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A Struggle for Rome   By: (1834-1912)

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Transcriber's Notes: 1. Page scan source: http://www.archive.org/details/astruggleforrom00dahngoog 2. The diphthong OE and oe are represented by [OE] and [oe].

A STRUGGLE FOR ROME.

BY FELIX DAHN.

T R A N S L A T E D F R O M T H E G E R M A N BY LILY WOLFFSOHN.

"If there be anything more powerful than Fate, It is the courage which bears it undismayed." GEIBEL.

IN THREE VOLUMES. VOL. I.

LONDON: RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON. 1878. [ All Rights Reserved. ]

PREFACE.

These pictures of the sixth century originated in my studies for the following works:

"The Kings of the Goths," vol. ii., iii., iv. Munich and Würzburg, 1862 66.

"Procopius of Cæsarea:" a contribution to the historiography of the migration of nations and the decay of the Roman Empire. Berlin, 1865.

By referring to these works, the reader may distinguish the details and changes which the romance has added to the reality.

In history the events here described filled a period of almost thirty years' duration. From reasons easily understood, it was necessary to shorten, or at least to disguise, this long interval.

The character of the Roman hero of the story, Cethegus Cæsarius, is a pure invention. That such a person existed is, however, known.

The work was begun at Munich in 1859, continued at Ravenna, Italy, and concluded at Königsberg in 1876.

FELIX DAHN.

Königsberg: January , 1876.

A STRUGGLE FOR ROME.

BOOK I. THEODORIC. "Dietericus de Berne, de quo cantant rustici usque hodie."

CHAPTER I.

It was a sultry summer night of the year five hundred and twenty six, A.D.

Thick clouds lay low over the dark surface of the Adrea, whose shores and waters were melted together in undistinguishable gloom; only now and then a flash of distant lightning lit up the silent city of Ravenna. At unequal intervals the wind swept through the ilexes and pines on the range of hills which rise at some distance to the west of the town, and which were once crowned by a temple of Neptune. At that time already half ruined, it has now almost completely disappeared, leaving only the most scanty traces.

It was quiet on the bosky heights; only sometimes a piece of rock, loosened by storms, clattered down the stony declivity, and at last splashed into the marshy waters of the canals and ditches which belted the entire circle of the sea fortress; or a weather beaten slab slipped from the tabled roof of the old temple and fell breaking on to the marble steps forebodings of the threatened fall of the whole building.

But these dismal sounds seemed to be unnoticed by a man who sat immovable on the second step of the flight which led into the temple, leaning his back against the topmost step and looking silently and fixedly across the declivity in the direction of the city below.

He sat thus motionless, but waiting eagerly, for a long time. He heeded not that the wind drove the heavy drops which began to fell into his face, and rudely worried the full long beard that flowed down to his iron belt, almost entirely covering his broad breast with shining white hair.

At last he rose and descended several of the marble steps: "They come," said he.

The light of a torch which rapidly advanced from the city towards the temple became visible; then quick and heavy footsteps were heard, and shortly after three men ascended the flight of steps... Continue reading book >>


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