And now Sulla, having passed through Thessaly and Macedonia down to the sea, was preparing to cross from Dyrrhachium to Brundisium with twelve hundred ships.1
Near by is Apollonia, and in its vicinity is the Nymphaeum, a sacred precinct, which sends forth in various places from its green dell and meadows, streams of perpetually flowing fire.
Here, they say, a satyr was caught asleep, such an one as sculptors and painters represent, and brought to Sulla, where he was asked through many interpreters who he was. And when at last he uttered nothing intelligible, but with difficulty emitted a hoarse cry that was something between the neighing of a horse and the bleating of a goat, Sulla was horrified, and ordered him out of his sight.
When Sulla was about to transport his soldiers, and was in fear lest, when they had reached Italy, they should disperse to their several cities, in the first place, they took an oath of their own accord to stand by him, and to do no damage to Italy without his orders; and then, seeing that he needed much money, they made a free-will offering and contribution, each man according to his abundance. Sulla, however, would not accept their offering, but after thanking them and rousing their courage, crossed over to confront, as he himself says, fifteen hostile commanders with four hundred and fifty cohorts. But the Deity gave him most unmistakable foretokens of his successes.
For after he had sacrificed at once where he landed at Tarentum,2
the victim's liver was seen to have an impression of a wreath of laurel, with two fillets hanging from it.3
And a little while before he crossed over from Greece, there were seen on Mount Tifatum in Campania, in the day time, two great he-goats fighting together, and doing everything that men do when they fight a battle. But it proved to be an apparition, and gradually rising from earth it dispersed itself generally in the air, like vague phantoms, and then vanished from sight.
And not long after,4
in this very place, when Marius the younger and Norbanus the consul led large forces up against him, Sulla, without either giving out an order of battle or forming his own army in companies, but taking advantage of a vigorous general alacrity and a transport of courage in them, routed the enemy and shut up Norbanus in the city of Capua, after slaying seven thousand of his men.
It was on account of this success, he says, that his soldiers did not disperse into their several cities, but held together and despised their opponents, though these were many times more numerous. He says, moreover, that at Silvium, a servant of Pontius met him, in an inspired state, declaring that he brought him from Bellona triumph in war and victory, but that if he did not hasten, the Capitol would be burnt; and this actually happened, he says, on the day which the man foretold, namely, the sixth day of Quintilis, which we now call July.5
And still further, at Fidentia, when Marcus Lucullus, one of Sulla's commanders, with sixteen cohorts confronted fifty cohorts of the enemy, although he had confidence in the readiness of his soldiers, still, as most of them were without arms, he hesitated to attack. But while he was waiting and deliberating, from the neighbouring plain, which was a meadow, a gentle breeze brought a quantity of flowers and scattered them down upon his army; they settled of their own accord and enveloped the shields and helmets of the soldiers, so that to the enemy these appeared to be crowned with garlands.
This circumstance made them more eager for the fray, and they joined battle, won the victory, killed eighteen thousand of the enemy, and took their camp. This Lucullus was a brother of the Lucullus who afterwards subdued Mithridates and Tigranes.