|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 |
JUGURTHA, KING OF NUMIDIA
 YOU remember Masinissa, King of Numidia, who had such fine
cavalry, and helped the Romans fight the Carthaginians,
do you not? Well, by this time, Masinissa and his sons
were dead, and his kingdom was divided among his three
grandsons, Jugurtha, Hiempsal, and Adherbal.
The first of these three kings, Jugurtha, was bold and
cruel, and was noted for being one of the best riders
in the whole country. He was not satisfied to have
only a share of Numidia, and began to plan how he could
get hold of his cousins' lands.
He began by murdering Hiempsal, and then proceeded to
besiege Adherbal in his capital. In his distress, the
besieged king sent a messenger to the Romans, imploring
them to come and help him. But when Jugurtha heard
that his cousin had asked for aid, he, too, sent a
messenger to the senate.
Now the Roman nobles were so greedy for gold that they
would do anything, however mean, to obtain it.
Jugurtha knew this, so he bade his messenger make
rich presents to all he met. The man obeyed. The
Roman senators accepted the bribes, and then cruelly
refused to help Adherbal, who soon fell into Jugurtha's
Instead of merely depriving his cousin of his kingdom,
Jugurtha put him in prison, and tortured him in the
most awful and inhuman way until he died. The Romans
had been base enough to accept bribes; but they were
nevertheless very indignant when they heard how cruel
Jugur-  tha had been, and called him to Rome to defend himself
for the murder of his cousin.
Jugurtha came, pretended to be very sorry for what he
had done, put on mourning, and secretly gave so many
presents that none of the senators would condemn him.
But, even while he was thus making believe to repent,
he was planning a new crime.
Before he left Rome, he sent an assassin to kill the
last relative he had left. Then, as he passed out of
the Eternal City,—as the Romans boastfully call
their town,—he is said to have scornfully cried:
"Venal city, thou wouldst sell thyself to any one rich
enough to buy thee!"
When Jugurtha reached home, all his pretended sorrow
and repentance vanished. He felt such contempt for the
Romans, who had accepted his presents, that he no
longer thought it necessary to keep friends with them,
and soon openly declared war against them.
The war between Jugurtha and the Romans was fought in
Africa, and lasted several years. Indeed, the Romans
endured several defeats before a young general called
Marius finally conquered Jugurtha, and gained
possession of the last Numidian fortress.
This stronghold was situated on a rock so high and so
steep that it seemed impossible to climb it. But a
young Roman soldier discovered that there were many
snail holes and cracks in the rock, in which he could
stick his bare toes. Taking advantage of this, he led
a party up into the fortress, and became master of it
while the garrison slept.
Soon after this, Jugurtha himself was made captive, and
taken to Rome, where he was forced to march before the
 victor's chariot in the triumph. This ceremony over,
he was thrust naked into a damp prison, where he died
at the end of six days, without any one having offered
to give him a bit of bread or a drink of water. He had
pitied no one, so no one pitied him.
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