|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 HATRED OF CATO FOR CARTHAGE
 WHEN Scipio sailed with his fleet from Lilybæum, Cato was
on board one of the ships, as quæstor, under Lælius.
It may be that his hatred of Carthage began at this
time. But in any case, in years to come his dislike to
the city was bitter, and it grew to be his one desire
that it should be destroyed.
Cato had served his country as prætor in Sardinia, and
when he was Consul Spain was his province. Wherever he
went he was known as a just and honest Roman, who had a
contempt for luxury, and himself lived frugally.
In 184 B.C. he was appointed Censor, and in that
position he came to be dreaded, so severe was he in his
judgments. His speech, too, was often bitter, and
stung his hearers into indignation.
Scipio, the Censor disliked. For he encouraged Greek
culture, and by his advice many Roman youths were
taught by Greek tutors, and for this new learning Cato
had little care.
He loved the quiet, old-fashioned ways in which his
countrymen had been used to live. Cincinnatus was his
ideal of a Roman citizen, and he would fain have the
nobles still live on their farms, plough their lands,
and leave them only when the State demanded
their service. The service rendered,
Cato would have liked to see
them hasten back to their homes, to plough, to sow, to
This was the man who, often as he spoke in the Senate,
never failed to refer to Carthage before he ended.
"Every speech which I shall make in this house," he
 announced, "shall finish with these words, 'Carthage
must be destroyed.' "
One day as he spoke in the Senate he plucked some fresh
figs from the folds of his toga. Holding them out that
all might see, he said: "This fruit has been brought
from Carthage. It grows but three days' sail from
Rome. I say that it is not well to have so prosperous
and so strong a city near to us. Carthage must be
destroyed." The reiteration of these words had its
But a reason for proclaiming war on the Carthaginians
was necessary before Rome could send her armies to
destroy their city. In 149 B.C. she found the pretext
By the treaty made after the battle of Zama the
Carthaginians had been bound not to take up arms
against any ally of Rome. Yet Masinissa was left to
harass them as he pleased, and he proved as troublesome
a neighbour as the Carthaginians had foreseen.
For half a century Carthage was true to her bond and
raised no army even for her own defence.
In spite of Masinissa's raids upon her territory, the
city had again become rich and populous. So it was now
a simple matter to form an army and send it against
their troublesome and greedy neighbour. Their army was
led by a general named Hasdrubal. Rome knew all that
was going on in Carthage, but for the time she did not
interfere. She was watching for the time when the city
would be worn out by her struggle with Masinissa.
In 151 B.C. the army of Carthage took the field against
her foe, and a great battle was fought. It lasted for
the whole of one day, yet neither side gained a
Masinissa, although now an old man of about ninety
years of age, was still a clever general. Soon after
the battle he succeeded in enticing the enemy into a
tract of desert country.
Here he surrounded it with his troops, who watched so
 closely, that it was impossible for a soldier to go out
to search for succour or for provisions. Hunger and
sickness soon compelled the Carthaginians to surrender
Hasdrubal and those of his men who had not perished
were allowed to return to Carthage, Masinissa promising
that they should go in safety.
But he did not scruple to break faith with the
soldiers, who were weak for want of food and unarmed,
after having passed beneath the yoke. His son Gulussa
was allowed to surprise the miserable men as they crept
along toward Carthage, and scarcely one escaped to tell
what had befallen.
Masinissa was triumphant, for now he believed that he
had gained all Africa for himself. The Carthaginians
would certainly not be able to dispute his sway. He
would join Numidia and Carthage, and become a great
But, although he might well have known better, he
forgot to wonder what the Romans would have to say to
his plans. He was soon to learn.
Rome sent a peremptory order to her former ally, just
when he was at the zenith of his happiness. Carthage
was not to be joined to Numidia; she was to be left
alone, for the Senate itself would now see that she was
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