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[27] and the highest ambition of our magistrates and generals was to defend our provinces and allies with justice and honour. And so our government could be called more accurately a protectorate of the world than a dominion.

This policy and practice we had begun gradually to modify even before Sulla's time; but since his victory we have departed from it altogether. For the time had gone by when any oppression of the allies could appear wrong, seeing that atrocities so outrageous were committed against Roman citizens. In Sulla's case, therefore, an unrighteous victory disgraced a righteous cause. For when he had planted his spear1 and was selling under the hammer in the forum the property of men who were patriots and men of wealth and, at least, Roman citizens, he had the effrontery to announce that “he was selling [p. 197] his spoils.” After him came one who, in an unholy cause, made an even more shameful use of victory; for he did not stop at confiscating the property of individual citizens, but actually embraced whole provinces and countries in one common ban of ruin.

1 The Romans were accustomed to set up a spear as a sign of an auction-sale—a symbol derived from the sale of booty taken in war.

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