the
recovery of their lost independence. Vercingetorix, chief of the Arverni,
was the leader of the insurrection. For a time it seemed as though the
Romans would be driven from the country. But C�sar's despatch and military
genius saved the province to the republic.
In his campaigns in Gaul, C�sar had subjugated three hundred tribes,
captured eight hundred cities, and slain a million of barbarians--one
third of the entire population of the country. Another third he had taken
prisoners. Great enthusiasm was aroused at Rome by these victories. "Let
the Alps now sink," exclaimed Cicero: "the gods raised them to shelter
Italy from the barbarians: they are now no longer needed."
RESULTS OF THE GALLIC WARS.--The most important result of the Gallic wars
of C�sar was the Romanizing of Gaul. The country was opened to Roman
traders and settlers, who carried with them the language, customs, and
arts of Italy.
Another result of the conquest was the checking of the migratory movements
of the German tribes, which gave Gr�co-Roman civilization time to become
thoroughly rooted, not only in Gaul, but also in Spain and other lands.
RIVALRY BETWEEN C�SAR AND POMPEY: C�SAR CROSSES THE RUBICON.--While C�sar
was in the midst of his Transalpine wars, Crassus was leading an army
against the Parthians, hoping to rival there the brilliant conquests of
C�sar in Gaul. But his army was almost annihilated by the Parthian
cavalry, and he himself was slain (54 B.C.). His captors, so it is said,
poured molten gold down his throat, that he might be sated with the metal
which he had so coveted during life. In the death of Crassus, C�sar lost
his stanchest friend, one who had never failed him, and whose wealth had
been freely used for his advancement.
The world now belonged to C�sar and Pompey. That the insatiable ambition
of these two rivals should sooner or later bring them into collision was
inevitable. Their alliance in the triumvirate was simply one of selfish
convenience, not of friendship. While C�sar was carrying on his campaigns
in Gaul, Pompey was at Rome watching jealously the growing reputation of
his great rival. He strove, by a princely liberality, to win the
affections of the common people. On the Field of Mars he erected an
immense theatre with seats for forty thousand spectators. He gave
magnificent games, and set public tables; and when the interest of the
people in the sports of the Circus flagged, he entertained them with
gladiatorial combats. In a similar manner C�sar strengthened himself with
the people for the struggle which he plainly foresaw. He sought in every
way to ingratiate himself with the Gauls; increased the pay of his
soldiers; conferred the privileges of Roman citizenship upon the
inhabitants of different cities in his province; and sent to Rome enormous
sums of gold to be expended in the erection of temples, theatres, and
other public structures, and in the celebration of games and shows that
should rival in magnificence those given by Pompey.
The terrible condition of affairs at the capital favored the ambition of
Pompey. So selfish and corrupt were the members of the Senate, so dead to
all virtue and to every sentiment of patriotism were the people, that even
such patriots as Cato and Cicero saw no hope for the maintenance of the
republic. The former favored the appointment of Pompey as sole consul for
one year, which was about the same thing as making him dictator. "It is
better," said Cato, "to choose a master than to wait for the tyrant whom
anarchy will impose upon us." The "tyrant" in his and everybody's mind was
Pompey now broke with C�sar, and attached himself again to the old
aristocratic party, which he had deserted for the alliance and promises of
the triumvirate. The death at this time of his wife Julia, the daughter of
C�sar, severed the bonds of relationship at the same moment that those of
ostensible friendship were broken.
The Senate, hostile to C�sar, now issued a decree that he should resign
his office, and disband his Gallic legions by a stated day. The crisis had
now come. C�sar ordered his legions to hasten from Gaul into Italy.
Without waiting for their arrival, at the head of a small body of veterans
that he had with him at Ravenna, he crossed the Rubicon, a little stream
that marked the boundary of his province. This was a declaration of war.
As he plunged into the river, he exclaimed, "The die is cast."
THE CIVIL WAR OF C�SAR AND POMPEY (49-48 B.C.).--The bold movement of
C�sar produced great consternation at Rome. Realizing the danger of delay,
C�sar, without waiting for the Gallic legions to join him, marched
southward. One city after another threw open its gates to him; legion
after legion went over to his standard. Pompey and the Senate hastened
from Rome to Brundisium, and thence, with about twenty-five thousand men,
fled across the Adriatic into Greece. Within sixty days C�sar made himself
undisputed master of all Italy.
Pompey and C�sar now controlled the Roman world. It was large, but not
large enough for both these ambitious men. As to which was likely to
become sole master, it were difficult for one watching events at that time
to foresee. C�sar held Italy, Illyricum, and Gaul, with the resources of
his own genius and the idolatrous attachment of his soldiers; Pompey
controlled Spain, Africa, Sicily, Sardinia, Greece, and the provinces of
Asia, with the prestige of his great name and the indefinite resources of
C�sar's first care was to pacify Italy. His moderation and prudence won
all classes to his side. Many had looked to see the terrible scenes of the
days of Marius and Sulla re-enacted. C�sar, however, soon gave assurance
that life and property should be held sacred. He needed money; but, to
avoid laying a tax upon the people, he asked for the treasure kept beneath
the Capitol. Legend declared that this gold was the actual ransom-money
which Brennus had demanded of the Romans, and which Camillus had saved by
his timely appearance (see p. 241). It was esteemed sacred, and was never
to be used save in case of another Gallic invasion. When C�sar attempted
to get possession of the treasure, the tribune Metellus prevented him; but
C�sar impatiently brushed him aside, saying, "The fear of a Gallic
invasion is over: I have subdued the Gauls."
With order restored in Italy, C�sar's next movement was to gain control of
the wheat-fields of Sicily, Sardinia, and Africa. A single legion brought
over Sardinia without resistance to the side of C�sar. Cato, the
lieutenant of Pompey, fled from before Curio out of Sicily. In Africa,
however, the lieutenant of C�sar sustained a severe defeat, and the
Pompeians held their ground there until the close of the war. C�sar,
meanwhile, had subjugated Spain. In forty days the entire peninsula was
brought under his authority. Massilia had ventured to close her gates
against the conqueror; but a brief siege forced the city to capitulate.
C�sar was now free to turn his forces against Pompey in the East.
THE BATTLE OF PHARSALUS (48 B.C.).--From Brundisium C�sar embarked his
legions for Epirus. The armies of the rivals met upon the plains of
Pharsalia, in Thessaly. The adherents of Pompey were so confident of an
easy victory that they were already disputing about the offices at Rome,
and were renting the most eligible houses fronting the public squares of
the capital. The battle was at length joined. It proved Pompey's Waterloo.
His army was cut to pieces. He himself fled from the field, and escaped to
Egypt. Just as he was landing there, he was assassinated.
The head of the great general was severed from his body; and when C�sar,
who was pressing after Pompey in hot pursuit, landed in Egypt, the bloody
trophy was brought to him. He turned from the sight with generous tears.
It was no longer the head of his rival, but of his old associate and son-
in-law. He ordered the assassins to be executed, and directed that fitting
obsequies should be performed over the body.
CLOSE OF THE CIVIL WAR.--C�sar was detained at Alexandria nine months in
settling a dispute respecting the throne of Egypt. After a severe contest
he overthrew the reigning Ptolemy, and secured the kingdom to the
celebrated Cleopatra and a younger brother. Intelligence was now brought
from Asia Minor that Pharnaces, son of Mithridates the Great, was inciting
a revolt among the peoples of that region. C�sar met the Pontic king at
Zela, defeated him, and in five days put an end to the war. His laconic
message to the Senate, announcing his victory, is famous. It ran thus:
_Veni, vidi, vici_,--"I came, I saw, I conquered."
C�sar now hurried back to Italy, and thence proceeded to Africa, which the
friends of the old republic had made their last chief rallying-place. At
the great battle of Thapsus (46 B.C.) they were crushed. Fifty thousand
lay dead upon the field. Cato, who had been the very life and soul of the
army, refusing to outlive the republic, took his own life.
C�SAR'S TRIUMPH.--C�sar was now virtually lord of the Roman world.
Although he refrained from assuming the title of king, no Eastern monarch
was ever possessed of more absolute power, or surrounded by more abject
flatterers and sycophants. He was invested with all the offices and
dignities of the state. The Senate made him perpetual dictator, and
conferred upon him the powers of censor, consul, and tribune, with the
titles of Pontifex Maximus and Imperator (whence Emperor). "He was to sit
in a golden chair in the Senate-house, his image was to be borne in the
procession of the gods, and the seventh month of the year was changed in
his honor from Quintilis to Julius [whence our July]."
His triumph celebrating his many victories far eclipsed in magnificence
anything that Rome had before witnessed. In the procession were led
captive princes from all parts of the world. Beneath his standards marched
soldiers gathered out of almost every country beneath the heavens.
Seventy-five million dollars of treasure were displayed. Splendid games
and tables attested the liberality of the conqueror. Sixty thousand
couches were set for the multitudes. The shows of the theatre and the
combats of the arena followed one another in an endless round. "Above the
combats of the amphitheatre floated for the first time the awning of silk,
the immense velarium of a thousand colors, woven from the rarest and
richest products of the East, to protect the people from the sun"
C�SAR AS A STATESMAN.--C�sar was great as a general, yet greater, if
possible, as a statesman. The measures which he instituted evince profound
political sagacity and surprising breadth of view. He sought to reverse
the jealous and narrow policy of Rome in the past, and to this end rebuilt
both Carthage and Corinth, and founded numerous colonies in all the
different provinces, in which he settled about one hundred thousand of the
poorer citizens of the capital. Upon some of the provincials he conferred
full Roman citizenship, and upon others Latin rights (see p. 246, note),
and thus strove to blend the varied peoples and races within the
boundaries of the empire in a real nationality, with community of
interests and sympathies. He reformed the calendar so as to bring the
festivals once more in their proper seasons, and provided against further
confusion by making the year consist of 365 days, with an added day for
every fourth or leap year.
Besides these achievements, C�sar projected many vast undertakings, which
the abrupt termination of his life prevented his carrying into execution.
Among these was his projected conquest of the Parthians and the Germans.
He proposed, in revenge for the defeat and death of his friend Crassus, to
break to pieces the Parthian empire; then, sweeping with an army around
above the Euxine, to destroy the dreaded hordes of Scythia; and then,
falling upon the German tribes in the rear, to crush their power forever,
and thus relieve the Roman empire of their constant threat. He was about
to set out on the expedition against the Parthians, when he was struck
down by assassins.
THE DEATH OF C�SAR.--C�sar had his bitter personal enemies, who never
ceased to plot his downfall. There were, too, sincere lovers of the old
republic, who longed to see restored the liberty which the conqueror had
overthrown. The impression began to prevail that C�sar was aiming to make
himself king. A crown was several times offered him in public by Mark
Antony; but, seeing the manifest displeasure of the people, he each time
pushed it aside. Yet there is no doubt that secretly he desired it. It was
reported that he proposed to rebuild the walls of Troy, whence the Roman
race had sprung, and make that ancient capital the seat of the new Roman
empire. Others professed to believe that the arts and charms of the
Egyptian Cleopatra, who had borne him a son at Rome, would entice him to
make Alexandria the centre of the proposed kingdom. So many, out of love
for Rome and the old republic, were led to enter into a conspiracy against
the life of C�sar with those who sought to rid themselves of the dictator
for other and personal reasons.
The Ides (the 15th day) of March, 44 B.C., upon which day the Senate
convened, witnessed the assassination. Seventy or eighty conspirators,
headed by Cassius and Brutus, both of whom had received special favors
from the hands of C�sar, were concerned in the plot. The soothsayers must
have had some knowledge of the plans of the conspirators, for they had
warned C�sar to "beware of the Ides of March." On his way to the Senate-
meeting that day, a paper warning him of his danger was thrust into his
hand; but, not suspecting its urgent nature, he did not open it. As he
entered the assembly chamber he observed the astrologer Spurinna, and
remarked carelessly to him, referring to his prediction, "The Ides of
March have come." "Yes," replied Spurinna, "but not gone."
No sooner had C�sar taken his seat than the conspirators crowded about him
as if to present a petition. Upon a signal from one of their number their
daggers were drawn. For a moment C�sar defended himself; but seeing
Brutus, upon whom he had lavished gifts and favors, among the
conspirators, he exclaimed reproachfully, _Et tu, Brute!_--"Thou, too,
Brutus!" drew his mantle over his face, and received unresistingly their
further thrusts. Pierced with twenty-three wounds, he sank dead at the
foot of Pompey's statue.
FUNERAL ORATION by MARK ANTONY.--The conspirators, or "liberators," as
they called themselves, had thought that the Senate would confirm, and the
people applaud, their act. But both people and senators, struck with
consternation, were silent. Men's faces grew pale as they recalled the
proscriptions of Sulla, and saw in the assassination of C�sar the first
act in a similar reign of terror. As the conspirators issued from the
assembly hall, and entered the Forum, holding aloft their bloody daggers,
instead of the expected acclamations they were met by an ominous silence.
The liberators hastened for safety to the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus,
going thither ostensibly for the purpose of giving thanks for the death of
Upon the day set for the funeral ceremonies, Mark Antony, the trusted
friend and secretary of C�sar, mounted the rostrum in the Forum to deliver
the usual funeral oration. He recounted the great deeds of C�sar, the
glory he had conferred upon the Roman name, dwelt upon his liberality and
his munificent bequests to the people--even to some who were now his
murderers; and, when he had wrought the feelings of the multitude to the
highest tension, he raised the robe of C�sar, and showed the rents made by
the daggers of the assassins. C�sar had always been beloved by the people
and idolized by his soldiers. They were now driven almost to frenzy with
grief and indignation. Seizing weapons and torches, they rushed through
the streets, vowing vengeance upon the conspirators. The liberators,
however, escaped from the fury of the mob, and fled from Rome, Brutus and
Cassius seeking refuge in Greece.
[Illustration: MARK ANTONY.]
THE SECOND TRIUMVIRATE.--Antony had gained possession of the will and
papers of C�sar, and now, under color of carrying out the testament of the
dictator, according to a decree of the Senate, entered upon a course of
high-handed usurpation. He was aided in his designs by Lepidus, one of
C�sar's old lieutenants. Very soon he was exercising all the powers of a
real dictator. "The tyrant is dead," said Cicero, "but the tyranny still
lives." This was a bitter commentary upon the words of Brutus, who, as he
drew his dagger from the body of C�sar, turned to Cicero, and exclaimed,
"Rejoice, O Father of your Country, for Rome is free." Rome could not be
free, the republic could not be reestablished because the old love for
virtue and liberty had died out from among the people--had been
overwhelmed by the rising tide of vice, corruption, sensuality, and
irreligion that had set in upon the capital.
[Illustration: JULIUS C�SAR. (From a Bust in the Museum of the Louvre.)]
To what length Antony would have gone in his career of usurpation it is
difficult to say, had he not been opposed at this point by Caius Octavius,
the grand-nephew of Julius C�sar, and the one whom he had named in his
will as his heir and successor. Upon the Senate declaring in favor of
Octavius, civil war immediately broke out between him and Antony and
Lepidus. After several indecisive battles between the forces of the rival
competitors, Octavius proposed to Antony and Lepidus a reconciliation. The
three met on a small island in the Rhenus, a little stream in Northern
Italy, and there formed a league known as the Second Triumvirate (43
The plans of the triumvirs were infamous. They first divided the world
among themselves: Octavius was to have the government of the West; Antony,
that of the East; while to Lepidus fell the control of Africa. A general
proscription, such as had marked the coming to power of Sulla (see p.