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UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

resoluteness of purpose. He was capable of pursuing his object with unwavering

steadfastness and persistency. It is hardly possible to conceive of two

characters more unlike, as it respects continuity of purpose, than those of the

Roman and the Greek. The latter was fickle and vacillating. What he could not

undertake at once and complete with excellence and enthusiasm, he hesitated to

enter upon at all. Like the modern Parisian, he was the victim of all the winds

that blew. He shouted in victory, and wailed in defeat. He was capable of the

most ecstatic elevation of feeling in one moment, and the most dismal depression

of spirits in the next. Not so the Roman. He took the buffeting of fortune with

the same unwavering mood with which he received the intelligence of triumph. It

was not apathy, not impassiveness, but that iron resolution which enabled him to

bear the ills and calamities of life and to give to those who witnessed his

demeanor slight sign of disappointment, and none at all of despair. The history

of those long-continued wars by which the Romans became the masters first of

Italy and then of the world, is, for the indomitable persistency with which they

were renewed and prosecuted until opposition could no longer lift its head,

without a parallel in the annals of the world.

To the Roman no defeat was final. He renewed the conflict. Reverses meant no more

than delay. The besieged town was only seemingly impregnable. The hostile army

had only the appearance of defiance. The foreign nation was invincible only for a

season. If one general could not conquer, another could. If one army-one fleet

was annihilated, another rose in its stead. Mountains, rivers, the broad expanse

of ocean, the trackless waste of desert sand-what though all these interposed

between the Roman and his purpose? His resolution grew by the encounter with

obstacles. North, south, east, and west, he urged his way against opposition that

would have appeared appalling to a less defiant spirit. He came to consider

himself the man of destiny. His city and his state had been assured to his

ancestors by the gods. The will of the deities was supreme. Fate could not be

reversed. The City of the Seven Hills was decreed to be the mistress of the

world. Why should a race that knew itself to be the coadjutors of the supernal

powers falter in its onward march or quail before the pitiful array of enemies?

In the early career of the Roman people there was something of that resolution,

born of a belief in destiny, which marked the course of the Mohammedans in the

seventh century.

The ambition of the Roman reached to the horizon. He hungered for power, and what

he desired he strove for. The Roman race was flung upon what was then the western

frontier of the world. Civilization, refinement, luxury, these lay to the east.

The West was surrounded with barbarism. To create a new world greater than the

old, to build the ram- parts of an imperishable state, to make that state

triumphant over her foes, to conquer great nations, to grind into dust and

servitude whatever opposed the onward progress- such was the dream of the man who

made his home by the Tiber. The great generals of the Republic fought to make

Rome glorious. It was their ambition to spread the renown of the Latin race to

the borders of the world, and to ride proudly at the head of the triumph,

bringing trains of captives into the Imperial City.

Coupled with this ambition was vanity. The Roman people were vain, rather than

proud. One may well be astonished at the existence of such a quality in such a

race. As a general rule, there was no flattery or adulation which Roman greed was

not ready to swallow. The egotism of the average man of the city was as

inordinate as it was obtrusive. Hardly one of the great Romans was free from the

vice of personal vanity. They were vain of their deeds, vain of their name, vain

of their rank, vain of themselves, Cicero was as self-conceited as it is possible

to conceive of in one of such ample talents and learning. He considered his own

eloquence as something marvelous. He was as much concerned about his periods as

about the Catilinarian Conspiracy. Hardly could he address the Senate without

referring to his title of Father of his Country. He would keep his countrymen

reminded that that august degree had been conferred on him by Cato! The greatness

of Julius Caesar