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[99] Such was Sulla's letter. The Romans were unwilling, but they had no more opportunities for elections according to law, and they considered that this matter was not altogether in their own power. So, in the absence of everything else, they welcomed this pretence of an election as an image and semblance of freedom and chose Sulla their absolute master for as long a time as he pleased. There had been autocratic rule of the dictators before, but it was limited to short periods. But in Sulla's time it first became unlimited and so an absolute tyranny; yet they added, for propriety's sake, that they chose him dictator for the enactment of such laws as he might deem best and for the regulation of the commonwealth. Thus the Romans, after having government by kings for sixty Olympiads, and a democracy, under consuls chosen yearly, for 100 Olympiads, resorted to kingly government again. This was in the 175th Olympiad according to the Greek calendar, but there were no Olympic games then except races in the stadium, since Sulla had carried away the athletes and all the sights and shows to Rome to celebrate his victories in the Mithridatic and Italian wars, under the pretext that the masses needed a breathing-spell and recreation after their toils.
Y.R. 673

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