Lucius Cornelius Sulla: Wikis


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Lucius Cornelius Sulla

Bust of Sulla in the Munich Glyptothek.

In office
82 or 81 BC – 81 BC
Preceded by Gaius Servilius Geminus in 202 BC
Succeeded by Gaius Julius Caesar in 49 BC

In office
88 BC – 88 BC
Preceded by Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo and Lucius Porcius Cato
Succeeded by Lucius Cornelius Cinna and Gnaeus Octavius

In office
80 BC – 80 BC
Preceded by Gnaeus Cornelius Dolabella and Marcus Tullius Decula
Succeeded by Appius Claudius Pulcher and Publius Servilius Vatia

Born ca. 138 BC
Rome, Roman Republic
Died 78 BC (aged ca. 60)
Puteoli, Roman Republic

Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (Latin: L•CORNELIVS•L•F•P•N•SVLLA•FELIX)[1] (c. 138 BC – 78 BC), known simply as Sulla, was a Roman general and politician, having the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice as well as the dictatorship. He was one of the canonical great men of Roman history; included in the biographical collections of leading generals and politicians, originating in the biographical compendium of famous Romans, published by Marcus Terentius Varro. In Plutarch's Sulla, in the famous series - Parallel Lives, Sulla is paired with the Spartan general and strategist Lysander.

Sulla's dictatorship came during a high point in the struggle between optimates and populares, the former seeking to maintain the power of the oligarchy in the form of the Senate while the latter resorted in many cases to naked populism, culminating in Caesar's dictatorship. Sulla was a highly original, gifted and skillful general, never losing a battle; he remains the only man in history to have attacked and occupied both Athens and Rome. His rival, Gnaeus Papirius Carbo, described Sulla as having the cunning of a fox and the courage of a lion - but that it was the former attribute that was by far the most dangerous. This mixture was later referred to by Machiavelli in his description of the ideal characteristics of a ruler.[2]

Sulla used his armies to march on Rome twice, and after the second he revived the office of dictator, which had not been used since the Second Punic War over a century before. He used his powers to enact a series of reforms to the Roman constitution, meant to restore the balance of power between the Senate and the Tribunes; he then stunned the Roman World (and posterity) by resigning the dictatorship, restoring normal constitutional government, and after his second Consulship, retiring to private life.


Early years

Sulla was born into a branch of the patrician gens Cornelia, but his family had fallen to an impoverished condition at the time of his birth. Lacking ready money, Sulla spent his youth amongst Rome’s comics, actors, lute-players, and dancers. Sulla retained an attachment to the debauched nature of his youth until the end of his life, Plutarch mentions that during his last marriage – to Valeria – he still kept company with "actresses, musicians, and dancers, drinking with them on couches night and day".[3]

It seems certain that Sulla received a good education. Sallust declares him well-read and intelligent, and he was fluent in Greek, which was a sign of education in Rome. The means by which Sulla attained the fortune which later would enable him to ascend the ladder of Roman politics, the Cursus honorum, are not clear, although Plutarch refers to two inheritances; one from his stepmother and the other from a low-born, but rich, unmarried lady.[4]

In older sources, his name may be found as Sylla. This is a Hellenism, like sylva for classical Latin silva, reinforced by the fact that our two major sources, Plutarch and Appian, wrote in Greek, and call him Σύλλα.[5]

Capture of Jugurtha

In 107 BC, Sulla was nominated quaestor to Gaius Marius, who had been elected consul for that year. Marius was taking control of the Roman army in the war against King Jugurtha of Numidia in northern Africa.

The Jugurthine War had started in 112 BC, but Roman legions under Quintus Caecilius Metellus had been unsuccessful. Gaius Marius, a lieutenant of Metellus, saw an opportunity to usurp his commander and fed rumors of incompetence and delay to the publicani (tax gatherers) in the region. These machinations caused calls for Metellus's removal; despite delaying tactics by Metellus, Marius returned to Rome to stand for the consulship and took over the campaign.

Sulla Capturing Jugurtha

Under Marius, the Roman forces followed a very similar plan as under Metellus and ultimately defeated the Numidians in 106 BC, thanks in large part to Sulla's initiative in capturing the Numidian king. He had persuaded King Bocchus of Mauretania, a nearby kingdom, to betray Jugurtha, who had fled to Mauretania for refuge. It was a dangerous operation from the first, with King Bocchus weighing up the advantages of handing Jugurtha over to Sulla or Sulla over to Jugurtha.[6] The publicity attracted by this feat boosted Sulla's political career. Much to the annoyance of Marius, a gilded equestrian statue of Sulla donated by King Bocchus was erected in the Forum to commemorate his accomplishment.

Cimbri and the Teutones

The migrations of Cimbri and Teutones.
Battle icon gladii red.svg Cimbri and Teutons defeats.
Battle icon gladii green.svg Cimbri and Teutons victories.

In 104 BC the migrating Germanic-Celtic alliance headed by the Cimbri and the Teutones seemed headed for Italy. As Marius was the best general Rome had, the Senate allowed him to mount a campaign against them. Sulla served on Marius' staff as tribunus militum during the first half of this campaign. Finally, with those of his colleague, proconsul Quintus Lutatius Catulus, Marius' forces faced the enemy tribes at the Battle of Vercellae in 101 BC. Sulla had by this time transferred to the army of Catulus to serve as his legatus, and is credited as being the prime mover in the defeat of the tribes (Catulus being a hopeless general and quite incapable of cooperating with Marius). Victorious at Vercellae, Marius and Catulus were both granted triumphs as the co-commanding generals.

Cilician governorship

Returning to Rome, Sulla was Praetor urbanus for 97 BC.[7] The next year he was appointed pro consule to the province of Cilicia (in Anatolia). While in the East, Sulla was the first Roman magistrate to meet a Parthian ambassador, Orobazus, and by taking the seat between the Parthian ambassador and the ambassador from Pontus (the center seat being the place of honour), he sealed, perhaps unintentionally, the Parthian ambassador's fate. Orobazus was executed upon his return to Parthia for allowing Sulla to outmanoeuver him. It was at this meeting he was told by a Chaldean seer that he would die at the height of his fame and fortune. This prophecy was to have a powerful hold on Sulla throughout his lifetime. In 96 BC Sulla repulsed Tigranes the Great of Armenia from Cappadocia. Later in 96 BC Sulla left the East and returned to Rome, where he aligned himself with the Optimates in opposition to Gaius Marius.

Social War

The Social War (91–88 BC) resulted from Rome's intransigence regarding the civil liberties of the Socii, Rome's Italian allies. However it must be noted that the Socii are a separate entity to the 'Latins' who all remained loyal to Rome except for Venusia. The Socii were old enemies of Rome that submitted, (such as the Samnites) whereas the Latins were confederates of longer standing with Rome; therefore the Latins were treated with more respect and received better treatment.[8] Subjects of the Roman Republic, these Italian provincials might be called to arms in its defence or might be subjected to extraordinary taxes, but they had no say in the expenditure of these taxes or in the uses of the armies that might be raised in their territories. The Social War was, in part, caused by the continued rebuttal of those that sought to extend Roman citizenship to the Socii and to address various injustices inherent in the Roman system. The Gracchi, Tiberius and Gaius, were successively killed by Optimate reactionaries who sought to maintain the status quo. Finally the assassination of Marcus Livius Drusus the Younger was the last straw. His reforms were intended to grant Roman Citizenship to their allies, which would have given these "provincials" (a provincial Roman) a say in the external and internal policies of the Roman Republic. When Drusus was assassinated, most of his reforms addressing these grievances were declared invalid. This greatly angered the Roman provincials, and in consequence, most allied against Rome.

At the beginning of the Social War, the Roman aristocracy and Senate were beginning to fear Gaius Marius's ambition, which had already given him 5 consulships in a row, from 104 BC to 100 BC. They were determined that he should not have overall command of the war in Italy. In this last rebellion of the Italian allies, Sulla served with brilliance as a general. He outshone both Marius and the consul Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo (the father of Pompey Magnus). In 89 BC Sulla captured Aeclanum, the chief town of Hirpini, by setting the wooden breastwork on fire. As a result of his success in bringing the Social War to a successful conclusion, he was elected consul for the first time in 88 BC, with Quintus Pompeius Rufus (soon his daughter's father-in-law) as his colleague.

Sulla served not only with brilliance as a general during the Social War, but also with immense personal bravery. At Nola he was awarded a Corona Obsidionalis (Obsidional or Blockade Crown), also known as a Corona Gaminea (Grass Crown), the highest Roman military honor, awarded for personal bravery to a commanding general who saves a Roman legion or army in the field. Unlike all other Roman military honors, it was awarded by acclamation of the soldiers of the rescued army, and consequently very few were ever awarded. The crown, by tradition, was woven from grasses and other plants taken from the actual battlefield.[9]

First march on Rome

As consul, Sulla prepared to depart once more for the East, to fight the first Mithridatic War, by the appointment of the Senate. But he would leave trouble behind him. Marius was now an old man, but he still had the ambition to lead the Roman armies against King Mithridates VI of Pontus. Before leaving for the East however he and his colleague Pompeius Rufus blocked legislation of the tribune Publius Sulpicius Rufus to ensure the rapid organisation of inclusion of the Italian Allies within the Roman citizenship. Supicius found an ally in Marius who would support the bill, he had his supporters riot. Sulla returned to Rome from the siege at Nola to meet with Pompeius Rufus, however Sulpicius' followers attacked the meeting, forcing Sulla to take refuge in Marius' house, then forced him to support Sulpicius' pro-Italian legislation. Sulla's own son-in-law was killed in those riots. After Sulla left Rome again for Nola, Sulpicius (after receiving a promise from Marius to wipe out his enormous debts) called a assembly to revert the Senate's decision on Sulla's command, transferring it to Marius. Sulpicius also used the assemblies to eject Senators from the Roman Senate until there were not enough senators to form a quorum. Violence in the Forum ensued, and the efforts of the nobles to effect a public lynching similar to that which had happened to the brothers Gracchi and Saturninus were smashed by the gladitatorial bodyguard of Sulpicius.

Sulla received news of this at the camp of his victorious Social War veterans, waiting to cross to Greece from the south of Italy. He announced the measures that had been taken against him, and his soldiers stoned the envoys of the assemblies who came to announce that the command of the Mithridatic War had been transferred to Marius. Sulla then took six of his most loyal legions and marched on Rome. This was an unprecedented event. No general before him had ever crossed the city limits, the pomoerium, with his army. It was so unethical that most of his commanders (with the exception of his kinsman through marriage - Lucullus) refused to accompany him. Sulla justified his actions on the grounds that the Senate had been neutered and the mos maiorum ("the way of the elders"/"the traditional way", which amounted to a Roman constitution though none of it was codified as such) had been offended by the Senate's negation of the rights of the year's consuls to fight the year's wars. Armed gladiators were unable to resist organized Roman soldiers; and although Marius offered freedom to any slave that would fight with him against Sulla (an offer which Plutarch says only three slaves accepted)[10] he and his followers were forced to flee the city.

Sulla consolidated his position, declared Marius and his allies hostes (enemies of the state), and addressed the Senate in harsh tones, portraying himself as a victim, presumably to justify his violent entrance into the city. After restructuring the city's politics and strengthening the Senate's power, Sulla returned to his camp and proceeded with the original plan of fighting Mithridates in Pontus.

Sulpicius was betrayed and killed by one of his slaves, whom Sulla subsequently freed and then executed. Marius, however, fled to safety in Africa. With Sulla out of Rome, Marius plotted his return. During his period of exile Marius became determined that he would hold a seventh consulship, as foretold by the Sibyl decades earlier. By the end of 87 BC Marius returned to Rome with the support of Lucius Cornelius Cinna and, in Sulla's absence, took control of the city. Marius declared Sulla's reforms and laws invalid and officially exiled Sulla. Marius and Cinna were elected consuls for the year 86 BC. Marius died a fortnight after, and Cinna was left in sole control of Rome.

First Mithridatic War

Asia Minor just before the First Mithridatic War

In the spring of 87 BC Sulla landed at Dyrrachium, Greece. Asia was occupied by the forces of Mithridates under the command of Archelaus. Sulla’s first target was Athens, ruled by a Mithridatic puppet; the tyrant Aristion. Sulla moved southeast, picking up supplies and reinforcements as he went. Sulla’s chief of staff was Lucullus, who went ahead of him to scout the way and negotiate with Bruttius Sura, the existing Roman commander in Greece. After speaking with Lucullus, Sura handed over the command of his troops to Sulla. At Chaeronea, ambassadors from all the major cities of Greece (except Athens) met with Sulla, who impressed on them Rome's determination to drive Mithridates from Greece and Asia Province. Sulla then advanced on Athens.


Siege of Athens

On arrival, Sulla threw up a siege encompassing not only Athens but also the port of Piraeus. At the time Archelaus had command of the sea, so Sulla sent Lucullus to raise a fleet from the remaining Roman allies in the eastern Mediterranean. His first objective was Piraeus, as without it Athens could not be re-supplied. Huge earthworks were raised, isolating Athens and its port from the land side. Sulla needed wood, so he cut down everything, including the sacred groves of Greece, up to 100 miles from Athens. When more money was needed he “borrowed” from temples and Sibyls alike. The currency minted from this treasure was to remain in circulation for centuries and prized for its quality.

Despite the complete encirclement of Athens and its port, and several attempts by Archelaus to raise the siege, a stalemate seemed to have developed. Sulla, however, patiently bided his time. Soon Sulla's camp was to fill with refugees from Rome, fleeing the massacres of Marius and Cinna. These also included his wife and children, as well as those of the Optimate party who had not been killed.

Athens by now was starving, and grain was at famine levels in price. Inside the city, the population was reduced to eating shoe leather and grass. A delegation from Athens was sent to treat with Sulla, but instead of serious negotiations they expounded on the glory of their city. Sulla sent them away saying: “I was sent to Athens, not to take lessons, but to reduce rebels to obedience.”

His spies then informed him that Aristion was neglecting the Heptachalcum (part of the city wall). Sulla immediately sent sappers to undermine the wall. Nine hundred feet of wall was brought down between the Sacred and Piraeic gates on the southwest side of the city. A midnight sack of Athens began, and after the taunts of Aristion, Sulla was not in a mood to be magnanimous. Blood literally flowed in the streets, it was only after the entreaties of a couple of his Greek friends (Midias and Calliphon) and the pleas of the Roman Senators in his camp that Sulla decided enough was enough. He then concentrated his forces on the Port of Pireaus and Archelaus, seeing his hopeless situation, withdrew to the citadel and then abandoned the port to join up with his forces under the command of Taxiles. Sulla, as yet not having a fleet, was powerless to prevent Archelaus’ escape. Before leaving Athens, he burnt the port to the ground. Sulla then advanced into Boeotia to take on Archelaus's armies and remove them from Greece.

Battle of Chaeronea

Sulla lost no time in intercepting the Pontic army, occupying a hill called Philoboetus that branched off Mount Parnassus, overlooked the Elatean plain, and had plentiful supplies of wood and water. The army of Archelaus, presently commanded by Taxiles, had to approach from the north and proceed along the valley towards Chaeronea. Over 120,000 strong, it outnumbered Sulla's forces by at least 3 to 1. Archelaus was in favor of a policy of attrition with the Roman forces, but Taxiles had orders from Mithridates to attack at once. Sulla got his men digging, and occupied the ruined city of Parapotamii, which was impregnable and commanded the fords on the road to Chaeronea. He then made a move that looked to Archelaus like a retreat. He abandoned the fords and moved in behind an entrenched palisade. Behind the palisade were the field artillery from the siege of Athens.

Archelaus advanced across the fords and tried to outflank Sulla’s men, only to have his right wing hurled back, causing even more confusion. Archelaus’s chariots then charged the Roman center, only to be destroyed on the palisades. Next came the phalanxes: they too found the palisades impassable, and received withering fire from the Roman field artillery. Then Archelaus flung his right wing at the Roman left; Sulla, seeing the danger of this maneuver, raced over from the Roman right wing to help. Sulla stabilized the situation, at which point Archelaus flung in more troops from his right flank. This destabilized the Pontic army, slewing it towards its right flank. Sulla dashed back to his own right wing and ordered the general advance. The legions, supported by cavalry, dashed forward and Archelaus’ army folded in on itself, like closing a pack of cards. The slaughter was terrible, and some reports estimate that only 10,000 men of Mithridates' original army survived. Sulla had defeated a vastly superior force in terms of numbers; it was also the first recorded time that battlefield entrenchments were used.

Battle of Orchomenus

The government of Rome (i.e., Cinna) then sent out Lucius Valerius Flaccus with an army to relieve Sulla of command in the east. Flaccus' second in command was Gaius Flavius Fimbria, who had few virtues. (He was to eventually agitate against his commanding officer and incite the troops to murder Flaccus). The two Roman armies camped next to each other; and Sulla, not for the first time, encouraged his soldiers to spread dissension among Flaccus’ army. Many deserted to Sulla before Flaccus packed up and moved on north to threaten Mithridates’ northern dominions. In the meantime, Sulla moved to intercept the new Pontic army.

He chose the site of the battle to come — Orchomenus, a town in Boeotia that allowed a smaller army to meet a much larger one, due to its natural defences, and was ideal terrain for Sulla's innovative use of entrenchment. This time the Pontic army was in excess of 150,000, and it encamped itself in front of the busy Roman army, next to a large lake. It soon dawned on Archelaus what Sulla was up to. Sulla had not only been digging trenches but also dykes, and before long he had the Pontic army in deep trouble. Desperate sallies by the Pontic forces were repulsed by the Romans and the dykes moved onward.

On the second day, Archelaus made a determined effort to escape Sulla’s web of dykes—the entire Pontic army was hurled at the Romans—but the Roman legionaries were pressed together so tightly that their short swords were like an impenetrable barrier, through which the enemy could not escape. The battle turned into a rout, with slaughter an immense scale. Plutarch notes that two hundred years later, armor and weapons from the battle were still being found. The battle of Orchomenus was another of the world's decisive battles. It determined that the fate of Asia Minor lay with Rome and her successors for the next millennium.

Sulla's Victory and settlement

In 86 BC, after Sulla's victory in Orchomenos, he initially spent some time re-establishing Roman authority. His legate soon arrived with the fleet he was sent to gather, and Sulla was ready to recapture lost Greek islands before crossing into Asia Minor. The second Roman army under the command of Flaccus meanwhile moved through Macedonia and into Asia Minor. After the capture of Philippi, remaining Mithridatic forces crossed the Hellspont away from the Romans. The Romans, under Flaccus' subordinate C. Flavius Fimbria, were encouraged to loot and create general havoc as it went, creating problems between Flaccus and Fimbria. Flaccus was a fairly strict disciplinarian and the behavior of his lieutenant led to discord between the two.

At some point as this army crossed the Hellespont while giving chase to Mithridates' forces, Fimbria seems to have started a rebellion against Flaccus. While seemingly minor enough to not cause immediate repercussions in the field, Fimbria was relieved of his duty and ordered back to Rome. The return trip included a stop at the port city of Byzantium, however, and here Fimbria took command of the garrison, rather than continue home. Flaccus, hearing of this, marched his army to Byzantium to put a stop to the rebellion, but walked right into his own undoing. The army preferred Fimbria (not surprising considering his leniency in regard to plunder) and a general revolt ensued. Flaccus attempted to flee, but was captured shortly after and the rightful Consular commander was executed. With Flaccus out of the way, Fimbria took complete command.

The following year (85 BC) Fimbria took the fight to Mithridates while Sulla continued to operate on the Greek Islands of the Aegaeum. Fimbria quickly won a decisive victory over remaining Mithridatic forces and moved on the capital of Pergamum. With all vestige of hope crumbling for Mithridates, he fled Pergamum to the coastal city of Pitane. Fimbria was in hot pursuit, laying siege to the town, but knowing he couldn't prevent Mithridates' escape by sea. Fimbria called upon Sulla's legate, Lucullus to bring his fleet around to block Mithridates in, but it seems that Sulla had other plans.

Sulla apparently had been in private negotiation with Mithridates to end the war. He wanted to develop easy terms and get the ordeal over as quickly as possible. The quicker it was dealt with, the faster he would be able to settle political matters in Rome. With this in mind, Lucullus and his navy refused to help Fimbria, and Mithridates 'escaped' to Lesbos. Later at Dardanus, Sulla and Mithridates met personally to negotiate terms. With Fimbria re-establishing Roman hegemony over the cities of Asia Minor, Mithridates position was completely untenable. Yet Sulla, with his eyes on Rome, offered uncharacteristically mild terms. Mithridates was forced to give up all his conquests (which Sulla and Fimbria had already managed to take back by force), surrender any Roman prisoners, provide a 70 ship fleet to Sulla along with supplies, and pay a tribute of 2,000 to 3,000 gold talents. In exchange, Mithridates was able to keep his original kingdom and territory and regain his title of "friend of the Roman people."

But things in the east weren't yet settled. Fimbria was enjoying free rein in the province of Asia and led a cruel oppression of both those who were involved against Romans, and those who were now in support of Sulla. Unable to leave a potentially dangerous army in his rear, Sulla crossed into Asia. He pursued Fimbria to his camp at Thyatira where Fimbria was confident in his ability to repulse an attack. Fimbria, however, soon found that his men wanted nothing to do with opposing Sulla and many deserted or refused to fight in the coming battle. Sensing all was lost, Fimbria surrendered by taking his own life, while his army went over to Sulla.

To ensure the loyalty of both Fimbria's troops and his own veterans, who weren't happy about the easy treatment of their enemy, Mithridates, Sulla now started to penalize the province of Asia. His veterans were scattered throughout the province and allowed to extort the wealth of local communities. Large fines were placed on the province for lost taxes during their rebellion and the cost of the war. With his army gaining their unorthodox method of 'plunder', it wouldn't be long before Sulla would make his next move.

As the year 84 BC rolled in, Cinna, still Consul in Rome, was faced with minor disturbances among Illyrian tribes. Perhaps in an attempt to gain experience for an army to act as a counter to Sulla's forces, or to show Sulla that the Senate also had some strength of its own, Cinna raised an army to deal with this Illyrian problem. Conveniently the source of the disturbance was located directly between Sulla and another march on Rome. Cinna pushed his men hard to move to position in Illyria and forced marches through snow covered mountains did little to endear Cinna to his army. A short time after departing Rome, Cinna was stoned to death by his own men and history was about to take another fateful step. Hearing of Cinna's death, and the ensuing power gap in Rome, Sulla gathered his forces and prepared for a second march on the capital.

Second March on Rome

In 83 BC Sulla prepared his 5 legions and left the 2 originally under Fimbria to maintain peace in Asia Minor. In the spring of that year, Sulla crossed the Adriatic with a large fleet from Patrae, near Corinth, to Brundisium and Tarentum in the heel of Italy. Landing uncontested, he was given ample opportunity to prepare for the coming war.

In Rome, the newly elected Consuls, L. Cornelius Scipio Asiagenus and C. Norbanus levied and prepared armies of their own to stop Sulla and protect the Republican government. Norbanus marched first with the intention of blocking a Sullan advance at Canusium. Seriously defeated Norbanus was forced to retreat to Capua where there was no respite. Sulla followed his defeated adversary and won another victory in a very short time. Meanwhile Asiagenus was also on the march south with an army of his own. Asiagenus or his army, however, seemed to have little motivation to fight. At the town of Teanum Sidicinum, Sulla and Asiagenus met face to face to negotiate and Asiagenus surrendered without a fight. The army sent to stop Sulla wavered in the face of battle against experienced veterans, and certainly along with the prodding of Sulla's operatives, gave up the cause, going over to Sulla's side as a result. Left without an army, Asiagenus had little choice but to cooperate and later writings of Cicero suggest that the two men actually discussed many matters regarding Roman government and the Constitution.

Sulla let Asiagenus leave the camp, firmly believing him to be a supporter. He was possibly expected to deliver terms to the Senate but immediately rescinded any thought of supporting Sulla upon being set free. Sulla later made it publicly known that not only would Asiagenus suffer for opposing him, but that any man who continued to oppose him after this betrayal would suffer bitter consequences. With Sulla's three quick victories, though, the situation began to rapidly turn in his favor. Many of those in a position of power, who had not yet taken a clear side, now chose to support Sulla. The first of these was Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius who governed Africa. The old enemy of Marius, and assuredly of Cinna as well, led an open revolt against the Marian forces in Africa. Additional help came from Picenum and Spain. Two of the three future Triumvirs joined Sulla's cause in his bid to take control. Marcus Licinius Crassus marched with an army from Spain, and would later play a pivotal role at the Colline Gates. The young son of Pompeius Strabo (the butcher of Asculum during the Social War), raised an army of his own from among his father's veterans and threw his lot in with Sulla. At the tender age of 23, and never having held a Senatorial office, Pompey forced himself into the political scene with an army at his back.

Regardless, the war would continue on with Asiagenus raising another army in defense. This time he moved after Pompey, but once again, his army abandoned him and went over to the enemy. As a result, desperation followed in Rome as the year 83 came to a close. The Senate re-elected Cinna's old co-Consul, Papirius Carbo, to his third term, and Gaius Marius the Younger, the 26 year old son of the great general, to his first. Hoping to inspire Marian supporters throughout the Roman world, recruiting began in earnest among the Italian tribes who had always been loyal to Marius. In additional counter measures from an intimidation perspective more blood shed against possible Sullan supporters took place. The urban praetor L. Junius Brutus Damasippus led a slaughter of those Senators who seemed to lean towards the invading forces, yet one more incident of murder in a growing spiral of violence as a political tool in the late Republic.

As the campaign year of 82 BC opened, Carbo took his forces to the north to oppose Pompey while Marius moved against Sulla in the south. Attempts to defeat Pompey failed and Metellus with his African forces along with Pompey secured northern Italy for Sulla. In the South, Marius gathered a large host of Samnites who assuredly would lose influence with the anti-popular Sulla in charge of Rome. Marius met Sulla at Sacriportus and the two forces engaged in a long and desperate battle. In the end, many of Marius' men switched sides over to Sulla and he had no choice but to retreat to Praeneste. Sulla followed the son of his arch-rival and laid siege to the town, leaving a subordinate in command. Sulla himself moved north to push Carbo, who had withdrawn to Etruria to stand between Rome and the forces of Pompey and Metellus.

Indecisive battles were fought between Carbo and Sulla's forces but Carbo knew that his cause was lost. News arrived of a defeat by Norbanus in Gaul, and that he also switched sides to Sulla. Carbo, caught between three enemy armies and with no hope of relief, fled to Africa. It was not yet the end of the resistance however, those remaining Marian forces gathered together and attempted several times to relieve Marius at Praeneste. A Samnite force under Pontius Telesinus joined in the relief effort but the combined armies were still unable to break Sulla. Rather than continue trying to rescue Marius, Telesinus moved north towards Rome. Sulla raced after, not wanting to give up an opportunity to win the war and claim the ultimate prize right outside the gates.

On November 1 of 82 BC, the two forces met at the battle of the Colline Gate, just outside of Rome. The battle was a huge and desperate final struggle with both sides certainly believing their own victory would save Rome. Sulla was pushed hard on his left flank with the situation so dangerous that he and his men were pushed right up against the city walls. Crassus' forces, fighting on Sulla's right however, managed to turn the opposition's flank and drive them back. The Samnites and the Marian forces were folded up and broke. In the end, over 50,000 combatants lost their lives and Sulla stood alone as the master of Rome.

Dictatorship and Constitutional Reforms

Lucius Cornelius Sulla - a denarius portrait issued by his grandson.

At the end of 82 BC or the beginning of 81 BC, the Senate appointed Sulla dictator legibus faciendis et reipublicae constituendae causa ("dictator for the making of laws and for the settling of the constitution"). The decision was subsequently ratified by the "Assembly of the People", with no limit set on his time in office. Sulla had total control of the city and republic of Rome, except for Hispania (which Marius's general Quintus Sertorius had established as an independent state). This unusual appointment (used hitherto only in times of extreme danger to the city, such as the Second Punic War, and then only for 6-month periods) represented an exception to Rome's policy of not giving total power to a single individual. Sulla can be seen as setting the precedent for Julius Caesar's dictatorship, and the eventual end of the Republic under Augustus.

In total control of the city and its affairs, Sulla instituted a programme of executing those whom he perceived to be enemies of the state. This was akin to (and in response to) those killings which Marius and Cinna had implemented while they were in control of the Republic during Sulla's absence. Proscribing or outlawing every one of those whom he perceived to have acted against the best interests of the Republic while he was in the east, Sulla ordered some 1,500 nobles (i.e., senators and equites) executed, although it is estimated that as many as 9,000 people were killed[11]. The purge went on for several months. Helping or sheltering a person who was proscribed was also punishable by death. The State confiscated the wealth of the outlawed and then auctioned it off, making Sulla and his supporters vastly rich. The sons and grandsons of the proscribed were banned from future political office, a restriction not removed for over 30 years.

The young Caesar, as Cinna's son-in-law, was one of Sulla's targets and fled the city. He was saved through the efforts of his relatives, many of whom were Sulla's supporters, but Sulla noted in his memoirs that he regretted sparing Caesar's life, because of the young man's notorious ambition. The historian Suetonius records that when agreeing to spare Caesar, Sulla warned those who were pleading his case that he would become a danger to them in the future, saying "In this Caesar there are many a Marius."

Sulla, who had observed the violent results of radical populare reforms (in particular those under Marius and Cinna), was naturally conservative, and so his conservatism was more reactionary than it was visionary.[12] As such, he sought to strengthen the aristocracy, and thus the senate.[12] Sulla retained his earlier reforms, which required senate approval before any bill could be submitted to the Plebeian Council (the principal popular assembly), and which had also restored the older, more aristocratic ("Servian") organization to the Century Assembly (assembly of soldiers).[13] Sulla, himself a Patrician and thus ineligible for election to the office of Plebeian Tribune, thoroughly disliked the office. As Sulla viewed the office, the Tribunate was especially dangerous, which was in part due to its radical past, and so his intention was to not only deprive the Tribunate of power, but also of prestige. The reforms of the Gracchi Tribunes were one such example of its radical past, but by no means were they the only such examples. Over the previous three hundred years, the Tribunes had been the officers most responsible for the loss of power by the aristocracy. Since the Tribunate was the principal means through which the democracy of Rome had always asserted itself against the aristocracy, it was of paramount importance to Sulla that he cripple the office. Through his reforms to the Plebeian Council, Tribunes lost the power to initiate legislation. Sulla then prohibited ex-Tribunes from ever holding any other office, so ambitious individuals would no longer seek election to the Tribunate, since such an election would end their political career.[14] Finally, Sulla revoked the power of the Tribunes to veto acts of the senate.

Sulla then increased the number of magistrates who were elected in any given year,[12] and required that all newly-elected Quaestors be given automatic membership in the senate. These two reforms were enacted primarily so as to allow Sulla to increase the size of the senate from 300 to 600 senators. This removed the need for the Censor to draw up a list of senators, since there were always more than enough former magistrates to fill the senate.[12] To further solidify the prestige and authority of the senate, Sulla transferred the control of the courts from the knights, who had held control since the Gracchi reforms, to the senators. This, along with the increase in the number of courts, further added to the power that was already held by the senators.[14] He also codified, and thus established definitively, the cursus honorum,[14] which required an individual to reach a certain age and level of experience before running for any particular office. Sulla also wanted to reduce the risk that a future general might attempt to seize power, as he himself had done. To reduce this risk, he reaffirmed the requirement that any individual wait for ten years before being reelected to any office. Sulla then established a system where all Consuls and Praetors served in Rome during their year in office, and then commanded a provincial army as a governor for the year after they left office.[14]

Finally, in a demonstration of his absolute power, he expanded the "Pomerium", the sacred boundary of Rome, untouched since the time of the kings. Many of Sulla's reforms looked to the past (often re-passing former laws), but he also regulated for the future, particularly in his redefinition of maiestas (treason) laws.

Near the end of 81 BC, Sulla, true to his traditionalist sentiments, resigned his dictatorship, disbanded his legions and re-established normal consular government. He also stood for (with Metellus Pius) and was elected Consul for the following year, 80 BC. He dismissed his lictors and walked unguarded in the Forum, offering to give account of his actions to any citizen. In a manner that the historian Suetonius thought arrogant, Julius Caesar would later mock Sulla for resigning the Dictatorship.[15]

Retirement and death

After his second consulship, he withdrew to his country villa near Puteoli to be with family. From this distance, he remained out of the day-to-day political activities in Rome, intervening only a few times when his policies were involved (e.g., The Granius episode).

Sulla's goal now was to write his memoirs, which he finished in 78 BC, just before his death. Unfortunately it is now largely lost, although fragments from it exist as quotations in later writers. Ancient accounts of Sulla's death indicate that he died from liver failure or a ruptured gastric ulcer (symptomised by a sudden haemorrhage from his mouth followed by a fever from which he never recovered) caused by chronic alcohol abuse.[16] His funeral in Rome (at Roman Forum, in the presence of the whole city) was on a scale unmatched until that of Augustus in AD 14.[17]

Sulla's legacy

Even though Sulla's laws concerning qualification for admittance to the Senate, reform of the legal system and regulations of governorships, among others, remained on Rome's statutes long into the Principate, some of his legislation was repealed less than a decade after his death. The veto power of the tribunes and their legislating authority were soon reinstated, ironically during the consulships of Pompey and Crassus. However, Sulla failed to frame a settlement whereby the army (following the Marian reforms allowing non-landowning soldiery) remained loyal to the Senate rather than to generals such as himself. That he tried shows he was well aware of the danger. He did pass laws to limit the actions of generals in their provinces (laws that remained in effect well into the imperial period), however, they did not prevent determined generals such as Pompey and Julius Caesar from using their armies for personal ambition against the Senate. This highlighted the weakness of the Senate in the late republican period and its inability to control its most ambitious members.

Sulla is generally seen to have provided the example that led Caesar to cross the Rubicon, and also provided the inspiration for Caesar's eventual Dictatorship. Cicero comments that Pompey once said "If Sulla could, why can't I?". Sulla's example proved that it could be done, and therefore inspired others to attempt it; he has been seen as another step in the Republic's fall.

Sulla's descendants continued to be prominent in Roman politics into the imperial period. His son, Faustus Cornelius Sulla, issued denarii bearing the name of the dictator, as did a grandson, Quintus Pompeius Rufus. His descendants among the Cornelii Sullae would hold four consulships during the imperial period: Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 5 BC, Faustus Cornelius Sulla in AD 31, Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix in AD 33, and Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix (the son of the consul of 31) in AD 52. The latter was the husband of Claudia Antonia, daughter of the emperor Claudius. His execution in AD 62 on the orders of emperor Nero would make him the last of the Cornelii Sullae.

The dictator is the subject of two Italian operas, both of which take considerable liberties with history and change his name to "Lucio Silla": Lucio Silla by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the little-known Silla by Georg Friederich Handel. In each he is portrayed as a bloody, womanizing, ruthless tyrant who eventually repents his ways and steps down from the throne of Rome.

Marriages and children


  • c. 138 BC – Born in Rome
  • 107-05 BC – Quaestor and pro quaestore to Gaius Marius in the war with Jugurtha in Numidia
  • 106 BC – End of Jugurthine War
  • 104 BC – legatus to Marius cos.II in Gallia Transalpina
  • 103 BC – tribunus militum in army of Marius cos.III in Gallia Transalpina
  • 102-01 BC – legatus to Quintus Lutatius Catulus consul and pro consule in Gallia Cisalpina
  • 101 BC – took part in the defeat of the Cimbri at the battle of Vercellae
  • 97 BC – Praetor urbanus
  • 96 BC – Commander of Cilicia province pro consule
  • 90-89 BC – senior officer in the Social War as legatus pro praetore
  • 88 BC –
    • Holds the consulship (for the first time) with Quintus Pompeius Rufus as colleague
    • Invades Rome and outlaws Caius Marius the elder
  • 87 BC – Command of Roman armies to fight King Mithridates of Pontus
  • 86 BC – Sack of Athens, Battle of Chaeronea, Battle of Orchomenus
  • 85 BC – Liberation of Macedonia, Asia and Cilicia provinces from Pontic occupation
  • 84 BC – Reorganization of Asia province
  • 83 BC – Returns to Italy and undertakes civil war against the factional Marian government
  • 83-82 BC – War with the followers of Caius Marius the younger and Cinna
  • 82 BC – Victory at the Battle of the Colline Gate
  • 82/1 BC – Appointed "dictator legibus faciendis et rei publicae constituendae causa"
  • 81 BC – Resigns the dictatorship before the end of the year
  • 80 BC – Holds the consulship (for the second time) with Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius as colleague
  • 79 BC – Retires from political life, refusing the post consulatum provincial command of Gallia Cisalpina he was allotted as consul, but retaining the curatio for the reconstruction of the temples on the Capitoline Hill
  • 78 BC – Dies of an intestinal ulcer. Funeral held in Rome


  1. ^ The meaning in English is "Lucius Cornelius Sulla, son of Lucius, grandson of Publius, the lucky." His agnomen Felix — the fortunate — was attained later in life, as the Latin equivalent of the Greek nickname he had acquired during his campaigns - επαφροδιτος , epaphroditus, beloved-of-Aphrodite or (to Romans who read Sulla's Greek title) Venus, due to his skill and luck as a general.
  2. ^ cf. The Prince, chapter XVIII
  3. ^ Plutarch: Sulla.
  4. ^ Plutarch: Sulla, Sect 2.
  5. ^ Buck, Comparative grammar of Greek and Latin; Latin spelling in the late Republic is variable. He is generally known as Silla in Italian.
  6. ^ Plutarch: Sulla, Sect 3
  7. ^ Keaveney, p. 30.
  8. ^ Plutarch: "Sulla"
  9. ^ [1].
  10. ^ Plutarch,[Life of] Sulla, c.35
  11. ^ Cicero, Anthony Everitt, p.41
  12. ^ a b c d Abbott, 104
  13. ^ Abbott, 103
  14. ^ a b c d Abbott, 105
  15. ^ Suetonius, Julius 77. "...No less arrogant were his public utterances, which Titus Ampius records: that the state was nothing, a mere name without body or form; that Sulla did not know his A. B. C. when he laid down his dictatorship; that men ought now to be more circumspect in addressing him, and to regard his word as law. So far did he go in his presumption, that when a soothsayer once reported direful inwards without a heart, he said: "They will be more favourable when I wish it; it should not be regarded as a portent, if a beast has no heart..."
  16. ^ Valerius Maximus, Memorable Deeds and Sayings IX.3.8; Plutarch, Sulla 36-37; Appian, Civil Wars I.12.105; A. Keaveney (2005) Sulla: the Last Republican (2nd edition) p.175.
  17. ^ His epitaph, written by Sulla himself, was popularized by Lieutenant General James Mattis as the motto of the 1st Marine Division of the United States Marine Corps: No greater friend, no worse enemy.
  18. ^ Keaveney, p. 8.


  • Keaveney, Arthur, Sulla: The Last Republican, Routledge; 2 edition (June 23, 2005). ISBN 978-0415336604.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo and Lucius Porcius Cato
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Quintus Pompeius Rufus
88 BC
Succeeded by
Lucius Cornelius Cinna and Gnaeus Octavius
Preceded by
Gnaeus Cornelius Dolabella and Marcus Tullius Decula
Consul of the Roman Republic
with Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius
80 BC
Succeeded by
Appius Claudius Pulcher and Publius Servilius Vatia
Preceded by
Publius Sulpicius Galba Maximus in 203 BC, then lapsed
Dictator of the Roman Republic
82 BC-80 BC
Succeeded by
Lapsed, next taken up Gaius Julius Caesar in 49 BC


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

No friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full.

Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (c. 138 BC - 78 BC) was a Roman General and Dictator


  • I forgive the many for the sake of the few, the living for the dead.
    • On calling an end to the sacking of Athens, after a plea on its behalf by two Athenians loyal to Rome, as quoted in The Story of Rome : From the Earliest Times to the Death of Augustus (1900) by Mary Macgregor; also said to be in a translation of Plutarch's works.
  • No friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full.
    • His self-made epitaph, as quoted in Heroes of History : A Brief History of Civilization from Ancient Times to the Dawn of the Modern Age (2001) by Will Durant; variant translation: "...nor enemy harmed me"


  • No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.
    • Motto of the 1st Marine Division of the United States Marine Corps used by General James Mattis in a message to the troops before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as quoted in War Stories: Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003) by Oliver North, p. 53; said to be derived from Sulla's famous self-made epitaph.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LUCIUS CORNELIUS SULLA (138-78 B.C.), surnamed Felix, Roman general, politician and dictator, belonged to a minor and impoverished branch of the famous patrician Cornelian gens. He received a careful education, and was a devoted student of literature and art. His political advancement was slow, and he did not obtain the quaestorship until 107, when he served in the Jugurthine war under Marius in Africa. In this he greatly distinguished himself, and claimed the credit of having terminated the war by capturing Jugurtha himself. In these African campaigns Sulla showed that he knew how to win the confidence of his soldiers, and throughout his career the secret of his success seems to have been the enthusiastic devotion of his troops, whom he continued to hold well in hand, while allowing them to indulge in plundering and all kinds of excess. From 104 to for he served again under Marius in the war with the Cimbri and Teutones and fought in the last great battle in the Raudian plains near Verona. It was at this time that Marius's jealousy of his legate laid the foundations of their future rivalry and mutual hatred. When the war was over, Sulla, on his return to Rome, lived quietly for some years and took no part in politics. In 93 he was elected praetor 'after a lavish squandering of money, and he delighted the populace with an exhibition of a hundred lions from Africa. Next year (92) he went as propraetor of Cilicia with special authority from the senate to make Mithradates VI. of Pontus restore Cappadocia to Ariobarzanes, one of Rome's dependants in Asia. Sulla with a small army soon won a victory over the general of Mithradates, and Rome's client-king was restored. An embassy from the Parthians now came to solicit alliance with Rome, and Sulla was the first Roman who held diplomatic intercourse with that remote people. In the year 91, which brought with it the imminent prospect of sweeping political change, with the enfranchisement of the Italian peoples, Sulla returned to Rome, and it was generally felt that he was the man to lead the conservative and aristocratic party.

Meanwhile Mithradates and the East were forgotten in the crisis of the Social or Italic War, which broke out in 91 and threatened Rome's very existence. The services of both Marius and Sulla were given; but Sulla was the more successful, or, at any rate, the more fortunate. Of the Italian peoples Rome's old foes the Samnites were the most formidable; these Sulla vanquished, and took their chief town, Bovianum. In recognition of this and other brilliant services, he was elected consul in 88, and brought the revolt to an end by the capture of Nola in Campania. The question of the command of the army against Mithradates again came to the front. The senate had already chosen Sulla; but the tribune Publius Sulpicius Rufus moved that Marius should have the command. Rioting took place at Rome at the prompting of the popular leaders, Sulla narrowly escaping to his legions in Campania, whence he marched on Rome, being the first Roman who entered the city at the head of a Roman army. Sulpicius was put to death, and Marius fled; and he and his party were crushed for the time.

Sulla, leaving things quiet at Rome, quitted Italy in 87, and for the next four years he was winning victory after victory against the armies of Mithradates and accumulating boundless plunder. Athens, the headquarters of the Mithradatic cause, was taken and sacked in 86; and in the same year, at Chaeroneia, the scene of Philip II. of Macedon's victory more than two and a half centuries before, and in the year following, at the neighbouring Orchomenus, he scattered immense hosts of the enemy with trifling loss to himself. Crossing the Hellespont in 84 into Asia, he was joined by the troops of C. Flavius Fimbria, who soon deserted their general, a man sent out by the Marian party, now again in the ascendant at Rome. The same year peace was concluded with Mithradates on condition that he should be put back to the position he held before the war; but, as he raised objections, he had in the end to content himself with being simply a vassal of Rome.

Sulla returned to Italy in 83, landing at Brundisium, having previously informed the senate of the result of his campaigns in Greece and Asia, and announced his presence on Italian ground. He further complained of the ill-treatment to which his friends and partisans had been subjected during his absence. Marius had died in 86, and the revolutionary party, specially represented by L. Cornelius Cinna, Cn. Papirius Carbo and the younger Marius, had massacred Sulla's supporters wholesale, confiscated his property, and declared him a public enemy. They felt they must resist him to the death, and with the troops scattered throughout Italy, and the newly enfranchised Italians, to whom it was understood that Sulla was bitterly hostile, they counted confidently on success. But on Sulla's advance at the head of his 40,000 veterans many of them lost heart and deserted their leaders, while the Italians themselves, whom he confirmed in their new privileges, were won over to his side. Only the Samnites, who were as yet without the Roman franchise, remained his enemies, and it seemed as if the old war between Rome and Samnium had to be fought once again. Several Roman nobles, among them Gnaeus Pompeius (Pompey the Great), Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius, Marcus Licinius Crassus, Marcus Licinius Lucullus, joined Sulla, and in the following year (82) he won a decisive victory over the younger Marius near Praeneste (mod. Palestrina) and then marched upon Rome, where again, just before his defeat of Marius, there had been a great massacre of his adherents, in which the learned jurist Q. Mucius Scaevola perished. Rome was at the same time in extreme peril from the advance of a Samnite army, and was barely saved by Sulla, who, after a hardfought battle, routed the enemy under Pontius Telesinus at the Colline gate of Rome. With the death of the younger Marius, who killed himself after the surrender of Praeneste, the civil war was at an end, and Sulla was master of Rome and of the Roman world. Then came the memorable "proscription," when for the first time in Roman history a list of men declared to be outlaws and public enemies was exhibited in the forum, and a reign of terror began throughout Rome and Italy. The title of "dictator" was revived and Sulla was in fact emperor of Rome. After celebrating a splendid triumph for the Mithradatic War, and assuming the surname of "Felix" ("Epaphroditus," "Venus's favourite," 1 he styled himself in addressing Greeks), he carried in 80 and 79 his great political reforms (see Rome: History, II. "The Republic"). The main object of these was to invest the senate, which he recruited with a number of his own party, with full control over the state, over every magistrate and every province; and the mainstay of his political system was to be the military colonies which he had established with grants of land throughout every part of Italy, to the ruin of the old Italian freeholders and farmers, who from this time dwindled away, leaving whole districts waste and desolate.

In 79 Sulla resigned his dictatorship and retired to Puteoli (mod. Pozzuoli), where he died in the following year, probably from the bursting of a blood-vessel. The story that he fell a victim to a disease similar to that which cut off one of the Herods (Acts xii. 23) is probably an invention of his enemies. The "half lion, half fox," as his enemies called him, the "Don Juan of politics" (Mommsen), the man who carried out a policy of "blood and iron" with a grim humour, amused himself in his last days with actors and actresses, with dabbling in poetry, and completing the Memoirs (commentarii, inropviigara) of his eventful life (see H. Peter, Historicorum romanorum reliquiae, 1870). Even then he did not give up his interest in state and local affairs, and his end is said to have been hastened by a fit of passion brought on by a remark of the quaestor Granius, who openly asserted that he would escape payment of a sum of money due to the Romans, since Sulla was on his death-bed. Sulla sent for him and had him strangled in his presence; in his excitement he broke a blood-vessel and died on the following day. He was accorded a magnificent public funeral, his body being removed to Rome and buried in the Campus Martius. His monument bore an inscription written by himself, to the effect that he had always fully repaid the kindnesses of his friends and the wrongs done him by his enemies. His military genius was displayed in the Social War and the campaigns against Mithradates; while his constitutional reforms, although doomed to failure from the lack of successors to carry them out, were a triumph of organization. But he massacred his enemies in cold blood, and exacted vengeance with pitiless and calculated cruelty; he sacrificed everything to his own ambition and the triumph of his party.

The ancient authorities for Sulla and his time are his Life by Plutarch (who made use of the Memoirs); Appian, Bell. civ.; for the references in Cicero see Orelli's Onomasticon Tullianum. Modern treatises by C. S. Zacharia, L. Cornelius S. als Ordner des romischen Freystaates (1834); T. Lau, Lucius Cornelius Sulla (1855); E. Linden, De bello civili Sullano (1896); P. Cantalupi, La Guerra civile Sullana in Italia (1892); C. W. Oman, Seven Roman Statesmen (1902); F. D. Gerlach, Marius and Sulla (1856); J. M. Sunden, "De tribunicia potestate a Lucio Sulla imminuta" in Skrifter utgifna of k. humanistika Vetenskapssamfundet i Upsala, v., 1897, in which it is argued against Mommsen that Sulla did not deprive the tribunes of the right of proposing rogations. See also Mommsen's History of Rome, vol. iii., bk. iv., ch., 8, 9; Drumann, Geschichte Roms, 1 A short epigram on Aphrodite in the Greek Anthology (Anth. Pal., Appendix, i. 153) is ascribed to him.

2nd ed. by Groebe, ii. 364-432; Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclopddie, iv.1522-1566(Frohlich).

His nephew (as some say, though the degree of relationship cannot be clearly established), Publics Cornelius Sulla was consul in 66 B.C. with P. Autronius Paetus. Both were convicted of bribery, and Paetus subsequently joined Catiline in his first conspiracy. There is little doubt that Sulla also was implicated; Sallust does not mention it, but other authorities definitely assert his guilt. After the second conspiracy he was accused of having taken part in both conspiracies. Sulla was defended by Cicero and Hortensius, and acquitted. There is no doubt that, after his first conviction, Sulla remained very quiet, and, whatever his sympathies may have been, took no active part in the conspiracy. When the civil war broke out, Sulla took the side of Caesar, and commanded the right wing at the battle of Pharsalus. He died 45 See Cicero, Pro Sulla, passim (ed. J. S. Reid, 1882); Ad Fan. ix. 10, xv. 17; Dio Cassius xxxvi. 44, xxxvii. 25; Suetonius, Caesar, 9; Caesar, Bell. civ., iii. 51, 89; Appian, Bell. civ. ii. 76.

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Lucius Cornelius Sulla

Lucius Cornelius Sulla[1] (c. 138 BC – 78 BC), usually called Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He was a praetor (a commander of an army) in 97 BC.[2] He was the only man in history to have attacked and kept both Athens and Rome.


  1. L•CORNELIVS•L•F•P•N•SVLLA•FELIX in Latin. In English, it means "Lucius Cornelius Sulla, son of Lucius, grandson of Publius, the lucky".
  2. Keaveney, Arthur, Sulla: The Last Republican, Routledge; 2 edition (June 23, 2005). ISBN 978-0-415-33660-4.


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