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.

After this, Caesar returned to Rome to carry out his plans.  He was dictator for ten years and consul for five, and was also imperator or commander of an army he was not made to disband, so that he nearly was as powerful as any king; and, as he saw that such an enormous domain as Rome now possessed could never be governed by two magistrates changing every year, he prepared matters for there being one ruler.  The influence of the Senate, too, he weakened very much by naming a great many persons to it of no rank or distinction, till there were nine hundred members, and nobody thought much of being a senator.  He also made an immense number of new citizens, and he caused a great survey to be begun by Roman officers in preparation for properly arranging the provinces, governments, and tribute; and he began to have the laws drawn up in regular order.  In fact, he was one of the greatest men the world has ever produced, not only as a conqueror, but a statesman and ruler; and though his power over Rome was not according to the laws, and had been gained by a rebellion, he was using it for her good.

He was learned in all philosophy and science, and his history of his wars in Gaul has come down to our times.  As a high patrician by birth, he was Pontifex Maximus, or chief priest, and thus had to fix all the festival days in each year.  Now the year had been supposed to be only three hundred and fifty-five days long, and the Pontifex put in another month or several days whenever he pleased, so that there was great confusion, and the feast days for the harvest and vintage came, according to the calendar, three months before there was any corn or grapes.

To set this to rights, since it was now understood that the length of the year was three hundred and sixty-five days and six hours, Caesar and the scientific men who assisted him devised the fresh arrangement that we call leap year, adding a day to the three hundred and sixty-five once in four years.  He also changed the name of one of the summer months from Sextile to July, in honor of himself.  Another work of his was restoring Corinth and Carthage, which had both been ruined the same year, and now were both refounded the same year.

He was busy about the glory of the state, but there was much to shock old Roman feelings in his conduct.  Cleopatra had followed him to Rome, and he was thinking of putting away his wife Calphurnia to marry her.  But his keeping the dictatorship was the real grievance, and the remains of the old party in the Senate could not bear that the patrician freedom of Rome should be lost.  Every now and then his flatterers offered him a royal crown and hailed him as king, though he always refused it, and this title still stirred up bitter hatred.  He was preparing an army, intending to march into the further East, avenge Crassus’ defeat on the Parthians, and march where no one but Alexander had made his way; and if he came back victorious from thence, nothing would be able to stand against him.

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