Published on March 20, 2014
ROME THE LEGACY OF SULLA Political Developments in the Late Republic
I Need To Know: • relationship with Pompey and Crassus • proscriptions • Reforms • Senate • Tribunate • Military Power and the Provinces
The Story of Sulla and Marius
Background: The dictatorship of Sulla In 88BC Sulla was elected Consul. At this time King Mithridates of Pontus began his bid to conquer Rome's eastern provinces and invaded Greece. Rome needed to deal with the problem and had a choice – send Sulla or send Marius. The Senate wanted Sulla to put down Mithridates. Unfortunately for Rome, popular and equestrian interests (the Assembly) chose Marius to replace Sulla. Sulla convinced his army that he should be in charge and had them stone the representative from the Assembly to death. Sulla fought and defeated Mithridates at Chaeronea and Orchomenus. Silver denarius, military mint, 82 B.C.; obverse head of Roma right, PROQ (proquaestor ) behind, MANLI before; reverse Sulla walking in a quadriga right, holding reins in right hand and caduceus in left, crowned by Victory flying above, L SVLLA IM (imperator) in ex; ex Sayles and Lavender
Sulla then commanded six legions to march with him to Rome and institute a civil war. This was a momentous event, and a complete shock to Marius, as no Roman army had ever marched upon Rome—it was forbidden by law and ancient tradition. Sulla returned and killed his apponents. Marius tried to use gladiators to fight Sulla, but the well trained Sullan troops made easy work of the gladiators. Marius was defeated but escaped. (IMPORTANT – use of armed force to succeed politically). Sulla and the Senate issued a death sentence for Marius and some of his supporters
Sulla soon returned to fight his war. When he left, the infighting began between the conservative supporters of Sulla. Marius used this as an opportunity to come back to Rome with his troops. This time it was the army of Marius causing destruction. His army went through Rome killing Sulla’s main supporters. Their heads were displayed in the forum. The Senate then passed a law exiling Sulla and appointed Marius the new commander of the war. He was elected consul but died seventeen days into his consulship. Lucius Cornelius Sulla - a denarius portrait issued by his grandson
The consuls of 83 BC were preparing armies to stop Sulla entering Rome. He enlisted the help of Pompey and Crassus to assist him with the difficulties he was facing fighting his war. Pompey had raised a private army to assist Sulla. Battles were fought with Marian supporters, especially Carbo. On November 1 of 82 BC, the two forces met at the battle of the Colline Gate, just outside of Rome. The battle was a huge and desperate final struggle with both sides certainly believing their own victory would save Rome. Sulla was pushed hard on his left flank with the situation so dangerous that he and his men were pushed right up against the city walls. Crassus' forces, fighting on Sulla's right however, managed to turn the opposition's flank and drive them back. Rome mint. Front: Diana wearing cruciform earring and double necklace of pearls and pendants, and jewels in hair pulled into a knot; crescent above, lituus behind. Reverse: Sulla seated on a raised sea with a bound Jugurtha kneeling beside him; before him kneels Bocchus, offering an olive- branch. The coin portrays Sulla's first great victory, in which he ended the Jugurthine War.
The two forces met at the battle of the Colline Gate, just outside of Rome. Sulla was pushed hard on his left flank with the situation so dangerous that he and his men were pushed right up against the city walls. Crassus' forces, fighting on Sulla's right however, managed to turn the opposition's flank and drive them back. In the end, over 50,000 combatants lost their lives and Sulla stood alone as the master of Rome. Marius
At the end of 82 BC or the beginning of 81 BC, the Senate appointed Sulla dictator legibus faciendis et reipublicae constituendae causa ("dictator for the making of laws and for the settling of the constitution"). In total control of the city and its affairs, Sulla instituted a program of executing those whom he perceived to be enemies of the state. Plutarch describes in Life of Sulla (XXXI) "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 Wages Civil War Against Marius Captures Rome and Threatens to Destroy It
"Sulla immediately proscribed eighty persons without communicating with any magistrate. As this caused a general murmur, he let one day pass, and then proscribed two hundred and twenty 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." -Plutarch, Life of Sulla (XXXI) Sulla also introduced a series of reforms that significantly impacted on the remaining years of the republic. Sulla Now Dictator Posts Lists of Proscribed Citizens
The Legacy of Sulla The Legacy of Sulla
Relationship with Pompey • During the war many Marians had fled to Sicily, Africa and Spain. It was imperative for Sulla to secure these provinces and rid them of the opposition so he sent Pompey (only 24 years old) with special imperium, to deal with organised opposition in Sicily and Africa. • Sulla granted Pompey a triumph, although he strongly objected. Pompey was contravening Sulla’s own revision of the lex Villia Annalis. He had not held even the quaestorship. • SIGNIFICANCE = Provided a precedent for other powerful individuals with military backing to subvert the power of the Senate
Proscriptions * Sulla introduced proscriptions “Sulla now devoted himself entirely to the work of butchery” “There was much massacre, banishment and a confiscation also among those Italians who had obeyed Carbo or Marius’ SIGNIFICANCE = The example of Sulla killing his enemies was the greatest legacy: Pompey laid down his arms when he returned from the east, Caesar showed clemency towards his enemies following his victory in the Civil War. However, Octavian and Antony learnt from the death of Caesar and carried out a brutal program of proscriptions under the second Triumvirate. “They forgot the examples of Caesar and remembered Marius and Sulla” SCULLARD
Reforms Sulla’s objective was clear-cut: to establish stable and efficient government in Rome. His aims: 1. To strengthen the senate 2. To restrict the powers of the tribunes 3. To curb the independence of regular magistrates 4. To avoid dangers from proconsuls in the provinces 5. To increase the number of magistrates available for administration and jurisdiction 6. To reorganise the courts and juries
Reforms SIGNIFICANCE: Attempts to restore the republic. It wasn’t long after Sulla died that these reforms were ignored / challenged and changed – Why? Sulla had set the precedent for unusual powers for those with military backing. Pompey, Crassus and Caesar demanded powers and manipulated laws for their own gain.
The Senate • Sulla enlarged the senate by 300 new members (had been deleted by massacres and proscriptions) • Provided for future automatic recruitment from ex- quaestors • Senate’s approval was necessary before legislation was presented to the people • The Senate was to continue to decide provincial commands. SIGNIFICANCE = These reforms provided a challenge for Pompey, Crassus and Caesar – The senate was responsible for the move of Pompey towards Caesar and the instability and rivalry in the city (Syme)
The Tribunes • Sulla destroyed the tribunate, stripping it of those powers with which it had undermined the authority of the senate since the time of the Gracchi SIGNIFICANCE = Pompey and Crassus restored the powers of the tribunate of the legislative powers and the right to veto in the Year 70BC – They were backed by armies and intended to use the Tribunes to further their career / appose the Senate.
• Sulla tried to minimise the dangers from ambitious proconsuls in the provinces by limiting their term of office to one year and by having enough ex-consuls and ex-praetors to become governors. • He regulated methods of appointing provincial governors, made clear time frames. • SIGNIFICANCE = It was not from provincial governors that a future threat to the state would come. The greatest failure of Sulla’s reforms was in not taking precautions against the abuse of the imperium by those men who would be granted extraordinary commands to deal with the increasing threats to the empire. (Pompey and Crassus) Military Power and the Provinces
The most important thing to remember:
His REAL legacy….. • Sulla’s greatest legacy however, was paving the way for use of force as a political tool. “It was the memory of Sulla’s example and methods that proved most enduring” BRUNT • “Even Sulla could not abolish his own example not to preclude a successor to his domination” SYME • He achieved all with military force and violence, a combination that would be used by others following him. • “But the chief danger to the republic was, as Sulla’s own career had shown, the rebellious proconsul at the head of an army more loyal to himself than to Rome” SEAGER
Option M (Rome) 1.1; Download. of 20
Option M (Rome) 2.1; Download. of 31
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