|The Story of the Romans|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Rome, presenting short stories of the great heroes, mythical and historical, from Aeneas and the founding of Rome to the fall of the western empire. Around the famous characters of Rome are graphically grouped the great events with which their names will forever stand connected. Vivid descriptions bring to life the events narrated, making history attractive to the young, and awakening their enthusiasm for further reading and study. Ages 10-14 |
DEATH OF AUGUSTUS
 WHEN Octavius took the name Augustus, he received the
supreme power for a term of ten years, but at the end
of this time his authority was continued for another
term, and then again and again, as long as he lived.
He also obtained the senate's permission to leave the
title of emperor to his successor.
In reward for his victories, he enjoyed three triumphs,
and one of the months of the year bore his name of
Augustus,—our August. After his triumphs he closed
the Temple of Janus, as we have seen, and peace
reigned then through all the Roman world; but it did
not last very long.
It was followed by many wars, and near the end of his
career Augustus met with a great sorrow from which he
never recovered. Some of the German tribes on the
other side of the Rhine had risen up against the
Romans. Augustus therefore sent several legions under
Varus to reduce them to obedience once more.
The Germans were then under the leadership of
Arminius, one of their greatest heroes. He was
anxious to have them recover their former freedom; so
he cleverly lured the Roman general and his troops into
the Teutoburg forest. There the Germans surrounded
them and killed almost every man in the Roman army.
While Arminius was rejoicing over this victory, a
messenger bore the sad tidings to Rome. When Augustus
heard how his brave soldiers had been slain, he was so
grieved that he could not sleep. Instead, he would
 through his palace at night, mournfully crying,
"Varus, Varus, give me back my legions!"
Not very long after this event, Augustus became so ill
that he knew he would die. He called all his friends
around his bed, and asked them whether they thought he
had played his part well. "If so," said he, "give me
Augustus died at the age of seventy-six, leaving the
title of emperor to his stepson Tiberius. There was
great sorrow in Rome when he died, and all the women
wore mourning for a whole year. Temples were erected
in his honor, and before long sacrifices were offered
up to him as if he had been a god.
Tiberius, the stepson and successor of Augustus, was
already a middle-aged man. He had received an
excellent education, but was unfortunately a very bad
man. As long as Augustus lived, he pretended to be
very good, and instead of remaining at court withdrew
for a while to the island of Rhodes, where he spent
most of his time in the company of astrologers.
As you may never have heard of astrologers, you must
first know that these were learned men, who gazed at
the stars and planets, noticed their rising and
setting, and watched their progress across the sky.
These men, moreover, pretended that they could tell the
future by the motions of the stars; and they earned
much money by telling fortunes.
Tiberius had a high tower, rising on the top of a cliff
at the edge of the sea, and here he often invited
astrologers, to make them read the future in the sky.
He was so clever himself that he suspected that these
men were only
 humbugs; and whenever they boasted about knowing
everything, even their own future, he showed them that
they were mistaken by throwing them over the cliff, so
that they would fall into the sea and be drowned.
An astrologer named Thrasyllus, who had probably
heard of the fate of many of his companions, was once
sent for in great haste. Tiberius led him to his tower
and bade him tell the future. The man gazed at the
stars for some time, and finally said: "You, Tiberius,
are sure to become emperor, but I am threatened with a
Pleased by this answer, Tiberius allowed the clever
astrologer to leave the tower unharmed.
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