|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 LUCRETIA
 THE idle suggestion that had made Sextus and Collatinus
ride from the camp to Rome and Collatia led to terrible
Sextus, having seen how wise and beautiful Lucretia
was, wished to win her from her husband; and one day,
leaving the camp, he again rode to Collatia, but this
time he rode alone.
Lucretia, believing the prince was her husband's
friend, received him with fitting hospitality when he
arrived at her house, hot and tired after his ride.
But when she found that he was not a true friend to
Collatinus she was no longer kind. Then the prince
grew angry, and treated Lucretia so cruelly that she
knew she could never again be happy.
The next day she clad herself in black, and sent
messengers to her father and her husband, bidding them
come to Collatia with all possible speed.
When they arrived, she told them how Sextus had treated
her, and making them swear to avenge her wrongs, she
plunged a dagger into her heart and died.
Brutus, the king's nephew, had ridden from the camp
with Collatinus, and he, too, swore to avenge Lucretia,
and to see that never more should any of the race of
Tarquin sit upon the throne of Rome.
This oath was also taken by the husband and father of
Lucretia, as well as by two brave Romans named Publius
Valerius and Spurius Lucretius.
The dead body of the Roman matron was carried to the
market-place, and when the people were told what had
happened, they broke out into loud cries, and mourned
for her sad fate.
 Brutus then hastened to Rome to tell the terrible tale.
In the Forum, amid the assembled people, his voice rang
out clear and fearless as he reminded them of the
crimes of Tarquin the Proud, and denounced the king and
his son Sextus.
"Will you suffer such a tyrant or any of his race to
rule longer over you, O Romans?" demanded Brutus
sternly. And the people in a storm of indignation
The Romans were in earnest. An army was at once
enrolled, and, led by Brutus, set out to attack the
king at Ardea.
Tullia, the queen, meanwhile, startled by the tumult in
the Forum, fled from the palace. As her chariot drove
along the streets the people muttered curses, calling
down upon her the vengeance of her murdered father.
Rumours had already reached the camp that Rome was in
revolt, and Tarquin at once marched to the city with a
division of his army to punish the rebels.
Brutus, on his way to Ardea, took care to avoid the
king. He had determined to win over the army that was
left before the besieged town.
When he reached the camp, he quickly roused the
soldiers by the tale of Lucretia's wrongs.
They swore never again to own Tarquin or any of his
race as king, and at once prepared to march to Rome.
Meanwhile, the king had reached the city only to find
the gates closed, and the citizens, stern and resolute,
manning the walls. No threats, no promises would make
them open to the king whom they had determined to
Tarquin, knowing that if he lingered he would have to
face the army led by Brutus, turned away from the city
and hastened to seek refuge in Etruria.
The Romans, having thus expelled their king, appointed
a day to be celebrated as the Feast of Flight, or the
Feast of the Expulsion of the Kings. This feast was
held each year on the 24th February.
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