|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 STATUE OF THE GODDESS
 WHEN Veii had fallen into his hands, Camillus allowed not
only the soldiers, but the citizens of Rome to plunder
the city, for he had agreed with the Senate that all
the people should share in the spoil.
As he stood on a high tower watching the sack of the
city which had resisted Rome for ten years, Camillus
wept for pity. Then, covering his face with his toga,
he prayed that if his great victory had made him proud,
Jupiter would punish, not Rome or the army, but only
him, and that "with as little hurt as might be."
Turning then to his right, as was the custom after
prayer, the Dictator slipped and fell to the ground.
This, he believed, was the "little hurt" sent to him by
Many treasures were taken from the conquered city to
Rome, but none more sacred than the statue of Juno.
Camillus ordered some young men to clothe themselves in
white robes, and then to go to the temple to remove the
It was a solemn moment when the youths stood before the
image, scarce venturing to look upon it, lest they
should be punished for their boldness.
One of them, half mocking, yet, it may be, half in
earnest too, said: "O Juno, wilt thou go to Rome?"
Clear through the temple echoed the voice of the
goddess: "I will."
Then reverently the young men lifted the image, but to
their astonishment it was so light that they felt as
 their arms were empty, and the goddess was walking by
In safety they reached Rome with the wondrous image,
and Camillus built a temple on the Aventine hill, in
which henceforth the statue of Juno stood.
When the Dictator returned to Rome he enjoyed a great
triumph. Dressed in the garments of Jupiter, he drove
through the gates in a chariot drawn by four white
horses, his soldiers following him, shouting the
praises of their leader.
But the people of Rome were displeased with the
Dictator, for none but kings might drive in a chariot
drawn by four white horses.
Soon they even hated Camillus, for he sided with the
Senate against those tribunes who had been faithful to
the plebeians. Moreover, he had vowed to give a tenth
of the spoil taken at Veii to the god Apollo. At the
time that the city was sacked, it seemed that the
Dictator had forgotten his vow. When he remembered it,
the people had spent or parted with their share of the
spoil, so Camillus forced them to give up the tenth
part of their goods. At this the poor folk grumbled,
as indeed they had some cause to do.
But much as the people hated Camillus, they could not
do without him. When war broke out against a people
called the Falerians, he was elected as a military
tribune, and at once marched away with his army to
besiege the strongly fortified town of Falerii.
In his heart Camillus hoped that if he was successful
in taking the city, the Romans would forget their anger
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