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martino

The Catiline Conspiracy

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Where is the evidence that Sulla's soldiers were not amply rewarded for their "service" (if you can call the slaughter of innocent Romans "service")? They were not only paid their salaries (which should have been more than sufficient payment for their crimes), they were also given the lands of the innocents proscribed by Sulla. If their appetites were so large that even Sulla could not sate them, then to hell with them!

Nope, I call service the defeat of thousands of not-so-innocent Asiatics and Greeks which had previously slaugthered many thousands of oresumably innocent Roman men, women and children.

I suppose the impoverished veterans were the ones who didn't get proscribed's lands (innocents or not).

A wise man told me you cannot prove negatives (ie, I can get evidence of a reward, not of its absence).

A wise man told me Roman soldiers (at least from this time) had no choice but to do as their general orders; Sacramentum's side effect. Being that the case, you can't held any of them responsible of their general's crimes without additional evidence. Why was their case any different from Caesar's soldiers?

You would be wrong. I know of no scholarship indicating that Sulla's veterans were generally impoverished. Of course, some probably were--the drunkards, spendthrifts, gamblers, and the like. But of the thousands of soldiers who served under Sulla, only a tiny proportion lifted a finger to help Catiline.

I have as little pity for Sulla's cut-throats as I do for Cinna's and Caesar's.

But not for Caesar's cut-throats, it seems; (you appear to be using "cut-throat" and "roman soldier" as synonyms; you may have a point, who knows). Cicero may be a good scholar to begin with; the same who called these cut-throats "excellent citizens and brave men". I think the generally impoverishment would have affected Roman veterans in general, not specifically the Sullans. That would be the main reason that made them risk their lives under Mallius and Catiline. In fact, I dare to infer that at 63 BC (691 AUC, sixteen years after Sulla's dictatorship) many Roman veterans must have been Sullans.

The tiny proportion of soldiers that lifted a finger should include at least the original 2000 Mallius' soldiers (not 300), most of them settled at the area around Etruria. Cicero was probably right to fear the risk of the rebellion's dissemination.

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I think the generally impoverishment would have affected Roman veterans in general, not specifically the Sullans.

 

What general impoverishment?? You have yet to cite any evidence that the Sullan vets were generally impoverished except to repeat the claim.

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[What general impoverishment?? You have yet to cite any evidence that the Sullan vets were generally impoverished except to repeat the claim.

Then we repeat the quotation

The second Oration of M.T. Cicero against Lucius Catilina. addressed to the People. Chapter XX:

"There is a third class, already touched by age, but still vigorous from constant exercise (16 years after Sulla!); of which class is Manlius himself; whom Catiline is now succeeding. These are men of those colonies which Sulla established at Faesulae, which I know to be composed, on the whole, of excellent citizens and brave men; but yet these are colonists, who, from becoming possessed of unexpected and sudden wealth, boast themselves extravagantly and insolently; these men, while they build like rich men, while they delight in farms, in litters, in vast families of slaves, in luxurious banquets, have incurred such great debts, that, if they would be saved, they must raise Sulla from the dead"

Cicero was not defending these men, they were "the enemy"; consequently, he found their debts "extravagant", "insolent" and "luxurious". He was addressing the citizens of Rome to support him, not the veterans.

That's for the "impoverishment. The "general" was one of my mistakes, trying (badly) to quote you (post # 45); I can only infer that its magnitude was enough for being one of the six "classes of men those forces are made up" (criminis auctores; ibid, Ch. XVII). Please note that of the other five classes, three were also impoverished by "extravagant" debts:

The first (ibid, Ch XVIII): "There is one class of them, who, with enormous debts, have still greater possessions, and who can by no means be detached from their affection to them." (Clearly, this is the only class with "still greater possessions");

the second (ibid, Ch. XIX): "There is another class of them, who, although they are harassed by debt, yet are expecting supreme power; they wish to become masters."; the fouth class (ibid, Ch. XXI) "various, promiscuous and turbulent; who indeed are now overwhelmed...by old debts; and worn out with bail bonds, and judgments, and seizures of their goods".

The sixth class consists of Catiline personal friends; the fifth (ibid, Ch. XXII): " parricides, assassins, in short of all infamous characters" don't appear to need, according to Cicero, any other incentive to risk their lives under Catiline (A common argument in Social Wars, BTW).

Then, the incentive for the vast majority of rebels (thousands) was economic because of their "extravagant" debts.

The proportion of Sulla's veterans among the rebels was certainly high :

(Plutarch, Vita Cicero, Ch. XIV): "It was the old soldiers of Sulla, however, who were most of all urging Catiline on to action. These were to be found in all parts of Italy, but the greatest numbers and the most warlike of them had been scattered among the cities of Etruria... with Mallius for a leader, one of the men who had served with distinction under Sulla, associated themselves with Catiline and came to Rome to take part in the consular elections." (ergo, they were enough to affect the outcome of the elections). And when Catiline "marched to join Mallius... about twenty thousand men altogether had been collected" (ibid, Ch. XVI).

Sallust also attested both the size of Catiline's army and its high proportion of veteran soldiers:

(Bellum Catilinae, Ch. LVI): " While this was taking place in Rome, Catiline combined the forces which he had brought with him with those which Mallius already had, and formed two legions, filling up the cohorts so far as the number of his soldiers permitted. Then distributing among them equally such volunteers or conspirators as came to the camp, he soon completed the full quota of the legions, although in the beginning he had no more than two thousand men. But only about a fourth part of the entire force was provided with regular arms (most if not all of them should have been soldiers). The others carried whatever weapons chance had given them; namely, javelins or lances, or in some cases pointed stakes (some of them may also had been unlucky veterans)."

And the "extravagant" debts were a very good fighting incentive indeed:

(ibid, Ch. LXI): "When the battle was ended it became evident what boldness and resolution had pervaded Catiline's army. For almost every man covered with his body, when life was gone, the position which he had taken when alive at the beginning of the conflict. "

The size of the Republican Army of Marcus Petreius that faced Cailine's forces at Pistoria (2/3 legions) is also an indirect evidence of its enemies' strength.

 

All that said, for being a significant contributing factor to social instability, the impoverishment of any population requires to be frequent, (ie, huge in absolute numbers), not necessarily general (ie, irrespective of its relative number).

 

For discussing about the evidence of the impoverishment of other Roman veterans during the Civil wars of the I Century BC, I think we would require another post.

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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This whole digression came about from the claim, "Cicero & co. got a complete military victory without any corrective measure for the likely social contributors for this rebellion (ie, veterans impoverishment)." To which I replied that Sulla's vets had been amply rewarded and that any poverty in their ranks was their own fault.

 

Were Sulla's vets "amply rewarded", as I maintained? Here's Cicero: "these are colonists, who, from becoming possessed of unexpected and sudden wealth, boast themselves extravagantly and insolently; these men, while they build like rich men, while they delight in farms, in litters, in vast families of slaves, in luxurious banquets, have incurred such great debts, that, if they would be saved, they must raise Sulla from the dead."

 

Thus, as I said, these vets were indeed amply rewarded, yet--like the poor trash who waste their lottery winnings--the veterans overspent even that. The only "corrective measure" for these personal failings is to let the spendthrifts go bankrupt so that their irresponsible behavior doesn't spread.

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This whole digression came about from the claim, "Cicero & co. got a complete military victory without any corrective measure for the likely social contributors for this rebellion (ie, veterans impoverishment)." To which I replied that Sulla's vets had been amply rewarded and that any poverty in their ranks was their own fault.

 

Were Sulla's vets "amply rewarded", as I maintained? Here's Cicero: "these are colonists, who, from becoming possessed of unexpected and sudden wealth, boast themselves extravagantly and insolently; these men, while they build like rich men, while they delight in farms, in litters, in vast families of slaves, in luxurious banquets, have incurred such great debts, that, if they would be saved, they must raise Sulla from the dead."

 

Thus, as I said, these vets were indeed amply rewarded, yet--like the poor trash who waste their lottery winnings--the veterans overspent even that. The only "corrective measure" for these personal failings is to let the spendthrifts go bankrupt so that their irresponsible behavior doesn't spread.

If we read carefully your excellent posts, maybe you should read carefully the digression: your entire ciceronian quotation is within it; and there's a reason for that.

Briefly: Pleeease, it's the sworn enemy of these veterans and one of the most brilliant orators of all time who is talking; he obviously wants his audience (the roman people) to believe that the debts of several thousand people, including several thousand veterans (roman citizens, by definition. who BTW fought against Mithridates and other foreign enemies), are "extravagant", even when they proved to be more than willing to die courageously even for the chance to ameliorate their situation (by Sallust's description, no less).

Do you really think they were risking their lives for "luxurious banquets" simply because Cicero told you so? Is that all the critical you can be with the Second Catilinarian?

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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Do you really think they were risking their lives for "luxurious banquets" simply because Cicero told you so? Is that all the critical you can be with the Second Catilinarian?

 

I can be more critical of the Second Catilinarian, but not on this issue. The reason is that the evidence is quite firm that Sulla's troops had been lavished with gifts from Sulla, so much so, that Sulla's epitaph "No greater friend, no worse enemy" acquires the first half of its meaning. The testimony on this issue comes from Cicero, Sallust, Plutarch, etc.

 

Moreover, Cicero's description is totally credible. These men--who could never have earned by farming as much as they were given as gifts--were asked to become country squires, diligently managing a profitable farming enterprise with little to no experience in such a role. Yet as anyone ought to know, farming is an inherently risky business that has to be taken seriously to earn a steady return on investment. Now how could professional butchers of men suddenly become growers of cabbages, managers of slaves, forecasters of seasons, and all the other roles required of country squires? No wonder some of them (whether 20, 200, or 2000--it's impossible to know) went into the debt! It's the alternative that's unbelievable. (Can you really imagine some Titus Pullo running a country estate?? Vorenus, perhaps, but not Pullo.)

 

Given that some soldiers are just rotten farmers, to whom would such men look? Presumably they would look for another Sulla (or Cinna)--and that was exactly how Catiline presented himself.

 

Now, if you want to know what the "social contributors" to the rebellion were, it was the initial distribution of unearned farmland to soldiers. This whole idea of giving public land to vets--land that the vets couldn't unload if they were rotten farmers, and land that they couldn't flip if they were decent ones--was a bad idea from the start, and the only dividends it ever paid was the destabilization of the state. Catiline's program would have only made matters worse. If Cicero were to have addressed any "social contributors" to the rebellion, it would have been a law making it a crime to give public land to veterans.

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Sulla may have been friendly, but I seriously doubt his gifted friends could be counted by thousands, not even hundreds. This elite is which may have been worried by the luxurious banquets. Sulla's veterans were literally legions.

 

The mere existence of the many

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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Sulla may have been friendly, but I seriously doubt his gifted friends could be counted by thousands, not even hundreds. This elite is which may have been worried by the luxurious banquets. Sulla's veterans were literally legions.

I don't understand what you're trying to say here.

 

I agree that any soldier would find hard to acquire farming experience while he was fighting for his country, but Catilina's rebellion happened 16 years after Sulla. Maybe some of the butchers have learned farming by that time.

Presumably so--which is further evidence that Catiline's attempted putsch derived its support from losers and brigands, and not even ordinary populares.

 

Look, even scoundrels like Caesar and Crassus found Catiline's course to be radioactive. Now why is that? If the cause were so just, why did it require someone as rotten as Catiline to lead it? And if the cause were simply populare, why was the Senate so suspicious of Cicero's charges for so long? Why were people like Cato--Catiline's natural enemy-- arguing that Cicero was exaggerating the threat? Why wasn't the defeat of Catiline mourned in later years, like the fall of the Gracchi? The thesis that Catiline was some sort of popular hero opposed to the senate makes no sense. Isn't it possible that the senate was opposed by agents who weren't carbon copies of the Gracchi? Must the understanding of every social upheaval and every agrarian law be twisted so that it fits just one prototype?

 

Polybius might have been right about the Roman people's role in government at the II Century BC; that was clearly not the case at 63 BC.

So, in the time period you cite as a decline in popular rights (say, the end of the Punic Wars and Cicero), which laws restricting the role of the popular assemblies in government were operative in 63? Since this decline was "clearly" the case, I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding them--just be careful not to stumble on all the laws that actually expanded popular rights between the Punic Wars and Cicero (e.g., the Leges Porciae of 199, 195 and 184, Villia Annalis of 180, Calpurnia de repetundis of 149, Gabinia of 139, Cassia of 137, Papiria of 131, Coelia of 107, Iulia of 90, Plautia iudicaria of 89, Plautia Papiria of 89, Pompeia of 89, and the repeal of Sulla's anti-popular legislation in 70). To help you out, here's a list of laws. I'm waiting with baited breath to hear about the DECLINE of popular sovereignty after the Punic Wars, a period which is typically recognized to host the decline in senatorial power, the expansion of civil rights to non-Roman Italians, the rise of the secret ballot (the most important pillar of real democracy), and the rise of the novitas.

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I don't understand what you're trying to say here.

Presumably so--which is further evidence that Catiline's attempted putsch derived its support from losers and brigands, and not even ordinary populares.

Look, even scoundrels like Caesar and Crassus found Catiline's course to be radioactive. Now why is that? If the cause were so just, why did it require someone as rotten as Catiline to lead it? And if the cause were simply populare, why was the Senate so suspicious of Cicero's charges for so long? Why were people like Cato--Catiline's natural enemy-- arguing that Cicero was exaggerating the threat? Why wasn't the defeat of Catiline mourned in later years, like the fall of the Gracchi? The thesis that Catiline was some sort of popular hero opposed to the senate makes no sense. Isn't it possible that the senate was opposed by agents who weren't carbon copies of the Gracchi? Must the understanding of every social upheaval and every agrarian law be twisted so that it fits just one prototype?

So, in the time period you cite as a decline in popular rights (say, the end of the Punic Wars and Cicero), which laws restricting the role of the popular assemblies in government were operative in 63? Since this decline was "clearly" the case, I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding them--just be careful not to stumble on all the laws that actually expanded popular rights between the Punic Wars and Cicero (e.g., the Leges Porciae of 199, 195 and 184, Villia Annalis of 180, Calpurnia de repetundis of 149, Gabinia of 139, Cassia of 137, Papiria of 131, Coelia of 107, Iulia of 90, Plautia iudicaria of 89, Plautia Papiria of 89, Pompeia of 89, and the repeal of Sulla's anti-popular legislation in 70). To help you out, here's a list of laws. I'm waiting with baited breath to hear about the DECLINE of popular sovereignty after the Punic Wars, a period which is typically recognized to host the decline in senatorial power, the expansion of civil rights to non-Roman Italians, the rise of the secret ballot (the most important pillar of real democracy), and the rise of the novitas.

 

Plain English: the gifted friends of Sulla couldn't have been more than a tiny fraction of the thousands of Sulla

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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Maybe we can discuss the factual evidence of popular sovereignty for the Civil Wars period (I Century BC), but presumably it will require another thread.

 

Good idea--another thread. Also, you may care to read over a related thread that I started a long time ago, "Symptoms of the Triumvirate, Not the Republic: Stereotype of the Republic is Completely Off-base"

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