The Story of Rome From the Earliest Times to the
End of the Republic
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It is proposed to rehearse the lustrous story of Rome, from its
beginning in the mists of myth and fable down to the mischievous times
when the republic came to its end, just before the brilliant period of
the empire opened.
As one surveys this marvellous vista from the vantage-ground of the
present, attention is fixed first upon a long succession of well-
authenticated facts which are shaded off in the dim distance, and
finally lost in the obscurity of unlettered antiquity. The flesh and
blood heroes of the more modern times regularly and slowly pass from
view, and in their places the unsubstantial worthies of dreamy
tradition start up. The transition is so gradual, however, that it is
at times impossible to draw the line between history and legend.
Fortunately for the purposes of this volume it is not always necessary
to make the effort. The early traditions of the Eternal City have so
long been recounted as truth that the world is slow to give up even the
least jot or tittle of them, and when they are disproved as fact, they
must be told over and over again as story.
Roman history involves a narrative of social and political struggles,
the importance of which is as wide as modern civilization, and they
must not be passed over without some attention, though in the present
volume they cannot be treated with the thoroughness they deserve. The
story has the advantage of being to a great extent a narrative of the
exploits of heroes, and the attention can be held almost the whole time
to the deeds of particular actors who successively occupy the focus or
play the principal parts on the stage. In this way the element of
personal interest, which so greatly adds to the charm of a story, may
be infused into the narrative.
It is hoped to enter to some degree into the real life of the Roman
people, to catch the true spirit of their actions, and to indicate the
current of the national life, while avoiding the presentation of
particular episodes or periods with undue prominence. It is intended to
set down the facts in their proper relation to each other as well as to
the facts of general history, without attempting an incursion into the
domain of philosophy.