About the time when the first pitched battle was fought between Romans and Romans, in the night of the 6th July 671, the venerable temple, which had been erected by the kings, dedicated by the youthful republic, and spared by the storms of five hundred years— the temple of the Roman Jupiter in the Capitol—perished in the flames. It was no augury, but it was an image of the state of the Roman constitution. This, too, lay in ruins and needed reconstruction. The revolution was no doubt vanquished, but the victory was far from implying as a matter of course the restoration of the old government. The mass of the aristocracy certainly was of opinion that now, after the death of the two revolutionary consuls, it would be sufficient to make arrangements for the ordinary supplemental election and to leave it to the senate to take such steps as should seem farther requisite for the rewarding of the victorious army, for the punishment of the most guilty revolutionists, and possibly also for the prevention of similar outbreaks. But Sulla, in whose hands the victory had concentrated for the moment all power, formed a more correct judgment of affairs and of men. The aristocracy of Rome in its best epoch had not risen above an adherence—partly noble and partly narrow—to traditional forms; how should the clumsy collegiate government of this period be in a position to carry out with energy and thoroughness a comprehensive reform of the state? And at the present moment, when the last crisis had swept away almost all the leading men of the senate, the vigour and intelligence requisite for such an enterprise were less than ever to be found there. How thoroughly useless was the pure aristocratic blood, and how little doubt Sulla had as to its worthlessness, is shown by the fact that, with the exception of Quintus Metellus who was related to him by marriage, he selected all his instruments out of what was previously the middle party and the deserters from the democratic camp—such as Lucius Flaccus, Lucius Philippus, Quintus Ofella, Gnaeus Pompeius. Sulla was as much in earnest about the re-establishment of the old constitution as the most vehement aristocratic emigrant; he understood however, not perhaps to the full extent—for how in that case could he have put hand to the work at all?—but better at any rate than his party, the enormous difficulties which attended this work of restoration. Comprehensive concessions so far as concession was possible without affecting the essence of oligarchy, and the establishment of an energetic system of repression and prevention, were regarded by him as unavoidable; and he saw clearly that the senate as it stood would refuse or mutilate every concession, and would parliamentarily ruin every systematic reconstruction. If Sulla had already after the Sulpician revolution carried out what he deemed necessary in both respects without asking much of their advice, he was now determined, under circumstances of far more severe and intense excitement, to restore the oligarchy—not with the aid, but in spite, of the oligarchs—by his own hand.
Sulla Regent of Rome
Sulla, however, was not now consul as he had been then, but was furnished merely with proconsular, that is to say, purely military power: he needed an authority keeping as near as possible to constitutional forms, but yet extraordinary, in order to impose his reform on friends and foes. In a letter to the senate he announced to them that it seemed to him indispensable that they should place the regulation of the state in the hands of a single man equipped with unlimited plenitude of power, and that he deemed himself qualified to fulfil this difficult task. This proposal, disagreeable as it was to many, was under the existing circumstances a command. By direction of the senate its chief, the interrex Lucius Valerius Flaccus the father, as interim holder of the supreme power, submitted to the burgesses the proposal that the proconsul Lucius Cornelius Sulla should receive for the past a supplementary approval of all the official acts performed by him as consul and proconsul, and should for the future be empowered to adjudicate without appeal on the life and property of the burgesses, to deal at his pleasure with the state-domains, to shift at discretion the boundaries of Rome, of Italy, and of the state, to dissolve or establish urban communities in Italy, to dispose of the provinces and dependent states, to confer the supreme -imperium- instead of the people and to nominate proconsuls and propraetors, and lastly to regulate the state for the future by means of new laws; that it should be left to his own judgment to determine when he had fulfilled his task and might deem it time to resign this extraordinary magistracy; and, in fine, that during its continuance it should depend on his pleasure whether the ordinary supreme magistracy should subsist side by side with his own or should remain in abeyance. As a matter of course, the proposal was adopted without opposition (Nov. 672); and now the new master of the state, who hitherto had as proconsul avoided entering the capital, appeared for the first time within the walls of Rome. This new office derived its name from the dictatorship, which had been practically abolished since the Hannibalic war;(1) but, as besides his armed retinue he was preceded by twice as many lictors as the dictator of earlier times, this new "dictatorship for the making of laws and the regulation of the commonwealth," as its official title ran, was in fact altogether different from the earlier magistracy which had been limited in point of duration and of powers, had not excluded appeal to the burgesses, and had not annulled the ordinary magistracy. It much more resembled that of the -decemviri legibus scribundis-, who likewise came forward as an extraordinary government with unlimited fulness of powers superseding the ordinary magistracy, and practically at least administered their office as one which was unlimited in point of time. Or, we should rather say, this new office, with its absolute power based on a decree of the people and restrained by no set term or colleague, was no other than the old monarchy, which in fact just rested on the free engagement of the burgesses to obey one of their number as absolute lord. It was urged even by contemporaries in vindication of Sulla that a king is better than a bad constitution,(2) and presumably the title of dictator was only chosen to indicate that, as the former dictatorship implied a reassumptionwith various limitations,(3) so this new dictatorship involved a complete reassumption, of the regal power. Thus, singularly enough, the course of Sulla here also coincided with that on which Gaius Gracchus had entered with so wholly different a design. In this respect too the conservative party had to borrow from its opponents; the protector of the oligarchic constitution had himself to come forward as a tyrant, in order to avert the ever-impending -tyrannis-. There was not a little of defeat in this last victory of the oligarchy.
Sulla had not sought and had not desired the difficult and dreadful labour of the work of restoration; out, as no other choice was left to him but either to leave it to utterly incapable hands or to undertake it in person, he set himself to it with remorseless energy. First of all a settlement had to be effected in respect to the guilty. Sulla was personally inclined to pardon. Sanguine as he was in temperament, he could doubtless break forth into violent rage, and well might those beware who saw his eye gleam and his cheeks colour; but the chronic vindictiveness, which characterized Marius in the embitterment of his old age, was altogether foreign to Sulla's easy disposition. Not only had he borne himself with comparatively great moderation after the revolution of 666;(4) even the second revolution, which had perpetrated so fearful outrages and had affected him in person so severely, had not disturbed his equilibrium. At the same time that the executioner was dragging the bodies of his friends through the streets of the capital, he had sought to save the life of the blood-stained Fimbria, and, when the latter died by his own hand, had given orders for his decent burial. On landing in Italy he had earnestly offered to forgive and to forget, and no one who came to make his peace had been rejected. Even after the first successes he had negotiated in this spirit with Lucius Scipio; it was the revolutionary party, which had not only broken off these negotiations, but had subsequently, at the last moment before their downfall, resumed the massacres afresh and more fearfully than ever, and had in fact conspired with the inveterate foes of their country for the destruction of the city of Rome. The cup was now full. By virtue of his new official authority Sulla, immediately after assuming the regency, outlawed as enemies of their country all the civil and military officials who had taken an active part in favour of the revolution after the convention with Scipio (which according to Sulla's assertion was validly concluded), and such of the other burgesses as had in any marked manner aided its cause. Whoever killed one of these outlaws was not only exempt from punishment like an executioner duly fulfilling his office, but also obtained for the execution a compensation of 12,000 -denarii- (480 pounds); any one on the contrary who befriended an outlaw, even the nearest relative, was liable to the severest punishment. The property of the proscribed was forfeited to the state like the spoil of an enemy; their children and grandchildren were excluded from a political career, and yet, so far as they were of senatorial rank, were bound to undertake their share of senatorial burdens. The last enactments also applied to the estates and the descendants of those who had fallen in conflict for the revolution—penalties which went even beyond those enjoined by the earliest law in the case of such as had borne arms against their fatherland. The most terrible feature in this system of terror was the indefiniteness of the proposed categories, against which there was immediate remonstrance in the senate, and which Sulla himself sought to remedy by directing the names of the proscribed to be publicly posted up and fixing the 1st June 673 as the final term for closing the lists of proscription.
Much as this bloody roll, swelling from day to day and amounting at last to 4700 names,(5) excited the just horror of the multitude, it at any rate checked in some degree the mere caprice of the executioners. It was not at least to the personal resentment of the regent that the mass of these victims were sacrificed; his furious hatred was directed solely against the Marians, the authors of the hideous massacres of 667 and 672. By his command the tomb of the victor of Aquae Sextiae was broken open and his ashes were scattered in the Anio, the monuments of his victories over Africans and Germans were overthrown, and, as death had snatched himself and his son from Sulla's vengeance, his adopted nephew Marcus Marius Gratidianus, who had been twice praetor and was a great favourite with the Roman burgesses, was executed amid the most cruel tortures at the tomb of Catulus, who most deserved to be regretted of all the Marian victims. In other cases also death had already swept away the most notable of his opponents: of the leaders there survived only Gaius Norbanus, who laid hands on himself at Rhodes, while the -ecclesia- was deliberating on his surrender; Lucius Scipio, for whom his insignificance and probably also his noble birth procured indulgence and permission to end his days in peace at his retreat in Massilia; and Quintus Sertorius, who was wandering about as an exile on the coast of Mauretania. But yet the heads of slaughtered senators were piled up at the Servilian Basin, at the point where the -Vicus Jugarius- opened into the Forum, where the dictator had ordered them to be publicly exposed; and among men of the second and third rank in particular death reaped a fearful harvest. In addition to those who were placed on the list for their services in or on behalf of the revolutionary army with little discrimination, sometimes on account of money advanced to one of its officers or on account of relations of hospitality formed with such an one, the retaliation fell specially on those capitalists who had sat in judgment on the senators and had speculated in Marian confiscations—the "hoarders"; about 1600 of the equites, as they were called,(6) were inscribed on the proscription- list. In like manner the professional accusers, the worst scourge of the nobility, who made it their trade to bring men of the senatorial order before the equestrian courts, had now to suffer for it—"how comes it to pass," an advocate soon after asked, "that they have left to us the courts, when they were putting to death the accusers and judges?" The most savage and disgraceful passions raged without restraint for many months throughout Italy. In the capital a Celtic band was primarily charged with the executions, and Sullan soldiers and subaltern officers traversed for the same purpose the different districts of Italy; but every volunteer was also welcome, and the rabble high and low pressed forward not only to earn the rewards of murder, but also to gratify their own vindictive or covetous dispositions under the mantle of political prosecution. It sometimes happened that the assassination did not follow, but preceded, the placing of the name on the list of the proscribed. One example shows the way in which these executions took place. At Larinum, a town of new burgesses and favourable to Marian views, one Statius Albius Oppianicus, who had fled to Sulla's headquarters to avoid a charge of murder, made his appearance after the victory as commissioner of the regent, deposed the magistrates of the town, installed himself and his friends in their room, and caused the person who had threatened to accuse him, along with his nearest relatives and friends, to be outlawed and killed. Countless persons—including not a few decided adherents of the oligarchy—thus fell as the victims of private hostility or of their own riches: the fearful confusion, and the culpable indulgence which Sulla displayed in this as in every instance towards those more closely connected with him, prevented any punishment even of the ordinary crimes that were perpetrated amidst the disorder.
The confiscated property was dealt with in a similar way. Sulla from political considerations sought to induce the respectable burgesses to take part in its purchase; a great portion of them, moreover, voluntarily pressed forward, and none more zealously than the young Marcus Crassus. Under the existing circumstances the utmost depreciation was inevitable; indeed, to some extent it was the necessary result of the Roman plan of selling the property confiscated by the state for a round sum payable in ready money. Moreover, the regent did not forget himself; while his wife Metella more especially and other persons high and low closely connected with him, even freedmen and boon-companions, were sometimes allowed to purchase without competition, sometimes had the purchase-money wholly or partially remitted. One of his freedmen, for instance, is said to have purchased a property of 6,000,000 sesterces (60,000 pounds) for 2000 (20 pounds), and one of his subalterns is said to have acquired by such speculations an estate of 10,000,000 sesterces (100,000 pounds). The indignation was great and just; even during Sulla's regency an advocate asked whether the nobility had waged civil war solely for the purpose of enriching their freedmen and slaves. But in spite of this depreciation the whole proceeds of the confiscated estates amounted to not less than 350,000,000 sesterces (3,500,000 pounds), which gives an approximate idea of the enormous extent of these confiscations falling chiefly on the wealthiest portion of the burgesses. It was altogether a fearful punishment. There was no longer any process or any pardon; mute terror lay like a weight of lead on the land, and free speech was silenced in the market-place alike of the capital and of the country-town. The oligarchic reign of terror bore doubtless a different stamp from that of the revolution; while Marius had glutted his personal vengeance in the blood of his enemies, Sulla seemed to account terrorism in the abstract, if we may so speak, a thing necessary to the introduction of the new despotism, and to prosecute and make others prosecute the work of massacre almost with indifference. But the reign of terror presented an appearance all the more horrible, when it proceeded from the conservative side and was in some measure devoid of passion; the commonwealth seemed all the more irretrievably lost, when the frenzy and the crime on both sides were equally balanced.
Maintenance of the Burgess-Rights Previously Conferred
In regulating the relations of Italy and of the capital, Sulla— although he otherwise in general treated as null all state-acts done during the revolution except in the transaction of current business— firmly adhered to the principle, which it had laid down, that every burgess of an Italian community was by that very fact a burgess also of Rome; the distinctions between burgesses and Italian allies, between old burgesses with better, and new burgesses with more restricted, rights, were abolished, and remained so. In the case of the freedmen alone the unrestricted right of suffrage was again withdrawn, and for them the old state of matters was restored. To the aristocratic ultras this might seem a great concession; Sulla perceived that it was necessary to wrest these mighty levers out of the hands of the revolutionary chiefs, and that the rule of the oligarchy was not materially endangered by increasing the number of the burgesses.
Punishments Inflicted on Particular Communities
But with this concession in principle was combined a most rigid inquisition, conducted by special commissioners with the co-operation of the garrisons distributed throughout Italy, in respect to particular communities in all districts of the land. Several towns were rewarded; for instance Brundisium, the first community which had joined Sulla, now obtained the exemption from customs so important for such a seaport; more were punished. The less guilty were required to pay fines, to pull down their walls, to raze their citadels; in the case of those whose opposition had been most obstinate the regent confiscated a part of their territory, in some cases even the whole of it—as it certainly might be regarded in law as forfeited, whether they were to be treated as burgess-communities which had borne arms against their fatherland, or as allied states which had waged war with Rome contrary to their treaties of perpetual peace. In this case all the dispossessed burgesses—but these only—were deprived of their municipal, and at the same time of the Roman, franchise, receiving in return the lowest Latin rights.(7) Sulla thus avoided furnishing the opposition with a nucleus in Italian subject-communities of inferior rights; the homeless dispossessed of necessity were soon lost in the mass of the proletariate. In Campania not only was the democratic colony of Capua done away and its domain given back to the state, as was naturally to be expected, but the island of Aenaria (Ischia) was also, probably about this time, withdrawn from the community of Neapolis. In Latium the whole territory of the large and wealthy city of Praeneste and presumably of Norba also was confiscated, as was likewise that of Spoletium in Umbria. Sulmo in the Paelignian district was even razed. But the iron arm of the regent fell with especial weight on the two regions which had offered a serious resistance up to the end and even after the battle at the Colline gate—Etruria and Samnium. There a number of the most considerable communes, such as Florentia, Faesulae, Arretium, Volaterrae, were visited with total confiscation. Of the fate of Samnium we have already spoken; there was no confiscation there, but the land was laid waste for ever, its flourishing towns, even the former Latin colony of Aesernia, were left in ruins, and the country was placed on the same footing with the Bruttian and Lucanian regions.
Assignations to the Soldiers
These arrangements as to the property of the Italian soil placed on the one hand those Roman domain-lands which had been handed over in usufruct to the former allied communities and now on their dissolution reverted to the Roman government, and on the other hand the confiscated territories of the communities incurring punishment, at the disposal of the regent; and he employed them for the purpose of settling thereon the soldiers of the victorious army. Most of these new settlements were directed towards Etruria, as for instance to Faesulae and Arretium, others to Latium and Campania, where Praeneste and Pompeii among other places became Sullan colonies. To repeople Samnium was, as we have said, no part of the regent's design. A great part of these assignations took place after the Gracchan mode, so that the settlers were attached to an already-existing urban community. The comprehensiveness of this settlement is shown by the number of land-allotments distributed, which is stated at 120,000; while yet some portions of land withal were otherwise applied, as in the case of the lands bestowed on the temple of Diana at Mount Tifata; others, such as the Volaterran domain and a part of the Arretine, remained undistributed; others in fine, according to the old abuse legally forbidden(8) but now reviving, were taken possession of on the part of Sulla's favourites by the right of occupation. The objects which Sulla aimed at in this colonization were of a varied kind. In the first place, he thereby redeemed the pledge given to his soldiers. Secondly, he in so doing adopted the idea, in which the reform-party and the moderate conservatives concurred, and in accordance with which he had himself as early as 666 arranged the establishment of a number of colonies— the idea namely of augmenting the number of the small agricultural proprietors in Italy by a breaking up of the larger possessions on the part of the government; how seriously he had this at heart is shown by the renewed prohibition of the throwing together of allotments. Lastly and especially, he saw in these settled soldiers as it were standing garrisons, who would protect his new constitution along with their own right of property. For this reason, where the whole territory was not confiscated, as at Pompeii, the colonists were not amalgamated with the urban-community, but the old burgesses and the colonists were constituted as two bodies of burgesses associated within the same enclosing wall. In other respects these colonial foundations were based, doubtless, like the older ones, on a decree of the people, but only indirectly, in so far as the regent constituted them by virtue of the clause of the Valerian law to that effect; in reality they originated from the ruler's plenitude of power, and so far recalled the freedom with which the former regal authority disposed of the state-property. But, in so far as the contrast between the soldier and the burgess, which was in other instances done away by the very sending out of the soldiers or colonists, was intended to remain, and did remain, in force in the Sullan colonies even after their establishment, and these colonists formed, as it were, the standing array of the senate, they are not incorrectly designated, in contradistinction to the older ones, as military colonies.
The Cornelian Freedmen in Rome
Akin to this practical constituting of a standing army for the senate was the measure by which the regent selected from the slaves of the proscribed upwards of 10,000 of the youngest and most vigorous men, and manumitted them in a body. These new Cornelians, whose civil existence was linked to the legal validity of the institutions of their patron, were designed to be a sort of bodyguard for the oligarchy and to help it to command the city populace, on which, indeed, in the absence of a garrison everything in the capital now primarily depended.
Abolition of the Gracchan Institutions
These extraordinary supports on which the regent made the oligarchy primarily to rest, weak and ephemeral as they doubtless might appear even to their author, were yet its only possible buttresses, unless expedients were to be resorted to—such as the formal institution of a standing army in Rome and other similar measures—which would have put an end to the oligarchy far sooner than the attacks of demagogues. The permanent foundation of the ordinary governing power of the oligarchy of course could not but be the senate, with a power so increased and so concentrated that it presented a superiority to its non-organized opponents at every single point of attack. The system of compromises followed for forty years was at an end. The Gracchan constitution, still spared in the first Sullan reform of 666, was now utterly set aside. Since the time of Gaius Gracchus the government had conceded, as it were, the right of -'emeute- to the proletariate of the capital, and bought it off by regular distributions of corn to the burgesses domiciled there; Sulla abolished these largesses. Gaius Gracchus had organized and consolidated the order of capitalists by the letting of the tenths and customs of the province of Asia in Rome; Sulla abolished the system of middlemen, and converted the former contributions of the Asiatics into fixed taxes, which were assessed on the several districts according to the valuation-rolls drawn up for the purpose of gathering in the arrears.(9) Gaius Gracchus had by entrusting the posts of jurymen to men of equestrian census procured for the capitalist class an indirect share in administering and in governing, which proved itself not seldom stronger than the official adminis-tration and government; Sulla abolished the equestrian and restored the senatorial courts. Gaius Gracchus or at any rate the Gracchan period had conceded to the equites a special place at the popular festivals, such as the senators had for long possessed;(10) Sulla abolished it and relegated the equites to the plebeian benches.(11) The equestrian order, created as such by Gaius Gracchus, was deprived of its political existence by Sulla. The senate was to exercise the supreme power in legislation, administration, and jurisdiction, unconditionally, indivisibly, and permanently, and was to be distinguished also by outward tokens not merely as a privileged, but as the only privileged, order.
Reorganization of the Senate
Its Complement Filled Up by Extraordinary Election
Admission to the Senate through the Quaestorship
Abolition of the Censorial Supervision of the Senate
For this purpose the governing board had, first of all, to have its ranks filled up and to be itself placed on a footing of independence. The numbers of the senators had been fearfully reduced by the recent crises. Sulla no doubt now gave to those who were exiled by the equestrian courts liberty to return, for instance to the consular Publius Rutilius Rufus,(12) who however made no use of the permission, and to Gaius Cotta the friend of Drusus;(13) but this made only slight amends for the gaps which the revolutionary and reactionary reigns of terror had created in the ranks of the senate. Accordingly by Sulla's directions the senate had its complement extraordinarily made up by about 300 new senators, whom the assembly of the tribes had to nominate from among men of equestrian census, and whom they selected, as may be conceived, chiefly from the younger men of the senatorial houses on the one hand, and from Sullan officers and others brought into prominence by the last revolution on the other. For the future also the mode of admission to the senate was regulated anew and placed on an essentially different basis. As the constitution had hitherto stood, men entered the senate either through the summons of the censors, which was the proper and ordinary way, or through the holding of one of the three curule magistracies—the consulship, the praetorship, or the aedileship— to which since the passing of the Ovinian law a seat and vote in the senate had been de jure attached.(14) The holding of an inferior magistracy, of the tribunate or the quaestorship, gave doubtless a claim de facto to a place in the senate—inasmuch as the censorial selection especially turned towards the men who had held such offices—but by no means a reversion de jure. Of these two modes of admission, Sulla abolished the former by setting aside—at least practically—the censorship, and altered the latter to the effect that the right of admission to the senate was attached to the quaestorship instead of the aedileship, and at the same time the number of quaestors to be annually nominated was raised to twenty.(15) The prerogative hitherto legally pertaining to the censors, although practically no longer exercised in its original serious sense—of deleting any senator from the roll, with a statement of the reasons for doing so, at the revisals which took place every five years (16)—likewise fell into abeyance for the future; the irremoveable character which had hitherto de facto belonged to the senators was thus finally fixed by Sulla. The total number of senators, which hitherto had presumably not much exceeded the old normal number of 300 and often perhaps had not even reached it, was by these means considerably augmented, perhaps on an average doubled(17)—an augmentation which was rendered necessary by the great increase of the duties of the senate through the transference to it of the functions of jurymen. As, moreover, both the extraordinarily admitted senators and the quaestors were nominated by the -comitia tributa-, the senate, hitherto resting indirectly on the election of the people,(18) was now based throughout on direct popular election; and thus made as close an approach to a representative government as was compatible with the nature of the oligarchy and the notions of antiquity generally. The senate had in course of time been converted from a corporation intended merely to advise the magistrates into a board commanding the magistrates and self-governing; it was only a consistent advance in the same direction, when the right of nominating and cancelling senators originally belonging to the magistrates was withdrawn from them, and the senate was placed on the same legal basis on which the magistrates' power itself rested. The extravagant prerogative of the censors to revise the list of the senate and to erase or add names at pleasure was in reality incompatible with an organized oligarchic constitution. As provision was now made for a sufficient regular recruiting of its ranks by the election of the quaestors, the censorial revisions became superfluous; and by their abeyance the essential principle at the bottom of every oligarchy, the irremoveable character and life-tenure of the members of the ruling order who obtained seat and vote, was definitively consolidated.
Regulations As to the Burgesses
In respect to legislation Sulla contented himself with reviving the regulations made in 666, and securing to the senate the legislative initiative, which had long belonged to it practically, by legal enactment at least as against the tribunes. The burgess-body remained formally sovereign; but so far as its primary assemblies were concerned, while it seemed to the regent necessary carefully to preserve the form, he was still more careful to prevent any real activity on their part. Sulla dealt even with the franchise itself in the most contemptuous manner; he made no difficulty either in conceding it to the new burgess-communities, or in bestowing it on Spaniards and Celts en masse; in fact, probably not without design, no steps were taken at all for the adjustment of the burgess-roll, which nevertheless after so violent revolutions stood in urgent need of a revision, if the government was still at all in earnest with the legal privileges attaching to it. The legislative functions of the comitia, however, were not directly restricted; there was no need in fact for doing so, for in consequence of the better- secured initiative of the senate the people could not readily against the will of the government intermeddle with administration, finance, or criminal jurisdiction, and its legislative co-operation was once more reduced in substance to the right of giving assent to alterations of the constitution.
Co-optation Restored in the Priestly Colleges
Regulating of the Qualifications for Office
Of greater moment was the participation of the burgesses in the elections—a participation, with which they seemed not to be able to dispense without disturbing more than Sulla's superficial restoration could or would disturb. The interferences of the movement party in the sacerdotal elections were set aside; not only the Domitian law of 650, which transferred the election of the supreme priesthoods generally to the people,(19) but also the similar older enactments as to the -Pontifex Maximus- and the -Curio Maximus-(20) were cancelled by Sulla, and the colleges of priests received back the right of self-completion in its original absoluteness. In the case of elections to the offices of state, the mode hitherto pursued was on the whole retained; except in so far as the new regulation of the military command to be mentioned immediately certainly involved as its consequence a material restriction of the powers of the burgesses, and indeed in some measure transferred the right of bestowing the appointment of generals from the burgesses to the senate. It does not even appear that Sulla now resumed the previously attempted restoration of the Servian voting-arrangement;(21) whether it was that he regarded the particular composition of the voting- divisions as altogether a matter of indifference, or whether it was that this older arrangement seemed to him to augment the dangerous influence of the capitalists. Only the qualifications were restored and partially raised. The limit of age requisite for the holding of each office was enforced afresh; as was also the enactment that every candidate for the consulship should have previously held the praetorship, and every candidate for the praetorship should have previously held the quaestorship, whereas the aedileship was allowed to be passed over. The various attempts that had been recently made to establish a -tyrannis- under the form of a consulship continued for several successive years led to special rigour in dealing with this abuse; and it was enacted that at least two years should elapse between the holding of one magistracy and the holding of another, and at least ten years should elapse before the same office could be held a second time. In this latter enactment the earlier ordinance of 412 (22) was revived, instead of the absolute prohibition of all re-election to the consulship, which had been the favourite idea of the most recent ultra-oligarchical epoch.(23) On the whole, however, Sulla left the elections to take their course, and sought merely to fetter the power of the magistrates in such a way that—let the incalculable caprice of the comitia call to office whomsoever it might—the person elected should not be in a position to rebel against the oligarchy.
Weakening of the Tribunate of the People
The supreme magistrates of the state were at this period practically the three colleges of the tribunes of the people, the consuls and praetors, and the censors. They all emerged from the Sullan restoration with materially diminished rights, more especially the tribunician office, which appeared to the regent an instrument indispensable doubtless for senatorial government, but yet— as generated by revolution and having a constant tendency to generate fresh revolutions in its turn—requiring to be rigorously and permanently shackled. The tribunician authority had arisen out of the right to annul the official acts of the magistrates by veto, and, eventually, to fine any one who should oppose that right and to take steps for his farther punishment; this was still left to the tribunes, excepting that a heavy fine, destroying as a rule a man's civil existence, was imposed on the abuse of the right of intercession. The further prerogative of the tribune to have dealings with the people at pleasure, partly for the purpose of bringing up accusations and especially of calling former magistrates to account at the bar of the people, partly for the purpose of submitting laws to the vote, had been the lever by which the Gracchi, Saturninus, and Sulpicius had revolutionized the state; it was not abolished, but its exercise was probably made dependent on a permission to be previously requested from the senate.(24) Lastly it was added that the holding of the tribunate should in future disqualify for the undertaking of a higher office—an enactment which, like many other points in Sulla's restoration, once more reverted to the old patrician maxims, and, just as in the times before the admission of the plebeians to the civil magistracies, declared the tribunate and the curule offices to be mutually incompatible. In this way the legislator of the oligarchy hoped to check tribunician demagogism and to keep all ambitious and aspiring men aloof from the tribunate, but to retain it as an instrument of the senate both for mediating between it and the burgesses, and, should circumstances require, for keeping in check the magistrates; and, as the authority of the king and afterwards of the republican magistrates over the burgesses scarcely anywhere comes to light so clearly as in the principle that they exclusively had the right of addressing the people, so the supremacy of the senate, now first legally established, is most distinctly apparent in this permission which the leader of the people had to ask from the senate for every transaction with his constituents.
Limitation of the Supreme Magistracy
Regulation of the Consular and Praetorian Functions before—The Time of Sulla
The consulship and praetorship also, although viewed by the aristocratic regenerator of Rome with a more favourable eye than the tribunate liable in itself to be regarded with suspicion, by no means escaped that distrust towards its own instruments which is throughout characteristic of oligarchy. They were restricted with more tenderness in point of form, but in a way very sensibly felt. Sulla here began with the partition of functions. At the beginning of this period the arrangement in that respect stood as follows. As formerly there had devolved on the two consuls the collective functions of the supreme magistracy, so there still devolved on them all those official duties for which distinct functionaries had not been by law established. This latter course had been adopted with the administration of justice in the capital, in which the consuls, according to a rule inviolably adhered to, might not interfere, and with the transmarine provinces then existing—Sicily, Sardinia, and the two Spains—in which, while the consul might no doubt exercise his -imperium-, he did so only exceptionally. In the ordinary course of things, accordingly, the six fields of special jurisdiction— the two judicial appointments in the capital and the four transmarine provinces—were apportioned among the six praetors, while there devolved on the two consuls, by virtue of their general powers, the management of the non-judicial business of the capital and the military command in the continental possessions. Now as this field of general powers was thus doubly occupied, the one consul in reality remained at the disposal of the government; and in ordinary times accordingly those eight supreme annual magistrates fully, and in fact amply, sufficed. For extraordinary cases moreover power was reserved on the one hand to conjoin the non-military functions, and on the other hand to prolong the military powers beyond the term of their expiry (-prorogare-). It was not unusual to commit the two judicial offices to the same praetor, and to have the business of the capital, which in ordinary circumstances had to be transacted by the consuls, managed by the -praetor urbanus-; whereas, as far as possible, the combination of several commands in the same hand was judiciously avoided. For this case in reality a remedy was provided by the rule that there was no interregnum in the military -imperium-, so that, although it had its legal term, it yet continued after the arrival of that term de jure, until the successor appeared and relieved his predecessor of the command; or—which is the same thing— the commanding consul or praetor after the expiry of his term of office, if a successor did not appear, might continue to act, and was bound to do so, in the consul's or praetor's stead. The influence of the senate on this apportionment of functions consisted in its having by use and wont the power of either giving effect to the ordinary rule—so that the six praetors allotted among themselves the six special departments and the consuls managed the continental non-judicial business—or prescribing some deviation from it; it might assign to the consul a transmarine command of especial importance at the moment, or include an extraordinary military or judicial commission—such as the command of the fleet or an important criminal inquiry—among the departments to be distributed, and might arrange the further cumulations and extensions of term thereby rendered necessary. In this case, however, it was simply the demarcation of the respective consular and praetorian functions on each occasion which belonged to the senate, not the designation of the persons to assume the particular office; the latter uniformly took place by agreement among the magistrates concerned or by lot. The burgesses in the earlier period were doubtless resorted to for the purpose of legitimising by special decree of the community the practical prolongation of command that was involved in the non-arrival of relief;(25) but this was required rather by the spirit than by the letter of the constitution, and soon the burgesses ceased from intervention in the matter. In the course of the seventh century there were gradually added to the six special departments already existing six others, viz. the five new governorships of Macedonia, Africa, Asia, Narbo, and Cilicia, and the presidency of the standing commission respecting exactions.(26) With the daily extending sphere of action of the Roman government, moreover, it was a case of more and more frequent occurrence, that the supreme magistrates were called to undertake extraordinary military or judicial commissions. Nevertheless the number of the ordinary supreme annual magistrates was not enlarged; and there thus devolved on eight magistrates to be annually nominated—apart from all else—at least twelve special departments to be annually occupied. Of course it was no mere accident, that this deficiency was not covered once for all by the creation of new praetorships. According to the letter of the constitution all the supreme magistrates were to be nominated annually by the burgesses; according to the new order or rather disorder—under which the vacancies that arose were filled up mainly by prolonging the term of office, and a second year was as a rule added by the senate to the magistrates legally serving for one year, but might also at discretion be refused—the most important and most lucrative places in the state were filled up no longer by the burgesses, but by the senate out of a list of competitors formed by the burgess-elections. Since among these positions the transmarine commands were especially sought after as being the most lucrative, it was usual to entrust a transmarine command on the expiry of their official year to those magistrates whom their office confined either in law or at any rate in fact to the capital, that is, to the two praetors administering justice in the city and frequently also to the consuls; a course which was compatible with the nature of prorogation, since the official authority of supreme magistrates acting in Rome and in the provinces respectively, although differently entered on, was not in strict state-law different in kind.
Regulation of Their Functions by Sulla
Separation of the Political and Military Authority
Cisalpine Gaul Erected into a Province
Such was the state of things which Sulla found existing, and which formed the basis of his new arrangement. Its main principles were, a complete separation between the political authority which governed in the burgess-districts and the military authority which governed in the non-burgess-districts, and an uniform extension of the duration of the supreme magistracy from one year to two, the first of which was devoted to civil, and the second to military affairs. Locally the civil and the military authority had certainly been long separated by the constitution, and the former ended at the -pomerium-, where the latter began; but still the same man held the supreme political and the supreme military power united in his hand. In future the consul and praetor were to deal with the senate and burgesses, the proconsul and propraetor were to command the army; but all military power was cut off by law from the former, and all political action from the latter. This primarily led to the political separation of the region of Northern Italy from Italy proper. Hitherto they had stood doubtless in a national antagonism, inasmuch as Northern Italy was inhabited chiefly by Ligurians and Celts, Central and Southern Italy by Italians; but, in a political and administrative point of view, the whole continental territory of the Roman state from the Straits to the Alps including the Illyrian possessions—burgess, Latin, and non-Italian communities without exception—was in the ordinary course of things under the administration of the supreme magistrates who were acting in Rome, as in fact her colonial foundations extended through all this territory. According to Sulla's arrangement Italy proper, the northern boundary of which was at the same time changed from the Aesis to the Rubico, was—as a region now inhabited without exception by Roman citizens—made subject to the ordinary Roman authorities; and it became one of the fundamental principles of Roman state-law, that no troops and no commandant should ordinarily be stationed in this district. The Celtic country south of the Alps on the other hand, in which a military command could not be dispensed with on account of the continued incursions of the Alpine tribes, was constituted a distinct governorship after the model of the older transmarine commands.(27)
Lastly, as the number of praetors to be nominated yearly was raised from six to eight, the new arrangement of the duties was such, that the ten chief magistrates to be nominated yearly devoted themselves, during their first year of office, as consuls or praetors to the business of the capital—the two consuls to government and administration, two of the praetors to the administration of civil law, the remaining six to the reorganized administration of criminal justice—and, during their second year of office, were as proconsuls or propraetors invested with the command in one of the ten governorships: Sicily, Sardinia, the two Spains, Macedonia, Asia, Africa, Narbo, Cilicia, and Italian Gaul. The already-mentioned augmentation of the number of quaestors by Sulla to twenty was likewise connected with this arrangement.(28)
Better Arrangement of Business
Increase of the Power of the Senate
By this plan, in the first instance, a clear and fixed rule was substituted for the irregular mode of distributing offices hitherto adopted, a mode which invited all manner of vile manoeuvres and intrigues; and, secondly, the excesses of magisterial authority were as far as possible obviated and the influence of the supreme governing board was materially increased. According to the previous arrangement the only legal distinction in the empire was that drawn between the city which was surrounded by the ring-wall, and the country beyond the -pomerium-; the new arrangement substituted for the city the new Italy henceforth, as in perpetual peace, withdrawn from the regular -imperium-,(29) and placed in contrast to it the continental and transmarine territories, which were, on the other hand, necessarily placed under military commandants—the provinces as they were henceforth called. According to the former arrangement the same man had very frequently remained two, and often more years in the same office. The new arrangement restricted the magistracies of the capital as well as the governorships throughout to one year; and the special enactment that every governor should without fail leave his province within thirty days after his successor's arrival there, shows very clearly—particularly if we take along with it the formerly-mentioned prohibition of the immediate re-election of the late magistrate to the same or another public office—what the tendency of these arrangements was. It was the time-honoured maxim by which the senate had at one time made the monarchy subject to it, that the limitation of the magistracy in point of function was favourable to democracy, and its limitation in point of time favourable to oligarchy. According to the previous arrangement Gaius Marius had acted at once as head of the senate and as commander-in-chief of the state; if he had his own unskilfulness alone to blame for his failure to overthrow the oligarchy by means of this double official power, care seemed now taken to prevent some possibly wiser successor from making a better use of the same lever. According to the previous arrangement the magistrate immediately nominated by the people might have had a military position; the Sullan arrangement, on the other hand, reserved such a position exclusively for those magistrates whom the senate confirmed in their official authority by prolonging their term of office. No doubt this prolongation of office had now become a standing usage; but it still—so far as respects the auspices and the name, and constitutional form in general—continued to be treated as an extraordinary extension of their term. This was no matter of indifference. The burgesses alone could depose the consul or praetor from his office; the proconsul and propraetor were nominated and dismissed by the senate, so that by this enactment the whole military power, on which withal everything ultimately depended, became formally at least dependent on the senate.
Shelving of the Censorship
Lastly we have already observed that the highest of all magistracies, the censorship, though not formally abolished, was shelved in the same way as the dictatorship had previously been. Practically it might certainly be dispensed with. Provision was otherwise made for filling up the senate. From the time that Italy was practically tax-free and the army was substantially formed by enlistment, the register of those liable to taxation and service lost in the main its significance; and, if disorder prevailed in the equestrian roll or the list of those entitled to the suffrage, that disorder was probably not altogether unwelcome. There thus remained only the current financial functions which the consuls had hitherto discharged when, as frequently happened, no election of censors had taken place, and which they now took as a part of their ordinary official duties. Compared with the substantial gain that by the shelving of the censorship the magistracy lost its crowning dignity, it was a matter of little moment and was not at all prejudicial to the sole dominion of the supreme governing corporation, that—with a view to satisfy the ambition of the senators now so much more numerous—the number of the pontifices and that of the augurs was increased from nine,(30) that of the custodiers of oracles from ten,(31) to fifteen each, and that of the banquet-masters from three(32) to seven.
Regulation of the Finances
In financial matters even under the former constitution the decisive voice lay with the senate; the only point to be dealt with, accordingly, was the re-establishment of an orderly administration. Sulla had found himself at first in no small difficulty as to money; the sums brought with him from Asia Minor were soon expended for the pay of his numerous and constantly swelling army. Even after thevictory at the Colline gate the senate, seeing that the state-chest had been carried off to Praeneste, had been obliged to resort to urgent measures. Various building-sites in the capital and several portions of the Campanian domains were exposed to sale, the client kings, the freed and allied communities, were laid under extraordinary contribution, their landed property and their customs-revenues were in some cases confiscated, and in others new privileges were granted to them for money. But the residue of nearly 600,000 pounds found in the public chest on the surrender of Praeneste, the public auctions which soon began, and other extraordinary resources, relieved the embarrassment of the moment. Provision was made for the future not so much by the reform in the Asiatic revenues, under which the tax-payers were the principal gainers, and the state chest was perhaps at most no loser, as by the resumption of the Campanian domains, to which Aenaria was now added,(33) and above all by the abolition of the largesses of grain, which since the time of Gaius Gracchus had eaten like a canker into the Roman finances.
Reorganization of the Judicial System.
Permanent and Special -Quaestiones-
The judicial system on the other hand was essentially revolutionized, partly from political considerations, partly with a view to introduce greater unity and usefulness into the previous very insufficient and unconnected legislation on the subject. According to the arrangements hitherto subsisting, processes fell to be decided partly by the burgesses, partly by jurymen. The judicial cases in which the whole burgesses decided on appeal from the judgment of the magistrate were, down to the time of Sulla, placed in the hands primarily of the tribunes of the people, secondarily of the aediles, inasmuch as all the processes, through which a person entrusted with an office or commission by the community was brought to answer for his conduct of its affairs, whether they involved life and limb or money-fines, had to be in the first instance dealt with by the tribunes of the people, and all the other processes in which ultimately the people decided, were in the first instance adjudicated on, in the second presided over, by the curule or plebeian aediles. Sulla, if he did not directly abolish the tribunician process of calling to account, yet made it dependent, just like the initiative of the tribunes in legislation, on the previous consent of the senate, and presumably also limited in like manner the aedilician penal procedure. On the other hand he enlarged the jurisdiction of the jury courts. There existed at that time two sorts of procedure before jurymen. The ordinary procedure, which was applicable in all cases adapted according to our view for a criminal or civil process with the exception of crimes immediately directed against the state, consisted in this, that one of the two praetors of the capital technically adjusted the cause and a juryman (-iudex-) nominated by him decided it on the basis of this adjustment. The extraordinary jury-procedure again was applicable in particular civil or criminal cases of importance, for which, instead of the single juryman, a special jury-court had been appointed by special laws. Of this sort were the special tribunals constituted for individual cases;(34) the standing commissional tribunals, such as had been appointed for exactions,(35) for poisoning and murder,(36) perhaps also for bribery at elections and other crimes, in the course of the seventh century; and lastly, the two courts of the "Ten-men" for processes affecting freedom, and the "Hundred and five," or more briefly, the "Hundred-men," for processes affecting inheritance, also called, from the shaft of a spear employed in all disputes as to property, the "spear-court" (-hasta-). The court of Ten-men (-decemviri litibus iudicandis-) was a very ancient institution for the protection of the plebeians against their masters.(37) The period and circumstances in which the spear-court originated are involved in obscurity; but they must, it may be presumed, have been nearly the same as in the case of the essentially similar criminal commissions mentioned above. As to the presidency of these different tribunals there were different regulations in the respective ordinances appointing them: thus there presided over the tribunal as to exactions a praetor, over the court for murder a president specially nominated from those who had been aediles, over the spear-court several directors taken from the former quaestors. The jurymen at least for the ordinary as for the extraordinary procedure were, in accordance with the Gracchan arrangement, taken from the non-senatorial men of equestrian census; the selection belonged in general to the magistrates who had the conducting of the courts, yet on such a footing that they, in entering upon their office, had to set forth once for all the list of jurymen, and then the jury for an individual case was formed from these, not by free choice of the magistrate, but by drawing lots, and by rejection on behalf of the parties. From the choice of the people there came only the "Ten-men" for procedure affecting freedom.
Sulla's leading reforms were of a threefold character. First, he very considerably increased the number of the jury-courts. There were henceforth separate judicial commissions for exactions; for murder, including arson and perjury; for bribery at elections; for high treason and any dishonour done to the Roman name; for the most heinous cases of fraud—the forging of wills and of money; for adultery; for the most heinous violations of honour, particularly for injuries to the person and disturbance of the domestic peace; perhaps also for embezzlement of public moneys, for usury and other crimes; and at least the greater number of these courts were either found in existence or called into life by Sulla, and were provided by him with special ordinances setting forth the crime and form of criminal procedure. The government, moreover, was not deprived of the right to appoint in case of emergency special courts for particular groups of crimes. As a result of these arrangements, the popular tribunals were in substance done away with, processes of high treason in particular were consigned to the new high treason commission, and the ordinary jury procedure was considerably restricted, for the more serious falsifications and injuries were withdrawn from it. Secondly, as respects the presidency of the courts, six praetors, as we have already mentioned, were now available for the superintendence of the different jury-courts, and to these were added a number of other directors in the care of the commission which was most frequently called into action—that for dealing with murder. Thirdly, the senators were once more installed in the office of jurymen in room of the Gracchan equites.
The political aim of these enactments—to put an end to the share which the equites had hitherto had in the government—is clear as day; but it as little admits of doubt, that these were not mere measures of a political tendency, but that they formed the first attempt to amend the Roman criminal procedure and criminal law, which had since the struggle between the orders fallen more and more into confusion. From this Sullan legislation dates the distinction— substantially unknown to the earlier law—between civil and criminal causes, in the sense which we now attach to these expressions; henceforth a criminal cause appears as that which comes before the bench of jurymen under the presidency of the praetor, a civil cause as the procedure, in which the juryman or jurymen do not discharge their duties under praetorian presidency. The whole body of the Sullan ordinances as to the -quaestiones- may be characterized at once as the first Roman code after the Twelve Tables, and as the first criminal code ever specially issued at all. But in the details also there appears a laudable and liberal spirit. Singular as it may sound regarding the author of the proscriptions, it remains nevertheless true that he abolished the punishment of death for political offences; for, as according to the Roman custom which even Sulla retained unchanged the people only, and not the jury-commission, could sentence to forfeiture of life or to imprisonment,(38) the transference of processes of high treason from the burgesses to a standing commission amounted to the abolition of capital punishment for such offences. On the other hand, the restriction of the pernicious special commissions for particular cases of high treason, of which the Varian commission(39) in the Social war had been a specimen, likewise involved an improvement. The whole reform was of singular and lasting benefit, and a permanent monument of the practical, moderate, statesmanly spirit, which made its author well worthy, like the old decemvirs, to step forward between the parties as sovereign mediator with his code of law.
We may regard as an appendix to these criminal laws the police ordinances, by which Sulla, putting the law in place of the censor, again enforced good discipline and strict manners, and, by establishing new maximum rates instead of the old ones which had long been antiquated, attempted to restrain luxury at banquets, funerals, and otherwise.
The Roman Municipal System
Lastly, the development of an independent Roman municipal system was the work, if not of Sulla, at any rate of the Sullan epoch. The idea of organically incorporating the community as a subordinate political unit in the higher unity of the state was originally foreign to antiquity; the despotism of the east knew nothing of urban commonwealths in the strict sense of the word, and city and state were throughout the Helleno-Italic world necessarily coincident. In so far there was no proper municipal system from the outset either in Greece or in Italy. The Roman polity especially adhered to this view with its peculiar tenacious consistency; even in the sixth century the dependent communities of Italy were either, in order to their keeping their municipal constitution, constituted as formally sovereign states of non-burgesses, or, if they obtained the Roman franchise, were—although not prevented from organizing themselves as collective bodies—deprived of properly municipal rights, so that in all burgess-colonies and burgess—municipia- even the administration of justice and the charge of buildings devolved on the Roman praetors and censors. The utmost to which Rome consented was to allow at least the most urgent lawsuits to be settled on the spot by a deputy (-praefectus-) of the praetor nominated from Rome.(40) The provinces were similarly dealt with, except that the governor there came in place of the authorities of the capital. In the free, that is, formally sovereign towns the civil and criminal jurisdiction was administered by the municipal magistrates according to the local statutes; only, unless altogether special privileges stood in the way, every Roman might either as defendant or as plaintiff request to have his cause decided before Italian judges according to Italian law For the ordinary provincial communities the Roman governor was the only regular judicial authority, on whom devolved the direction of all processes. It was a great matter when, as in Sicily, in the event of the defendant being a Sicilian, the governor was bound by the provincial statute to give a native juryman and to allow him to decide according to local usage; in most of the provinces this seems to have depended on the pleasure of the directing magistrate.
In the seventh century this absolute centralization of the public life of the Roman community in the one focus of Rome was given up, so far as Italy at least was concerned. Now that Italy was a single civic community and the civic territory reached from the Arnus and Rubico down to the Sicilian Straits,(41) it was necessary to consent to the formation of smaller civic communities within that larger unit. So Italy was organized into communities of full burgesses; on which occasion also the larger cantons that were dangerous from their size were probably broken up, so far as this had not been done already, into several smaller town-districts.(42) The position of these new communities of full burgesses was a compromise between that which had belonged to them hitherto as allied states, and that which by the earlier law would have belonged to them as integral parts of the Roman community. Their basis was in general the constitution of the former formally sovereign Latin community, or, so far as their constitution in its principles resembled the Roman, that of the Roman old-patrician-consular community; only care was taken to apply to the same institutions in the -municipium- names different from, and inferior to, those used in the capital, or, in other words, in the state. A burgess-assembly was placed at the head, with the prerogative of issuing municipal statutes and nominating the municipal magistrates. A municipal council of a hundred members acted the part of the Roman senate. The administration of justice was conducted by four magistrates, two regular judges corresponding to the two consuls, and two market-judges corresponding to the curule aediles. The functions of the censorship, which recurred, as in Rome, every five years and, to all appearance, consisted chiefly in the superintendence of public buildings, were also undertaken by the supreme magistrates of the community, namely the ordinary -duumviri-, who in this case assumed the distinctive title of -duumviri- "with censorial or quinquennial power." The municipal funds were managed by two quaestors. Religious functions primarily devolved on the two colleges of men of priestly lore alone known to the earliest Latin constitution, the municipal pontifices and augurs.
Relation of the -Municipium- to the State
With reference to the relation of this secondary political organism to the primary organism of the state, political prerogatives in general belonged completely to the former as well as to the latter, and consequently the municipal decree and the -imperium- of the municipal magistrates bound the municipal burgess just as the decree of the people and the consular -imperium- bound the Roman. This led, on the whole, to a co-ordinate exercise of power by the authorities of the state and of the town; both had, for instance, the right of valuation and taxation, so that in the case of any municipal valuations and taxes those prescribed by Rome were not taken into account, and vice versa; public buildings might be instituted both by the Roman magistrates throughout Italy and by the municipal authorities in their own district, and so in other cases. In the event of collision, of course the community yielded to the state and the decree of the people invalidated the municipal decree. A formal division of functions probably took place only in the administration of justice, where the system of pure co-ordination would have led to the greatest confusion. In criminal procedure presumably all capital causes, and in civil procedure those more difficult cases which presumed an independent action on the part of the directing magistrate, were reserved for the authorities and jurymen of the capital, and the Italian municipal courts were restricted to the minor and less complicated lawsuits, or to those which were very urgent.
Rise of the -Municipium-
The origin of this Italian municipal system has not been recorded by tradition. It is probable that its germs may be traced to exceptional regulations for the great burgess-colonies, which were founded at the end of the sixth century;(43) at least several, in themselves indifferent, formal differences between burgess-colonies and burgess—municipia- tend to show that the new burgess-colony, which at that time practically took the place of the Latin, had originally a better position in state-law than the far older burgess- -municipium-, and the advantage doubtless can only have consisted in a municipal constitution approximating to the Latin, such as afterwards belonged to all burgess-colonies and burgess—municipia-. The new organization is first distinctly demonstrable for the revolutionary colony of Capua;(44) and it admits of no doubt that it was first fully applied, when all the hitherto sovereign towns of Italy had to be organized, in consequence of the Social war, as burgess- communities. Whether it was the Julian law, or the censors of 668, or Sulla, that first arranged the details, cannot be determined: the entrusting of the censorial functions to the -duumviri- seems indeed to have been introduced after the analogy of the Sullan ordinance superseding the censorship, but may be equally well referred to the oldest Latin constitution to which also the censorship was unknown. In any case this municipal constitution— inserted in, and subordinate to, the state proper—is one of the most remarkable and momentous products of the Sullan period, and of the life of the Roman state generally. Antiquity was certainly as little able to dovetail the city into the state as to develop of itself representative government and other great principles of our modern state-life; but it carried its political development up to those limits at which it outgrows and bursts its assigned dimensions, and this was the case especially with Rome, which in every respect stands on the line of separation and connection between the old and the new intellectual worlds. In the Sullan constitution the primary assembly and the urban character of the commonwealth of Rome, on the one hand, vanished almost into a meaningless form; the community subsisting within the state on the other hand was already completely developed in the Italian -municipium-. Down to the name, which in such cases no doubt is the half of the matter, this last constitution of the free republic carried out the representative system and the idea of the state built upon the basis of the municipalities.
The municipal system in the provinces was not altered by this movement; the municipal authorities of the non-free towns continued— special exceptions apart—to be confined to administration and police, and to such jurisdiction as the Roman authorities did not prefer to take into their own hands.
Impression Produced by the Sullan Reorganization Opposition of the Officers
Such was the constitution which Lucius Cornelius Sulla gave to the commonwealth of Rome. The senate and equestrian order, the burgesses and proletariate, Italians and provincials, accepted it as it was dictated to them by the regent, if not without grumbling, at any rate without rebelling: not so the Sullan officers. The Roman army had totally changed its character. It had certainly been rendered by the Marian reform more ready for action and more militarily useful than when it did not fight before the walls of Numantia; but it had at the same time been converted from a burgess- force into a set of mercenaries who showed no fidelity to the state at all, and proved faithful to the officer only if he had the skill personally to gain their attachment. The civil war had given fearful evidence of this total revolution in the spirit of the army: six generals in command, Albinus,(45) Cato,(46) Rufus,(47) Flaccus,(48) Cinna,(49) and Gaius Carbo,(50) had fallen during its course by the hands of their soldiers: Sulla alone had hitherto been able to retain the mastery of the dangerous crew, and that only, in fact, by giving the rein to all their wild desires as no Roman general before him had ever done. If the blame of destroying the old military discipline is on this account attached to him, the censure is not exactly without ground, but yet without justice; he was indeed the first Roman magistrate who was only enabled to discharge his military and political task by coming forward as a -condottiere-. He had not however taken the military dictatorship for the purpose of making the state subject to the soldiery, but rather for the purpose of compelling everything in the state, and especially the army and the officers, to submit once more to the authority of civil order. When this became evident, an opposition arose against him among his own staff. The oligarchy might play the tyrant as respected other citizens; but that the generals also, who with their good swords had replaced the overthrown senators in their seats, should now be summoned to yield implicit obedience to this very senate, seemed intolerable. The very two officers in whom Sulla had placed most confidence resisted the new order of things. When Gnaeus Pompeius, whom Sulla had entrusted with the conquest of Sicily and Africa and had selected for his son-in-law, after accomplishing his task received orders from the senate to dismiss his army, he omitted to comply and fell little short of open insurrection.
Quintus Ofella, to whose firm perseverance in front of Praeneste the success of the last and most severe campaign was essentially due in equally open violation of the newly issued ordinances became a candidate for the consulship without having held the inferior magistracies. With Pompeius there was effected, if not a cordial reconciliation, at any rate a compromise. Sulla, who knew his man sufficiently not to fear him, did not resent the impertinent remark which Pompeius uttered to his face, that more people concerned themselves with the rising than with the setting sun; and accorded to the vain youth the empty marks of honour to which his heart clung.(51) If in this instance he appeared lenient, he showed on the other hand in the case of Ofella that he was not disposed to allow his marshals to take advantage of him; as soon as the latter had appeared unconstitutionally as candidate, Sulla had him cut down in the public market-place, and then explained to the assembled citizens that the deed was done by his orders and the reason for doing it. So this significant opposition of the staff to the new order of things was no doubt silenced for the present; but it continued to subsist and furnished the practical commentary on Sulla's saying, that what he did on this occasion could not be done a second time.
Re-establishment of Constitutional Order
One thing still remained—perhaps the most difficult of all: to bring the exceptional state of things into accordance with the paths prescribed by the new or old laws. It was facilitated by the circumstance, that Sulla never lost sight of this as his ultimate aim. Although the Valerian law gave him absolute power and gave to each of his ordinances the force of law, he had nevertheless availed himself of this extraordinary prerogative only in the case of measures, which were of transient importance, and to take part in which would simply have uselessly compromised the senate and burgesses, especially in the case of the proscriptions.
Sulla Resigns the Regency
Ordinarily he had himself observed those regulations, which he prescribed for the future. That the people were consulted, we read in the law as to the quaestors which is still in part extant; and the same is attested of other laws, e. g. the sumptuary law and those regarding the confiscation of domains. In like manner the senate was previously consulted in the more important administrative acts, such as in the sending forth and recall of the African army and in the conferring of the charters of towns. In the same spirit Sulla caused consuls to be elected even for 673, through which at least the odious custom of dating officially by the regency was avoided; nevertheless the power still lay exclusively with the regent, and the election was directed so as to fall on secondary personages. But in the following year (674) Sulla revived the ordinary constitution in full efficiency, and administered the state as consul in concert with his comrade in arms Quintus Metellus, retaining the regency, but allowing it for the time to lie dormant. He saw well how dangerous it was for his own very institutions to perpetuate the military dictatorship. When the new state of things seemed likely to hold its ground and the largest and most important portion of the new arrangements had been completed, although various matters, particularly in colonization, still remained to be done, he allowed the elections for 675 to have free course, declined re-election to the consulship as incompatible with his own ordinances, and at the beginning of 675 resigned the regency, soon after the new consuls Publius Servilius and Appius Claudius had entered on office. Even callous hearts were impressed, when the man who had hitherto dealt at his pleasure with the life and property of millions, at whose nod so many heads had fallen, who had mortal enemies dwelling in every street of Rome and in every town of Italy, and who without an ally of equal standing and even, strictly speaking, without the support of a fixed party had brought to an end his work of reorganizing the state, a work offending a thousand interests and opinions—when this man appeared in the market-place of the capital, voluntarily renounced his plenitude of power, discharged his armed attendants, dismissed his lictors, and summoned the dense throng of burgesses to speak, if any one desired from him a reckoning. All were silent: Sulla descended from the rostra, and on foot, attended only by his friends, returned to his dwelling through the midst of that very populace which eight years before had razed his house to the ground.
Character of Sulla
Posterity has not justly appreciated either Sulla himself or his work of reorganization, as indeed it is wont to judge unfairly of persons who oppose themselves to the current of the times. In fact Sulla is one of the most marvellous characters—we may even say a unique phenomenon—in history. Physically and mentally of sanguine temperament, blue-eyed, fair, of a complexion singularly white but blushing with every passionate emotion—though otherwise a handsome man with piercing eyes—he seemed hardly destined to be of more moment to the state than his ancestors, who since the days of his great-great-grandfather Publius Cornelius Rufinus (consul in 464, 477), one of the most distinguished generals and at the same time the most ostentatious man of the times of Pyrrhus, had remained in second- rate positions. He desired from life nothing but serene enjoyment. Reared in the refinement of such cultivated luxury as was at that time naturalized even in the less wealthy senatorial families of Rome, he speedily and adroitly possessed himself of all the fulness of sensuous and intellectual enjoyments which the combination of Hellenic polish and Roman wealth could secure. He was equally welcome as a pleasant companion in the aristocratic saloon and as a good comrade in the tented field; his acquaintances, high and low, found in him a sympathizing friend and a ready helper in time of need, who gave his gold with far more pleasure to his embarrassed comrade than to his wealthy creditor. Passionate was his homage to the wine-cup, still more passionate to women; even in his later years he was no longer the regent, when after the business of the day was finished he took his place at table. A vein of irony—we might perhaps say of buffoonery—pervaded his whole nature. Even when regent he gave orders, while conducting the public sale of the property of the proscribed, that a donation from the spoil should be given to the author of a wretched panegyric which was handed to him, on condition that the writer should promise never to sing his praises again. When he justified before the burgesses the execution of Ofella, he did so by relating to the people the fable of the countryman and the lice. He delighted to choose his companions among actors, and was fond of sitting at wine not only with Quintus Roscius—the Roman Talma—but also with far inferior players; indeed he was himself not a bad singer, and even wrote farces for performance within his own circle. Yet amidst these jovial Bacchanalia he lost neither bodily nor mental vigour, in the rural leisure of his last years he was still zealously devoted to the chase, and the circumstance that he brought the writings of Aristotle from conquered Athens to Rome attests withal his interest in more serious reading. The specific type of Roman character rather repelled him. Sulla had nothing of the blunt hauteur which the grandees of Rome were fond of displaying in presence of the Greeks, or of the pomposity of narrow-minded great men; on the contrary he freely indulged his humour, appeared, to the scandal doubtless of many of his countrymen, in Greek towns in the Greek dress, or induced his aristocratic companions to drive their chariots personally at the games. He retained still less of those half-patriotic, half-selfish hopes, which in countries of free constitution allure every youth of talent into the political arena, and which he too like all others probably at one time felt. In such a life as his was, oscillating between passionate intoxication and more than sober awaking, illusions are speedily dissipated. Wishing and striving probably appeared to him folly in a world which withal was absolutely governed by chance, and in which, if men were to strive after anything at all, this chance could be the only aim of their efforts. He followed the general tendency of the age in addicting himself at once to unbelief and to superstition. His whimsical credulity was not the plebeian superstition of Marius, who got a priest to prophesy to him for money and determined his actions accordingly; still less was it the sullen belief of the fanatic in destiny; it was that faith in the absurd, which necessarily makes its appearance in every man who has out and out ceased to believe in a connected order of things—the superstition of the fortunate player, who deems himself privileged by fate to throw on each and every occasion the right number. In practical questions Sulla understood very well how to satisfy ironically the demands of religion. When he emptied the treasuries of the Greek temples, he declared that the man could never fail whose chest was replenished by the gods themselves. When the Delphic priests reported to him that they were afraid to send the treasures which he asked, because the harp of the god emitted a clear sound when they touched it, he returned the reply that they might now send them all the more readily, as the god evidently approved his design. Nevertheless he fondly flattered himself with the idea that he was the chosen favourite of the gods, and in an altogether special manner of that goddess, to whom down to his latest years he assigned the pre- eminence, Aphrodite. In his conversations as well as in his autobiography he often plumed himself on the intercourse which the immortals held with him in dreams and omens. He had more right than most men to be proud of his achievements he was not so, but he was proud of his uniquely faithful fortune. He was wont to say that every improvised enterprise turned out better with him than those which were systematically planned; and one of his strangest whims— that of regularly stating the number of those who had fallen on his side in battle as nil—was nothing but the childishness of a child of fortune. It was but the utterance of his natural disposition, when, having reached the culminating point of his career and seeing all his contemporaries at a dizzy depth beneath him, he assumed the designation of the Fortunate—Sulla Felix—as a formal surname, and bestowed corresponding appellations on his children,
Sulla's Political Career
Nothing lay farther from Sulla than systematic ambition. He had too much sense to regard, like the average aristocrats of his time, the inscription of his name in the roll of the consuls as the aim of his life; he was too indifferent and too little of an ideologue to be disposed voluntarily to engage in the reform of the rotten structure of the state. He remained—where birth and culture placed him—in the circle of genteel society, and passed through the usual routine of offices; he had no occasion to exert himself, and left such exertion to the political working bees, of whom there was in truth no lack. Thus in 647, on the allotment of the quaestorial places, accident brought him to Africa to the headquarters of Gaius Marius. The untried man-of-fashion from the capital was not very well received by the rough boorish general and his experienced staff. Provoked by this reception Sulla, fearless and skilful as he was, rapidly made himself master of the profession of arms, and in his daring expedition to Mauretania first displayed that peculiar combination of audacity and cunning with reference to which his contemporaries said of him that he was half lion half fox, and that the fox in him was more dangerous than the lion. To the young, highborn, brilliant officer, who was confessedly the real means of ending the vexatious Numidian war, the most splendid career now lay open; he took part also in the Cimbrian war, and manifested his singular talent for organization in the management of the difficult task of providing supplies; yet even now the pleasures of life in the capital had far more attraction for him than war or even politics. During his praetorship, which office he held in 661 after having failed in a previous candidature, it once more chanced that in his province, the least important of all, the first victory over king Mithradates and the first treaty with the mighty Arsacids, as well as their first humiliation, occurred. The Civil war followed. It was Sulla mainly, who decided the first act of it—the Italian insurrection— in favour of Rome, and thus won for himself the consulship by his sword; it was he, moreover, who when consul suppressed with energetic rapidity the Sulpician revolt. Fortune seemed to make it her business to eclipse the old hero Marius by means of this younger officer. The capture of Jugurtha, the vanquishing of Mithradates, both of which Marius had striven for in vain, were accomplished in subordinate positions by Sulla: in the Social war, in which Marius lost his renown as a general and was deposed, Sulla established his military repute and rose to the consulship; the revolution of 666, which was at the same time and above all a personal conflict between the two generals, ended with the outlawry and flight of Marius. Almost without desiring it, Sulla had become the most famous general of his time and the shield of the oligarchy. New and more formidable crises ensued—the Mithradatic war, the Cinnan revolution; the star of Sulla continued always in the ascendant. Like the captain who seeks not to quench the flames of his burning ship but continues to fire on the enemy, Sulla, while the revolution was raging in Italy, persevered unshaken in Asia till the public foe was subdued. So soon as he had done with that foe, he crushed anarchy and saved the capital from the firebrands of the desperate Samnites and revolutionists. The moment of his return home was for Sulla an overpowering one in joy and in pain: he himself relates in his memoirs that during his first night in Rome he had not been able to close an eye, and we may well believe it. But still his task was not at an end; his star was destined to rise still higher. Absolute autocrat as was ever any king, and yet constantly abiding on the ground of formal right, he bridled the ultra-reactionary party, annihilated the Gracchan constitution which had for forty years limited the oligarchy, and compelled first the powers of the capitalists and of the urban proletariate which had entered into rivalry with the oligarchy, and ultimately the arrogance of the sword which had grown up in the bosom of his own staff, to yield once more to the law which he strengthened afresh. He established the oligarchy on a more independent footing than ever, placed the magisterial power as a ministering instrument in its hands, committed to it the legislation, the courts, the supreme military and financial power, and furnished it with a sort of bodyguard in the liberated slaves and with a sort of army in the settled military colonists. Lastly, when the work was finished, the creator gave way to his own creation; the absolute autocrat became of his own accord once more a simple senator. In all this long military and political career Sulla never lost a battle, was never compelled to retrace a single step, and, led astray neither by friends nor by foes, brought his work to the goal which he had himself proposed. He had reason, indeed, to thank his star. The capricious goddess of fortune seemed in his case for once to have exchanged caprice for steadfastness, and to have taken a pleasure in loading her favourite with successes and honours— whether he desired them or not. But history must be more just towards him than he was towards himself, and must place him in a higher rank than that of the mere favourites of fortune.
Sulla and His Work
We do not mean that the Sullan constitution was a work of political genius, such as those of Gracchus and Caesar. There does not occur in it—as is, indeed, implied in its very nature as a restoration—a single new idea in statesmanship. All its most essential features— admission to the senate by the holding of the quaestorship, the abolition of the censorial right to eject a senator from the senate, the initiative of the senate in legislation, the conversion of the tribunician office into an instrument of the senate for fettering the -imperium-, the prolonging of the duration of the supreme office to two years, the transference of the command from the popularly-elected magistrate to the senatorial proconsul or propraetor, and even the new criminal and municipal arrangements— were not created by Sulla, but were institutions which had previously grown out of the oligarchic government, and which he merely regulated and fixed. And even as to the horrors attaching to his restoration, the proscriptions and confiscations—are they, compared with the doings of Nasica, Popillius, Opimius, Caepio and so on, anything else than the legal embodiment of the customary oligarchic mode of getting rid of opponents? On the Roman oligarchy of this period no judgment can be passed save one of inexorable and remorseless condemnation; and, like everything, else connected with it, the Sullan constitution is completely involved in that condemnation. To accord praise which the genius of a bad man bribes us into bestowing is to sin against the sacred character of history; but we may be allowed to bear in mind that Sulla was far less answerable for the Sullan restoration than the body of the Roman aristocracy, which had ruled as a clique for centuries and had every year become more enervated and embittered by age, and that all that was hollow and all that was nefarious therein is ultimately traceable to that aristocracy. Sulla reorganized the state—not, however, as the master of the house who puts his shattered estate and household in order according to his own discretion, but as the temporary business-manager who faithfully complies with his instructions; it is superficial and false in such a case to devolve the final and essential responsibility from the master upon the manager. We estimate the importance of Sulla much too highly, or rather we dispose of those terrible proscriptions, ejections, and restorations—for which there never could be and never was any reparation—on far too easy terms, when we regard them as the work of a bloodthirsty tyrant whom accident had placed at the head of the state. These and the terrorism of the restoration were the deeds of the aristocracy, and Sulla was nothing more in the matter than, to use the poet's expression, the executioner's axe following the conscious thought as its unconscious instrument. Sulla carried out that part with rare, in fact superhuman, perfection; but within the limits which it laid down for him, his working was not only grand but even useful. Never has any aristocracy deeply decayed and decaying still farther from day to day, such as was the Roman aristocracy of that time, found a guardian so willing and able as Sulla to wield for it the sword of the general and the pen of the legislator without any regard to the gain of power for himself. There is no doubt a difference between the case of an officer who refuses the sceptre from public spirit and that of one who throws it away from a cloyed appetite; but, so far as concerns the total absence of political selfishness—although, it is true, in this one respect only—Sulla deserves to be named side by side with Washington.
Value of the Sullan Constitution
But the whole country—and not the aristocracy merely—was more indebted to him than posterity was willing to confess. Sulla definitely terminated the Italian revolution, in so far as it was based on the disabilities of individual less privileged districts as compared with others of better rights, and, by compelling himself and his party to recognize the equality of the rights of all Italians in presence of the law, he became the real and final author of the full political unity of Italy—a gain which was not too dearly purchased by ever so many troubles and streams of blood. Sulla however did more. For more than half a century the power of Rome had been declining, and anarchy had been her permanent condition: for the government of the senate with the Gracchan constitution was anarchy, and the government of Cinna and Carbo was a yet far worse illustration of the absence of a master- hand (the sad image of which is most clearly reflected in that equally confused and unnatural league with the Samnites), the most uncertain, most intolerable, and most mischievous of all conceivable political conditions—in fact the beginning of the end. We do not go too far when we assert that the long-undermined Roman commonwealth must have necessarily fallen to pieces, had not Sulla by his intervention in Asia and Italy saved its existence. It is true that the constitution of Sulla had as little endurance as that of Cromwell, and it was not difficult to see that his structure was no solid one; but it is arrant thoughtlessness to overlook the fact that without Sulla most probably the very site of the building would have been swept away by the waves; and even the blame of its want of stability does not fall primarily on Sulla. The statesman builds only so much as in the sphere assigned to him he can build. What a man of conservative views could do to save the old constitution, Sulla did; and he himself had a foreboding that, while he might doubtless erect a fortress, he would be unable to create a garrison, and that the utter worthlessness of the oligarchs would render any attempt to save the oligarchy vain. His constitution resembled a temporary dike thrown into the raging breakers; it was no reproach to the builder, if some ten years afterwards the waves swallowed up a structure at variance with nature and not defended even by those whom it sheltered. The statesman has no need to be referred to highly commendable isolated reforms, such as those of the Asiatic revenue-system and of criminal justice, that he may not summarily dismiss Sulla's ephemeral restoration: he will admire it as a reorganization of the Roman commonwealth judiciously planned and on the whole consistently carried out under infinite difficulties, and he will place the deliverer of Rome and the accomplisher of Italian unity below, but yet by the side of, Cromwell.
Immoral and Superficial Nature of the Sullan Restoration
It is not, however, the statesman alone who has a voice in judging the dead; and with justice outraged human feeling will never reconcile itself to what Sulla did or suffered others to do. Sulla not only established his despotic power by unscrupulous violence, but in doing so called things by their right name with a certain cynical frankness, through which he has irreparably offended the great mass of the weakhearted who are more revolted at the name than at the thing, but through which, from the cool and dispassionate character of his crimes, he certainly appears to the moral judgment more revolting than the criminal acting from passion. Outlawries, rewards to executioners, confiscations of goods, summary procedure with insubordinate officers had occurred a hundred times, and the obtuse political morality of ancient civilization had for such things only lukewarm censure; but it was unexampled that the names of the outlaws should be publicly posted up and their heads publicly exposed, that a set sum should be fixed for the bandits who slew them and that it should be duly entered in the public account-books, that the confiscated property should be brought to the hammer like the spoil of an enemy in the public market, that the general should order a refractory officer to be at once cut down and acknowledge the deed before all the people. This public mockery of humanity was also a political error; it contributed not a little to envenom later revolutionary crises beforehand, and on that account even now a dark shadow deservedly rests on the memory of the author of the proscriptions.
Sulla may moreover be justly blamed that, while in all important matters he acted with remorseless vigour, in subordinate and more especially in personal questions he very frequently yielded to his sanguine temperament and dealt according to his likings or dislikings. Wherever he really felt hatred, as for instance against the Marians, he allowed it to take its course without restraint even against the innocent, and boasted of himself that no one had better requited friends and foes.(52) He did not disdain on occasion of his plenitude of power to accumulate a colossal fortune. The first absolute monarch of the Roman state, he verified the maxim of absolutism—that the laws do not bind the prince—forthwith in the case of those laws which he himself issued as to adultery and extravagance. But his lenity towards his own party and his own circle was more pernicious for the state than his indulgence towards himself. The laxity of his military discipline, although it was partly enjoined by his political exigencies, may be reckoned as coming under this category; but far more pernicious was his indulgence towards his political adherents. The extent of his occasional forbearance is hardly credible: for instance Lacius Murena was not only released from punishment for defeats which he sustained through arrant perversity and insubordination,(53) but was even allowed a triumph; Gnaeus Pompeius, who had behaved still worse, was still more extravagantly honoured by Sulla.(54) The extensive range and the worst enormities of the proscriptions and confiscations probably arose not so much from Sulla's own wish as from this spirit of indifference, which in his position indeed was hardly more pardonable. That Sulla with his intrinsically energetic and yet withal indifferent temperament should conduct himself very variously, sometimes with incredible indulgence, sometimes with inexorable severity, may readily be conceived. The saying repeated a thousand times, that he was before his regency a good-natured, mild man, but when regent a bloodthirsty tyrant, carries in it its own refutation; if he as regent displayed the reverse of his earlier gentleness, it must rather be said that he punished with the same careless nonchalance with which he pardoned. This half-ironical frivolity pervades his whole political action. It is always as if the victor, just as it pleased him to call his merit in gaining victory good fortune, esteemed the victory itself of no value; as if he had a partial presentiment of the vanity and perishableness of his own work; as if after the manner of a steward he preferred making repairs to pulling down and rebuilding, and allowed himself in the end to be content with a sorry plastering to conceal the flaws.
Sulla after His Retirement
But, such as he was, this Don Juan of politics was a man of one mould. His whole life attests the internal equilibrium of his nature; in the most diverse situations Sulla remained unchangeably the same. It was the same temper, which after the brilliant successes in Africa made him seek once more the idleness of the capital, and after the full possession of absolute power made him find rest and refreshment in his Cuman villa. In his mouth the saying, that public affairs were a burden which he threw off so soon as he might and could, was no mere phrase. After his resignation he remained entirely like himself, without peevishness and without affectation, glad to be rid of public affairs and yet interfering now and then when opportunity offered. Hunting and fishing and the composition of his memoirs occupied his leisure hours; by way of interlude he arranged, at the request of the discordant citizens, the internal affairs of the neighbouring colony of Puteoli as confidently and speedily as he had formerly arranged those of the capital. His last action on his sickbed had reference to the collection of a contribution for the rebuilding of the Capitoline temple, of which he was not allowed to witness the completion.
Death of Sulla
Little more than a year after his retirement, in the sixtieth year of his life, while yet vigorous in body and mind, he was overtaken by death; after a brief confinement to a sick-bed—he was writing at his autobiography two days even before his death—the rupture of a blood- vessel(55) carried him off (676). His faithful fortune did not desert him even in death. He could have no wish to be drawn once more into the disagreeable vortex of party struggles, and to be obliged to lead his old warriors once more against a new revolution; yet such was the state of matters at his death in Spain and in Italy, that he could hardly have been spared this task had his life been prolonged. Even now when it was suggested that he should have a public funeral in the capital, numerous voices there, which had been silent in his lifetime, were raised against the last honour which it was proposed to show to the tyrant. But his memory was still too fresh and the dread of his old soldiers too vivid: it was resolved that the body should be conveyed to the capital and that the obsequies should be celebrated there.
Italy never witnessed a grander funeral solemnity. In every place through which the deceased was borne in regal attire, with his well- known standards and fasces before him, the inhabitants and above all his old soldiers joined the mourning train: it seemed as if the whole army would once more meet round the hero in death, who had in life led it so often and never except to victory. So the endless funeral procession reached the capital, where the courts kept holiday and all business was suspended, and two thousand golden chaplets awaited the dead—the last honorary gifts of the faithful legions, of the cities, and of his more intimate friends. Sulla, faithful to the usage of the Cornelian house, had ordered that his body should be buried without being burnt; but others were more mindful than he was of what past days had done and future days might do: by command of the senate the corpse of the man who had disturbed the bones of Marius from their rest in the grave was committed to the flames. Headed by all the magistrates and the whole senate, by the priests and priestesses in their official robes and the band of noble youths in equestrian armour, the procession arrived at the great market-place; at this spot, filled by his achievements and almost by the sound as yet of his dreaded words, the funeral oration was delivered over the deceased; and thence the bier was borne on the shoulders of senators to the Campus Martius, where the funeral pile was erected. While the flames were blazing, the equites and the soldiers held their race of honour round the corpse; the ashes of the regent were deposited in the Campus Martius beside the tombs of the old kings, and the Roman women mourned him for a year.