|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 SONS OF BRUTUS
 AFTER Tarquin the Proud had been driven away from Rome, the
people determined that they would never again be ruled
They resolved to follow the wise laws of Servius, who
had bidden them choose each year two men to rule,
giving them equal power, the right to make laws, and to
see that justice was done in the land.
The two men, chosen by the Senate and the people, were
In token of his office, each Consul had at his command
six men, named lictors.
When a Consul went into the Forum or into the street,
he was preceded by his lictors, who carried, as a sign
of their master's power, rods to chastise and an axe to
Rome had now become a Republic, and the first Consuls
to be elected were Brutus and Collatinus.
But if the Romans expected Tarquin to make no effort to
recover his throne, they soon discovered their mistake.
Before long, the king sent messengers to Rome to ask
that his own private possessions might be sent to him,
and to this simple request the Senate and the people
As perhaps the Romans might have suspected, Tarquin had
another reason for sending to Rome than the one his
messengers carried to the Senate. He knew that among
the younger patricians were many who wished to place
him again upon the throne, and his messengers had come
to talk secretly with these nobles. They even hoped to
arrange the best time for the king's return.
 But as the conspirators talked together, a slave
chanced to overhear what they said, and he at once went
to the Consuls and told them of the danger that
threatened the city.
The conspirators were immediately seized and thrown
into prison, while the slave was set free and made a
citizen of Rome.
Among the prisoners were Titus and Tiberius, the sons
The brave Consul was dismayed to learn that his sons,
whom he loved well, had been guilty of treason. How
could he bear to pronounce judgment upon them as upon
Yet soon he thrust aside his weakness. A true Roman
must love his country better even than his own
So when the conspirators were brought before him he did
not flinch. With stern, set face he condemned Titus
and Tiberius to death along with the other traitors,
nor did he stoop to ask the people to show mercy to his
The young men were bound to the stake before his eyes,
after which the lictors beat them with rods and then
cut off their heads with the axe.
So angry were the Senate and the people with Tarquin
for attempting to plot against the Republic, that they
now refused to send to him his possessions. And not
only so, but they divided his goods among the people,
while the field between the city and the Tiber which
Tarquin had sown with corn was destroyed, the corn cut
down and thrown into the river. The angry citizens
then dedicated the field to the god Mars, and
henceforth it was known as the Field of Mars.
The Senate then made a law banishing for ever from Rome
all who bore the hated name of Tarquin.
So Collatinus, whose other name was Tarquinius,
resigned his Consulship and left the city in obedience
to the law. And this he did, although he was the
friend of Brutus, and hated the exiled king.
 Valerius was then chosen Consul in his stead.
Meanwhile, Tarquin was full of wrath because he had not
been able to enter Rome by craft, and he went to
Etruria, and persuaded the Etruscans to help him to
recover his throne.
But when the Etruscans proclaimed war against Rome,
Brutus gathered together an army and led it against the
Close to a wood the battle raged. Aruns, one of
Tarquin's sons, saw Brutus at the head of the Roman
army, wearing the royal robes which he considered
belonged to his house alone. In sudden fury he put
spurs to his horse, and with his spear ready dashed
toward his enemy.
Brutus saw Aruns drawing near, and he also spurred his
horse forward and couched his spear.
Onward flew the two warriors until at length they met.
Then each, pierced by the other's spear, fell from his
horse and moved no more.
All day the battle raged, and still when night fell the
victory was uncertain.
But, during the night, while both armies were encamped
on the battlefield, a loud voice was heard coming from
the direction of the wood.
It was Silvanus, the god of the wood, who was speaking.
"The victory belongs to the Romans," said the god, "for
they have slain one more than their enemy."
Obedient to the voice of Silvanus, the Etruscans on the
following morning withdrew their army, while the Romans
marched back to Rome.
In spite of their victory they were sad, for they
carried with them the dead body of their leader.
Brutus was mourned by all the people. But the Roman
matrons lamented more than others, setting aside a
whole year in which to grieve for his death, because he
had so bravely avenged the matron Lucretia.
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