HOME

TheInfoList




Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...
and
statesman A statesman or stateswoman typically is a politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective recipient of an award or ho ...

statesman
. He won the first large-scale civil war in Roman history, and became the first man of the republic to seize power through force. Sulla had the distinction of holding the office of
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...
twice, as well as reviving the
dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature ...
. A gifted and innovative general, he achieved numerous successes in wars against foreign and domestic opponents. Sulla rose to prominence during the war against the
Numidia Numidia (Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifica ...

Numidia
n king
Jugurtha Jugurtha or Jugurthen ( Libyco-Berber ''Yugurten'' or '' Yugarten'', c. 160 – 104 BC) was a king of Numidia. When the Numidian king Micipsa, who had adopted Jugurtha, died in 118 BC, Jugurtha and his two adoptive brothers, Hiempsal and Adh ...

Jugurtha
, whom he captured as a result of Jugurtha's betrayal by the king's allies, although his superior
Gaius Marius Gaius Marius (; – 13 January 86 BC) was a Roman general and statesman. Victor of the and wars, he held the office of an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his of . He set the precedent for the shift fro ...
took credit for ending the war. He then fought successfully against Germanic tribes during the
Cimbrian War The Cimbrian or Cimbric War (113–101 BC) was fought between the Roman Republic and the Germanic peoples, Germanic and Celts, Celtic tribes of the Cimbri and the Teutons, Ambrones and Tigurini, who migrated from the Jutland peninsula into Roman ...
, and Italic tribes during the Social War. He was awarded the Grass Crown for his command in the latter war. Sulla played an important role in the long political struggle between the ''
optimates The Optimates (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...
'' and ''
populares The Populares (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...

populares
'' factions at Rome. He was a leader of the former, which sought to maintain
senatorial
senatorial
supremacy against the populist reforms advocated by the latter, headed by Marius. In a dispute over the command of the war against Mithridates, initially awarded to Sulla by the Senate, but withdrawn as a result of Marius' intrigues, Sulla marched on Rome in an unprecedented act and defeated Marian forces in battle. The ''populares'' nonetheless seized power once he left with his army to
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...
. He returned victorious from the east in 82 BC, marched a second time on Rome, and crushed the ''populares'' and their Italian allies at the Battle of the Colline Gate. He then revived the office of
dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the ...
, which had been inactive since the
Second Punic War The Second Punic War, which lasted from 218 to 201BC, was the second of three wars fought between Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading ...

Second Punic War
, over a century before. He used his powers to purge his opponents, and reform Roman constitutional laws, to restore the primacy of the Senate and limit the power of the
tribunes of the plebs #REDIRECT Tribune of the plebs#REDIRECT Tribune of the plebs Tribune of the plebs, tribune of the people or plebeian tribune ( la, tribunus plebis) was the first office of the Roman state that was open to the plebeians, and was, throughout the his ...
. Resigning his dictatorship in 79 BC, Sulla retired to private life and died the following year. Sulla's military coup was ironically enabled by Marius' military reforms that bound the army's loyalty with the general rather than to the republic and permanently destabilized the Roman power structure. Later political leaders such as
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
would follow his precedent in attaining political power through force.


Early years

Sulla, the son of Lucius Cornelius Sulla and the grandson of
Publius Cornelius SullaPublius Cornelius Sulla (died 45 BC) was a politician of the late Roman Republic and the nephew of Lucius Cornelius Sulla. He was also a brother-in-law of Pompey, having married his sister Pompeia. Early life Publius Cornelius Sulla and his bro ...
, was born into a branch of the
patrician Patrician may refer to: * Patrician (ancient Rome), the original aristocratic families of ancient Rome, and a synonym for "aristocratic" in modern English usage * Patrician (post-Roman Europe), the governing elites of cities in parts of medieval a ...
'' gens Cornelia'', but his family had fallen to an impoverished condition at the time of his birth. The reason behind this was because an ancestor, Publius Cornelius Rufinius, was banished from the Senate after having been caught possessing more than 10 pounds of silver plate. As a result of this, Sulla's branch of the ''gens'' lost public standing and never retained the position of consul or dictator until Sulla arrived. A story says that when he was a baby, his nurse was carrying him around the streets, until a strange woman walked up to her and said, "''Puer tibi et reipublicae tuae felix''." This can be translated as, "The boy will be a source of luck to you and your state." Lacking ready money, Sulla spent his youth among Rome’s comedians, actors, lute players, and dancers. During these times on the stage, after initially only singing, he started writing plays, Atellan farces, a kind of crude comedy. 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." Sulla almost certainly received a good education.
Sallust Gaius Sallustius Crispus, usually anglicised Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases to make them easier to spell, pronounc ...

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 The ''cursus honorum'' (; , or more colloquially 'ladder of offices') was the sequential order of public offices held by aspiring politicians in the Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; ...
'', are not clear, although Plutarch refers to two inheritances, one from his stepmother (who loved him dearly, as if he were her own son) and the other from
Nicopolis Nicopolis ( grc-gre, Νικόπολις, Nikópolis, City of Victory) or Actia Nicopolis was the capital city of the Roman province of Epirus Vetus. It was located in the western part of the modern state of Greece. The city was founded in 29  ...
, a (possibly Greek) low-born woman who became rich.


Capture of Jugurtha

The
Jugurthine War The Jugurthine War ( la, Bellum Iugurthinum; 112–106 BC) was an armed conflict between the Roman Republic and king Jugurtha of Numidia, a kingdom on the north African coast approximating to modern Algeria. Jugurtha was the nephew and adopted ...
had started in 112 BC when
Jugurtha Jugurtha or Jugurthen ( Libyco-Berber ''Yugurten'' or '' Yugarten'', c. 160 – 104 BC) was a king of Numidia. When the Numidian king Micipsa, who had adopted Jugurtha, died in 118 BC, Jugurtha and his two adoptive brothers, Hiempsal and Adh ...

Jugurtha
, grandson of
Massinissa Masinissa (''c.''238 BC – 148 BC)—also spelled Massinissa and Massena—was the first King of Numidia. During his younger years, before he was king, he fought in the Second Punic War (218–201 BC), first against the Romans as an ally ...
of
Numidia Numidia (Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifica ...

Numidia
, claimed the entire kingdom of Numidia in defiance of Roman decrees that divided it among several members of the royal family. Rome declared war on Jugurtha in 111 BC, but the Roman legions were unsuccessful for five years. Several Roman commanders were bribed ( Bestia and Spurius), and one ( Aulus Postumius Albinus) was defeated. In 109, Rome sent Quintus Caecilius Metellus to continue the war.
Gaius Marius Gaius Marius (; – 13 January 86 BC) was a Roman general and statesman. Victor of the and wars, he held the office of an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his of . He set the precedent for the shift fro ...
, a lieutenant of Metellus, saw an opportunity to usurp his commander and fed rumors of incompetence and delay to the ''
publicani In antiquity, publicans ( Greek τελώνης ''telōnēs'' (singular); Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area aro ...
'' (tax gatherers) in the region. These machinations generated calls for Metellus' removal. Despite delaying tactics by Metellus, Marius returned to Rome to stand for the consulship in 107 BC. Marius was elected consul and took over the campaign, while Sulla was nominated as ''
quaestor A ( , ; "investigator") was a public official in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest ...
'' to him. Under Marius, the Roman forces followed a very similar plan as under Metellus to ultimately defeat the Numidians in 106 BC, due in large part to Sulla's initiative in capturing the Numidian king. He had persuaded Jugurtha's father-in-law, King
Bocchus I Bocchus was king of Mauretania Mauretania (; ) is the Latin language, Latin name for a region in the ancient Maghreb. It stretched from central present-day Algeria westwards to the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, covering northern Morocco, and southw ...
of
Mauretania Mauretania (; ) is the Latin language, Latin name for a region in the ancient Maghreb. It stretched from central present-day Algeria westwards to the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, covering northern Morocco, and southward to the Atlas Mountains. Its ...

Mauretania
(a nearby kingdom), to betray Jugurtha, who had fled to Mauretania for refuge. It was a dangerous operation, with King Bocchus weighing up the advantages of handing Jugurtha over to Sulla or Sulla over to Jugurtha. The publicity attracted by this feat boosted Sulla's political career. A gilded equestrian statue of Sulla donated by King Bocchus was erected in the Forum to commemorate his accomplishment. Although Sulla had engineered this move, as Sulla was serving under Marius at the time, Marius took credit for this feat.


The Cimbri and the Teutones

In 104 BC, the
Cimbri The Cimbri (Greek Κίμβροι, ''Kímbroi''; Latin ''Cimbri'') were an ancient tribe in Europe. Ancient authors described them variously as a Celtic people The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS loc ...
and the
Teutones The Teutons ( la, Teutones, , grc, Τεύτονες) were an ancient northern European tribe mentioned by Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th c ...
, two Germanic tribes who had bested the Roman legions on several occasions, seemed to be heading for Italy. As Marius, fresh from his victory over Jugurtha, was considered to be Rome's best military commander at that particular time, the Senate allowed him to lead the campaign against the northern invaders. Sulla, who had served under Marius during the Jugurthine War, joined his old commander as ''
tribunus militum A military tribune (Latin ''tribunus militum'', "tribune of the soldiers", Greek ''chiliarchos'', χιλίαρχος) was an officer of the Roman army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic la ...
'' (military tribune). First, he helped Marius in recruiting and training legionaries; then, he led troops to subdue the
Volcae Tectosages The Volcae () were a tribal confederation constituted before the raid of combined Gauls The Gauls ( la, Galli; grc, Γαλάται, ''Galátai'') were a group of Celts, Celtic peoples of Continental Europe in the Iron Age Europe, Iron Age and the ...

Volcae Tectosages
, and succeeded in capturing their leader Copillus. In 103, Sulla succeeded in persuading the Germanic
Marsi 310px, Silver denarius, Coinage of the Social War (91–88 BC), coinage of the Marsian Confederation, during the Social War (91–87 BC), Social War (89 BC). The mirror writing, retrograde legend right (UILETIV íteliú = ''Italia''or the phon ...
tribe to become friends and allies of Rome; they detached themselves from the Germanic confederation and went back to Germania. In 102, when Marius became consul for the fourth time, an unusual separation occurred between Marius and Sulla. For reasons unknown, Sulla requested a transfer to the army of
Quintus Lutatius Catulus Quintus Lutatius Catulus (149–87 BC) was a Roman consul, consul of the Roman Republic in 102 BC. His consular colleague was Gaius Marius. During their consulship the Cimbri and Teutons, Teutones marched south again and Cimbrian War, threatened t ...

Quintus Lutatius Catulus
, Marius' consular partner. While Marius marched against the Teutones and
Ambrones The Ambrones ( grc, Ἄμβρωνες) were an ancient tribe mentioned by Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people o ...
in Gaul, Catulus was tasked with keeping the Cimbri out of Italy. Catulus tasked Sulla with subduing the tribes in the north of
Cisalpine Gaul Cisalpine Gaul ( la, Gallia Cisalpina, also called ''Gallia Citerior'' or ''Gallia Togata'') was the part of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Ital ...
to keep them from joining the Cimbri. Overconfident, Catulus tried to stop the Cimbri, but he was severely outnumbered and his army suffered some losses. Meanwhile, Marius had completely defeated the Ambrones and the Teutones at the
Battle of Aquae Sextiae The Battle of Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence) took place in 102 BC. After a string of Roman Republic, Roman defeats (see: the Battle of Noreia, the Battle of Burdigala, and the Battle of Arausio), the Romans under Gaius Marius finally defeated the ...
. In 101, the armies of Marius and Catulus joined forces and faced the enemy tribes at the
Battle of Vercellae The Battle of Vercellae, or Battle of the Raudine Plain, was fought on 30 July 101 BC on a plain near Vercellae in Gallia Cisalpina (modern day Northern Italy). A Germanic-Celtic confederation under the command of the Cimbric king Boiorix was d ...
. During the battle, Sulla commanded the cavalry on the right and was instrumental in achieving victory. Sulla and his cavalry routed the barbarian cavalry and drove them into the main body of the Cimbri, causing chaos. Catulus, seeing an opportunity, threw his men forward and followed up on Sulla's successful action. By noon, the warriors of the Cimbri were defeated. Victorious at Vercellae, Marius and Catulus were both granted
triumphs ''Triumphs'' (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, r ...
as the co-commanding generals. Sulla's role in the Vercellae victory was also hard to ignore, and formed the launchpad for his political career.


Cilician governorship

Returning to Rome, Sulla was elected ''
praetor urbanus Praetor ( , ), also spelled prætor or pretor in English, was a Title#Titles for heads of state, title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army (in the field or, less often ...
'' for 97 BC. In 96 BC, he was appointed ''
propraetor In ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roma ...
'' of the province of
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
in
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
. A serious problem had arisen with pirates there, and he was commonly assumed to have been sent there to deal with them. While governing Cilicia, Sulla received orders from the Senate to restore King Ariobarzanes to the throne of
Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; grc, label=Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
. Ariobarzanes had been driven out by
Mithridates VI of Pontus Mithridates or Mithradates VI Eupator ( grc-gre, Μιθραδάτης; 135–63 BC) was ruler of the Kingdom of Pontus The Kingdom of Pontus ( grc, Βασιλεία τοῦ Πόντου, ''Basileía toû Póntou'') was a Hellenistic-era kingdo ...

Mithridates VI of Pontus
, who wanted to install one of his own sons ( Ariarathes) on the Cappadocian throne. Despite initial difficulties, Sulla succeeded in restoring Ariobarzanes to the throne. The Romans among his troops were sufficiently impressed by his leadership that they hailed him ''
imperator The Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with" ...

imperator
'' on the field. Sulla's campaign in Cappadocia had led him to the banks of the
Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia (the "Land Between the Rivers"). O ...
, where he was approached by an embassy from the
Parthian Empire The Parthian Empire (), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major political and cultural power in from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, , who led the tribe in conquering the region of in 's northeast, ...

Parthian Empire
. Sulla was the first Roman magistrate to meet a Parthian ambassador. At the meeting, he took the seat between the Parthian ambassador, Orobazus, and King Ariobarzanes, hereby, perhaps unintentionally, slighting the Parthian king by portraying the Parthians and the Cappadocians as equals and himself and Rome as superior. The Parthian ambassador, Orobazus, was executed upon his return to Parthia for allowing this humiliation. At this meeting, Sulla was told by a
Chaldea Chaldea () was a small country that existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BCE, after which the country and its people were absorbed and assimilated into the indigenous population Babylonia. Semitic language, Semitic-s ...
n 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 94 BC, Sulla repulsed the forces of
Tigranes the Great Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great ( hy, Տիգրան Մեծ, ''Tigran Mets''; grc, Τιγράνης ὁ Μέγας ''Tigránes ho Mégas''; la, Tigranes Magnus) (140 – 55 BC) was King of Kingdom of Armenia (ant ...
of
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
from Cappadocia. In 93 BC, Sulla left the east and returned to Rome, where he aligned himself with the ''
optimates The Optimates (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...
'', in opposition to Gaius Marius. Sulla was regarded to have done well in the east - restoring Ariobarzanes to the throne, being hailed ''imperator'' on the field by his men, and being the first Roman to make a treaty with the Parthians.


Social War

The Social War resulted from Rome's intransigence regarding the civil liberties of the
Socii The ''socii'' ( in English) or ''foederati ''Foederati'' (, singular: ''foederatus'' ) were peoples and cities bound by a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually ent ...
, Rome's Italian allies. The Socii (such as the Samnites) had been enemies of Rome, but had eventually submitted, whereas the
Latins The Latins were originally an Italic tribe in ancient central Italy from Latium Latium ( , ; ) is the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire. Definition La ...
were confederates of longer standing. As a result, the Latins were given more respect and better treatment. Subjects of the Roman Republic, these Italian provincials could be called to arms in its defense or could 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 who sought to extend Roman citizenship to the Socii. The Gracchi,
Tiberius Tiberius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors use ...

Tiberius
and
Gaius Gaius, sometimes spelled ''Gajus'', Cajus, Caius, was a common Latin praenomen The praenomen (; plural: praenomina) was a given name, personal name chosen by the parents of a Ancient Rome, Roman child. It was first bestowed on the ''dies lustri ...
, were successively killed by ''optimate'' supporters who sought to maintain the ''status quo''. The assassination of Marcus Livius Drusus the Younger, a tribune, whose reforms were intended not only to strengthen the position of the Senate, but also to grant Roman citizenship to the allies, greatly angered the Socii. In consequence, most allied against Rome, leading to the outbreak of the Social War. At the beginning of the Social War, the Roman aristocracy and Senate were beginning to fear Gaius Marius' ambition, which had already given him six consulships (including five in a row, from 104 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 outshone both Marius and the consul
Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo (135 – 87 BC) was a Roman general and politician, who served as consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin plural ''consules'') was the title of one of the two chief Roman magistrate, magistrates of the Roman Republic, and ...
(the father of
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...
).


Serving under Lucius Caesar (90 BC)

Sulla first served under the consul of 90, Lucius Julius Caesar, and fought against the southern group of the Italian rebels (the
Samnites The Samnites were an ancient Italic people The Italic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group identified by their use of Italic languages a branch of the Indo-European language family. The Italic peoples are descended from the Indo-European speak ...
) and their allies. Sulla and Caesar defeated
Gaius Papius MutilusGaius Papius Mutilus was a Samnite noble who is best known for being the leader of the southern rebels who fought against the army of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , ...
, one of the leaders of the Samnites, at Acerrae. Then, commanding one of Caesar's divisions and working in tandem with his old commander Marius, Sulla defeated an army of the Marsi and the Marruncini. Together, they killed 6,000 rebels, as well as the Marruncini general Herius Asinus. When Lucius Caesar returned to Rome, he ordered Sulla to reorganize the legions for deployment next year.


In sole command (89 BC)

In 89 BC, now a ''praetor'', Sulla served under the consul Lucius Porcius Cato Licinianus. Cato got himself killed early on while storming a rebel camp. Sulla, being an experienced military man, took command of Rome's southern army, and continued the fight against the Samnites and their allies. He besieged the rebel cities of
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The provides essential public services: of births and deaths, , and maintenan ...

Pompeii
and
Herculaneum Herculaneum ( it, Ercolano) was an ancient town, located in the modern-day ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and f ...

Herculaneum
. The admiral in command of the fleet blockading Pompeii, Aulus Postumius Albinus, offended his troops, which caused them to stone him to death. When news of this reached Sulla, he declined to punish the murderers, because he needed the men and he figured Albinus had brought it on himself. During the siege of Pompeii, rebel reinforcements under the command of a general called Lucius Cleuntius arrived. Sulla drove off Cleuntius and his men, and pursued them all the way to the city of
Nola Nola is a town and a municipality in the Metropolitan City of Naples The Metropolitan City of Naples (Italian language, Italian: ''Città metropolitana di Napoli'') is an Metropolitan cities of Italy, Italian Metropolitan City in Campania regi ...
, a town to the northeast of Pompeii. At Nola, a terrible battle ensued; Cleuntius' troops were desperate and fought savagely, but Sulla's army killed them almost to the last man, with 20,000 rebels dying in front of the city walls. Sulla is said to have killed Cleuntius with his own hands. The men who had fought with Sulla at the battle before the walls of Nola hailed him ''
imperator The Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with" ...

imperator
'' on the field, and also awarded him the Grass Crown, or ''Corona Graminea''. This was the highest Roman military honor, awarded for personal bravery to a commander who saves a Roman legion or army in the field. Unlike 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. Sulla then returned to the siege of Pompeii. After taking Pompeii and Herculaneum, Sulla captured
Aeclanum Aeclanum (also spelled Aeculanum, it, Eclano, grc, Ἀικούλανον) was an ancient town of Samnium Samnium ( it, Sannio) is a Latin language, Latin exonym for a region of Southern Italy anciently inhabited by the Samnites. Their own ...
, the chief town of the
Hirpini The Hirpini (Latin language, Latin: '; Greek language, Greek: ';) were an ancient Samnites, Samnite tribe of Southern Italy. While generally regarded as having been Samnites, sometimes they are treated as a distinct and independent nation. They inha ...
(he did this by setting the wooden breastworks on fire). After forcing the capitulation of all the rebel-held cities in Campania, with the exception of Nola, Sulla launched a dagger thrust into the heartland of the Samnites. He was able to ambush a Samnite army in a mountain pass (in a reversal of the
Battle of the Caudine Forks The Battle of Caudine Forks, 321 BC, was a decisive event of the Second Samnite War The First, Second, and Third Samnite Wars (343–341 BC, 326–304 BC, and 298–290 BC) were fought between the Roman Republic and the Samnites The Samnites ...

Battle of the Caudine Forks
) and then, having routed them, he marched on the rebel capital, storming it in a brutal, three-hour assault. Although Nola remained defiant, along with a few other pockets of resistance, Sulla had effectively finished the rebellion in the south for good.


Consul of Rome (88 BC)

As a result of his success in bringing the Social War to a successful conclusion, he was elected
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...
for the first time in 88 BC, with Quintus Pompeius Rufus (soon his daughter's father-in-law) as his colleague. Sulla was 50 years old by then (most Roman consuls being in their early 40s), and only then had he finally achieved his rise into Rome's ruling class. He also married his third wife, Caecilia Metella, which connected him to the mighty
Caecilii Metelli The gens Caecilia was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. Members of this gens are mentioned in history as early as the fifth century BC, but the first of the Caecilii who obtained the Roman consul, consulship was Lucius Caecilius Metellus Denter, ...
family. Sulla started his consulship by passing two laws designed to regulate Rome's finances, which were in a very sorry state after all the years of continual warfare. The first of the ''leges Corneliae'' concerned the interest rates, and stipulated that all debtors were to pay simple interest only, rather than the common compound interest that so easily bankrupted the debtors. The interest rates were also to be agreed between both parties at the time that the loan was made, and should stand for the whole term of the debt, without further increase. The second law concerned the ''sponsio'', which was the sum in dispute in cases of debt, and usually had to be lodged with the ''praetor'' before the case was heard. This, of course, meant that many cases were never heard at all, as poorer clients did not have the money for the ''sponsio''. Sulla's law waived the ''sponsio'', allowing such cases to be heard without it. This, of course, made him very popular with the poorer citizens. After passing his laws, Sulla temporarily left Rome to attend to the cleaning-up of the Italian allies, especially Nola, which was still holding out. While Sulla was besieging Nola, his political opponents were moving against him in Rome.


First march on Rome

As senior consul, Sulla had been allocated the command of the
First Mithridatic War The First Mithridatic War (89–85 BC) was a war challenging the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization, run through res publica, public Representation ...
against King
Mithridates VI of Pontus Mithridates or Mithradates VI Eupator ( grc-gre, Μιθραδάτης; 135–63 BC) was ruler of the Kingdom of Pontus The Kingdom of Pontus ( grc, Βασιλεία τοῦ Πόντου, ''Basileía toû Póntou'') was a Hellenistic-era kingdo ...

Mithridates VI of Pontus
. This war against Mithridates promised to be a very prestigious and also a very lucrative affair. Marius, Sulla's old commander, also ran for the command, but Sulla was fresh from his victories in Campania and Samnium, and almost 20 years younger (50 vs. Marius' 69), so Sulla was confirmed in the command against the Pontic king. Before he left Rome, Sulla passed two laws (the first of the ''leges Corneliae'') and then went south, into Campania, to take care of the last Italian rebels. Before leaving, Sulla and his consular colleague Quintus Pompeius Rufus blocked the legislation of the
tribune Tribune () was the title of various elected officials in ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the ...

tribune
Publius Sulpicius Rufus Publius Sulpicius Rufus (124/123–88 BC) was a Roman politician and orator An orator, or oratist, is a public speaker, especially one who is eloquent or skilled. Etymology Recorded in English c. 1374, with a meaning of "one who pleads or arg ...
, meant to ensure the rapid organization of the Italian allies into Roman citizenship. Sulpicius found an ally in Marius, who said he would support the bill, at which point Sulpicius felt confident enough to tell his supporters to start a riot. Sulla was besieging Nola when he heard that rioting had broken out in Rome. He quickly returned to Rome to meet with Pompeius Rufus; however, Sulpicius' followers attacked the meeting, forcing Sulla to take refuge in Marius' house, who in turn forced him to support Sulpicius' pro-Italian legislation in exchange for protection from the mob. Sulla's son-in-law (Pompeius Rufus' son) was killed in the midst of these violent riots. After leaving Rome again for Nola, Sulpicius (who was given a promise from Marius to wipe out his enormous debts) called an assembly of the people to reverse the Senate's previous decision to grant Sulla military command, and instead transfer it to Marius. Sulpicius also used the assembly to forcefully eject senators from the Senate until not enough of them were present to form a ''quorum''. Violence in the Forum ensued, and some nobles tried to lynch Sulpicius (as had been done to the brothers
Gracchi The Gracchi brothers, Tiberius Tiberius Caesar Augustus ( ; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (s ...
, and to ), but failed in the face of his bodyguard of
gladiator A gladiator ( la, gladiator, "swordsman", from , "sword") was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some glad ...

gladiator
s. Sulla received news of this new turmoil while at his camp at Nola, surrounded by his Social War veterans, the men whom he had personally led to victory, who had hailed him ''imperator'' and who had awarded him the Grass Crown. His soldiers stoned envoys of the assemblies who came to announce that the command of the Mithridatic War had been transferred to Marius. Sulla then took five of the six legions stationed at Nola and marched on Rome. This was an unprecedented event, as no general before him had ever crossed the city limits, the ''
pomerium The pomerium or pomoerium was a religious boundary around the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan ...

pomerium
'', with his army. Most of his commanders (with the exception of his kinsman through marriage,
Lucullus Lucius Licinius Lucullus (; 118–57/56 BC) was an '' optimatis'' politician of the late Roman Republic, closely connected with Lucius Cornelius Sulla. In the culmination of over twenty years of almost continuous military and government service ...
), though, refused to accompany him. Sulla justified his actions on the grounds that the Senate had been neutered; the ''
mos maiorum The ''mos maiorum'' (; "ancestral custom" or "way of the ancestors," plural ''mores'', cf. English "mores"; ''maiorum'' is the Genitive case, genitive plural of "greater" or "elder") is the unwritten code from which the Ancient Rome, ancient Roma ...
'' ("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. Even the armed gladiators were unable to resist the organized Roman soldiers, and although Marius offered freedom to any slave who would fight with him against Sulla (an offer which Plutarch says only three slaves accepted), his followers and he 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 a harsh tone, 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 once more returned to his military camp and proceeded with the original plan of fighting Mithridates in Pontus. Sulpicius was later betrayed and killed by one of his slaves, whom Sulla subsequently freed and then executed (being freed for giving the information leading to Sulpicius, but sentenced to death for betraying his master). Marius, however, fled to safety in Africa until he heard Sulla was once again out of Rome, when he began plotting his return. During his period of exile, Marius became determined that he would hold a seventh consulship, as foretold by the
Sibyl The sibyls (, singular ) were prophetesses or oracles An oracle is a person or agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of b ...
decades earlier. By the end of 87 BC, Marius returned to Rome with the support of
Lucius Cornelius Cinna Lucius Cornelius Cinna (died 84 BC) was a four-time consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the a ...
, and in Sulla's absence, took control of the city. Marius declared Sulla's reforms and laws invalid, and officially exiled him. Marius and Cinna were elected consuls for the year 86 BC, but Marius died a fortnight later, thus Cinna was left in sole control of Rome.


First Mithridatic War

In the spring of 87 BC, Sulla landed at Dyrrhachium, in
Illyria In classical antiquity, Illyria ( grc, Ἰλλυρία, ''Illyría'' or , ''Illyrís''; la, Illyria, ''Illyricum'') was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of people collectively known as the Illyria ...

Illyria
, at the head of five veteran legions. Asia was occupied by the forces of Mithridates under the command of Archelaus. Sulla’s first target was
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
, ruled by a Mithridatic puppet, the tyrant
Aristion Aristion (died 1 March 86 BC in Athens) was a philosopher who became tyrant of Athens from c. 88 BC until his death in 86 BC. Aristion joined forces with king Mithridates VI of Pontus against Greece’s overlords, the Romans, fighting alongside ...
. Sulla moved southeast, picking up supplies and reinforcements as he went. Sulla's chief of staff was
Lucullus Lucius Licinius Lucullus (; 118–57/56 BC) was an '' optimatis'' politician of the late Roman Republic, closely connected with Lucius Cornelius Sulla. In the culmination of over twenty years of almost continuous military and government service ...
, 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 the province of Asia. Sulla then advanced on Athens.


Sack of Athens

On arrival, Sulla threw up siegeworks encompassing not only Athens, but also the port of
Piraeus Piraeus ( ; el, Πειραιάς ; grc, Πειραιεύς ) is a port city The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Trieste.html"_;"title="Barcola_near_Trieste">Barcola_near_Trieste,_a_small_local_port A_port_is_a_ Barcola_near_Tr ...

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 Athens could not be resupplied without it. Huge earthworks were raised, isolating Athens and its port from the landside. 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 took from temples and
sibyl The sibyls (, singular ) were prophetesses or oracles An oracle is a person or agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of b ...
s alike. The currency minted from this treasure was to remain in circulation for centuries and was 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'' faction 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), and Sulla immediately sent sappers to undermine the wall. About 900 feet of wall were 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 was said to have literally flowed in the streets; only after the entreaties of a few of his Greek friends (Midias and Calliphon) and the pleas of the Roman senators in his camp did Sulla decide enough was enough. He then concentrated his forces on the port of Piraeus, 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 of yet not having a fleet, was powerless to prevent Archelaus' escape. Before leaving Athens, he burned the port to the ground. Sulla then advanced into Boeotia to take on Archelaus' 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 Mount Parnassus (; el, Παρνασσός, ''Parnassós'') is a mountain of limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate rock, carbonate sedimentary rock. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are differ ...

Parnassus
, overlooking the Elatean plain, with 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 Chaeronea ( or ; el, Χαιρώνεια ''Khaironeia'', ) is a village and a former municipality in Boeotia, Greece, located about 80 kilometers east of Delphi. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Livadeia, of whic ...
. Over 120,000 men strong, it outnumbered Sulla's forces by at least three to one. 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, abandoning the fords and moving in behind an entrenched
palisade A palisade, sometimes called a stakewall or a paling, is typically a fence A fence is a structure that encloses an area, typically outdoors, and is usually constructed from posts that are connected by boards, wire, rails or netting. A fen ...
. Behind the palisade was 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 great confusion in the Pontic army. Archelaus’ chariots then charged the Roman center, only to be destroyed on the palisades. Next came the phalanges, but 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.


Battle of Orchomenus

The government of Rome (under the ''de facto'' rule of Cinna) then sent out Valerius Flaccus with an army to relieve Sulla of command in the east; Flaccus' second in command was Flavius Fimbria, who had few virtues. The two Roman armies camped next to each other, and Sulla, not for the first time, encouraged his soldiers to spread dissention among Flaccus' army. Many deserted to Sulla before Flaccus packed up and moved on north to threaten Mithridates' northern dominions. Meanwhile, Archelaus had been reinforced by 80,000 men brought over from Asia Minor by Dorylaeus, another of Mithridates' generals, and was embarking his army from his base on Euboea. The return of a large Mithridatic army caused a revolt of Boeotians against the Romans, and Sulla immediately marched his army back south. He chose the site of the battle to come — Orchomenus, a town in
Boeotia Boeotia, sometimes alternatively Latinised Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920 ...

Boeotia
that allowed a smaller army to meet a much larger one, due to its natural defenses, 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 dikes, and he had the Pontic army in deep trouble before long. Desperate sallies by the Pontic forces were repulsed by the Romans, and the dikes moved onward. On the second day, Archelaus made a determined effort to escape Sulla’s web of dikes; 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 on an immense scale. Plutarch notes that, 200 years later, armor and weapons from the battle were still being found. The battle of Orchomenus was another of the world's decisive battles, determining that the fate of Asia Minor would lay with Rome and its 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 ''legatus'' 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 Philippi (; grc-gre, Φίλιπποι, ''Philippoi'') was a major Greek city northwest of the nearby island, Thasos Thasos or Thassos ( el, Θάσος, ''Thásos'') is a Greek island, geographically part of the North Aegean Sea, but administ ...

Philippi
, the remaining Mithridatic forces crossed the
Hellespont The Dardanelles (; tr, Çanakkale Boğazı, lit=Strait of Çanakkale, el, Δαρδανέλλια, translit=Dardanéllia), also known as Strait of Gallipoli from the Gallipoli peninsula or from Classical Antiquity as the Hellespont (; gr ...
to get away from the Romans. Fimbria encouraged his forces to loot and create general havoc as they went. 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 to pursue 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 Byzantium () or Byzantion ( grc-gre, Βυζάντιον) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark A ...

Byzantium
, though, and here, rather than continuing towards home, Fimbria took command of the garrison. 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 surprisingly, considering his leniency in regard to plundering) and a general revolt ensued. Flaccus attempted to flee, but was captured and executed shortly afterwards. 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 in the Aegean. Fimbria quickly won a decisive victory over the remaining Mithridatic forces and moved on the capital of
Pergamum Pergamon or Pergamum ( or ; grc-gre, Πέργαμον), also referred to by its modern Greek form Pergamos (), was a rich and powerful ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the c ...

Pergamum
. With all vestige of hope crumbling for Mithridates, he fled Pergamum to the coastal city of Pitane. Fimbria, in pursuit, laid siege to the town, but had no fleet to prevent Mithridates' escape by sea. Fimbria called upon Sulla's legate, Lucullus, to bring his fleet around to blockade Mithridates, but Sulla seemingly 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". Things in the east, though, were not settled yet. Fimbria was enjoying free rein in the province of Asia, and led a cruel oppression of both those who were involved against the 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 took his own life, while his army went over to Sulla. To ensure the loyalty of both Fimbria's troops and his own veterans, who were not 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. As 84 BC began, 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 In classical antiquity, Illyria ( grc, Ἰλλυρία, ''Illyría'' or , ''Illyrís''; la, Illyria, ''Illyricum'') was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of people collectively known as the Illyria ...

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. 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 five legions and left the two 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, west of Corinth, to
Brundisium Brindisi ( , ; scn, label=Salentino, Brindisino, Brìnnisi; la, Brundisium; grc, Βρεντέσιον, translit=Brentésion; cms, Brunda) is a city in the region of Apulia in southern Italy, the capital of the province of Brindisi, on the co ...
and in the heel of Italy. Landing uncontested, he had ample opportunity to prepare for the coming war. In Rome, the newly elected consuls,
Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiagenus (or Asiagenes; 3rd century BC – after 183 BC), later known as Scipio Asiaticus, was a general and statesman of the Roman Republic. He was the son of Publius Cornelius Scipio and the younger brother of Scipio ...
(Asiagenus) and
Gaius Norbanus Gaius Norbanus (died 82 BC) (possibly surnamed Balbus or Bulbus) was a Roman politician who was elected Roman consul, consul in 83 BC alongside Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus (consul 83 BC), Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus. He committed suic ...
, levied and prepared armies of their own to stop Sulla and protect the Republican government. Norbanus marched first, with the intention of blocking Sulla's advance at
Canusium Canosa di Puglia, generally known simply as Canosa ( nap, label= Canosino, Canaus), is a town and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality ...
. Seriously defeated, Norbanus was forced to retreat to Capua, where no respite remained. 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, but neither Asiagenus nor his army seemed to have any 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 Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis 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 publicly known the fact that not only would Asiagenus suffer for opposing him, but also 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 the governor of Africa,
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius (c. 128 – 63 BC) was a Roman politician and general. Like the other members of the influential Caecilia gens, Caecilii Metelli family, he was a leader of the Optimates, the conservative faction opposed to the Popu ...

Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius
, who was an old enemy of Marius and Cinna's; he led an open revolt against the Marian forces in Africa, with additional help coming from Picenum and Spain. Additionally, two of the three future ''
triumvir A triumvirate ( la, triumvirātus) or a triarchy is a political regime ruled or dominated by three powerful individuals known as triumvirs ( la, triumviri). The arrangement can be formal or informal. Though the three are notionally equal, this ...
i'' joined Sulla's cause in his bid to take control.
Marcus Licinius Crassus Marcus Licinius Crassus (; 115 – 53 BC) was a general and statesman who played a key role in the transformation of the into the . He is often called "the richest man in Rome." & .. Trivia-Library. '. 1975–1981. Web. 23 December 2009."Ofte ...

Marcus Licinius Crassus
marched with an army from Spain, and would later play a pivotal role at the Colline Gate. The young son of
Pompeius Strabo Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo (c. 135 – 87 BC) was a Roman general and politician, who served as consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European ...
(the butcher of
AsculumAsculum, also known as Ausculum, was the ancient name of two Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian languag ...
during the Social War), Pompey, raised an army of his own from among his father's veterans, and threw his lot in with Sulla. At the 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 continued, 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 83 BC came to a close. Cinna's old co-consul, Papirius Carbo, and
Gaius Marius the Younger Gaius Marius "the Younger" (c. 110 – 82 BC) was a Roman republican general and politician who became consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European ...
, the 26-year-old son of the dead consul, were elected as consuls. 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 addition, possible Sullan supporters were murdered. The urban ''praetor''
Lucius Junius Brutus DamasippusLucius Junius Brutus Damasippus was a Roman Republic, Roman commander during Sulla's civil wars. When Pompey rebelled, Brutus was one of the three commanders sent against him. In an unnamed battle, the first of Pompey’s career, Brutus was defeated. ...
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, young Marius gathered a large host of Samnites, who assuredly would lose influence with the antipopular Sulla in charge of Rome. Marius met Sulla at , and the two forces engaged in a long and desperate battle. In the end, many of Marius' men switched sides over to Sulla, and Marius had no choice but to retreat to
Praeneste Palestrina (ancient ''Praeneste''; grc, Πραίνεστος, ''Prainestos'') is a modern Italian city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or mun ...
. 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. This was not yet the end of the resistance, however, as the remaining Marian forces gathered together and attempted several times to relieve young Marius at Praeneste. A Samnite force under
Pontius Telesinus Pontius Telesinus (died 2 November 82 BC) was a leader of the Italic Samnites The Samnites were an ancient Italic people who lived in Samnium in south-central Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Itali ...
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 to threaten Rome. On November 1 82 BC, the two forces met at the Battle of the Colline Gate, just outside 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 his men and he were pushed right up against the city walls. Crassus' forces, however, fighting on Sulla's right wing, managed to turn the opposition's flank and drive them back. The Samnites and the Marian forces were folded up, and then broke. In the end, over 50,000 combatants lost their lives, and Sulla stood alone as the master of Rome.


Dictatorship and constitutional reforms

At the end of 82 BC or the beginning of 81 BC, the Senate appointed Sulla ''
dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the ...
legibus faciendis et reipublicae constituendae causa'' ("dictator for the making of laws and for the settling of the constitution"). The assembly of the people subsequently ratified the decision, with no limit set on his time in office. Sulla had total control of the city and Republic of Rome, except for
Hispania Hispania ( ; ) was the Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testame ...

Hispania
(which Marius' general
Quintus Sertorius Quintus Sertorius (c. 126 – 73 BC) was a Roman general and statesman who led Sertorian War, a large-scale rebellion against the Roman Senate on the Iberian peninsula. He had been a prominent member of the Populares, populist faction of Lucius Co ...
had established as an independent state). This unusual appointment (used hitherto only in times of extreme danger to the city, such as during the
Second Punic War The Second Punic War, which lasted from 218 to 201BC, was the second of three wars fought between Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading ...

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 Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
's dictatorship, and for the eventual end of the Republic under
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
. In total control of the city and its affairs, Sulla instituted a series of
proscription '' The Proscribed Royalist, 1651'', painted by John Everett Millais c. 1853, in which a Puritan woman hides a fleeing Royalist proscript in the hollow of a tree Proscription ( la, proscriptio) is, in current usage, a 'decree of condemnation to ...
s (a program of executing those whom he perceived as enemies of the state and confiscating their property). Plutarch states in his ''Life of Sulla'' that "Sulla now began to make blood flow, and he filled the city with deaths without number or limit," further alleging that many of the murdered victims had nothing to do with Sulla, though Sulla killed them to "please his adherents."
Sulla immediately proscribed 80 persons without communicating with any magistrate. As this caused a general murmur, he let one day pass, and then proscribed 220 more, and again on the third day as many. In an harangue to the people, he said, with reference to these measures, that he had proscribed all he could think of, and as to those who now escaped his memory, he would proscribe them at some future time.
The proscriptions are widely perceived as a response to similar killings that Marius and Cinna had implemented while they controlled 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 as many as 9,000 people were estimated to have been killed. The purge went on for several months. Helping or sheltering a proscribed person was punishable by death, while killing a proscribed person was rewarded with two talents. Family members of the proscribed were not excluded from punishment, and slaves were not excluded from rewards. As a result, "husbands were butchered in the arms of their wives, sons in the arms of their mothers." The majority of the proscribed had not been enemies of Sulla, but instead were killed for their property, which was confiscated and auctioned off. The proceeds from auctioned property more than made up for the cost of rewarding those who killed the proscribed, filling the treasury. Possibly to protect himself from future political retribution, Sulla had the sons and grandsons of the proscribed banned from running for political office, a restriction not removed for over 30 years. The young Gaius Julius Caesar, as Cinna's son-in-law, became 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. Historian
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

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 Mariuses." Sulla, who opposed the
Gracchi The Gracchi brothers, Tiberius Tiberius Caesar Augustus ( ; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (s ...
an ''popularis'' reforms, was an ''optimate''; though his coming to the side of the traditional Senate originally could be described as atavistic when dealing with the tribunate and legislative bodies, while more visionary when reforming the court system, governorships, and membership of the Senate. As such, he sought to strengthen the aristocracy, and thus the Senate. Sulla retained his earlier reforms, which required senatorial approval before any bill could be submitted to the
Plebeian Council The ''Concilium Plebis'' (English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually ...
(the principal popular assembly), and which had also restored the older, more aristocratic "Servian" organization to the
Centuriate Assembly The Centuriate Assembly (: ''comitia centuriata'') of the was one of the three voting assemblies in the . It was named the Centuriate Assembly as it originally divided Roman citizens into groups of one hundred men by classes. The centuries initial ...
(assembly of soldiers). Sulla, himself a patrician, thus ineligible for election to the office of
Plebeian Tribune Tribune of the plebs, tribune of the people or plebeian tribune ( la, tribunus plebis) was the first office of the Roman state that was open to the plebeians The plebeians, also called plebs, were, in ancient Rome In historiography, anci ...

Plebeian Tribune
, thoroughly disliked the office. As Sulla viewed the office, the tribunate was especially dangerous, and his intention was to not only deprive the Tribunate of power, but also of prestige (Sulla himself had been officially deprived of his eastern command through the underhanded activities of a tribune). Over the previous 300 years, the tribunes had directly challenged the patrician class and attempted to deprive it of power in favor of the plebeian class. Through Sulla's 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. Finally, Sulla revoked the power of the tribunes to veto acts of the Senate, although he left intact the tribunes' power to protect individual Roman citizens. Sulla then increased the number of magistrates elected in any given year, and required that all newly elected ''
quaestor A ( , ; "investigator") was a public official in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest ...
es'' gain automatic membership in the Senate. These two reforms were enacted primarily to allow Sulla to increase the size of the Senate from 300 to 600 senators. This also removed the need for the ''censor'' to draw up a list of senators, since more than enough former magistrates were always available to fill the Senate. To further solidify the prestige and authority of the Senate, Sulla transferred the control of the courts from the'' equites'', 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. Sulla also codified, and thus established definitively, the ''
cursus honorum The ''cursus honorum'' (; , or more colloquially 'ladder of offices') was the sequential order of public offices held by aspiring politicians in the Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; ...
'', 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 this end, he reaffirmed the requirement that any individual wait for 10 years before being re-elected 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. Finally, in a demonstration of his absolute power, Sulla expanded the
Pomerium The pomerium or pomoerium was a religious boundary around the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan ...

Pomerium
, the sacred boundary of Rome, unchanged since the time of the kings. Sulla's reforms both looked to the past (often repassing former laws) and regulated for the future, particularly in his redefinition of ''maiestas'' (treason) laws and in his reform of the Senate. After a second consulship in 80 BC (with
Metellus Pius Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius (c. 128 – 63 BC) was a Roman politician and general. Like the other members of the influential Caecilia gens, Caecilii Metelli family, he was a leader of the Optimates, the conservative faction opposed to the Popu ...
), Sulla, true to his traditionalist sentiments, resigned his dictatorship in early 79, disbanded his legions, and re-established normal consular government. He dismissed his''
lictor A lictor (possibly from la, ligare, "to bind") was a Ancient Rome, Roman civil servant who was an attendant and bodyguard to a Roman magistrate, magistrate who held ''imperium''. Lictors are documented since the Roman Kingdom, and may have origi ...

lictor
es'' and walked unguarded in the Forum, offering to give account of his actions to any citizen. In a manner that the historian
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
thought arrogant, Julius Caesar later mocked Sulla for resigning the dictatorship.


Retirement and death

As promised, when his tasks were complete, Sulla returned his powers and withdrew to his country villa near
Puteoli Pozzuoli (; ; ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides many of the basic civil fu ...
to be with his family. Plutarch states in his ''Life of Sulla'' that he retired to a life spent in dissolute luxuries, and he "consorted with actresses, harpists, and theatrical people, drinking with them on couches all day long." From this distance, Sulla remained out of the day-to-day political activities in Rome, intervening only a few times when his policies were involved (e.g. the execution of Granius, shortly before his own death).Valerius Maximus, ''Memorable Deeds and Sayings'', 9.3.8 Sulla's goal now was to write his memoirs, which he finished in 78 BC, just before his death. They are now largely lost, although fragments from them exist as quotations in later writers. Ancient accounts of Sulla's death indicate that he died from liver failure or a ruptured gastric ulcer (symptomized by a sudden hemorrhage from his mouth, followed by a fever from which he never recovered), possibly caused by chronic alcohol abuse. Accounts were also written that he had an infestation of worms, caused by the ulcers, which led to his death. His public funeral in Rome (in the Forum, in the presence of the whole city) was on a scale unmatched until that of
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
in AD 14. Sulla's body was brought into the city on a golden bier, escorted by his veteran soldiers, and funeral orations were delivered by several eminent senators, with the main oration possibly delivered by Lucius Marcius Philippus or Hortensius. Sulla's body was
cremated Cremation is a method of Disposal of human corpses, final disposition of a Cadaver, dead body through combustion, burning. Cremation may serve as a funeral or post-funeral rite and as an alternative to burial. In some countries, including India ...

cremated
and his ashes placed in his tomb in the
Campus Martius The Campus Martius (Latin for the "Field of Mars", Italian language, Italian ''Campo Marzio'') was a publicly owned area of ancient Rome about in extent. In the Middle Ages, it was the most populous area of Rome. The IV Rioni of Rome, rione of ...

Campus Martius
. An epitaph, which Sulla composed himself, was inscribed onto the tomb, reading, "No friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full." Plutarch claims he had seen Sulla's personal motto carved on his tomb on the
Campus Martius The Campus Martius (Latin for the "Field of Mars", Italian language, Italian ''Campo Marzio'') was a publicly owned area of ancient Rome about in extent. In the Middle Ages, it was the most populous area of Rome. The IV Rioni of Rome, rione of ...

Campus Martius
. The personal motto was "no better friend, no worse enemy."


Legacy

Sulla is generally seen as having set the precedent for Caesar's march on Rome and dictatorship. Cicero comments that Pompey once said, "If Sulla could, why can't I?" Sulla's example proved that it could be done, therefore inspiring others to attempt it; in this respect, he has been seen as another step in the Republic's fall. Further, Sulla failed to frame a settlement whereby the army (following the Marian reforms allowing nonland-owning soldiery) remained loyal to the Senate, rather than to generals such as himself. He attempted to mitigate this by passing laws to limit the actions of generals in their provinces, and although these laws remained in effect well into the imperial period, they did not prevent determined generals, such as Pompey and Julius Caesar, from using their armies for personal ambition against the Senate, a danger of which Sulla was intimately aware. While Sulla's laws such as those concerning qualification for admittance to the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...

Senate
, reform of the legal system and regulations of governorships remained on Rome's statutes long into the principate, much of his legislation was repealed less than a decade after his death. The
veto A veto (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Re ...
power of the tribunes and their legislating authority were soon reinstated, ironically during the
consulship A consul held the highest elected political office The incumbent is the current holder of an office An office is a space where an Organization, organization's employees perform Business administration, administrative Work (human acti ...
s of
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...
and
Crassus Marcus Licinius Crassus (; 115 – 53 BC) was a ancient Rome, Roman general and statesman who played a key role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. He is often called "the richest man in Rome."Wallechinsky, David & ...
. 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 Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Ancient Romans, Roman List of Roman generals, general and Politician, statesman. He won the first large-scale civil war in Roman history, and became the first man of Rom ...
in 5 BC, Faustus Cornelius Sulla in AD 31, Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix in AD 33, and
Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix (22 – 62 AD) was one of the lesser known figures of the Julio-Claudian dynasty of Ancient Rome. Felix was the son of Domitia Lepida the Younger and the suffect Roman consul, consul of 31, Faustus Cornelius Sulla Lucu ...
(the son of the consul of 31) in AD 52. The latter was the husband of
Claudia Antonia Claudia Antonia (Classical Latin: ANTONIA•CLAUDII•CAESARIS•FILIA (edd), ''Prosopographia Imperii Romani saeculi I, II et III'', Berlin, 1933 - A 886) (c. AD 30–AD 66) was the daughter and oldest surviving child of the Roman Emperor Cl ...
, daughter of the emperor
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial p ...

Claudius
. His execution in AD 62 on the orders of emperor
Nero Nero ( ; full name: Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68) was the fifth emperor of Rome. He was Adoption in Ancient Rome, adopted by the Roman emperor Claudius at the age of 13 and s ...

Nero
made him the last of the Cornelii Sullae. His rival,
Gnaeus Papirius Carbo Gnaeus Papirius Carbo (c. 129 – 82 BC) was thrice Roman consul, consul of the Roman Republic. Life A member of the Papirius Carbo, Carbones of the plebeian gens Papiria, and nephew of Gaius Papirius Carbo (consul 120 BC), Gaius 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.


Cultural references

* The dictator is the subject of four Italian operas, two of which take considerable liberties with history: ''
Lucio Silla ''Lucio Silla'' (), K. 135, is an Italian opera seria in three acts composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 17565 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a proli ...
'' by
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 17565 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, speci ...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
and ''
Silla Silla or Shilla (57 BCE57 BCE according to the '' Samguk Sagi''; however Seth 2010 notes that "these dates are dutifully given in many textbooks and published materials in Korea today, but their basis is in myth; only Goguryeo may be traced ...
'' by
George Frideric Handel George Frideric (or Frederick) Handel (; baptised , ; 23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a of , , , , and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th century until the 1740 ...
. In each, he is portrayed as a bloody, womanizing, ruthless tyrant who eventually repents his ways and steps down from the throne of Rome.
Pasquale Anfossi Pasquale Anfossi (5 April 1727 – February 1797) was an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian languag ...

Pasquale Anfossi
and
Johann Christian Bach Johann Christian Bach (September 5, 1735 – January 1, 1782) was a German composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical ...

Johann Christian Bach
also wrote operas on this subject. * Sulla is a central character in the first three ''
Masters of Rome ''Masters of Rome'' is a series of historical novels by Australian author Colleen McCullough, set in ancient Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map ...
'' novels, by
Colleen McCullough Colleen Margaretta McCullough (; married name Robinson, previously Ion-Robinson; 1 June 193729 January 2015) was an Australian author known for her novels, her most well-known being ''The Thorn Birds'' and ''The Ladies of Missalonghi''. Life M ...
. Sulla is depicted as ruthless and amoral, very self-assured, and personally brave and charming, especially with women. His charm and ruthlessness make him a valuable aide to Gaius Marius. Sulla’s desire to move out of the shadow of aging Marius eventually leads to civil war. Sulla softened considerably after the birth of his son, and was devastated when the boy died at a young age. The novels depict Sulla full of regrets about having to put aside his homosexual relationship with a Greek actor to take up his public career. * Sulla is played by
Richard Harris Richard St John Harris (1 October 1930 – 25 October 2002) was an Irish actor and singer. He appeared on stage and in many films, notably as Frank Machin in ''This Sporting Life ''This Sporting Life'' is a 1963 British kitchen sink drama ...

Richard Harris
in the 2002 miniseries ''
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...
''. * Lucius Cornelius Sulla is also a character in the first book of the ''
Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roma ...
'' novels by Conn Iggulden, which are centered around the lives of Gaius Julius Caesar and Marcus Junius Brutus. * Sulla is a major character in ''Roman Blood'', the first of the ''
Roma Sub Rosa ''Roma Sub Rosa'' is the title of the series of historical mystery novels by Steven Saylor set in ancient Rome and populated by noteworthy denizens thereof. The phrase "Roma Sub Rosa" means, in Latin, "Rome under the rose". If a matter was ''sub ro ...
'' mystery novels by
Steven Saylor Steven Saylor (born March 23, 1956) is an American author of historical novels. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and classics. Saylor's best-known work is his ''Roma Sub Rosa'' historical mystery ...
. * Sulla is the subject of ''The Sword of Pleasure'', a novel by Peter Green published in the UK in 1957. The novel is in the form of an autobiography.


Marriages and children

* His first wife was Ilia, according to Plutarch. If Plutarch's text is to be amended to "Julia", then she is likely to have been one of the Julias related to Julius Caesar, most likely Julia Caesaris, Caesar's first cousin once removed. They had two children: ** The first was Cornelia Sulla, Cornelia, who first married Quintus Pompeius Rufus the Younger and later Mamercus Aemilius Lepidus Livianus, giving birth to Pompeia (wife of Julius Caesar), Pompeia (second wife of Julius Caesar) with the former. ** The second was Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who died young. * His second wife was Aelia. * His third wife was Cloelia, whom Sulla divorced due to sterility. * His fourth wife was Caecilia Metella (daughter of Metellus Dalmaticus), Caecilia Metella, with whom he also had two children: ** They had twins Faustus Cornelius Sulla, who was a ''quaestor'' in 54 BC, and Fausta Cornelia, who first married to Gaius Memmius (poet), Gaius Memmius (''praetor'' in 58 BC), then later to Titus Annius Milo (''praetor'' in 54 BC). Fausta's son from her first marriage was Gaius Memmius (consul 34 BC), Gaius Memmius, suffect consul in 34 BC. * His fifth and last wife was Valeria, with whom he had only one child, Cornelia Postuma, who was born after Sulla's death.


Appearance and character

Sulla was red-blond and blue-eyed, and had a dead-white face covered with red marks. Plutarch notes that Sulla considered that "his golden head of hair gave him a singular appearance." He was said to have a duality between being charming, easily approachable, and able to joke and cavort with the most simple of people, while also assuming a stern demeanor when he was leading armies and as dictator. An example of the extent of his charming side was that his soldiers would sing a ditty about Sulla's one testicle, although without truth, to which he allowed as being "fond of a jest." This duality, or inconsistency, made him very unpredictable and "at the slightest pretext, he might have a man crucified, but, on another occasion, would make light of the most appalling crimes; or he might happily forgive the most unpardonable offenses, and then punish trivial, insignificant misdemeanors with death and confiscation of property."Plutarch, ''Roman Lives'', Oxford University Press, 1999, translation by Robin Waterfield. p. 181. His excesses and penchant for debauchery could be attributed to the difficult circumstances of his youth, such as losing his father while he was still in his teens and retaining a doting stepmother, necessitating an independent streak from an early age. The circumstances of his relative poverty as a young man left him removed from his patrician brethren, enabling him to consort with revelers and experience the baser side of human nature. This "firsthand" understanding of human motivations and the ordinary Roman citizen may explain why he was able to succeed as a general despite lacking any significant military experience before his 30s.


Chronology

* ''circa'' 138 BC: Born in Rome; * 110 BC: Marries first wife; * 107-105 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 (serving his second consulship) in Gallia Transalpina; * 103 BC: ''Tribunus militum'' in the army of Marius (serving his third consulship) in Gallia Transalpina; * 102-101 BC: ''Legatus'' to
Quintus Lutatius Catulus Quintus Lutatius Catulus (149–87 BC) was a Roman consul, consul of the Roman Republic in 102 BC. His consular colleague was Gaius Marius. During their consulship the Cimbri and Teutons, Teutones marched south again and Cimbrian War, threatened t ...

Quintus Lutatius Catulus
(who was consul at the time) and ''pro consule'' in Gallia Cisalpina; * 101 BC: Took part in the defeat of the Cimbri at the
Battle of Vercellae The Battle of Vercellae, or Battle of the Raudine Plain, was fought on 30 July 101 BC on a plain near Vercellae in Gallia Cisalpina (modern day Northern Italy). A Germanic-Celtic confederation under the command of the Cimbric king Boiorix was d ...
* 97 BC: ''Praetor, Praetor urbanus'' * 96 BC: ''Promagistrate, Propraetor'' of the province of
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
, ''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 Marius * 87 BC: Commands Roman armies to fight King Mithridates VI Eupator, Mithridates of Pontus * 86 BC: Participates in the Sack of Athens (86 BC), sack of Athens, the Battle of Chaeronea (86 BC), battle of Chaeronea and the battle of Orchomenus * 85 BC: Liberates the provinces of Macedonia, Asia, and Cilicia from Pontic occupation * 84 BC: Reorganizes the province of Asia * 83 BC: Returns to Italy and undertakes civil war against the factional Marian government * 83-82 BC: Enters war with the followers of Gaius Marius the Younger and Cinna * 82 BC: Obtains victory at the battle of the Colline Gate * 82/81 BC: Appointed ''dictator legibus faciendis et rei publicae constituendae causa'' * 80 BC: Holds the consulship for the second time, with Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius, Metellus Pius as colleague; * 79 BC: Resigns the dictatorship and 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, perhaps of an intestinal ulcer, with funeral held in Rome


See also

*


References


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Plutarch's ''Life of Sulla''

Called to the Eagle: Some Sullan Centurions
{{Authority control Sulla, 138 BC births 78 BC deaths 2nd-century BC Romans 1st-century BC Roman augurs 1st-century BC Roman consuls 1st-century BC Roman praetors Ancient Roman dictators Ancient Roman generals Cornelii Sullae Leaders who took power by coup Memoirists Optimates Roman patricians Roman Athens Roman governors of Cilicia Roman governors of Hispania Romans who received the grass crown