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in so narrow a space, was naturally heard some distance,
and startled the senators. He, however, continuing his
speech with a calm and unconcerned countenance, bade
them listen to what he had to say, and not busy themselves
with what was doing out of doors ; he had given directions
for the chastisement of some offenders. This gave the
most stupid of the Romans to understand, that they had
merely exchanged, not escaped, tyranny. And Marius, be*

8TLLA. 78

ing of a naturally harsh temper, had not altered, but merely
continued what Le had been, in authority ; whereas Sylla,
using his fortune moderately and unambitiously at first,
and giving good hopes of a true patriot, firm to the inter-
ests both of the nobility and commonalty, being, moreover,
of a gay and cheerful temper from his youth, and so easily
moved to pity as to shed tears readily, has, perhaps de-
servedly, cast a blemish upon offices of great authority, as
if they deranged men's former habits and character, and
gave rise to violence, pride, and inhumanity. Whether
this be a real change and revolution in the mind, caused by
fortune, or rather a lurking viciousness of nature, discover-
ing itself in authority, it were matter of another sort of
disquisition to decide.

Sylla being thus wholly bent upon slaughter, and filling
the city with executions without number or limit, many
wholly uninterested persons falling a sacrifice to private
enmity, through his permission and indulgence to his
friends, Caius Metellus, one of the younger men, made bold
in the senate to ask him what end there was of these evils,
and at what point he might be expected to stop ? " We do
not ask you," said he, " to pardon any whom you have re-
solved to destroy, but to free from doubt those whom you
are pleased to save." Sylla answering, that he knew not
as yet whom to spare, " Why, then," said he, " tell us whom
you will punish." This Sylla said he would do. These
last words, some authors say, were spoken not by Metellus,
but by Afidius, one of Sylla's fawning companions. Imme-
diately upon this, without communicating with any of
the magistrates, Sylla proscribed eighty persons, and not-
withstanding the general indignation, after one day's re-
spite, he posted two hundred and twenty more, and on the
third again, as many. In an address to the people on this
occasion, he told them he had put up as many names as he
could think of ; those which had escaped his memory, he
would publish at a future time. He issued an edict like*


wise, making death the punishment of humanity, proscrilv
ing any who should dare to receive and cherish a proscribed
person without exception to brother, son, or parents. And
to him who should slay any one proscribed person, he or-
dained two talents reward, even were it a slave who had
killed his master, or a son his father. And what was
thought most unjust of all, he caused the attainder to pass
upon their sons, and sons' sons, and made open sale of all
their property. Nor did the proscription prevail only at
Rome, but throughout all the cities of Italy the effusion of
blood was such, that neither sanctuary of the gods, nor
hearth of hospitality, nor ancestral home escaped. Men
were butchered in the embraces of their wives, children in
the arms of their mothers. Those who perished through
public animosity or private enmity were nothing in com-
parison of the numbers of those who suffered for their
riches. Even the murderers began to say, that " his fine
house killed this man, a garden that, a third, his hot baths."
Quintus Aurelius, a quiet, peaceable man, and one who
thought all his part in the common calamity consisted in
condoling with the misfortunes of others coming into the
forum to read the list, and finding himself among the pro-
scribed, cried out, " Woe is me, my Alban farm has in-
formed against me." He had not gone far before he was
despatched by a ruffian, sent on that errand.

In the mean time, Marius, on the point of being taken,
killed himself ; and Sylla, coming to Praeueste, at first pro-
ceeded judicially against each particular person, till at last,
finding it a work of too much time, he cooped them up
together in one place, to the number of twelve thousand
men, and gave order for the execution of them all, his own
host alone excepted. But he, brave man, telling him he
could not accept the obligation of life from the hands of one
who had been the ruin of his country, went in among the
rest, and submitted willingly to the stroke. What Lucius
Catiiina did was thought to exceed all other act. Fof


having, before matters came to an issue, made away with
his brother, he besought Sylla to place him in the list of
proscription, as though he had been alive, which was done ;
and Catiline, to return the kind office, assassinated a certain
Marcus Marius, one of the adverse party, and brought the
head to Sylla, as he was sitting in the forum, and then
going to the holy water of Apollo, which was nigh, washed
his hands.

There were other things, besides this bloodshed, which
gave offence. For Sylla had declared himself dictator, an
office which had then been laid aside for the space of one
hundred and twenty years. There was, likwise, an act of
grace passed on his behalf, granting indemnity for what
was passed, and for the future intrusting him with the
power of life and death, confiscation, division of lands,
erecting and demolishing of cities, taking away of king-
doms, and bestowing them at pleasure. He conducted the
sale of confiscated property after such an arbitrary, imperi-
ous way, from the tribunal, that his gifts excited greater
odium even than his usurpations, woman mimes, and
musicians, and the lowest of the freed slaves had presents
made them of the territories of nations, and the revenues
of cities : and women of rank were married against their
will to some of them. Wishing to insure the fidelity of
Pompey the Great, by a nearer tie of blood, he bade him
divorce his present wife, and forcing ^Emilia, the daughter
of Scaurus and Metella, his own wife, to leave her husband,
Manius Glabrio, he bestowed her, though then with child,
on Pompey, and she died in childbirth at his house.

When Lucretius Ofella, the same who reduced Marius by
siege, offered himself for the consulship, he first forbade
him ; then, seeing he could not restrain him, on his coming
down into the forum with a numerous train of followers, he
sent one of the centurions who were immediately about
him, and slew him, himself sitting on the tribunal in the
temple of Castor, and beholding the murder from above


The citizens apprehending the centurion, and dragging him
to the tribunal, he bade them cease their clamoring and let
the centurion go, for he had commanded it.

His triumph was, in itself, exceedingly splendid, and
distinguished by the rarity and magnificence of the royal
spoils; but its yet greatest glory was the noble spectacle
of the exiles. For in the rear followed the most eminent
and most potent of the citizens, crowned with garlands,
and calling Sylla saviour and father, by whose means they
were restored to their own country, and again enjoyed their
wives and children. When the solemnity was over, and the
time come to render an account of his actions, addressing
the public assembly, he was as profuse in enumerating
the lucky chances of war, as any of his own military merits.
And, finally, from this felicity, he requested to receive the
surname of Felix. In writing and transacting business with
the Greeks, he styled himself Epaphroditus, and on his tro-
phies which are still extant with us the name is given Lucius
Cornelius Sylla Epaphroditus. Moreover, when his wife had
brought him forth twins, he named the male Faustus and the
female Fausta, the Roman words for what is auspicious and
of happy omen. The confidence which he reposed in his
good genius, rather than in any abilities of his own, em
boldened him, though deeply involved in bloodshed, and
though he had been the author of such great changes and
revolutions of State, to lay down his authority, and place
the right of consular elections once more in the hands of
the people. And when they were held, he not only declined
to seek that office, but in the forum exposed his person
publicly to the people, walking up and down as a private
man. And contrary to his will, a certain bold man and
his enemy, Marcus Lepidus, was expected to become con-
sul, not so much by his own interest, as by the power and
solicitation of Pompey, whom the people were willing to
oblige. When the business was over, seeing Pompey going
home overjoyed with the success, he called him to him and

8YLLA. 77

gaid, " What a politic act, young man, to pass by Catulus,
the best of men, and choose Lepidus, the worst ! It will be
well for you to be vigilant, now that you have strength-
ened your opponent against yourself." Sylla spoke this,
it may seem, by a prophetic instinct, for, not long after,
Lepidus grew insolent, and broke into open hostility to
Pornpey and his friends.

Sylla, consecrating the tenth of his whole substance to
Hercules, entertained the people with sumptuous feastings.
The provision was so much above what was necessary, that
they were forced daily to throw great quantities of meat
into the river, and they drank wine forty years old and
upwards. In the midst of the banqueting, which lasted
many days, Metella died of a disease. And because that
the priest forbade him to visit the sick, or suffer his house
to be polluted with mourning, he drew up an act of divorce
and caused her to be removed into another house whilst
alive. Thus far, out of religious apprehension, he observed
the strict rule to the very letter, but in the funeral ex-
penses he transgressed the law he himself had made, limit-
ing the amount, and spared no cost. He transgressed, like-
wise, his own sumptuary laws respecting expenditure in
banquets, thinking to allay his grief by luxurious drinking
parties and re veilings with common buffoons.

Some few months after, at a show of gladiators, when
men and women sat promiscuously in the theatre, no dis-
tinct places being as yet appointed, there sat down by
Sylla a beautiful woman of high birth, by name Valeria,
daughter of Messala, and sister to Hortensius the orator.
Now it happened that she had been lately divorced from
her husband. Passing along behind Sylla, she leaned on
him with her hand, and plucking a bit of wool from his
garment, so proceeded to her seat. And on Sylla looking
up and wondering what it meant, "What harm^ mighty
sir," said she, " if I also was desirous to partake a little in
your felicity ? " It appeared at once that Sylla was not


displeased, but even tickled in his fancy, for he sent out to
inquire her name, her birth, and past life. From this time
there passed between them many side glances, each con-
tinually turning round to look at the other, and frequently
interchanging smiles. In the end, overtures were made,
and a marriage concluded on. All which was innocent,
perhaps, on the lady's side, but, though she had been never
so modest and virtuous, it was scarcely a temperate and
worthy occasion of marriage on the part of Sylla, to take
fire, as a boy might, at a face and a bold look, incentives
not seldom to the most disorderly and shameless passions.
Notwithstanding this marriage, he kept company with
actresses, musicians, and dancers, drinking with them on
couches night and day. His chief favorites were Roscius
the comedian, Sdrex the arch mime, and Metrobius the
player, for whom, though past his prime, he still professed
a passionate fondness. By these courses he encouraged a
disease which had begun from unimportant cause ; and for
a long time he failed to observe that his bowels were
ulcerated, till at length the corrupted flesh broke out into
lice. Many were employed day and night in destroying
them, but the work so multiplied under their hands, that
not only his clothes, baths, basins, but his very meat was
polluted with that flux and contagion, they came swarming
out in such numbers. He went frequently by day into the
bath to scour and cleanse his body, but all hi vain ; the
evil generated too rapidly and too abundantly for any
ablutions to overcome it. There died of this disease,
amongst those of the most ancient times, Acastus, the son
of Pelias ; of later date, Alcman the poet, Pherecydes the
theologian, Callisthenes the Olynthian, in the time of his
imprisonment, as also Mucius the lawyer; and if we may
mention ignoble, but notorious names, Eunus the fugitive,
who stirred up the slaves of Sicily to rebel against their
masters, after he was brought captive to Home, died o/
this creeping sickness*


Sylla not only foresaw his end, but may be also said to
nave written of it. For in the two-and-twentieth book of
his Memoirs, which he finished two days before his death, he
writes that the Chaldeans foretold him, that after he had
led a life of honor, he should conclude it in fulness of
prosperity. He declares, moreover, that in a vision he had
seen his son, who had died not long before Metella, stand
by in mourning attire, and beseech his father to cast off
further care, and come along with him to his mother
Metella, there to live at ease and quietness with her. How-
ever, he could not refrain from intermeddling in public
affairs. For, ten days before his decease, he composed the
differences of the people of Dicsearchia, and prescribed
laws for their better government. And the very day be-
fore his end, it being told him that the magistrate Granius
deferred the payment of a public debt, in expectation of
his death, he sent for him to his house, and placing his
attendants about him, caused him to be strangled; but
through the straining of his voice and body, the impos-
thume breaking, he lost a great quantity of blcod. Upon
this, his strength f ailing him, after spending a troublesome
night, he died, leaving behind him two young children by
Metella. Valeria was afterwards delivered of a daughter,
named Posthuma ; for so the Romans call those who are
born after the father's death.

Many ran tumultuously together, and joined with Lepidus
to deprive the corpse of the accustomed solemnities ; but
Pompey, though offended at Sylla (for he alone of all his
friends was not mentioned in his will), having kept off
some by his interest and entreaty, others by menaces, con
veyed the body to Rome, and gave it a secure and honor
able burial. It is said that the Roman ladies contributed
such vast heaps of spices, that besides what was carried on
two hundred and ten litters, there was sufficient to form a
large figure of Sylla himself, and another representing a
liptor, out of the costly frankincense and cinnamon. The


day being cloudy in the morning, they deferred carrying
forth the corpse- till about three in the afternoon, expecting
it would rain. But a strong wind blowing full upon the
funeral pile, and setting it all in a bright flame, the body
was consumed so exactly in good time, that the pyre had
begun to smoulder, and the fire was upon the point of
expiring, when a violent rain came down, which continued
till night. So that his good fortune was firm even to the
last, and did as it were officiate at his funeral. His monu-
ment stands in the Campus Martius, with an epitaph of
his own writing ; the substance of it being, that he had
not been outdone by any of his friends in doing good turns,
nor by any of his foes in doing bad.


HAVING completed this Life also, come we now to the
comparison. That which was common to them both, was
that they were founders of their own greatness, with this
difference, that Lysander had the consent' of his fellow-
citizens, in times of sober judgment, for the honors he re-
ceived ; nor did he force anything from them against their
good-will, nor hold any powers contrary to the laws.

In civil strife e'en villains rise to fame.

And so then at Rome, when the people were distempered,
and the government out of order, one or other was still
raised to despotic power ; no wonder, then, if Sylla reigned,
when the Glaucise and Saturnini drove out the Matelli, when
sons of consuls were slain in the assemblies, when silver and
gold purchased men and arms, and fire and sword enacted
new laws and put down lawful opposition. Nor do I blame
any one, in such circumstances, for working himself into
supreme power, only I would not have it thought a sign of


great goodness to be head of a State so wretchedly discom-
posed. Lysander, being employed in the greatest commands
and affairs of State, by a sober and well-governed city, may
be said to have had repute as the best and most virtuous
man, in the best and most virtuous commonwealth. And
thus, often returning the government into the hands of the
citizens, he received it again as often, the superiority of his
merit still awarding him the first place. Sylla, on the other
hand, when he had once made himself general of an army,
kept his command for ten years together, creating himself
sometimes consul, sometimes proconsul, and sometimes
dictator, but always remaining a tyrant.

It is true Lysander, as was said, designed to introduce a
new form of government ; by milder methods, however, and
more agreeably to law than Sylla, not by force of arms, but
persuasion, nor by subverting the whole State at once, but
simply by amending the succession of the kings ; in a way,
moreover, which seemed the naturally just one, that the
most deserving should rule, especially in a city which itself
exercised command in Greece, upon account of virtue, not
nobility. For as the hunter considers the whelp itself, not
the bitch, and the horse-dealer the foal, not the mare (for
what if the foal should prove a mule ?), so likewise were
that politician extremely out, who, in the choice of a chief
magistrate, should inquire, not what the man is, but how
descended. The very Spartans themselves have deposed
several of their kings for want of kingly virtues, as degen-
erated and good for nothing. As a vicious nature, though
of an ancient stock, is dishonorable, it must be virtue itself,
and not birth, that makes virtue honorable. Furthermore,
the one committed his acts of injustice for the sake of
his friends ; the other extended his to his friends themselves.
It is confessed on all hands, that Lysander offended most
commonly for the sake of his companions, committing
several slaughters to uphold their power and dominion ; but
as for Sylla, he, out of envy, reduced Pompey's command


by land and Dolabella's by sea, although he himself had
given them those places ; and ordered Lucretius Ofella, who
sued for the consulship as the reward of many great serv-
ices, to be slain before his eyes, exciting horror and alarm
in the minds of all men, by his cruelty to his dearest

As regards the pursuit of riches and pleasures, we yet
further discover in one a princely, in the other a tyrannical
disposition. Lysander did nothing that was intemperate or
licentious, in that full command of means and opportunity,
but kept clear, as much as ever man did, of that trite saying:

Lions at home, but foxes out of doors ;

and ever maintained a sober, truly Spartan, and well-dis-
ciplined course of conduct. Whereas Sylla could never
moderate his unruly affections, either by poverty when
young, or by years when grown old, but would be still
prescribing laws to the citizens concerning chastity and
sobriety, himself living all that time, as Sallust affirms, in
lewdness and adultery. By these ways he so impoverished
and drained the city of her treasures, as to be forced to sell
privileges and immunities to allied and friendly cities for
money, although he daily gave up the wealthiest and the
greatest families to public sale and confiscation. There
was no end of his favors vainly spent and thrown away on
flatterers ; for what hope could there be, or what likelihood
of forethought or economy, in his more private moments
over wine, when, in the open face of the people, upon the
auction of a large estate, which he would have passed over
to one of his friends at a small price, because another bid
higher, and the officer announced the advance, he broke
out into a passion, saying : " What a strange and unjust
thing is this, O citizens, that I cannot dispose of my own
booty as I please ! ' But Lysander, on the contrary, with
the rest of the spoil, sent home for public use even the pres-
ents which were made him.. Nor do I commend him for


it, for he, perhaps, by excessive liberality, did Sparta more
harm than ever the other did Rome by rapine ; I only use
it as an argument of his indifference to riches. They exer-
cised a strange influence on their respective cities. Sylla,
a profuse debauchee, endeavored to restore sober living
amongst the citizens ; Lysander, temperate himself, filled
Sparta with the luxury he disregarded. So that both were
blameworthy, the one for raising himself above his own
laws, the other for causing his fellow-citizens to fall beneath
his own example. He taught Sparta to want the very things
which he himself had learned to do without. And thus
much of their civil administration.

As for feats of arms, wise conduct in war, innumerable
victories, perilous adventures, Sylla was beyond compare.
Lysander, indeed, came off twice victorious in two battles
by sea ; I shall add to that the siege of Athens, a work of
greater fame than difficulty. What occurred in Boeotia,
and at Haliartus, was the result, perhaps, of ill fortune ;
yet it certainly looks like ill counsel, not to wait for the
king's forces, which had all but arrived from Platsea, but
out of ambition and eagerness to fight, to approach the
walls at disadvantage, and so to be cut off by a sally of
inconsiderable men. He received his death- wound, not a?
Cleombrotus, at Leuctra, resisting manfully the assault of
an enemy in the field ; not as Cyrus or Epaminondas, sus-
taining the declining battle, or making sure the victory ;
all these died the death of kings and generals ; but he, as
it had been some common skirmisher or scout, cast away
his life ingloriously, giving testimony to the wisdom of the
ancient Spartan maxim, to avoid attacks on walled cities,
in which the stoutest warrior may chance to fall by the
hand, not only of a man utterly his inferior, but by that of
a boy or woman, as Achilles, they say, was slain by Paris
in the gates. As for Sylla, it were hard to reckon up how
many set battles he won, or how many thousand he slew ;
be took Rome itself twice, as also the Athenian Piraeus, not


by famine, as Lysander did, but by a series of great battles,
driving Archelaus into the sea. And what is more impor-
tant, there was a vast difference between the commanders
they had to deal with. For I look upon it as an easy task,
or rather sport, to beat Antiochus, Alcibiades's pilot, or to
circumvent Philocles, the Athenian demagogue,

Sharp only at the inglorious point of tongue,

whom Mithridates would have scorned to compare with
his groom, or Marius with his lictor. But of the poten-
tates, consuls, commanders, and demagogues, to pass by
all the rest who opposed themselves to Sylla, who amongst
the Romans so formidable as Marius, what king more
powerful than Mithridates ? who of the Italians more war-
like than Lamponious and Telesinus ? yet of these, one he
drove into banishment, one he quelled, and the others he

And what is more important, in my judgment, than any-
thing yet adduced, is that Lysander had the assistance of
the State in all his achievements; whereas Sylla decides
that he was a banished person, and overpowered by a
faction, at a time when his wife was driven from home,
his houses demolished, adherents slain, himself then hi
Boeotia, stood embattled against countless numbers of the
public enemy, and, endangering himself for the sake of his
country, raised a trophy of victory ; and not even when
Mithridates came with proposals of alliance and aid
against his enemies, would he show any sort of complir
ance, or even clemency ; did not so much as address him,
or vouchsafe him his hand, until he had it from the king's
own mouth, that he was willing to quit Asia, surrender
the navy, and restore Bithynia and Cappadocia to the
two kings. Than which action, Sylla never performed a
braver, or with a nobler spirit, whea preferring the public

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