Young Folks' History of Rome eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about Young Folks' History of Rome.

Julian hated the Catholic Christians worse than the Arians, because he found them more staunch against him.  Athanasius had come back to Alexandria, but the Arians got up an accusation against him that he had been guilty of a murder, and brought forward a hand in a box to prove the crime; and though Athanasius showed the man said to have been murdered alive, and with both his hands in their places, he was still hunted out of Alexandria, and had to hide among the hermits of the Thebaid again.  When any search was threatened of the spot where he was, the horn was sounded which called the hermits together to church, and he was taken to another hiding-place.  Sometimes he visited his flock at Alexandria in secret, and once, when he was returning down the Nile, he learned that a boat-load of soldiers was pursuing him.  Turning back, his boat met them.  They called out to know if Athanasius had been seen.  “He was going down the Nile a little while ago,” the Bishop answered.  His enemies hurried on, and he was safe.

Julian was angered by finding it impossible to waken paganism.  At one grand temple in Asia, whither hundreds of oxen used to be brought to sacrifice, all his encouragement only caused one goose to be offered, which the priest of the temple received as a grand gift.  Julian expected, too, that pagans would worship their old gods and yet live the virtuous lives of Christians; and he was disappointed and grieved to find that no works of goodness or mercy sprang from those who followed his belief.  He was a kind man by nature, but he began to grow bitter with disappointment, and to threaten when he found it was of no use to persuade; and the Christians expected that there would be a great persecution when he should return from an expedition into the East against the king of Persia.

[Illustration:  ARCH OF CONSTANTINE.]

He went with a fine army in ships down the Euphrates, and thence marched into Persia, where King Sapor was wise enough to avoid a battle, and only retreat before him.  The Romans were half starved, and obliged to turn back.  Then Sapor attacked their rear, and cut off their stragglers.  Julian shared all the sufferings of his troops, and was always wherever there was danger.  At last a javelin pierced him under the arm.  It is said that he caught some of his blood in his other hand, cast it up towards heaven, and cried, “Galilean, Thou hast conquered.”  He died in a few hours, in 363, and the Romans could only choose the best leader they knew to get them out of the sad plight they were in—­almost that of the ten thousand Greeks, except that they knew the roads and had friendly lands much nearer.  Their choice fell on a plain, honest Christian soldier named Jovian, who did his best by making a treaty with Sapor, giving up all claim to any lands beyond the Tigris, and surrendering the brave city of Nisibis which had held out so gallantly—­a great grief to the Eastern Christians.  The first thing Jovian did was to have Athanasius recalled, but his reign did not last a year, and he died on the way to Constantinople.

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Young Folks' History of Rome from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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