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.

But Theodosius rallied them and led them back, so that they gained a great victory, and a terrible storm and whirlwind which fell at the same time upon the host of Eugenius made the Christian army feel the more sure that God fought on their side.  Eugenius was taken and put to death, and Arbogastes fell on his own sword.

Theodosius thus united the empires of the East and West once more.  He was a brave and gallant soldier, and a good and conscientious man, and was much loved and honored; but he could be stern and passionate, and he was likewise greatly feared.  At Antioch, the people had been much offended at a tax which Theodosius had laid on them; they rose in rebellion, overthrew his statues and those of his family, and dragged them about in the mud.  No sooner was this done than they began to be shocked and terrified, especially because of the insult to the statue of the Empress, who was lately dead after a most kind and charitable life.  The citizens in haste sent off messengers, with the Bishop at their head, to declare their grief and sorrow, and entreat the Emperor’s pardon.  All the time they were gone the city gave itself up to prayer and fasting, listening to sermons from the priest, John—­called from his eloquence Chrysostom, or Golden Mouth—­who preached repentance for all the most frequent sins, such as love of pleasure, irreverence at church, etc.  The Bishop on his way met the Emperor’s deputies who were charged to enquire into the crime and punish the people; and he redoubled his speed in reaching Constantinople, where he so pleaded the cause of the people that Theodosius freely forgave them, and sent him home to keep a happy Easter with them.  This was while he was still Emperor only of the East.

[Illustration:  ROMAN HALL OF JUSTICE.]

But when he was in Italy with Valentinian, three years later, there was another great sedition at Thessalonica.  The people there were as mad as were most of the citizens of the larger towns upon the sports of the amphitheatre, and were vehemently fond of the charioteers whom they admired on either side.  Just before some races that were expected, one of the favorite drivers committed a crime for which he was imprisoned.  The people, wild with fury, rose and called for his release; and when this was denied to them, they fell on the magistrates with stones, and killed the chief of them, Botheric, the commander of the forces.  The news was taken to Milan, where the Emperor then was, and his wrath was so great and terrible that he commanded that the whole city should suffer.  The soldiers, who were glad both to revenge their captain and to gain plunder, hastened to put his command into execution; the unhappy people were collected in the circus, and slaughtered so rapidly and suddenly, that when Theodosius began to recover from his passion, and sent to stay the hands of the slayers, they found the city burning and the streets full of corpses.

St. Ambrose felt it his duty to speak forth in the name of the Church against such fury and cruelty; and when Theodosius presented himself at the church door to come to the Holy Communion, Ambrose met him there, and turned him back as a blood-stained sinner unfit to partake of the heavenly feast, and bidding him not add sacrilege to murder.

Project Gutenberg
Young Folks' History of Rome from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook