|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 |
SERTORIUS AND HIS DOE
 WHEN Sulla died, there were still two parties, or factions,
in Rome, which could not agree to keep the peace.
These two factions were headed by Catulus and
Lepidus, the consuls for that year. Catulus had been
a friend of Sulla, and was upheld by Pompey, who was a
very clever man. Pompey was not cruel like Marius and
Sulla, but he could not be trusted, for he did not
always tell the truth, nor was he careful to keep his
As the two consuls had very different ideas, and were
at the head of hostile parties, they soon quarreled and
came to open war. Catulus, helped by so able a general
as Pompey, won the victory, and drove Lepidus to
Sardinia, where he died.
Although the civil war at home was now stopped, there
was no peace yet, for it still raged abroad.
Sertorius, one of the friends of Marius, had taken
refuge in Spain when Sulla returned. Here he won the
respect and affection of the Spaniards, who even
intrusted their sons to his care, asking him to have
them educated in the Roman way.
The Spaniards, who were a very credulous people,
thought that Sertorius was a favorite of the gods,
because he was followed wherever he went by a
snow-white doe, an animal held sacred to the goddess
Diana. This doe wandered in and out of the camp at
will, and the soldiers fancied that it brought messages
from the gods; so they were careful to do it no harm.
As the Spaniards shared this belief, they were always
ready to do whatever Sertorius bade them; and when a
 Roman army was sent to Spain to conquer him, they
rallied around him in great numbers.
Now you must know that Spain is a very mountainous
country. The inhabitants, of course, were familiar
with all the roads and paths, and therefore they had a
great advantage over the Roman legions, who were
accustomed to fight on plains, where they could draw
themselves up in battle array.
Instead of meeting the Romans in a pitched battle,
Sertorius had his Spaniards worry them in skirmishes.
By his orders, they took up their station on the
mountains, and behind trees, from whence they could
hurl rocks and arrows down upon their foe.
When the Roman general saw that his army was rapidly
growing less, and that he would have no chance to show
his skill in a great battle, he made a proclamation,
offering a large sum of money to any one who would kill
Sertorius, and bring his head into the Roman camp.
Sertorius was indignant when he heard of this
proclamation, and gladly accepted the offer of
Mithridates to join forces with him against the Romans.
But before this king could help him, Sertorius grew
suspicious of the Spaniards, and fancied that they were
about to turn traitors and sell him to the Romans.
Without waiting to find out whether these suspicions
were true, he ordered the massacre of all the boys
intrusted to his care. Of course the Spaniards were
furious, and they all declared that it served Sertorius
right when Perperna, one of his own men, fell upon
him while he was sitting at table, and killed him.
In the mean while, however, the Roman senate had
out another army, under Pompey, and this general had
fought several regular battles with Sertorius.
Perperna now tried to take the lead of the Spaniards
and the Romans who hated Pompey; but, as he was a
coward, he lost the next battle and was made prisoner.
Hoping to save his life, Perperna then offered to hand
over all the papers belonging to Sertorius, so that
Pompey could find out the names of the Romans who were
Fortunately, Pompey was too honorable to read letters
which were not addressed to him. Although he took the
papers, it was only to fling them straight into the
fire without a single glance at their contents. Then
he ordered that Perperna, the traitor, should be put to
death; and, having ended the war in Spain, he returned
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics