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09/04/2018

Lucius Cornelius Sulla - dictator, rotten alive



At the end of life, the dictator of Rome Lucius Cornelius Sulla added to his name the word "Felix", which means "lucky". Luck really accompanies him in all his endeavors. With a contented smile, he won battles, destroyed political opponents and played the destinies of the inhabitants of Rome. After a terrible death to achieve the royal honors - is this not luck?

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The future dictator of Rome was born in a noble family, whose well-being, however, remains in the past. His great-great-great-grandfather, who managed to be a consul and even, like, a dictator, suffered for his love of luxury. The manners in Rome in the 3rd century BC were ascetic, and Senator Cornelius found more silverware at home than was supposed, he was expelled from the Senate in disgrace. Then the genus Corneliev was completely impoverished. Young Lucius Sulla had to pay out of a small inheritance the debts left after his father. He did not even have his own house, that in his circle was considered almost no poverty.
However, the material problems did not greatly oppress Sulla. He spent his youth cheerfully - at feasts and binges. He received a good education, but for the time being he did not think about the state arena, nor about his military career. He started the service late. Only at age 31 he became a quaestor - far from being the most important assistant in the army of Consul Gaius Maria. His army went to the North African Numidia to fight with the burgeoning Tsar Jugurtha, who killed dozens of peaceful Romans.

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Bust Gaius Maria
In the officer circle of the Roman swish, Sulla was first received unhallfully, the pampered and refined quaestor was despised and treated. It did not last long - thanks to a good-natured and innate charisma, Sulla managed to become a favorite in a few months not only for Maria, but for the whole army. Soon the quaestor had a chance to prove that he was not only the soul of any company, but a brave and cunning warrior. In 105 BC, the defeated Jugurtha took shelter from his father-in-law, the king of Mauritania Bokkh. Sulla undertook to convince the latter to give Rome his own son-in-law. With a small detachment, he went to the camp of Bokkh, not knowing which side the king of Mauritania - Jugurtha or Sulla would accept. The risk was great, but Bokh turned out to be a smart politician and realized on whose side the power was.
Thanks to the capture of Jugurtha, Sulla received the post of legate and became famous for the whole army. During the triumph in Rome official honors were given to Mary, but the whole city knew that the main role in this victory was played by a young officer from the genus Corneliev. Marius began to be jealous of Sulla. His envy intensified after the German campaign, when Sulla, who had already become a military tribune, captured the leader of the Tiktosagi Kopilla.
Battle of the Romans with the Germans. From the picture of Giovanni Batista Tiepol

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Returned in 101 BC before Rome, the conqueror of the Alpine barbarians Sulla decided to participate in the praetor elections, one of the two supreme judges, but to his surprise he lost. Even outdoor advertising did not help, the statue in the center of the city depicting the capture of Sulla by King Jugurtha. The Roman plebs wanted to spit on the statue, and on victories in the distant Alps. He wanted the candidate to arrange a pre-election circus show with gladiators and lions. A year later, Sulla took the lesson into account and was elected a city praetor. Several dozens of lions and gladiators have become victims of this successful campaign.
After his reign in Cilicia, where Sulla confirmed his diplomatic and military abilities, he had to conduct military operations very close to Rome. Numerous Italian tribes wanted to have the same rights as the inhabitants of the eternal city, and raised an uprising. Sulla chased rebels throughout Italy and broke their tribes one after another. He differentiated reprisals against the insurgents: he persisted in resisting the city to loot soldiers or burned, and with those who surrendered without a fight, he simply signed a treaty of alliance with Rome. As a result of the war, which was called Allied, Italics were defeated, but they obtained the rights they sought. And Sulla became the protagonist of the entire campaign and easily elected consuls.

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Bust of Sulla from the museum in Venice
Just at this time in 88 BC, the Pontus king Mithridates VI unleashed a war against Rome. By order of the ruler of the Black Sea region in Asia Minor, more than 30 thousand Roman citizens were killed. The command of the army, which was supposed to subdue Mithridates, entrusted the consul Sulle, but he did not even have time to reach the troops, as there were problems. His former boss and old envious Gaius Marius also wanted to lead an army that was heading to rich areas. His intrigues almost led to the massacre in the Senate: the Marian oppositionists took daggers at the meeting and almost stopped them. Under the pressure of such arguments, the Senate appointed the new commander Maria, but Sulla was already in the military camp. The soldiers adored him, and not for a beautiful face and the right speech - he generously handed out his legio

 

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