The Temporary Monarchy of Cornelius Sulla

  • M. Cary
  • H. H. Scullard


While the Romans were emerging from the Italian War, only to plunge into their first civil wars, they also became involved in a conflict with their most formidable enemy in the eastern Mediterranean, King Mithridates VI of Pontus. This masterful ruler, whose restless ambition could not be wholly absorbed in the development of his Black Sea empire (p. 213), became intent on enlarging his territories in Asia Minor. In pursuit of this policy he ran continuous risks of collision with Rome, for all his neighbours in Asia Minor were bound by treaty with the Republic and had a claim on its assistance. Mithridates realised that he was scarcely a match for the undivided strength of Rome, and took care to avoid a direct affront upon it; but he banked heavily on the Senate’s distractions with other troubles and its growing reluctance to add to its commitments overseas.


Military Coup Severe Taxation Republican Constitution Roman Republic Italian Town 
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Notes and References

  1. M. Rostovtzeff, CAH, ix, ch. v; D. Magie, The Romans in Asia Minor (1950), chs 8 and 9.Google Scholar
  2. The view that Sulla deprived the publicani of the right to farm the taxes of Asia should be rejected: see P. A. Brunt, Latomus 1956, 17 ff.Google Scholar
  3. Sulla’s colonies included Arretium, Clusium, Faesulae, Nola, Pompeii, Praeneste. The colonists apparently generally remained separate from the earlier inhabitants. See E. Gabba, Athenaeum 1951, 270 ff.;Google Scholar
  4. E. T. Salmon, Roman Colonization (1969), 129 ff.; Brunt, Manpower, 300 ff. Brunt argues for some 80,000 settlers in about 20 colonies, but this did not necessarily involve 80,000 new smallholdings since Sulla sold many large estates to his partisans and ‘to an unknown extent Sullan latifondisti replaced Marian, and Sullan veterans took over the homes of the “innoxia plebs” ’ thus ruining many peasants (p. 311). On the relation of town and country and the problem of urbanisation in Italy in the first century B.C. see E. Galba, Studi Classici e Orientali 1972, 73 ff.Google Scholar
  5. On Sulla see E. Badian, Historia, 1962, 228 ff. (= Seager, Crisis of Rom. Rep. 34 ff.), and Lucius Sulla; the Deadly Reformer ( Todd Memorial Lecture, Sydney, 1970 ).Google Scholar
  6. On the personnel of the post-Sullan Senate, see H. Hill, Cl. Qu. 1932, 170 ff.; R. Syme, PBSR 1938, 1 ff.;Google Scholar
  7. E. Gabba, Athenaeum 1951, 267 ff.;Google Scholar
  8. J. R. Hawthorn, Greece and Rome 1962, 53 ff. See also T. P. Wiseman, New Men in the Roman Senate 139 B.C.A.D. 14 (1971).Google Scholar
  9. E. Badian (Athenaeum 1970, 3 ff.) has argued that Sulla divested himself of power by stages: he resigned the dictatorship at the end of 81, in 80 was consul without his twenty-four lictors and supreme authority, and then in 79 became a privatus. On the nature of Sulla’s final unpleasant disease see T. F. Carney, Acta Classica 1960, 64 ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The representatives of the estate of the late M. Cary and H. H. Scullard 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Cary
    • 1
  • H. H. Scullard
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LondonUK

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