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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
VIII. THE GREAT AGE OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC, 264-31 B.C.
» Contents of this ChapterPage 21
SULLA AND THE SOCIAL WAR, 90-88 B.C.
The second military leader whom this troubled period brought forth was Lucius Cornelius Sulla. He was a man of noble birth, and with his social gifts, his appreciation of art and letters, his knowledge of men and the world, presented a sharp contrast to Marius. Sulla's great abilities quickly brought him into public notice; he rose rapidly from one office to another; and in the Social War showed his skill as a commander. This struggle was the consequence of Rome's refusal to grant the rights of citizenship to her Italian allies. The strength of the rebellion lay among the Samnites and other peoples of central and southern Italy. The war came to an end only when Rome promised the franchise to all Italians who returned to their allegiance. Before many years had passed, the inhabitants of nearly all the Italian towns south of the Rubicon River received Roman citizenship. It was this same wise policy of making conquered peoples equal with herself that afterwards led Rome to grant citizenship to the inhabitants of the provinces.
SULLA AND THE MITHRADATIC WAR, 88-84 B.C.
What military honors were gained in the struggle belonged to Sulla. His reward was the consulship and an appointment as general in still another conflict which distracted Rome had to face. While that city had been busy with civil enemies and barbarian foes, a powerful state, known as Pontus, had been growing up in Asia Minor. Its king, Mithradates, overran the Roman provinces in the Orient and threatened to annex them to his own kingdom. But Sulla, with greatly inferior forces, compelled Mithradates to abandon his conquests, surrender his fleet, and pay a large indemnity. If Marius had the honor of repelling the barbarian invasion of the West, Sulla had the honor of preserving Rome's possessions in the East.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy