Young Folks' History of Rome
by Charlotte Mary Yonge
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This sketch of the History of Rome covers the period till the reign of Charles the Great as head of the new Western Empire. The history has been given as briefly as could be done consistently with such details as can alone make it interesting to all classes of readers.




1.—Italy 13

2.—The Wanderings of AEneas 21

3.—The Founding of Rome. B.C. 753-713 31

4.—Numa and Tullus. B.C. 713-618 39

5.—The Driving Out of the Tarquins. B.C. 578-309 47

6.—The War with Porsena 55

7.—The Roman Government 66

8.—Menenius Agrippa's Fable. B.C. 494 74

9.—Coriolanus and Cincinnatus. B.C. 458 84

10.—The Decemvirs. B.C. 450 92

11.—Camillus' Banishment 101

12.—The Sack of Rome. B.C. 390 110

13.—The Plebeian Consulate. B.C. 367 119

14.—The Devotion of Decius. B.C. 357 127

15.—The Samnite Wars 135

16.—The War with Pyrrhus. 280-271 144

17.—The First Punic War. 264-240 151

18.—Conquest of Cisalpine Gaul. 240-219 163

19.—The Second Punic War. 219 172

20. The First Eastern War. 215-183 181

21.—The Conquest of Greece, Corinth, and Carthage. 179-145 188

22.—The Gracchi. 137-122 195

23.—The Wars of Marius. 106-98 203

24.—The Adventures of Marius. 93-84 212

25.—Sulla's Proscription. 88-71 220

26.—The Career of Pompeius. 70-63 229

27.—Pompeius and Caesar. 61-48 242

28.—Julius Caesar. 48-44 252

29.—The Second Triumvirate. 44-33 263

30.—Caesar Augustus. B.C. 33 A.D. 14 273

31.—Tiberius and Caligula. A.D. 14-41 285

32.—Claudius and Nero. A.D. 41-68 297

33.—The Flavian Family. 62-96 305

34.—The Age of the Antonines. 96-194 317

35.—The Praetorian Influence. 197-284 326

36.—The Division of the Empire. 284-312 337

37.—Constantine the Great. 312-337 345

38.—Constantius. 337-364 355

39.—Valentinian and his Family. 364-392 364

40.—Theodosius the Great. 392-395 374

41.—Alaric the Goth. 395-410 383

42.—The Vandals. 403 394

43.—Attila the Hun. 435-457 404

44.—Theodoric the Ostrogoth. 457-561 416

45.—Belisarius. 533-563 425

46.—Pope Gregory the Great. 563-800 434


The Pope's Doortender. (Frontispiece.) PAGE.

The Tiber 14

Curious Pottery 15

Jupiter 17

The Coast 23

Mount Etna 25

Carthage 28

Roman Soldier 30

Gladiatorial Shows at a Banquet 34

The Forum 37

Janus 41

Actors 45

Sybil's Cave 50

Brutus condemning his sons 57

Roman Ensigns, Standards, Trumpets etc. 63

Head of Jupiter 68

Female Costumes 70

Female Costumes 71

Senatorial Palace 79

View of a Roman Harbor 81

Roman Camp 87

Ploughing 89

Death of Virginia 95

Chariot Races 98

Arrow Machine 102

Siege Machine 105

Ruins of the Forum at Rome 111

Entry of the Forum Romanum by the Via Sacra 117

Costumes 120

Costume 121

Curtius leaping into the Gulf 125

The Apennines 129

Combat between a Mirmillo and a Samnite 137

Combat between a light armed Gladiator and a Samnite 137

Ancient Rome 141

Pyrrhus 145

Roman Orator 147

Roman Ship 153

Roman Order of Battle 159

The wounded Gaul 165

Hannibal's Vow 168

In the Pyrenees 170

Meeting of Hannibal and Scipio at Zama 173

Archimedes 178

Hannibal 184

Corinth 190

Cornelia and her Sons 196

Roman Centurion 201

Marius 205

One of the Trophies, called of Marius, at the Capitol at Rome 207

The Catapult 215

Island on the Coast 217

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence 223

Cornelius Sulla 225

Coast of Tyre 231

Mountains of Armenia 235

Cicero 238

Colossal Statue of Pompeius of the Palazzo Spada of Rome 239

Pompeius 243

Amphitheatre 246

The Arena 247

Julius Caesar 253

Cato 254

Funeral Solemnities in the Columbarium of the House of Julius Caesar at the Porta Capena in Rome 255

Marcus Antonius 265

Marcus Brutus 268

Alexandria 270

Caius Octavius 272

Statue of Augustus at the Vatican 275

Paintings in the House of Livia 281

Ruins of the Palaces of Tiberius 287

Agrippina 290

Rome in the time of Augustus Caesar 293

Claudius 298

Nero 301

Arch of Titus 308

Vesuvius previous to the Eruption of A.D. 63 311

Persecution of the Christians 314

Coin of Nero 316

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina 319

Marcus Aurelius 325

Septimus Severus 327

Antioch 328

Alexander Severus 329

Temple of the Sun at Palmyra 332

The Catacombs at Rome 333

Coin of Severus 336

Diocletian 338

Diocletian in Retirement 341

Constantine the Great 343

Constantinople 347

Council of Nicea 349

Catacombs 352

Julian 357

Arch of Constantine 361

Alexandria 365

Goths 367

Convent on the Hills 372

Julian Alps 375

Roman Hall of Justice 377

Colonnades of St. Peter at Rome 385

Alaric's Burial 391

Roman Clock 396

Spanish Coast 398

Vandals plundering 401

Pyramids and Sphynx, Egypt 403

Hunnish Camp 405

St. Mark's, Venice 409

The Pope's House 413

Romulus Augustus resigns the Crown 419

Illustration 423

Naples 427

Constantinople 429

Pope Gregory the Great 435

The Pope's Pulpit 437

Battle of Tours 441




I am going to tell you next about the most famous nation in the world. Going westward from Greece another peninsula stretches down into the Mediterranean. The Apennine Mountains run like a limb stretching out of the Alps to the south eastward, and on them seems formed that land, shaped somewhat like a leg, which is called Italy.

Round the streams that flowed down from these hills, valleys of fertile soil formed themselves, and a great many different tribes and people took up their abode there, before there was any history to explain their coming. Putting together what can be proved about them, it is plain, however, that most of them came of that old stock from which the Greeks descended, and to which we belong ourselves, and they spoke a language which had the same root as ours and as the Greek. From one of these nations the best known form of this, as it was polished in later times, was called Latin, from the tribe who spoke it.

About the middle of the peninsula there runs down, westward from the Apennines, a river called the Tiber, flowing rapidly between seven low hills, which recede as it approaches the sea. One, in especial, called the Palatine Hill, rose separately, with a flat top and steep sides, about four hundred yards from the river, and girdled in by the other six. This was the place where the great Roman power grew up from beginnings, the truth of which cannot now be discovered.

There were several nations living round these hills—the Etruscans, Sabines, and Latins being the chief. The homes of these nations seem to have been in the valleys round the spurs of the Apennines, where they had farms and fed their flocks; but above them was always the hill which they had fortified as strongly as possible, and where they took refuge if their enemies attacked them. The Etruscans built very mighty walls, and also managed the drainage of their cities wonderfully well. Many of their works remain to this day, and, in especial, their monuments have been opened, and the tomb of each chief has been found, adorned with figures of himself, half lying, half sitting; also curious pottery in red and black, from which something of their lives and ways is to be made out. They spoke a different language from what has become Latin, and they had a different religion, believing in one great Soul of the World, and also thinking much of rewards and punishments after death. But we know hardly anything about them, except that their chiefs were called Lucumos, and that they once had a wide power which they had lost before the time of history. The Romans called them Tusci, and Tuscany still keeps its name.

The Latins and the Sabines were more alike, and also more like the Greeks. There were a great many settlements of Greeks in the southern parts of Italy, and they learnt something from them. They had a great many gods. Every house had its own guardian. These were called Lares, or Penates, and were generally represented as little figures of dogs lying by the hearth, or as brass bars with dogs' heads. This is the reason that the bars which close in an open hearth are still called dogs. Whenever there was a meal in the house the master began by pouring out wine to the Lares, and also to his own ancestors, of whom he kept figures; for these natives thought much of their families, and all one family had the same name, like our surname, such as Tullius or Appius, the daughters only changing it by making it end in a instead of us, and the men having separate names standing first, such as Marcus or Lucius, though their sisters were only numbered to distinguish them.

Each city had a guardian spirit, each stream its nymph, each wood its faun; also there were gods to whom the boundary stones of estates were dedicated. There was a goddess of fruits called Pomona, and a god of fruits named Vertumnus. In their names the fields and the crops were solemnly blest, and all were sacred to Saturn. He, according to the old legends, had first taught husbandry, and when he reigned in Italy there was a golden age, when every one had his own field, lived by his own handiwork, and kept no slaves. There was a feast in honor of this time every year called the Saturnalia, when for a few days the slaves were all allowed to act as if they were free, and have all kinds of wild sports and merriment. Afterwards, when Greek learning came in, Saturn was mixed up with the Greek Kronos, or Time, who devours his offspring, and the reaping-hook his figures used to carry for harvest became Time's scythe. The sky-god, Zeus or Deus Pater (or father), was shortened into Jupiter; Juno was his wife, and Mars was god of war, and in Greek times was supposed to be the same as Ares; Pallas Athene was joined with the Latin Minerva; Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, was called Vesta; and, in truth, we talk of the Greek gods by their Latin names. The old Greek tales were not known to the Latins in their first times, but only afterwards learnt from the Greeks. They seem to have thought of their gods as graver, higher beings, further off, and less capricious and fanciful than the legends about the weather had made them seem to the Greeks. Indeed, these Latins were a harder, tougher, graver, fiercer, more business-like race altogether than the Greeks; not so clever, thoughtful, or poetical, but with more of what we should now call sterling stuff in them.

At least so it was with that great nation which spoke their language, and seems to have been an offshoot from them. Rome, the name of which is said to mean the famous, is thought to have been at first a cluster of little villages, with forts to protect them on the hills, and temples in the forts. Jupiter had a temple on the Capitoline Hill, with cells for his worship, and that of Juno and Minerva; and the two-faced Janus, the god of gates, had his upon the Janicular Hill. Besides these, there were the Palatine, the Esquiline, the Aventine, the Caelian, and the Quirinal. The people of these villages called themselves Quirites, or spearmen, when they formed themselves into an army and made war on their neighbors, the Sabines and Latins, and by-and-by built a wall enclosing all the seven hills, and with a strip of ground within, free from houses, where sacrifices were offered and omens sought for.

The history of these people was not written till long after they had grown to be a mighty and terrible power, and had also picked up many Greek notions. Then they seem to have made their history backwards, and worked up their old stories and songs to explain the names and customs they found among them, and the tales they told were formed into a great history by one Titus Livius. It is needful to know these stories which every one used to believe to be really history; so we will tell them first, beginning, however, with a story told by the poet Virgil.



You remember in the Greek history the burning of Troy, and how Priam and all his family were cut off. Among the Trojans there was a prince called AEneas, whose father was Anchises, a cousin of Priam, and his mother was said to be the goddess Venus. When he saw that the city was lost, he rushed back to his house, and took his old father Anchises on his back, giving him his Penates, or little images of household gods, to take care of, and led by the hand his little son Iulus, or Ascanius, while his wife Creusa followed close behind, and all the Trojans who could get their arms together joined him, so that they escaped in a body to Mount Ida; but just as they were outside the city he missed poor Creusa, and though he rushed back and searched for her everywhere, he never could find her. For the sake of his care for his gods, and for his old father, he is always known as the pious AEneas.

In the forests of Mount Ida he built ships enough to set forth with all his followers in quest of the new home which his mother, the goddess Venus, gave him hopes of. He had adventures rather like those of Ulysses as he sailed about the Mediterranean. Once in the Strophades, some clusters belonging to the Ionian Islands, when he and his troops had landed to get food, and were eating the flesh of the numerous goats which they found climbing about the rocks, down on them came the harpies, horrible birds with women's faces and hooked hands, with which they snatched away the food and spoiled what they could not eat. The Trojans shot at them, but the arrows glanced off their feathers and did not hurt them. However, they all flew off except one, who sat on a high rock, and croaked out that the Trojans would be punished for thus molesting the harpies by being tossed about till they should reach Italy, but there they should not build their city till they should have been so hungry as to eat their very trenchers.

They sailed away from this dismal prophetess, and touched on the coast of Epirus, where AEneas found his cousin Helenus, son to old Priam, reigning over a little new Troy, and married to Andromache, Hector's wife, whom he had gained after Pyrrhus had been killed. Helenus was a prophet, and gave AEneas much advice. In especial he said that when the Trojans should come to Italy, they would find, under the holly-trees by the river side, a large white old sow lying on the ground, with a litter of thirty little pigs round her, and this should be a sign to them where they were to build their city.

By his advice the Trojans coasted round the south of Sicily, instead of trying to pass the strait between the dreadful Scylla and Charybdis, and just below Mount Etna an unfortunate man came running down to the beach begging to be taken in. He was a Greek, who had been left behind when Ulysses escaped from Polyphemus' cave, and had made his way to the forests, where he had lived ever since. They had just taken him in when they saw Cyclops coming down, with a pine tree for a staff, to wash the burning hollow of his lost eye in the sea, and they rowed off in great terror.

Poor old Anchises died shortly after, and while his son was still sorrowing for him, Juno, who hated every Trojan, stirred up a terrible tempest, which drove the ships to the south, until, just as the sea began to calm down, they came into a beautiful bay, enclosed by tall cliffs with woods overhanging them. Here the tired wanderers landed, and, lighting a fire, AEneas went in quest of food. Coming out of the forest, they looked down from a hill, and beheld a multitude of people building a city, raising walls, houses, towers, and temples. Into one of these temples AEneas entered, and to his amazement he found the walls sculptured with all the story of the siege of Troy, and all his friends so perfectly represented, that he burst into tears at the sight.

Just then a beautiful queen, attended by a whole troop of nymphs, came into the temple. This lady was Dido; her husband, Sichaeus, had been king of Tyre, till he was murdered by his brother Pygmalion, who meant to have married her, but she fled from him with a band of faithful Tyrians and all her husband's treasure, and had landed on the north coast of Africa. There she begged of the chief of the country as much land as could be enclosed by a bullock's hide. He granted this readily; and Dido, cutting the hide into the finest possible strips, managed to measure off with it ground enough to build the splendid city which she had named Carthage. She received AEneas most kindly, and took all his men into her city, hoping to keep them there for ever, and make him her husband. AEneas himself was so happy there, that he forgot all his plans and the prophecies he had heard, until Jupiter sent Mercury to rouse him to fulfil his destiny. He obeyed the call; and Dido was so wretched at his departure that she caused a great funeral pile to be built, laid herself on the top, and stabbed herself with AEneas' sword; the pile was burnt, and the Trojans saw the flame from their ships without knowing the cause.

By-and-by AEneas landed at a place in Italy named Cumae. There dwelt one of the Sybils. These were wondrous virgins whom Apollo had endowed with deep wisdom; and when AEneas went to consult the Cumaean Sybil, she told him that he must visit the under-world of Pluto to learn his fate. First, however, he had to go into a forest, and find there and gather a golden bough, which he was to bear in his hand to keep him safe. Long he sought it, until two doves, his mother's birds, came flying before him to show him the tree where gold gleamed through the boughs, and he found the branch growing on the tree as mistletoe grows on the thorn.

Guarded with this, and guided by the Sybil, after a great sacrifice, AEneas passed into a gloomy cave, where he came to the river Styx, round which flitted all the shades who had never received funeral rites, and whom the ferryman, Charon, would not carry over. The Sybil, however, made him take AEneas across, his boat groaning under the weight of a human body. On the other side stood Cerberus, but the Sybil threw him a cake of honey and of some opiate, and he lay asleep, while AEneas passed on and found in myrtle groves all who had died for love, among them, to his surprise, poor forsaken Dido. A little further on he found the home of the warriors, and held converse with his old Trojan friends. He passed by the place of doom for the wicked, Tartarus; and in the Elysian fields, full of laurel groves and meads of asphodel, he found the spirit of his father Anchises, and with him was allowed to see the souls of all their descendants, as yet unborn, who should raise the glory of their name. They are described on to the very time when the poet wrote to whom we owe all the tale of the wanderings of AEneas, namely, Virgil, who wrote the AEneid, whence all these stories are taken. He further tells us that AEneas landed in Italy just as his old nurse Caieta died, at the place which is still called Gaeta. After they had buried her, they found a grove, where they sat down on the grass to eat, using large round cakes or biscuits to put their meat on. Presently they came to eating up the cakes. Little Ascanius cried out, "We are eating our very tables;" and AEneas, remembering the harpy's words, knew that his wanderings were over.



B.C. 753—713.

Virgil goes on to tell at much length how the king of the country, Latinus, at first made friends with AEneas, and promised him his daughter Lavinia in marriage; but Turnus, an Italian chief who had before been a suitor to Lavinia, stirred up a great war, and was only captured and killed after much hard fighting. However, the white sow was found in the right place with all her little pigs, and on the spot was founded the city of Alba Longa, where AEneas and Lavinia reigned until he died, and his descendants, through his two sons, Ascanius or Iulus, and AEneas Silvius, reigned after him for fifteen generations.

The last of these fifteen was Amulius, who took the throne from his brother Numitor, who had a daughter named Rhea Silvia, a Vestal virgin. In Greece, the sacred fire of the goddess Vesta was tended by good men, but in Italy it was the charge of maidens, who were treated with great honor, but were never allowed to marry under pain of death. So there was great anger when Rhea Silvia became the mother of twin boys, and, moreover, said that her husband was the god Mars. But Mars did not save her from being buried alive, while the two babes were put in a trough on the waters of the river Tiber, there to perish. The river had overflowed its banks, and left the children on dry ground, where, however, they were found by a she-wolf, who fondled and fed them like her own offspring, until a shepherd met with them and took them home to his wife. She called them Romulus and Remus, and bred them up as shepherds.

When the twin brothers were growing into manhood, there was a fight between the shepherds of Numitor and Amulius, in which Romulus and Remus did such brave feats that they were led before Numitor. He enquired into their birth, and their foster-father told the story of his finding them, showing the trough in which they had been laid; and thus it became plain that they were the grandsons of Numitor. On finding this out, they collected an army, with which they drove away Amulius, and brought their grandfather back to Alba Longa.

They then resolved to build a new city for themselves on one of the seven low hills beneath which ran the yellow river Tiber; but they were not agreed on which hill to build, Remus wanting to build on the Aventine Hill, and Romulus on the Palatine. Their grandfather advised them to watch for omens from the gods, so each stood on his hill and watched for birds. Remus was the first to see six vultures flying, but Romulus saw twelve, and therefore the Palatine Hill was made the beginning of the city, and Romulus was chosen king. Remus was affronted, and when the mud wall was being raised around the space intended for the city, he leapt over it and laughed, whereupon Romulus struck him dead, crying out, "So perish all who leap over the walls of my city."

Romulus traced out the form of the city with the plough, and made it almost a square. He called the name of it Rome, and lived in the midst of it in a mud-hovel, covered with thatch, in the midst of about fifty families of the old Trojan race, and a great many young men, outlaws and runaways from the neighboring states, who had joined him. The date of the building of Rome was supposed to be A.D. 753; and the Romans counted their years from it, as the Greeks did from the Olympiads, marking the date A.U.C., anno urbis conditae, the year of the city being built. The youths who joined Romulus could not marry, as no one of the neighboring nations would give his daughter to one of these robbers, as they were esteemed. The nearest neighbors to Rome were the Sabines, and the Romans cast their eyes in vain on the Sabine ladies, till old Numitor advised Romulus to proclaim a great feast in honor of Neptune, with games and dances. All the people in the country round came to it, and when the revelry was at its height each of the unwedded Romans seized on a Sabine maiden and carried her away to his own house. Six hundred and eighty-three girls were thus seized, and the next day Romulus married them all after the fashion ever after observed in Rome. There was a great sacrifice, then each damsel was told, "Partake of your husband's fire and water;" he gave her a ring, and carried her over his threshold, where a sheepskin was spread, to show that her duty would be to spin wool for him, and she became his wife.

Romulus himself won his own wife, Hersilia, among the Sabines on this occasion; but the nation of course took up arms, under their king Tatius, to recover their daughters. Romulus drew out his troops into Campus Martius, or field of Mars, just beneath the Capitol, or great fort on the Saturnian Hill, and marched against the Sabines; but while he was absent, Tarpeia, the daughter of the governor of the little fort he had left on the Saturnian Hill, promised to let the Sabines in on condition they would give her what they wore on their left arms, meaning their bracelets; but they hated her treason even while they took advantage of it, and no sooner were they within the gate than they pelted her with their heavy shields, which they wore on their left arms, and killed her. The cliff on the top of which she died is still called the Tarpeian rock, and criminals were executed by being thrown from the top of it. Romulus tried to regain the Capitol, but the Sabines rolled down stones on the Romans, and he was stunned by one that struck him on the head; and though he quickly recovered and rallied his men, the battle was going against him, when all the Sabine women, who had been nearly two years Roman wives, came rushing out, with their little children in their arms and their hair flying, begging their fathers and husbands not to kill one another. This led to the making of a peace, and it was agreed that the Sabines and Romans should make but one nation, and that Romulus and Tatius should reign together at Rome. Romulus lived on the Palatine Hill, Tatius on the Tarpeian, and the valley between was called the Forum, and was the market-place, and also the spot where all public assemblies were held. All the chief arrangements for war and government were believed by the Romans to have been laws of Romulus. However, after five years, Tatius was murdered at a place called Lavinium, in the middle of a sacrifice, and Romulus reigned alone till in the middle of a great assembly of his soldiers outside the city, a storm of thunder and lightning came on, and every one hurried home, but the king was nowhere to be found; for, as some say, his father Mars had come down in the tempest and carried him away to reign with the gods, while others declared that he was murdered by persons, each of whom carried home a fragment of his body that it might never be found. It matters less which way we tell it, since the story of Romulus was quite as much a fable as that of AEneas; only it must be remembered as the Romans themselves believed it. They worshipped Romulus under the name of Quirinus, and called their chief families Quirites, both words coming from ger (a spear); and the she-wolf and twins were the favorite badge of the empire. The Capitoline Hill, the Palatine, and the Forum all still bear the same names.



B.C.It was understood between the Romans and the Sabines that they should have by turns a king from each nation, and, on the disappearance of Romulus, a Sabine was chosen, named Numa Pompilius, who had been married to Tatia, the daughter of the Sabine king Tatius, but she was dead, and had left one daughter. Numa had, ever since her death, been going about from one grove or fountain sacred to the gods to another offering up sacrifices, and he was much beloved for his gentleness and wisdom. There was a grove near Rome, in a valley, where a fountain gushed forth from the rock; and here Egeria, the nymph of the stream, in the shade of the trees, counselled Numa on his government, which was so wise that he lived at peace with all his neighbors. When the Romans doubted whether it was really a goddess who inspired him, Egeria convinced them, for the next time he had any guests in his house, the earthenware plates with homely fare on them were changed before their eyes into golden dishes with dainty food. Moreover, there was brought from heaven a bronze shield, which was to be carefully kept, since Rome would never fall while it was safe. Numa had eleven other shields like it made and hung in the temple of Mars, and, yearly, a set of men dedicated to the office bore them through the city with songs and dances. Just as all warlike customs were said to have been invented by Romulus, all peaceful and religious ones were held to have sprung from Numa and his Egeria. He was said to have fixed the calendar and invented the names of the months, and to have built an altar to Good Faith to teach the Romans to keep their word to one another and to all nations, and to have dedicated the bounds of each estate to the Dii Termini, or Landmark Gods, in whose honor there was a feast yearly. He also was said to have had such power with Jupiter as to have persuaded him to be content without receiving sacrifices of men and women. In short, all the better things in the Roman system were supposed to be due to the gentle Numa.

At the gate called Janiculum stood a temple to the watchman god Janus, whose figure had two faces, and held the keys, and after whom was named the month January. His temple was always open in time of war, and closed in time of peace. Numa's reign was counted as the first out of only three times in Roman history that it was shut.

Numa was said to have reigned thirty-eight years, and then he gradually faded away, and was buried in a stone coffin outside the Janicular gate, all the books he had written being, by his desire, buried with him. Egeria wept till she became a fountain in her own valley; and so ended what in Roman faith answered to the golden age of Greece.

The next king was of Roman birth, and was named Tullus Hostilius. He was a great warrior, and had a war with the Albans until it was agreed that the two cities should join together in one, as the Romans and Sabines had done before; but there was a dispute which should be the greater city in the league and it was determined to settle it by a combat. In each city there was a family where three sons had been born at a birth, and their mothers were sisters. Both sets were of the same age—fine young men, skilled in weapons; and it was agreed that the six should fight together, the three whose family name was Horatius on the Roman side, the three called Curiatius on the Alban side, and whichever set gained the mastery was to give it to his city.

They fought in the plain between the camps, and very hard was the strife until two of the Horatii were killed and all the three Curiatii were wounded, but the last Horatius was entirely untouched. He began to run, and his cousins pursued him, but at different distances, as one was less hindered by his wound than the others. As soon as the first came up. Horatius slew him, and so the second and the third: as he cut down this last he cried out, "To the glory of Rome I sacrifice thee." As the Alban king saw his champion fall, he turned to Tullus Hostilius and asked what his commands were. "Only to have the Alban youth ready when I need them," said Tullus.

A wreath was set on the victor's head, and, loaded with the spoil of the Curiatii, he was led into the city in triumph. His sister came hurrying to meet him; she was betrothed to one of the Curiatii, and was in agony to know his fate; and when she saw the garment she had spun for him hanging blood-stained over her brother's shoulders, she burst into loud lamentations. Horatius, still hot with fury, struck her dead on the spot, crying, "So perish every Roman who mourns the death of an enemy of his country." Even her father approved the cruel deed, and would not bury her in his family tomb—so stern were Roman feelings, putting the honor of the country above everything. However, Horatius was brought before the king for the murder, and was sentenced to die; but the people entreated that their champion might be spared, and he was only made to pass under what was called the yoke, namely, spears set up like a doorway.

Tullus Hostilius gained several victories over his neighbors, but he was harsh and presuming, and offended the gods, and, when he was using some spell such as good Numa had used to hold converse with Jupiter, the angry god sent lightning and burnt up him and his family. The people then chose Ancus Martins, the son of Numa's daughter, who is said to have ruled in his grandfather's spirit, though he could not avoid wars with the Latins. The first bridge over the Tiber, named the Sublician, was said to have been built by him. In his time there came to Rome a family called Tarquin. Their father was a Corinthian, who had settled in an Etruscan town named Tarquinii, whence came the family name. He was said to have first taught writing in Italy, and, indeed, the Roman letters which we still use are Greek letters made simpler. His eldest son, finding that because of his foreign blood he could rise to no honors in Etruria, set off with his wife Tanaquil, and their little son Lucius Tarquinius, to settle in Rome. Just as they came in sight of Rome, an eagle swooped down from the sky, snatched off little Tarquin's cap, and flew up with it, but the next moment came down again and put it back on his head. On this Tanaquil foretold that her son would be a great king, and he became so famous a warrior when he grew up, that, as the children of Ancus were too young to reign at their father's death, he was chosen king. He is said to have been the first Roman king who wore a purple robe and golden crown, and in the valley between the Palatine and Aventine Hills he made a circus, where games could be held like those of the Greeks; also he placed stone benches and stalls for shops round the Forum, and built a stone wall instead of a mud one round the city. He is commonly called Tarquinus Priscus, or the elder.

There was a fair slave girl in his house, who was offering cakes to Lar, the household spirit, when he appeared to her in bodily form. When she told the king's mother, Tanaquil, she said it was a token that he wanted to marry her, and arrayed her as a bride for him. Of this marriage there sprang a boy called Servius Tullus. When this child lay asleep, bright flames played about his head, and Tanaquil knew he would be great, so she caused her son Tarquin to give him his daughter in marriage when he grew up. This greatly offended the two sons of Ancus Martius, and they hired two young men to come before him as wood-cutters, with axes over their shoulders, pretending to have a quarrel about some goats, and while he was listening to their cause they cut him down and mortally wounded him. He had lost his sons, and had only two baby grandsons, Aruns and Tarquin, who could not reign as yet; but while he was dying, Tanaquil stood at the window and declared that he was only stunned and would soon be well. This, as she intended, so frightened the sons of Ancus that they fled from Rome; and Servius Tullus, coming forth in the royal robes, was at once hailed as king by all the people of Rome, being thus made king that he might protect his wife's two young nephews, the two little Tarquins.



B.C. 578—309.

Servius Tullus was looked on by the Romans as having begun making their laws, as Romulus had put their warlike affairs in order, and Numa had settled their religion. The Romans were all in great clans or families, all with one name, and these were classed in tribes. The nobler ones, who could count up from old Trojan, Latin, or Sabine families, were called Patricians—from pater, a father—because they were fathers of the people; and the other families were called Plebeian, from plebs, the people. The patricians formed the Senate or Council of Government, and rode on horseback in war, while the plebeians fought on foot. They had spears, round shields, and short pointed swords, which cut on each side of the blade. Tullus is said to have fixed how many men of each tribe should be called out to war. He also walled in the city again with a wall five miles round; and he made many fixed laws, one being that when a man was in debt his goods might be seized, but he himself might not be made a slave. He was the great friend of the plebeians, and first established the rule that a new law of the Senate could not be made without the consent of the Comitia, or whole free people.

The Sabines and Romans were still striving for the mastery, and a husbandman among the Sabines had a wonderfully beautiful cow. An oracle declared that the man who sacrificed this cow to Diana upon the Aventine Hill would secure the chief power to his nation. The Sabine drove the cow to Rome, and was going to kill her, when a crafty Roman priest told him that he must first wash his hands in the Tiber, and while he was gone sacrificed the cow himself, and by this trick secured the rule to Rome. The great horns of the cow were long after shown in the temple of Diana on the Aventine, where Romans, Sabines, and Latins every year joined in a great sacrifice.

The two daughters of Servius were married to their cousins, the two young Tarquins. In each pair there was a fierce and a gentle one. The fierce Tullia was the wife of the gentle Aruns Tarquin; the gentle Tulla had married the proud Lucius Tarquin. Aruns' wife tried to persuade her husband to seize the throne that had belonged to his father, and when he would not listen to her, she agreed with his brother Lucius that, while he murdered her sister, she should kill his brother, and then that they should marry. The horrid deed was carried out, and old Servius, seeing what a wicked pair were likely to come after him, began to consider with the Senate whether it would not be better to have two consuls or magistrates chosen every year than a king. This made Lucius Tarquin the more furious, and going to the Senate, where the patricians hated the king as the friend of the plebeians, he stood upon the throne, and was beginning to tell the patricians that this would be the ruin of their greatness, when Servius came in and, standing on the steps of the doorway, ordered him to come down. Tarquin sprang on the old man and hurled him backward, so that the fall killed him, and his body was left in the street. The wicked Tullia, wanting to know how her husband had sped, came out in her chariot on that road. The horses gave back before the corpse. She asked what was in their way; the slave who drove her told her it was the king's body. "Drive on," she said. The horrid deed caused the street to be known ever after as "Sceleratus," or the wicked. But it was the plebeians who mourned for Servius; the patricians in their anger made Tarquin king, but found him a very hard and cruel master, so that he is generally called Tarquinius Superbus, or Tarquin the proud. In his time the Sybil of Cumae, the same wondrous maiden of deep wisdom who had guided AEneas to the realms of Pluto, came, bringing nine books of prophecies of the history of Rome, and offered them to him at a price which he thought too high, and refused. She went away, destroyed three, and brought back the other six, asking for them double the price of the whole. He refused. She burnt three more, and brought him the last three with the price again doubled, because the fewer they were, the more precious. He bought them at last, and placed them in the Capitol, whence they were now and then taken to be consulted as oracles.

Rome was at war with the city of Gabii, and as the city was not to be subdued by force, Tarquin tried treachery. His eldest son, Sextus Tarquinius, fled to Gabii, complaining of ill-usage of his father, and showing marks of a severe scourging. The Gabians believed him, and he was soon so much trusted by them as to have the whole command of the army and manage everything in the city. Then he sent a messenger to his father to ask what he was to do next. Tarquin was walking through a cornfield. He made no answer in words, but with a switch cut off the heads of all the poppies and taller stalks of corn, and bade the messenger tell Sextus what he had seen. Sextus understood, and contrived to get all the chief men of Gabii exiled or put to death, and without them the city fell an easy prey to the Romans.

Tarquin sent his two younger sons and their cousin to consult the oracle at Delphi, and with them went Lucius Junius, who was called Brutus because he was supposed to be foolish, that being the meaning of the word; but his folly was only put on, because he feared the jealousy of his cousins. After doing their father's errand, the two Tarquins asked who should rule Rome after their father. "He," said the priestess, "who shall first kiss his mother on his return." The two brothers agreed that they would keep this a secret from their elder brother Sextus, and, as soon as they reached home, both of them rushed into the women's rooms, racing each to be the first to embrace their mother Tullia; but at the very entrance of Rome Brutus pretended to slip, threw himself on the ground and kissed his Mother Earth, having thus guessed the right meaning of the answer.

He waited patiently, however, and still was thought a fool when the army went out to besiege the city of Ardea; and while the troops were encamped round it, some of the young patricians began to dispute which had the best wife. They agreed to put it to the test by galloping late in the evening to look in at their homes and see what their wives were about. Some were idling, some were visiting, some were scolding, some were dressing, some were asleep; but at Collatia, the farm of another of the Tarquin family, thence called Collatinus, they found his beautiful wife Lucretia among her maidens spinning the wool of the flocks. All agreed that she was the best of wives; but the wicked Sextus Tarquin only wanted to steal her from her husband, and going by night to Collatia, tried to make her desert her lord, and when she would not listen to him he ill-treated her cruelly, and told her that he should accuse her to her husband. She was so overwhelmed with grief and shame that in the morning she sent for her father and husband, told them all that that happened, and saying that she could not bear life after being so put to shame, she drew out a dagger and stabbed herself before their eyes—thinking, as all these heathen Romans did, that it was better to die by one's own hand than to live in disgrace.

Lucius Brutus had gone to Collatia with his cousin, and while Collatinus and his father-in-law stood horror-struck, he called to them to revenge this crime. Snatching the dagger from Lucretia's breast, he galloped to Rome, called the people together in the Forum, and, holding up the bloody weapon in his hand, he made them a speech, asking whether they would any longer endure such a family of tyrants. They all rose as one man, and choosing Brutus himself and Collatinus to be their leaders, as the consuls whom Servius Tullus had thought of making, they shut the gates of Rome, and would not open them when Tarquin and his sons would have returned. So ended the kingdom of Rome.



From the time of the flight of the Tarquins, Rome was governed by two consuls, who wore all the tokens of royalty except the crown. Tarquin fled into Etruria, whence his grandfather had come, and thence tried to obtain admission into Rome. The two young sons of Brutus and the nephews of Collatinus were drawn into a plot for bringing them back again, and on its discovery were brought before the two consuls. Their guilt was proved, and their father sternly asked what they had to say in their defence. They only wept, and so did Collatinus and many of the senators, crying out, "Banish them, banish them." Brutus, however, as if unmoved, bade the executioners do their office. The whole Senate shrieked to hear a father thus condemn his own children, but he was resolute, and actually looked on while the young men were first scourged and then beheaded.

Collatinus put off the further judgment in hopes to save his nephews, and Brutus told them that he had put them to death by his own power as a father, but that he left the rest to the voice of the people, and they were sent into banishment. Even Collatinus was thought to have acted weakly, and was sent into exile—so determined were the Romans to have no one among them who would not uphold their decrees to the utmost. Tarquin advanced to the walls and cut down all the growing corn around the Campus Martius and threw it into the Tiber; there it formed a heap round which an island was afterwards formed. Brutus himself and his cousin Aruns Tarquin soon after killed one another in single combat in a battle outside the walls, and all the women of Rome mourned for him as for a father.

Tarquin found a friend in the Etruscan king called Lars Porsena, who brought an army to besiege Rome and restore him to the throne. He advanced towards the gate called Janiculum upon the Tiber, and drove the Romans out of the fort on the other side the river. The Romans then retreated across the bridge, placing three men to guard it until all should be gone over and it could be broken down.

There stood the brave three—Horatius, Lartius, and Herminius—guarding the bridge while their fellow-citizens were fleeing across it, three men against a whole army. At last the weapons of Lartius and Herminius were broken down, and Horatius bade them hasten over the bridge while it could still bear their weight. He himself fought on till he was wounded in the thigh, and the last timbers of the bridge were falling into the stream. Then spreading out his arms, he called upon Father Tiber to receive him, leapt into the river and swam across amid a shower of arrows, one of which put out his eye, and he was lame for life. A statue of him "halting on his thigh" was set up in the temple of Vulcan, and he was rewarded with as much land as one yoke of oxen could plough in a day, and the 300,000 citizens of Rome each gave him a day's provision of corn.

Porsena then blockaded the city, and when the Romans were nearly starving he sent them word that he would give them food if they would receive their old masters; but they made answer that hunger was better than slavery, and still held out. In the midst of their distress, a young man named Caius Mucius came and begged leave of the consuls to cross the Tiber and go to attempt something to deliver his country. They gave leave, and creeping through the Etruscan camp he came into the king's tent just as Porsena was watching his troops pass by in full order. One of his counsellors was sitting beside him so richly dressed that Mucius did not know which was king, and leaping towards them, he stabbed the counsellor to the heart. He was seized at once and dragged before the king, who fiercely asked who he was, and what he meant by such a crime.

The young man answered that his name was Caius Mucius, and that he was ready to do and dare anything for Rome. In answer to threats of torture, he quietly stretched out his right hand and thrust it into the flame that burnt in a brazier close by, holding it there without a sign of pain, while he bade Porsena see what a Roman thought of suffering.

Porsena was so struck that he at once gave the daring man his life, his freedom, and even his dagger; and Mucius then told him that three hundred youths like himself had sworn to have his life unless he left Rome to her liberty. This was false, but both the lie and the murder were for Rome's sake; they were both admired by the Romans, who held that the welfare of their city was their very first duty. Mucius could never use his right hand again, and was always called Scaevola, or the Left-handed, a name that went on to his family.

Porsena believed the story, and began to make peace. A truce was agreed on, and ten Roman youths and as many girls were given up to the Etruscans as hostages. While the conferences were going on, one of the Roman girls named Clelia forgot her duty so much as to swim home across the river with all her companions; but Valeria, the consul's daughter, was received with all the anger that breach of trust deserved, and her father mounted his horse at once to take the party back again. Just as they reached the Etruscan camp, the Tarquin father and brothers, and a whole troop of the enemy, fell on them. While the consul was fighting against a terrible force, Valeria dashed on into the camp and called out Porsena and his son. They, much grieved that the truce should have been broken, drove back their own men, and were so angry with the Tarquins as to give up their cause. He asked which of the girls had contrived the escape, and when Clelia confessed it was herself, he made her a present of a fine horse and its trappings, which she little deserved.

This Valerius was called Publicola, or the people's friend. He died a year or two later, after so many victories that the Romans honored him among their greatest heroes. Tarquin still continued to seek support among the different Italian nations, and again attacked the Romans with the help of the Latins. The chief battle was fought close to Lake Regillus; Aulus Posthumius was the commander, but Marcus Valerius, brother to Publicola, was general of the horse. He had vowed to build a temple to Castor and Pollux if the Romans gained the victory; and in the beginning of the fight, two glorious youths of god-like stature appeared on horseback at the head of the Roman horse and fought for them. It was a very hard-fought battle. Valerius was killed, but so was Titus Tarquin, and the Latin force was entirely broken and routed. That same evening the two youths rode into the Forum, their horses dripping with sweat and their weapons bloody. They drew up and washed themselves at a fountain near the temple of Vesta, and as the people crowded round they told of the great victory, and while one man named Domitius doubted of it, since the Lake Regillus was too far off for tidings to have come so fast, one of them laid his hand on the doubter's beard and changed it in a moment from black to copper color, so that he came to be called Domitius Ahenobarbus, or Brazen-beard. Then they disappeared, and the next morning Posthumius' messenger brought the news. The Romans had no doubt that these were indeed the glorious twins, and built their temple, as Valerius had vowed.

Tarquin had lost all his sons, and died in wretched exile at Cumae. And here ends what is looked on as the legendary history of Rome, for though most of these stories have dates, and some sound possible, there is so much that is plainly untrue mixed up with them, that they can only be looked on as the old stories which were handed down to account for the Roman customs and copied by their historians.



So far as true history can guess, the Romans really did have kings and drove them out, but there are signs that, though Porsena was a real king, the war was not so honorable to the Romans as they said, for he took the city and made them give up all their weapons to him, leaving them nothing but their tools for husbandry. But they liked to forget their misfortunes.

The older Roman families were called patricians, or fathers, and thought all rights to govern belonged to them. Settlers who came in later were called plebeians, or the people, and at first had no rights at all, for all the land belonged to the patricians, and the only way for the plebeians to get anything done for them was to become hangers-on—or, as they called it, clients—of some patrician who took care of their interests. There was a council of patricians called the Senate, chosen among themselves, and also containing by right all who had been chief magistrates. The whole assembly of the patricians was called the Comitia. They, as has been said before, fought on horseback, while the plebeians fought on foot; but out of the rich plebeians a body was formed called the knights, who also used horses, and wore gold rings like the patricians.

But the plebeians were always trying not to be left out of everything. By and by, they said under Servius Tullius, the city was divided into six quarters, and all the families living in them into six tribes, each of which had a tribune to watch over it, bring up the number of its men, and lead them to battle. Another division of the citizens, both patrician and plebeian, was made every five years. They were all counted and numbered and divided off into centuries according to their wealth. Then these centuries, or hundreds, had votes, by the persons they chose, when it was a question of peace or war. Their meeting was called the Comitia; but as there were more patrician centuries than plebeian ones, the patricians still had much more power. Besides, the Senate and all the magistrates were in those days always patricians. These magistrates were chosen every year. There were two consuls, who were like kings for the time, only that they wore no crowns; they had purple robes, and sat in chairs ornamented with ivory, and they were always attended by lictors, who carried bundles of rods tied round an axe—the first for scourging, the second for beheading. There were under them two praetors, or judges, who tried offences; two quaestors, who attended to the public buildings; and two censors, who had to look after the numbering and registering of the people in their tribes and centuries. The consuls in general commanded the army, but sometimes, when there was a great need, one single leader was chosen and was called dictator. Sometimes a dictator was chosen merely to fulfil an omen, by driving a nail into the head of the great statue of Jupiter in the Capitol. Besides these, all the priests had to be patricians; the chief of all was called Pontifex Maximus. Some say this was because he was the fax (maker) of pontes (bridges), as he blessed them and decided by omens where they should be; but others think the word was Pompifex, and that he was the maker of pomps or ceremonies. There were many priests as well as augurs, who had to draw omens from the flight of birds or the appearance of sacrifices, and who kept the account of the calendar of lucky and unlucky days, and of festivals.

The Romans were a grave religious people in those days, and did not count their lives or their affections dear in comparison with their duties to their altars and their hearths, though their notions of duty do not always agree with ours. Their dress in the city was a white woollen garment edged with purple—it must have been more like in shape to a Scottish plaid than anything else—and was wrapped round so as to leave one arm free: sometimes a fold was drawn over the head. No one might wear it but a free-born Roman, and he never went out on public business without it, even when more convenient fashions had been copied from Greece. Those who were asking votes for a public office wore it white (candidus), and therefore were called candidates. The consuls had it on great days entirely purple and embroidered, and all senators and ex-magistrates had broader borders of purple. The ladies wore a long graceful wrapping-gown; the boys a short tunic, and round their necks was hung a hollow golden ball called a bulla, or bubble. When a boy was seventeen, there was a great family sacrifice to the Lares and the forefathers, his bulla was taken off, the toga was put on, and he was enrolled by his own praenomen, Caius or Lucius, or whatever it might be, for there was only a choice of fifteen. After this he was liable to be called out to fight. A certain number of men were chosen from each tribe by the tribune. It was divided into centuries, each led by a centurion; and the whole body together was called a legion, from lego, to choose. In later times the proper number for a legion was 6000 men. Each legion had a standard, a bar across the top of the spear, with the letters on it S P Q R—Senatus, Populus Que Romanus—meaning the Roman Senate and People, a purple flag below and a figure above, such as an eagle, or the wolf and twins, or some emblem dear to the Romans. The legions were on foot, but the troops of patricians and knights on horseback were attached to them and had to protect them.

The Romans had in those days very small riches, they held in general small farms in the country, which they worked themselves with the help of their sons and slaves. The plebeians were often the richest. They too held farms leased to them by the state, and had often small shops in Rome. The whole territory was so small that it was easy to come into Rome to worship, attend the Senate, or vote, and many had no houses in the city. Each man was married with a ring and sacrifice, and the lady was then carried over the threshold, on which a sheepskin was spread, and made mistress of the house by being bidden to be Caia to Caius. The Roman matrons were good and noble women in those days, and the highest praise of them was held to be Domum mansit, lanam fecit—she stayed at home and spun wool. Each man was absolute master in his own house, and had full power over his grown-up sons, even for life or death, and they almost always submitted entirely. For what made the Romans so great was that they were not only brave, but they were perfectly obedient, and obeyed as perfectly as they could their fathers, their officers, their magistrates, and, as they thought, their gods.



B.C. 494.

A great deal of the history of Rome consists of struggles between the patricians and plebeians. In those early days the plebeians were often poor, and when they wanted to improve their lands they had to borrow money from the patricians, who not only had larger lands, but, as they were the officers in war, got a larger share of the spoil. The Roman law was hard on a man in debt. His lands might be seized, he might be thrown into prison or sold into slavery with his wife and children, or, if the creditors liked, be cut to pieces so that each might take his share.

One of these debtors, a man who was famous for bravery as a centurion, broke out of his prison and ran into the Forum, all in rags and with chains still hanging to his hands and feet, showing them to his fellow-citizens, and asking if this was just usage of a man who had done no crime. They were very angry, and the more because one of the consuls, Appius Claudius, was known to be very harsh, proud and cruel, as indeed were all his family. The Volscians, a tribe often at war with them, broke into their land at the same time, and the Romans were called to arms, but the plebeians refused to march until their wrongs were redressed. On this the other consul, Servilius, promised that a law should be made against keeping citizens in prison for debt or making slaves of their children; and thereupon the army assembled, marched against the enemy, and defeated them, giving up all the spoil to his troops. But the senate, when the danger was over, would not keep its promises, and even appointed a Dictator to put the plebeians down. Thereupon they assembled outside the walls in a strong force, and were going to attack the patricians, when the wise old Menenius Agrippa was sent out to try to pacify them. He told them a fable, namely, that once upon a time all the limbs of a man's body became disgusted with the service they had to render to the belly. The feet and legs carried it about, the hands worked for it and carried food to it, the mouth ate for it, and so on. They thought it hard thus all to toil for it, and agreed to do nothing for it—neither to carry it about, clothe it, nor feed it. But soon all found themselves growing weak and starved, and were obliged to own that all would perish together unless they went on waiting on this seemingly useless belly. So Agrippa told them that all ranks and states depended on one another, and unless all worked together all must be confusion and go to decay. The fable seems to have convinced both rich and poor; the debtors were set free and the debts forgiven. And though the laws about debts do not seem to have been changed, another law was made which gave the plebeians tribunes in peace as well as war. These tribunes were always to be plebeians, chosen by their own fellows. No one was allowed to hurt them during their year of office, on pain of being declared accursed and losing his property; and they had the power of stopping any decision of the senate by saying solemnly, Veto, I forbid. They were called tribunes of the people, while the officers in war were called military tribunes; and as it was on the Mons Sacer, or Sacred Mount, that this was settled, these laws were called the Leges Sacrariae. An altar to the Thundering Jupiter was built to consecrate them: and, in gratitude for his management, Menenius Agrippa was highly honored all his life, and at his death had a public funeral.

But the struggles of the plebeians against the patricians were not by any means over. The Roman land—Agri (acre), it was called—had at first been divided in equal shares—at least so it was said—but as belonging to the state all the time, and only held by the occupier. As time went on, some persons of course gathered more into their own hands, and others of spendthrift or unfortunate families became destitute. Then there was an outcry that, as the lands belonged to the whole state, it ought to take them all back and divide them again more equally: but the patricians naturally regarded themselves as the owners, and would not hear of this scheme, which we shall hear of again and again by the name of the Agrarian Law. One of the patricians, who had thrice been consul, by name Spurius Cassius, did all he could to bring it about, but though the law was passed he could not succeed in getting it carried out. The patricians hated him, and a report got abroad that he was only gaining favor with the people in order to get himself made king. This made even the plebeians turn against him as a traitor; he was condemned by the whole assembly of the people, and beheaded, after being scourged by the lictors. The people soon mourned for their friend, and felt that they had been deceived in giving him up to their enemies. The senate would not execute his law, and the plebeians would not enlist in the next war, though the senate threatened to cut down the fruit trees and destroy the crops of every man who refused to join the army. When they were absolutely driven into the ranks, they even refused to draw their swords in face of the enemy, and would not gain a victory lest their consul should have the honor of it.

This consul's name was Kaeso Fabius. He belonged to a very clever, wary family, whose name it was said was originally Foveus (ditch), because they had first devised a plan of snaring wolves in pits or ditches. They were thought such excellent defenders of the claims of the patricians that for seven years following one or other of the Fabii was chosen consul. But by-and-by they began either to see that the plebeians had rights, or that they should do best by siding with them, for they went over to them; and when Kaeso next was consul he did all he could to get the laws of Cassius carried out, but the senate were furious with him, and he found it was not safe to stay in Rome when his consulate was over. So he resolved at any rate to do good to his country. The Etruscans often came over the border and ravaged the country; but there was a watch-tower on the banks of the little river Cremera, which flows into the Tiber, and Fabius offered, with all the men of his name—306 in number, and 4000 clients—to keep guard there against the enemy. For some time they prospered there, and gained much spoil from the Etruscans; but at last the whole Etruscan army came against them, showing only a small number at first to tempt them out to fight, then falling on them with the whole force and killing the whole of them, so that of the whole name there remained only one boy of fourteen who had been left behind at Rome. And what was worse, the consul, Titus Menenius, was so near the army that he could have saved the Fabii, but for the hatred the patricians bore them as deserters from their cause.

However, the tribune Publilius gained for the plebeians that there should be five tribunes instead of two, and made a change in the manner of electing them which prevented the patricians from interfering. Also it was decreed that to interrupt a tribune in a public speech deserved death. But whenever an Appius Claudius was consul he took his revenge, and was cruelly severe, especially in the camp, where the consul as general had much more power than in Rome. Again the angry plebeians would not fight, but threw down their arms in sight of the enemy. Claudius scourged and beheaded; they endured grimly and silently, knowing that when he returned to Rome and his consulate was over their tribunes would call him to account. And so they did, and before all the tribes of Rome summoned him to answer for his savage treatment of free Roman citizens. He made a violent answer, but he saw how it would go with him, and put himself to death to avoid the sentence. So were the Romans proving again and again the truth of Agrippa's parable, that nothing can go well with body or members unless each will be ready to serve the other.



B.C. 458.

All the time these struggles were going on between the patricians and the plebeians at home, there were wars with the neighboring tribes, the Volscians, the Veians, the Latins, and the Etruscans. Every spring the fighting men went out, attacked their neighbors, drove off their cattle, and tried to take some town; then fought a battle, and went home to reap the harvest, gather the grapes and olives in the autumn, and attend to public business and vote for the magistrates in the winter. They were small wars, but famous men fought in them. In a war against the Volscians, when Cominius was consul, he was besieging a city called Corioli, when news came that the men of Antium were marching against him, and in their first attack on the walls the Romans were beaten off, but a gallant young patrician, descended from the king Ancus Marcius, Caius Marcius by name, rallied them and led them back with such spirit that the place was taken before the hostile army came up; then he fought among the foremost and gained the victory. When he was brought to the consul's tent covered with wounds, Cominius did all he could to show his gratitude—set on the young man's head the crown of victory, gave him the surname of Coriolanus in honor of his exploits, and granted him the tenth part of the spoil of ten prisoners. Of them, however, Coriolanus only accepted one, an old friend of the family, whom he set at liberty at once. Afterwards, when there was a great famine in Rome, Coriolanus led an expedition to Antium, and brought away quantities of corn and cattle, which he distributed freely, keeping none for himself.

But though he was so free of hand, Coriolanus was a proud, shy man, who would not make friends with the plebeians, and whom the tribunes hated as much as he despised them. He was elected consul, and the tribunes refused to permit him to become one; and when a shipload of wheat arrived from Sicily, there was a fierce quarrel as to how it should be distributed. The tribunes impeached him before the people for withholding it from them, and by the vote of a large number of citizens he was banished from Roman lands. His anger was great, but quiet. He went without a word away from the Forum to his house, where he took leave of his mother Veturia, his wife Volumnia, and his little children, and then went and placed himself by the hearth of Tullus the Volscian chief, in whose army he meant to fight to revenge himself upon his countrymen.

Together they advanced upon the Roman territory, and after ravaging the country threatened to besiege Rome. Men of rank came out and entreated him to give up this wicked and cruel vengeance, and to have pity on his friends and native city; but he answered that the Volscians were now his nation, and nothing would move him. At last, however, all the women of Rome came forth, headed by his mother Veturia and his wife Volumnia, each with a little child, and Veturia entreated and commanded her son in the most touching manner to change his purpose and cease to ruin his country, begging him, if he meant to destroy Rome, to begin by slaying her. She threw herself at his feet as she spoke, and his hard spirit gave way.

"Ah! mother, what is it you do?" he cried as he lifted her up. "Thou hast saved Rome, but lost thy son."

And so it proved, for when he had broken up his camp and returned to the Volscian territory till the senate should recall him as they proceeded, Tullus, angry and disappointed, stirred up a tumult, and he was killed by the people before he could be sent for to Rome. A temple to "Women's Good Speed" was raised on the spot where Veturia knelt to him.

Another very proud patrician family was the Quinctian. The father, Lucius Quinctius, was called Cincinnatus, from his long flowing curls of hair. He was the ablest man among the Romans, but stern and grave, and his eldest son Kaeso was charged by the tribunes with a murder and fled the country. Soon after there was a great inroad of the AEqui and Volscians, and the Romans found themselves in great danger. They saw no one could save them but Cincinnatus, so they met in haste and chose him Dictator, though he was not present. Messengers were sent to his little farm on the Tiber, and there they found him holding the stilts of the plough. When they told their errand, he turned to his wife, who was helping him, and said, "Racilia, fetch me my toga;" then he washed his face and hands, and was saluted as Dictator. A boat was ready to take him to Rome, and as he landed, he was met by the four-and-twenty lictors belonging to the two consuls and escorted to his dwelling. In the morning he named as general of the cavalry Lucius Tarquitius, a brave old patrician who had become too poor even to keep a horse. Marching out at the head of all the men who could bear arms, he thoroughly routed the AEqui, and then resigned his dictatorship at the end of sixteen days. Nor would he accept any of the spoil, but went back to his plough, his only reward being that his son was forgiven and recalled from banishment.

These are the grand old stories that came down from old time, but how much is true no one can tell, and there is reason to think that, though the leaders like Cincinnatus and Coriolanus might be brave, the Romans were really pressed hard by the Volscians and AEqui, and lost a good deal of ground, though they were too proud to own it. No wonder, while the two orders of the state were always pulling different ways. However, the tribune Icilius succeeded in the year 454 in getting the Aventine Hill granted to the plebeians; and they had another champion called Lucius Sicinius Dentatus, who was so brave that he was called the Roman Achilles. He had received no less than forty-five wounds in different fights before he was fifty-eight years old, and had had fourteen civic crowns. For the Romans gave an oak-leaf wreath, which they called a civic crown, to a man who saved the life of a fellow-citizen, and a mural crown to him who first scaled the walls of a besieged city. And when a consul had gained a great victory, he had what was called a triumph. He was drawn in his chariot into the city, his victorious troops marching before him with their spears waving with laurel boughs, a wreath of laurel was on his head, his little children sat with him in the chariot, and the spoil of the enemy was carried along. All the people decked their houses and came forth rejoicing in holiday array, while he proceeded to the Capitol to sacrifice an ox to Jupiter there. His chief prisoners walked behind his car in chains, and at the moment of his sacrifice they were taken to a cell below the Capitol and there put to death, for the Roman was cruel in his joy. Nothing was more desired than such a triumph; but such was often the hatred between the plebeians and the patricians, that sometimes the plebeian army would stop short in the middle of a victorious campaign to hinder their consul from having a triumph. Even Sicinius is said once to have acted thus, and it began to be plain that Rome must fall if it continued to be thus divided against itself.



B.C. 450.

The Romans began to see what mischiefs their quarrels did, and they agreed to send three of their best and wisest men to Greece to study the laws of Solon at Athens, and report whether any of them could be put in force at Rome.

To get the new code of laws which they brought home put into working order, it was agreed for the time to have no consuls, praetors, nor tribunes, but ten governors, perhaps in imitation of the nine Athenian archons. They were called Decemvirs (decem, ten; vir, a man), and at their head was Lucius Appius Claudius, the grandson of him who had killed himself to avoid being condemned for his harshness. At first they governed well, and a very good set of laws was drawn up, which the Romans called the Laws of the Ten Tables; but Appius soon began to give way to the pride of his nature, and made himself hated. There was a war with the AEqui, in which the Romans were beaten. Old Sicinius Dentatus said it was owing to bad management, and, as he had been in one hundred and twenty battles, everybody believed him. Thereupon Appius Claudius sent for him, begged for his advice, and asked him to join the army that he might assist the commanders. They received him warmly, and, when he advised them to move their camp, asked him to go and choose a place, and sent a guard with him of one hundred men. But these were really wretches instructed to kill him, and as soon as he was in a narrow rocky pass they set upon him. The brave old warrior set his back against a rock and fought so fiercely that he killed many, and the rest durst not come near him, but climbed up the rock and crushed him with stones rolled down on his head. Then they went back with a story that they had been attacked by the enemy, which was believed, till a party went out to bury the dead, and found there were only Roman corpses all lying round the crushed body of Sicinius, and that none were stripped of their armor or clothes. Then the true history was found out, but the Decemvirs sheltered the commanders, and would believe nothing against them.

Appius Claudius soon after did what horrified all honest men even more than this treachery to the brave old soldier. The Forum was not only the place of public assembly for state affairs, but the regular market-place, where there were stalls and booths for all the wares that Romans dealt in—meat stalls, wool shops, stalls where wine was sold in earthenware jars or leathern bottles, and even booths where reading and writing was taught to boys and girls, who would learn by tracing letters in the sand, and then by writing them with an iron pen on a waxen table in a frame, or with a reed upon parchment. The children of each family came escorted by a slave—the girls by their nurse, the boys by one called a pedagogue.

Appius, when going to his judgment-seat across the Forum, saw at one of these schools a girl of fifteen reading her lesson. She was so lovely that he asked her nurse who she was, and heard that her name was Virginia, and that she was the daughter of an honorable plebeian and brave centurion named Virginius, who was absent with the army fighting with the AEqui, and that she was to marry a young man named Icilius as soon as the campaign was over. Appius would gladly have married her himself, but there was a patrician law against wedding plebeians, and he wickedly determined that if he could not have her for his wife he would have her for his slave.

There was one of his clients named Marcus Claudius, whom he paid to get up a story that Virginius' wife Numitoria, who was dead, had never had any child at all, but had bought a baby of one of his slaves and had deceived her husband with it, and thus that poor Virginia was really his slave. As the maiden was reading at her school, this wretch and a band of fellows like him seized upon her, declaring that she was his property, and that he would carry her off. There was a great uproar, and she was dragged as far as Appius' judgment-seat; but by that time her faithful nurse had called the poor girl's uncle Numitorius, who could answer for it that she was really his sister's child. But Appius would not listen to him, and all that he could gain was that judgment should not be given in the matter until Virginius should have been fetched from the camp.

Virginius had set out from the camp with Icilius before the messengers of Appius had reached the general with orders to stop him, and he came to the Forum leading his daughter by the hand, weeping, and attended by a great many ladies. Claudius brought his slave, who made false oath that she had sold her child to Numitoria; while, on the other hand, all the kindred of Virginius and his wife gave such proof of the contrary as any honest judge would have thought sufficient, but Appius chose to declare that the truth was with his client. There was a great murmur of all the people, but he frowned at them, and told them he knew of their meetings, and that there were soldiers in the Capitol ready to punish them, so they must stand back and not hinder a master from recovering his slave.

Virginius took his poor daughter in his arms as if to give her a last embrace, and drew her close to the stall of a butcher where lay a great knife. He wiped her tears, kissed her, and saying, "My own dear little girl, there is no way but this," he snatched up the knife and plunged it into her heart, then drawing it out he cried, "By this blood, Appius, I devote thy blood to the infernal gods."

He could not reach Appius, but the lictors could not seize him, and he mounted his horse and galloped back to the army, four hundred men following him, and he arrived still holding the knife. Every soldier who heard the story resolved no longer to bear with the Decemvirs, but to march back to the city at once and insist on the old government being restored. The Decemvir generals tried to stop them, but they only answered, "We are men with swords in our hands." At the same time there was such a tumult in the city, that Appius was forced to hide himself in his own house while Virginia's corpse was carried on a bier through the streets, and every one laid garlands, scarfs, and wreaths of their own hair upon it. When the troops arrived, they and the people joined in demanding that the Decemvirs should be given up to them to be burnt alive, and that the old magistrates should be restored. However, two patricians, Lucius Valerius and Marcus Horatius, were able so to arrange matters that the nine comparatively innocent Decemvirs were allowed to depose themselves, and Appius only was sent to prison, where he killed himself rather than face the trial that awaited him. The new code of laws, however, remained, but consuls, praetors, tribunes, and all the rest of the magistrates were restored, and in the year 445 a law was passed which enabled patricians and plebeians to intermarry.



B.C. 390.

The wars with the Etruscans went on, and chiefly with the city of Veii, which stood on a hill twelve miles from Rome, and was altogether thirty years at war with it. At last the Romans made up their minds that, instead of going home every harvest-time to gather in their crops, they must watch the city constantly till they could take it, and thus, as the besiegers were unable to do their own work, pay was raised for them to enable them to get it done, and this was the beginning of paying armies.

The siege of Veii lasted ten years, and during the last the Alban lake filled to an unusual height, although the summer was very dry. One of the Veian soldiers cried out to the Romans half in jest, "You will never take Veii till the Alban lake is dry." It turned out that there was an old tradition that Veii should fall when the lake was drained. On this the senate sent orders to have canals dug to carry the waters to the sea, and these still remain. Still Veii held out, and to finish the war a dictator was appointed, Marcus Furius Camillus, who chose for his second in command a man of one of the most virtuous families in Rome, as their surname testified, Publius Cornelius, called Scipio, or the Staff, because either he or one of his forefathers had been the staff of his father's old age. Camillus took the city by assault, with an immense quantity of spoil, which was divided among the soldiers.

Camillus in his pride took to himself at his triumph honors that had hitherto only been paid to the gods. He had his face painted with vermilion and his car drawn by milk-white horses. This shocked the people, and he gave greater offence by declaring that he had vowed a tenth part of the spoil to Apollo, but had forgotten it in the division of the plunder, and now must take it again. The soldiers would not consent, but lest the god should be angry with them, it was resolved to send a gold vase to his oracle at Delphi. All the women of Rome brought their jewels, and the senate rewarded them by a decree that funeral speeches might be made over their graves as over those of men, and likewise that they might be driven in chariots to the public games.

Camillus commanded in another war with the Falisci, also an Etruscan race, and laid siege to their city. The sons of almost all the chief families were in charge of a sort of schoolmaster, who taught them both reading and all kinds of exercises. One day this man, pretending to take the boys out walking, led them all into the enemy's camp, to the tent of Camillus, where he told that he brought them all, and with them the place, since the Romans had only to threaten their lives to make their fathers deliver up the city. Camillus, however, was so shocked at such perfidy, that he immediately bade the lictors strip the fellow instantly, and give the boys rods with which to scourge him back into the town. Their fathers were so grateful that they made peace at once, and about the same time the AEqui were also conquered; and the commons and open lands belonging to Veii being divided, so that each Roman freeman had six acres, the plebeians were contented for the time.

The truth seems to have been that these Etruscan nations were weakened by a great new nation coming on them from the North. They were what the Romans called Galli or Gauls, one of the great races of the old stock which has always been finding its way westward into Europe, and they had their home north of the Alps, but they were always pressing on and on, and had long since made settlements in northern Italy. They were in clans, each obedient to one chief as a father, and joining together in one brotherhood. They had lands to which whole families had a common right, and when their numbers outgrew what the land could maintain, the bolder ones would set off with their wives, children, and cattle to find new homes. The Greeks and Romans themselves had begun first in the same way, and their tribes, and the claims of all to the common land, were the remains of the old way; but they had been settled in cities so long that this had been forgotten, and they were very different people from the wild men who spoke what we call Welsh, and wore checked tartan trews and plaids, with gold collars round their necks, round shields, huge broadswords, and their red or black hair long and shaggy. The Romans knew little or nothing about what passed beyond their own Apennines, and went on with their own quarrels. Camillus was accused of having taken more than his proper share of the spoil of Veii, in especial a brass door from a temple. His friends offered to pay any fine that might be laid on him, but he was too proud to stand his trial, and chose rather to leave Rome. As he passed the gates, he turned round and called upon the gods to bring Rome to speedy repentance for having driven him away.

Even then the Gauls were in the midst of a war with Clusium, the city of Porsena, and the inhabitants sent to beg the help of the Romans, and the senate sent three young brothers of the Fabian family to try to arrange matters. They met the Gaulish Bran or chief, whom Latin authors call Brennus, and asked him what was his quarrel with Clusium or his right to any part of Etruria. Brennus answered that his right was his sword, and that all things belonged to the brave, and that his quarrel with the men of Clusium was, that though they had more land than they could till, they would not yield him any. As to the Romans, they had robbed their neighbors already, and had no right to find fault.

This put the Fabian brothers in a rage, and they forgot the caution of their family, as well as those rules of all nations which forbid an ambassador to fight, and also forbid his person to be touched by the enemy; and when the men of Clusium made an attack on the Gauls they joined in the attack, and Quintus, the eldest brother, slew one of the chiefs. Brennus, wild as he was, knew these laws of nations, and in great anger broke up his siege of Clusium, and, marching towards Rome, demanded that the Fabii should be given up to him. Instead of this, the Romans made them all three military tribunes, and as the Gauls came nearer the whole army marched out to meet them in such haste that they did not wait to sacrifice to the gods nor consult the omens. The tribunes were all young and hot-headed, and they despised the Gauls; so out they went to attack them on the banks of the Allia, only seven and a-half miles from Rome. A most terrible defeat they had; many fell in the field, many were killed in the flight, others were drowned in trying to swim the Tiber, others scattered to Veii and the other cities, and a few, horror-stricken and wet through, rushed into Rome with the sad tidings. There were not men enough left to defend the walls! The enemy would instantly be upon them! The only place strong enough to keep them out was the Capitol, and that would only hold a few people within it! So there was nothing for it but flight. The braver, stronger men shut themselves up in the Capitol; all the rest, with the women and children, put their most precious goods into carts and left the city. The Vestal Virgins carried the sacred fire, and were plodding along in the heat, when a plebeian named Albinus saw their state, helped them into his cart, and took them to the city of Cumae, where they found shelter in a temple. And so Rome was left to the enemy.



B.C. 390.

Rome was left to the enemy, except for the small garrison in the Capitol and for eighty of the senators, men too old to flee, who devoted themselves to the gods to save the rest, and, arraying themselves in their robes—some as former consuls, some as priests, some as generals—sat down with their ivory staves in their hands, in their chairs of state in the Forum, to await the enemy.

In burst the savage Gauls, roaming all over the city till they came to the Forum, where they stood amazed and awe-struck at the sight of the eighty grand old men motionless in their chairs. At first they looked at the strange, calm figures as if they were the gods of the place, until one Gaul, as if desirous of knowing whether they were flesh and blood or not, stroked the beard of the nearest. The senator, esteeming this an insult, struck the man on the face with his staff, and this was the sign for the slaughter of them all.

Then the Gauls began to plunder every house, dragging out and killing the few inhabitants they found there; feasting, revelling, and piling up riches to carry away; burning and overthrowing the houses. Day after day the little garrison in the Capitol saw the sight, and wondered if their stock of food would hold out till the Gauls should go away or till their friends should come to their relief. Yet when the day came round for the sacrifice to the ancestor of one of these beleaguered men, he boldly went forth to the altar of his own ruined house on the Quirinal Hill, and made his offering to his forefathers, nor did one Gaul venture to touch him, seeing that he was performing a religious rite.

The escaped Romans had rested at Ardea, where they found Camillus, and were by him formed into an army, but he would not take the generalship without authority from what was left of the Senate, and that was shut up in the Capitol in the midst of the Gauls. A brave man, however, named Pontius Cominius, declared that he could make his way through the Gauls by night, and climb up the Capitol and down again by a precipice which they did not watch because they thought no one could mount it, and that he would bring back the orders of the Senate. He swam the Tiber by the help of corks, landed at night in ruined Rome among the sleeping enemy, and climbed up the rock, bringing hope at last to the worn-out and nearly starving garrison. Quickly they met, recalled the sentence of banishment against Camillus, and named him Dictator. Pontius, having rested in the meantime, slid down the rock and made his way back to Ardea safely; but the broken twigs and torn ivy on the rock showed the Gauls that it had been scaled, and they resolved that where man had gone man could go. So Brennus told off the most surefooted mountaineers he could find, and at night, two and two, they crept up the crag, so silently that no alarm was given, till just as they came to the top, some geese that were kept as sacred to Juno, and for that reason had been spared in spite of the scarcity, began to scream and cackle, and thus brought to the spot a brave officer called Marcus Manlius, who found two Gauls in the act of setting foot on the level ground on the top. With a sweep of his sword he struck off the hand of one, and with his buckler smote the other on the head, tumbling them both headlong down, knocking down their fellows in their flight, and the Capitol was saved.

By way of reward every Roman soldier brought Manlius a few grains of the corn he received from the common stock and a few drops of wine, while the tribune who was on guard that night was thrown from the rock.

Foiled thus, and with great numbers of his men dying from the fever that always prevailed in Rome in summer, Brennus thought of retreating, and offered to leave Rome if the garrison in the Capitol would pay him a thousand pounds' weight of gold. There was treasure enough in the temples to do this, and as they could not tell what Camillus was about, nor if Pontius had reached him safely, and they were on the point of being starved, they consented. The gold was brought to the place appointed by the Gauls, and when the weights proved not to be equal to the amount that the Romans had with them, Brennus resolved to have all, put his sword into the other scale, saying, "Vae victis"—"Woe to the conquered." But at that moment there was a noise outside—Camillus was come. The Gauls were cut down and slain among the ruins, those who fled were killed by the people in the country as they wandered in the fields, and not one returned to tell the tale. So the ransom of the Capitol was rescued, and was laid up by Camillus in the vaults as a reserve for future danger.

This was the Roman story, but their best historians say that it is made better for Rome than is quite the truth, for that the Capitol was really conquered, and the Gauls helped themselves to whatever they chose and went off with it, though sickness and weariness made them afterwards disperse, so that they were mostly cut off by the country people.

Every old record had been lost and destroyed, so that, before this, Roman history can only be hearsay, derived from what the survivors recollected; and the whole of the buildings, temples, senate-house, and dwellings lay in ruins. Some of the citizens wished to change the site of the city to Veii; but Camillus, who was Dictator, was resolved to hold fast by the hearths of their fathers, and while the debate was going on in the ruins of the senate-house a troop of soldiers were marching in, and the centurion was heard calling out, "Plant your ensign here; this is a good place to stay in." "A happy omen," cried one of the senators; "I adore the gods who gave it." So it was settled to rebuild the city, and in digging among the ruins there were found the golden rod of Romulus, the brazen tables on which the Laws of the Twelve Tables were engraved, and other brasses with records of treaties with other nations. Fabius was accused of having done all the harm by having broken the law of nations, but he was spared at the entreaty of his friends. Manlius was surnamed Capitolinus, and had a house granted him on the Capitol; and Camillus when he laid down his dictatorship, was saluted as like Romulus—another founder of Rome.

The new buildings were larger and more ornamented than the old ones; but the lines of the old underground drains, built in the mighty Etruscan fashion by the elder Tarquin as it was said, were not followed, and this tended to render Rome more unhealthy, so that few of her richer citizens lived there in summer or autumn, but went out to country houses on the hills.



B.C. 367.

All the old enemies of Rome attacked her again when she was weak and rising out of her ruins, but Camillus had wisely persuaded the Romans to add the people of Veii, Capena, and Falerii to the number of their citizens, making four more tribes; and this addition to their numbers helped them beat off their foes.

But this enlarged the number of the plebeians, and enabled them to make their claims more heard. Moreover, the old quarrel between poor and rich, debtor and creditor, broke out again. Those who had saved their treasure in the time of the sack had made loans to those who had lost to enable them to build their houses and stock their farms again, and after a time they called loudly for payment, and when it was not forthcoming had the debtors seized to be sold as slaves. Camillus himself was one of the hardest creditors of all, and the barracks where slaves were placed to be sold were full of citizens.

Marcus Manlius Capitolinus was full of pity, and raised money to redeem four hundred of them, trying with all his might to get the law changed and to save the rest; but the rich men and the patricians thought he acted only out of jealousy of Camillus, and to get up a party for himself. They said he was raising a sedition, and Publius Cornelius Cossus was named Dictator to put it down. Manlius was seized and put into chains, but released again. At last the rich men bought over two of the tribunes to accuse him of wanting to make himself a king, and this hated title turned all the people against their friend, so that the general cry sentenced him to be cast down from the top of the Tarpeian rock; his house on the Capitol was overthrown, and his family declared that no son of their house should ever again bear the name of Manlius.

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