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30. But when the night was now far advanced, messengers came to the camp of Sulla from Crassus, to fetch supper for him and his soldiers; for after conquering the enemy, he had pursued them into Antemnae, and was encamped before that city. When, therefore, Sulla learned this, and also that the greater part of the enemy had been destroyed, he came to Antemnae at break of day. There three thousand of the inhabitants sent a deputation to him to sue for mercy, and He promised them safety if they would do some mischief to the rest of his enemies before coming to him. [2] So they, trusting to his promise, attacked the rest of the people in the city, and many were slain by one another's hands. However, the survivors of both parties alike, to the number of six thousand, were collected by Sulla in the circus at Rome, and then the senate was summoned by him to meet in the temple of Bellona,1 and at one and the same moment he himself began to speak in the senate, and those assigned to the task began to cut to pieces the six thousand in the circus. [3] The shrieks of such a multitude, who were being massacred in a narrow space, filled the air, of course, and the senators were dumbfounded; but Sulla, with the calm and unmoved countenance with which he had begun to speak, ordered them to listen to his words and not concern themselves with what was going on outside, for it was only that some criminals were being admonished, by his orders.

[4] This gave even the dullest Roman to understand that, in the matter of tyranny, there had been an exchange, but not a deliverance. Marius the elder, at any rate, had been naturally harsh at the outset, and power had intensified, not altered, his disposition; but Sulla had used his good fortune moderately, at first, and like a statesman, and had led men to expect in him a leader who was attached to the aristocracy, and at the same time helpful to the common people. [5] Furthermore, from his youth up he had been of a merry temper, and easily moved to tears of pity. Naturally, therefore, his conduct fixed a stigma upon offices of great power, which were thought to work a change in men's previous characters, and render them capricious, vain, and cruel. However, whether this is a change and reversal of nature, brought about by fortune, or rather a revelation, when a man is in authority, of underlying baseness, were matter for determination in some other treatise.

1 Both the circus (Flaminius) and the temple were in the Campus Martius.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 177
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SENATUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ANTEMNAE
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SA´MNIUM
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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