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Meanwhile, the miseries inflicted upon Rome by her own citizens were outdone by the barbarities of which her soldiers were guilty towards her Eastern provinces and enemies. Three years of mingled devastations, mutinies, murders, and victories had brought the war with Mithridates and the onslaught upon Greece and Asia Minor to a dismal close ; 40 and without tarrying to complete the arrangements which the peace required, Sulla began to move, with all his most trusted soldiers, back to Rome. The time was come for civil and for foreign conflicts to show their work, in the submission of the Commonwealth — for which fathers had slain their children and women had refused to weep over their lovers and their sons — to despotism. Sulla, personally, had waited only to secure his return in triumph; for, while the life-long devotion of his soldiers had been gained by his indulgences and their permitted rapines, the power of his antagonists had crumbled away, as of itself, leaving the whole body of his countrymen exposed to any blows or chains he might see fit to bring upon them. Some time before he actually started on his homeward march, he wrote from Athens to inform the Senate of his intention to return for the reparation of his private injuries and the condemnation of the public crimes ; 41 and when ambassadors hurried to him in consequence from the Senate, he answered, briefly and bitterly, to their interrogatories, that the friends #2
40 Peace was made A. C. 84. of the higher ranks : — “Major pars App., Bell. Mithrid., 55, 58. nobilitatis.” Vell. Pat., II. 23.
41 App., Bell. Civ., I. 77. So Plut., Sull., 22. 42 His camp was full of fugitives
who were with him in exile must be recalled and reinstated in their possessions, but that even then he could never be on any terms with the perpetrators of the enormities by which he and his adherents had been outraged.43 Such replies were like the frosty gusts of winter to those to whom they were borne ; and though the remaining adherents of their fast approaching foe were massacred at Rome,44 and the very temples of the gods were plundered to pay the troops 45 who should stand in the way of Sulla's soldiers, the year during which resistance was protracted soon closed in submission. The conqueror, who had played the fox and the lion with equal effect, and by whose side were gathered many of the most illustrious and the most promising of his countrymen, Metellus Pius, Crassus Dives, and the youthful Cneius Pompeius Strabo, took possession of Rome ; 46 and the agony of doubt, at least, was ended.
The final battle at the gates was fought with the Samnites, 47 who had vainly hoped to find some room for victory where their foes stood sundered amongst themselves. Within the walls, and at the summit, so to speak, of the whole city, the Capitol, some time before destroyed by fire,48 now lay in ruins. It was through this butchery of the last Italians in arms and to the blackened temple of his own Rome, that Sulla wended his way, begirt by bloody men and inspired by horrible resolves. His victory, for which he soon afterwards called himself the Fortunate, 49 was the sign how far mercy, peace, and liberty were extinct amongst his race and through the heathen world.
43 Liv., Epit. LXXXIV. App., 46 Metellus was the son of MaBell. Civ., I. 79.
rius's opponent, Metellus Numidi44 App., Bell. Civ., I. 88. Cf. cus; Pompeius, or, as we call him, 56 ; Liv., Epit. LXXXVI. Pompey, of Pompeius Strabo, the
45 Val. Max., VII. 6. 4. 200,000 Consul in the Social War. It was men were at one time in arms. Carbo who said that he had to fight Vell. Pat., II. 24. Sulla had 30,000 both a fox and a lion in Sulla. or 40,000. Ibid., and App., Bell. Plut., Sull., 28. Civ., I. 79.
47 Vell. Pat., II. 27.
That night, according to his own confession,50 he could not sleep; and the visions of his darkened chamber were soon the realities of the overshadowed city. Calling the people, shuddering every one of them, except his followers, for their own fate, into the Forum, he declared that he would be good to them, if they obeyed him, but that not one of his enemies would be spared.51 The threat was thoroughly fulfilled, and not in Rome alone, but over Italy, wherever an estate could be found for confiscation, or a life be marked for assassination. If we turned away from the fury of Marius, we ought scarcely to hint the atrocity of Sulla; and nearly all that need be told is, that every vice the latter had, whether of luxury or avarice or cruelty,32 was satisfied. Ninety Senators, fifteen of consular rank, and twenty-six hundred Knights were slain or exiled, besides those that had fallen in actual war, the more than one hundred thousand Roman and Italian youth whom the historian numbers.53 Eight thousand prisoners fell in a single massacre ; 54 whole towns were fined, dismantled, or sold ; 55 into every sheepfold 56 there was an irruption, and in every den of the fiercer amongst the vanquished there was a deadly conflict. The sole bounds upon the bloodthirstiness of the victor were set by his own pleasure, that some should live to see his greatness and to obey him.57
48 App., Bell. Civ., 1. 83.
52 “ Trium pestiferorum vitio49 “ Felix." Vell. Pat., II. 27. rum,” says Cicero, who, though Now A. C. 82.
young, knew Sulla well, “luxuriæ, 50 Ap. Plut., An Sen., etc., Tom. avaritiæ, crudelitatis magister fuit." IX. p. 143, ed. Reiske.
De Fin. Bon. et Mal., III. 22. 51 App., Bell. Civ., I. 95.
These outrages, and others worse than these, upon humanity and liberty would seem less fatal, had they been Sulla's work alone, or even had they been applauded merely by the soldiery or the populace. But the higher classes, or that portion of them which survived his butcheries, were united with him, not so much in fear for their safety, as in satisfaction of old enmities and in hope of new honors; many, even, for the sake of a neighbour's land, or for the palace of a rich man, sometimes on their own side.58 The Senate, so called, after losing its ninety members, was emphatically devoted to Sulla; and many
53 App., Bell. Civ., I. 103. Eu- who would sup full of horrors may tropius (V. 9) says more.' “ Ne turn to Liv., Epit. LXXXVIII. dici quidem opus est,” says Cicero LXXXIX; Plut., Sull., 30 - 33 ; (In Cat., III. 10), “ quanta dimi- App., Bell. Civ., I. 94 - 96, 100, nutione civium et quanta calamitate 101; Vell. Pat., II. 28; Val. Max., reipublicæ."
IX. 2. 1. 54 Liv., Epit. LXXXVIII. Cf. 57 « Vivere aliquos debere ut Plut., Sull., 30.
essent quibus imperarent.” Flor., 55 Flor., III. 21. App., Bell. III. 21. Civ., I. 96.
58 “ Neque prius finis jugulandi 56 “ Et miseræ maculavit ovilia fuit quam Sulla omnes suos divitiis Romæ.” Lucan., II. 197. Any one explevit." Sall., Cat., 51.
of the younger men, like Pompey, were as ready to join the throng, from motives a little higher than those enumerated, perhaps believing him to be the champion of their principles in contradiction to those of Marius and Cinna, or convinced, without this faith, that there was no other man to take the lead amongst their long-distracted fellow-citizens.59 Be these things as they may, there is little doubt about the position which Sulla himself intended to occupy, not as the leader of any party or of any parties, but as the sovereign of the entire Commonwealth.
The leaders of the faction he had crushed were fled or slain, unlamented even by their own adherents. Only Quintus Sertorius, the single capable and upright one of all, had been able, with some followers, before Sulla's victory, to seek refuge in Spain, where he will shortly be found. The few men or the few families in Rome, of whom no account is preserved, who must have lived in comparative indignation at the deeds they every day beheld, were too anxious for their own safety co to plead for the safety of their countrymen, or for respect to their country. Porcius Cato, now nine years older than when he slighted the menaces of Pompædius Silo, asked, on beholding the monstrous cruelties of which Sulla's house or its neighbourhood was the hourly scene, why, if others feared, he was not himself armed to kill the tyrant and deliver Rome. A young
59 “ Egregie auctoritate nobili- 60 See App., Bell. Civ., I. 97 ; tatis defensus.” Val. Max., IX. Dion Cass., Fragm. CXXXVII. 2.1.
61 Plut., Cat. Min., 3.