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L. Quintus Sertorius

The Cause That Lacked Naught But A Cause

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OK, I'll include the full quote if it makes you happy.

Meanwhile Marius the younger, at the point of being captured, slew himself; and Sulla, coming to Praeneste, at first gave each man there a separate trial before he executed him,but afterwards, since time failed him, gathered them all together in one place

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Now, address my substantive point--of the troops that deserted their rebel leaders, were any charged with treason? I think not. Thus, the quote above--in part, whole, bolded, unbolded, italicized, however you wish--is completely irrelevant to the question of what Caesar's troops had to fear from the republic if they had deserted him.

 

We know what happens when troops fail to follow orders. When happens when they desert treasonous generals is simply unknown.

 

I would think probably the substantive point is the bolded quotation where Plutarch tell us that Sulla first gave each Marian man a separate trial before he executed him, at least until time failed him.

 

That

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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Not strictly speaking, but they were expected to act in their masters name who did indeed have patriotic duties. Subinfuedated duties if you will, and romans were very keen to see slaves do their bit out of loyalty to the master or the state if need be, provided it did not conflict with common decency, law, or task. As Cicero said when describing the courage of gladiators - "...If a mere slave can do this, then what can a roman do?..."

 

The master of this particular slave was declared a traitor; Sulpicius was deprived of any right, especially the potestas, which includes his rule over his slaves.

 

Even more, anybody was able to kill him.

 

As any other of his possessions, his slaves had to wait until the State had determined who their new owner was.

 

This unlucky slave undoubtedly expected to be freed for his service to the state (it happened indeed).

 

What Sulla did to him might have been explained as one of those constant warnings that Romans gave to their servii to prevent rebellion.

 

I think it would be even more easily explained as a typically twisted Sulla's joke.

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I think we're making far more out of this than is necessary. Sometimes the reality of human behavior is simpler than analyzing the law and related precedents. The logical scenario is that Caesar's men followed him because they had already done so for the better part of a decade. In their minds, he was their provider and protector (regardless of whatever the truth may be on who would ultimately be responsible for their well-being), and he seemingly had at least the 13th (the only legion with him on the Rubicon) convinced that both he and the tribunis plebis (Antonius) had been terribly violated.

 

Regardless of the sacramentum, it's all part of a soldier's training and natural behavior to follow orders as collective body even if individuals aren't quite in agreement with the ideology of his officers. In this case in particular, I believe Caesar had the majority of his men convinced that only by securing his political authority could the legionaries be provided with an advantageous retirement. For the soldiers, even those who were individually in consternation over the legality and the ramifications of invading Italy, the majority likely felt they had a vested interest in and were reliant upon Caesar's success. And as Ascepliades rightly points out, the Marian reforms did create a professional soldier that was not necessarily tied to various landholdings, farms or other financial interests of note in Rome.

 

It would certainly be a boon to historical study if veteran accounts of both the Gallic and civil wars had survived. Imagine the insight such stories could provide... alas.

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I doubt Caesar made much of his political plans to his men - they were soldiers, grunts, labour. They were there to do as they were told and had sworn an oath of service. In fact, Caesar was a capable leader who did inspire his men well, and whilst he wouldn't want them knowing exactly what he planned, he would if need be give them them a rousing speech with enough of an excuse to persuade to follow him. The soldiers of course knew Caesar was a winner. He had led them to victory, he'd given them bonuses and gallic slaves, and certainly in their conquest of Gaul there would have been a certain amount of booty amongst the victorious legionaries. Training and discipline in the roman legion of that time was very hard. We read of soldiers in the mutiny after Augustus' death who'd done thirty years service without hint of being demobbed. However, what remains clear is these men were also quick to spot weakness in their leaders, and if they did so they would soon revert to a lazy armed mob. The legions had a degree of esprit-de-corps but that was a feature accentuated after the reforms of Augustus after he made legions a permanent fixture, a 'regimental' system in other words. Back in Caesars time leadership was essential to keep men in the field and we read hints of how hard Caesar worked to maintain that. Remember this was a general who sometimes fought in the front line to inspire his own men with his personal courage. It worked. Officers who lead from the front often do inspire great admiration from their men. As for the individual soldier who wasn't happy about marching into italy, he also had a certain amount of peer pressure to deal with. many of Caesars troops were willing to follow him on this campaign and anyone who voiced disagreement might find his standing amongst his friends is changing for the worse. Also, if the malcontent happens to be a more charismatic individual who talks his mates around, remember that the roman command structure (Principales, Optio's, Centurions etc) won't want to see men in their command backing out, and would stamp on such opnions as soon as they were made aware of them. In fact, Tactitus makes it clear that in mutinies the centurions are the most frequent victim of the mens anger - "Give Me Another" was just one example.

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All that said, I think most of what we have said about Caesar's soldiers motivations applies also to other rebels of the late Roman Republic, like Sulla, Sertorius, Lepidus, Mallius (Catilina) and so on.

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Given they were sworn to serve and did what they were told, inevitably their motivations were bound to be similar and much less ambitious that they guy handing out orders.

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