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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 74

The extent of his occasional forbearance is hardly credible: for instance Lacius Murena was not only released from punishment for defeats which he sustained through arrant perversity and insubordination,(53) but was even allowed a triumph; Gnaeus Pompeius, who had behaved still worse, was still more extravagantly honoured by Sulla.(54)

53. Cf. IV. IX. Fresh Difficulties with Mithradates

54. Cf. IV. IX. Fresh Difficulties with Mithradates, Cf. IV. X. Re-establishment of Constitutional Order

The extensive range and the worst enormities of the proscriptions and confiscations probably arose not so much from Sulla's own wish as from this spirit of indifference, which in his position indeed was hardly more pardonable. That Sulla with his intrinsically energetic and yet withal indifferent temperament should conduct himself very variously, sometimes with incredible indulgence, sometimes with inexorable severity, may readily be conceived. The saying repeated a thousand times, that he was before his regency a good-natured, mild man, but when regent a bloodthirsty tyrant, carries in it its own refutation; if he as regent displayed the reverse of his earlier gentleness, it must rather be said that he punished with the same careless nonchalance with which he pardoned.

This half-ironical frivolity pervades his whole political action. It is always as if the victor, just as it pleased him to call his merit in gaining victory good fortune, esteemed the victory itself of no value; as if he had a partial presentiment of the vanity and perishableness of his own work; as if after the manner of a steward he preferred making repairs to pulling down and rebuilding, and allowed himself in the end to be content with a sorry plastering to conceal the flaws.

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