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ROME-MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.

by these circumstances that the defeated victim sank to the sand without a groan

or murmur. So far as the combatants were concerned the tragedy was completed

without a sound louder than the splash of blood and the strained breath of the

dying; but the shout which rose when the victor held aloft his bloody sword might

have shaken the sea. Rome was delighted. (1)

When the arena was strewn and heaped with corpses, the attendants came in and

dragged them out of sight. The bottom was covered with fresh sand to quench the

pools of blood, and the sport went on. Rome was delighted. At midday lunch was

served to the thousands, by order of the Emperor. The people who no longer met in

the Forum to hear the great orators discourse of liberty, sat in the seats of the

amphitheater in sight of the blood muck of the arena and ate the bread of Caesar.

Rome was delighted. It was in scenes such as these that the public life of the

Imperial City displayed itself and sought to be satisfied.

Down to the dose of the Empire the games continued to hold their place as the

principal enjoyment of the Romans. Christianity protested stoutly against their

continuance; but when the protest proved unavailing many adherents of the new

faith yielded to what they could not control, and participated in the bloody

spectacles. It was not until barbarism had come in like a flood, not until the

stern code of the Arab in the East and the sterner conscience of the Teuton in

the West began to be factors in that new order of things to which Rome was a

stranger, that the fearful atrocities in which the race of Romulus had come to

take delight were abolished. In Spain-the only country of Modem Europe in which

the spirit of Old Rome is still predominant-the bullfight yet preserves the

horrors without the heroism which were exhibited with pride on the sands of the

great circuses by the Tiber.

Turning, then, to the domestic, as distinguished from the public, life of the

Romans, we find much which is entitled to our sympathy. The man of the early

Republic was the head of a household. He was its priest, and in some sense its

king. He had around him a host of sons and daughters. Monogamy was the law of the

family. The father must be reverenced and honored. The sons grown to manhood were

not released from his authority. The married daughters passed from his control to

that of their husbands. The single will of the head of the house was predominant,

and might not be treated with neglect or slight. He was known as the pater

familias, and his authority was absolute within his own domain. In the case of

his absence or death the mother, who was called the matrona, exercised a good

part of his prerogatives. She ordered the household, exacted obedience, conducted

the education of the boys. Women of this class were of great influence in Roman

society. Many of them were known to fame, and no doubt deserved their exalted

reputation as virtuous and patriotic mothers. Such was Cornelia, the mother of

the Gracchi, exhibiting her sons as her jewels, and educating them for the

service of the state.

The boys of the better class of Romans were generally trained at home. This duty

was performed either by the mother or, as was usually the case, by a pedagogue

who was employed for that purpose. For this office a Greek was preferred. At any

rate, he must be able to teach Greek, as all youths of the upper class were

expected to learn that language, even in preference to their own. In the

____________________________________ 1 Byron's famous stanza on the Dying

Gladiator may be appropriately added: "I see before me the gladiator lie.

He leans upon his hand, his manly brow Consents to death, but conquers agony; And

his drooped head sinks gradually low- And through his side the last drops ebbing

slow,

From the red gash fall heavy, one by one, Like the first of a thunder shower; and

now The arena swims around him-he is gone, Ere ceased the inhuman shout which

hailed the wretch who won.

He heard it, but he heeded not-his eyes Were with his heart, and that was far

away; He recked not of the life he lost nor prize- But where his rude hut by the

Danube lay, There were his young barbarians all at play; There was their Dacian

mother-he their sire

Butchered to make a Roman holiday! All this rushed with his blood-shall he

expire, And unavenged? Arise, ye Goths, and glut your ire!"