|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 |
THE DEATH OF THE CONSPIRATORS
 THE Senate no sooner knew that Catiline was with the army
than it proclaimed both him and Manlius public enemies.
A messenger was sent to the camp to offer pardon to any
who should leave it within a certain time. But no one
took advantage of this offer, while many soldiers
continued to crowd into it. Rome grew more and more
Antonius, the colleague of Cicero, was sent at the head
of an army to Fæsulæ. As he was a friend of Catiline
he pretended to be ill, and his army did the
conspirators no harm. Cicero himself stayed to guard
the city, for it was suspected that there was treachery
within her walls.
Soon after this the Consul unexpectedly received the
proof of the conspirators' guilt.
A Gallic tribe that had been forced to pay a heavy tax
to the Romans now sent envoys to Rome to beg that the
tax might be removed.
As it chanced, the conspirators in the city saw the
envoys, and tried to persuade them to hasten back to
their tribe and send a troop of cavalry to the help of
the camp at Fæsulæ. They were assured that if they
would do this Catiline would see that the money tax was
The envoys promised to aid the conspirators, but they
had scarcely left the city when they changed their
Catiline's plot might fail, they said to one another,
and then what would happen to their tribe for sending
soldiers to his aid, while, if they told Cicero all
that they knew, the Consul would certainly reward them
well? So they
 went back into the city and told Cicero what they had
been asked to do.
The Consul knew that he now possessed the proof he had
so long sought in vain. Moreover, the whole city would
rise in fury when she heard that the conspirators had
wished to invade Rome with the aid of Gallic troops.
So he promised to reward the envoys well if they would
do as he bade them.
They were again to leave Rome, and to appear to be
faithful to Catiline. But when they had gone a little
distance they would be arrested. Now were they to
resist overmuch, while the letters they carried were to
be given up after a mere show of reluctance.
The envoys agreed to do as the Consul wished, and soon
the letters which betrayed the four conspirators within
the city were in the hands of the Consul. They were at
once arrested and put under guard, while one of them,
being a prætor, was forced to resign his office.
Cicero then assembled the people, and delivered his
third speech against Catiline and his
When the people heard of the attempted league with Gaul
they were roused to a frenzy. Their own leaders had
betrayed them, and they were loud in their praise of
Cicero for detecting the traitors' schemes.
The Consul had power to pronounce sentence of death on
evil-doers, if it seemed necessary for the good of the
State. But he did not use his power, begging the
Senate rather to counsel him as to what sentence they
Many of the senators urged that the four guilty men
should be put to death, but Julius Cæsar was more
"Their crimes," he said, "deserve the severest
punishment, but when the excitement is over, severity
beyond the laws will be remembered, the crimes
He then proposed that the four men should be imprisoned
for life, and that their property should be
Cæsar's words almost won the day. But Cato, the
great-  grandson of the Censor, spoke violently against mercy
being shown to the conspirators.
Cato was one of the sternest of the Optimates, and his
influence was great enough to sway the Senate. It now
voted by a majority for the death of the prisoners, and
the Consul at once ordered the four men to be
As Cicero left the Senate-house and hastened through
the crowd in the Forum, he said to the people:
are dead." The citizens seemed satisfied that their
city would now be safe, while Cato and Catulus
commended Cicero as the "Father of his country."
Early in 62 B.C. Catiline tried to march into Gaul with
the troops that had remained faithful to him. But the
Roman army was watching for him. He was forced to
fight, and nearly all his men were slain.
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