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The Augusta

Sulla

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Taking the ball and going home because you can't play nice with the other kiddies? This is like the third time? Maybe you should decide if you really want to come back.

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How many leading Romans of Sulla's time--or any time leading up to Sulla--engaged in the systematic, wholesale slaughter of whole political classes? The notion that Sulla was just an "ordinary person, full of flaws" strains credulity, and the reasoning vividly demonstrates who the real beneficiary of that "judge not" nonsense is--the most wicked and the most corrupt. When Sulla retired, he was a debauched, bitter, evil old man. Moral relativism would only have warmed his black, rotten heart.

LOL Kind of hard to disagree with that .What's worse is it really didn't accomplish anything for very long. Hard to believe the Republic chugged along for hundreds of years before that. Was there any way to put the genie back in the bottle? Do you think a written constitution that clearly delineated powers would have helped?

Edited by Horatius

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A written constitution may have helped if it had existed long before. The problem was that Sulla had no intention of falling in with roman custom. He'd already decided to act. The difference a constitution would have made is that Sulla would have found it harder to get away with it. Whereas he could hide his actions behind ambiguous expectations and a policy of 'doing the right thing', against a solid legal precedent he would have acted in an overtly criminal manner. He saw a gap and went for it basically.

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The fact that Sulla was a horrible individual does not bother me in the slightest as all Romans were by today's standards. I do not judge figures of antiquity by how many people the kill

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On a personal level, for some disturbing reason I admire him Sulla. Unlike Marius, Sulla was to some extent learned

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Now the quote from plutarch interests me because sulla did no more than keep his former employee at arms length. He was not punished? Was it not a crime to steal a mans property in such a way? That guy had become an embarrasement to sulla by making himself too obvious (there is a possibility that he made a genuine mistake and paid the price for it, but it doesn't look good does it?). Whatever the reason, sulla brushed him aside and carried on regardless with his reforms. Now to me that means sulla had clear objectives - he knew what he wanted to achieve. No wishy-washy do-gooder then. Sulla also needed to maintain distance from any political scandal.

"The father of Sextus Roscius had been slain during the proscriptions of Sylla, and his estate, which was very large, had been sold for a very trifling sum to Lucius Cornelius Chrysogonus, a favourite slave to whom Sylla had given his freedom; and Chrysogonus, to secure possession of it, persuaded a man named Caius Erucius to accuse Roscius of having killed his father himself." http://oll.libertyfund.org/Home3/HTML.php?...f043-1_head_004 Sextus was aquited and apparently the trial was seen as an attack on Sulla himself since he had put Chrysogonus in charge of the proscriptions. Sulla had Chrysogonus thrown from the Tarpeian Rock and let Cicero live. I don't know what this all means but I thought Caldrail might find it interesting since it was at the height of Sulla's power. Pretty brave on Ciceros part I think. Kind of ironic he was executed during the Triumvirate proscriptions in 43 BCE.

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Caldrail is indeed interested. Cicero shows his daring and oratory. Chrysonogus shows what a chump he was to invite scandal. Sulla shows his true colours.

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How many leading Romans of Sulla's time--or any time leading up to Sulla--engaged in the systematic, wholesale slaughter of whole political classes? The notion that Sulla was just an "ordinary person, full of flaws" strains credulity, and the reasoning vividly demonstrates who the real beneficiary of that "judge not" nonsense is--the most wicked and the most corrupt.

 

Sulla was corrupt and selfish in the regard that he only set up a dictatorship to server his own purposes and lifetime. Whoever says that Sulla cared about Rome is mistaken, he could care less as long as he go what he wanted. He was so rich and powerful no one could really touch him. He exterminated all obstacles in his way so that he could set up his own reforms and governments.

 

So in that regard I agree he was ruthless and could care less about Rome, and its future.

 

When Sulla retired, he was a debauched, bitter, evil old man. Moral relativism would only have warmed his black, rotten heart.

 

On the contrary, not much is known from history after he retired. Most men take a break so that they may live in peace. He left Rome in 78 B.C. and then lived in Southern Italy. According to Rome by M. Rostovtzeff, "There he lived as a private man, but not for long: within a year of his retirement he died."

 

In other words, your pushing it.

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Possibly, but in the light of evidence given above I now see Sulla not so much as Montgomery Burns, more like Fat Tony. I know this is speculation, but Chrysogonus's fate does have similarities to a gangland execution.

 

"Chrysogonus... Chrysogonus... I made a freedman. I let you buy a villa at cost price. And this is how you repay me? Huh? You drag my good name through the court. What am I gonna do with you?..... Shaddup. I don't wanna hear these excuses. Throw him off the rock..."

 

In reality though I would think Sulla found a legal excuse to execute chrysogonus?

Edited by caldrail

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Sulla did what all politicians do!

 

He used whatever means he could to get as much power possible and to keep it for him and his succesors. The problem in any open political system it's to stop politicians to do their thing.

 

There are several means like forcing them to stop killing each other and balancing their legal powers. But, the only effective way is to have as many people possible interested in that order. Sulla was as uninterested as Marius in a democracy or republic or whatever you might want to call it.

Why? He used military power to get political power, but none of his reforms was destined to curb the ability to get to much military power. He could change the reform of Marius and return the army to the old ways, or to create a new way of recruiting a political citizen army. The security threats against Rome were minimal. He choose to keep the things as they were and this was what made Marius strong, what gave him unprecedented power and what gave the next generations of politicians their tools.

 

Neither the plebs or other political players were interested in something else that quick selfgratfication.

 

So, I don't see Sulla very different from Marius, Crassus, Pompey, Caesar, Antonius etc

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Sulla did what all politicians do!

 

There were at least 800 consuls before Sulla. Of these, how many instituted proscriptions? Zero. Sulla did not do "what all politicians do". He did what no other politician did. That's why we're bothering to talk about Sulla and not, say, Caius Furnius.

 

So, I don't see Sulla very different from Marius, Crassus, Pompey, Caesar, Antonius etc

 

If--of the 1000s of magistrates that served in the republic over a 500 year period--there were only five leaders who could even be compared to Sulla, that's a proportion that is so far from "all" and so close to "none" that I wonder how you can justify your claim that "Sulla did what all politicians do".

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In reality though I would think Sulla found a legal excuse to execute chrysogonus?

Actually I don't know if any legal charges were brought against Chrysogonus. If you read Ciceros oration though his guilt (and Sulla's) is so apparent that it couldn't be ignored. I guess playing the part of the outraged statesman betrayed by a trusted aide without his knowledge was better than trying to ignore the whole thing. Makes me wonder about the judges in this trial also,I guess there were still a few Romans left not completely corrupted or cowed by Sulla. To quote Cicero from the trial ."While he who was administering the main government was occupied in other matters, there were men who in the meantime were curing their own wounds; who rushed about in the darkness and threw everything into confusion as if eternal night had enveloped the whole Republic." http://oll.libertyfund.org/Home3/HTML.php?...f043-1_head_004 .I read somewhere that Sulla himself attended this trial,must have been tense :thumbsup:

Edited by Horatius

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The other politicians you mention MPC were held in check by balance of power between official positions and between politicians and by their limited control over the army.

Imagine Dentatus after defeating Pyrhhus telling his army, oficers and soldiers, "I've led you to victory now let's go disband the Senate and divide Campania among us"

He would have been brought in Rome chained, not in triumph.

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The other politicians you mention MPC were held in check by balance of power between official positions and between politicians and by their limited control over the army.

Imagine Dentatus after defeating Pyrhhus telling his army, oficers and soldiers, "I've led you to victory now let's go disband the Senate and divide Campania among us"

He would have been brought in Rome chained, not in triumph.

 

But this is exactly my point--Sulla did not "do what all politicians do". Dentatus, for example, would have never dreamed of marching on Rome. Heck, the guy reportedly refused even the most trivial of bribes, which is why he was ardently admired by Cato the Elder.

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On a personal level, for some disturbing reason I admire him Sulla.

Indeed. His heart was in the right place, his methodology was a little skewed.

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