Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

partly in the hardy exercises of his rough neighbours, but chiefly, as it pleasantly appears, under the milder influences of his mother Rhea, his early teacher and his constant friend. Tenderness, sometimes feminine, and severity, sometimes cruel, were thus, perhaps, blended in his youthful disposition, as they appeared in the actions of his maturer years. He began life as an advocate or orator" amongst his townsmen; but, on being called to the armies at apparently an early age, he adopted the fiercer vocation of a soldier, and rose, through various posts, to the praetorship. It was in this office, or in its continuation, the pro-praetorship, that he went to Spain, in the year” which witnessed the defeat of his fellow-partisans, with whom he himself had never been on easy terms. Obliged, almost immediately, to withdraw before the superior forces sent against him by the Dictator, Sertorius crossed the sea to Africa, and appeared for some months or years to be no better than a mercenary leader with the strangers amongst whom he wandered. He talked, it is reported, of sailing farther, to the Atlantic islands, where, as his biographer” says, a rest from tyranny and ceaseless wars might be procured. But when the Lusitanians sent for him to be their chieftain against the Roman forces in Spain, the spirit of the warrior revived. He hastened to obey their summons, and to turn their obedience to his earlier purpose of founding a second Commonwealth in the peninsula, where the change of atmosphere or soil might favor the revival of the virtues that had withered at Rome. It was no youthful frenzy that begot the scheme. Sertorius was a man past five-and-forty, whose bodily wounds bore the same witness to those who saw him, that those who read his history find in his projects and disappointments, of experience and courageous services. He established himself at the city of Osca, the modern Huesca, not far from the Pyrenees; and there he formed a Senate of some who had been Senators at Rome, and of others who had followed him into exile;” while, for his Spanish allies, whom he would admit to no places of authority, he instituted a school, in which the youths of highest birth amongst them were to be educated for future employment, and, as is probable, for future elevation. The exclusion of the Spaniards from seats in the Senate or eminent posts in the army did not, it would seem, detract from the confiding admiration with which they regarded their chieftain, foremost as he was in battle, most humane in victory, and at all times most observant of the superstitions” to which they themselves were especially sensitive. Sertorius never forgot he was a Roman ; he would rather, he said, be the poorest citizen in his own country than an exile, though every other country were under his dominion; and the sole object of this Commonwealth in Spain was to rear the broken shoots of Roman law and Roman patriotism, so that they might be transplanted back to the seven hills.” It is the heart of the man rather than the spirit of the citizen, whose fidelity is more touchingly revealed in the grief he showed on receiving the news of his mother's death, when he hid himself in his tent for seven days, and had nearly died, as the sympathizing biographer writes, of sorrow.” These feelings, however, were to be cherished, and these projects were to be upheld, in the midst of warfare. Eight years” the troops of Sertorius withstood the forces sent from Rome; Metellus Pius and Pompey, besides many other commanders, were defeated; and at one time he was strong enough to have marched upon Italy. But while the patriotism of Sertorius remained too steadfast to permit the invasion of his country, his other virtues were corroded, as if by the contact of arms. His generals proved incompetent; his soldiers grew turbulent and were corrupted; and though the Spaniards appear to have continued faithful, he became suspicious even of them, and cruel towards all by whom he was surrounded.” Nevertheless, the Romans were driven from every field in which Sertorius personally encountered them; and it was not until his murder by some of his own 196 The spirit with which the account of the campaigns may be negotiations with Mithridates were read in Liv., Epit. XC. to XCIV. conducted is the most signal proof and XCVI. ; App., Bell. Civ., I. of his resolution to cleave to Rome. 108-114; Ibid., De Reb. Hisp., Plut., Sert., 23, 24. App., Bell. 101; and Flor., III. 22. Mithrid., 68. 199 Plut., Sert, 25. App., Bell. officers," that the armies of his countrymen triumphed, and his Commonwealth in Spain vanished from the earth. Spain itself was again wasted and chained." The war with Sertorius was not yet terminated, when another conflict — excited, however, against the dominion of Rome, not of Sulla alone — broke out in Italy. Some seventy-eight gladiators, determined to fight for their own freedom” rather than for the entertainment of their masters, escaping from the quarters in which they were confined at Capua, and arming themselves with spits and knives from a kitchen,” were soon joined by thousands suffering from bondage, and by many tormented with poverty in the country round. Such weapons as could be seized or made" were used against the Roman troops despatched in pursuit of them, and against the cities which they on their part assailed, with such effect, that the miseries of the bruised and the afflicted were fearfully avenged. The host, increasing through that and the following year to nearly a hundred thousand, slaves and freemen, in arms, dared to prepare, at last, for marching upon Rome. The success of this wild insurrection is to be ex

131 Plut., Sert., 2. Cic., Brut., 133 Plut., Sert., 9. The islands 48. were, perhaps, the beautiful and 132 A. C. 82. grand Madeiras. See Ibid., 8.

134 App., Bell. Civ., I. 108; 135 See the story of the white Bell. Mithrid., 68. Plut., Sert., 22. fawn in Plut., Sert., 11, 20.

137 Plut., Sert., 22. Civ., I. 102. 138 From A. C. 80 to 72. The

140 Plut., Sert., 26. known author, at the command of

141 “Omnes pane Hispaniae oc- the Emperor Valens.) casione belli Sertoriani per Metellum 14° A. C. 73. App., Bell. Civ., et Pompeium in ditionem nostram I. 116. acceptae ; postea . . . . . a Pompeio 143 Plut., Crass., 8. perdomitae sunt.” Sextus Rufus, 144 Flor., III. 20. App., Bell. Brev., 5. (A “Breviary” of Ro- Civ., I. 116. man history composed by an un

plained only by the character of its leader, Spartacus.” A Thracian by birth, he had been enlisted in a troop raised from the Roman armies, from which, offended or restless, he deserted; but being recaptured, he was sold for a gladiator," whose strength and temper would make rare sport at some Roman games. He it was who urged his companions to fly from Capua, and who, being acknowledged as their chief, compelled them and the disorderly array by which they were joined to submit to the discipline that insured their triumph, when under his command,” against the generals and the armies sent to hunt them down. But though Spartacus decked himself with the insignia of a Praetor whom he defeated, and led his fellows impetuous to battle, he soon began to urge their crossing the Alps, in order to seek their distant homes,” before the foe, over whom they could not long prevail, should take revenge upon them for their deeds. At his persuasion, they marched northwards; but the victories they continued to gain were not outweighed, as with their leader, by the memory of home or the love of quieter life; and as he could not forsake, or was, perhaps, too closely watched to desert, his followers, he turned back with them to defeat and death.” The insurrection had been sustained about two years.

145 See Plut., Crass., 8. were both slain before him. Oros.,

1% App., Bell. Civ., I. 116. V. 24. App., Bell. Civ, I. 116. Flor., III. 20. 148 Plut., Crass., 9.

147 Of course there were other 149 A. C. 71. Plut., Crass., 11.

leaders. OEnomaus and Crixus, Liv., Epit. XCVII. App., Bell. both Gauls, the next to Spartacus, Civ., I. 120. Flor, III. 20. Cras

« НазадПродовжити »