|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 VISION OF BRUTUS
AS soon as the triumvirs had thus taken all the power into
their own hands, they began to think of avenging their
private wrongs; and they drew up long lists of the
people that were to be slain. In this, they
fol-  lowed the example of Marius and Sulla, instead of
showing themselves generous and forgiving like Julius
To satisfy one another's demands, they were all forced
to sacrifice some of their relatives and friends.
Lepidus gave up his brother to the vengeance of his
colleagues; Antony did the same with his uncle; and
Octavius consented to the death of his friend Cicero.
When these plans were settled, the triumvirs marched
towards Rome, and took possession of the city by force.
Then their soldiers began to kill all the citizens
whose names stood upon the proscription lists. Many
tried to escape, and among them was Cicero, although he
was so ill at the time that he had to be carried in a
The soldiers pursued the orator, and soon overtook him.
Knowing that all resistance would be useless, Cicero
thrust his head meekly out of the litter, and it was
struck off with a single blow. The men also carried
away his right hand, because Antony had said that he
would like to have the hand which had written such
angry speeches against him.
Antony and his wife, Fulvia, are said to have
received these ghastly presents with lively tokens of
joy. Fulvia even pierced the dead orator's tongue with
her golden hairpin, in revenge for his having ventured
to speak ill of Antony. But this unfeeling woman was
soon punished for her cruelty. Her husband, who had
not scrupled to kill a friend, soon deserted her, and
she finally died of grief and loneliness.
More than two thousand Roman citizens were murdered at
this time to satisfy the cruelty of the triumvirs.
Many others escaped death only by leaving the country.
 We are told that one young man carried off his aged and
infirm father on his back to save him from his
pursuers. Father and son reached a place of safety,
where they staid in hiding until they could
return to Rome without danger. They were warmly
welcomed when they came back, and every one had a kind
word to say to the brave young man who had not forsaken
his father, although his own life was threatened too.
At the very head of the triumvirs' proscription lists,
stood the names of Brutus and Cassius; but these
murderers of the great Cæsar were absent, and
therefore could not be killed. Brutus had gone to
Athens, in Greece, where he persuaded many of the
Romans who were studying there to join his army in
It was here that Brutus, a very poor sleeper, once had
a strange dream. A specter appeared to him while he
slept, and solemnly said: "Brutus, I am thy evil
genius; thou shalt see me again at Philippi!"
Shortly after this, Brutus was camping at Philippi,
with an army. On the eve of a great battle, he is said
to have seen the same specter, who now warned him that
his end was near. The battle of Philippi was a very
serious one; for Brutus, Cassius, and all their friends
were on the one side, while Mark Antony, Octavius, and
many other Romans were on the other.
Before very long, however, Cassius and his men were
defeated, and he killed himself, without waiting for
the end of the battle. Brutus was at first victorious;
but a few days later he, too, was defeated. While he
was striking madly right and left, his friend
Lucilius sprang forward.
Lucilius had seen that Antony's men were trying to
 capture Brutus; so he threw himself before his beloved
general, crying aloud that he was Brutus. While he was
being taken to Antony's tent, where the mistake was
soon discovered, the real Brutus escaped.
Fearing that he would be overtaken and made prisoner,
Brutus vainly implored his friends and slaves to kill
him; then, in despair, he fell at last upon his own
sword. When Brutus thus put an end to his life he was
only forty-three years of age, and had survived
Cæsar about two years.
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