Puslapio vaizdai

had effected the ruin of the republic. Tiberius Gracchus, a tribune, proposed to revive the Agrarian or Sempronian law, by which no citizen was permitted to hold above 500 acres of conquered lands. This attempt so irritated the senators, that during the tumult of an election, they assassinated Gracchus, and 300 of his partizans. His brother Caius Gracchus, when tribune, made a similar attempt; and on his return to a private station, was persecuted to death. Thus was begun, by the senators, that system of persecution, which very soon fell most heavily upon themselves. In the meanwhile, however, the republic continued to be successful in its foreign wars; and country after country was annexed to the empire by conquest, or by treaties, or by the bequests of sovereign princes.

The next important transaction, in which the Romans were engaged, was the war against Jugurtha, king of Numidia. He had come to the throne by the murder of his uncle's sons, Hiempsal and Adherbal. An appeal was made to the Romans against the treachery and oppressions of Jugurtha; and they made war on him, and ultimately took him prisoner, and brought him to Rome; where he was strangled in the prison. In this war, the celebrated Marius first distinguished himself.

The Cimbri and Teutones, threatening to cover Italy with desolation, Marius was sent against them, and defeated them with immense slaughter.

But the ambition and revengeful spirit of Marius brought innumerable calamities upon the republic. He proposed again the execution of the Agrarian law, relative to the lands recently recovered from their enemies. This produced the social war,-so called, because it was a war of the Italian states upon Rome, provoked by the operation of the Agrarian law. It lasted three years: and, after a slaughter of more than 300,000 men, the Senate succeeded in putting a stop to it, by granting, in part, the demands of the allies, B.C. 87.

The next important war in which the Romans were

engaged, was that with Mithridates, king of Pontus. This prince obtained possession of Phrygia, by bribing one of the Roman generals. He was driven out of it, by Sylla; and this expulsion laid the foundation of determined enmity to the Romans. He proved one of the most formidable enemies they ever had. He was, however, subdued, and forced to sue for peace. But this war was the occasion of more disastrous consequences to the state, than the resistance of Mithridates. Sylla and Marius contended for the privilege of conducting the war, which was likely to prove lucrative. Marius gained the popular interest, and was appointed to the command; but Sylla marched to Rome, with six legions, proscribed Marius, and eleven of his adherents, who fled. Sylla, now deeming himself secure, returned to prosecute the war with Mithridates; but Marius returned to Rome, massacred great numbers of citizens and distinguished senators, and abrogated the laws of Sylla. Marius then caused himself to be elected consul with Cinna; but survived his election only sixteen days.

Italy, on Sylla's return, became the theatre of civil war; in which Carbo the Consul, and the younger Marius were slain. Sylla, every where victorious, entered Rome in triumph, trampled on the laws, proscribed, 80 senators, and several thousands of citizens, and gave up his enemies to military execution. Julius Cesar, who was nephew of Márius, narrowly escaped the carnage, while Pompey was a zealous partizan of Sylla. Sylla died, B. C. 78.

The civil war still continued; and also a servile war against about 40,000 rebel slaves raged. Pompey so much distinguished himself in these wars, that he was vested with the supreme command of the Roman army, and sent against Mithridates, king of Pontus, whom he subdued; and carrying the war beyond Pontus, he subdued Armenia, Syria, and Palestine. From these conquests, he returned to Rome, B. C. 63.

Meanwhile, Julius Cesar was signalizing himself in the west. Returning in triumph from Spain, he found Rome divided into two factions; the one attached to

Pompey, the other to Crassus, who was the richest of the citizens. These men, Cesar had the address to unite, and to bring to an agreement to form a triumvirate with him, the object of which was, to divide the government among themselves. They accordingly partitioned the provinces among them: Pompey taking Spain; Crassus, Syria; and Cesar, Gaul.

Crassus, on entering on his province, made war on Parthia; and was defeated, and slain. This broke up the triumvirate; for Pompey and Cesar, coming into direct collision, a contest immediately arose, who should be at the head of the state. Pompey had chief influence in the senate; Cesar among the soldiers. Cesar marched to Rome, and forced Pompey to retire. Pompey went to Greece, where he raised an army to withstand Cesar. Thither Cesar followed him: and, encountering him at Pharsalia, totally defeated him. Pompey fled to Egypt, where he was treacherously murdered. Cesar, after this battle, overran Egypt, Syria, and Pontus, and then returned to Rome. Pompey's party was not yet extinct: one portion of it was in Africa. Thither Cesar went, and defeated it. Another part of it, was in Spain: thither he next led his army, and overthrew it. He then returned to Rome, where he was greeted by the acclamations of the citizens; but, almost immediately afterwards, was assassinated in the senate-house, at the foot of Pompey's statue.

His death rekindled the flames of war. The senate had its interests to promote; Antony, master of the horse, had his; and Octavius, Cesar's sister's grandson, then only 18 years of age, had views and interests different from both. After a series of intrigues and treacheries, a second triumvirate was formed, consisting of Octavius, who had assumed the name of Cesar Octavianus, Antony, and Lepidus. The temporary alliance between these three, was founded upon a proscription of the enemies of each: and 300 senators and 2000 knights being included in this proscription, it soon filled Rome with bloodshed and terror. The triumvirate then proceeded to subdue the conspirators


against Cesar. The contest was decided in Greece; the last decisive battle being fought at Philippi. After the death of the conspirators, the triumvirs divided the Roman empire among them. Antony, by this partition, went to Egypt, to govern the eastern kingdoms, There he met with the notorious Cleopatra, and was so fascinated by her, that he ceased from that time to attend to his own interests with energy. Meanwhile Octavianus, whose unceasing aim was to centre the supreme power in his own person, easily found means to undermine Lepidus, to deprive him of all authority, and force him into banishment, where he died in obscurity. He then contrived to quarrel with Antony. The pretence was the insult which Antony had offered to his sister, whom he had married, and then deserted for Cleopatra. The war was decided by a naval engagement at Actium, in which Antony was defeated, He fled to Egypt, whither Octavianus followed him; and, finding it impossible to retrieve his affairs, he put himself to death. Cleopatra, also, after a fruitless attempt to gain Octavianus, caused herself to be bitten by an asp, and died. Octavianus thus became sole monarch of the Roman empire, B. C. 27,—and received from the senate, the title, Augustus, by which title he is usually known. Augustus, having firmly fixed himself in the sovereign authority, his ferocious character seems greatly to have softened; and he employed himself sedulously in promoting the welfare of his empire. It was in the 23rd year of the reign of Augustus Cesar, when the empire was in profound peace, that the Saviour of the World was born at Bethlehem. The Christian era began four years later. The reason of this was, that the birth of the Saviour was not used as an era for the computation of time, till some centuries afterwards; and, in computing the time backwards, a mistake was made of four years; so that his birth really took place in the year of the world, 4000; although, in consequence of this error, the Christian era corresponds to the year of the world 4004.

JUDEA The only country besides Rome, whose

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