Marius and Sylla.
[Sidenote: Three great European nations of antiquity.]
There were three great European nations in ancient days, each of which furnished history with a hero: the Greeks, the Carthaginians, and the Romans.
Alexander was the hero of the Greeks. He was King of Macedon, a country lying north of Greece proper. He headed an army of his countrymen, and made an excursion for conquest and glory into Asia. He made himself master of all that quarter of the globe, and reigned over it in Babylon, till he brought himself to an early grave by the excesses into which his boundless prosperity allured him. His fame rests on his triumphant success in building up for himself so vast an empire, and the admiration which his career has always excited among mankind is heightened by the consideration of his youth, and of the noble and generous impulses which strongly marked his character.
[Sidenote: Hannibal.] [Sidenote: His terrible energy.]
The Carthaginian hero was Hannibal. We class the Carthaginians among the European nations of antiquity; for, in respect to their origin, their civilization, and all their commercial and political relations, they belonged to the European race, though it is true that their capital was on the African side of the Mediterranean Sea. Hannibal was the great Carthaginian hero. He earned his fame by the energy and implacableness of his hate. The work of his life was to keep a vast empire in a state of continual anxiety and terror for fifty years, so that his claim to greatness and glory rests on the determination, the perseverance, and the success with which he fulfilled his function of being, while he lived, the terror of the world.
[Sidenote: Julius Caesar.]
The Roman hero was Caesar. He was born just one hundred years before the Christian era. His renown does not depend, like that of Alexander, on foreign conquests, nor, like that of Hannibal, on the terrible energy of his aggressions upon foreign foes, but upon his protracted and dreadful contests with, and ultimate triumphs over, his rivals and competitors at home. When he appeared upon the stage, the Roman empire already included nearly all of the world that was worth possessing. There were no more conquests to be made. Caesar did, indeed, enlarge, in some degree, the boundaries of the empire; but the main question in his day was, who should possess the power which preceding conquerors had acquired.
[Sidenote: The ancient Roman empire.] [Sidenote: The provinces.]