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.

Justina was an Arian, and wanted to have a church in Milan where she could worship without ascribing full honor and glory to God the Son; but Ambrose felt that the churches were his Master’s, not his own to be given away, and filled the Church with Christians, who watched there chanting Psalms day and night, while the soldiers Justina sent to turn them out joined them, and sang and prayed with them.

Gratian did not choose to be called Pontifex Maximus, or chief priest of all the Roman idols, as all the Emperors had been; and this offended many persons.  A general named Maximus rose and reigned as Emperor in Britain, and Gratian had too much on his hands in the north to put him down.

In the meantime, a terrible wild tribe called Huns were coming from the West and driving the Goths before them, so that they asked leave from Valens to come across the Danube and settle themselves in Thrace.  The reply was so ill managed by Valens’ counsellors that the Goths were offended, and came over the river as foes when they might have come as friends; and Valens was killed in battle with them at Adrianople in 378.

Gratian felt that he alone could not cope with the dangers that beset the empire, and his brother was still a child, so he gave the Eastern Empire to a brave and noble Spanish general named Theodosius, who was a Catholic Christian and baptized, and who made peace with the Goths, gave them settlements, and took their young men into his armies.  In the meantime, Maximus was growing more powerful in Britain, and Gratian, who chiefly lived in Gaul, was disliked by the soldiers especially for making friends with the young Gothic chief Alaric, whom he joined in hunting in the forests of Gaul in a way they thought unworthy of an Emperor.  Finding that he was thus disliked, Maximus crossed the Channel to attack him.  His soldiers would not march against the British legions, and he was taken and put to death, bitterly lamenting that he had so long deferred his baptism till now it was denied to him.

Young Valentinian went on reigning at Milan, and Maximus in Gaul.  This last had become a Christian and a Catholic in name, but without laying aside his fierceness and cruelty, so that, when some heretics were brought before him, he had them put to death, entirely against the advice of the great Saint and Bishop then working in Gaul, Martin of Tours, and likewise of St. Ambrose, who had been sent by Valentinian to make peace with the Gallic tyrant.

It was a time of great men in the Church.  In Africa a very great man had risen up, St. Augustine, who, after doubting long and living a life of sin, was drawn to the truth by the prayers of his good mother Monica, and, when studying in Italy, listened to St. Ambrose, and became a hearty believer and maintainer of all that was good.  He became Bishop of Hippo in Africa.

[Illustration:  CONVENT ON THE HILLS.]

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