|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 |
SUCH was the cruelty of Sejanus, and the tortures which
he made people suffer before they died, that many
killed themselves to avoid falling into his hands. The
news of these cruel deeds left Tiberius quite unmoved;
but his anger was at once aroused when some one finally
had courage enough to tell him that Sejanus was
planning to become emperor in his stead.
 Although he now hated Sejanus, Tiberius made believe to
trust him more than ever. A messenger was sent to
Sejanus with a letter full of compliments, and to the
senate with one in which there was an order to put him
in prison. Sejanus came up the steps of the senate
house reading his letter, and every one bowed down
before him as usual. But a few minutes later the scene
No sooner had the senators read the emperor's order
than they all fell upon Sejanus, and struck and
insulted him. The people followed their example, and,
when the executioner had strangled him, they tore his
body to pieces, and flung the bloody remains into the
Tiberius gave further vent to his rage by ordering the
death of all the people whom he fancied to be his
enemies. He gave strict orders, also, that no one
should shed tears for those he had condemned. Because
one poor woman wept over the execution of her son, she
too was killed; and a playwright was put to death
because he had written a play wherein the emperor
fancied the man found fault with him.
All the Roman prisons were full; but when Tiberius
heard that they would not hold another prisoner, he
gave orders that they should be cleared by killing all
the people in them, without waiting to have them tried.
He only once expressed regret, and that was when he
heard that a young man had killed himself, and had thus
escaped the tortures which he had intended to inflict
A man so wicked could not be happy, and you will not be
surprised to hear that Tiberius lived in constant dread
of being killed. He could not sleep well, was afraid
of every one, started at every sound, and fancied that
everybody was as mean and cruel as himself.
 Eighteen years after Tiberius came to the throne, Jesus
Christ was crucified at Jerusalem; and it is said that
Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, sent the emperor
a long account of His miracles, trial, death, and
resurrection. This story interested Tiberius, and he
proposed to the senate that Christ should be admitted
among the Roman gods, and that his statue should be
placed in the Pantheon.
The senators did not like to do anything which they had
not suggested themselves, so they refused to do as
Tiberius wished. Many years after, however, all the
heathen gods ceased to be worshiped in Rome, because
the people had learned to believe in the Christ whom
these senators had despised.
As old age came on, Tiberius began to suffer much from
ill health, and became subject to long fainting fits.
While he was thus unconscious one day, the people
fan-  cied that he was dead, and began to rejoice openly.
They even proclaimed Caligula, the son of Germanicus,
emperor in his stead.
In the midst of their rejoicings, they suddenly learned
that Tiberius was not dead, but was slowly returning to
his senses. The people were terrified, for they knew
that Tiberius was so revengeful in spirit that he would
soon put them all to death.
The chief of the pretorian guard, however, did not lose
his presence of mind. Running into the sick emperor's
room, he piled so many mattresses and pillows upon the
bed that Tiberius was soon smothered.
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