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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


IV. The Revolution

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter IX - Cinna and Sulla


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Page 16

Marian Reign of Terror

The gates of the capital were opened. The consul marched in with his legions; but Marius, scoffingly recalling the law of outlawry, refused to set foot in the city until the law allowed him to do so and the burgesses hastily assembled in the Forum to pass the annulling decree. He then entered, and with him the reign of terror. It was determined not to select individual victims, but to have all the notable men of the Optimate party put to death and to confiscate their property. The gates were closed; for five days and five nights the slaughter continued without interruption; even afterwards the execution of individuals who had escaped or been overlooked was of daily occurrence, and for months the bloody persecution went on throughout Italy.

The consul Gnaeus Octavius was the first victim. True to his often-expressed principle, that he would rather suffer death than make the smallest concession to men acting illegally, he refused even now to take flight, and in his consular robes awaited at the Janiculum the assassin, who was not slow to appear. Among the slain were Lucius Caesar (consul in 664) the celebrated victor of Acerrae;(4) his brother Gaius, whose unseasonable ambition had provoked the Sulpician tumult,(5) well known as an orator and poet and as an amiable companion; Marcus Antonius (consul in 655), after the death of Lucius Crassus beyond dispute the first pleader of his time; Publius Crassus (consul in 657) who had commanded with distinction in the Spanish and in the Social wars and also during the siege of Rome; and a multitude of the most considerable men of the government party, among whom the wealthy were traced out with especial zeal by the greedy executioners.

4. Cf. IV. VII. Combats with the Marsians

5. Cf. IV. VII. Sulpicius Rufus

Peculiarly sad seemed the death of Lucius Merula, who very much against his own wish had become Cinna's successor, and who now, when criminally impeached on that account and cited before the comitia, in order to anticipate the inevitable condemnation opened his veins, and at the altar of the Supreme Jupiter whose priest he was, after laying aside the priestly headband as the religious duty of the dying Flamen required, breathed his last; and still more the death of Quintus Catulus (consul in 652), once in better days the associate of the most glorious victory and triumph of that same Marius who now had no other answer for the suppliant relatives of his aged colleague than the monosyllabic order, "He must die."

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