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
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.