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mansion, a laurel-wreathed statue of its founder perpetuated the memory of his glory to his latest descendants.
112. Carthage being stripped of her power and possessions, Rome became supreme in the western Mediterranean and the greater part of Spain. The confiscated lands of the Italian nations which had taken sides with Hannibal, afforded settlements for large bodies of veteran soldiers. The Cisalpine Gauls were still in revolt, under the lead of a Carthaginian general; but they were reduced by a ten years' war (B. C. 201–191), and afterward became Latinized with that wonderful facility which distinguishes their race.
113. The Alexandrine kingdoms in the East were all prematurely old and falling into decay. The campaigns of Flamininus against Philip of Macedon, B. C. 198, 197, have been already described. (See Book IV, ?? 81-83.) A new war for the protectorate of Greece was occasioned by the movements of Antiochus the Great. This ambitious and restless monarch not only welcomed to his court the now exiled Hannibal, but allied himself with the Ætolians and led an army to their aid. He had miscalculated the power of Rome, which met him promptly with much more than twice his numbers, defeated him once by land and twice by sea, and finally, in the great battle of Magnesia, in Lydia, shattered his forces, while beginning her own long career of Asiatic conquest. The lands conquered from Antiochus were divided between the friendly powers of Pergamus and Rhodes, and the example of their good fortune led many other nations to seek the Roman alliance.
114. For more than twenty years, Rome was occupied with continual wars in the west, against the brave and freedom-loving tribes of Spain and the Ligurian Alps, as well as with the natives of Corsica and Sardinia. The latter island was conquered, B. C. 176, by Sempronius Gracchus, who brought away so great a multitude of captives, that "Sardinians for sale" became a proverbial phrase in Rome for anything cheap and worthless.
Meanwhile, Philip V. had died in Macedon, and Perseus had succeeded to the throne. The final struggle of this prince with Rome, and its result in the battle of Pydna (B. C. 168), have been described in Book IV. Rome became for six centuries what Macedon had been only during one man's short career, the undisputed ruler of the civilized world. None except barbarians any longer hoped to resist her ascendency; and but for a few revolts, like those of the Achæans, the Carthaginians, and the Jews, her progress in absorbing the old states of Asia, Africa, and Europe was both peaceful and rapid.
115. After eighteen years of comparative tranquillity, it was resolved that the time had come for the complete extinction of Carthage. Cato, the censor, now eighty-four years of age, and the sternest of Roman legislators, declared that Rome could never be safe while her former rival was
so near, so hostile, and so strong; and whenever he was called upon for his vote in the Senate, whatever might be the subject of debate, his unvarying reply was, "I vote that Carthage no longer be." The doomed city had more than fulfilled every condition of the treaty which closed the First Punic War, and still made many sacrifices for the sake of peace. But the last command of Rome was not intended to be obeyed. The Carthaginians were ordered to destroy their city, and remove to a situation farther from the sea. They refused, and a war began, in which, for four years, the brave spirit of the people sustained them without the faintest hope of victory.
116. Their fleet, their weapons, and their mines in Spain, Sardinia, and Elba had all been surrendered to the enemy. In two months 120 ships were built in the blockaded port, and a passage cut through the land to enable them to reach the sea. Public buildings were torn down to furnish timber and metal. Every living being toiled night and day at the defenses. An arsenal was established which daily produced 2,000 shields or weapons, and even the women contributed their long hair to make strings for the engines which hurled stones or arrows from the walls.
At length the Romans, under the consul Scipio Emilia'nus, forced their way into the city. The people defended it house by house, and street by street, and days of carnage were still required to quench the pride of Carthage in ashes and blood. The city was fired in all directions, and when, after seventeen days, the flames were at last extinguished, nothing remained but shapeless heaps of rubbish. The territories of the Punic state became the "Province of Africa," whose capital was fixed at Utica. Roman traders flocked to the latter city, and took into their own hands the flourishing commerce of the coast.
117. In the same year, B. C. 146, L. Mum'mius, the consul, plundered and destroyed Corinth. Its walls and houses were leveled with the ground, and a curse was pronounced on whomsoever should build on its desolate site. Its commerce passed to Argos and Delos, while the care of the Isthmian Games was intrusted to Sicyon. The policy of Rome toward the Greeks was far more liberal than toward any other conquered people. Her firm and settled government was, indeed, preferable to the dissension and misrule which disfigured the later ages of Greece; and the Greeks themselves declared, in the words of Themistocles, that "ruin had averted ruin.”
118. The natives of western Spain, intrenched among their mountains, still maintained a brave resistance to the power of Rome. The Lusitanians, who had never yet been conquered, were basely deceived by Serto'rius Galba, who enticed 7,000 of them from their strongholds by promising grants of fertile lands; and when, trusting the word of a Roman general, they had descended into the plain, he caused them to be treacherously surrounded, disarmed, and either massacred or enslaved.
Among the few who escaped was a youth named Viria'thus, who lived to become the leader and avenger of his people. The career of this guerrilla chief is full of stirring events. Issuing suddenly from a cleft in the mountains, he seven times defeated a Roman army with tremendous slaughter. In the last of these victories, the forces of Servilia'nus were entrapped in a narrow pass and completely surrounded. Absolute surrender was their only choice. Viriathus, however, preferring peace to vengeance, used his advantage with great moderation. He allowed his enemy to depart unhurt, on his solemn engagement to leave the Lusitanians henceforth unmolested in their own territories, and to recognize him, their chief, as a friend and ally of the Roman people.
119. The terms were ratified by the Senate, but only to be violated. On the renewal of the war, Viriathus sent three of his most trusted friends to remonstrate, and offer renewed terms of peace. The consul bribed these messengers, by promises of large rewards, to murder their chief. The crime was committed, and within a year Lusitania (Portugal) was added to the Roman dominions. Numantia, in the north, still held out against the besieging army of Qu. Pompe'ius. A severe winter caused great sickness and suffering in the legions, and Pompey offered peace on terms favorable to the Spaniards, but, according to Roman ideas, disgraceful to the besiegers. These were accepted, and the last payment but one had been made by the Numantines, when Pompey's successor in the consulship arrived at the camp. Being thus relieved from command, he denied that he had ever made the treaty, and persisted in his falsehood before the Senate.
The war went on six years, with no credit and frequent disgrace to the Romans, until Scipio Emilianus, the greatest general of his own time, starved the city at last into surrender. Many of the Numantines, rather than fall into the hands of an enemy whose falsehood they had too often proved, set fire to their houses and perished among the burning ruins. The whole peninsula, except its northern coast, was now subject to Rome. It was divided into three provinces - Hither and Farther Spain, and Lusitania and became eventually the most prosperous and best governed part of the Roman foreign possessions. The Lusitanian mountains were still haunted by brigands, and isolated country houses in that region had to be built like fortresses; yet the country was rich in corn and cattle, and occupied by a thriving and industrious people.
Rome, supreme in the western Mediterranean, makes war upon Philip V., of Macedon, and Antiochus the Great, of Syria. The battle of Magnesia, B. C. 190, lays the foundation of her power in Asia, and the battle of Pydna makes her the head of the civilized world. In the meanwhile, Sardinia is conquered, and wars carried on in Spain and Liguria. The third and last Punic War ends,
B. C. 146, with the destruction of Carthage. The same year, Corinth is destroyed by Mummius. Viriathus holds out nine years in western Spain; he is assassinated B. C. 140; Numantia is captured B. C. 133; and Spain divided into three Roman provinces.
FOURTH PERIOD, B. C. 133–30.
120. The possessions of Rome now extended from the Atlantic to the Ægean, and from the Atlas Mountains to the Pyrenees and Alps. But changes in the relations of rich and poor, governing and governed classes, in her own capital, now withdrew her attention for a while from foreign conquests, and led to important civil controversies. The old strife between patricians and plebeians was long ago at an end. Many plebeian houses had become noble through their members having held high offices in the state; and they had their clientage, their share in the public lands, their seat in the Senate, and their right of displaying waxen images of their ancestors in their houses or in funeral processions, equally with the oldest burghers of all. Freedmen were constantly admitted to the franchise.
121. The real cause of trouble was in the sufferings of the poor, who, since the formation of the last colony, in 177 B. C., had had no new allotment of lands. Rome was a commonwealth of millionaires and beggars." The Licinian laws (see ? 64) were practically set aside. Many rich proprietors held four times the amount of public land to which they were entitled; and instead of employing the required proportion of free labor, preferred to cultivate by means of gangs of slaves. The foreign wars, which formerly so frightfully reduced the numbers of the common people, had now ceased; the labor market became over-stocked, and a mass of paupers, hungry, helpless, and hopeless, began to threaten serious danger to the state. The multitude of slaves, chiefly taken in war, more or less trained for fighting, and conscious of their strength, were a not less dangerous class. The best and wisest of the Romans saw the danger, and sought means to avert it. But among those who most deeply deplored the miseries of the people, a large party believed that nothing could be done.
122. In 133 B. C., the tribune Tiberius Gracchus, a son of the conqueror of Sardinia, and grandson of Scipio Africanus, brought forward a bill for reviving the provisions of the Licinian laws. The great amount of state lands which would thus become vacant, he proposed to divide among the poor; and to compensate the former occupants for their losses, by making them absolute owners of the 500 jugera of land which they could legally retain. This movement, apparently so just, was violently opposed. The leased lands had been, in some instances, three hundred
*During the seventeen years of the Second Punic War, the free citizens of Rome were diminished by one-fourth, and in Italy at large 300,000 people perished.
years in the same family. Buildings had been erected at great expense, and the property had been held or transferred as if in real ownership. The strong influence of the wealthy class was therefore made to bear against the bill; and when it was brought before the popular assembly, Octavius, a colleague of Gracchus in the tribuneship, interposed his veto and prevented the vote from being taken. But Gracchus moved the people to depose Octavius, and so carried the bill. Three commissioners, Tiberius Gracchus himself, his brother Caius, and his father-in-law, Appius Claudius, were appointed to examine into the extent of the abuse, and enforce the Agrarian laws.
123. Their task was difficult, and Tiberius had to content the people by continually bringing forward more and more popular measures. The kingdom of Pergamus, with its treasury, had just become the inheritance of the Romans. Gracchus proposed that the money should be distributed among the new land-holders, to provide implements and stock for their farms. Other proposals were for shortening the term of military service, for extending the privilege of jury to the common people, and for admitting the Italian allies to the rights of Roman citizens. The aristocratic party had declared from the beginning that this bold innovator should not escape their vengeance. His candidacy for a second tribuneship brought the opposition to a crisis. Tiberius was slain upon the steps of the Capitol, and his body thrown into the Tiber.
124. Though the reformer was dead, his reform went on. The party in power earnestly desired to relieve the public danger and distress, and, by order of the Senate, the commission continued the distribution of lands. A law proposed by Scipio Emilianus, B. C. 129, withdrew the work from the hands of the commissioners, and placed it permanently in those of the consuls. The lands which were really public property were by this time distributed, and questions had arisen concerning territories which had been granted to Italian allies. "The greatest general and the greatest statesman of his age," Scipio saw as clearly and lamented as deeply as the Gracchi the needs of his country, and, with unselfishness equal to theirs, he sought to check the reform, when convinced that it had gone as far as justice would permit. But he, too, became a martyr to his efforts. Soon after the passage of his bill, and on the morning of the day appointed for his oration upon popular rights, he was found murdered in his bed.
125. Caius Gracchus returned from his quæstorship in Sardinia, B. C. 124, and became tribune of the people. His plans for relieving the poorer classes were more revolutionary than those of his brother, but many of them were most beneficent and widely reaching in their results. Colonies were formed, both in Italy and beyond the sea, to afford an outlet to the crowded and distressed population of Rome. Six thousand colonists were sent to the deserted site of Carthage; another company to Aquæ Sextiæ