|The Story of Rome|
|by Mary Macgregor|
|A vivid account of the story of Rome from the earliest times to the death of Augustus, retold for children, chronicling the birth of a city and its growth through storm and struggle to become a great world empire. Gives short accounts of battles and campaigns, and of the men who expanded the borders of the Roman empire to include all lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Ages 10-14 |
BRUTUS SPEAKS TO THE CITIZENS
 WHEN the terrible deed was done, Brutus wished to tell those
senators, who had known nothing of the plot, why it had
been necessary to murder the Dictator.
But they, horrified with the murder, and dismayed that
they had been unable to aid Cæsar, were in no mood to
listen to the conspirators. They fled indeed from the
Senate-house, not knowing what fate awaited them, and
too sad perhaps to greatly care.
Not far from the Senate-house they met Mark Antony,
Cæsar's most faithful friend, who had been purposely
kept away from the meeting. They told him what had
befallen Cæsar, and he and many others of Cæsar's
friends hid themselves, lest the conspirators should
wish to murder them also. But they need not have
feared, for it was Cæsar's life alone that had been
As the senators had not stayed to listen to their
explanations, the conspirators now determined to tell
the people that Cæsar was dead.
So they marched through the streets crying that the
tyrant had been killed, and bidding all those who loved
the Republic to join them.
But the citizens turned away, with scarcely concealed
horror, and hurrying into their shops and houses, shut
They had seen Cæsar that very morning. It could not
be true that he was indeed dead, as Brutus said. In
awed whispers they spoke of him to one another, and
 wept, for now they forgot their suspicions, and
remembered only that they had loved Cæsar, and that he
had been their friend.
The next day, when the people assembled in the Forum,
Brutus spoke to them. He told them, not of the dead
Cæsar's faults, but of the Republic and its needs, and
the people listened in silence.
But when Brutus sat down, another of the conspirators
began to speak, accusing Cæsar of one crime after
another. This was more than the people could bear.
The interruptions grew louder and more threatening
every moment, until at length the conspirators, fearing
that a riot would take place, fled to the Capitol for
On the following morning the Senate met, and Antony,
caring no longer to hide, was seen walking through the
streets toward the Senate-house. The people feared for
his safety, because he had been the friend of Cæsar,
and begged him to beware, lest he too was murdered.
But he lifted his toga that they might see that he was
clad in armour.
Even to meet the Senate, the conspirators did not
venture to leave the Capitol, but they sent Cicero to
be their spokesman.
Cicero's eloquence may have moved the senators. In any
case, Mark Antony, who was one of the Consuls, agreed
that the conspirators should be received in peace.
It was also arranged that Cæsar should be given a
Antony was now content. As Consul, he would speak at
Cæsar's funeral, and he did not doubt his power to
rouse the passions of the people against the murderers
of his friend. Cassius foresaw what Antony would do,
and tried to stir the fears of Brutus. But in this he
As the Senate had agreed to receive the conspirators,
and as the people were in the meantime pacified, they
now ventured to leave the Capitol, and even to enter
 When the funeral day arrived, before Antony brought the
body of his friend into the Forum, Brutus spoke once
again to the assembled citizens, seeking this time to
tell them why he had had anything to do with the murder
of Cæsar whom he had loved. Here are his words, as
Shakespeare tells them to us:—
"Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
cause, and be silent that you may hear. If there be
any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to
him I say, that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than
his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose
against Cæsar, this is my answer:—Not that I love
Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more.
"As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was
fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I
honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I slew him.
There is tears for his love; joy for his fortune;
honour for his valour; and death for his ambition."
With these and many other words Brutus so pleased the
people, that it did not seem likely that they would
care to listen to what Antony had to say.
"Live Brutus, live Brutus!" shouted the crowds, well
content for the moment with the defence which he had
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