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ROME-THE IMPERIAL REPUBLIC.

conquests made by the generals and armies of the Republic was to fill Rome

and all Italy with multitudes of slaves. The policy of selling into

servitude not only the soldier population, but all the inhabitants of

conquered countries was universally adopted. The slave sale was looked for

as a matter of course after every victory won by the Roman arms. Among the

upper classes of society free labor was almost unknown. The vast landed

estates of the nobles were cultivated by a servile race, driven mercilessly

to their tasks, punished, whipped, starved, killed, with impunity. Nor was

there any badge of nationality, color, or natural inferiority to

distinguish the slaves from the other classes of population. They were not

by any means the refuse people of other states, but were a heterogeneous

aggregation of human beings swept together by the surging tides of war from

all quarters of the world, and embracing every grade and rank and tribe

from the blackest son of the Libyan desert to the most refined philosopher

of Athens. In intelligence and the possession of those arts and refinements

which tend to humanize mankind, the slaves were frequently the superiors of

the coarse and brutal masters into whose power they had been flung by the

vicissitudes of war. It was in the nature of things to be expected that

this immense throng of creatures, made wretched by exile and callous by the

miseries of servitude, would in some moment of passion, aroused perhaps by

unusual barbarity and injustice, make a clutch at their masters throats and

repay in an hour of fury the wrongs of a generation.

The first revolt of the slaves occurred in Sicily. A certain serf, named

Ennus, became the leader of the insurrection. The circumstances of the

revolt were illustrative of the condition of society and the spirit of the

times. Ennus was a prophet. He claimed to be in possession of the lore of

Syria. He predicted events, which, as fortune would have it, chanced to

come true. Among other things he foretold his own royalty that was to be.

Great was the reputation which this servile seer acquired, especially among

the desperate class to which he belonged. He had communion with the gods.

and could blow flames of fire out of his mouth. To him the slaves of the

island began to look as a divinely appointed leader. Presently the serfs on

the estate of a cruel tyrant, named Damophilus, driven to desperation by

abuse, rose against their master, murdering him and his whole household,

except a daughter who had previously treated them with kindness.

The outbreak was the spark in a magazine. The insurrection spread like a

flame, and in a short time Ennus found himself at the head of a host of two

hundred thousand slaves. For the time Sicily was at their mercy. Four

consular armies were sent against them, and were as many times defeated.

The town of Enna was captured and plundered. The years B. C. 134-132 were

consumed by the Romans in futile efforts to suppress the insurrection. The

rebels gained possession of the town of Tauromenium, and made it their

stronghold. Against this place in B. C. 132 was sent the consul Publius

Rupilius with a fifth army. The town was besieged and finally taken, as was

also the fortress of Enna, but not until the desperate wretches within the

works were reduced to the extremity of eating the bodies of their comrades

in order to preserve life. Those who survived were seized by Rupilius and

hurled down a precipice. Ennus, the king of the slaves, made his escape and

took refuge in a cavern, where he was presently caught and destroyed.

Rupilius, acting as proconsul, and assisted by ten commissioners sent out

from Rome, then proceeded to restore order in the island; but the

repressive measures which were adopted by him and his colleagues were so

atrocious and cruel as to be a disgrace alike to the home government and

the officers who devised them.

It will be of interest in this connection to note some of the features of

the government established by Rome in her principal provinces. When a new

country was conquered and organized, it was assigned to a praetor, who,

acting as proconsul or governor, assumed the management of the province. He

conducted the affairs of his district as he would. He received no salary

for his services, but was permitted to enrich himself by wringing from the

provincials the very blood and marrow of their