Soon he reached the farther side, where his friends stood ready to help him. Shout after shout greeted him as he climbed upon the bank. Then Porsena’s men shouted also, for they had never seen a man so brave and strong as Horatius. He had kept them out of Rome, but he had done a deed which they could not help but praise.
As for the Romans, they were very grateful to Horatius for having saved their city. They called him Horatius Co’cles, which meant the “one-eyed Horatius,” because he had lost an eye in defending the bridge; they caused a fine statue of brass to be made in his honor; and they gave him as much land as he could plow around in a day. And for hundreds of years afterwards—
“With weeping and with
Still was the story told,
How well Horatius kept the bridge
In the brave days of old.”
Nearly two thousand years ago there lived in Rome a man whose name was Julius Cae’sar. He was the greatest of all the Romans.
Why was he so great?
He was a brave warrior, and had con-quered many countries for Rome. He was wise in planning and in doing. He knew how to make men both love and fear him.
At last he made himself the ruler of Rome. Some said that he wished to become its king. But the Romans at that time did not believe in kings.
Once when Cae-sar was passing through a little country village, all the men, women, and children of the place came out to see him. There were not more than fifty of them, all together, and they were led by their may-or, who told each one what to do.
These simple people stood by the roadside and watched Caesar pass. The may-or looked very proud and happy; for was he not the ruler of this village? He felt that he was almost as great a man as Caesar himself.
Some of the fine of-fi-cers who were with Caesar laughed. They said, “See how that fellow struts at the head of his little flock!”
“Laugh as you will,” said Caesar, “he has reason to be proud. I would rather be the head man of a village than the second man in Rome!”
At an-oth-er time, Caesar was crossing a narrow sea in a boat. Before he was halfway to the farther shore, a storm overtook him. The wind blew hard; the waves dashed high; the lightning flashed; the thunder rolled.
It seemed every minute as though the boat would sink. The captain was in great fright. He had crossed the sea many times, but never in such a storm as this. He trembled with fear; he could not guide the boat; he fell down upon his knees; he moaned, “All is lost! all is lost!”
But Caesar was not afraid. He bade the man get up and take his oars again.
“Why should you be afraid?” he said. “The boat will not be lost; for you have Caesar on board.”