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.
tribunes, Publius Decius Mus, discovered a little hill above the enemy’s camp, and asked leave to lead a small body of men to seize it, since he would be likely thus to draw off the Samnites, and while they were destroying him, as he fully expected, the Romans could get out of the valley.  Hidden by the wood, he gained the hill, and there the Samnites saw him, to their great amazement; and while they were considering whether to attack him, the other Romans were able to march out of the valley.  Finding he was not attacked, Decius set guards, and, when night came on, marched down again as quietly as possible to join the army, who were now on the other side of the Samnite camp.  Through the midst of this he and his little camp went without alarm, until, about half-way across, one Roman struck his foot against a shield.  The noise awoke the Samnites, but Decius caused his men to give a great shout, and this, in the darkness, so confused the enemy that they missed the little body of Romans, who safely gained their own camp.  Decius cut short the thanks and joy of the consul by advising him to fall at once on the Samnite camp in its dismay, and this was done; the Samnites were entirely routed, 30,000 killed, and their camp taken.  Decius received for his reward a hundred oxen, a white bull with gilded horns, and three crowns—­one of gold for courage, one of oak for having saved the lives of his fellow-citizens, and one of grass for having taken the enemy’s camp—­while all his men were for life to receive a double allowance of corn.  Decius offered up the white bull in sacrifice to Mars, and gave the oxen to the companions of his glory.

Afterwards Valerius routed the Samnites again, and his troops brought in 120 standards and 40,000 shields which they had picked up, having been thrown away by the enemy in their flight.

Peace was made for the time; but the Latins, now in alliance with Rome, began to make war on the Samnites.  They complained, and the Romans feeling bound to take their part, a great Latin war began.  Manlius Torquatus and Decius Mus, the two greatest heroes of Rome, were consuls.  As the Latins and Romans were alike in dress, arms, and language, in order to prevent taking friend for foe, strict orders were given that no one should attack a Latin without orders, or go out of his rank, on pain of death.  A Latin champion came out boasting, as the two armies lay beneath Mount Vesuvius, then a fair vine-clad hill showing no flame.  Young Manlius remembering his father’s fame, darted out, fought hand to hand with the Latin, slew him, and brought home his spoils to his father’s feet.  He had forgotten that his father had only fought after permission was given.  The elder Manlius received him with stern grief.  He had broken the law of discipline, and he must die.  His head was struck off amid the grief and anger of the army.  The battle was bravely fought, but it went against the Romans at first.  Then Decius, recollecting a vision which had declared

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