Friday, October 07, 2005

So...why SULLA?

"A famous Roman general stood poised to take the unprecedented step of marching on Rome with his legions, to purge the Senate of his political enemies and to ensure the downfall of a rival general, once more famous, now vying for command of the Roman armies. Of an old but decayed patrician family, he was famous for his conquest of foreign kings and his unrivaled luck in battle. He was ruthless, brilliant, alternately merciful and pitiless to his enemies. The younger general’s actions sent shock-waves to the very foundations of the enfeebled Republic and led to his seizing the dictatorship of Rome; however, he would not step aside from the office in the traditional six months, but proceeded to force through legislation to recreate Rome in his own image. His name would become a byword for those who helped destroy the Roman Republic in its final years.
His name was Lucius Cornelius Sulla “Felix” – the fortunate."

Here is the Wikipedia article on Sulla:

Sulla is my favorite Roman dictator. A man who took absolute power, used it to restore the government and its institutions, then retired to private life.

There are many scandalous things written about the man: that he murdered one of his lovers and also his step-mother in order to inherit their fortunes; that he was a homosexual (a dreadful crime in ancient Rome). These stories probably came from the fevered imaginations of his enemies (the few that survived)....sort of like having George Soros write a biography of George W. Bush.

I find it hard to believe that the villain portrayed in those writings would have worked so hard to restore Rome's traditions, then relinquish his power.

If you wish to read entertaining historical fiction involving Sulla and his mentor (and later arch enemy) Gaius Marius, I recommend the first three books in the "Masters of Rome" series by Colleen McCullough: THE FIRST MAN OF ROME, THE GRASS CROWN, and FORTUNE'S FAVORITES.


Post a Comment

<< Home