Young Folks' History of Rome eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about Young Folks' History of Rome.

The most promising of the men of his party who were growing up and coming forward was Cnaeus Pompeius, a brave and worthy man, who had while quite young, gained such a victory over a Numidian prince that Sulla himself gave him the title of Magnus, or the Great.  He was afterwards sent to Spain, where Sertorius held out for eight years against the Roman power with the help of the native chiefs, but at last was put to death by his own followers.  Things were altogether in a bad state.  There were great struggles in Rome at every election, for the officers of the state were now chiefly esteemed for the sake of the three or five years’ government in the provinces to which they led.  No expense was thought too great in shows of beasts and gladiators by which to win the votes of the people; for, after the year of office, the candidate meant amply to repay himself by what he could squeeze out of the unhappy province under his charge, and nobody cared for cruelty or injustice to any one but a Roman citizen.

Numbers of gladiators were kept and trained to fight in these shows; and while the Spanish war was going on, a whole school of them—­seventy-eight in number—­who were kept at Capua, broke out, armed themselves with the spits, hooks, and axes in a butcher’s shop, and took refuge in the crater of Mount Vesuvius, which at that time showed no signs of being an active volcano.  There, under their leader Spartacus, they gathered together every gladiator slave or who could run away to them, and Spartacus wanted them to march northward, force their way through Italy, climb the Alps, and reach their homes in Thrace and Gaul; but the plunder of Italy tempted them, and they would not go, till an army was sent against them under Marcus Licinius Crassus—­called Dives, or the Rich, from the spoil he had gained during the proscription.  Then Spartacus hoped to escape in a fleet of pirate ships from Cilicia, and to hold out in the passes of Mount Taurus; but the Cilician pirates deceived him, sailed away with his money, and left him to his fate, and he and his gladiators were all slain by Crassus and Pompeius, who had been called home from Spain.

CHAPTER XXVI.

THE CAREER OF POMPEIUS.

70-63.

Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Lucius Licinius Crassus Dives were consuls together in the year 70; but Crassus, though he feasted the people at 10,000 tables, was envied and disliked, and would never have been elected but for Pompeius, who was a great favorite with the people, and so much trusted, both by them and the nobles, that it seems to have filled him with pride, for he gave himself great airs, and did not treat his fellow-consul as an equal.

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