|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 |
AS Pompey had claimed all the credit of the victory over
the revolted slaves, you can readily understand that
Crassus did not love him very much. Both of these men
were ambitious, and they both strove to win the favor
of the Romans. They made use of different means,
however; for Pompey tried to buy their affections by
winning many victories, while Crassus strove to do the
same by spending his money very freely.
Crassus was at this time a very rich man. He gave
magnificent banquets, kept open house, and is said to
have entertained the Romans at ten thousand public
tables, which were all richly spread. He also made
generous gifts of grain to all the poor, and supplied
them with food for several months at a time.
In spite of this liberality, the people seemed to
prefer Pompey, who, soon after defeating the slaves,
made war against the pirates that infested the
Mediterranean Sea. These pirates had grown very
numerous, and were so bold that they attacked even the
largest ships. They ruthlessly butchered all their
common prisoners, but they made believe to treat the
Roman citizens with the greatest respect.
 If one of their captives said that he was a Roman, they
immediately began to make apologies for having taken
him. Then they stretched a plank from the side of the
ship to the water, and politely forced the Roman to
step out of the vessel and into the sea.
The pirates also robbed all the provision ships on
their way from Sicily to Rome; and, as a famine
threatened, the Romans sent Pompey to put an end to
these robberies. Pompey obeyed these orders so well
that four months later all the pirate ships were either
captured or sunk, and their crews made prisoners or
Pompey knew that the pirates were enterprising men, so
he advised the senate to send them out to form new
colonies. This good advice was followed, and many of
these men became in time good and respectable citizens
in their new homes.
As Pompey had been so successful in all his campaigns,
the Romans asked him to take command of their armies
when a third war broke out with their old enemy
Mithridates, King of Pontus in Asia Minor.
With his usual good fortune, Pompey reached the scene
of conflict just in time to win the final battles, and
to reap all the honors of the war. We are told that he
won a glorious victory by taking advantage of the
moonlight, and placing his soldiers in such a way that
their shadows stretched far over the sand in front of
them. The soldiers of Mithridates, roused from sound
slumbers, fancied that giants were coming to attack
them, and fled in terror.
As for Mithridates, he preferred death to captivity,
and killed himself so that he would not be obliged to
appear in his conqueror's triumph.
 Pompey next subdued Syria, Phœnicia, and
Judea, and entered Jerusalem. Here some of the
Jews held out in their temple, which was taken only
after a siege of three months. In spite of their
entreaties, Pompey went into the Holy of
Holies,—a place where even the high priest
ventured only once a year; and we are told that he was
punished for this sacrilege by a rapid decline of his
All the western part of Asia was now under Roman rule;
and, when Pompey came back to Rome, he brought with him
more than three million dollars' worth of spoil.
Wealth of all kinds had been pouring into Rome for so
many years that it now seemed as if these riches would
soon cause the ruin of the people. The rich citizens
formed a large class of idlers and pleasure seekers,
and they soon became so wicked that they were always
doing something wrong.
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