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This webpage reproduces a Book of
The Histories


published in the Loeb Classical Library,

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Book II

The Civil Wars

Book I




1 1 The plebeians and Senate of Rome were often at strife with each other concerning the enactment of laws, the cancelling of debts, the division of lands, or the election of magistrates. Internal discord did not, however, bring them to blows; there were dissensions merely and contests within the limits of the law, which they composed by making mutual concessions, and with much respect for each other. Once when the plebeians were entering on a campaign they fell into a controversy of the sort, but they did not use the weapons in their hands, but withdrew to the hill, which from that time on was called the Sacred Mount. Even then no violence was done, but they created a magistrate for their protection and called him the Tribune of the Plebs, to serve especially as a check upon the consuls, who were chosen by the Senate,​1 so that political power should not be exclusively in their hands. From this arose still  p5 greater bitterness, and the magistrates were arrayed in stronger animosity to each other from this time on, and the Senate and plebeians took sides with them, each believing that it would prevail over the other by augmenting the power of its own magistrates. It was in the midst of contests of this kind that Marcius Coriolanus, having been banished contrary to justice, took refuge with the Volsci and levied war against his country.

2 1 This is the only case of armed strife that can be found in the ancient seditions, and this was caused by an exile. The sword was never carried into the assembly, and there was no civil butchery until Tiberius Gracchus, while serving as a tribune and bringing forward new laws, was the first to fall a victim to internal commotion; and with him many others, who were crowded together at the Capitol round the temple, were also slain. Sedition did not end with this abominable deed. Repeatedly the parties came into open conflict, often carrying daggers; and from time to time in the temples, or the assemblies, or the forum, some tribune, or praetor, or consul, or candidate for these offices, or some person otherwise distinguished, would be slain. Unseemly violence prevailed almost constantly, together with shameful contempt for law and justice. As the evil gained in magnitude open insurrections against the government and large warlike expeditions against their country were undertaken by exiles, or criminals, or persons contending against each other for some office or military command. There arose chiefs of factions quite frequently, aspiring to supreme power, some of them refusing to disband the troops entrusted to them by the people, others even hiring  p7 forces against each other on their own account, without public authority. Whenever either side first got possession of the city, the opposition party made war nominally against their own adversaries, but actually against their country. They assailed it like an enemy's capital, and ruthless and indiscriminate massacres of citizens were perpetrated. Some were proscribed, others banished, property was confiscated, and prisoners were even subjected to excruciating tortures.

3 1 No unseemly deed was left undone until, about fifty years after the death of Gracchus, Cornelius Sulla, one of these chiefs of factions, doctoring one evil with another, made himself sole master of the state for a very long time. Such officials were formerly called dictators — an office created in the most perilous emergencies for six months only, and long since fallen into disuse. But Sulla, although nominally elected, became dictator for life by force and compulsion. Nevertheless he became satiated with power and was the first man, so far as I know, holding supreme power, who had the courage to lay it down voluntarily and to declare that he would render an account of his steward­ship to any who were dissatisfied with it. And so, for a considerable period, he walked to the forum as a private citizen in the sight of all and returned home unmolested, so great was the awe of his government still remaining in the minds of the onlookers, or their amazement at his laying it down. Perhaps they were ashamed to call him to account, or entertained other good feeling toward him, or a belief that his despotism had been beneficial to the state.

Thus there was a cessation of factions for a short  p9 time while Sulla lived, and a compensation for the evils which he had wrought, 4 1 but after his death similar troubles broke out and continued until Gaius Caesar, who had held the command in Gaul by election for some years, when ordered by the Senate to lay down his command, excused himself on the ground that this was not the wish of the Senate, but of Pompey, his enemy, who had command of an army in Italy, and was scheming to depose him. So he sent proposals that either both should retain their armies, so neither need fear the other's enmity, or that Pompey also should dismiss his forces and live as a private citizen under the laws in like manner with himself. Both suggestions being refused, he marched from Gaul against Pompey into Roman territory, entered Rome, and finding Pompey fled, pursued him into Thessaly, won a brilliant victory over him in a great battle,​2 and followed him to Egypt. After Pompey had been slain by certain Egyptians Caesar set to work on Egyptian affairs and remained there until he could settle the dynasty of that country. Then he returned to Rome. Having over­powered by war his principal rival, who had been surnamed the Great on account of his brilliant military exploits, he now ruled without disguise, nobody daring any longer to dispute with him about anything, and was chosen, next after Sulla, dictator for life. Again all civil dissensions ceased until Brutus and Cassius, envious of his great power and desiring to restore the government of their fathers, slew in the Senate-house one who had proved himself truly popular, and most experienced in the art of government. The people certainly mourned for him greatly. They  p11 scoured the city in pursuit of his murderers, buried him in the middle of the forum, built a temple on the site of his funeral pyre, and offer sacrifice to him as a god.

5 1 And now civil discord broke out again worse than ever and increased enormously. Massacres, banishments, and proscriptions of both senators and knights took place straightway, including great numbers of both classes, the chiefs of factions surrendering their enemies to each other, and for this purpose not sparing even their friends and brothers; so much did animosity toward rivals overpower the love of kindred. So in the course of events the Roman empire was partitioned, as though it had been their private property, by these three men: Antony, Lepidus, and the one who was first called Octavius, but afterwards Caesar from his relation­ship to the other Caesar and adoption in his will. Shortly after this division they fell to quarrelling among themselves, as was natural, and Octavius, who was the superior in understanding and skill, first deprived Lepidus of Africa, which had fallen to his lot, and afterward, as the result of the battle of Actium, took from Antony all the provinces lying between Syria and the Adriatic gulf. Thereupon, while all the world was filled with astonishment at these wonder­ful displays of power, he sailed to Egypt and took that country, which was the oldest and at that time the strongest possession of the successors of Alexander, and the only one wanting to complete the Roman empire as it now stands. In immediate consequence of these exploits he was, while still living, the first to be regarded by  p13 the Romans as 'august,'​3 and to be called by them "Augustus." He assumed to himself an authority like Caesar's over the country and the subject nations, and even greater than Caesar's, no longer needing any form of election, or authorization, or even the pretence of it. His government proved both lasting and master­ful, and being himself success­ful in all things and dreaded by all, he left a lineage and succession that held the supreme power in like manner after him.

6 1 Thus, out of multifarious civil commotions, the Roman state passed into harmony and monarchy. To show how these things came about I have written and compiled this narrative, which is well worth the study of those who wish to know the measureless ambition of men, their dreadful lust of power, their unwearying perseverance, and the countless forms of evil. And it is especially necessary for me to describe these things beforehand since they are the preliminaries of my Egyptian history, and will end where that begins, for Egypt was seized in consequence of this last civil commotion, Cleopatra having joined forces with Antony. On account of its magnitude I have divided the work, first taking up the events that occurred from the time of Sempronius Gracchus to that of Cornelius Sulla; next, those that followed to the death of Caesar. The remaining books of the civil wars treat of those waged by the triumvirs against each other and the Roman people, up to the grand climax of these conflicts, the battle of Actium fought by Octavius Caesar against Antony and Cleopatra together, which will be the beginning of the Egyptian history.



7 1 The Romans, as they subdued the Italian peoples successively in war, used to seize a part of their lands and build towns there, or enrol colonists of their own to occupy those already existing, and their idea was to use these as outposts;​4 but of the land acquired by war they assigned the cultivated part forthwith to the colonists, or sold or leased it. Since they had no leisure as yet to allot the part which then lay desolated by war (this was generally the greater part), they made proclamation that in the meantime those who were willing to work it might do so for a toll of the yearly crops, a tenth of the grain and a fifth of the fruit. From those who kept flocks was required a toll of the animals, both oxen and small cattle. They did these things in order to multiply the Italian race, which they considered the most laborious of peoples, so that they might have plenty of allies at home. But the very opposite thing happened; for the rich, getting possession of the greater part of the undistributed lands, and being emboldened by the lapse of time to believe that they would never be dispossessed, absorbing any adjacent strips and their poor neighbours' allotments, partly by purchase under persuasion and partly by force, came to cultivate vast tracts instead of single estates, using slaves as labourers and herdsmen, lest free labourers should be drawn from agriculture into the army. At the same time the owner­ship of slaves brought them great gain from the multitude of their progeny, who increased because  p17 they were exempt from military service. Thus certain power­ful men became extremely rich and the race of slaves multiplied throughout the country, while the Italian people dwindled in numbers and strength, being oppressed by penury, taxes, and military service. If they had any respite from these evils they passed their time in idleness, because the land was held by the rich, who employed slaves instead of freemen as cultivators.

8 1 For these reasons the people became troubled lest they should no longer have sufficient allies of the Italian stock, and lest the government itself should be endangered by such a vast number of slaves. As they did not perceive any remedy, for it was not easy, nor in any way just, to deprive men of so many possessions they had held so long, including their own trees, buildings, and fixtures, a law was at last passed with difficulty at the instance of the tribunes, that nobody should hold more than 500 jugera5 of this land,​6 or pasture on it more than 100 cattle or 500 sheep. To ensure the observance of this law it was provided also that there should be a certain number of freemen employed on the farms, whose business it should be to watch and report what was going on.

Having thus comprehended all this in a law, they took an oath over and above the law, and fixed penalties for violating it, and it was supposed that the remaining land would soon be divided among the poor in small parcels. But there was not the smallest consideration shown for the law or the oaths. The few who seemed to pay some respect to them conveyed their lands to their relations fraudulently, but the greater  p19 part disregarded it altogether, 9 1 till at last Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, an illustrious man, eager for glory, a most power­ful speaker, and for these reasons well known to all, delivered an eloquent discourse, while serving as tribune, concerning the Italian race, lamenting that a people so valiant in war, and related in blood to the Romans, were declining little by little into pauperism and paucity of numbers without any hope of remedy. He inveighed against the multitude of slaves as useless in war and never faithful to their masters, and adduced the recent calamity brought upon the masters by their slaves in Sicily,​7 where the demands of agriculture had greatly increased the number of the latter; recalling also the war waged against them by the Romans, which was neither easy nor short, but long-protracted and full of vicissitudes and dangers. After speaking thus he again brought forward the law, providing that nobody should hold more than the 500 jugera of the public domain. But he added a provision to the former law, that the sons of the occupiers might each hold one-half of that amount, and that the remainder should be divided among the poor by three elected commissioners,​8 who should be changed annually.

10 1 This was extremely disturbing to the rich because, on account of the triumvirs, they could no longer disregard the law as they had done before; nor could they buy the allotments of others, because Gracchus had provided against this by forbidding sales. They collected together in groups, and made lamentation, and accused the poor of appropriating  p21 the results of their tillage, their vineyards, and their dwellings. Some said that they had paid the price of the land to their neighbours. Were they to lose the money with their land? Others said that the graves of their ancestors were in the ground, which had been allotted to them in the division of their fathers' estates. Others said that their wives' dowries had been expended on the estates, or that the land had been given to their own daughters as dowry. Money-lenders could show loans made on this security. All kinds of wailing and expressions of indignation were heard at once. On the other side were heard the lamentations of the poor — that they were being reduced from competence to extreme penury, and from that to childlessness, because they were unable to rear their offspring. They recounted the military services they had rendered, by which this very land had been acquired, and were angry that they should be robbed of their share of the common property. They reproached the rich for employing slaves, who were always faithless and ill-disposed and for that reason unserviceable in war, instead of freemen, citizens, and soldiers. While these classes were thus lamenting and indulging in mutual accusations, a great number of others, composed of colonists, or inhabitants of the free towns, or persons otherwise interested in the lands and who were under like apprehensions, flocked in and took sides with their respective factions. Emboldened by numbers and exasperated against each other they kindled considerable disturbances, and waited eagerly for the voting on the new law, some intending to prevent its enactment by all means, and others to enact it at all costs. In addition to personal interest the spirit of  p23 rivalry spurred both sides in the preparations they were making against each other for the appointed day.

11 1 What Gracchus had in his mind in proposing the measure was not money, but men. Inspired greatly by the usefulness of the work, and believing that nothing more advantageous or admirable could ever happen to Italy, he took no account of the difficulties surrounding it. When the time for voting came he advanced many other arguments at considerable length and also asked them whether it was not just to let the commons divide the common property; whether a citizen was not worthy of more consideration at all times than a slave; whether a man who served in the army was not more useful than one who did not; and whether one who had a share in the country was not more likely to be devoted to the public interests. He did not dwell long on this comparison between freemen and slaves, which he considered degrading, but proceeded at once to a review of their hopes and fears for the country, saying that the Romans possessed most of their territory by conquest, and that they had hopes of occupying the rest of the habitable world; but now the question of greatest hazard was, whether they should gain the rest by having plenty of brave men, or whether, through their weakness and mutual jealousy, their enemies should take away what they already possessed. After exaggerating the glory and riches on the one side and the danger and fear on the other, he admonished the rich to take heed, and said that for the realization of these hopes they ought to bestow this very land as a free gift, if necessary, on men who would rear children, and not,  p25 by contending about small things, overlook larger ones; especially since for any labour they had spent they were receiving ample compensation in the undisputed title to 500 jugera each of free land, in a high state of cultivation, without cost, and half as much more for each son in the case of those who had sons. After saying much more to the same purport and exciting the poor, as well as others who were moved by reason rather than by the desire for gain, he ordered the clerk to read the proposed law.

12 1 Marcus Octavius, however, another tribune, who had been induced by those in possession of the lands to interpose his veto (for among the Romans the negative veto always defeats an affirmative proposal), ordered the clerk to keep silence. Thereupon Gracchus reproached him severely and adjourned the comitia to the following day.​9 Then he stationed near himself a sufficient guard, as if to force Octavius against his will, and ordered the clerk with threats to read the proposed law to the multitude. He began to read, but when Octavius again forbade he stopped. Then the tribunes fell to wrangling with each other, and a considerable tumult arose among the people. The leading citizens besought the tribunes to submit their controversy to the Senate for decision. Gracchus seized on the suggestion, believing that the law was acceptable to all well-disposed persons, and hastened to the senate-house. But, as he had only a few followers there and was upbraided by the rich, he ran back to the forum and said that he would take the vote at the comitia of the following day, both on the law and on the official rights of Octavius, to determine  p27 whether a tribune who was acting contrary to the people's interest could continue to hold office. And this Gracchus did; for when Octavius, nothing daunted, again interposed, Gracchus proposed to take the vote on him first.

When the first tribe voted to abrogate the magistracy of Octavius, Gracchus turned to him and begged him to desist from his veto. As he would not yield, he took the votes of the other tribes. There were thirty-five tribes at that time. The seventeen that voted first passionately supported the motion. If the eighteenth should do the same it would make a majority. Again did Gracchus, in the sight of the people, urgently importune Octavius in his present extreme danger not to prevent a work which was most righteous and useful to all Italy, and not to frustrate the wishes so earnestly entertained by the people, whose desires he ought rather to share in his character of tribune, and not to risk the loss of his office by public condemnation. After speaking thus he called the gods to witness that he did not willingly do any despite to his colleague. As Octavius was still unyielding he went on taking the vote. Octavius was forthwith reduced to the rank of a private citizen and slunk away unobserved. Quintus Mummius was chosen tribune in his place, and the agrarian law was enacted.

13 1 The first triumvirs appointed to divide the land were Gracchus himself, the proposer of the law, his brother of the same name,​10 and his father-in‑law, Appius Claudius, since the people still feared that the law might fail of execution unless Gracchus should take the lead with his whole family. Gracchus  p29 became immensely popular by reason of the law and was escorted home by the multitude as though he were the founder, not of a single city or race, but of all the nations of Italy. After this the victorious party returned to the fields from which they had come to attend to this business. The defeated ones remained in the city and talked the matter over, feeling aggrieved, and saying that as soon as Gracchus should become a private citizen he would be sorry that he had done despite to the sacred and inviolable office of tribune, and had sown in Italy so many seeds of future strife.


14 1 It was now summer, and the election of tribunes was imminent. As the day for voting approached it was very evident that the rich had earnestly promoted the election of those most inimical to Gracchus. The latter, fearing that evil would befall if he should not be re-elected for the following year, summoned his friends from the fields to attend the election, but as they were occupied with harvest he was obliged, when the day fixed for the voting drew near, to have recourse to the plebeians of the city. So he went around asking each one separately to elect him tribune for the ensuing year, on account of the danger he was incurring for them. When the voting took place the first two tribes pronounced for Gracchus. The rich objected that it was not lawful for the same man to hold the office twice in succession. The tribune Rubrius, who had been chosen by lot to  p31 preside over the comitia, was in doubt about it, and Mummius, who had been chosen in place of Octavius, urged him to hand over the comitia to his charge. This he did, but the remaining tribunes contended that the presidency should be decided by lot, saying that when Rubrius, who had been chosen in that way, resigned, the casting of lots ought to be done over again by all. As there was much strife over this question, Gracchus, who was getting the worst of it, adjourned the voting to the following day. In utter despair he went about in black, though still in office, and led his son around the forum and introduced him to each man and committed him to their charge, as if he himself felt that death, at the hands of his enemies, were at hand.

15 1 The poor when they had time to think were moved with deep sorrow, both on their own account (for they believed that they were no longer to live in a free estate under equal laws, but would be reduced to servitude by the rich), and on account of Gracchus himself, who was in such fear and torment in their behalf. So they all accompanied him with tears to his house in the evening, and bade him be of good courage for the morrow. Gracchus cheered up, assembled his partisans before daybreak, and communicated to them a signal to be displayed if there were need for fighting. He then took possession of the temple on the Capitoline hill, where the voting was to take place, and occupied the middle of the assembly. As he was obstructed by the other tribunes and by the rich, who would not allow the votes to be taken on this question, he gave the signal. There was a sudden shout from those who knew of it, and violence followed. Some of the  p33 partisans of Gracchus took position around him like body-guards. Others, having girded up their clothes, seized the fasces and staves in the hands of the lictors and broke them in pieces. They drove the rich out of the assembly with such disorder and wounds that the tribunes fled from their places in terror, and the priests closed the doors of the temple. Many ran away pell-mell and scattered wild rumours. Some said that Gracchus had deposed all the other tribunes, and this was believed because none of them could be seen. Others said that he had declared himself tribune for the ensuing year without an election.

16 1 In these circumstances the Senate assembled at the temple of Fides. It is astonishing to me that they never thought of appointing a dictator in this emergency, although they had often been protected by the government of a single ruler in such times of peril; but a resource which had been found most useful in former times was never even recollected by the people, either then or later. After reaching such decision as they did reach, they marched up to the Capitol, Cornelius Scipio Nasica, the pontifex maximus, leading the way and calling out with a loud voice, "Let those who would save our country follow me." He wound the border of his toga about his head either to induce a greater number to go with him by the singularity of his appearance, or to make for himself, as it were, a helmet as a sign of battle for those who saw it, or in order to conceal himself from the gods on account of what he was about to do. When he arrived at the temple and advanced against the partisans of Gracchus they yielded out of regard for so excellent a citizen, and because they observed the  p35 Senators following with him. The latter wresting their clubs out of the hands of the Gracchans themselves, or breaking up benches and other furniture that had been brought for the use of the assembly, began beating them, and pursued them, and drove them over the precipice.​11 In the tumult many of the Gracchans perished, and Gracchus himself, vainly circling round the temple,​12 was slain at the door close by the statues of the kings. All the bodies were thrown by night into the Tiber.

17 1 So perished on the Capitol, and while still tribune, Gracchus, the son of that Gracchus who was twice consul, and of Cornelia, daughter of that Scipio who robbed Carthage of her supremacy. He lost his life in consequence of a most excellent design too violently pursued; and this abominable crime, the first that was perpetrated in the public assembly, was seldom without parallels thereafter from time to time. On the subject of the murder of Gracchus the city was divided between sorrow and joy. Some mourned for themselves and for him, and deplored the present condition of things, believing that the commonwealth no longer existed, but had been supplanted by force and violence. Others considered that their dearest wishes were accomplished.


18 1 These things took place at the time with Aristonicus was contending with the Romans for the government of Asia; but after Gracchus was slain and Appius Claudius died, Fulvius Flaccus and  p37 Papirius Carbo were appointed, in conjunction with the younger Gracchus, to divide the land. As the persons in possession neglected to hand in lists of their holdings, a proclamation was issued that informers should furnish testimony against them. Immediately a great number of embarrassing lawsuits sprang up. Wherever a new field adjoining an old one had been bought, or divided among the allies, the whole district had to be carefully inquired into on account of the measurement of this one field, to discover how it had been sold and how divided. Not all owners had preserved their contracts, or their allotment titles, and even those that were found were often ambiguous. When the land was resurveyed some owners were obliged to give up their fruit-trees and farm-buildings in exchange for naked ground. Others were transferred from cultivated to uncultivated lands, or to swamps, or pools. In fact, the land having originally been so much loot, the survey had never been carefully done. As the original proclamation authorized anybody to work the undistributed land who wished to do so, many had been prompted to cultivate the parts immediately adjoining their own, till the line of demarcation between public and private had faded from view. The progress of time also made many changes. Thus the injustice done by the rich, although great, was not easy to ascertain. So there was nothing but a general turn-about, all parties being moved out of their own places and settling down in other people's.

19 1 The Italian allies who complained of these disturbances, and especially of the lawsuits hastily brought against them, chose Cornelius Scipio, the  p39 destroyer of Carthage, to defend them against these grievances. As he had availed himself of their very zealous support in war he was reluctant to disregard their request. So he came into the Senate, and although, out of regard for the plebeians, he did not openly find fault with the law of Gracchus, he expatiated on its difficulties and urged that these causes should not beº decided by the triumvirs, because they did not possess the confidence of the litigants, but should be assigned to other courts. As his view seemed reasonable, they yielded to his persuasion, and the consul Tuditanus was appointed to give judgment in these cases. But when he took up the work he saw the difficulties of it, and marched against the Illyrians as a pretext for not acting as judge, and since nobody brought cases for trial before the triumvirs they remained idle. From this cause hatred and indignation arose among the people against Scipio because they saw a man, in whose favour they had often opposed the aristocracy and incurred their enmity, electing him consul twice contrary to law, now taking the side of the Italian allies against themselves. When Scipio's enemies observed this, they cried out that he was determined to abolish the law of Gracchus utterly and for that end was about to inaugurate armed strife and bloodshed.

20 1 When the people heard these charges they were in a state of alarm until Scipio, after placing near his couch at home one evening a tablet on which to write during the night the speech he intended to deliver before the people, was found dead in his bed without a wound. Whether this was done by Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi (aided by her daughter, Sempronia, who though  p41 married to Scipio was both unloved and unloving because she was deformed and childless), lest the law of Gracchus should be abolished, or whether, as some think, he committed suicide because he saw plainly that he could not accomplish what he had promised, is not known. Some say that slaves under torture testified that unknown persons were introduced through the rear of the house by night who suffocated him, and that those who knew about it hesitated to tell because the people were angry with him still and rejoiced at his death.

So died Scipio, and although he had been of extreme service to the Roman power he was not even honoured with a public funeral; so much does the anger of the present moment outweigh the gratitude for the past. And this event, sufficiently important in itself, took place as a mere incident of the sedition of Gracchus.

21 1 Even after these events those who were in possession of the lands postponed the division on various pretexts for a very long time. Some proposed that all the Italian allies, who made the greatest resistance to it, should be admitted to Roman citizen­ship so that, out of gratitude for the greater favour, they might no longer quarrel about the land. The Italians were ready to accept this, because they preferred Roman citizen­ship to possession of the fields. Fulvius Flaccus, who was then both consul and triumvir, exerted himself to the utmost to bring it about, but the senators were angry at the thought of making their subjects equal citizens with themselves.

For this reason the attempt was abandoned, and the populace, who had been so long in the hope of  p43 acquiring land, became disheartened. While they were in this mood Gaius Gracchus, who had made himself agreeable to them as a triumvir, offered himself for the tribune­ship. He was the younger brother of Tiberius Gracchus, the promoter of the law, and had been quiet for some time after his brother's death, but since many of the senators treated him scornfully he announced himself as a candidate for the office of tribune. Being elected with flying colours he began to lay plots against the Senate, and made the unprecedented suggestion that a monthly distribution of cornº should be made to each citizen at the public expense. Thus he quickly got the leader­ship of the people by one political measure, in which he had the cooperation of Fulvius Flaccus. Directly after that he was chosen tribune for the following year, for in cases where there was not a sufficient number of candidates the law authorized the people to choose further tribunes from the whole body of citizens.

22 1 Thus Gaius Gracchus was tribune a second time. Having bought the plebeians, as it were, he began, by another like political manoeuvre, to court the equestrian order, who hold the middle place between the Senate and the plebeians. He transferred the courts of justice, which had become discredited by reason of bribery, from the senators to the knights, reproaching the former especially with the recent examples of Aurelius Cotta, Salinator, and, third in the list, Manius Aquilius (the subduer of Asia), all notorious bribe-takers, who had been acquitted by the judges, although ambassadors sent to complain of their conduct were still present, going around uttering bitter accusations against them.  p45 The Senate was extremely ashamed of these things and yielded to the law, and the people ratified it. In this way were the courts of justice transferred from the Senate to the knights. It is said that soon after the passage of this law Gracchus remarked that he had broken the power of the Senate once for all, and the saying of Gracchus received a deeper and deeper significance by the course of events. For this power of sitting in judgment on all Romans and Italians, including the senators themselves, in all matters as to property, civil rights, and banishment, exalted the knights to be rulers over them, and put senators on the level of subjects. Moreover, as the knights voted in the election to sustain the power of the tribunes, and obtained from them whatever they wanted in return, they became more and more formidable to the senators. So it shortly came about that the political mastery was turned upside down, the power being in the hands of the knights, and the honour only remaining with the Senate. The knights indeed went so far that they not only held power over the senators, but they openly flouted them beyond their right. They also became addicted to bribe-taking, and when they too had tasted these enormous gains, they indulged in them even more basely and immoderately than the senators had done. They suborned accusers against the rich and did away with prosecutions for bribe-taking altogether, partly by agreement among themselves and partly by open violence, so that the practice of this kind of investigation became entirely obsolete. Thus the judiciary law gave rise to another struggle of factions, which lasted a long time and was not less baneful than the former ones.

23 1 Gracchus also made long roads throughout Italy  p47 and thus put a multitude of contractors and artisans under obligations to him and made them ready to do whatever he wished. He proposed the founding of numerous colonies. He also called on the Latin allies to demand the full rights of Roman citizen­ship, since the Senate could not with decency refuse this privilege to men who were of the same race. To the other allies, who were not allowed to vote in Roman elections, he sought to give the right of suffrage, in order to have their help in the enactment of laws which he had in contemplation. The Senate was very much alarmed at this, and it ordered the consuls to give the following public notice, "Nobody who does not possess the right of suffrage shall stay in the city or approach within forty stades​13 of it while voting is going on concerning these laws." The Senate also persuaded Livius Drusus, another tribune, to interpose his veto against the laws proposed by Gracchus, but not to tell the people his reasons for doing so; for a tribune was not required to give reasons for his veto. In order to conciliate the people they gave Drusus the privilege of founding twelve colonies, and the plebeians were so much pleased with this that they scoffed at the laws proposed by Gracchus.

24 1 Having lost the favour of the rabble, Gracchus sailed for Africa in company with Fulvius Flaccus, who, after his consul­ship, had been chosen tribune for the same reasons as Gracchus himself. It had been decided to send a colony to Africa on account of its reputed fertility, and these men had been expressly chosen the founders of it in order to get them out of the way for a while, so that the Senate might have a  p49 respite from demagogism. They marked out the city for the colony on the place where Carthage had formerly stood, disregarding the fact that Scipio, when he destroyed it, had devoted it with solemn imprecations to sheep-pasturage for ever. They assigned 6000 colonists to this place, instead of the smaller number fixed by law, in order further to curry favour with the people thereby. When they returned to Rome they invited the 6000 from the whole of Italy. The functionaries who were still in Africa laying out the city wrote home that wolves had pulled up and scattered the boundary marks made by Gracchus and Fulvius, and the soothsayers considered this an ill omen for the colony. So the Senate summoned the comitia, in which it was proposed to repeal the law concerning this colony. When Gracchus and Fulvius saw their failure in this matter they were furious, and declared that the Senate had lied about the wolves. The boldest of the plebeians joined them, carrying daggers, and proceeded to the Capitol, where the assembly was to be held in reference to the colony.

25 1 Now the people had come together already, and Fulvius had begun speaking about the business in hand, when Gracchus arrived at the Capitol attended by a body-guard of his partisans. Conscience-stricken by what he knew about the extraordinary plans on foot he turned aside from the meeting-place of the assembly, passed into the portico, and walked about waiting to see what would happen. Just then a plebeian named Antyllus, who was sacrificing in the portico, saw him in this disturbed state, laid his hand upon him, either because he had heard or suspected something, or was moved to  p51 speak to him for some other reason, and begged him to spare his country. Gracchus, still more disturbed, and startled like one detected in a crime, gave the man a sharp look. Then one of his party, although no signal had been displayed or order given, inferred merely from the angry glance that Gracchus cast upon Antyllus that the time for action had come, and thought that he should do a favour to Gracchus by striking the first blow. So he drew his dagger and slew Antyllus. A cry was raised, the dead body was seen in the midst of the crowd, and all who were outside fled from the temple in fear of a like fate.

Gracchus went into the assembly desiring to exculpate himself of the deed, but nobody would so much as listen to him. All turned away from him as from one stained with blood. So both he and Flaccus were at their wits' end and, having lost through this hasty act the chance of accomplishing what they wished, they hastened to their homes, and their partisans with them. The rest of the crowd occupied the forum after midnight as though some calamity were impending, and Opimius the consul who was staying in the city, ordered an armed force to gather in the Capitol at daybreak, and sent heralds to convoke the Senate. He took his own station in the temple of Castor and Pollux in the centre of the city and there awaited events.

26 1 When these arrangements had been made the Senate summoned Gracchus and Flaccus from their homes to the senate-house to defend themselves. But they ran out armed toward the Aventine hill, hoping that if they could seize it first the Senate would agree to some terms with them. As they  p53 ran through the city they offered freedom to the slaves, but none listened to them. With such forces as they had, however, they occupied and fortified the temple of Diana, and sent Quintus, the son of Flaccus, to the Senate seeking to come to an arrangement and to live in harmony. The Senate replied that they should lay down their arms, come to the senate-house, and tell them what they wanted, or else send no more messengers. When they sent Quintus a second time the consul Opimius arrested him, as being no longer an ambassador after he had been warned, and at the same time sent his armed men against the Gracchans.

Gracchus fled across the river by the wooden bridge​14 with one slave to a grove, and there, being on the point of arrest, he presented his throat to the slave. Flaccus took refuge in the workshop of an acquaintance. As his pursuers did not know which house he was in they threatened to burn the whole row. The man who had given shelter to the suppliant hesitated to point him out, but directed another man to do so. Flaccus was seized and put to death. The heads of Gracchus and Flaccus were carried to Opimius, and he gave their weight in gold to those who brought them, but the people plundered their houses. Opimius then arrested their fellow-conspirators, cast them into prison, and ordered that they should be strangled; but he allowed Quintus, the son of Flaccus, to choose his own mode of death. After this a lustration of the city was performed for the bloodshed, and the Senate ordered the building of a temple to Concord in the forum.



27 1 Thus the sedition of the younger Gracchus came to an end. Not long afterward a law was enacted to permit the holders to sell the land about which they had quarrelled; for even this had been forbidden by the law of the elder Gracchus. At once the rich began to buy the allotments of the poor, or found pretexts​15 for seizing them by force. So the condition of the poor became even worse than it was before, until Spurius Thorius, a tribune of the people, brought in a law providing that the work of distributing the public domain should no longer be continued, but that the land should belong to those in possession of it, who should pay rent for it to the people, and that the money so received should be distributed; and this distribution was a kind of solace to the poor, but it did not help to increase the population. By these devices the law of Gracchus — a most excellent and useful one, if it could have been carried out — was once for all frustrated, and a little later the rent itself was abolished at the instance of another tribune. So the plebeians lost everything, and hence resulted a still further decline in the numbers both of citizens and soldiers, and in the revenue from the land and the distribution thereof and in the allotments themselves; and about fifteen years after the enactment of the law of Gracchus, by reason of a series of lawsuits, the people were reduced to unemployment.16

 p57  28 1 About this time the consul Scipio Nasica demolished the theatre begun by Lucius Cassius, and now nearly finished, because he considered this also a likely source of new seditions, or because he thought it far from desirable that the Romans should become accustomed to Grecian pleasures. The censor, Quintus Caecilius Metellus, attempted to degrade Glaucia, a senator, and Apuleius Saturninus, who had already been a tribune, on account of their disgraceful mode of life, but was not able to do so because his colleague would not agree to it. Accordingly Apuleius, a little later, in order to have revenge on Metellus, became again a candidate for the tribune­ship, seizing the occasion when Glaucia held the office of praetor, and presided over the election of the tribunes; but Nonius, a man of noble birth, who used much plainness of speech in reference to Apuleius and reproached Glaucia bitterly, was chosen for the office. They, fearing lest he should punish them as tribune, made a rush upon him with a crowd of ruffians just as he was going away from the comitia, pursued him into an inn, and stabbed him. As this murder bore a piti­ful and shocking aspect, the adherents of Glaucia came together early the next morning, before the people had assembled, and elected Apuleius tribune.

In this way the killing of Nonius was hushed up, since everybody was afraid to call Apuleius to account because he was a tribune; 29 1 and Metellus also was banished by his enemies with the help of Gaius Marius, who was then in his sixth consul­ship, and was his secret enemy. Thus they all worked with each other. Then Apuleius brought forward a law to divide the land which the Cimbri (a Celtic tribe  p59 lately driven out by Marius) had seized in the country now called Gaul by the Romans, and which was considered as now no longer Gallic but Roman territory. It was provided also in this law that, if the people should enact it, the senators should take an oath within five days to obey it, and that any one who should refuse to do so should be expelled from the Senate and should pay a fine of twenty talents for the benefit of the people. Thus they intended to punish those who should take it with bad grace, and especially Metellus, who was too high-spirited to submit to the oath. Such was the proposed law. Apuleius appointed the day for holding the comitia and sent messengers to inform those in country districts, in whom he had the utmost confidence, because they had served in the army under Marius. As the law gave the larger share to the Italian allies the city people were not pleased with it.

30 1 A disturbance broke out in the comitia. Those who attempted to prevent the passage of the laws proposed by the tribunes were assaulted by Apuleius and driven away from the rostra. The city crowd exclaimed that thunder was heard in the assembly, in which case it is not permitted by Roman custom to finish the business that day. As the adherents of Apuleius nevertheless persisted, the city people girded themselves, seized whatever clubs they could lay their hands on, and dispersed the rustics. The latter were rallied by Apuleius; they attacked the city folks with clubs, overcame them, and passed the law. As soon as this was done Marius, as consul, proposed to the Senate that they should consider the question of the oath. Knowing that Metellus was a man of stiff opinions and resolute  p61 about anything he either felt or had committed himself to by word of mouth, he himself first gave his own opinion publicly, but hypocritically, saying that he would never willingly take this oath himself. When Metellus had agreed with him in this, and the others had approved them both, Marius adjourned the Senate. On the fifth day thereafter (the last day prescribed in the law for taking the oath) he called them together in haste about the tenth hour, saying that he was afraid of the people because they were so zealous for the law. He saw a way, however, to avoid it, and he proposed the following trick — to swear that they would obey this law as far as it was a law, and thus at once disperse the country people by stratagem. Afterward it could be easily shown that this law, which had been enacted by violence and after thunder had been reported, contrary to the custom of their ancestors, was not really a law.

31 1 After speaking thus he did not wait for the result, but while all were in silent amazement at the plot, and confused because there was no time to be lost, giving them no opportunity for thinking, he rose and went to the temple of Saturn, where the quaestors were accustomed to administer oaths, and took the oath first with his friends. The rest followed his example, as each one feared for his own safety. Metellus alone refused to swear, but stood fearlessly by his first determination. Apuleius at once on the next day sent his officer for him and tried to drag him out of the senate-house. But when the other tribunes defended him Glaucia and Apuleius hastened to the country people and told them that they would never get the land, and that the law would not be executed, unless Metellus were banished. They  p63 then proposed a decree of banishment against him and directed the consuls to interdict him from fire, water, and shelter, and appointed a day for the ratification of this decree. Great was the indignation of the city people, who constantly escorted Metellus, carrying daggers. He thanked them and praised them for their good intentions, but said that he could not allow any danger to befall the country on his account. After saying this he withdrew from the city. Apuleius got the decree ratified, and Marius made proclamation of the contents of the decree.

32 1 In this way was Metellus, a most admirable man, sent into banishment. Thereupon Apuleius was tribune a third time and had for a colleague one who was thought to be a fugitive slave, but who claimed to be a son of the elder Gracchus, and the multitude supported him in the election because they regretted Gracchus. When the election for consuls came on Marcus Antonius was chosen as one of them by common consent, while the aforesaid Glaucia and Memmius contended for the other place. Memmius was the more illustrious man by far, and Glaucia and Apuleius were anxious about the result. So they sent a gang of ruffians to attack him with clubs while the election was going on, who fell upon him in the midst of the comitia and beat him to death in the sight of all.

The assembly was broken up in terror. Neither laws nor courts nor sense of shame remained. The people ran together in anger the following day intending to kill Apuleius, but he had collected another mob from the country and, with Glaucia and Gaius Saufeius, the quaestor, seized the Capitol.  p65 The Senate voted them public enemies. Marius was vexed; nevertheless he armed some of his forces reluctantly, and, while he was delaying, some other persons cut off the water-supply from the Capitoline temple. Saufeius was near perishing with thirst and proposed to set the temple on fire, but Glaucia and Apuleius, who hoped that Marius would assist them, surrendered first, and after them Saufeius. As everybody demanded that they should be put to death at once, Marius shut them up in the senate-house as though he intended to deal with them in a more legal manner. The crowd considered this a mere pretext, tore the tiles off the roof, and stoned them to death, including a quaestor, a tribune, and a praetor, who were still wearing their insignia of office.

33 1 Very many others were swept out of existence in this sedition. Among them was that other tribune who was supposed to be the son of Gracchus, and who perished on the first day of his magistracy. Freedom, democracy, laws, reputation, official position, were no longer of any use to anybody, since even the office of tribune, which had been devised for the restraint of wrong-doers and the protection of the plebeians, and was sacred and inviolable, now was guilty of such outrages and suffered such indignities. When the party of Apuleius was destroyed the Senate and people clamoured for the recall of Metellus, but Publius Furius, a tribune who was not the son of a free citizens but of a freedman, boldly resisted them. Not even Metellus, the son of Metellus, who besought him in the presence of the people with tears in his eyes, and threw himself at his feet, could move him. From this dramatic appearance the  p67 son ever afterward bore the name of Metellus Pius. The following year Furius was called to account for his obstinacy by the new tribune, Gaius Canuleius. The people did not wait for his excuses, but tore Furius in pieces. Thus every year some new abomination was committed in the forum. Metellus, however, was allowed to return, and it is said that a whole day was not sufficient for the greetings of those who went to meet him at the city gates.


Such was the third civil strife (that of Apuleius) which succeeded those of the two Gracchi, and such the results it brought to the Romans. 34 1 While they were thus occupied the so‑called Social War, in which many Italian peoples were engaged, broke out. It began unexpectedly, grew rapidly to great proportions and extinguished the Roman sedition for a long time by a new terror. When it was ended it also gave rise to new seditions under more power­ful leaders, who did not work by introducing new laws, or by the tricks of the demagogue, but by matching whole armies against each other. I have treated it in this history because it had its origin in the sedition in Rome and resulted in another much worse. It began in this way.

Fulvius Flaccus in his consul­ship first and foremost openly excited among the Italians the desire for Roman citizen­ship, so as to be partners in the empire instead of subjects. When he introduced this idea and strenuously persisted in it, the Senate, for that reason, sent him away to take command in a war, in  p69 the course of which his consul­ship expired; but he obtained the tribune­ship after that and contrived to have the younger Gracchus for a colleague, with whose co-operation he brought forward other measures in favour of the Italians. When they were both killed, as I have previously related, the Italians were still more excited. They could not bear to be considered subjects instead of equals, or to think that Flaccus and Gracchus should have suffered such calamities while working for their political advantage.

35 1 After them the tribune Livius Drusus, a man of most illustrious birth, promised the Italians, at their urgent request, that he would bring forward a new law to give them citizen­ship. They especially desired this because by that one step they would become rulers instead of subjects. In order to conciliate the plebeians to this measure he led out to Italy and Sicily several colonies which had been voted some time before, but not yet planted. He endeavoured to bring together by an agreement the Senate and the equestrian order, who were then in sharp antagonism to each other, in reference to the law courts. As he was not able to restore the courts to the Senate openly, he tried the following artifice to reconcile them. As the senators had been reduced by the seditions to scarcely 300 in number, he brought forward a law that an equal number, chosen according to merit, should be added to their enrolment from the knights, and that the courts of justice should be made up thereafter from the whole number. He added a clause in the law that they should make investigations about bribery, as accusations of that kind were almost unknown, since the custom of bribe-taking prevailed without restraint.

 p71  This was the plan that he contrived for both of them, but it turned out contrary to his expectations, for the senators were indignant that so large a number should be added to their enrolment at one time and be transferred from knighthood to the highest rank. They thought it not unlikely that they would form a faction in the Senate by themselves and contend against the old senators more power­fully than ever. The knights, on the other hand, suspected that, by this doctoring, the courts of justice would be transferred from their order to the Senate exclusively. Having acquired a relish for the great gains and power of the judicial office, this suspicion disturbed them. Most of them, too, fell into doubt and distrust toward each other, discussing which of them seemed more worthy than others to be enrolled among the 300; and envy against their betters filled the breasts of the remainder. Above all the knights were angry at the revival of the charge of bribery, which they thought had been ere this entirely suppressed, so far as they were concerned.

36 1 Thus it came to pass that both the Senate and the knights, although opposed to each other, were united in hating Drusus. Only the plebeians were gratified with the colonies. Even the Italians, in whose especial interest Drusus was devising these plans, were apprehensive about the law providing for the colonies, because they thought that the Roman public domain (which was still undivided and which they were cultivating, some by force and others clandestinely) would at once be taken away from them, and that in many cases they might even be disturbed in their private holdings. The Etruscans  p73 and the Umbrians had the same fears as the Italians,​17 and when they were summoned to the city, as was thought, by the consuls, for the ostensible purpose of complaining against the law of Drusus, but actually to kill him, they cried down the law publicly and waited for the day of the comitia. Drusus learned of the plot against him and did not go out frequently, but transacted business from day to day in the atrium of his house, which was poorly lighted. One evening as he was sending the crowd away he exclaimed suddenly that he was wounded, and fell down while uttering the words. A shoemaker's knife was found thrust into his hip.

37 1 Thus was Drusus also slain while serving as tribune. The knights, in order to make his policy a ground of vexatious accusation against their enemies, persuaded the tribune Quintus Varius to bring forward a law to prosecute those who should, either openly or secretly, aid the Italians to acquire citizen­ship, hoping thus to bring all the senators under an odious indictment, and themselves to sit in judgment on them, and that when they were out of the way they themselves would be more power­ful than ever in the government of Rome. When the other tribunes interposed their veto the knights surrounded them with drawn daggers and enacted the measure, whereupon accusers at once brought actions against the most illustrious of the senators. Of these Bestia did not respond, but went into exile voluntarily rather than surrender himself into the hands of his enemies. After him Cotta went before the court,  p75 made an impressive defence of his administration of public affairs, and openly reviled the knights. He, too, departed from the city before the vote of the judges was taken. Mummius, the conqueror of Greece, was basely ensnared by the knights, who promised to acquit him, but condemned him to banishment. He passed the remainder of his life at Delos.

38 1 As this malice against the aristocracy grew more and more, the people were grieved because they were deprived all at once of so many distinguished men who had rendered such great services. When the Italians learned of the murder of Drusus and of the reasons alleged for banishing the others, they considered it no longer tolerable that those who were labouring for their political advancement should suffer such outrages, and as they saw no other means of acquiring citizen­ship they decided to revolt from the Romans altogether, and to make war against them with might and main. They sent envoys secretly to each other, and formed a league, and exchanged hostages as a pledge of good faith.

The Romans were in ignorance of these facts for a long time, being busy with the trials and the seditions in the city. When they heard what was going on they sent men round to the towns, choosing those who were best acquainted with each, to collect information quietly. One of these agents saw a young man who was being taken as a hostage from the town of Asculum to another town, and informed Servilius, the praetor, who was in those parts. (It appears that there were praetors with consular power at that time governing the various parts of Italy; the emperor Hadrian revived the custom a long time afterward, but  p77 it did not long survive him.) Servilius hastened to Asculum and indulged in very menacing language to the people, who were celebrating a festival, and they, supposing that the plot was discovered, put him to death. They also killed Fonteius, his legate (for so they call those of the senatorial order who accompany the governors of provinces as assistants). After these were slain none of the other Romans in Asculum were spared. The inhabitants fell upon them, slaughtered them all, and plundered their goods.

39 1 When the revolt broke out all the neighbouring peoples declared war at the same time, the Marsi, the Peligni, the Vestini, the Marrucini; and after them the Picentines, the Frentani, the Hirpini, the Pompeiians, the Venusini, the Apulians, the Lucanians, and the Samnites, all of whom had been hostile to the Romans before; also all the rest extending from the river Liris (which is now, I think, the Liternus) to the extremity of the Adriatic gulf, both inland and on the sea coast.​18 They sent ambassadors to Rome to complain that although they had co-operated in all ways with the Romans in building up the empire, the latter had not been willing to admit their helpers to citizen­ship. The Senate answered sternly that if they repented of what they had done they could send ambassadors, otherwise not. The Italians, in despair of any other remedy, went on with their mobilization. Besides the soldiers which were kept for guards at each town, they had forces in common amounting to about 100,000 foot and horse. The Romans sent an equal force against them, made up of their own citizens and of the Italian peoples who were still in alliance with them.

 p79  40 1 The Romans were led by the consuls Sextus Julius Caesar and Publius Rutilius Lupus, for in this great civil war both consuls marched forth at once, leaving the gates and walls in charge of others, as was customary in cases of danger arising at home and very near by. When the war was found to be complex and many-sided, they sent their most renowned men as lieutenant-generals to aid the consuls: to Rutilius, Gnaeus Pompeius, the father of Pompey the Great, Quintus Caepio, Gaius Perpenna, Gaius Marius, and Valerius Messala; to Sextus Caesar, Publius Lentulus, a brother of Caesar himself, as well as Titus Didius, Licinius Crassus, Cornelius Sulla, and Marcellus. All these served under the consuls and the country was divided among them. The consuls visited all parts of the field of operations, and the Romans sent them additional forces continually, realizing that it was a serious conflict. The Italians had generals for their united forces besides those of the separate towns. The chief commanders were Titus Lafrenius, Gaius Pontilius, Marius Egnatius, Quintus Pompaedius, Gaius Papius, Marcus Lamponius, Gaius Vidacilius, Herius Asinius, and Vettius Scaton. They divided their army in equal parts, took their positions against the Roman generals, performed many notable exploits, and suffered many disasters. The most memorable events of either kind I shall here summarize.

41 1 Vettius Scaton defeated Sextus Julius, killed 200 of his men, and marched against Aesernia, which adhered to Rome. L. Scipio and L. Acilius, who  p81 were in command here, escaped in the disguise of slaves. The enemy, after a considerable time, reduced it by famine. Marius Egnatius captured Venafrum by treachery and slew two Roman cohorts there. Publius Presentaeus defeated Perpenna, who had 10,000 men under his command, killed 4000 and captured the arms of the greater part of the others, for which reason the consul Rutilius deprived Perpenna of his command and gave his division of the army to Gaius Marius. Marcus Lamponius destroyed some 800 of the forces under Licinius Crassus and drove the remainder into the town of Grumentum.

42 1 Gaius Papius captured Nola by treachery and offered to the 2000 Roman soldiers in it the privilege of serving under him if they would change their allegiance. They did so, but their officers refusing the proposal were taken prisoners and starved to death by Papius. He also captured Stabiae,º Minervium​19 and Salernum, which was a Roman colony. The prisoners and the slaves from these places were taken into the military service. But when he also plundered the entire country around Nuceria, the towns in the vicinity were struck with terror and submitted to him, and when he demanded military assistance they furnished him about 10,000 foot and 1000 horse. With these Papius laid siege to Acerrae. When Sextus Caesar, with 10,000 Gallic foot and Numidian and Mauretanian horse and foot, advanced towards Acerrae, Papius took a son of Jugurtha, formerly king of  p83 Numidia, named Oxynta, who was under charge of a Roman guard at Venusia, led him out of that place, clothed him in royal purple, and showed him frequently to the Numidians who were in Caesar's army. Many of them deserted, as if to their own king, so that Caesar was obliged to send the rest back to Africa, as they were not trustworthy. But when Papius attacked him contemptuously, and had already made a breach in his palisaded camp, Caesar debouched with his horse through the other gates and slew about 6000 of his men, after which Caesar withdrew from Acerrae. Canusia and Venusia and many other towns in Apulia sided with Vidacilius. Some that did not submit he besieged, and he put to death the principal Roman citizens in them, but the common people and the slaves he enrolled in his army.

43 1 The consul Rutilius and Gaius Marius built bridges over the river Liris​20 at no great distance from each other. Vettius Scaton pitched his camp opposite them, but nearer to the bridge of Marius, and placed an ambush by night in some ravines near the bridge of Rutilius, Early in the morning, after he had allowed Rutilius to cross the bridge, he started up from ambush and killed a large number of the enemy on the dry land and drove many into the river. In this fight Rutilius himself was wounded in the head by a missile and died soon afterward. Marius was on the other bridge and when he guessed, from the bodies floating down stream, what had happened, he drove back those in his front, crossed the river, and captured the camp  p85 of Scaton, which was guarded by only a small force, so that Scaton was obliged to spend the night where he had won his victory, and to retreat in the morning for want of provisions. The body of Rutilius and those of many other patricians were brought to Rome for burial. The corpses of the consul and his numerous comrades made a piteous spectacle and the mourning lasted many days. The Senate decreed from this time on that those who were killed in war should be buried where they fell, lest others should be deterred by the spectacle from entering the army. When the enemy heard of this they made a similar decree for themselves.


44 1 There was no successor to Rutilius in the consul­ship for the remainder of the year, as Sextus Caesar did not have leisure to go to the city and hold the comitia. The Senate appointed C. Marius and Q. Caepio to command the forces of Rutilius in the field. The opposing general, Q. Popaedius,º fled as a pretended deserter to this Caepio. He brought with him and gave as a pledge two slave babies, clad with the purple-bordered garments of free-born children, pretending that they were his own sons. As further confirmation of his good faith he brought masses of lead plated with gold and silver. He urged Caepio to follow him in all haste with his army and capture the hostile army while destitute of a leader, and Caepio was deceived and followed him. When they had arrived at a place where the ambush had been laid, Popaedius ran up to the top of a hill  p87 as though he were searching for the enemy, and gave his own men a signal. The latter sprang out of their concealment and cut Caepio and most of his force in pieces; so the Senate joined the rest of Caepio's army to that of Marius.

45 1 While Sextus Caesar was passing through a rocky defile with 30,000 foot and 5000 horse Marius Egnatius suddenly fell upon him and drove him back into it. He retired, borne on a litter, as he was ill, to a certain stream where there was only one bridge and there he lost the greater part of his force and the arms of the survivors, only escaping to Teanum with difficulty, where he armed the remainder of his men as best he could. Reinforcements were sent to him speedily and he marched to the relief of Acerrae, which was still besieged by Papius.

There, though their camps were pitched opposite each other, neither dared to attack the other, 46 1 but Cornelius Sulla and Gaius Marius defeated the Marsians, who had attacked them. They pursued the enemy vigorously as far as the walls enclosing their vineyards. The Marsians scaled these walls with heavy loss, but Marius and Sulla did not deem it wise to follow them farther. Cornelius Sulla was encamped on the other side of these enclosures, and when he knew what had happened he came out to meet the Marsians, as they tried to escape, and he also killed a great number. More than 6000 Marsians were slain that day, and the arms of a still greater number were captured by the Romans.

The Marsians were rendered as furious as wild beasts by this disaster. They armed their forces again and prepared to march against the enemy, but  p89 did not dare to take the offensive or the begin a battle. They are a very warlike race, and it is said that no triumph was ever awarded for a victory over them except for this single disaster. There had been up to this time a saying, "No triumph over Marsians or without Marsians."

47 1 Near Mount Falernus, Vidacilius, T. Lafrenius and P. Vettius united their forces and defeated Gnaeus Pompeius, pursuing him to the city of Firmum. Then they went their several ways, and Lafrenius besieged Pompeius, who had shut himself up in Firmum. The latter at once armed his remaining forces, but did not come to an engagement; when, however, he learned that another army was approaching, he sent Sulpicius round to take Lafrenius in the rear while he made a sally in front. Battle was joined and both sides were in much distress, when Sulpicius set fire to the enemy's camp. When the latter saw this they fled to Asculum in disorder and without a general, for Lafrenius had fallen in the battle. Pompeius then advanced and laid siege to Asculum.

48 1 Asculum was the native town of Vidacilius, and as he feared for its safety he hastened to its relief with eight cohorts. He sent word beforehand to the inhabitants that when they should see him advancing at a distance they should make a sally against the besiegers, so that the enemy should be attacked on both sides at once. The inhabitants were afraid to do so; nevertheless Vidacilius forced his way into the city through the midst of the enemy with what followers he could get, and upbraided the citizens for their cowardice and disobedience. As he despaired of saving the city he first put to death all  p91 of his enemies who had been at variance with him before and who, out of jealousy, had prevented the people from obeying his recent orders. Then he erected a funeral pile in the temple and placed a couch upon it, and held a feast with his friends, and while the drinking-bout was at its height he swallowed poison, threw himself on the pile, and ordered his friends to set fire to it. Thus perished Vidacilius, a man who considered it glorious to die for his country, Sextus Caesar was invested with the consular power by the Senate after his term of office had expired. He attacked 20,000 of the enemy while they were changing camping-places, killed about 8000 of them, and captured the arms of a much larger number. He died of disease while pushing the long siege of Asculum; the Senate appointed Gaius Baebius his successor.

49 1 While these events were transpiring on the Adriatic side of Italy, the inhabitants of Etruria and Umbria and other neighbouring peoples on the other side of Rome heard of them and all were excited to revolt. The Senate, fearing lest they should be surrounded by war, and unable to protect themselves, garrisoned the sea-coast from Cumae to the city with freedmen, who were then for the first time enrolled in the army on account of the scarcity of soldiers. The Senate also voted that those Italians who had adhered to their alliance should be admitted to citizen­ship, which was the one thing they all desired most. They sent this decree around among the Etruscans, who gladly accepted the citizen­ship. By this favour the Senate made the faithful more faithful, confirmed the wavering, and mollified their enemies by the hope of similar treatment. The Romans did not enroll the new citizens in the  p93 thirty-five existing tribes, lest they should outvote the old ones in the elections, but incorporated them in ten new tribes, which voted last. So it often happened that their vote was useless, since a majority was obtained from the thirty-five tribes that voted first. This fact was either not noticed by the Italians at the time or they were satisfied with what they had gained, but it was observed later and became the source of a new conflict.

50 1 The insurgents along the Adriatic coast, before they learned of the change of sentiment among the Etruscans, sent 15,000 men to their assistance by a long and difficult road. Gnaeus Pompeius, who was now consul, fell upon them and killed 5000 of them. The rest made their way homeward through a trackless region, in a severe winter; and half of them after subsisting on acorns perished.​21 The same winter Porcius Cato, the colleague of Pompeius, was killed while fighting with the marsians. While Sulla was encamped near the Pompaean hills Lucius Cluentius pitched his camp in a contemptuous manner at a distance of only three stades from him. Sulla did not tolerate this insolence, but attacked Cluentius without waiting for his own foragers to come in. He was worsted and put to flight, but when he was reinforced by his foragers he turned and defeated Cluentius. The latter then moved his camp to a greater distance. Having received certain Gallic reinforcements he again drew near to Sulla and just as the two armies were coming to an engagement a Gaul of enormous size advanced and  p95 challenged any Roman to single combat. A Maurusian soldier of short stature accepted the challenge and killed him, whereupon the Gauls became panic-stricken and fled. Cluentius' line of battle was thus broken and the remainder of his troops did not stand their ground, but fled in disorder to Nola. Sulla followed them and killed 3000 in the pursuit, and as the inhabitants of Nola received them by only one gate, lest the enemy should rush in with them, he killed about 20,000 more outside the walls and among them Cluentius himself, who fell fighting bravely.

Then Sulla moved against another tribe, the Hirpini, and attacked the town of Aeculanum. The inhabitants, who expected aid from the Lucanians that very day, asked Sulla to give them time for consideration. He understood the trick and gave them one hour, and meanwhile piled fagots around their walls, which were made of wood, and at the expiration of the hour set them on fire. They were terrified and surrendered the town. Sulla plundered it because it had not been delivered up voluntarily but under necessity. He spared the other towns that gave themselves up, and in this way the entire population of the Hirpini was brought under subjection. Then Sulla moved against the Samnites, not where Mutilus, the Samnite general, guarded the roads, but by another circuitous route where his coming was not expected. He fell upon them suddenly, killed many, and scattered the rest in disorderly flight. Mutilus was wounded and took refuge with a few followers in Aesernia. Sulla destroyed his camp and moved against Bovanum, where the common council of the rebels was held. The city had three citadels.  p97 While the inhabitants were intently watching Sulla from one of these citadels, he ordered a detachment to capture whichever of the other two they could, and then to make a signal by means of smoke. When the smoke was seen he made an attack in front and, after a severe fight of three hours, took the city.

52 1 These were the successes of Sulla during that summer. When winter came he returned to Rome to stand for the consul­ship, but Gnaeus Pompeius brought the Marsians, the Marrucini, and the Vestini under subjection. Gaius Cosconius, another Roman par, advanced against Salapia and burned it. He received the surrender of Cannae and laid siege to Canusium; then he had a severe fight with the Samnites, who came to its relief, and after great slaughter on both sides Cosconius was beaten and retreated to Cannae. A river separated the two armies, and Trebatius sent word to Cosconius either to come over to his side and fight him, or to withdraw and let him cross. Cosconius withdrew, and while Trebatius was crossing attacked him and got the better of him, and, while he was escaping toward the stream, killed 15,000 of his men. The remainder took refuge with Trebatius in Canusium. Cosconius overran the territory of Larinum, Venusia, and Asculum, and invaded that of the Poediculi, and within two days received their surrender.

53 1 Caecilius Metellus, his successor in the praetor­ship, attacked the Apulians and overcame them in battle. Popaedius, one of the rebel generals, here lost his life, and the survivors joined Metellus in detachments. Such was the course of events throughout  p99 Italy as regards the Social War, which had raged with violence thus far, until the whole of Italy came into the Roman state except, for the present, the Lucanians and the Samnites, who also seem to have obtained what they desired somewhat later. Each body of allies was enrolled in tribes of its own, like those who had been admitted to citizen­ship before, so that they might not, by being mingled with the old citizens, vote them down in the elections by force of numbers.

54 1 About the same time dissensions arose in the city between debtors and creditors,​22 since the latter exacted the money due to them with interest, although an old law distinctly forbade lending on interest and imposed a penalty upon any one doing so. It seems that the ancient Romans, like the Greeks, abhorred the taking of interest on loans as something knavish, and hard on the poor, and leading to contention and enmity; and by the same kind of reasoning the Persians considered lending as having itself a tendency to deceit and lying. But, since time had sanctioned the practice of taking interest, the creditors demanded it according to custom. The debtors, on the other hand, put off their payments on the plea of war and civil commotion. Some indeed threatened to exact the legal penalty from the interest-takers.

The praetor Asellio, who had charge of these matters, as he was not able to compose their differences by persuasion, allowed them to proceed against each other in the courts, thus bringing the deadlock due to the conflict of law and custom before the judges.  p101 The lenders, exasperated that the now obsolete law was being revived, killed the praetor in the following manner. He was offering sacrifice to Castor and Pollux in the forum, with a crowd standing around as was usual at such a ceremony. In the first place somebody threw a stone at him, on which he dropped the libation-bowl and ran toward the temple of Vesta. They then got ahead of him and prevented him from reaching the temple, and after he had fled into a tavern they cut his throat. Many of his pursuers, thinking that he had taken refuge with the Vestal virgins, ran in there, where it was not lawful for men to go. Thus was Asellio, while serving as praetor, and pouring out libation, and wearing the sacred gilded vestments customary in such ceremonies, slain at the second hour of the day in the centre of the forum, in the midst of the sacrifice. The Senate offered a reward of money to any free citizen, freedom to any slave, impunity to any accomplice, who should give testimony leading to the conviction of the murders of Asellio, but nobody gave any information. The money-lenders covered up everything.


55 1 Hitherto the murders and seditions had been internal and fragmentary. Afterward the chiefs of factions assailed each other with great armies, according to the usage of war, and their country lay as a prize between them. The beginning and origin of these contentions came about directly after the Social War, in this wise.

When Mithridates, king of Pontus and of other  p103 nations, invaded Bithynia and Phrygia and that part of Asia adjacent to those countries, as I have related in the preceding book, the consul Sulla was chosen by lot to the command of Asia and the Mithridatic war, but was still in Rome. Marius, for his part, thought that this would be an easy and lucrative war and desiring the command of it prevailed upon the tribune, Publius Sulpicius, by many promises, to help him to obtain it. He also encouraged the new Italian citizens, who had very little power in the elections, to hope that they should be distributed among all the tribes — not in any way openly suggesting his own advantage, but with the expectation of employing them as loyal servants for all his ends. Sulpicius straightway brought forward a law for this purpose. If it were enacted Marius and Sulpicius would have everything they wanted, because the new citizens far outnumbered the old ones. The old citizens saw this and opposed the new ones with all their might. They fought each other with sticks and stones, and the evil increased continually, till the consuls, becoming apprehensive, as the day for voting on the law drew near, proclaimed a vacation​23 of several days, such as was customary on festal occasions, in order to postpone the voting and the danger.

56 1 Sulpicius would not wait for the end of the vacation, but ordered his faction to come to the forum with concealed daggers and to do whatever the exigency might require, sparing not even the consuls if need be. When everything was in readiness he denounced the vacations as illegal and ordered the consuls, Cornelius Sulla and Quintus  p105 Pompeius, to put an end to them at once, in order to proceed to the enactment of the laws. A tumult arose, and those who had been armed drew their daggers and threatened to kill the consuls, who refused to obey. Finally Pompeius escaped secretly and Sulla withdrew on the pretext of taking advice. In the meantime the son of Pompeius, who was the son-in‑law of Sulla, and who was speaking his mind rather freely, was killed by the Sulpicians. Presently Sulla came on the scene and, having annulled the vacation, hurried away to Capua, where his army was stationed, as if to cross over to Asia to take command of the war against Mithridates, for he knew nothing as yet of the designs against himself. As the vacation was annulled and Sulla had left the city, Sulpicius enacted his law, and Marius, for whose sake it was done, was forthwith chosen commander of the war against Mithridates in place of Sulla.

57 1 When Sulla heard of this he resolved to decide the question by war, and called the army together to a conference. They were eager for the war against Mithridates because it promised much plunder, and they feared that Marius would enlist other soldiers instead of themselves. Sulla spoke of the indignity put upon him by Sulpicius and Marius, and while he did not openly allude to anything else (for he did not dare as yet to mention this sort of war), he urged them to be ready to obey his orders. They understood what he meant, and as they feared lest they should miss the campaign they uttered boldly what Sulla had in mind, and told him to be of good courage, and to lead them to Rome. Sulla was overjoyed and led six legions thither forthwith; but all his superior officers, except  p107 one quaestor, left him and fled to the city, because they would not submit to the idea of leading an army against their country. Envoys met him on the road and asked him why he was marching with armed forces against his country. "To deliver her from tyrants," he replied.

He gave the same answer to a second and third embassy that came to him, one after another, but he announced to them finally that the Senate and Marius and Sulpicius might meet him in the Campus Martius if they liked, and that he would do whatever might be agreed upon after consultation. As he was approaching, his colleague, Pompeius, came to meet and congratulate him, and to offer his whole-hearted hope, for he was delighted with the steps he was taking. As Marius and Sulpicius needed some short interval for preparation, they sent other messengers, also in the guise of envoys from the Senate, directing him not to move his camp nearer than forty stades from the city until they could review the state of affairs. Sulla and Pompeius understood their motive perfectly and promised to comply, but as soon as the envoys withdrew they followed them.

58 1 Sulla took possession of the Esquiline gate and of the adjoining wall with one legion of soldiers, and Pompeius occupied the Colline gate with another. A third advanced to the Wooden bridge, and a fourth remained on guard in front of the walls. With the remainder Sulla entered the city, in appearance and in fact an enemy. Those in the neighbouring houses tried to keep him off by hurling missiles from the roofs until he threatened to burn the houses; then they desisted. Marius and Sulpicius went, with some forces they had hastily armed, to meet the invaders  p109 near the Esquiline forum, and here a battle took place between the contending parties, the first regularly fought in Rome with bugle and standards in full military fashion, no longer like a mere faction fight. To such extremity of evil had the recklessness of party strife progressed among them.

Sulla's forces were beginning to waver when Sulla seized a standard and exposed himself to danger in the foremost ranks, so that from regard for their general and fear of ignominy, should they abandon their standard, they might rally at once. Then he ordered up the fresh troops from his camp and sent others around by the Suburran road to take the enemy in the rear. The Marians fought feebly against these new-comers, and as they feared lest they should be surrounded they called to their aid the other citizens who were still fighting from the houses, and proclaimed freedom to slaves who would share their dangers. As nobody came forward they fell into utter despair and fled at once out of the city, together with those of the nobility who had co-operated with them.

59 1 Sulla advanced to the Via Sacra, and there, in sight of everybody, punished at once certain soldiers for looting things they had come across. He stationed guards at intervals throughout the city, he and Pompeius keeping watch by night. Each kept moving about his own command to see that no calamity was brought about either by the frightened people or by the victorious troops. At daybreak they summoned the people to an assembly and lamented the condition of the republic, which had been so long given over to demagogues, and said that they had  p111 done what they had done as a matter of necessity. They proposed that no question should ever again be brought before the people which had not been previously considered by the Senate, an ancient practice which had been abandoned long ago; also that the voting should not be by tribes, but by centuries, as King Servius Tullius had ordained. They thought that by these two measures — namely, that no law should be brought before the people unless it had been previously before the Senate, and that the voting should be controlled by the well-to‑do and sober-minded rather than by the pauper and reckless classes — there would no longer be left any starting-point for civil discord. They proposed many other measures for curtailing the power of the tribunes, which had become extremely tyrannical, and enrolled 300 of the best citizens at once in the list of the senators, who had been reduced at that time to a very small number and had fallen into contempt for that reason. They also annulled all the acts performed by Sulpicius after the vacation had been proclaimed by the consuls, as being illegal.

60 1 Thus the seditions proceeded from strife and contention to murder, and from murder to open war, and now the first army of her own citizens had invaded Rome as a hostile country. From this time the seditions were decided only by the arbitrament of arms. There were frequent attacks upon the city and battles before the walls and other calamities incident to war. Henceforth there was no restraint upon violence either from the sense of shame, or regard for law, institutions, or country. This time Sulpicius, who still held the office of tribune, together with Marius, who had been consul six times,  p113 and his son Marius, also Publius Cethegus, Junius Brutus, Gnaeus and Quintus Granius, Publius Albinovanus, Marcus Laetorius, and others with them, about twelve in number, had been exiled from Rome, because they had stirred up the sedition, had borne arms against the consuls, had incited slaves to insurrection, and had been voted enemies of the Roman people; and anybody meeting them had been authorized to kill them with impunity or to drag them before the consuls, while their goods had been confiscated.

Detectives, too, were hard on their tracks, who caught Sulpicius and killed him, but 61 1 Marius escaped them and fled to Minturnae without companion or servant. While he was resting in a darkened house the magistrates of the city, whose fears were excited by the proclamation of the Roman people, but who hesitated to be the murderers of a man who had been six times consul and had performed so many brilliant exploits, sent a Gaul who was living there to kill him with a sword. The Gaul, it is said, was approaching the pallet of Marius in the dusk when he thought he saw the gleam and flash of fire darting from his eyes, and Marius rose from his bed and shouted to him in a thundering voice, "Do you dare to kill Gaius Marius?" He turned and fled out of doors like a madman, exclaiming, "I cannot kill Gaius Marius." The magistrates had come to their private decision with reluctance, and now a kind of religious awe came over them as they remembered the prophecy uttered while he was a boy, that he should be consul seven times. For it was said that while he was a boy seven eaglets alighted on his breast, and that  p115 the soothsayers predicted that he would attain the highest office seven times.

62 1 Bearing these things in mind and believing that the Gaul had been inspired with fear by divine influence, the magistrates of Minturnae sent Marius out of the town forthwith, to seek safety wherever he could. As he knew that Sulla was searching for him and that horsemen were pursuing him, he moved toward the sea by unfrequented roads and came to a hut where he rested, covering himself up with leaves. Hearing a slight noise, he concealed himself more carefully with the leaves, but becoming more sure he rushed to the boat of an old fisherman, which was on the beach, over­powered him, leaped into it, and, although a storm was raging, cut the painter, spread the sail, and committed himself to chance. He was driven to an island where he found a ship navigated by his own friends, and sailed thence to Africa. He was prohibited from landing even there by the governor, Sextilius, because he was a public enemy, and he passed the winter in his ship a little beyond the province of Africa, in Numidia. While he was sailing thither he was joined by Cethegus, Granius, Albinovanus, Laetorius, and others, and his son Marius, who had gained tidings of his approach. They had fled from Rome to Hiempsal prince of Numidia, and now they had run away from him, fearing lest they should be delivered up.

They were ready to do just as Sulla had done, that is, to master their country by force, but as they had no army they waited for some opportunity; 63 1 but in Rome Sulla, who had been the first to seize the city by force of arms, and now perhaps could have  p117 wielded supreme power, having rid himself of his enemies, desisted from violence of his own accord. He sent his army forward to Capua and resumed consular authority. The supporters of the banished faction, especially the rich, and many wealthy women, who now found a respite from the terror of arms, bestirred themselves for the return of the exiles. They spared neither pains nor expense to this end, even conspiring against the persons of the consuls, since they thought they could not secure the recall of their friends while the consuls survived. For Sulla the army, which had been voted for the Mithridatic war, furnished ample protection even after he should cease to be consul; but the people commiserated the perilous position of the other consul, Quintus Pompeius, and gave him the command of Italy and of the army appertaining to it, which was then under Gnaeus Pompeius. When the latter learned this he was greatly displeased, but received Quintus in the camp, and, when next day Quintus began to take over his duties, he gave way to him for a time as if relieved of his command; but a little later a crowd that had collected around the consul under pretence of listening to him killed him. After the guilty ones had fled, Gnaeus came to the camp in a high state of indignation over the illegal killing of a consul, but despite his displeasure he forthwith resumed his command over them.24



64 1 When the murder of Pompeius was reported in the city, Sulla became apprehensive for his own safety and was surrounded by friends wherever he went, and had them with him even by night. He did not, however, remain long in the city, but went to the army at Capua and from thence to Asia, and the friends of the exiles, encouraged by Cinna, Sulla's successor in the consul­ship, excited the new citizens in favour of the scheme of Marius, that they should be distributed among all the old tribes, so that they should not be powerless by reason of voting last. This was preliminary to the recall of Marius and his friends. Although the old citizens resisted with all their might, Cinna co-operated with the new ones, the story being that he had been bribed with 300 talents to do this. The other consul, Octavius, sided with the old citizens. The partisans of Cinna took possession of the forum with concealed daggers, and with loud cries demanded that they should be distributed among all the tribes. The more reputable part of the plebeians adhered to Octavius, and they also carried daggers.

While Octavius was still at home awaiting the result, the news was brought to him that the majority of the tribunes had vetoed the proposed action, but that the new citizens had started a riot, drawn their daggers on the street, and assaulted the opposing tribunes on the rostra. When Octavius heard this he ran down through the Via Sacra with a very dense mass of men, burst into the forum like a torrent, pushed through the midst of the crowd,  p121 and separated them. He struck terror into them, went on to the temple of Castor and Pollux, and drove Cinna away; while his companions fell upon the new citizens without orders, killed many of them, put the rest to flight, and pursued them to the city gates.

65 1 Cinna, who had been emboldened by the numbers of the new citizens to think that he should conquer, seeing the victory won contrary to his expectation by the bravery of the few, hurried through the city calling the slaves to his assistance by an offer of freedom. As none responded he hastened to the towns near by, which had lately been admitted to Roman citizen­ship, Tibur, Praeneste, and the rest as far as Nola, inciting them all to revolution and collecting money for the purposes of war. While Cinna was making these preparations and plan certain senators of his party joined him, among them Gaius Milo, Quintus Sertorius, and Gaius Marius the younger.

The Senate decreed that since Cinna had left the city in danger while holding the office of consul, and had offered freedom to the slaves, he should no longer be consul, or even a citizen, and elected in his stead Lucius Merula, the priest of Jupiter. It is said that this priest alone wore the flamen's cap​25 at all times, the others wearing it only during sacrifices. Cinna proceeded to Capua, where there was another Roman army, whose officers together with the senators who were present, he tried to win over. He went to meet them as consul in an assembly, where he laid down the fasces as though he were a private  p123 citizen, and shedding tears, said, "From you, citizens, I received this authority. The people voted it to me; the Senate has taken it away from me without your consent. Although I am the sufferer by this wrong I grieve amid my own troubles equally for your sakes. What need is there that we should solicit the favour of the tribes in the elections hereafter? What need have we of you? Where will after this be your power in the assemblies, in the elections, in the choice of consuls, if you fail to confirm what you bestow, and whenever you give your decision fail to secure it."

66 1 He said this to stir them up, and after exciting much pity for himself he rent his garments, leaped down from the rostra, and threw himself on the ground before them, where he lay a long time. Entirely overcome they raised him up; they restored him to the curule chair; they lifted up the fasces and bade him be of good cheer, as he was consul still, and lead them wherever he would. The tribunes, striking while the iron was hot, themselves took the military oath to support Cinna, and administered it each to the soldiers under him. Now that this was all secure, Cinna traversed the allied cities and stirred them up also, alleging that it was on their account chiefly that this misfortune had happened to him. They furnished him both money and soldiers; and many others, even of the aristocratic party in Rome, to whom the stability of the government was irksome, came and joined him.

While Cinna was thus occupied, the consuls, Octavius and Merula, fortified the city with trenches, repaired the walls, and planted engines on them. To raise an army they sent round to the towns that  p125 were still faithful and also to Nearer Gaul, and summoned Gnaeus Pompeius, the proconsul who commanded the army on the Adriatic, to hasten to the aid of his country.

67 1 So Pompeius came and encamped before the Colline gate. Cinna advanced against him and encamped near him. When Gaius Marius heard of all this he sailed to Etruria with his fellow-exiles and about 500 slaves who had joined their masters from Rome. Still squalid and long-haired, he marched through the towns presenting a pitiable appearance, descanting on his battles, his victories over the Cimbri, and his six consul­ships; and what was extremely pleasing to them, promising, with all appearance of genuineness, to be faithful to their interests in the matter of the vote. In this way he collected 6000 Etruscans and reached Cinna, who received him gladly by reason of their common interest in the present enterprise. After joining forces they encamped on the banks of the Tiber and divided their army into three parts: Cinna and Carbo opposite the city, Sertorius above it, and Marius toward the sea. The two latter threw bridges across the river in order to cut off the city's food-supply. Marius captured and plundered Ostia, while Cinna sent a force and captured Ariminum in order to prevent an army coming to the city from the subject Gauls.

68 1 The consuls were alarmed. They needed more troops, but they were unable to summon Sulla because he had already crossed over to Asia. They, however, ordered Caecilius Metellus, who was carrying on  p127 what was left of the Social War against the Samnites, to make peace on the best terms he could, and come to the rescue of his beleaguered country. But Metellus would not agree to the Samnites' demands, and when Marius heard of this he made an engagement with them to grant all that they asked from Metellus. In this way the Samnites also became allies of Marius. Appius Claudius, a military tribune, who had command of the defences of Rome at the Janiculum hill, had once received a favour from Marius of which the latter now reminded him, in consequence of which he admitted him into the city, opening a gate for him at about daybreak. Then Marius admitted Cinna. They were at once thrust out by Octavius and Pompeius, who attacked them together, but a severe thunder-storm broke upon the camp of Pompeius, and he was killed by lightning together with others of the nobility.

69 1 After Marius had stopped the passage of food-supplies from the sea, or by way of the river from above, he hastened to attack the neighbouring towns where grain was stored for the Romans. He fell upon their garrisons unexpectedly and captured Antium, Aricia, Lanuvium, and others. There were some also that were delivered up to him by treachery. Having in this manner obtained command of their supplies by land, he advanced boldly against Rome, by the Appian Way, before any other supplies were brought to them by another route. He and Cinna, and their lieutenant-generals, Carbo and Sertorius, halted at a distance of 100 stades from the city and went into camp, but Octavius, Crassus, and Metellus had taken position against them at the Alban  p129 Mount, where they watched eventualities. Although they considered themselves superior in bravery and numbers, they hesitated to risk, through haste, their country's fate on the hazard of a single battle. Cinna sent heralds round the city to offer freedom to slaves who would desert to him, and forthwith a large number did desert. The Senate was alarmed, and, anticipating the most serious consequences from the people if the scarcity of cornº should be protracted, changed its mind and sent envoys to Cinna to treat for peace. He asked them whether they came to him as a consul or as a private citizen. They were at a loss for an answer and went back to the city; and now a large number of citizens flocked to Cinna, some from fear of famine, and others because they had been previously favourable to his party and had been waiting to see which way the scales would turn.

70 1 Cinna now began to despise his enemies and drew near to the wall, halting out of range, and encamped. Octavius and his party were undecided and fearful, and hesitated to attack him on account of the desertions and the negotiations. The Senate was greatly perplexed and considered it a dreadful thing to depose Lucius Merula, the priest of Jupiter, who had been chosen consul in place of Cinna, and who had done nothing wrong in his office. Yet on account of the impending danger it reluctantly sent envoys to Cinna again, and this time as consul. They no longer expected favourable terms, so they only asked that Cinna should swear to them that he would abstain from bloodshed. He refused to take the oath, but he promised nevertheless that he would not willingly be the cause of  p131 anybody's death. He directed, however, that Octavius, who had gone round and entered the city by another gate, should keep away from the forum lest anything should befall him against his own will. This answer he delivered to the envoys from a high platform in his character as consul. Marius stood in silence beside the curule chair, but showed by the asperity of his countenance the slaughter he contemplated. When the Senate had accepted these terms and had invited Cinna and Marius to enter (for it was understood that, while it was Cinna's name which appeared, the moving spirit was Marius), the latter said with a scornful smile that it was not lawful for men banished to enter. Forthwith the tribunes voted to repeal the decree of banishment against him and all the others who were expelled under the consul­ship of Sulla.

71 1 Accordingly Cinna and Marius entered the city and everybody received them with fear. Straightway they began to plunder without hindrance all the goods of those who were supposed to be of the opposite party. Cinna and Marius had sworn to Octavius, and the augurs and soothsayers had predicted, that he would suffer no harm, yet his friends advised him to fly. He replied that he would never desert the city while he was consul. So he withdrew from the forum to the Janiculum with the nobility and what was left of his army, where he occupied the curule chair and wore the robes of office, attended as consul by lictors. Here he was attacked by Censorinus with a body of horse, and again his friends and the soldiers who stood by him urged him to fly and brought him his horse, but he disdained even to  p133 arise, and awaited death. Censorinus cut off his head and carried it to Cinna, and it was suspended in the forum in front of the rostra, the first head of a consul that was so exposed. After him the heads of others who were slain were suspended there; and this shocking custom, which began with Octavius, was not discontinued, but was handed down to subsequent massacres.

Now the victors sent out spies to search for their enemies of the senatorial and equestrian orders. When any knights were killed no further attention was paid to them, but all the heads of senators were exposed in front of the rostra. Neither reverence for the gods, nor the indignation of men, nor the fear of odium for their acts existed any longer among them. After committing savage deeds they turned to godless sights. They killed remorselessly and severed the necks of men already dead, and they paraded these horrors before the public eye, either to inspire fear and terror, or for a godless spectacle.

72 1 The brothers Gaius Julius and Lucius Julius, Atilius Serranus, Publius Lentulus, Gaius Nemetorius, and Marcus Baebius were arrested in the street and killed. Crassus was pursued with his son. He anticipated the pursuers by killing his son, but was himself killed by them. Marcus Antonius, the orator, fled to a country place, where he was concealed and entertained by a farmer, who sent his slave to a tavern for wine of a better quality than he was in the habit of buying. When the innkeeper asked him why he wanted the better quality, the  p135 slave whispered the reason to him, bought the wine, and went back. The innkeeper ran and told Marius, who sprang up with joy as though he would rush to do the deed himself, but was restrained by his friends. A tribune despatched to the house sent some soldiers upstairs, whom Antonius, a speaker of much charm, tried to soften with a long discourse, appealing to their pity by recalling many and various subjects, until the tribune, who was at a loss to know what had happened, rushed into the house and, finding his soldiers listening to Antonius, killed him while he was still declaiming, and sent his head to Marius.

73 1 Cornutus concealed himself in a hut and was saved by his slaves in an ingenious way, for finding a dead body they placed it on a funeral pyre, and when the spies came set fire to it and said they were burning the body of their master, who had hanged himself. In this way he was saved by his slaves. As for Quintus Ancharius, he watched his opportunity till Marius was about to offer sacrifice in the Capitol, hoping that the temple would be a propitious place for reconciliation. But when he approached and saluted Marius, the latter, who was just beginning the sacrifice, ordered the guards to kill him in the Capitol forthwith; and his head, with that of the orator Antonius, and those of others who had been consuls and praetors, was exposed in the forum. Burial was not permitted to any of the slain, but the bodies of men like these were torn in pieces by birds and dogs. There was, too, much private and irresponsible murder committed by the factions upon each other. There were banishments, and confiscations of property, and depositions from office, and a repeal of the laws enacted during Sulla's  p137 consul­ship. All Sulla's friends were put to death, his house was razed to the ground, his property confiscated, and himself voted a public enemy. Search was made for his wife and children, but they escaped. Altogether nothing was wanted to complete these wide-spread miseries.

74 1 To crown all, under the similitude of legal authority after so many had been put to death without trial, accusers were suborned to make false charges against Merula, the priest of Jupiter, who was hated because he had been the successor of Cinna in the consul­ship, although he had committed no other fault. Accusation was also brought against Lutatius Catulus, who had been the colleague of Marius in the war against the Cimbri, and whose life Marius had once saved. It was alleged that he had been very ungrateful to Marius and had been very bitter against him when he was banished. These men were put under secret surveillance, and when the day for holding court arrived were summoned to trial (the proper way was to put the accused under arrest after they had been cited four times at certain fixed intervals), but Merula had opened his veins, and a tablet lying at his side showed that when he cut his veins he had removed his flamen's cap, for it was accounted a sin for the priest to wear it at his death. Catulus of free will suffocated himself with burning charcoal in a chamber newly plastered and still moist. So these two men perished. The slaves who had joined Cinna in answer to his proclamation and had thereupon been freed and were at this time enrolled in the army by Cinna himself, broke into and plundered houses, and killed persons whom they met in the street, some of them attacking  p139 their own masters particularly. After Cinna had forbidden this several times, but without avail, he surrounded them with his Gallic soldiery one night while they were taking their rest, and killed them all.

Thus did the slaves receive fit punishment for their repeated treachery to their masters. 75 1 The following year Cinna was chosen consul for the second time, and Marius for the seventh; so that, notwithstanding his banishment and the price on his head, the augury of the seven eaglets proved true for him. But he died in the first month of his consul­ship, while forming all sorts of terrible designs against Sulla. Cinna caused Valerius Flaccus to be chosen in his place and sent him to Asia, and when Flaccus lost his life he chose Carbo as his fellow-consul.


76 1 Sulla now hastened his return to meet his enemies, having quickly finished the war with Mithridates, as I have already related. Within less than three years he had killed 160,000 men, recovered Greece, Macedonia, Ionia, Asia, and many other countries that Mithridates had previously occupied, taken the king's fleet away from him, and from such vast possessions restricted him to his paternal kingdom alone. He returned with a large and well-disciplined army, devoted to him and elated by its exploits. He had an abundance of ships, money, and apparatus suitable for all emergencies, and was  p141 an object of terror to his enemies. Carbo and Cinna were in such fear of him that they despatched emissaries to all parts of Italy to collect money, soldiers, and supplies. They took the leading citizens into friendly intercourse and appealed especially to the newly created citizens of the towns, pretending that it was on their account that they were threatened with the present danger. They began at once to repair the ships, recalled those that were in Sicily, guarded to coast, and with fear and haste they, for their part, made preparations of every kind.

77 1 Sulla wrote to the Senate in a tone of superiority recounting what he had done in Africa in the war against Jugurtha the Numidian while still quaestor, as lieutenant in the Cimbric war, as praetor in Cilicia and in the Social war, and as consul. Most of all he dwelt upon his recent victories in the Mithridatic war, enumerating to them the many nations which had been under Mithridates and which he had recovered for the Romans. Of nothing did he make more account than that those who had been banished from Rome by Cinna had fled to him, and that he had received them in their helplessness and supported them in their affliction. In return for this, he said, he had been declared a public enemy by his foes, his house had been destroyed, his friends put to death, and his wife and children had with difficulty made their escape to him. He would be there presently to take vengeance, on behalf of themselves and of the entire city, upon the guilty ones. He assured the other citizens, and the new citizens, that he would make no complain against them.

 p143  When the letters were read fear fell upon all, and they began sending messengers to reconcile him with his enemies and to tell him in advance that, if he wanted any security, he should write to the Senate at once. They ordered Cinna and Carbo to cease recruiting soldiers until Sulla's answer should be received. They promised to do so, but as soon as the messengers had gone they proclaimed themselves consuls for the ensuing year so that they need not come back to the city earlier to hold the election. They traversed Italy, collecting soldiers whom they carried across by detachments on shipboard to Liburnia,​26 which was to act as their base against Sulla.

78 1 The first detachment had a prosperous voyage. The next encountered a storm, and those who reached land again escaped home immediately, as they did not relish the prospect of fighting their fellow-citizens. When the rest learned this they too refused to cross to Liburnia. Cinna was indignant and called them to an assembly in order to terrify them, and they assembled, angry also and ready to defend themselves. One of the lictors, who was clearing the road for Cinna, struck somebody who was in the way and one of the soldiers struck the lictor. Cinna ordered the arrest of the offender, whereupon a clamour rose on all sides, stones were thrown at him, and those who were near him drew their dirks and stabbed him. So Cinna also perished during his consul­ship. Carbo recalled those who had been sent over by ship to Liburnia, and, through fear of what was taking place, did not go back to the city, although the tribunes summoned him with  p145 urgency to hold an election for the choice of a colleague. However, when they threatened to reduce him to the rank of a private citizen he came back and ordered the holding of the consular election, but as the omens were unfavourable he postponed it to another day. On that day lightning struck the temples of Luna and of Ceres; so the augurs prorogued the comitia beyond the summer solstice, and Carbo remained sole consul.

79 1 Sulla answered those who came to him from the Senate, saying that he would never be on friendly terms with the men who had committed such crimes, but would not prevent the city from extending clemency to them. As for security he said that he, with a devoted army, could better furnish lasting security to them, and to those who had fled to his camp, than they to him; whereby it was made plain in a single sentence that he would not disband his army, but was now contemplating supreme power. He demanded of them his former dignity, his property, and the priesthood, and that they should restore to him in full measure whatever other honours he had previously held. He sent some of his own men with the Senate's messengers to confer about these matters, but they, learning at Brundusium that Cinna was dead and that Rome was in an unsettled state, went back to Sulla without transacting their business. He then started with five legions of Italian troops and 6000 horse, to whom he added some other forces from the Peloponnesus and Macedonia, in all about 40,000 men, from the Piraeus to Patrae, and then sailed from Patrae to Brundusium in 1600 ships. The Brundusians received him without a fight, for which favour he afterward gave them exemption  p147 from customs-duties, which they enjoy to this day. Then he put his army in motion and went forward.

80 1 He was met on the road by Caecilius Metellus Pius, who had been chosen some time before to finish the Social War, but did not return to the city for fear of Cinna and Marius. He had been awaiting in Libya the turn of events, and now offered himself as a volunteer ally with the force under his command, as he was still a proconsul; for those who have been chosen to this office may retain it till they come back to Rome. After Metellus came Gnaeus Pompeius, who not long afterward was surnamed the Great, son of the Pompeius who was killed by lightning and who was supposed to be unfriendly to Sulla. The son removed this suspicion by coming with a legion which he had collected from the territory of Picenum owing to the reputation of his father, who had been very influential there. A little later he recruited two more legions and became Sulla's right-hand man in these affairs. So Sulla held him in honour, though still very young; and they say he never rose at the entrance of any other than this youth. When the war was nearly finished Sulla sent him to Africa to drive out the party of Carbo and to restore Hiempsal (who had been expelled by the Numidians) to his kingdom. For this service Sulla allowed him a triumph over the Numidians, although he was under age, and was still in the equestrian order. From this beginning Pompeius achieved greatness, being sent against Sertorius in Spain and later against Mithridates in Pontus. Cethegus also joined Sulla, although with Cinna and Marius he had been violently hostile to him and had been driven out of the city with them.  p149 He now turned suppliant, and offered his services to Sulla in any capacity he might desire.

81 1 Sulla now had plenty of soldiers and plenty of friends of the higher orders, whom he used as lieutenants. He and Metellus marched in advance, being both proconsuls, for it seems that Sulla, who had been appointed proconsul against Mithridates, had at no time hitherto laid down his command, although he had been voted a public enemy at the instance of Cinna. Now Sulla moved against his enemies with a most intense yet concealed hatred. The people in the city, who formed a pretty fair judgment of the character of the man, and who remembered his former attack and capture of the city, and who took into account the decrees they had proclaimed against him, and who had witnessed the destruction of his house, the confiscation of his property, the killing of his friends, and the narrow escape of his family, were in a state of terror. Conceiving that there was no middle ground between victory and utter destruction, they united with the consuls to resist Sulla, but with trepidation. They despatched messengers throughout Italy to collect soldiers, provisions, and money, and, as in cases of extreme peril, they omitted nothing that zeal and earnestness could suggest.

82 1 Gaius Norbanus and Lucius Scipio, who were then the consuls, and with them Carbo, who had been consul the previous year (all of them moved by equal hatred of Sulla and more alarmed than others because they knew that they were more to blame for what had been done), levied the best possible army from the city, joined with it the Italian army, and marched against Sulla in detachments. They  p151 had 200 cohorts of 500 men at first, and their forces were considerably augmented afterward. For the sympathies of the people were much in favour of the consuls, because the action of Sulla, who was marching against his country, seemed to be that of an enemy, while that of the consuls, even if they were working for themselves, was ostensibly the cause of the republic. Many persons, too, who knew that they had shared the guilt, and who believed that they could not despise the fears, of the consuls, co-operated with them. They knew very well that Sulla was not meditating merely punishment, correction, and alarm for them, but destruction, death, confiscation, and wholesale extermination. In this they were not mistaken, for the war ruined everyone. From 10,000 to 20,000 men were slain in a single battle more than once. Fifty thousand on both sides lost their lives round the city, and to the survivors Sulla was unsparing in severity, both to individuals and to communities, until, finally, he made himself the undisputed master of the whole Roman government, so far as he wished or cared to be.

83 1 It seems, too, that divine providence foretold to them the results of this war. Mysterious terrors came upon many, both in public and in private, throughout all Italy. Ancient, awe-inspiring oracles were remembered. Many monstrous things happened. A mule foaled, a woman gave birth to a viper instead of a child. There was a severe earthquake divinely sent and some of the temples in Rome were thrown down (the Romans being in any case very seriously disposed towards such things). The Capitol, that had been built by the kings 400 years before, was burned down, and nobody could discover  p153 the cause of the fire. All things seemed to point to the multitude of coming slaughters, to the conquest of Italy and of the Romans themselves, to the capture of the city, and to constitutional change.

84 1 This war began as soon as Sulla arrived at Brundusium, which was in the 174th Olympiad. Considering the magnitude of the operations,​27 its length was not great, compared with wars of this size in general, since the combatants rushed upon each other with the fury of private enemies. For this special reason greater and more distressing calamities than usual befell those who took part in it in a short space of time, because they rushed to meet their troubles. Nevertheless the war lasted three years in Italy alone, until Sulla had secured the supreme power, but in Spain it continued even after Sulla's death. Battles, skirmishes, sieges, and fighting of all kinds were numerous throughout Italy, and the generals had both regular battles and partial engagements, and all were noteworthy. The greatest and most remarkable of them I shall mention in brief.


First of all Sulla and Metellus fought a battle against Norbanus at Canusium and killed 6000 of his men, while Sulla's loss was seventy, but many of his men were wounded. Norbanus retreated to Capua. 85 1 Next, while Sulla and Metellus were near Teanum, L. Scipio advanced against them with another army which was very downhearted and  p155 longed for peace. The Sullan faction knew this and sent envoys to Scipio to negotiate, not because they hoped or desired to come to an agreement, but because they expected to create dissensions in Scipio's army, which was in a state of dejection. In this they succeeded. Scipio took hostages for the conference and marched down to the plain. Only three from each side conferred, so that what passed between them is not known. It seems, however, that during the armistice Scipio sent Sertorius to his colleague, Norbanus, to communicate with him concerning the negotiation, and there was a cessation of hostilities while they were waiting for the answers. Sertorius on his way took possession of Suessa, which had espoused the side of Sulla, and Sulla made complaint of this to Scipio. The latter, either because he was privy to the affair or because he did not know what answer to make concerning the strange act of Sertorius, sent back Sulla's hostages. His army blamed the consuls for the unjustifiable seizure of Suessa during the armistice and for the surrender of the hostages, who were not demanded back, and made a secret agreement with Sulla to go over to him if he would draw nearer. This he did, and straightway they all went over en masse, so that the consul, Scipio, and his son Lucius, alone of the whole army, were left, not knowing what to do, in their tent, where they were captured by Sulla. Scipio's ignorance of a conspiracy of this kind, embracing his whole army, seems to me inexcusable in a general.

86 1 When Sulla was unable to induce Scipio to change, he sent him away with his son unharmed. He also sent other envoys to Norbanus at Capua to open negotiations, either because he was apprehensive  p157 of the result (since the greater part of Italy still adhered to the consuls), or in order to play the same game on him that he had played on Scipio. As nobody came forward and no away was returned (for it seems that Norbanus feared lest he should be accused by his army in the same way that Scipio had been), Sulla again advanced, devastating all hostile territory, while Norbanus did the same thing on other roads. Carbo hastened to the city and caused Metellus, and all the other senators who had joined Sulla, to be decreed public enemies. It was at this time that the Capitol was burned. Some attributed this deed to Carbo, others to the consuls, others to somebody sent by Sulla; but of the exact fact there was no evidence, nor am I able now to conjecture what caused the fire. Sertorius, who had been some time previously chosen praetor for Spain, after the taking of Suessa fled to his province, and as the former praetor refused to recognize his authority, he stirred up a great deal of trouble for the Romans there. In the meantime the forces of the consuls were constantly increasing from the major part of Italy, which still adhered to them, and also from the neighbouring Gauls on the Po. Nor was Sulla idle. He sent messengers to all parts of Italy that he could reach, to collect troops by friendship, by fear, by money, and by promises. In this way the remainder of the summer was consumed on both sides.

87 1 The consuls for the following year were Papirius Carbo for the second time and Marius, the nephew of the great Marius, then twenty-seven years of age. At first the winter and severe frost kept the combatants apart. At the beginning of spring, on the  p159 banks of the river Aesis, there was a severe engagement lasting from early morning till noon between Metellus and Carinas, Carbo's lieutenant. Carinas was put to flight after heavy loss, whereupon all the country thereabout seceded from the consuls to Metellus. Carbo came up with Metellus and besieged him until he heard that Marius, the other consul, had been defeated in a great battle near Praeneste, when he led his forces back to Ariminum, with Pompey hung on his rear doing damage. The defeat at Praeneste was in this wise. Sulla having captured the town of Setia, Marius, who was encamped near by, drew a little farther away. But when he arrived at the Sacred Lake he gave battle and fought bravely. When his left wing began to give way five cohorts of foot and two of horse decided not to wait for open defeat, but threw away their standards in a body and went over to Sulla. This was the beginning of a terrible disaster to Marius. His shattered army fled to Praeneste with Sulla in hot pursuit. The Praenestines gave shelter to those who arrived first, but when Sulla pressed upon them the gates were closed, and Marius was hauled up by ropes. There was another great slaughter round the walls by reason of the closing of the gates. Sulla captured a large number of prisoners, and killed all the Samnites among them, because they had all along been ill-affected toward the Romans.

88 1 About the same time Metellus gained a victory over another army of Carbo, and here again five cohorts, for safety's sake, deserted to Metellus  p161 during the battle. Pompey overcame Marcius near Senae and plundered the town. Sulla, having shut Marius up in Praeneste, drew a line of circumvallation round the town a considerable distance from it and left the work in charge of Lucretius Ofella, as he intended to reduce Marius by famine, not by fighting. When Marius saw that his condition was hopeless he hastened to put his private enemies out of the way. He wrote to Brutus, the city praetor, to call the Senate together on some pretext or other and to kill Publius Antistius, the other Papirius, Lucius Domitius, and Mucius Scaevola, the pontifex maximus. Of these the two first were slain in their seats as Marius had ordered, assassins having been introduced into the senate-house for this purpose. Domitius ran out, but was killed at the door, and Scaevola was killed a little farther away. Their bodies were thrown into the Tiber, for it was now the custom not to bury the slain. Sulla sent an army to Rome in detachments by different roads with orders to seize the gates, and if they were repulsed to rendezvous at Ostia. The towns on the way received them with fear and trembling, and the city opened its gates to them because the people were oppressed by hunger, and because, of present evils, men always nerve themselves to bear the worse.28

89 1 When Sulla learned this he came on immediately and established his army before the gates in the Campus Martius. He went inside himself, all of  p163 the opposite faction having fled. Their property was at once confiscated and exposed to public sale. Sulla summoned the people to an assembly, where he lamented the necessity of his present doings and told them to cheer up, as the troubles would soon be over and the government go on as it ought. Having arranged such matters as were pressing and put some of his own men in charge of the city, he set out for Clusium, where the war was still raging. In the meantime a body of Celtiberian horse, sent by the praetors in Spain, had joined the consuls, and there was a cavalry fight on the banks of the river Glanis. Sulla killed about fifty of the enemy, and then 270 of the Celtiberian horse deserted to him, and Carbo himself killed the rest of them, either because he was angry at the desertion of their countrymen or because he feared similar action on their own part. About the same time Sulla overcame another detachment of his enemies near Saturnia, and Metellus sailed around toward Ravenna and took possession of the level wheat-growing country of Uritanus.​29 Another Sullan division effected an entrance into Neapolis by treachery in the night, killed all the inhabitants except a few who had made their escape, and seized the triremes belonging to the city. A severe battle was fought near Clusium between Sulla himself and Carbo, lasting all day. Neither party had the advantage when darkness put an end to the conflict.

90 1 In the plain of Spoletium, Pompey and Crassus, both Sulla's officers, killed some 3000 of Carbo's men and besieged Carinas, the opposing general. Carbo sent reinforcements to Carinas, but Sulla learned of  p165 their movement, laid an ambush for them, and killed about 2000 of them on the road. Carinas escaped by night during a heavy rain-storm and thick darkness, since although the besiegers were aware of some movement, they made no opposition on account of the storm. Carbo sent Marcius with eight legions to the relief of his colleague, Marius, at Praeneste, having heard that he was suffering from hunger. Pompey fell upon them from ambush in a defile, defeated them, killed a large number, and surrounded the remainder on a hill. Marcius indeed made his escape, leaving his fires burning, but the army blamed him for being caught in an ambush and there was a serious mutiny. One whole legion marched off under their standards to Ariminum without orders. The rest separated and went home in driblets, so that only seven cohorts remained with their general.

Marcius, having made a failure of it in this way, returned to Carbo. However, Marcus Lamponius from Lucania, Pontius Telesinus from Samnium, and Gutta the Capuan, with 70,000 men, hastened to deliver Marius from the siege, but Sulla occupied a pass which was the only approach to the place, and blocked the road. Marius now despaired of aid from without, and built a raised fort in the wide space between himself and the enemy, within which he collected his soldiers and his engines, and from which he attempted to force his way through the besieging army of Lucretius. The attempt was renewed several days in different ways, but he accomplished nothing and was again shut up in Praeneste.

91 1 About the same time Carbo and Norbanus  p167 went by a short road to attack the camp of Metellus in Faventia just before nightfall. There was only one hour of daylight left, and there were thick vineyards thereabout. They made their plans for battle with more temper than judgment, hoping to take Metellus unawares and to stampede him. But they were beaten, both the place and the time being unfavourable for them. They became entangled in the vines, and suffered a heavy slaughter, losing some 10,000 men. About 6000 more deserted, and the rest were dispersed, only 1000 getting back to Ariminum in good order. Another legion of Lucanians under Albinovanus, when they heard of this defeat, went over to Metellus to the great chagrin of their leader. As the latter was not able to restrain this impulse of his men, he, for the time, returned to Norbanus. Not many days later he sent secretly to Sulla, and having obtained a promise of safety from him, if he should accomplish anything important, he invited norbanus and his lieutenants, Gaius Antipater and Flavius Fimbria (brother of the one who committed suicide in Asia), together with such of Carbo's lieutenants as were then present, to a feast. When they had all assembled except Norbanus (he was the only one who did not come), Albinovanus murdered them all at the banquet and then fled to Sulla. Norbanus, having learned that, in consequence of this disaster, Ariminum and many other camps in the vicinity were going over to Sulla, and being unable to rely on the good faith and firm support of many of his friends on the spot, now that he found himself in adversity, took passage on a private ship, and sailed to Rhodes. When, at a later period, Sulla demanded his surrender, and while the  p169 Rhodians were deliberating on it, he killed himself in the middle of the market-place.

92 1 Carbo sent Damasippus in haste with two other legions to Praeneste to relieve Marius, who was still besieged, but not even these could force their way through the pass that was guarded by Sulla. The Gauls who inhabited the country lying between Ravenna and the Alps went over to Metellus en masse and Lucullus won a victory over another body of Carbo's forces near Placentia. When Carbo learned these facts, although he still had 30,000 men around Clusium, and the two legions of Damasippus, and others under Carinas and Marcius, besides a large force of Samnites, who were courageously enduring hardships at the pass, he fell into despair and weakly fled to Africa with his friends, although he was still consul, hoping to win over Africa instead of Italy. Of those whom he left behind, the army around Clusium had a battle with Pompey in which they lost 20,000 men. Naturally, after this greatest disaster of all, the remainder of the army broke into fragments and each man went to his own home. Carinas, Marcius, and Damasippus went with all the forces they had to the pass in order to force their way through it in conjunction with the Samnites. Failing in the attempt they marched to Rome, thinking that the city might be easily taken, as it was bereft of men and provisions, and they encamped in the Alban territory at a distance of 100 stades from it.

93 1 Sulla feared for the safety of the city, and sent his cavalry forward with all speed to hinder their march, and then hastened in person with his whole army and encamped beside the Colline gate near  p171 the temple of Venus about noon, the enemy being already encamped around the city. A battle was fought at once, late in the afternoon. On the right wing Sulla was victorious, but his left was vanquished and fled to the gates. The old soldiers on the walls, when they saw the enemy rushing in with their own men, dropped the portcullis, which fell upon and killed many soldiers and many senators. But the majority, impelled by fear and necessity, turned and fought the enemy. The fighting continued through the night and a great many were slain. The generals, Telesinus and Albinus, were slain also and their camp was taken. Lamponius the Lucanian, Marcius, and Carinas, and the other generals of the faction of Carbo, fled. It was estimated that 50,000 men on both sides lost their lives in this engagement. Prisoners, to the number of more than 8,000, were shot down with darts by Sulla because they were mostly Samnites. The next day Marcius and Carinas were captured and brought in. Sulla did not spare them because they were Romans, but killed them both and sent their heads to Lucretius at Praeneste to be displayed round the walls.

94 1 When the Praenestians saw them and knew that Carbo's army was completely destroyed, and that Norbanus himself had fled from Italy, and that Rome and all the rest of Italy were entirely in the power of Sulla, they surrendered their city to Lucretius. Marius hid himself in an under­ground  p173 tunnel and shortly afterward committed suicide. Lucretius cut off his head and sent it to Sulla, who exposed it in the forum in front of the rostra. It is said that he indulged in a jest at the youth of the consul, saying "First learn to row, before you try to steer."​30 When Lucretius took Praeneste he seized the senators who had held commands under Marius, and put some of them to death and cast the others into prison. The latter were put to death by Sulla when he came that way. All the others who were taken in Praeneste he ordered to march out to the plain without arms, and when they had done so he chose out a very few who had been in any way serviceable to him. The remainder he ordered to be divided into three sections, consisting of Romans, Samnites, and Praenestians respectively. When this had been done he announced to the Romans by herald that they had merited death, but nevertheless he would pardon them. The others he shot down to the last man, but their wives and children he allowed to go unharmed. The town, which was extremely rich at that time, he gave over to plunder.

In this way was Praeneste taken. Norba, another town, still resisted with all its might until Aemilius Lepidus was admitted to it in the night by treachery. The inhabitants, maddened by this treason, killed themselves, or fell on each other's swords, or strangled themselves with ropes. Others closed the gates and set fire to the town. A strong wind fanned the flames, which so far consumed the place that no plunder was gained from it.



95 1 So perished the stout-hearted men of Norba; and now, after thus crushing Italy by war, fire, and murder, Sulla's generals visited the several cities and established garrisons at the suspected places. Pompey was despatched to Africa against Carbo and to Sicily against Carbo's friends who had taken refuge there. Sulla himself called the Roman people together in an assembly and made them a speech, vaunting his own exploits and making other menacing statements in order to inspire terror. He finished by saying that he would bring about a change which would be beneficial to the people if they would obey him, but of his enemies he would spare none, but would visit them with the utmost severity. He would take vengeance by strong measures on the praetors, quaestors, military tribunes, and everybody else who had committed any hostile act after the day when the consul Scipio violated the agreement made with him. After saying this he forthwith proscribed about forty senators and 1600 knights. He seems to have been the first to make a formal list​31 of those whom he punished, to offer prizes to assassins and rewards to informers, and to threaten with punishment those who should conceal the proscribed. Shortly afterward he added the names other senators to the proscription. Some of these, taken unawares, were killed wherever they were caught, in their houses, in the streets, or in the temples. Others were hurled  p177 through mid-air​32 and thrown at Sulla's feet. Others were dragged through the city and trampled on, none of the spectators daring to utter a word of remonstrance against these horrors. Banishment was inflicted upon some and confiscation upon others. Spies were searching everywhere for those who had fled from the city, and those whom they caught they killed.

96 1 There was much massacre, banishment, and confiscation also among those Italians who had obeyed Carbo, or Marius, or Norbanus, or their lieutenants. Severe judgments of the courts were rendered against them throughout all Italy on various charges — for exercising military command, for serving in the army, for contributing money, for rendering other service, or even giving counsel against Sulla. Hospitality, private friendship, the borrowing or lending of money, were alike accounted crimes. Now and then one would be arrested for doing a kindness to a suspect, or merely for being his companion on a journey. These accusations abounded mostly against the rich. When charges against individuals failed Sulla took vengeance on whole communities. He punished some of them by demolishing their citadels, or destroying their walls, or by imposing fines and crushing them by heavy contributions. Among most of them he placed colonies of his troops in order to hold Italy under garrisons, sequestrating their lands and houses and dividing them among his soldiers, whom he thus made true to him even after his death. As they could not be secure in their own holdings unless all Sulla's  p179 system were on a firm foundation, they were his stoutest champions even after he died.

While the affairs of Italy were in this state, Pompey sent a force and captured Carbo, who had fled with many persons of distinction from Africa to Sicily and thence to the island of Cossyra. He ordered his officers to kill anyone of the others without bringing them into his presence; but Carbo, "the three times consul," he caused to be brought before his feet in chains, and after making a public harangue at him, murdered him and sent his head to Sulla.

97 1 When everything had been accomplished against his enemies as he desired, and there was no longer any hostile force except that of Sertorius, who was far distant, Sulla sent Metellus into Spain against him and seized upon everything in the city to suit himself. There was no longer any occasion for laws, or elections, or for casting lots, because everybody was shivering with fear and in hiding, or dumb. Everything that Sulla had done as consul, or as proconsul, was confirmed and ratified, and his gilded equestrian statue was erected in front of the rostra with the inscription, "Cornelius Sulla, the ever Fortunate," for so his flatterers called him on account of his unbroken success against his enemies. And this flattering title still attaches to him. I have come across a document which relates that Sulla was styled Epaphroditus​33 by a decree of the Senate itself. This does not seem to me to be inappropriate for one of his names was Faustus (lucky), which name seems to have very nearly the same signification as Epaphroditus. There was also an oracle given to him somewhere which, in response to his  p181 question concerning the future, assured his prosperous career as follows:—

"Roman, believe me! On Aeneas' line

Cypris, its patron, sheddeth power divine;

To all the Immortals bring thy yearly gifts;

And chief to Delphi. But where Taurus lifts

His snowy side, and Carian men have walled

A far-spread town, from Aphrodite called,​34

There bring an Axe, and power supreme is thine!

Whichever inscription the Romans voted when they erected the statue, they seem to me to have inscribed it either by way of jest or cajolery. However, Sulla did actually send a golden crown and axe to Venus with this inscription:—

This Axe to Aphrodite Sulla brought,

For in a dream he saw her as she fought

Queen of his host, full armed, and deeds of knighthood wrought.

98 1 Thus Sulla became king, or tyrant, de facto, not elected, but holding power by force and violence. As, however, he needed the pretence of being elected this too was managed in this way. The kings of the Romans in the olden time were chosen for their bravery, and whenever one of them died the senators held the royal power in succession for five days each, until the people should decide who should be the new king. This five-day ruler was called the Interrex, which means king for the time being. The retiring consuls always presided over the election of their successors in office, and if there  p183 chanced to be no consul at such a time an Interrex was appointed for the purpose of holding the consular comitia. Sulla took advantage of this custom. There were no consuls at this time, Carbo having lost his life in Sicily and Marius in Praeneste. So Sulla went out of the city for a time and ordered the Senate to choose an Interrex.

They chose Valerius Flaccus, expecting that he would soon hold the consular comitia. But Sulla wrote ordering Flaccus to represent to the people his own strong opinion that it was to the immediate interest of the city to revive the dictator­ship, an office which had now been in abeyance 400 years.​35 He told them not to appoint the dictator for a fixed period, but until such time as he should firmly re-establish the city and Italy and the government generally, shattered as it was by factions and wars. That this proposal referred to himself was not at all doubtful, and Sulla made no concealment of it, declaring openly at the conclusion of the letter that, in his judgment, he could be most serviceable to the city in that capacity.

99 1 Such was Sulla's message. The Romans did not like it, but they had no more opportunities for elections according to law, and they considered that this matter was not altogether in their own power. So, in the general deadlock, they welcomed this pretence of an election as an image and semblance of freedom, and chose Sulla as their absolute master for as long a time as he pleased. There had been autocratic rule of the dictators before, but it was limited to short periods. But under Sulla it first  p185 became unlimited and so an absolute tyranny. All the same they added, for propriety's sake, that they chose him dictator for the enactment of such laws as he himself might deem best and for the regulation of the commonwealth. Thus the Romans, after having government by kings for above sixty Olympiads, and a democracy, under consuls chosen yearly, for 100 Olympiads, resorted to kingly government again. This was in the 175th Olympiad, according to the Greek calendar, but there were no Olympic games then except races in the stadium, since Sulla had carried away the athletes and all the sights and shows to Rome to celebrate his victories in the Mithridatic and Italian wars, under the pretext that the masses needed a breathing-spell and recreation after their toils.

100 1 Nevertheless, by way of keeping up the form of the republic he allowed them to appoint consuls. Marcus Tullius and Cornelius Dolabella were chosen. But Sulla, like a reigning sovereign, was dictator over the consuls. Twenty-four axes were borne in front of him as dictator, the same number that were borne before the ancient kings, and he had a large body-guard also. He repealed laws and enacted others. He forbade anybody to hold the office of praetor until after he had held that of quaestor, or to be consul before he had been praetor, and he prohibited any man from holding the same office a second time till after the lapse of ten years. He reduced the tribunician power to such an extent that it seemed to be destroyed. He curtailed it by a law which provided that one holding the office of tribune should never afterward hold any other office; for which reason all men of reputation or family, who  p187 formerly contended for this office, shunned it thereafter. I am not able to say positively whether Sulla transferred this office from the people to the Senate, where it is now lodged, or not. To the Senate itself, which had been much thinned by the seditions and wars, he added about 300 members from the best of the knights, taking the vote of the tribes on each one. To the plebeians he added more than 10,000 slaves of proscribed persons, choosing the youngest and strongest, to whom he gave freedom and Roman citizen­ship, and he called them Cornelii after himself. In this way he made sure of having 10,000 men among the plebeians always ready to obey his commands. In order to provide the same kind of safeguard throughout Italy he distributed to the twenty-three legions that had served under him a great deal of land in the various communities, as I have already related, some of which was public property and some taken from the communities by way of fine.

101 1 So terrible in all ways was he and so uncontrollable in anger that finding it vain to check and hinder by persuasive means Q. Lucretius Ofella, who had besieged and captured Praeneste together with the consul Marius, and had won the final victory for him, and who was now, despite the new law, presumed to be a candidate for the consul­ship while still in the equestrian order and before he had been quaestor and praetor, counting on the greatness of his services, according to the traditional custom, and appealing to the populace, he slew him in the middle of the forum. Then Sulla assembled the people and said to them​a "Know, citizens, and learn from me, that I put to death Lucretius because he disobeyed me." And then he  p189 told a parable: "A husbandman was bitten by fleas while ploughing. He stopped his ploughing twice in order to shake them out of his shirt. When they bit him again he burned his shirt, to avoid interruption in his work. And I tell you, who have felt my hand twice, to take warning lest the third time you need fire." With these words he terrified them and thereafter ruled as he pleased. He had a triumph on account of the Mithridatic war, during which some of the scoffers called his government "the official denial of royalty" because he kept back only the name of king. Others took the contrary view, judging from his acts, and called it "the official avowal of tyranny."

102 1 Into such evils were the Romans and all the Italians plunged by this war; and so likewise were all the countries beyond Italy by the recent piracies, or by the Mithridatic war, or by the many exhausting taxes levied to meet the deficit in the public treasury due to the seditions. All the allied nations and kings, and not only the tributary cities, but those which had delivered themselves to the Romans voluntarily under sworn agreements, and those which by virtue of their furnishing aid in war or for some other merit were autonomous and not subject to tribute, all were now required to pay and to obey, while some were deprived of the territory and harbours that had been conceded to them under treaties.

Sulla declared that Alexander (the son of Alexander the former sovereign of Egypt), who had been reared in Cos and given up to Mithridates by the inhabitants of that island, and had fled to Sulla and become intimate with him, should be king of Alexandria.  p191 He did this because the governor of Alexandria was destitute of a sovereign in the male line, and the women of the royal house wanted a man of the same lineage, and because he expected to reap a large reward from a rich kingdom. As, however, Alexander relying upon Sulla behaved himself in a very offensive manner toward them, the Alexandrians, on the nineteenth day of his reign, dragged him from the palace to the gymnasium and put him to death; for they too were still without fear of foreigners, either by reason of the magnitude of their own government or their inexperience as yet of external dangers.


103 1 The following year Sulla, although he was dictator, undertook the consul­ship a second time, with Metellus Pius for his colleague, in order to preserve the pretence and form of democratic government. It is perhaps from this example that the Roman emperors appoint consuls for the country and even sometimes nominate themselves, considering it not unbecoming to hold the office of consul in connection with the supreme power.

The next year the people, in order to pay court to Sulla, chose him consul again, but he refused the office and nominated Servilius Isauricus and Claudius Pulcher, and voluntarily laid down the supreme power, although nobody interfered with him. This act seems wonder­ful to me — that Sulla should have been the first, and till then the only one, to abdicate such vast power without compulsion, not to sons (like  p193 Ptolemy in Egypt, or Ariobarzanes in Cappadocia, or Seleucus in Syria), but to the very people over whom he had tyrannized. Almost incredible is it that after incurring so many dangers in forcing his way to this power he should have laid it down of his own free will after he had acquired it. Paradoxical beyond anything is the fact that he was afraid of nothing, although more than 100,000 young men had perished in this war, and he had destroyed of his enemies 90 senators, 15 consulars, and 2600 knights, including the banished. The property of these men had been confiscated and the bodies of many cast out unburied. Undaunted by the relatives of these persons at home, or by the banished abroad, or by the cities whose towers and walls he had thrown down and whose lands, money, and privileges he had swept away, Sulla now proclaimed himself a citizen.

104 1 So great was this man's boldness and good fortune. It is said that he made a speech in the forum when he laid down his power in which he offered to give the reasons for what he had done to anybody who should ask them. He dismissed the lictors with their axes and discontinued his body-guard, and for a long time walked to the forum with only a few friends, the multitude looking upon him with awe even then. Once only when he was going home he was reviled by a boy. As nobody restrained this boy he made bold to follow Sulla to his house, railing at him; and Sulla, who had opposed the greatest men and states with towering rage, endured his reproaches with calmness, and as he went into the house said, divining the future either by his intelligence or by chance, "This young man will  p195 prevent any future holder of such power from laying it down."

This saying was shortly confirmed to the Romans, for Gaius Caesar never laid down his power, but Sulla seems to me, having shewn himself the same master­ful and able man in all respects, to have desired to reach supreme power from private life, and to change back to private life from supreme power, and then to pass his time in rural solitude; for he retired to his own estate at Cumae in Italy and there occupied his leisure in hunting and fishing. He did this not because he was afraid to live a private life in the city, nor because he had not sufficient bodily strength for whatever he might be eager to do, for he was still of virile age and sound constitution, and there were 120,000 men throughout Italy who had recently served under him in war and had received large gifts of money and land from him, and there were the 10,000 Cornelii ready in the city, besides other people of his party devoted to him and still formidable to his opponents, all of whom rested upon Sulla's safety their hopes of impunity for what they had done in co-operation with him. But I think that because he was weary of war, weary of power, weary of Rome, he finally fell in love with rural life.

105 1 Directly after his retirement the Romans, although delivered from slaughter and tyranny, began gradually to feed the flames of new seditions. Quintus Catulus and Aemilius Lepidus were chosen consuls, the former of the Sullan faction and the latter of the opposite party. They hated each other bitterly and began to quarrel immediately, from which it was plain that fresh troubles were imminent.

 p197  While he was living in the country Sulla had a dream in which he thought he saw his Genius already calling him. Early in the morning he told the dream to his friends and in haste began writing his will, which he finished that day. After sealing it he was taken with a fever towards evening and died the same night. He was sixty years of age and was, I think, as his name suggests, the "most fortunate" of men in life and in death itself; that is, if the fortunate man is he who obtains all that he desires. Immediately a dissensions sprang up in the city over his remains, some proposing to bring them in a procession through Italy and exhibit them in the forum and give him a public funeral. Lepidus and his faction opposed this, but Catulus and the Sullan party prevailed. Sulla's body was borne through Italy on a golden litter with royal splendour. Trumpeters and horsemen in great numbers went in advance and a great multitude of armed men followed on foot. His soldiers flocked from all directions under arms to join the procession, and each one was assigned his place in due order as he came, while the crowd of common people that came together was unprecedented, and in front of all were borne the standards and the fasces that he had used while living and ruling.

106 1 When the remains reached the city then indeed they were borne through the streets with an enormous procession. More than 2000 golden crowns which had been made in haste were carried in it, the gifts of cities and of the legions that he had commanded and of individual friends. It would be impossible to describe all the costly things contributed to this funeral. From fear of the assembled soldiery all the  p199 priests and priestesses escorted the remains, each in proper costume. The entire Senate and the whole body of magistrates attended with their insignia of office. A multitude of knights followed with their peculiar decorations, and, in their turn, all the legions that had fought under him. They came together with eagerness, all hastening to join in the task, carrying gilded standards and silver-plated shields, such as are still used on such occasions. There was a countless number of trumpeters who in turns played the most melting and dirge-like strains. Loud cries of farewell were raised, first by the Senate, then by the knights, then by the soldiers, and finally by the plebeians. For some really longed for Sulla, but others were afraid of his army and his dead body, as they had been of himself when living. As they looked at the present spectacle and remembered what this man had accomplished they were amazed, and agreed with their opponents that he had been most fortunate for his own party and most formidable to themselves even in death. The body was shown in the forum on the rostra, where public speeches are usually made, and the most eloquent of the Romans then living delivered the funeral oration, as Sulla's son, Faustus, was still very young. Then strong men of the senators took up the bier and carried it to Campus Martius, where only kings were buried, and the knights and the army marched past the funeral fire.



107 1 This was Sulla's end, but directly after their return from the funeral the consuls fell into a wordy quarrel and the citizens began to take sides with them. Lepidus, in order to curry favour with the Italians, said that he would restore the land which Sulla had taken from them. The Senate was afraid of both factions and made them take an oath that they would not carry their differences to the point of war. To Lepidus the province of transalpine Gaul was assigned by lot, and he did not come back to the comitia because he realised he would be released in the following year from his oath not to make war on the Sullans; for it was considered that the oath was binding only during the term of office. As his designs did not escape observation he was recalled by the Senate, and as he knew why he was recalled he came with his whole army, intending to bring them into the city with him. As he was prevented from doing this, he ordered his men under arms, and Catulus did the same thing on the other side. A battle was fought not far from the Campus Martius. Lepidus was defeated, and, soon giving up the struggle, sailed shortly afterwards to Sardinia, where he died of a wasting disease. His army was frittered away little by little and dissolved; the greater part of it was conducted by Perpenna to Sertorius in Spain.

108 1 There remained of the Sullan troubles the war with Sertorius, which had been going on for eight years, and was not an easy war to the Romans since it was waged not merely against Spaniards, but against other Romans and Sertorius. He had been  p203 chosen governor of Spain while he was co-operating with Carbo against Sulla; and after taking the city of Suessa during the armistice he fled and assumed his governor­ship. He had an army from Italy itself and he raised another from the Celtiberians, and drove out of Spain the former praetors, who, in order to favour Sulla, refused to surrender the government to him. He had also fought nobly against Metellus, who had been sent against him by Sulla. Having acquired a reputation for bravery he enrolled a council of 300 members from the friends who were with him, and called it the Roman Senate in derision of the real one. After Sulla died, and Lepidus later, he obtained another army of Italians which Perpenna, the lieutenant of Lepidus, brought to him and it was supposed he intended to march against Italy itself, and would have done so had not the Senate become alarmed and sent another army and general into Spain in addition to the former ones. This general was Pompey, who was still a young man, but renowned for his exploits in the time of Sulla, in Africa and Italy itself.

109 1 Pompey courageously crossed the alps, not with the expenditure of labour of Hannibal, but by opening another passage around the sources of the Rhone and the Eridanus. These issue from the Alpine mountains not far from each other. One of them runs through Transalpine Gaul and empties into the Tyrrhenian sea; the other from the interior of the Alps to the Adriatic, its name having been changed from the Eridanus to the Po. Directly Pompey arrived in Spain Sertorius cut in pieces a whole legion of his army, which had been sent out foraging, together with its animals and servants.  p205 He also plundered and destroyed the Roman town of Lauro before the very eyes of Pompey. In this siege a woman tore out with her fingers the eyes of a soldier who had insulted her and was trying to commit an outrage upon her. When Sertorius heard of this he put to death the whole cohort that was supposed to be addicted to such brutality, although it was composed of Romans. 110 1 Then the armies were separated by the advent of winter.

When spring came they resumed hostilities, Metellus and Pompey coming from the Pyrenees, where they had wintered, and Sertorius and Perpenna from Lusitania. They met near the town of Sucro. While the fight was going on flashes of lightning came unexpectedly from a clear sky, but these trained soldiers stood it all without being in the least dismayed. They continued the fight, with heavy slaughter on both sides, until Metellus defeated Perpenna and plundered his camp. On the other hand, Sertorius defeated Pompey, who received a dangerous wound from a spear in the thigh, and this put an end to that battle.

Sertorius had a white fawn that was tame and allowed to move about freely. When this fawn was not in sight Sertorius considered it a bad omen. He became low-spirited and abstained from fighting; nor did he mind the enemy's scoffing at him about the fawn. When she made her appearance running through the woods Sertorius would run to meet her, and, as though he were consecrating the first-fruits of a sacrifice to her, he would at once direct a hail of javelins at the enemy.

Not long afterward Sertorius fought a great battle near Seguntia, lasting from noon till night. Sertorius  p207 fought on horseback and vanquished Pompey, killing nearly 6000 of his men and losing about half that number himself. Metellus at the same time destroyed about 5000 of Perpenna's army. The day after this battle Sertorius, with a large reinforcement of barbarians, attacked the camp of Metellus unexpectedly towards evening with the intention of boldly cutting it off with a trench, but Pompey hastened up and caused Sertorius to desist from his contemptuous enterprise.

In this way they passed the summer, and again they separated to winter quarters. 111 1 The following year, which was in the 176th Olympiad, two countries were acquired by the Romans by bequest. Bithynia was left to them by Nicomedes, and Cyrene by Ptolemy surnamed Apion, of the house of the Lagidae. There were wars and wars; the Sertorian was raging in Spain, the Mithridatic in the East, that of the pirates on the entire sea, and another around Crete against the Cretans themselves, besides the gladiatorial war in Italy, which started suddenly and became very serious. Although distracted by so many conflicts the Romans sent another army of two legions into Spain. With these and the other forces in their hands Metellus and Pompey again descended from the Pyrenees to the Ebro; and Sertorius and Perpenna advanced from Lusitania to meet them.

112 1 At this juncture many of the soldiers of Sertorius deserted to Metellus, at which Sertorius was so exasperated that he visited savage and barbarous punishment upon many of his men and became unpopular in consequence. The soldiers blamed him  p209 particularly because wherever he went he surrounded himself with a body-guard of Celtiberian spearmen instead of Romans, and gave the care of his person to the former in place of the latter. Nor could they bear to be reproached with treachery by him while they were serving under an enemy of the Roman people. That they should be charged with bad faith by Sertorius while they were acting in bad faith to their country on his account was the very thing that vexed them most. Nor did they consider it just that those who remained with the standards should be condemned because others deserted. Moreover, the Celtiberians took this occasion to insult them as men under suspicion. Still they did not wholly break with Sertorius since they derived advantages from his service, for there was no other man of that period more skilled in the art of war or more success­ful in it. For this reason, and on account of the rapidity of his movements, the Celtiberians gave him the name of Hannibal, whom they considered the boldest and most crafty general ever known in their country. In this way the army stood affected toward Sertorius, and on this account the forces of Metellus overran many of his towns and brought the men belonging to them under subjection. While Pompey was laying siege to Palantia and slinging logs of wood along the foot of the walls​36 Sertorius suddenly appeared on the scene and raised the siege. Pompey hastily set fire to the walls and retreated to Metellus. Sertorius rebuilt the part of the wall which had fallen and then attacked his enemies who were encamped around the castle of Calagurris and killed 3000 of them. And so this year went by in Spain.

 p211  113 1 In the following year the Roman generals plucked up rather more courage and advanced in an audacious manner against the towns that adhered to Sertorius, drew many away from him, assaulted others, and were much elated by their success. No great battle was fought, but [skirmishes continued]37 until the following year, when they advanced again even more audaciously. Sertorius was now evidently smitten by some heaven-sent madness, for he relaxed his labours, fell into habits of luxury, and gave himself up to women, carousing and drinking, and as a result was defeated continually. He became hot-tempered, from various suspicions and, extremely cruel in punishment, and distrustful of everybody, so much so that Perpenna, who had belonged to the faction of Lepidus and had come to him as a volunteer with a considerable army, began to fear for his own safety and formed a conspiracy with ten other men against him. The conspiracy was betrayed, some of the guilty ones were punished and others fled, but Perpenna escaped detection in some unaccountable manner and applied himself all the more to carry out the design. As Sertorius was never without his guard of spearmen, Perpenna invited him to a banquet, plied him and the guards who surrounded the banqueting room with wine, and assassinated him after the feast.

114 1 The soldiers straightway rose in tumult and anger against Perpenna, their hatred of Sertorius being suddenly turned to affection for him, as people generally mollify their anger toward the dead, and when he who has injured them is no longer before their eyes recall his virtues with tender memory.  p213 Reflecting on their present situation they despised Perpenna too as a private individual, for they considered that the bravery of Sertorius had been their only salvation. They were angry with Perpenna, and the barbarians were no less so; and above all the Lusitanians, of whose services Sertorius had especially availed himself.

When the will of Sertorius was opened a bequest to Perpenna was found in it, and thereupon still greater anger and hatred of him entered into the minds of all, since he had committed such an abominable crime, nor merely against his ruler and commanding general, but against his friend and benefactor. And they would not have abstained from violence had not Perpenna bestirred himself, making gifts to some and promises to others. Some he terrified with threats and some he killed in order to strike terror into the rest. He came forward and made a speech to the multitude, and released from confinement some whom Sertorius had imprisoned, and dismissed some of the Spanish hostages. Reduced in this way to submission they obeyed him as general (for he held the next rank to Sertorius), yet they were not without bitterness toward him even then. As he grew bolder he became very cruel in punishments, and put to death three of the nobility who had fled together from Rome to him, and also his own nephew.

115 1 As Metellus had gone to other parts of Spain — for he considered it no longer a difficult task for Pompey alone to vanquish Perpenna — these two skirmished and made tests of each other for several days, but did not bring their whole strength into the field. On the tenth day, however, a great  p215 battle was fought between them. They resolved to decide the contest by one engagement — Pompey because he despised the general­ship of Perpenna; Perpenna because he did not believe that his army would long remain faithful to him, and he was now engaging with nearly his maximum strength. Pompey, as might have been expected, soon got the better of this inferior general and disaffected army. Perpenna was defeated all along the line and concealed himself in a thicket, more fearful of his own troops than of the enemy's. He was seized by some horsemen and dragged towards Pompey's headquarters, loaded with the execrations of his own men, as the murderer of Sertorius, and crying out that he would give Pompey information about the factions in Rome. This he said either because it was true, or in order to be brought safe to Pompey's presence, but the latter sent orders and put him to death before he came into his presence, fearing, it seemed, lest some startling revelation might be the source of new troubles at Rome. Pompey seems to have behaved very prudently in this matter, and his action added to his high reputation. So ended the war in Spain with the life of Sertorius. I think that if he had lived longer the war would not have ended so soon or so easily.


116 1 At the same time Spartacus, a Thracian by birth, who had once served as a soldier with the Romans, but had since been a prisoner and sold for a gladiator, and was in the gladiatorial training-school  p217 at Capua, persuaded about seventy of his comrades to strike for their own freedom rather than for the amusement of spectators. They overcame the guards and ran away, arming themselves with clubs and daggers that they took from people on the roads, and took refuge on Mount Vesuvius. There many fugitive slaves and even some freemen from the fields joined Spartacus, and he plundered the neighbouring country, having for subordinate officers two gladiators named Oenomaus and Crixus. As he divided the plunder impartially he soon had plenty of men. Varinius Glaber was first sent against him and afterwards Publius Valerius, not with regular armies, but with forces picked up in haste and at random, for the Romans did not consider this a war yet, but a raid, something like an attack of robbery. They attacked Spartacus and were beaten. Spartacus even captured the horse of Varinius; so narrowly did the very general of the Romans escape being captured by a gladiator.

After this still greater numbers flocked to Spartacus till his army numbered 70,000. For these he manufactured weapons and collected equipment, whereas Rome now sent out the consuls with two legions. 117 1 One of them overcame Crixus with 30,000 men near Mount Garganus, two-thirds of whom perished together with himself. Spartacus endeavoured to make his way through the Apennines to the Alps and the Gallic country, but one of the consuls anticipated him and hindered his flight while the other hung upon his rear. He turned upon them one after the other and beat them in detail. They  p219 retreated in confusion in different directions. Spartacus sacrificed 300 Roman prisoners to the shade of Crixus, and marched on Rome with 120,000 foot, having burned all his useless material, killed all his prisoners, and butchered his pack-animals in order to expedite his movement. Many deserters offered themselves to him, but he would not accept them. The consuls again met him in the country of Picenum. Here there was fought another great battle and there was, too, another great defeat for the Romans.

Spartacus changed his intention of marching on Rome. He did not consider himself ready as yet for that kind of a fight, as his whole force was not suitably armed, for no city had joined him, but only slaves, deserters, and riff-raff. However, he occupied the mountains around Thurii and took the city itself. He prohibited the bringing in of gold or silver by merchants, and would not allow his own men to acquire any, but he bought largely of iron and brass and did not interfere with those who dealt in these articles. Supplied with abundant material from this source his men provided themselves with plenty of arms and made frequent forays for the time being. When they next came to an engagement with the Romans they were again victorious, and returned laden with spoils.

118 1 this war, so formidable to the Romans (although ridiculed and despised in the beginning, as being merely the work of gladiators), had now lasted three years. When the election of new praetors came on, fear fell upon all, and nobody offered himself as a candidate until Licinius Crassus, a man distinguished among the Romans for birth and wealth, assumed the praetor­ship and marched against  p221 Spartacus with six new legions. When he arrived at his destination he received also the two legions of the consuls, whom he decimated by lot for their bad conduct in several battles. Some say that Crassus, too, having engaged in battle with his whole army, and having been defeated, decimated the whole army and was not deterred by their numbers, but destroyed about 4000 of them. Whichever way it was, when he had once demonstrated to them that he was more dangerous to them than the enemy, he overcame immediately 10,000 of the Spartacans, who were encamped somewhere in a detached position, and killed two-thirds of them. He then marched boldly against Spartacus himself, vanquished him in a brilliant engagement, and pursued his fleeing forces to the sea, where they tried to pass over to Sicily. He overtook them and enclosed them with a line of circumvallation consisting of ditch, wall, and paling.

119 1 Spartacus tried to break through and make an incursion into the Samnite country, but Crassus slew about 6000 of his men in the morning and as many more towards evening. Only three of the Roman army were killed and seven wounded, so great was the improvement in their moral inspired by the recent punishment. Spartacus, who was expecting a reinforcement of horse from somewhere, no longer went into battle with his whole army, but harassed the besiegers by frequent sallies here and there. He fell upon them unexpectedly and continually, threw bundles of fagots into the ditch and set them on fire and made their labour difficult. He also crucified a Roman prisoner in the space between the two armies to show his own men what fate awaited them if they did not conquer. But when the Romans in  p223 the city heard of the siege they thought it would be disgraceful if this war against gladiators should be prolonged. Believing also that the work still to be done against Spartacus was great and severe they ordered up the army of Pompey, which had just arrived from Spain, as a reinforcement.

120 1 On account of this vote Crassus tried in every way to come to an engagement with Spartacus so that Pompey might not reap the glory of the war. Spartacus himself, thinking to anticipate Pompey, invited Crassus to come to terms with him. When his proposals were rejected with scorn he resolved to risk a battle, and as his cavalry had arrived he made a dash with his whole army through the lines of the besieging force and pushed on to Brundusium with Crassus in pursuit. When Spartacus learned that Lucullus had just arrived in Brundusium from his victory over Mithridates he despaired of everything and brought his forces, which were even then very numerous, to close quarters with Crassus. The battle was long and bloody, as might have been expected with so many thousands of desperate men. Spartacus was wounded in the thigh with a spear and sank upon his knee, holding his shield in front of him and contending in this way against his assailants until he and the great mass of those with him were surrounded and slain. The Roman loss was about 1000. The body of Spartacus was not found. A large number of his men fled from the battle-field to the mountains and Crassus followed them thither. They divided themselves in four parts, and continued  p225 to fight until they all perished except 6000, who were captured and crucified along the whole road from Capua to Rome.

121 1 Crassus accomplished his task within six months, whence arose a contention for honours between himself and Pompey. Crassus did not dismiss his army, for Pompey did not dismiss his. Both were candidates for the consul­ship. Crassus had been praetor as the law of Sulla required. Pompey had been neither praetor nor quaestor, and was only thirty-four years old, but he had promised the tribunes of the people that much of their former power should be restored. When they were chosen consuls they did not even then dismiss their armies, which were stationed near the city. Each one offered an excuse. Pompey said that he was waiting the return of Metellus for his Spanish triumph; Crassus said that Pompey ought to dismiss his army first.

The people, seeing fresh seditions brewing and fearing two armies encamped round about, besought the consuls, while they were occupying the curule chairs in the forum, to be reconciled to each other; but at first both of them repelled these solicitations. When, however, certain persons, who seemed prophetically inspired,​38 predicted many direful consequences if the consuls did not come to an agreement, the people again implored them with lamentations and the greatest dejection, reminding them of the evils produced by the contentions of Marius and Sulla. Crassus yielded first. He came down from his chair, advanced to Pompey, and offered him his  p227 hand in the way of reconciliation. Pompey rose and hastened to meet him. They shook hands amid general acclamations and the people did not leave the assembly until the consuls had given orders in writing to disband their armies. Thus was the well-grounded fear of another great dissension happily dispelled. This was about the sixtieth year in the course of the civil convulsions, reckoning from the death of Tiberius Gracchus.

The Translator's Notes:

1 The Consuls were not chosen by the Senate during the republican era, but by the whole people.

2 At Pharsalus.

3 The title "Augustus" definitely connoted monarchical power. We might paraphrase "as His Majesty."

4 Appian is neither clear nor convincing here. He seems to confuse war-colonies and peace-colonies, those founded as 'propugnacula' and those which grew up on conquered territory.

5 About 330 acres.

6 "Of this land" (ager publicus), not land in general.

7 The reference is to the slave rebellion in 135.

8 Triumviri agris dividendis.

9 There is probably a gap in the text here.

10 Gaius Gracchus, at this time 20 years of age.

11 Appian seems to mean not the slopes of the Capitoline Hill but the Tarpeian rock. He evidently exaggerates.

12 Or "huddled up near the temple" of Jupiter Capitolinus.

13 A short five miles.

14 The Pons Sublicius, which rested on wooden piles.

15 The Greek seems corrupt here. Read, perhaps, ταῖς καὶ ταῖς: "found various pretexts."

16 The reading is not certain. Perhaps we should understand "[the Commissioners for distributing the land] were reduced to idleness by a series of lawsuits."

17 Until the end of the third century B.C. the word "Italy" applied only to that part of the peninsula south of Etruria and Umbria.

18 Appian's geography is here inexact.

19 Surrentum.

20 Really the Tolenus.

21 There is probably a gap in the text; "half, living on acorns, survived, but half perished."

22 χρῆσται in the Greek apparently includes both, unless καὶ δανεισταί is to be inserted.

23 A cessation from all public business.

24 The Epitome of Livy (lxxvii) says that Gnaeus Pompeius the pro-consul procured the murder of Quintus Pompeius the consul, when the latter came to supersede him.

25 The apex (in this case the apex Dialis), a conical hat or cap. See also § 74 below.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Apex in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

26 On the northern coast of Illyria.

27 The text is certainly corrupt here, and cannot adequately be rendered as it stands.

28 The famine, that is, being the lighter evil of the two.

29 So Viereck; but it may be "ager viritanus," "qui viritim distribuitur" according to Festus.

30 A quotation from Aristophanes (Knights 542).

31 Latin proscribere, whence "proscription".

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details and sources, see the article Proscriptio in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

32 Probably from windows or roofs; but the Greek may merely mean "carried" as opposed to "dragged."

33 "The favourite of Venus."

34 Aphrodisias in Caria.

35 Some slip of text or memory is probable; 120 years is correct.

36 To these he would have set fire by means of faggots.

37 There is a gap in the text.

38 Soothsayers, presumably; a recognized class at Rome, of which an example is given by Shakespeare in Julius Caesar.

Thayer's Note:

a The fable is found in Babrius, 86.

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