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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 X - The Sullan Constitution


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Page 61

Character of Sulla

Posterity has not justly appreciated either Sulla himself or his work of reorganization, as indeed it is wont to judge unfairly of persons who oppose themselves to the current of the times. In fact Sulla is one of the most marvellous characters--we may even say a unique phenomenon--in history. Physically and mentally of sanguine temperament, blue-eyed, fair, of a complexion singularly white but blushing with every passionate emotion--though otherwise a handsome man with piercing eyes--he seemed hardly destined to be of more moment to the state than his ancestors, who since the days of his great-great-grandfather Publius Cornelius Rufinus (consul in 464, 477), one of the most distinguished generals and at the same time the most ostentatious man of the times of Pyrrhus, had remained in second- rate positions. He desired from life nothing but serene enjoyment.

Reared in the refinement of such cultivated luxury as was at that time naturalized even in the less wealthy senatorial families of Rome, he speedily and adroitly possessed himself of all the fulness of sensuous and intellectual enjoyments which the combination of Greek polish and Roman wealth could secure. He was equally welcome as a pleasant companion in the aristocratic saloon and as a good comrade in the tented field; his acquaintances, high and low, found in him a sympathizing friend and a ready helper in time of need, who gave his gold with far more pleasure to his embarrassed comrade than to his wealthy creditor.

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