|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 |
MARIUS, the conqueror of Jugurtha, had been honored by a
magnificent triumph on his return to Rome, and he was
one of the most important persons of his time. He was
the son of poor parents, and was very homely and
uncouth; but he was brave and very firm.
By dint of much perseverance, he had risen to the
office of consul. He was a very ambitious man, and
always wanted to be first in everything. But there was
another man in Rome as ambitious as he; this was his
Sulla was a patrician, and had made up his mind to
rival Marius; so he began to make as many friends as
possible. As Sulla also wished to be first in Rome, he
viewed with envy the great triumph that was awarded to
Marius, and was delighted when a new war called him
away from home.
The danger which now threatened Rome was an invasion of
barbarians from the north. It was no longer the Gauls
who were coming to fight them, but ruder and more
terrible races known as the Cimbri and Teutons.
These people had no settled homes, but wandered about
 from place to place, with their families and flocks.
Their wives and babies followed in rude chariots, while
the men, fierce and warlike, marched ahead, stealing,
killing, and burning wherever they went.
These barbarians had once lived in Asia and in the
eastern part of Europe; but, as their numbers
increased, and they no longer found sufficient pasture
for their cattle, they left their former home, and
wandered off in search of another.
Advancing thus, little by little, they came at last to
the great barrier of the Alps, which separate Italy
from the rest of Europe. Here they heard about the
fertile soil of
 Italy, the pleasant climate, and the large towns filled
with treasures of all kinds.
These tales made them eager to enter into the country
and take possession of land and spoil. The Gauls, who
then occupied the province now known as Lombardy, and
who had become somewhat civilized, were terrified when
they heard of the coming of these barbarians, and sent
to Rome for help.
An army was immediately sent out to meet the Cimbri,
but it was badly routed. When the tidings of the
defeat came to Rome, the senate ordered Marius—who
had been elected consul five times—to go and
stop the invaders.
By quick marches and good generalship, Marius first led
his troops into Gaul, where he met and defeated the
Teutons. Next, he returned quickly to Italy, where he
arrived just in time to stop the Cimbri as they came
pouring over the Alps.
The Cimbri had expected to meet the Teutons here, and
were amazed to find themselves face to face with the
Roman legions. Still, they proudly asked land enough
for their own tribe and for their allies, the Teutons,
who, they said, would soon join them.
Marius calmly listened to their demands, and then said:
"I have given land enough to your allies, for their
bodies are moldering in the fields of Gaul, and their
bones are used as fences for the vineyards."
Then, seeing that Marius would grant them no land,
except as much as was needed for their graves, the
fierce Cimbri prepared to take it by force, and began a
terrible battle, which was fought between them and the
Romans in the month of June, 101 B.C.
 The Cimbri, who were not used to a southern climate,
soon grew faint and weak from the heat, and could not
fight with their usual energy. Then, too, they had
bound themselves together with ropes, hoping to support
one another better; but this only made their defeat
easier, and helped the Romans to secure more prisoners.
Nearly the whole tribe of the Cimbri perished on this
awful day; for the women, after defending themselves
fiercely behind their rude wagons, strangled their
children with their long hair, and hung themselves to
the chariot poles, rather than fall into the hands of
the Romans. Even the dogs which followed the Cimbri
had to be killed, for they, too, had been taught to
fight and never to surrender.
When Marius had conquered both the Teutons and Cimbri,
and thus delivered Rome from a great danger, he was
rewarded by another grand triumph, and the people
elected him consul for the sixth time. Such was the
admiration that many of his fellow-citizens felt for
him that they erected statues in his honor, and even
wished to offer up sacrifices to him as if he had been
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