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.
and the great churches of St. Peter and St. Paul were unhurt.  One old lady named Marcella, a friend of St. Jerome, was beaten to make her show where her treasures were; but when at last her tormentors came to believe that she had spent her all on charity, they led her to the shelter of the church with her friends, soon to die of what she had undergone.  After twelve days, however, Alaric drew off his forces, leaving Rome to shift for itself.  Bishop Innocent was at Ravenna, where he had gone to ask help from the Emperor; but Honorius knew and cared so little that when he was told Rome was lost, he only thought of his favorite hen whose name was Rome, and said, “That cannot be, for I have just fed her.”

Alaric marched southward, the Goths plundering the villas of the Roman nobles on their way.  At Cosenza, in the extreme south, he fell ill of a fever and died.  His warriors turned the stream of the river Bionzo out of its course, caused his grave to be dug in the bed of the torrent, and when his corpse had been laid there, they slew all the slaves who had done the work, so that none might be able to tell where lay the great Goth.




One good thing came of the Gothic conquest—­the pagans were put to silence for ever.  The temples had been razed, the idols broken, and no one set them up again; but the whole people of Rome were Christian, at least in name, from that time forth; and the temples and halls of justice began to be turned into churches.

Honorius still lived his idle life at Ravenna, and the Bishop—­or, as the Romans called him, Papa, father, or Pope—­came back and helped them to put matters into order again.  Alaric had left no son, but his wife’s brother Ataulf became leader of the Goths.  At Rome he had made prisoner Theodosius’ daughter Placidia, and he married her; but he did not choose to rule at Rome, because, as he said, his Goths would never bear a quiet life in a city.  So he promised to protect the empire for Honorius, and led his tribe away from Italy to Spain, which they conquered, and began a kingdom there.  They were therefore known as the Visigoths, or Western Goths.

Arcadius, in the meantime, reigned quietly at Constantinople, where St. John Chrysostom, the golden-mouthed preacher of Antioch, was made Patriarch, or father-bishop.  The games and races in the circus at Constantinople were as madly run after as they had ever been at Rome or Thessalonica; there were not indeed shows of gladiators, but people set themselves with foolish vehemence to back up one driver against another, wearing their colors and calling themselves by their names, and the two factions of the Greens and the Blues were ready to tear each other to pieces.  The Empress Eudoxia, Arcadius’ wife, was one of the most vehement of all, and was, besides, a vain, silly woman, who encouraged all kinds of pomp and expense.  St. Chrysostom preached against all the mischiefs that thus arose, so that she was offended, and contrived to raise up an accusation against him and have him driven out of the city.  The people of Constantinople still showed so much love for him that she insisted on his being sent further off to the bleak shores of the Black Sea, and on the journey he died, his last words being, “Glory be to God in all things.”

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