pg 28922L. Cornelius Sulla
F1 The dedication to Lucullus presumably opened the work; we have therefore placed it in book 1. We have treated Plutarch's reference to it in this passage as a fragment as well as a testimonium (T2a), on the assumption, which we think likely, that the words printed in bold represent a paraphrase of what Sulla wrote (for a dedicatory preface at the start of a prose history, see Hirtius, BG 8 pr.). The choice of dedicatee is not really surprising; L. Licinius Lucullus (cos. 74) was Sulla's close friend and faithful lieutenant. He served as his quaestor in 88, when he was the one officer to participate in the march on Rome (Badian, Studies, 220); he remained with Sulla throughout the war against Mithridates, and stayed in Asia pro quaestore until 80. He was also a highly cultured man, and Sulla's suggestion that he would be able somehow to improve on his memoirs was based on this fact, expressed in the statement that Lucullus was fluent in both languages. This cannot mean that Sulla had written his memoirs in Greek, as some have supposed (in fact F 2–4 prove that it was written in Latin; cf. introduction, n. 4). Rather, it must imply that only a well-read person, fully conversant with Greek literature and therefore able to read the classics of the genre, would be able to write a proper history.
What exactly Sulla wanted Lucullus to do is not clear from Plutarch's report. Peter (cclxxi, cclxxxi) thought he wanted Lucullus to revise the work, and T. F. Carney (SO 36 (1960), 92) suggested that he actually did so. Carcopino, on the other hand, argued that although Lucullus would have been his preferred choice of editor, Sulla recognized the political uncertainties he would be likely to face and entrusted the task to his freedman Epicadus instead (Sylla, ou la monarchie manqué (rev. edn., Paris, 1947), 231–2). A more likely interpretation is that Lucullus was being offered the chance to write a history of the period using Sulla's memoirs as raw material (thus e.g. Valgiglio, StudUrb(B), 49 (1975), 246; Suerbaum in Herzog–Schmidt 1, 454). See further introduction to Lucullus (no. 23).
It is unclear whether F14 (=T2b–c) means that the advice to Lucullus to pay attention to dreams was part of the dedication (see comm. ad loc.). But Lucullus appears to have taken dreams and portents as seriously as did Sulla: cf. Plutarch Luc. 8.5, 12.1–2, 23.3–6, 24.4–5.
F2 Aulus Gellius cites the fragment as evidence that capere was used of the selection of the flamen Dialis, as well as of Vestal Virgins, by the Pontifex Maximus. He claims that it could also be used of augurs (he should have added pontifices; see also lex coloniae Genetiuae (Roman Statutes, 25) 67.17), citing Cato 5 F105: for the real meaning of capere there see comm. ad loc. The only other passage where it is used of the flamen Dialis is Livy 27.8.5; cf. Wissowa, RE 3. 1509; TLL 3.335.51 ff.
The main problem raised by this fragment is how a passage dealing with Sulla's ancestors, which would seem at first sight to be from an account of his origins and therefore to have come at the beginning, could have occurred in book 2. For some possible explanations see introduction, n. 8. Our view is that it came in a digression, possibly connected to an account of Sulla's entry into a priesthood, where he took the opportunity to deal with priestly offices held by his forebears.
Macrobius 1.17.27 says that the first Cornelius to have the cognomen was the P. Cornelius who as xuir sacris faciundis instituted the ludi Apollinares in 212 (he was in fact praetor as well that year; see MRR 1. 268). He cannot be identical with the flamen Dialis, since (i) it is out of the question for one man to have held both priestly offices, (ii) the flamen Dialis at the time was C. Claudius (Livy 26.23.8), (iii) Livy 27.8.7 indicates that recent flamines Diales had not been senators. P. Cornelius the flamen Dialis is probably to be regarded as the father of the praetor of 212 and the son of P. Cornelius Rufinus, cos. 290, 277; cf. Münzer, RE 4. 1513–15. Macrobius' version may be based on the notion that the name Sulla derives from Sibylla, and from the fact that the ludi Apollinares were established on the advice of the Sibylline Books (Keaveney, Sulla2, 6), whereas the truth of the matter is probably that Sulla was one of those cognomina derived from a bodily feature (thus Quint. inst. 1.4.25), and may be a diminutive of the word sura ('calf'): thus Keaveney, l.c.; but I. Kajanto (The Latin Cognomina (Helsinki, 1965), 106) rejects this derivation because the Greek form Σύλλας suggests a short vowel.
F3 The fragment is cited by Aulus Gellius to illustrate the use of nostri, rather than nostrum, as the genitive of nos. The passage clearly comes from a speech (or, conceivably, a letter), but the context is irrecoverable. ciuibus and the reference to fighting for, rather than against, the addressees make one naturally think of the Social War, but the book number would appear to preclude this, as it would the embassies of the senate sent to Sulla in 88 (Plut. Sull. 9.3, 9.9, App. b.c. 1.57.253–4) or the negotiations in 84 which preceded his invasion of Italy (App. b.c. 1.77.350–3; 79.360–2, Livy per. 83–4). Lewis' suggestion (Athenaeum 79 (1991), 516) that Sulla is addressing his readers, in the context of the threat to his reforms posed by Lepidus, is most implausible, and the sustained plural in reference to the speaker alone would be unparalleled. The same objection applies to Keaveney's idea (CPh 76 (1981), 295–6) that the speaker is Minatus Magius, who received a special grant of citizenship for his services to Rome (Keaveney suggests at the time of the Jugurthine War, with which Sulla's main narrative began). It is of course possible that the book number is corrupt.
We have, like Hertz and Marshall, printed Madvig's <im>merito. Whatever the context, it is hard to believe that the speaker (or writer) would have said that neither they nor their ancestors had done anything to deserve favourable treatment. neque nostro neque maiorum nostrorum immerito is analogous to immerito meo/tuo, found only in Plautus (cf. TLL 7.1.457.5 ff.; for the adverb immerito 9 ff.).
See Valgiglio, StudUrb(B) 49 (1975), 268–70, Pascucci, ibid. 287–9, Keaveney, CPh 76 (1981), 292–6, and on the style of the fragment I. 29.
F4 The fragment proves that Sulla was dealing with the events of 86 in book 10.
The second victory predicted by the oracle of Trophonius is that won at Orchomenus, described by Plutarch Sull. 20–1 and App. Mith. 49.194–50.202; for other sources see MRR 2. 55. The two oracles are also mentioned by Aug. ciu. 2.24. Lebadea had been sacked by Pontic troops (Plut. Sull. 16.8), which may account for the apparent friendliness towards Sulla (cf. Keaveney, Sulla2, 82). For the use of oracles by both sides in the war see B. C. McGing, The Foreign Policy of Mithridates (Leiden, 1996), 102–4, 148–50. On the oracle of Trophonius see Radke, RE 7A. 682–93 (692 for Zeus' role at Lebadea).
Since the citation of Sulla is in the indicative, introduced by ὡς…γέγραφε, it is reasonable also to ascribe the account of the second oracle to Sulla. Plutarch gives the soldier's name as Salvenius, but the name is otherwise unattested and he was probably in fact a Salvienus, two of whom are known (ILLRP 515, 532; the first is a member of Cn. Pompeius Strabo's consilium at Asculum, and is thus hardly likely to be identical with the ordinary legionary here, as Münzer (RE 1A. 2021) thought). Corruption (in Greek) of the gentilicium in -(i)enus (cf. Syme, RR 93) to the more normal -enius, whether by Plutarch himself or in the course of transmission, is perfectly likely.
F5 The fragment is cited for the indeclinable future participle, rather than peruenturam. Lewis (Athenaeum 79 (1991), 517–19) makes a good case for thinking that the fragment comes from Sulla's account of the battle of the Colline Gate in 82, comparing Vell. 2.27.1 Pontius Telesinus … kal. Nouembribus ita ad portam Collinam cum Sulla dimicauit ut ad summam discrimen et eum et republicam perduceret. He draws attention to the pro-Sullan nature of Velleius' account at 2.17–18 (including details about Sulla's ancestry at 17.2) and 23–5, the fact that Plutarch (Sulla 29.4) and Appian (b.c. 1.92.427) similarly refer to danger to the republic, and the fact that the exactness of the date is paralleled in F20 and F24, and Pliny nat. 3.70 on Sulla's capture of Stabiae in 89. Since the fragment comes from the penultimate book, it would follow that there is scarcely any room for an account of the dictatorship itself (see introduction, I. 284 n. 9), and would suggest either that the work was unfinished or that Sulla deliberately concluded it with his victory at the Colline Gate and his subsequent triumph (cf. comm. on F6).
F6 Plutarch makes it clear that book 22 was the last, and that Sulla was writing his memoirs until the very end of his life. The phrase γράφως ἐπαύσατο ('he stopped writing') is as ambiguous in Greek as in English. It could imply that the work was unfinished and that he was prevented from continuing by his final illness ('he ceased to write'), or that he completed his task just before his death ('he concluded his writing'). In the former case the absence of a detailed account of his last years (see on F5) would be accidental, in the latter the result of a deliberate decision.
It is perfectly credible that Sulla wrote about his impending death, and the recollection of the dream would be a characteristic touch; but it is also possible that these details were in fact added by Epicadus (T4). In Appian (b.c. 1.105.492) Sulla dreamt that 'the deity was calling him'. A prediction by a Chaldean seer during Sulla's governorship of Cilicia (see introduction, I. 285) is reported by Plutarch Sull. 5.11, and the prediction recorded here was presumably made at the same time.
Sulla's wife Metella was the widow of Scaurus and, probably, the daughter of L. Caecilius Metellus Delmaticus (cos. 119); see Cic. Scaur. 45, Ascon. 28St=27C, Plut. Sull. 6.16 (Badian's view (Studies, index, 280 s.n., cf. 39) that she was the daughter of Diadematus (cos. 117) ignores the evidence: it derives from conflation of Bloch's suggestion (Mél. hist. ancienne, 1909, 23) that Scaurus owed his nomination as princeps senatus to his father-in-law and the realisation (see MRR 1. 532–3 n. 1) that the censor of 115 was Diadematus, not Delmaticus). According to Plutarch (Sull. 6.16) Metella was Sulla's fourth wife, succeeding Ilia, Aelia, and Cloelia. Ilia, however, may be a figment (cf. Münzer, RE 9. 1000). Sulla married Metella in 89/8; apart from the son mentioned here, they had two other children, the twins Faustus and Fausta. In 86 she fled to join Sulla at Athens (where the citizens cruelly taunted her: Plut. Sull. 6.18; 13.1; Seneca fr. 63). She fell mortally ill in 81 and Plutarch (Sull. 35) relates that Sulla was forbidden to go near her or let his house be polluted by her funeral (probably because as a pontifex he was not allowed to come into contact with a corpse; cf. Badian, Arethusa 1 (1968), 39); before she died he not only removed her from his house, but also divorced her, even though afterwards he spent so much on her funeral that he broke his own sumptuary legislation (Plut. Sull. 35.4). He married his last wife, Valeria, the following year.
F7 The passage cited follows Plutarch's account of the end of the Jugurthine War, for which Sulla took much of the credit, largely because of his successful negotiations with Bocchus over the surrender of Jugurtha (cf. Keaveney, Sulla2, 16–21, 38–40; for Bocchus' dedication, in 91, of a statue group showing the moment of surrender see Plut. Mar. 32.4–5; Sull. 6.1–2).
The difficulty is to know how much of the passage is to be attributed to Sulla (that is, how much of it should count as the antecedent of ἐφʼᾧ in the final sentence). We have cautiously emboldened only the last two sentences, but in the knowledge that the whole of the text printed is likely to have come from the memoirs. Marius' distress is reported at the beginning and end of the passage, and is explained by the information in between; the whole forms a unity, and probably stood as such in Plutarch's source. In §3 we are given Sulla's own perception of Marius' annoyance at his success, a fairly clear indication that the memoirs are being drawn upon.
The Marsi are clearly not the people of central Italy of that name; at the beginning of the first century ad Marsi are attested in northern Germany (Strabo 7.290; Tac. Germ. 2.2; ann. 1.50.4). Strabo says that they had migrated northwards, and this may have followed their journey south with the Cimbri. Cf. MRR 1. 566 n. 10; Keaveney, CPh 76 (1981), 292–4.
Precisely how Sulla was able to transfer his allegiance to Catulus, and what rank he held in 102, are unclear; cf. Caignart, Athenaeum 67 (1989), 139–49 (wrongly implying that becoming a military tribune represented a demotion). In any event, Catulus may not have been unwilling to take on an eager and successful man like Sulla, or Marius to let him go.
In the opinion of Keaveney (Sulla2, 198 n. 12), the presence of ambassadors from Parma after the battle of Vercellae (Catulus 19 F3) indicates that the supplies had been obtained by requisitioning.
For the events of 104–102 (the end of the passage may belong to early 101) see MRR 1. 558, 562, 567; Keaveney, Sulla2, 23–8, 197–8; Calabi, MAR ser. 8.3 (1950), 263–5. Mention of Sulla's activities in these years will also be found in Vell. 2.17.3, Plut. mor. 806D, uir. ill. 75.3, Firm. math. 1.7 (see commentary on F10).
F8–9 Plutarch cites both Catulus (19 F1) and Sulla for Marius' attempt to deprive Catulus of the credit for the victory over the Cimbri near Vercellae. Sulla will naturally have been happy to support Catulus' version. Keaveney (Sulla2, 28) sees the battle as a classic manoeuvre, drawing the enemy into the centre and then surrounding it with the rest of the army.
Of other sources, Florus (1.38.15–18) and Polyaenus (8.190.3) give the credit to Marius, Eutropius (5.2.1–2) to Catulus (cf. comm. on Catulus F3). Livy per. 68, Orosius 5.16.14–16, and Vell. 2.12.5 do not distinguish between the two. In these circumstances it is unclear what position Livy himself took.
F10 In this disingenuous piece of apologetic Sulla explains his failure to gain the praetorship at the first attempt, probably in 99 bc. For other versions of the story see Val. Max. 7.5.5; Firm. math. 1.7.28 (part of an extraordinarily negative account; he says that Sulla abandoned Marius and the Roman army (cf. F7) through fear). Pliny (nat. 8.53) and Seneca (dial. 9.13.6) report that in his praetorship Sulla displayed a fight with one hundred lions.
The date would be 99, for the praetorship of 98, if his successful candidacy the following year (Plut. Sull. 5.4) is placed in 98, for 97 (see I. 283 n. 2).
F11–15 These fragments form a continuous passage of Plutarch, cited as a single fragment by Peter and Chassignet, illustrating aspects of Sulla's felicitas. We may assume that all five quotations are taken from the memoirs, even though three of them (F12, 13, 15) are not explicitly so attributed. As they have almost certainly been compiled by Plutarch from different parts of Sulla's text, we have printed them as separate fragments.
F11 The context in Plutarch is a contrast between Sulla and the Athenian general Timotheus, who was angered by suggestions that his achievements were due to good luck, whereas Sulla welcomed them. The statement attributed here to Sulla's memoirs is a general statement about his good fortune, but whether it was part of a broad assessment of his life and career (Lewis, Athenaeum 79 (1991), 509–19, suggests in book 1), or prompted by some specific episode (and if so what that might have been) cannot be known.
F12 This fragment is also a generalized statement that may or may not have been attached to a specific event, and may or may not be taken from the same part of Sulla's text as F11. Plutarch is summarizing Sulla's general attitude to fortune, which he regarded as contributing more to his success than his own excellence; as a general assessment of the view taken in the memoirs, this is strictly a testimonium rather than
a fragment (and is therefore printed as such in T3); but the very remarkable claim that he was 'naturally fitted for fortune rather than war' would seem to reproduce Sulla's own words at a particular point in the text. The implicit contrast between fortune and virtue occurs frequently in Plutarch's life, notably at 19.9, which probably also derives from the memoirs (see F22 and comm.).
F13 The 'concord with Metellus' refers to the moment, soon after Sulla's landing at Brundisium early in 83, when Q. Metellus Pius (his wife's cousin) joined him with a body of troops (App. b.c. 1.80.365). Metellus had held the rank of proconsul since his praetorship (probably 88: Brennan, Praetorship, 377–9), and like Sulla still claimed to retain it (App. b.c. 1.80.365; 1.81.370)—hence 'a man of equal rank'. But the main reason why this was a stroke of good fortune for Sulla was Metellus' standing as a key member of the nobility. His action gave respectability to Sulla's cause and persuaded other leading senators to follow his example (Dio fr. 106). From then on he performed useful service for Sulla, winning over Cisalpine Gaul in 82 (MRR 2. 68); and in 80 he and Sulla were consuls. The last sentence of the fragment, which mentions the sharing of office, may refer to their joint consulship; but by then Sulla ought to have known what to expect. This common-sense argument might therefore suggest that the reference is rather to their joint command, as proconsuls, after they had joined forces in 83. In that case the context for the fragment would be the point in the narrative where this conjunction was described.
F14 Sulla's advice to Lucullus to put his faith in dreams could have occurred at any point in the work, if we are prepared to admit the possibility that Sulla could interrupt the narrative to address his dedicatee directly in an aside. That is obviously not impossible (cf. e.g. Vell. 2.101.3); the alternative, which has some supporters (e.g. Lewis, Athenaeum 79 (1991), 514–15), is that it occurred in book 1 as part of the prefatory dedication itself. The issue is not capable of resolution on present evidence.
F15 This episode should be dated in 90 bc, when Sulla served as legate under the consul L. Julius Caesar (Cic. Font. 43; App. b.c. 1.40.179), and operated in central Italy, at Aesernia (Frontin. strat. 1.5.17) and against the Marsi (App. b.c. 1.46.201–2). The miraculous fire is said to have appeared at Λαβέρνη; CIL 9.3138 demonstrates that Labernae is the modern Prezza (west of Sulmona), in the land of the Paeligni. The same portent, though dated to 91, is said by Orosius (5.18.5) to have occurred in Samnitibus, and by Obsequens (54), also dated to 91, at Aenaria. The latter (=Ischia/ Pithecusae) is an island opposite Misenum and is impossible; and it is most unlikely that the reference is to the ara Lauernae near the Aventine or the lucus Lauernae on the via Salaria (see LTUR 3. 188 (Steinby), 329 (Coarelli)). Labernae instead of Aenariae in Obsequens would be a possible emendation rather than Oudendorp's Aeserniae. There is certainly no case for Peter's alteration of Λαβέρνην here to Αἰσερνίαν: Λαβέρνην is unconjecturable, and corruption to the name of a small place which happened to exist most unlikely (Peter's proposal was based on the belief that Λαβέρνην would have to refer to Lavernium, near Formiae). It is unclear whether Livy misdated the portent or Sulla deliberately moved it to a year in which he was in active command.
F16 Pliny (nat. 22.6–7), stressing the value of the corona graminea ('grass crown') as higher than those made of precious materials, says that it was conferred on a general only when matters had reached a point of utter desperation, and the whole army had voted for it. He goes on to say that it was called corona obsidionalis ('siege crown') when a whole camp had been saved (cf. Gell. 5.6.8).
The only relevant episode in the Social War which comes close to meeting Pliny's condition is Sulla's battle with L. Cluentius described at App. b.c. 1.50.217–20 (it is unlikely that he was given it for refraining from punishing the soldiers who had murdered the legatus A. Postumius Albinus: Plut. Sull. 6.16, Polyaen. 8.9.1, Oros. 5.18.23). This was hardly a matter of desperation, but no doubt the criterion was somewhat elastic (as with the corona obsidionalis: Gellius says it was given to Fabius Maximus for saving Rome from siege during the Second Punic War, when there was no such siege), particularly since the initiative, presumably, would not have come from Sulla himself. In any event, Sulla would scarcely have invented a claim which could easily be falsified.
On the villa, which also belonged to Catulus (whether the consul of 102 or 78 is uncertain), see Shackleton Bailey's note on Cic. Att. 4.5.2.
F17 Cicero refers to the episode again at diu. 2.65. Here Cicero and his brother are discussing divination, and Quintus reminds Marcus of an event which the latter had seen himself—thus incidentally confirming that Marcus served in the Social War under Sulla (cf. Plut. Cic. 3.2), as well as under Pompeius Strabo (Phil. 12.27). Although the event is normally linked to Sulla's operations in Campania in 89 (MRR 2. 36), the sources actually make it clear that it happened in 88, when Sulla was consul (Val. Max. 1.6.4, accepted by Keaveney, Sulla2, 48). Livy fr. 18 Jal (=Aug. ciu. 2.24; Augustine mentions another prediction by Postumius, at Tarentum in 83) and Plutarch (Sull. 9.6) place the episode (but without mentioning the snake) at Nola at the beginning of Sulla's march on Rome. Calabi's notion (MAR ser. 8.3 (1950), 248 n. 3, 279) that the passage does not derive from the memoirs can be ignored.
For florentissima Pease (ad loc.) adduces de orat. 1.38, Phil 12.16. There is no case for altering either it to fortissima, the word used by Val. Max. (l.c.), or the latter to florentissima (thus Kempf).
F18 During Sulla's consulship in 88, the tribune P. Sulpicius proposed a series of laws restricting debts owed by senators, recalling exiles, and distributing the newly enfranchised citizens amongst all the tribes (for the sources see MRR 2. 41). These proposals, especially the last, aroused intense opposition, and led to riots as the old and new citizens fought each other in the streets (App. 1.55.244). The consuls declared a iustitium ('suspension of public business'), but Sulpicius used force to make Sulla revoke it. This is the context for the story of Sulla's flight, which is repeated with no real differences in Plut. Sull. 8.7; cf. App. b.c. 1.56.245–7, who reports the tumult and the murder of the son of Sulla's colleague Q. Pompeius Rufus, but not the escape to Marius' house, saying merely that Sulla withdrew as if to take advice (ὡς βουλευσόμενος ὑπεχώρει). This nevertheless recalls Sulla's own version in the present fragment (NB especially ἀπαλλαχθῆναι βουλευσόμενος), where the
implication is that Sulpicius, with the connivance of Marius, forced him to rescind the iustitium and therefore to allow the laws to be passed.
The narratives of Appian and Plutarch (Mar. 35) suggest that the question of the Mithridatic command had not yet been raised, either by Sulpicius or by Marius, and that Sulla, when he left the city to join his army, had no idea of what was planned; the news that he had been deposed from the command and superseded by Marius reached him later and took him by surprise. On the other hand, Plutarch in Sulla (8–9) and the Livian epitomator (per. 77) include the transfer of the Mithridatic command among the original proposals of Sulpicius, and Plutarch, in this version, implies that after the passing of the laws there was a race between Sulla and the agents of Marius to get to the army first. This version is also the basis of a modern theory that when in Marius' house Sulla agreed (presumably as the price of his safety) not only to lift the iustitium, but also to surrender the command to Marius. But this goes well beyond the evidence, even of those sources that say that the proposal to transfer the command was already out in the open. There is no reason to think that Sulla's version, represented in this fragment, was designed to exculpate him from the charge of breaking his word. Whatever the circumstances, no source claims to reveal what was said at the meeting, or whether the Mithridatic command was part of the bargain, if any.
As far as we can tell, the essential difference between the two versions is that in his own account Sulla did not suffer the indignity of having to take refuge in Marius' house (and did not therefore owe his life to his great enemy), but rather went there voluntarily—even though in the end he was compelled by force to end the iustitium.
For a full discussion of these events see A. Keaveney, Eirene 20 (1983), 53–86; cf. also R. Seager in CAH2 9. 165–70.
F19–20 Sulla took Athens after a lengthy siege in 86 bc. The same story of the breach of the walls is told by Plutarch at mor. 505B, though there he says that spies heard the gossip in a barber's shop; it is omitted in App. Mith. 38.147–50, despite the fullness of the rest of the account. The tyrant was Aristion, on whom see C. Habicht, Athens from Alexander to Antony (Cambridge, Mass., 1997), 305–6.
Marcus Ateius is otherwise unknown, but he may have been the grandfather of the Augustan scholar and legal expert Ateius Capito, and the patron of the freedman L. Ateius Philologus (see no. 51 intro.). For a similar mention of individual bravery in Caesar's commentarii, cf. e.g. BGall. 2.25.1; 5.44; 6.38; 7.47.7.
Following the passage which constitutes F20, Plutarch goes on to say that the Roman month of March corresponds to the Athenian month of Anthesterion, in which the Athenians commemorated the ruin and destruction caused by the great flood of myth (cf. Hamilton, Choes and Anthesteria: Athenian Iconography and Ritual (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1997), 37–8): the intended parallel between Sulla's sack and the flood is obvious. In fact, it is not possible to produce Julian equivalents for Athenian dates at this period (cf. A. E. Samuel, Greek and Roman Chronology (Munich, 1972), 57–8).
F21 After the capture of Athens, Sulla moved his troops into Boeotia against the much larger force of Mithridates' general Archelaus, where he was joined by forces under the legatus L. Hortensius. Even so, the Roman troops were heavily outnumbered.
F22 The battle of Chaeronea was a crushing defeat for the Mithridatic forces; the principal accounts are those of Plutarch (Sull. 17.12–19.7) and Appian (Mith. 42.160–45.169); for other sources see MRR 2. 55. For detailed discussion of the battle cf. N. G. L. Hammond, Klio 31 (1938), 186–201; Keaveney, Sulla2, 78–80.
App. Mith. 45.174, Oros. 6.2.5, and Eutr. 5.6.3 give the same figures for losses as Plutarch, except that Appian has fifteen as the original number of missing Roman troops (for the very low casualty figure cf. comm. on F25).
The final sentence may also come from the memoirs; but it could equally be an observation by Plutarch (and we have therefore not printed it in bold). The (two) trophies are described in detail in the following sections, and it is certain that Plutarch had seen them for himself (he was a native of Chaeronea, after all, as he points out when referring to the trophies in mor. 318D). One of them was discovered in 1990, and exactly matches Plutarch's description; but unfortunately the part of the dedication containing Sulla's name and those of Ares, Nike, and Aphrodite, is missing: see J. Camp et al., AJA 96 (1992), 443–55.
F23 Although this passage does not claim to quote or otherwise to reproduce any of Sulla's text, it nevertheless serves to outline the 'negative shape' of what the text contained, by indicating the charges against which Sulla defended himself in the memoirs. We therefore feel justified in printing it as a fragment, even though there is nothing that can be highlighted in bold type.
After the victories at Chaeronea and Orchomenus information about the situation in Italy was brought to Sulla by those who had fled from the Marian regime, and Sulla was anxious to come to an agreement with Mithridates to enable him to return to Italy. For his part Mithridates was being harassed by Fimbria, and was keen to agree terms with Sulla (Plut. Sull. 23). After an initial meeting with Archelaus, Sulla met Mithridates himself at Dardanus, and agreed to a peace on the basis of the situation before the war (though Mithridates was to pay an indemnity of 2,000 talents and give Rome seventy ships (Plut. Sull. 22–4; for other sources see MRR 2. 58)).
On the accusations of treachery by Archelaus at Chaeronea see Keaveney, Sulla2, 85; B. C. McGing, The Foreign Policy of Mithridates (Leiden, 1996), 158–9. Appian (Mith. 64.268) says that Mithridates suspected Archelaus and thought that he had conceded too much in his negotiations with Sulla (the implication is that Archelaus had been bribed), and Archelaus fled to Murena, Sulla's successor. Sallust (hist. 4.69.12) makes Mithridates accuse Archelaus of betrayal (sc. at Chaeronea) and similar thoughts are ascribed to Dorylaus, the commander at Orchomenus (Plut. Sull. 20.3); at Sull. 24.4 Plutarch reports the soldiers' anger at the terms of the truce. Sulla's behaviour towards Archelaus had, perhaps quite unwittingly, encouraged these feelings.
F24 This passage, which begins with a statement of Sulla's fears, probably all comes from the memoirs and is to be treated as a single fragment, although we have erred on the side of caution by printing in bold only those sentences that are directly attributed to Sulla. §§7–10 are all illustrations of the claim that he was favoured by god, and the explanation in §11 of why the soldiers did not disperse to their own cities picks up the fear that Sulla is said to have felt at the start of the passage.
As elsewhere, the portents which, according to Sulla, accompanied his invasion of Italy formed part of the justification for his actions. Appian (b.c. 1.83.377–8) also gives portents, but they are more terrifying, foretelling destruction for Rome, and including the burning of the Capitol (in Plutarch a prediction) and a matron who gave birth to a snake. Obsequens 57 reports that the sound of a great battle was heard between Capua and Volturnum (cf. Aug. ciu. 2.25), and also records the birth of the snake.
The statement that Sulla did not draw up his army in proper formation is reminiscent of the claim in F11 that it was his most spontaneous actions which had turned out best. Appian (b.c. 1.84.382) has a slightly different account of the battle with Norbanus (cos. 83), locating it at Canusium (perhaps a corruption; see Gabba ad loc.) and giving the number of Norbanus' losses as 6,000, with Sulla having seventy dead and many wounded.
For the announcement by the servant of Pontius cf. Aug. ciu. 2.24; Pontius is perhaps identical with the L. Pontius of ILLRP 515 (cf. Münzer, RE 22. 33). Silvium is the modern Gravina in Puglia, c.75 km north-west of Tarentum.
Though the last sentence does not form part of the oratio obliqua, it is likely that the republican date stood in the memoirs (cf. commentary on F5), with the final four words representing Plutarch's own gloss.
F25 On the battle of Sacriportus, at which the younger Marius was soundly defeated by Sulla, and the reported casualty figures, see comm. on Quadrigarius 24 F88, Fenestella 70 F17 (which immediately precedes our passage); for the low casualty figure cf. commentary on F22.
F26 The phrase τῶν ἐμΦυλίων πολέμων τὴν 'Ιταλίαν καθήρας ('after cleansing Italy of its civil wars') makes it clear that the reference is to Sulla's arrival in Rome in 82, not his return to the city to stand for the consulship in 89. Plutarch always uses συμμαχικὸς πόλεμος of the Social War, ἐμΦύλιος πόλεμος of civil war (just as in Latin bellum sociale is distinguished from bellum ciuile). What is more, Sulla was not personally responsible for bringing the Social War to an end in 89.
F27 Peter and Chassignet include this passage as a fragment of Sulla, but it is far from clear that testem adferebant refers to the memoirs. The passage comes from Tacitus' report of an embassy in ad 26 from Smyrna, one of eleven Asiatic cities bidding to erect a temple of Tiberius, himself present in the senate. They could be citing a letter of Sulla or a senatus consultum referring to the episode, also mentioned by Aristides 19.11 (not placing it during the war against Aristonicus, as claimed by Lewis, CQ 41 (1991), 126–9; cf. Lintott, Historia 25 (1976), 490–1). The decree on Stratonicea (Sherk, RDGE 18) offers a good parallel. Or the phrase may mean no more than that Sulla (if he were alive and present) could testify to what had happened.
The episode will belong to the winter of 85/4, and Lintott (l.c.) suggests that the grauissimum discrimen was Sulla's campaign against Fimbria. In fact Smyrna
had initially sided with Mithridates (cf. McGing, The Foreign Policy of Mithridates (Leiden, 1996), 112, 129) and may have succeeded in escaping reprisals by this action (cf. the claims of Ephesus in Syll.3 742). Keaveney (Sulla2, 192) suggests that Smyrna was misrepresenting what in fact had been Sulla's requisitioning.