Opimius was so proud of having overthrown Caius, that he had a medal struck with Hercules slaying the monsters. Cornelia, broken-hearted, retired to a country-house; but in a few years the feeling turned, great love was shown to the memory of the two brothers, statues were set up in their honor, and when Cornelia herself died, her statue was inscribed with the title she had coveted, “The mother of the Gracchi.”
[Illustration: ROMAN CENTURION.]
Things were indeed growing worse and worse. The Romans were as brave as ever in the field, and were sure in the end to conquer any nation they came in contact with; but at home, the city was full of overgrown rich men, with huge hosts of slaves, and of turbulent poor men, who only cared for their citizenship for the sake of the corn they gained by it, and the games exhibited by those who stood for a magistracy. Immense sums were spent in hiring gladiators and bringing wild animals to be baited for their amusement; and afterwards, when sent out to govern the provinces, the expenses were repaid by cruel grinding and robbing the people of the conquered states.
THE WARS OF MARIUS.
After the death of Massinissa, king of Numidia, the ally of the Romans, there were disputes among his grandsons, and Jugurtha, whom they held to have the least right, obtained the kingdom. The commander of the army sent against him was Caius Marius, who had risen from being a free Roman peasant in the village of Arpinum, but serving under Scipio AEmilianus, had shown such ability, that when some one was wondering where they would find the equal of Scipio when he was gone, that general touched the shoulder of his young officer and said, “Possibly here.”
Rough soldier as he always was, he married Julia, of the high family of the Caesars, who were said to be descended from AEneas; and though he was much disliked by the Senate, he always carried the people with him. When he received the province of Numidia, instead of, as every one had done before, forming his army only of Roman citizens, he offered to enlist whoever would, and thus filled his ranks with all sorts of wild and desperate men, whom he could indeed train to fight, but who had none of the old feeling for honor or the state, and this in the end made a great change in Rome.
Jugurtha maintained a wild war in the deserts of Africa with Marius, but at last he was betrayed to the Romans by his friend Bocchus, another Moorish king, and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Marius’ lieutenant, was sent to receive him—a transaction which Sulla commemorated on a signet ring which he always wore. Poor Jugurtha was kept two years to appear at the triumph, where he walked in chains, and then was thrown alive into the dungeon under the Capitol, where he took six days to die of cold and hunger.