|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 |
THE CONSPIRACY OF CATILINE
WHILE Pompey was away in the East, a few young Romans, who
had nothing else to do, imagined that it would be a
fine thing to murder the consuls, abolish all the laws,
plunder the treasury, and set fire to the city. They
therefore formed a conspiracy, which was headed by
Catiline, a very wicked man.
The reason why Catiline encouraged the young idlers to
such crimes was that he had spent all his own money,
had run deeply into debt, and wished to find some way
to procure another fortune to squander on his
 Fortunately for Rome, this conspiracy was discovered by
the consul Cicero, the most eloquent of all the Roman
orators. He revealed the plot to the senate, but
Catiline had the boldness to deny all knowledge of it.
Cicero then went on to denounce the traitor in one of
those eloquent speeches which are read by all students
of the Latin language. Catiline, however, indignantly
left the senate hall, and, rushing out of the city,
went to join the army of rebels that was awaiting him.
But the conspirators who staid in the city
were arrested and put to death by order of Cicero and
Cicero denouncing Catiline.
In the mean while, an army had been sent out against
Catiline, who was defeated and killed, with the greater
part of his soldiers. The Romans were so grateful to
Cicero for saving them from the threatened destruction
that they did him much honor, and called him the
"Father of his Country."
Shortly after this event, and the celebration of
Pompey's new triumph, the old rivalry between him and
Crassus was renewed. They were no longer the only
important men in Rome, however; for Julius Cæsar was gradually coming to have more and more power.
This Julius Cæsar was one of the greatest men in
Rome. He was clever and cool, and first used his
influence to secure the recall of the Romans whom Sulla
had banished. As Cæsar believed in gentle
measures, he had tried to persuade the senate to spare
the young men who had plotted with Catiline. But he
failed, owing to Cicero's eloquence, and thus first
found himself opposed to this able man.
Cæsar was fully as ambitious as any of the Romans,
and he is reported to have said, "I would rather be the
 first in a village than the second in Rome!" In the
beginning of his career, however, he clearly understood
that he must try and make friends, so he offered his
services to both Pompey and Crassus.
Little by little Cæsar persuaded these two rivals
that it was very foolish in them to fight, and
finally induced them to be friends. When these three
men had thus united their forces, they felt that they
held the fortunes of Rome in their hands, and could do
as they pleased.
They therefore formed a council of three men, or the
Triumvirate, as it is called. Rome, they said, was
still to be governed by the same officers as before;
but they had so much influence in Rome that the people
and senate did almost everything that the Triumvirate
To seal this alliance, Cæsar gave his daughter
Julia in marriage to Pompey. Then, when all was
arranged according to his wishes, Cæsar asked for
and obtained the government of Gaul for five years. To
get rid of Cicero, Clodius, a friend of the
Triumvirate, revived an old law, whereby any person who
had put a Roman citizen to death without trial was made
an outlaw. Clodius argued that Cicero had not only
caused the death of the young Romans in Catiline's
conspiracy, but had even been present at their
Cicero could not avoid the law, so he fled, and staid
away from Rome for the next sixteen months.
This was a great trial to him, and he complained so
much that he was finally recalled. The people, who
loved him for his eloquence, then received him with
many demonstrations of joy.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics