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“Hidden talent counts for nothing.”
Strategy Six Pack 12 presents six historical texts spanning two millennia and three continents. Ancient Rome and the Americas get two books each: Mary Platt Parmele’s A Short History of Rome is paired with Jacob Abbott’s biography of Emperor Nero; Thomas Paine’s 1791 American political classic The Rights of Man is followed by 1831’s The Confessions of Nat Turner - written by a runaway preacher-slave and social activist. For the Europhiles there is Hendrik Willem van Loon’s concise account of Holland’s early 19th Century continental dominance in The Rise of the Dutch Kingdom 1795-1813 and for historians of Asia there is the account of Victorian spy Alexander Burnes’ adventures in uncharted parts of Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond in Travels into Bokhara: A Voyage up the Indus to Lahore and a Journey to Cabool, Tartary & Persia.
Strategy Six Pack 12
A Short History of Rome by Mary Platt Parmele.
Nero by Jacob Abbott.
The Rise of the Dutch Kingdom, 1795-1813 - A Short Account of the Early Development of the Modern Kingdom of the Netherlands by Hendrik Willem van Loon.
The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine.
The Confessions of Nat Turner by Nat Turner.
Travels into Bokhara: A Voyage up the Indus to Lahore and a Journey to Cabool, Tartary & Persia Volume I by Alexander Burnes.
Includes image galleries for A Short History of Rome, The Rights of Man, The Confessions of Nat Turner and Travels into Bokhara.
Das E-Book können Sie in Legimi-Apps oder einer beliebigen App lesen, die das folgende Format unterstützen:
Strategy Six Pack 12
Hendrik Willem van Loon
Mary Platt Parmele
Strategy Six Pack 12
A Short History of Rome
Chapter I | Nero's Mother
Chapter II | The Assassination of Caligula
Chapter III | The Accession of Claudius
Chapter IV | The Fate of Messalina
Chapter V | The Childhood of Nero
Chapter VI | Nero an Emperor
Chapter VII | Britannicus
Chapter VIII | The Fate of Agrippina
Chapter IX | Extreme Depravity
Chapter X | Piso's Conspiracy
Chapter XI | The Fate of the Conspirators
Chapter XII | The Expedition into Greece
Chapter XIII | Nero's End
The Rise of the Dutch Kingdom 1795-1813 | A Short Account of the Early Development of the Modern Kingdom of the Netherlands | By Hendrik Willem van Loon
The Rights of Man | By Thomas Paine
PART SECOND | COMBINING PRINCIPLE AND PRACTICE
The Confessions of Nat Turner | By Nat Turner
TRAVELS INTO BOKHARA | A Voyage up the Indus to Lahore and a Journey to Cabool, Tartary & Persia | VOLUME I | By Alexander Burnes
Further Reading: The Revenant: Some Incidents in the Life of Hugh Glass, a Hunter of the Missouri River
A Short History of Rome by Mary Platt Parmele. First published in A Short History of Rome and Italy by Mary Platt Parmele in 1901.
Nero by Jacob Abbott. First published in 1853.
The Rise of the Dutch Kingdom, 1795-1813 - A Short Account of the Early Development of the Modern Kingdom of the Netherlands by Hendrik Willem van Loon. First published in 1915.
The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine. First published in 1791.
The Confessions of Nat Turner by Nat Turner. First published in 1831.
Travels into Bokhara: A Voyage up the Indus to Lahore and a Journey to Cabool, Tartary & Persia Volume I by Alexander Burnes. First published in 1834.
Strategy Six Pack 12 published 2016 by Enhanced Media.
The peninsula of Italy has more powerfully influenced the destiny of the human race, in its material aspects, than any other spot upon the earth. Bethlehem of Judea and Greece have flooded the world, the one with spiritual life, and the other with intellectual splendor; but working upon a lower plane and with coarser implements, Rome seems to have been predestined to open up the channels through which those streams should nourish humanity. Her appointed task was to lay the foundations for Christendom.
But Rome did not lay the corner-stone of modern civilization. She is its corner stone. In the pedigree of nations she is the great progenitor, the cause of causes, and must ever remain the prodigy among earthly empires. What was the secret of her strength? To what was she indebted for her amazing pre-eminence? Not to her geographical position, for she had no sea-port, and in a land of exceptional fertility and charm she occupied a spot too sterile to support her own people, and was surrounded by malarial marshes unfriendly to human life. Not to her ancestry, for she had none. She did not engraft her youthful vigor upon an old pre-existing state; had not, like Persia and Macedon and Carthage, the stored riches and experience of a parent kingdom with which to build the new. We, in America, while glorying in our own phenomenal development, should remember that we are not only the heir of all the ages, but that we started with a great political inheritance, the wisdom and experience which Great Britain had been accumulating for a thousand years. But Rome first built her city, then by sheer native force peopled it, then compelled all of Italy, and finally all the then existing world, toward the centre she had created. And when after long ages her temporal sovereignty was slipping from her weakened hands, she gathered to herself a spiritual sovereignty, and remains today the supreme ruler over the hearts and consciences of a large part of mankind in an empire which knows no geographical limits. There may be great world-powers in the future, but will there ever be one which will leave such a heritage of strength and political wisdom as did that empire with its throne upon the seven hills of Rome? Will there ever be another which even while it is perishing can, out, of its superabundant strength create such a group of world-powers, and then bequeath to future ages a judicial system so just, so wise, so perfectly adapted to the needs of human society, that after 3,000 years will still stand the model for the legislation of Christendom?
In what sort of a cradle was this giant nourished? What were the influences which shaped its childhood? and what the attributes which enabled it to establish such a dominating influence in the world's affairs?
The cradle for the Roman Empire was commenced in the earliest geologic ages, and was fashioned by titanic forces. It was circumstances seemingly quite fortuitous which sent that narrow peninsula jutting out into the sea and straggling toward the East. A few more, or a few less volcanic upheavals and there would have been a different Italy, and then a different history of Rome, and hence of the world. But when Nature paused, when she had fashioned that curious leg-shaped strip of land with its rigid skeleton of mountains; when she had made it strong, rock-ribbed with her most ancient limestone, so that the elements and the sea would strive in vain to devour it, and then when she had sprinkled the depressions and basins with rich black loam which would blossom into matchless beauty beneath the sun's rays, she had determined the course of history as we read it today. And that region between the Alps and the Apennines, watered by streams from both ranges, the most fertile garden spot in Europe, was that the chosen site for the future lords of Italy and of the world? Not at all. On the Tiber, back from the sea, in the most uninviting spot in the whole peninsula, where the earth rises in seven irregular hills, there was the rough limestone cradle of the future Roman Empire.
When and how this land was first occupied by man we may never know, nor whence came the aboriginal races which existed there at the early dawn of the European day. But when it emerges from the region beyond the verge of history there were many strongly contrasting tribes crowded upon the narrow peninsula, separated from each other by the natural ramparts of the Apennines, and the no leas effectual wall of race antipathy and language. These may be roughly divided into the Pelasgians—with marked Hellenic traits — on the east and south (Magna Graecia), the Oscans, Sabellians, and Umbrians, a more indigenous people occupying Central, Western, and Northern Italy; last of all the Etruscans, on the western coast, the most interesting of the entire group, whose origin baffles even conjecture; the remains of their language offering not the slightest clew, and leaving them a companion mystery to that of the Basques in Spain and Western Europe. These are the chief primitive divisions roughly drawn. Latium, of more recent origin, seems to have been of both Pelasgian and Oscan descent; the Latin language having the same Aryan roots and structure as the Greek, but with a large vocabulary drawn from the warlike Oscans; from which facts scholars read, not that the Pelasgians and Latins were descended from the Greeks, but, as is more probable, were off-shoots of the same parent stem (Aryan) at nearly the same point, and also that at some remote period there was a conquest of the Pelasgians by the more powerful native Oscans, who then became the dominant race. How and why the Pelasgian name Italia should have gradually extended from the toe of the peninsula until it embraced the whole, may never be known. Thus far we stand upon conclusions which have the sanction of modern scholarship. But now we enter upon a more shadowy region—the region of legend and tradition, and are told that its men and women are phantoms, its facts fables, and that the fascinating narrative which has been the theme of poets and has charmed the world for two thousand years is only fiction. It was not until recently that any serious doubts were entertained of the truth of the early history of Rome. But in 1811 Niebuhr published a book of learned and searching criticism which by revealing fatal inconsistencies undermined the whole fabric. But skepticism would go too far in rejecting the only existing clews to this interesting problem. The very existence of the tradition, true or untrue, illuminates the dark and inaccessible past. It is a revelation of prehistoric hearts and character quite as genuine and of more value than the records we read in the stratifications of rocks. And however discredited we can never tear from our histories those first immortal chapters, if for no other reason than that they have been for a period which cannot be measured, an inspiration, setting before men heroic ideals of a supreme type. There was not a man in Rome, when Christ came into the world, who did not know the story of Horatius holding the bridge; nor is there a man in London or New York today who can afford not to know that immortal story. Even though it be true that Horatius the man never existed, the ideal for which he stood did; and that has a more profound significance. It matters little whether Junius Brutus did or did not hand his son over to the executioners for conspiring with the enemies of Rome. But it matters much that this was the type of civic virtue that prehistoric Rome delighted in, and this throws a flood of light upon the genesis of Roman character, and the stern, untender, uncompromising nobility of a later historic Rome. Regarding the credibility of the legends it should be remembered that in that ancient world oral tradition was unwritten history, and in a state whose very existence depended upon the truth of family traditions, it must have been cultivated as an art. The entire structure, political and social—the chief governing body, the Senate—the superior rights of the patricians—each and all alike existed by and through ancestral claims. So we may imagine that the stories upon which so much depended were endowed with an imperishable vitality. Besides this, is it not inconceivable that a political organism so coherent and consecutive, in which each step taken grew out of the one which had gone before, could have developed without accurate knowledge of legislative and historical precedents. We may not believe that Romulus was the son of Mars, nor that Egeria whispered to Numa the secret which made him the transmitter of the will of the gods. But that the main line of development is to be traced through the legendary history, we may and must believe.
The legendary history of Rome begins with the flight of Aeneas from the burning city of Troy, bearing upon his shoulders his old father Anchises, and leading his son Ascanius by the hand. He also carried away with him some of the sacred fire from the altar of Vesta, which must never be extinguished, for Vesta was the protectress of the race; and the gods had told Aeneas that he was going to found a mighty nation in the West. After long wanderings, described a thousand years later by Virgil, he was led to the shores of Italy. There he married Lavinia, daughter of the King of Latium, and in her honor named the city he founded Lavinium, and there he reigned over Latium and performed many mighty deeds. And when one day he disappeared, because the gods had taken him, he was worshipped as Jupiter Indiges, the god of the country. Then Ascanius (or Iulus), his son, built a new city on a ridge of the Alban hills, which he called Alba Longa, and there he reigned; and when Ascanius died, Silvius, son of Aeneas and Lavinia, also reigned there, as did eleven Silvian kings, during the next 300 years, each of them bearing the surname Silvius.
When Procas, the last of this line, died, he left two sons. The younger, Amulius, seized the inheritance, and drove away his elder brother Numitor. He then killed Numitor's son and heir, and dedicated his daughter, Rhea Silvia, to the service of Vesta, to keep alive the sacred flame brought from Troy, and be a virgin priestess forever. But although the maiden was safe from mortal lovers, the god Mars loved her, and she bore him twin boys. The penalty for her offence was to be buried alive, and when this was done, and the terrible uncle had ordered the twins to be thrown into the Tiber, he supposed the danger to his throne was past. But to fight against the gods is not easy. The basket containing Romulus and Remus floated down the Tiber, and was finally cast upon the river bank near the Palatine hill, where the babes were nourished by the historic wolf, and when they had outgrown her tender ministrations, were fed by woodpeckers, creatures forever after sacred to the Romans, and finally were sheltered and grew to young manhood, in the hut of the herdsman, Faustulus. When Numitor one day chanced to see the two young herdsmen, he was struck by their royal bearing and by their resemblance to his unhappy daughter Rhea Silvia. Then when their foster-father told him the story of their miraculous preservation in infancy, he knew they must indeed be her children; and he declared to them that he was their grandfather; and he told them of their mother and of his own wrongs at the hand of the wicked Romulus. A mighty resolve came into the hearts of the youths; that they would restore him to his throne, and overthrow the wicked usurper; which they did; and Numitor reigned at last in his own kingdom.
But Romulus and Remus were not content to stay in Alba Longa and wait for an inheritance. They determined to return to the hills on the Tiber, and there found their own city. As each desired to choose the site and to give it his name, they appealed to the gods to decide, Romulus standing upon the Palatine hill and Remus upon the Aventine, watching the heavens for an omen. The flight of six vultures over the Aventine seemed to award the choice to Remus, but a moment later twelve appeared over the Palatine, and Romulus was the chosen founder. He at once commenced to build his city, and when the envious Remus scornfully leaped over the furrow ploughed around it to mark its limits, he slew him, and was left alone to found his kingdom. When his city was ready he sent word to the neighboring tribes that all who were distressed or fugitives for any reason might find asylum there. So men fleeing from justice, slaves escaping from their masters and outcasts of all sorts found sanctuary on the Palatine, and Rome was filled with men with strong arms for its defence. Then Romulus, when the neighboring cities scornfully refused to give their daughters in marriage to outcasts and robbers, cunningly invited the Sabines, his near neighbors, to come on a certain day and witness the games in honor of a religious festival. At a given signal each man seized a maiden and bore her off. To avenge this outrage, known as "The Rape of the Sabines," the Sabine cities, of which Cures was the chief, made war upon the audacious Romans and would finally have captured their city had not the Sabine women interposed. They now loved their lords, and with dishevelled hair and cries and lamentations they rushed down the Palatine hill and threw themselves between their fathers and husbands; and there was peace, and a league was formed uniting the people of Rome and of Cures into one community; it being agreed that Romulus and the Romans should remain upon the Palatine, and to the Sabines and Tatius their king should be assigned the Quirinal, and their city be called Quirium. Hence forever after in Roman records the people are known as "Romans and Quirites." The two kings were to rule conjointly. But Tatius soon died, and Romulus reigned alone. As some of the Etruscans, his most powerful neighbors, had aided in the war with the Sabines, in reward for this they also were assigned to the Caelian hill and were given the rights of citizenship. Romulus now proceeded to organize his kingdom. He divided it into three tribes; Romans, Sabines, and Etruscans, thenceforth known as the Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres. This was the three-fold foundation for the Roman state. Each of these main divisions he divided into ten curiae, and these again were composed of gentes. Or to state it more correctly, the gens was the family, and was the social unit. The curia was an association of families or gentes, and ten of these curiae formed the tribe, of which, as has been already said, there were three, and upon this triple foundation stood the state. These political divisions were the nucleus which, although modified, remained the core of the Roman state. Romulus then created a body composed of the fathers of the families most distinguished in the founding of Rome. These were called patres, because they were to the people what the father was to the gens, that is High Priest and with power of life and death, and were also an advisory Council to the King. This body was the Roman Senate, one hundred in number before the union with the Sabines, two hundred after, and later three hundred, when the third tribe (Etruscan) was represented. Then when Romulus had created a military system and divided it into centuries and legions (one century to each curia, the whole forming a legion), and had classified the people into two great orders, one the ruling class, and the other the inferior and dependent, he had laid the foundation for Roman institutions, political, military, and social.
As was fitting, the gods now took him, as they had his great progenitor Aeneas. During a festival on the Field of Mars, they enveloped the bills in darkness, and when the thunder and lightning ceased Romulus was gone. His father Mars had carried him to Olympus in his chariot, and he was worshipped as the god Quirinus.
So now there was no king in Rome, and for one year the fathers in the Senate took turns in reigning one after another, as interrex, each for five days, while Romans and Sabines quarrelled over the right to choose the king. Finally a compromise was agreed upon. The king was to be a Sabine, but was to be chosen by the Romans. The choice fell upon Numa Porapilius, a wise and just man. War and plunder had been until now the occupation of the people; but Numa was to change all that; not by his own but by divine power. He was beloved by the nymph Egeria, who taught him how he might compel Jupiter to reveal to him the will of the gods. At first the people would not believe that the gods spake through Numa and they mocked him. So he invited them to a simple feast. At a certain moment he told them Egeria had come to visit him; instantly the water changed to wine, the coarse food to delicious viands, and the rough benches to couches covered with rare and costly stuffs. Then they knew it was true that a divine power dwelt in Numa, and they accepted him as their king and their priest. He taught them to worship Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus, and the sacred rites and ceremonies which must be used, the prayers, and the simple offerings of cake and milk and the fruits of the ground which the gods loved. There were to be priests to preside at the altars, but pure virgins to keep alive the sacred flame on the altar of Vesta; and he created four augurs whose duty it was to report the flight of the sacred birds, and he appointed a chief pontifex, learned in all sacred mysteries, who guarded the service and could properly construe the statutes, and save the people from incurring the wrath of the gods, through using wrong prayers or neglecting any rites. In other words, Numa gathered the diffused religious sentiment in the nation into a sacerdotal system, and if thereafter, kings and magistrates and rulers spake by authority, it was by virtue of the gods who made them the instruments for their will, and the channel for their commands.
The Temple of Janus, which was only opened in time of war, was closed during the forty-three years of Numa's reign, and all peaceful arts were encouraged, and the artisans were divided into guilds according to their occupation; and the lands conquered by Romulus were distributed among the poor; and altars erected to Terminus, the god of boundaries, and to Fides, the goddess of Faith; the one to make sacred the rights of property, and the other that honor and good faith might lie at the foundation of Society. Then, his work being done, the good Numa died, and was buried on the hill Janiculus beyond the Tiber.
But Tullus Hostilius, who was next chosen by the Senate, was not a lover of peace. He feared the Romans were growing effeminate and would forget how to fight. He was soon engaged in a fierce contest with the Albans. At last it became evident that either Rome would own Alba, or Alba Rome, and the issue rested upon the fate of a final battle. There chanced to be among the Romans three brothers born at one birth, the Horatii, and among the Albans three other brothers, also of the same age, named the Curiatii. It was agreed that a combat between these champions should decide the fate of the quarrel. In the presence of both armies they fought. The three Curiatii were wounded, but two of the Horatii were slain. Then, the surviving Horatius pretended to fly. Pursued by the three Curiatii the cunning Roman looked back, and when he saw his pursuers were well separated, swiftly turned upon them and slew them one at a time, gathered up their vestments, and was borne back in triumph to Rome. But his sister loved and was betrothed to one of the Curiatii, and when at sight of his blood-stained garment she wept and lamented, Horatius in a rage slew her also. The victor was condemned by the judges to be given to the executioner. But by the law of Rome he might appeal from the sentence of the Senate to the Roman people, his peers, who, because he had saved Rome, now saved her. But always afterward the Horatius gens was obliged to offer an annual sacrifice in expiation of this sin. The mighty city of Alba Longa was now destroyed, and the conquered people were compelled to come and dwell in Rome and help Tullus in his wars with Etruscans and Sabines. But the Albans were not like other strangers. Rome was founded by an Alban prince, so Tullus admitted many of the noble families into the body of the patricians, the poorer class going to swell the number of the common people. But the worship of the gods had been neglected, and when a plague broke out among the people, Tullus remembered his sin, and tried to obtain a sign from Jupiter. That wrathful god answered his prayer with lightnings, and Tullus and all his house were destroyed.
In the hope of placating heaven, Ancus Marcius, the grandson of the good Numa, was now chosen king. He was not unwilling to fight, for he conquered all of Latium between Rome and the sea, and planted a colony at the mouth of the Tiber, which he called Ostia. But he also restored the purity of the service of the gods. He fortified the hill Janiculum, where his grandsire was buried, and connected it. with Rome by a wooden bridge over the Tiber. He distributed conquered lands among the poor, and tried to follow in the footsteps of the great Numa.
The two orders into which Romulus originally divided the Roman people were composed of patrons and clients. Each of the early leading families or gentes had gathered about itself numerous servants and dependants, thus making a community of lords and vassals. The patrons, or lords, were members of the three tribes, and hence of the body-politic, while their clients had nothing whatever to do with the state except through their private relation to their lords as vassals. In the course of time these patrons, or patricii, came to be called patricians, as distinguished from the patres or senators. They alone could make the laws and choose the king. They were the Populus Romanus; and when the Roman people are spoken of, it is the patricians alone who are designated. Then there came into existence a third class, composed at first probably of unclassified remnants of the earliest people, swelling into great numbers chiefly through the conquest of other cities. They were freemen bat not citizens. They were unlike the clients in that they were subject to no lord or patron, and like them in that they had no connection with the state. These were the plebeians, the common people.
The two orders, patricians and plebeians, were in the very nature of things hostile to each other, and the history of their struggle is the history of early Rome. It was a struggle not for supremacy, but for equality, and every concession wrung by the plebeians from the patricians was a step toward the consummate grandeur attained by Rome; and then every encroachment upon the equality thus gained, was another step toward her final dissolution. The history of this struggle maintained for centuries with such moderation and such constancy has inscribed itself upon that model of human justice, the body of Roman law—composed of enactments wrung from the patricians; a record which finds its only counterpart in that of the British Constitution. Strangely enough in the annals of Europe it is England, with no drop of Latin blood in her veins, which most resembles the Roman state in its persistent pursuit and attainment of an equality of rights for her commons.
In a state which was growing by conquest and whose battles they fought, and in which they were numerically superior, the plebeians were politically non-existent.
Let us, if we can, imagine the descendants of the Revolutionary and Colonial families in the city of New York the ruling class, and the entire political effacement of all the rest of the people. This will give some idea of the conditions in the Roman state. It was an aristocracy of birth. The man who could not trace his lineage to the founders of the nation had not a single right of citizenship, and his connection with the state was simply by sufferance. There was still another class in Rome, which had neither rights nor freedom. These were the slaves, which had constant accessions to their numbers through conquest. The plebeians were not slaves. They were personally free; might own property and regulate their own domestic and municipal affairs in their home upon the Aventine, where they dwelt, a separate community outside of the city walls — the Ager Romanus. Intermarriage or equality of any sort, with the dwellers in the city, the patricians, was impossible. They were subject to the king, and to the laws, and must fight the battles of the common country when called upon, but with no share in the conquered lands, nor the accruing benefits to the state.
Before leaving this subject it will be interesting to note the traces of the word gens in our own language. Gentle, genteel, gentleman, are all among its descendants—and in speaking of Jews and Gentiles, it is Jews and Roman patricians that are intended. It is also helpful to know that in Roman names— usually composed of three—the first is the personal name, or pranomen, the second the name of the gens, the nomen, and the third that of the family, the cognomen; the nomen or gens always terminating in ius. Thus in Caius Julius Caesar, Caius is the individual name, Julius that of the Julian gens (descended from lulus or Ascanius), and Caesar the special branch of that gens to which he belongs. Every member of the Julian gens was a Julius, and of the Cornelian and Horatian, a Cornelius or Horatius. Without understanding this, the repetition of names found in Roman history is confusing.
From the mythical story of Rome we have thus far been able to read that Romulus (meaning strength) stands for the initial force which first collected the elements of the state; Numa (meaning law) for the establishing of religious and civil institutions; while the third period under Tullus and Ancus, stands for the beginning of the age of conquest, by the absorption and assimilation of neighboring tribes and peoples. Now, in the fourth and last regal period, there is introduced a foreign influence which is to be fatal. The Etruscans, hitherto a subordinate element, became the dominant race. There is not time to tell how an Etruscan refugee became King of Rome. But such was Tarquinius Priscus, who was next chosen by the Senate. The Romans and Sabines (or the Ramnes and Tities) had until now been the controlling races. The third tribe, the Luceres or Etruscans, belonged to the curiae but had never been represented in the Senate. Tarquin appointed 100 new Senators from this tribe—and also two more vestal virgins, raising the number to six. He then undertook a still more revolutionary measure. There was not an equality of condition among the plebeians. While the mass of this people was wretchedly poor, some were rich and some of noble birth in other lands. These he proposed to add to the body of patrician gentes, and in the face of fierce opposition it was done. Whatever were his motives this was in reality an assault upon the power of the nobles, and a long step had been taken toward centralizing the power of the state in the king, and converting an oligarchy into an absolute monarchy. The condition of the plebeians was unchanged and even more wretched than before, for upon them fell the task of the great public works which still exist as a memorial of this reign.
At this time water filled the depressions at the foot of the Quirinal and Palatine hills. The Cloaca Maxima, the great drain which carried this body of water into the Tiber bears witness today to the power of the man who planned it and the marvellous skill of those who executed it. It was composed of three concentric arches, forming a semicircular vault fourteen feet in diameter. Its artificers were doubtless from Etruria, where similar works are still found, and so perfect was the workmanship that not a block has been displaced, and between the stones, laid without mortar or cement, it is said a knife-blade cannot be inserted, and the great cloaca performs its work as thoroughly today as it did 2,500 years ago. Upon an irregular strip of ground thus reclaimed was laid out the cattle market, or the Forum Boarium, where later were to stand the arches of Titus and of Severus, and the Temple of Saturn, of which the beautiful fragment still remains.
The Cloaca Maxima, with its ramifying branches underlying the city, also drained the valley between the Palatine and Aventine, and there Tarquin laid out a race-course, the Circus Maximus, for the chariot-races and Roman games; and on the Capitoline he laid the foundations, still existing, for the great Temple of Jupiter. But all these works were less important than his conquests in Etruria, which probably brought an influx of people from that old and exclusively aristocratic state, bringing with them social and religious usages which gave a deep and lasting coloring to those of primitive Rome. What Constantinople was at a later time to the Russians, that Etruria must have been to the Roman, who, with no ancestral splendor, was learning his first lesson in sumptuousness; for now we first hear of the lictors and their ivory chairs and purple togas, and with this elevation came the consequent degradation and misery of the class below. We learn that the plebeians, who built the great drain, were, like the Hebrews in Egypt, task-workers, and that they frequently killed themselves in despair over the tasks they were called upon to perform. And so when Tarquin the elder fell by the hand of an assassin he left a stronger and greater Rome, but one which had become a tyranny. We cannot dwell upon the circumstances which brought the good Servius to the throne. His heart seems to have been set upon alleviating the miseries of the plebeians; and, wise as well as good, he saw that this could only be done by striking at the very foundation of the social structure. The only bond uniting the entire people was a military one. Servius created a new all-embracing order, with a classification not tribal, but based upon property. In other words, he gathered all the people into a military organization; an elaborately graded system of tribes and centuries, in which the wealthiest, richly armored and with sword and spear were at the top, and the poorest, with slings and arrows, at the base. This was the Comitia Centuriata, or Assembly of the Centuries, a popular assembly which joined the plebeians to the body politic. It bestowed not power but privilege. Some of their order might now dwell within the city, and all might meet at one extremity of the Forum, while the curiae met at the other; the united bodies on occasions assembling on the Field of Mars. It was a change in the constitution freighted with immense consequences, and that it was possible for Servius so to defy and limit the authority of the aristocratic class, shows how despotic had become the kingly power during the previous reign. The chief authority had been hitherto vested in the curiae. It was the curiae which conferred upon the king his sovereignty (imperium). He could not make a single law without the consent of that body, to which also every patrician sentenced to death by the king might appeal—as did Horatius. Now, in a state always at war, and in which every man was a soldier, there had been created a Popular Assembly with entire jurisdiction over military affairs. It is easy to see that this body was destined to absorb into itself every vestige of authority, and leave the aristocratic Comitia Curiae an empty shell. Having broken down the wall of political separation, Servius then built another wall of stone and cement which girdled the seven hills, and the people on the Aventine, although not within the sacred enclosure, shared this protection from hostile attack.
According to the ancient legend the life of this benefactor terminated in a cruel tragedy. His son-in-law, the son of Tarquinius, claimed the throne by right of descent, and caused him to be slain. Tullia, the daughter of Servius, driving in her chariot to the Forum over the dead body of her father and with his blood upon her skirts, saluted her husband—''Hail to thee. King Tarquinius!'' and Tarquin the Proud, Tarquinius Superbus, the last King of Rome, commenced his reign.
Unrestricted power was now in the hands of a vicious, unscrupulous king, who treated both assemblies with contempt, acknowledging no restraining authority. He compelled the people to work without pay upon the temples he was building on the Capitoline (the Capitol and Citadel), and so treacherous and insolent was he to his own order, as well as cruel to the plebeians, that when a terrible crime was committed by his son Sextus, the entire people arose to expel him. This act was a cruel outrage upon Lucretia, the daughter of a noble Roman and wife of Collatinus, who was prefect of Rome, and a cousin of the king. Lucretia sent for her father and for her husband and Lucius Brutus his kinsman, and clad in mourning garments she told them of the wrong she had suffered, and then plunged a knife into her own heart. They carried the body and the dripping knife to the Forum, and there Brutus appealed to the people to avenge this deed. With one accord they arose. King Tarquin and all of his accursed house were driven out of the city, and the gates were closed upon them. The Roman monarchy after 240 years had come to its end (493 BC).
The world then as now was weaving its future, and then, as it has always done, was building today upon the ruins of yesterdays. Two spiritual kingdoms had recently been planted in Asia; one in the south by Buddha, and another in the East by Confucius. The great nations of antiquity were crumbling. Babylon the mighty had just fallen. Phoenicia, old and enfeebled, was struggling with Assyria. Carthage, that vigorous young Phoenician offshoot, was extending her sturdy branches along the African coast and the Spanish Peninsula. Persia, after laying Babylonia low, was girding herself for her onslaught upon Greece; while Greece, with her brilliant cities all along the shores of the Mediterranean, was serenely moving toward her splendid meridian. Sybaris, Paestum, Cumae, Neapolis, on the Italian coast, were the abodes of fabulous luxury. What cared they whether the barbarians upon the Tiber were ruled by kings or consuls? The passing of the regal period at Rome was an event too insignificant to be observed. But Carthage, with her alert trading instincts, had even at this early day made a commercial league with the Romans, The name king had become odious to both orders. They chose two chief magistrates, who should rule for one year, and these should be called praetors, or consuls. Each should be attended by twelve lictors bearing as a symbol of power the fasces, bundles of rods, those with the projecting ends attending each consul in turn, the supreme power being vested in them alternately. The first consuls chosen were Lucius Junius Brutus and Collatinus Tarquinius, the husband of Lucretia. It was soon discovered that a band of patrician youths were plotting for the restoration of King Tarquin. When the young conspirators were brought before the consuls two sons of Brutus were among them. The stern Roman father condemned them with the rest, and himself gave the order to the lictors to scourge and then behead them with the axe. The Senate now decreed that not one of the house of Tarquin must remain in Rome, and Collatinus, the husband of Lucretia and one of the chief founders of the Republic, went into banishment with the rest of his detested name.
King Tarquin enlisted the aid of the powerful Etruscans, and many times Rome seemed nearly lost. It was to prevent complicity with these desperate attempts that there was created a new magistrate, who in times of great emergency or peril might be elected to supersede the consuls, with an absolute authority from which there should be no appeal. This was the Dictator. But consul or dictator when no longer under the official aegis might for unlawful use of authority be impeached, and suffer like any other citizen.
It was when King Porsenna, of Clusium, the champion of Tarquin, arrived with his army at the bridge across the Tiber that Horatius performed his immortal act of valor. With two others he held the entrance to the bridge while it was being broken down behind them. Just before the destruction was complete his two companions lied back to the city, but he, receiving upon his shield the rain of arrows, waited until the last plank had fallen, then fully armored, leaped into the Tiber, and swam to the opposite shore. So a second time had a Horatian saved Rome.
The last and fiercest battle at Lake Regillus was nearly lost, when suddenly there appeared two youths, on white chargers. The gods had interposed, for these were Castor and Pollux, the sacred twins. They turned the tide of victory, and the grateful Romans erected a temple for their worship in the Forum. Tarquin, wearied and disheartened, now retired to the Greek city of Cumae, and there he died.
The fourteen years of war since the expulsion of Tarquin had brought utter ruin upon the plebeians. Not alone had their farms been deserted while they fought, but lying outside the city, in the Campagna, as most of them did, they had been ravaged by hostile bands, their cattle and flocks earned off, and homesteads burned. The patricians, who had suffered none of these things, had, from time to time, loaned them money to restock their farms, and to keep them from starvation. But now that there was peace, and they no longer needed the help of the people, the mask of friendship was torn off. The time had come when their own order could be restored to its old supremacy. The Roman law of debt was of frightful severity. If the debt was not discharged at the appointed time, the creditor might sell the debtor and all his sons to the highest bidder. Or if the father preferred to spare his children such a fate, he might be put to death, his body be hewed in pieces, and distributed in proper proportion among his creditors; it being especially provided, in anticipation of some future Portia, that a little more or a little less made no difference. The plebeians found that they were becoming the bonded slaves of the patricians, on account of losses sustained in fighting their battles, and that all the rights obtained for them by Servius were trampled upon.
They resolved to bear it no longer. They solemnly marched in a body to a hill on the Tiber north of Rome. There they would build their own city and dwell, and leave the patricians and their clients and their slaves to themselves. This meant the dissolution of the Republic. There was consternation in Rome. Embassies were sent, offers of concessions made. The plebeians knew what they wanted; nothing less would satisfy them. All debts must be cancelled; those already sold into bondage must have their freedom restored; and two officials must be created in their own order, with the authority and the desire to protect them from patrician injustice. The power and the persons of these Tribunes, or masters of the tribes, were to be sacred and inviolable as those of tile consuls; and in matters touching the rights of the plebeians, their jurisdiction was to extend over the patricians themselves, who could be impeached and must stand trial before the Assembly of the Tribes.
Not until the last point was yielded would the determined seceders sign the treaty; and the hill where this solemn league was made was forever called the Mons Sacre or Sacred Hill. The bestowal of the power to arrest legislation shows how desperate was the situation of the patricians. By the single word veto, "I forbid it," the tribune could hold any measure in suspense, and such a weapon was conceded only because something worse was feared.
The story of Coriolanus shows how bitter was the feeling in his order, and what a difficult task it must have been for the more moderate spirits to bring about a reconciliation through such sweeping concessions. Ship-loads of corn had been sent by a Greek city for the relief of the misery in Rome. When it was proposed in the Senate to distribute this among the suffering plebeians, the haughty patrician exclaimed, contemptuously, "Why do they ask for corn? They have got their tribunes. Let them go back to their Sacred Hill, and leave us to rule alone!" The tribunes sternly summoned Coriolanus to appear before them on account of this insolent language. He refused to appear, and then, enraged at finding he was not sustained by the body of the patricians, and shaking the dust of the ungrateful city from his feet, he went into voluntary exile, offered his services to the Volscians, the enemies of Rome, and returned at the head of an army. It is said that when his mother met him with bitter reproaches he relented, saying, "Oh! my mother, thou hast saved Rome, but lost thy son!" then returned to the Volscians to be slain for betraying their cause. The story is used by Shakespeare for one of his noblest dramas.
Although much had been gained there was still one deep-seated cause for poverty, which was reducing the most numerous body of Roman citizens to beggary. They had not land enough to feed them. A tract which in the time of the kings had been set apart as a royal domain, had, since the patricians returned to power, been used by them for pasturage. When Spurius Cassius, who was consul in 486 B.C., proposed an agrarian law, which should divide these public lands among the people, the patricians, as was natural, vehemently opposed it. But Cassius was determined and powerful, and the memory of the Sacred Hill was still fresh. It would be better to pass the measure now, and make it a dead letter afterward. So they bided their time. As soon as the great consul's term of office expired, a charge was brought against him of treason. This "Agrarian Law," it was said, was only part of a wicked design to secure the support of the people in making himself king. He was tried by the curiae, found guilty, and condemned to the death of a traitor, was scourged, then beheaded, and his house razed to the ground. The young patricians, in their clubs and brotherhoods, were always agitators in the extreme party of their order, and found great entertainment in forays under the cover of darkness, when they would commit outrages in the plebeian quarter. The ringleader among these young aristocrats was Kaeso Quinctius, son of the great Roman patriot, Cincinnatus. After some particularly shameful act, the plebeian tribune impeached Kaeso, summoned him to appear before the Assembly of the Tribes and he was sent into exile. When a band of Sabines, led by Roman exiles, a little later surprised the city, many believed that the young Kaeso was one of the instigators. It was soon after this that the Romans were defeated in a battle with the Volscians and Equians, and their consul made a prisoner. The great Cincinnatus, father of Kaeso, was appointed dictator, swiftly defeated the Volscians, made them "pass under the yoke," released the consul, and then came back to. make the tribunes feel the weight of his displeasure. No agrarian law, he declared, should go into effect while he had power to prevent it. And probably no act in his dictatorship pleased him more than inflicting condign punishment upon the accusers of his son Kaeso.
We strongly suspect that the old hero, when his triumphs were over, retired to his farm on the Campagna, not because he so loved democratic simplicity, as that he so hated a rising democratic ascendancy, which was dragging Rome down from her once high estate! They were degenerate days indeed when low-born plebeians had power to arraign and punish patricians! And we can imagine the tears of honest shame and humiliation shed by the grand old aristocrat, whom we revere today as the supreme type of the democratic citizen.
There was one powerful weapon held by the commons which no ingenuity of the patricians could take away from them. They could refuse to serve as soldiers; and this they were doing with increasing frequency; and when they did fight the spirit which had once made the legions invincible had departed. It was during the consulship of Kaeso Fabius that one of these crises arrived. The army, supported by the tribunes, refused to fight. The Fabian gens was one of the proudest among the patricians. They had led in the opposition to the agrarian law of Spurius Cassius, and also in his condemnation. It is not probable that the personal feelings of Fabius had changed, or that he felt any less bitterly than Coriolanus and Cincinnatus about the elevation of the commons. But he had the political wisdom to see the injury done to the state by withholding justice from the people whose services were indispensable to it. He suddenly changed his whole attitude, and threw the great weight of his name and influence into the advocacy of the cause he had tried to defeat. He insisted that the agrarian law should at once become operative; and when his arguments were treated with scorn by the patricians, the entire Fabian gens, numbering over three hundred, with their clients and their slaves, and a few patrician families who wished to share their fortunes, marched solemnly out of the city gates. Then, as if to emphasize the nobility of their purpose, they made a fortified camp on the borders of Etruria for the protection of Rome; and after doing the state good service for one year, were surprised during a religious festival by a band of Veintines and slaughtered to a man. The plebeians had lost their most powerful friends. The law of debt was unchanged. The enormous rate of interest had been reduced, but the savage penalties were the same. Soldiers returning from long campaigns and finding their children crying for bread would make loans from the rich and then become their slaves. The tribunes were unceasing in trying to obtain redress for special cases of oppression, but the main struggle of each tribunate was for their agrarian rights, encouraging the people to refuse to respond to the levies for troops until justice was done. At a time of extreme pressure the patrician lords made a concession; they granted the plebeians the Aventine Hill for their own possession (under the Icilian Law, which had long been urged). The land being insufficient to give one plot to each, several persons received one allotment, who jointly built their house, each story being occupied by a family. Such a residence being called insulae while domus is the term for the mansion occupied by a single family. But such concession gave only temporary relief and the relations of the orders were becoming more and more embittered. Appius Claudius, when his soldiers at a critical time refused to take the field against the Volscians, sternly commanded that every tenth man in his legions be put to death; and it was done. Then, when his consulship expired the proud Appius was summoned to appear before the tribunes, and realizing the humiliation and condemnation which awaited him he committed suicide.
It was a time full of peril for Rome. One tribune had been assassinated and also many leading plebeians, and there is a fearful story of eight tribunes being burned alive. Violence had taken the place of law, and unless the moderate spirits in both orders could check the rising tide of passion, civil war was inevitable. A truce was declared while some compromise could be considered. It was finally agreed that the existing troubles arose from the indefiniteness of the laws controlling the relations of the two orders. It was also agreed that a commission of ten should be appointed to draw up a legal code by which equal justice should be dealt out to the entire Roman people—patricians and plebeians alike. It was especially intended that this code should accurately determine the limits of authority to be exercised by magistrates, and the modes of redress and procedure in the protection of lives and property (the Terentillian Law). During these labors the patricians and the plebeians were to give up their consuls and their tribunes, and be entirely subject to the Council of Ten—which was to be chosen from both orders, and to be called "The Decemvirate" (450 B.C.).
Chief among these decemvirs was Appius Claudius, son of the consul of that name who executed every tenth man in his legion.
The Code of Laws which was the work of the first decemvirate is known as the "Twelve Tables," and it is now the basis of the legal systems of a large part of Europe, and of America. It was in the second decemvirate that the mask was thrown aside. Appius had made himself so popular that he was re-elected, and Rome soon found herself in the hands of a despot, with nine imitators ready to do his bidding. It was said that instead of one Tarquin, she now had ten. She seemed under a spell which she knew not how to break; and many citizens fled and joined the colonists outside.
There was living on the Aventine a wealthy plebeian named Virginius, a centurion. His daughter Virginia, as beautiful as the day, was betrothed to Icilius, a former tribune. Appius one morning chanced to see the young maiden on her way to school. He quickly ordered Claudius, one of his clients, to seize her and claim her as his slave. When her cries and those of her nurse attracted a crowd, Claudius explained that this girl was the child of his slave, and when an infant was stolen to fill the place of a child who had died in the house of Virginius. This he could prove. But he would lay his case before the Decemvir Appius and abide by his decision. The next morning Virginius and weeping friends were at the Forum when the child was brought before the great Appius; and when he gave judgment that she should remain in the custody of Claudius until Virginius had proved his right to her, they knew she was lost. The lictor advanced to seize her, Virginia humbly asked if he might speak one word with her before she was removed. Then taking her in his arms and whispering "It is the only way, my daughter," he plunged a knife into her bosom.
The whole of the Roman populace was aroused to a state of fury. The Senate called upon the decemvirs to resign. The commons without their tribunes were utterly defenceless, and knew not what fresh tyranny awaited them. Once more they marched to the Sacred Hill, there to treat with the ambassadors from the Senate, or there to remain, if their terms were not accepted.
They demanded three things: That their tribunes be restored; that the right of appeal from the sentence of the consuls be enjoyed by them as by the patricians; and that the ten decemvirs be burnt alive.
The last savage demand was abandoned, but the others were accepted by the Senate. The first act of the new tribunate, which now held ten tribunes, was the impeachment of Appius by Virginius, the charge being a violation of his own law, just framed in the Twelve Tables: "that a person claimed as slave, should be free until the claim was established." The proud patrician could not bear the humiliation of his downfall and, as his father had done not long before, committed suicide in prison.
As Lucretia had destroyed the monarchy, so the fair Roman child Virginia had overthrown the decemvirate.
There could be no settled peace until complete equality, social and political, was accorded to the commons. Another agitation quickly followed. Two laws were simultaneously proposed by the tribunes. The first of these was the Canuleian Law: legalizing marriage between the two orders. "If we are different races of men," said they, "if our blood will not mingle, then let us live apart." It was the old threat of secession; and after a storm of opposition the patricians yielded and the wall of caste was broken down. But the other demand attacked the last stronghold of patrician Rome, and eighty years were to pass before it would be conceded. It was that the consulship should be thrown open to plebeians. To refuse might be dangerous. The tribunes were reminded of the sacred duties belonging to the office, and that the auspices could only be taken by those in whose veins coursed pure patrician blood. And here again was the claim of a difference in kind, and another reason why, as the commons said, they should be a separate people. Finally, a compromise was reached. Instead of a consulate there should, during a portion of the time, be a military tribunate, to which both orders were alike eligible. This was agreed to in 444 b.c., and not until 400 did a single plebeian fill the office! It was by such empty promises as this that the patient plebeians were again and again beguiled; a thing difficult to reconcile with that good faith which is the corner-stone of Roman character, the key-stone of their arch. The Roman commons were not contending with an honorable foe, but a foe which under great pressure, would yield the point in dispute, and then by legislation deprive the thing granted of its value, or the office conceded of the authority it had hitherto possessed, and render the triumph void. The history of the long conflict is a succession of such tricks and evasions. Their honor and good faith consisted in fidelity to a code, not to a sense of right and justice; and their code did not recognize the plebeians as equals, hence promises to them had no binding power.
Rome was now mistress of all of Latium. The Equians and Volscians had also been driven back by the renewed spirit in the legions and there had commenced a life and death struggle with the great Etrurian city of Veii. There was an old prediction that Veii would fall when the Alban Lake flowed into the sea—which meant—never. So although the city was besieged they were not dismayed. Then by orders of the Roman Senate, a tunnel was commenced leading from the lake to the river Anio. For a distance of three miles it was cut through volcanic stone, making an outlet five feet high and three feet wide; and the waters of the Alban Lake were soon flowing to the sea, and are doing so still! At the same time the great Caligula was digging a mine which terminated under the sanctuary in the citadel of the doomed city; and when armed Roman soldiers rose from the floor the prediction was fulfilled and Veii, like ancient Troy, had fallen. The city was thrown open to Roman colonists to the great relief of the plebeian quarter, and to the Veintines were assigned homes on the Caelian hill.
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