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Plutarch's version of Sulla's death[edit]

Plutarch says that Sulla died as a result of worms, brought on him by his gay lover at the time. I've included this into the text, adding the comment that whether or not Plutarch was bias on the topic. I can place references to the text as well. It is in the book The Fall of the Roman Republic

We are currently studying Sulla at the moment at school, and are using various primary and secondary sources such as Cary and Scullard, Pamela Bradley, Plutarch, Cicero and many others. I am trying to include positions from other historians, and displaying possible outcomes and the possible bias of these sources.

Just Googeling the sources often comes up with inaccurate results. The best action is to buy the books and read it for yourself.

-While Plutarch does mention that Sulla died as a result of a rampant infestation of worms, he does not suggest this was a result of a gay lover, and even in the 21st century, it would be an implausable and tenuous link! Furthermore, his description of Sulla's death is generally regarded as highly suspect and written to suit the politics of the time he was writing, some 200 years after Sulla's death, the general consensus being that Sulla died of liver failure; quite probable due to his lifestyle. While no one disputes Sulla's bisexuality, you need to have a serious discussion with your history and biology teacher's, if you think that worms and gay relationships are synonymous.- Sulla16

While it is certainly possible that Plutarch's description of Sulla's death could have been politically motivated, it should never the less have a reference here since it is among the closest chronologically. I've added that reference, footnoted it, and left reference to contemporary view. If anyone can provide citation for the belief that he died of an intestinal ulcer or liver failure, I'd be interested in seeing it. Thanks. --Rencheple (talk) 13:48, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Sources on Sulla's death (in chronological order):

Valerius Maximus (~AD 20), IX.3.8: Gives haemorrhage brought on by fit of anger.

Plutarch (~AD 100), Sulla 36-37: Quite detailed, lists a ruptured gastric ulcer (causing a haemorrhage) brought on by fit of anger. Plutarch also states that Sulla was suffering from some type of concomitant parasitic disease ("worms"), although this is NOT given by Plutarch as the CAUSE of Sulla's death. See below on Keaveney and Madden on Sulla's parasitic disease.

Appian (~AD 150), Bell. Civ. I.12.105: Just gives "fever", which taken with the above may indicate gastric/hepatic trauma/failure.

Pliny the Elder (~AD 70), Hist. Nat. XI.114, XXVI.138 and the anonymous author of the De Viris Illustribus also mentions the cause but I've not got a copy of either of these hand at the moment.

Arthur Keaveney, Sulla's best recent biographer, lists liver failure caused by chronic alcohol abuse: "The failure first brings on the bleeding from the mouth, which is then followed, as poisons build up in the diseased organ, by a delirium that usually ends with the death of the patient within 24 hours". Keaveney (2005) Sulla: the Last Republican (2nd ed). p.175.

For a modern discussion of Sulla's secondary (non-fatal) parasitism, see Keaveney & Madden (1982) Phthiriasis and its victims. Symbolae Osloenses 57: 87-99 and Rabinovich (2004) The lousy disease: Sulla's death in the biographical tradition. Vestnik Drevnej Istorii 4: 21-39. (talk) 00:49, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Roman Blood by Steven Saylor[edit]

Has anyone read Roman Blood by Steven Saylor? It's a murder mystery set at the time of Sulla, and goes into detail about Sulla's history that isn't here. I'm just wondering if anyone knows how much of Saylor's work is true. RickK 03:16, 31 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I haven't read it - there is some more known about Sulla's life, but part of it is known to have been falsified by ancient authors, and modern scholarly accounts generally have to be pretty careful about which bits they take at face value. Stan 04:52, 31 Oct 2003 (UTC)
Stan, can you provide any references that demonstrate how the falsified accounts were identified and what evidence there is that they were intentionally misleading? Thanks --Rencheple (talk) 13:56, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I share Stan's preocupations but just out of curiosity, Rick, can you tell us what he says about Sulla? Muriel Gottrop 09:57, 31 Oct 2003 (UTC)

He said that Sulla got his start in society by having an affair with a rich elderly widow, Nicopolis, and being named her heir in her will. It also says that his father's second wife inherited a great deal of money after Sulla's father's death, and he was HER heir as well, so that by the time his stepmother died, he was moederately wealthy. The King of Numidia, in commemoration of the defeat of Jugurtha, sent Rome a statue of himself, handing a chained Jugurtha to Sulla, and Marius was missing. When the statue was put up on the Capitoline, Marius became furious and demanded that it be taken down. When the Senate voted to send Sulla to Greece to fight Mithridates, the Marius faction, led by Sulpicius, pressured the Senate to name Marius the commander. Sulla left Rome and took the matter direct to the troops, who stoned their Marius-appointed officers to death. One of Sulpicius' slaves betrayed Sulpicius. In reward, Sulla had the slave freed, then thrown to his death from the Tapreian Rock. Sulla was the first Roman conqueror of Greece to sack the Greek temples instead of worshipping at them. He besieged Athens, starving the inhabitants, and then slaughtered them when the walls were breached. He then marched on Rome, and met the son of Marius in battle at Signia, where 20,000 Marian troops were killed and 8000 captured, whereas Sulla lost 23 men. Once he captured Rome again, he had the 6000 defending Samnites and Lucanians slaughtered in the Circus Maximus, their screams heard while he was addressing the Senate.

Saylor also mentions that Sulla married 5 times, divorcing his 4th wife on her death bed.

  • the lover and stepmother are mentioned in Plutarch, so i will include them in a next version
  • i only could find 4 wives: i think the 4th you mentioned must be Dalmatica
  • i'm not sure about the statue story
  • but the Sulpicius attempt to remove command is true, as well as the bloody greek campaign
  • the circus maximus incident is unprobable: Sulla was ruthless, but in an elegant way...
  • maybe Stan knows more
  • Cheers, Muriel Gottrop 22:45, 1 Nov 2003 (UTC)
  • PS: Dear Rick, maybe you can add these books to Fiction set in Ancient Rome

It looks like all this is just from Plutarch's life of Sulla. Googling "plutarch sulla" gets you dozens of online versions to review. How much is true? Well, the OCD article sums him up as "tantalizing and treacherous to the historian", and although Sulla was much closer to living memory than, say, Theseus, the Romans always seem to be very credulous when it comes to vicious rumors. We'll probably never know how much is real, how much is exaggerated, and how much is simply made up by Sulla's enemies (gee, sounds like I could be talking about the current administration! :-) ) Stan 04:46, 2 Nov 2003 (UTC)

According to Saylor, the wife Sulla divorced on her deathbed was Metella. RickK 04:50, 2 Nov 2003 (UTC)

  • Caecilia Metella Dalmatica ;) And Plutarch really has is favourites: he can write about Pompey, for instance, in an adoring way, comparing him to Alexander almost weeping his death. Like Stan said, it's not easy to distinguish truth and legend and so, i think we should avoid including bombastic theories, like the way Sulla earned his money to get into the Senate.

I don't know much Latin, but judging from other cognomina, shouldn't the names of Sulla's daughters/granddaughters be "Sullis," not "Sulla?" Kuralyov 19:18, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Is there a verified source for Sulla's first wife Julia being the aunt of Gaius Julius Caesar the dictator? Colleen McCullough's The First Man In Rome and its sequels make use of this idea, but in her notes she admits that it's not a certainty - Sulla's first wife is named Julia in one source, but she just felt that if she were Caesar's aunt it explained Marius and Sulla's early close relationship, since it's known that Marius married another Julia who definitely was Caesar's aunt. 22:37, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

No, there's no such evidence, unless some has come to light in the past couple of years that I'm unaware of. I'll remove the statement. Binabik80 00:36, 2 October 2005 (UTC)
PS: According to the current layout of the chart of wives and children, Sulla had 19 children by Dalmatica in the decade or so they were married. Binabik80 00:39, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

I know a little Latin and believe Kuralyov is partially correct - the genitive of Sulla is actually Sullae (1st Declension, 3rd declension genitives end -is), so (according to the article on Roman Naming Conventions) Sulla's daughters should have Sullae as their cognomen Garydunn 17:39, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

  • Daughters of Romans took the feminine form of the nomen, not cognomen, thus the daughters of Lucius Cornelius Sulla should be Corneliae (Cornelia singular). Chris Weimer 01:13, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Sulla's Dictatorship[edit]

In Mary T. Boatwright's et al The Romans: From Village to Empire: Oxford 2004, it says that Sulla resigned from dicatorship in 81, and yet I get other sources that say he resigned in 79? Which date would be correct? JonWayne 19:59, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

He became dictator in 81 (coins were issued to commemorate the occasion), resigned in 79, and was dead within a year (78). LaurenCole 22:52, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

In all my research, it shows that Sulla retook Rome in 83 BC after the battle of the Colline Gate, he was not appointed Dictator immediately, but an interrex was appointed at the beginning of 82 BC, leading to Sulla's appointment as Dictator. He resigned the Dictatorship in 80 BC on being elected Consul with Metellus Pius and finally retired in 79 BC at the end of his second conlsulship.

The above unsigned statement is correct. Stern and unpopular though he may have been in his politics, Sulla was fastidious about ensuring that he adhered to the letter of the law - indeed, the very motive for his taking control of the city was that under control of Marius and those who followed, the Republican contitution had ceased to work and ancient laws were being flouted to the detriment of all. Arthur Keaveney (Sulla: the Last Republican p. 166. 2005) citing Appian (Bell. Civ. I.104), Cicero (Pro. Rosc. Amer. 20, 127-8, 130-1) and Robin Seager ('Sulla' in CAH IX: 165-207. 1994) argues convincingly that Sulla resigned the dictatorship a month or two before he was inaugurated into his second consulship on 1st Jan 80 (i.e. Oct/Nov 81), and that Sulla certainly did not continue in the dictatorship as consul. If there is no objection, I will alter the article to reflect this. (talk) 16:21, 4 January 2008 (UTC)Catiline63

Iulia of the Caesari[edit]

I changed this notation of Sulla's first with to simply "Julia". the author seems to think Caesari is a plural, but it's actually not. it's a dative or ablative singular (identical forms). also i don't think it's appropriate to use the I instead of a J if you're not also going to use the V in place of the U. just seems a complete butchering of the language and entirely haphazard as to forms.

also it doesn't seem to be clear if that particular Julia was from the Caesarian branch.

but if the concensus is to use a form such as that, it should be Julia of the Caesares as that is the proper latin ending form for a 3rd declension noun.

- Plutarch lists his first wife as "Ilia". Plutarch was using Sulla's memoirs for his biography, so its unlikely that he mispelled Iulia, or would have neglected to mention the connection with Caesar if it was there. I changed it, and also added in his third wife Cloelia as listed in Plutarch. Valeria was his last wife, and their daughter was born after his death. I'm not sure where "Sergia" came from. LaurenCole 22:30, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

  • Woah... someone has now added a definite relation for Sulla's first wife. Anyone have a source on this? ---Mr. Nexx 06:49, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

I find it worrisome that there is no reference to Sylla being the most bloodthirsty tyrant to date in the Republic, putting several hundred nobles to death a day under false pretenses in an ad hoc seizure of their wealth. Just because he's a conservative by Roman definitions it seems modern-day conservatives want to draw a disctinction and wash over his atrocities, but the fact remains that he is a direct cause of the fall of the republic. Oh, and he was quite gay. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Quetzatct (talkcontribs) 17:32, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

No, there is no evidence that Sulla's first wife was the sister of Quintus Lutatius Catulus Caesar -- 01:00, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

- If Sulla's first wife was Ilia, what family would she be from to have taken that name? As far as I know that would make her literally from the "Ilius" family, so probably a Julius... Tbarker 13:42, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Other than McCullough's Masters of Rome series is there anything to support the contention that Sulla's first wife was Caesar's uncle? Why would Plutarch (and every other historical source) omit this rather important connection. I thought it added a great deal to McCullough's novels, but I don't think it should be included here. Just my opinion. OBA (talk) 23:11, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Sources for Sulla's wives and children?[edit]

I was wondering what were the sources for 8 wives and 22 children. It seems certain that Sulla married three woman (Julia (Ilia), Valeria Messala, Caecilia Metella Dalmatica). Plutarach mentions an Aelia and Cloelia, but no other sources mention these two. As for children we know that Sulla had at least three: Cornelia Sulla, whose daughter married Julius Caesar; and the twins Fastus and Fausta. Also how do we know that Aelia was a member of the Tuberoni? It would be highly unlikely for a Roman patrician to marry a Gaul given the xenophobic tendencies of Romans in the late republic. -- 19:58, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

In light of the above, I have edited the portion dealing with Sulla's children and wives to reflect these concerns. -- 00:55, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

He had five wives - Ilia, Aelia, Calpurnia, Claudia, Metella, and Valeria - according to Plutarch. Plutarch was using Sulla's memoirs as his primary source, so that may be why he mentions Claudia when others dont. Ilia and Aelia may be one person (this was used by Peter Green in his fictional memoirs) since their names are so similar. Lucius Sulla, his oldest son, was by Metella and died as a boy. I don't know why he's been assigned to Ilia here. Plutarch says that one of Sulla's premonitions of his own death was a dream in which this son asked him to come home to his mother Metella. LaurenCole 21:12, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Rivalry with Marius[edit]

It really does not make since to say that Marius and Sulla had a rivalry over the credit for the African war. As counsul Marius selected Sulla for his staff for both the African and German Wars. As a quastor, Sulla would not receive sole credit for ending the African war by capturing Jugurtha since he was a subordinate officer. The sources make much of the rivarly between Marius and Sulla, but this rivarly did not likely begin until much later, when Marius was an old man and Sulla was in his prime. It would have been unthinkable for Marius as a counsular to be jealous of a mere quastor so far down on the curus honorum. Plutarch's main sources were likely Sulla's memoirs which would likely play up an early rivarly to the expense of Marius' character. -- 21:55, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Why not? Marius, a Rival to Metellus. and sulla, an optimates, just Wonder...

Prostitution and Murders[edit]

I have removed a paragraph from the "Early Life" section. There is no evidence that Sulla killed the people who left him money. The sentence in the previous paragraph - "some sources refer to family inheritances from his step-mother and others" - is the extent of our knowledge. Outside of novels (which are fiction obviously), there is no indication of malice or violence in these events. Additionally there is no evidence that Sulla was ever a prostitute. Whatever the nature of his relationship with Metrobius, it wasn't a "working" one so to speak. Metrobius was an actor, and Sulla a patron of the arts and invenerate partier, so an incidence of prostitution when young is not needed to explain their acquaintance. A mention of Metrobius in a Senate speech does not prove Sulla was a prostitute some 50 years before - yet this was presented in the article as if it were all the proof necessary. I'm not sure who put this part in there, or when, but it needs scholarly citation before it can be included again. LaurenCole 14:11, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Cavalier attitude[edit]

A great deal of the Sulla article has a rather cavalier attitude, and lacks professionalism, in particular the latter sections. While on the topic of the latter sections, how much of them are backed up with sources?

Then I suggest that you contribte to the article instead of carping from the sidelines. Sulla is a much more difficult life to chronicle than say Caesar's, due to the sources being scattered and much of his memory and achievements being erased by later generations. As such it is useful and interesting to acribe reasonable interpretation from existing sources (as opposed to speculative) of his actions. Please join discussion... 214

I'm not the OP, though I do intend to remove many of the seemingly biased statements. Wikipedia is not a novel or a chance to display opinions. Sulla was who he was like him or hate him, he was not a position to frame modern conservatism or to say he was "brilliant" and leave out much of the blood that was spilt by Sulla or by framing it in the same sentence as the repercussions of Cinna and Marius. Opinions should be verified with sources, no one cares what we think here, though they do care what Plutarch or Suetonius may have to say. I also intend to remove much of the pre-collegiate writing the article displays such as how Sulla "seriously won" the battle. The article seems lopsided, as if was written by a community college student who just read a book about Sulla and makes no effort to be non-partisan in the civil wars between the Optimates and the Populares, or to point out that many Optimates fought against Sulla and many Populares fought with him. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rebelsole (talkcontribs) 09:36, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Sulla vs. Silla[edit]


I casually came into this page and was surprised about the Sulla writing of his name.

In my school memories, I'm from Italy, it has always been Silla and in the italian wikipedia I found a reference to his original cognomen being SVILLA [1]

Is it the case to add a Silla redirection for this page ?

There is a tendency in late Latin to spell the name Sylla; in part supported by Plutarch's use of Συλλα. This is a Hellenism like the y in sylva, classically silva. Renaissance Italian adopted this spelling, and changed it, regularly, to Silla, but this is unsupported by Latin usage of any age, and is(more to the point) not English. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:50, 22 March 2007 (UTC)


The "royal" infobox here is even more misleading than in Julius Caesar (see Talk:Julius_Caesar#Predecessor). It should be replaced by a version not talking about "Predecessor", "Reign", "Royal House" etc.-- 10:11, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Masters of Rome[edit]

In several of her Roman novels (particularly The First Man in Rome, The Grass Crown and Fortune's Favorites, Colleen McCullough paints a vivid, compelling portrait of the man who became Sulla the Dictator. However, some readers might mistake some of her masterful what-ifs (Sulla's marriage to Julius Caesar's aunt, for example) for documented facts. -- Cranston Lamont 09:03, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

-Also, I think whoever wrote this article and perhaps other Roman politicians and leaders have written a synopsis of the books rather than actual history and reference. Something below Wiki's standards. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:59, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Sulla's early life[edit]

I was attempting to fledge out Sulla's early life (with the usual references to Plutarch) and his African career, but it seems I've messed up the reference numbers. I'm sorry about this. Tried to correct it, but it doesn't seem to want my correcting. Usually you can add references, and the reference numbers are sorted out automatically. Am I doing something wrong? Should you be moved to answer, please be moved with a personal explanation: a reference to some god-hopeless pre-prepared page will often insult. MacMurrough 21:52, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Sulla's Laws[edit]

I have been studying Sulla's changes to the roman constitution for a dissertation, and have also looked at a fair amount of the sources for him. If users like the idea, I would like add more primary sources from Appian and Sallust as well as Plutarch - some of the quotes aren't referenced, so I can possibly do that - and flesh out the section on the dictatorship by adding some more info about his laws. However, I'm fairly new to wikipedia and so I'll probably get things wrong - there's only so much you can practise in a sandbox. Would someone be willing to keep an eye on the page occasionally and revert it whenever I screw up beyond my own repair? Tbarker 16:13, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Dictator of Rome - ABC's[edit]

I removed the following text from the article.

This lesson in supreme confidence, Caesar later ridiculed - "Sulla did not know his political ABCs". In retrospect, of the two, Sulla was to have the last laugh, as it was he who died in his own bed.

The above is blatantly POV.

  • "This lesson in supreme confidence..." From another point of view it could be a lesson in supreme arrogance.
  • "In retrospect, of the two, Sulla was to have the last laugh, as it was he who died in his own bed." Again POV and the POV depends on subjective preferences. The opposite POV is equally valid. Does one want to die in action as did Caesar or diseased as did Sulla?

We could rewrite this thus.

This lesson in supreme arrogance, Caesar later ridiculed - "Sulla did not know his political ABCs". In retrospect, of the two, Caesar was to have the last laugh, as it was he who died in action at the height of his power while Sulla suffered a dissolute diseased death."

I prefer the later POV slightly (I have mixed feelings about both these men) but I would never write the above in an article.Vincent 03:49, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm a bit confused. Are you proposing to substitute "arrogance" or not?
Actually I don't think "confidence" does show POV. (However, "last laugh" certainly does: it requires the reader to believe in life after death!)
My feeling about the passage is not so much that it's POV, rather that it strays from the facts. Andrew Dalby 13:16, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I think he meant to express some sarcasm by reversing the content between Caesar and Sulla... Methinks said disputed paragraph is merely and purely opinion and thus the "in retrospect" part should be struck from the article. -- fdewaele, 15 Februari 2007, 14:30.

RE: "This lesson in supreme confidence, Caesar later ridiculed - "Sulla did not know his political ABCs". In retrospect, of the two, Sulla was to have the last laugh, as it was he who died in his own bed."

I take it that no one disputes the veracity of the first sentence. What we have here is a dispute over the interpretation of that sentence in the light of historical fact...

Caesar was in effect saying that Sulla was a fool for giving up supreme power, yet it was Sulla who died a natural death, while Caesar was assassinated precisely because he would not give up supreme power. What the sentence does, is point out how wrong Caesar was to criticize Sulla on this particular point - whatever one feels about the qualities, characters and place in history of the two men, on this point dealing with the retention or surrender of complete power, Sulla was proved wiser by history. It is quite likely he may have suffered the same fate as Caesar, had he not resigned the dictatorship. In the end, this sentence can be re-written, but it should reflect that in this instance Caesar made a fatal error of judgement, that led directly to his own death. Finally, in many books on the lives of the two men, this sentiment is forcefully expressed. Sulla16 2/15/07

I am disputing the factuality of the first sentence, it is opinion. That many authors hold the same opinion is irrelevant because those authors aren't writing for Wikipedia, while you are.
The "supreme arrogance" paragraph I wrote here is just as "factual" as yours but of the opposite opinion. I was not sarcastic (sorry if you thought so) I was showing how an equally opposite POV could (could, not does) make more sense. That's why POV is not factually instructive.
Now Sulla16, are you a fan of Sulla the dictator? Did you happen to read one or two of the "many books" you mentioned abd thought to yourself "Wow, what a man!". Fine, that's a great experience. But that was your experience. Now do you want to convince us that Sulla was the wiser of the two? And do you really think the article should prefer one man over another? Vincent 22:55, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

The first sentence is historical fact, Caesar made the comment, it is well documented, and it it is reasonable to infer, in this particular instance Caesar made a blunder, it cost him his life, also an undisputed fact. I am not make any comment on the overall wisdom of either man, just as it relates to this particular issue. Sulla16 2-21-07

The first sentence is not factual. The first two words "Supreme confidence" are PoV. I made the point before you could easily say "Supreme arrogance". Both are POV, therefore neither belongs there. Vincent 00:09, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I think you're wrong there. Arrogant is POV: it's a criticism of someone's attitude. To say that someone is confident is neither praise nor criticism, because you aren't saying whether he is right or wrong to be confident; so it's NPOV. But who am I? Just a humble speaker of English. Andrew Dalby 00:17, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Both are POV, and the qualifier "supreme" doubles the POV. Then that sentence leads to the lesson that Sulla was wiser than Caesar, again POV. It's editorial. We know very little about Sulla's and Caesar's deaths compared to the deaths of say Napoleon, Lincoln, or Kennedy and yet here we are asked to accept sweeping POV editorial judgements based on very few facts.
Who's to say who was wiser? Isn't it conceivable that a Julius Caesar might have actively sought a spectacular murder rather than decrepitude? We don't know and we should not speculate, and we certainly should be neutral.
Finally, here's a new point. Why compare Sulla's death with Caesar's? How is Caesar's death relevant in an article on Sulla given that Caesar died 35 years later? It's a pure comparative study to compare the two; it's creative writing. Comparing lives might have been OK for Plutarch, but it's not OK for Wiki. Vincent 05:30, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Vfp15, you are now in the realm of fantasy, please just leave alone, if you had any hand in contributing to this article, instead of sniping from the sidelines, your points might have more weight, please read and understand what Andrew darby has written above...Sulla16 2-22-07

I did read what Andrew wrote and also what he wrote earlier: the text "strays from the facts." Also what fdewaele wrote: "Methinks said disputed paragraph is merely and purely opinion" That's two people who think the text is PoV, me (very strongly) fdewaele (strongly) plus Andrew who thinks the text strays from the facts. Vincent 01:34, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
I have nothing against the ABC quote as such. It's a good quote and belongs in the article. It's the part starting with "in retrospect" that smells like POV and is purely opinion. The fact remains that regardless of their ultimate fate, it was Caesar's waork that stands and Sulla's that was fleeting. Caesar meant by the ABC quote that by giving up power, Sulla had allowed that within ten years following his resignation everything he had worked for (the harnessing of the tribunes, restoring the pwoer of the optimates,...) was undone and forty years later the Republic itself even fell. By not clinging to power he failed to preserve hsi political legacy. -- fdewaele, 23 February 2007, 9:00.

Part of Sulla's work was indeed fleeting, other parts were very long lasting - his reform of the judicial system lasted long into the Principate. From a constitutional point of view, Caesar's legacy to Rome was just as fleeting. His legacy in history was in large part due to self promotion (not that Sulla hadn't tried to do the same with his Commentaries). The point of the last sentence is to point out that as a direct result of Caesar's actions and words, he was assassinated (not a good outcome, most would agree), Sulla on the other hand, died a natural death precisely because he did give up absolute power (dying naturally in bed, as opposed to being assassinated, would be regarded as a good result by most people). Ergo. in this particular instance, Sulla had the better time of it, and can reasonably be regarded in an historical light to have been wiser that Caesar in resigning the Dictatorship. Sulla16 2-23-07

Not necessary. The situation was completely different in that Sulla was the ringleader of the old order and he fought for the restoration of his and his fellow nobles "rights" whereas Caesar as the leader of the new order could not simply resign without seeing everything he had worked for collapse and undone (the lesson of Sulla's legacy). Sulla also had the "good fortune" of dying very soon after resigning the dictatorship at a time when his confederates were still in full power and he thus was protected by them. As he only lived for a sort while as a retiree, it's impossible to deduct what his fate would have been had he lived longer. On the other hand, Caesar's politics had been one of clemency whereas Sulla's was vengeance: he proscribed his opponents, making that there were little of his enemies still alive and available for murdering him. One could make the argument that in the end it wasn't Caesar's dictatorship for life that killed him it was his own clemency! Just look at all those who conspired to kill them! Not all of them were his former men like Trebonius! the majority were men he had pardoned. As to Sulla's judicial reforms: even those were abandonded: Caesar's uncle Cotta was given the task as a praetor to reform the judicial system in the 60s BC. -- fdewaele 23 february 2007, 15:40

Taking your point on judicial reforms first, please see Wilhelm Ihne page 416's+judicial+reforms%22&source=web&ots=rvLY85VjJP&sig=M3XEC2cNDPW3qpk_lu29gKC_Ru8#PRA3-PA416,M1</ref>. pointing out that his judicial reforms lasted and were the basis of the legal system throughout the imperial period. Now to your first point, 1) Sulla was surrounded by his former soldiers (highly loyal to him as evidenced by his funeral) and the "Cornelii' freed slaves, and it is highly unlikely that anyone would have dared touch him, added to the fact that his lieutenants were very much to the fore in the following ten years from 78 BC. 2) As the reference in my previous post indicates, it was Caesars arrogance in dealing with the Senate and also in large part, his policy of clementia that contributed to his downfallWilhelm Ihne (see second last paragraph, in Ihne exactly validates my point) page 452's+judicial+reforms%22&source=web&ots=rvLY85VjJP&sig=M3XEC2cNDPW3qpk_lu29gKC_Ru8#PRA3-PA452,M1</ref>., had he murdered all his opponents like Sulla had, possibly the plot may never have materialized (pure speculation, I know). Following Caesar's assassination, the whole republican system did in fact collapse into civil war and the dictatorship was abolished. 3) One of the reasons Caesar's name shines so brightly through history, is as a result of who won the civil war. Octavian, a plebian, needed his relationship with the Julian house magnified to legitimize his own position. Had Marcus Antonius won the civil war, things might have been different. Both Sulla and Caesar ultimately failed, in terms of what they tried to achieve for Rome. Finally I am not trying to say or defend the proposition that Sulla was wiser man than than Caesar, that is up to more knowledgable commentators than me! What I am defending, is that on Caesar's ABC comment, history records that Sulla survived his dictatorship, Caesar died in his, and therefore on this very narrow issue: (Caesar criticizing Sulla for resigning the dictatorship), Sulla was wiser to resign it and retire and survive than to retain it. ps. (Sulla may quite possibly have suffered the same fate as Caesar had he clung on to power; although, that would be pure speculation, of course!) Sulla16 2-23-07

If you're dead set on comparing JC & S, why not just rewrite in more (much more!) neutral language? Instead of rewriting for compromise, you just reinsert, and then you make it worse by expanding. As it stands the whole passage is PoV. Begin by toning it down, then we can talk about a compromise. Vincent 07:47, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

You are now removing sourced references (which directly corroborate the sentence) that is vandalism, if you continue, I will refer this to Wikipedia complaints. Sulla16 2-24-07

Please do so. I'd like to point out that I have been patient where you have resorted to insult ("the realm of fantasy" bit). I even offered a compromise after you made your PoV text even longer. So please, by all means do complain. Vincent 08:55, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

EDIT WAR[edit]

WOULD YOU BOTH PLEASE STOP. This "ABC dispute" has clearly become an edit war in which neither side behaves sensibly. Apparently as neither of you can solve this dispute in an amicably and open way, clearly others should decide. I'm strongly suggest you cease changing it while referring this to mediation. -- fdewaele, 26 February 2007, 16:07.

I asked for a moderator yesterday - Sulla16 2-26-07

Hey, I'm open to compromise. I am removing PoV, Sulla16 is reinserting PoV. I'm not interested in rewriting opinion, but if Sulla16 simply rewrote the passage in more neutral language, I'd leave it alone. Since he's the supposed Sulla expert, that should be easy for him.
But first, have a look at this. This was the original modification I made. Notice I carefully explained in the comment why I was making the change. Then look at the comment to Sulla16's first revert: rv pov pov!!!. No attempt at all to find a compromise, no attempt at all to soften the language.
In fact he makes it worse by adding a POV quote. The only thing his source shows was that Suetonius thought Caesar arrogant. That's Suetonius's POV, perhaps totally valid, but wiki should be NPOV.
As for how the discussion went, here's how things proceeded.
  • But then when I wanted to move the discussion, he orders (!) me not to touch it. The point of wiki is that it's freely editable and that no one owns articles. (Except Sulla16 it seems.)
I don't want to talk too much about content, but even Sulla16 admits here the passage evokes sentiment, hence POV.
And still he reverts and expands. That's pretty much all I have to say. It's very easy to say STOP IT BOTH OF YOU but who's the one open to compromise here? Vincent 01:16, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
The argument seems a waste of time to me. It's good if we now know that the idea of "arrogance" comes from Suetonius. Wikipedia has an answer to that. Make it explicit that it's a quote from Suetonius. Wikipedia thus remains NPOV while displaying the POV of the sources.
Because, let's face it, if you abstain from mentioning details that are or may be POV in cited sources, there will be no worthwhile Wikipedia articles about ancient history at all. Andrew Dalby 10:35, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Not at all. The most important policy of Wikipedia is that articles must be NPOV. If one must cite POV sources, then these quotes and citations belong in a section devoted to various viewpoints (e.g. Historical Consensus or whatever), not in the main body of the article. And even then, there would have to be more than one POV example. Vincent 21:16, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I've heard this quote somewhere else (although can't remember where). If you (Sulla16) want it in then source it otherwise leave it out. As it stands now it's pretty poorly written anyway. LC Svlla 18:05, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, that's one of my points: it's pretty poorly written, esp. in a POV way.Vincent 22:18, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

The comment is sourced, if Vpf15 would just leave it aloneSulla16 14:30, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

But it's still POV. "Neutral point of view" means neutral it doesn't mean sourced point of view. Sulla16, why are you insisting on your point of view? Why are you expanding it? Why are you not looking for compromise? I don't object to the Suetonius quote except that it's used to support a POV statement, so if I take out the statement, of course the quote goes too.
I will not stand by and let opinionated editors put in expressions like "supreme confidence" and statements like "history showed Sulla to be wiser". That's pure value judgement, even if held by others. If you say "Suetonius thought it so, therefore it's factual" you are making an appeal to authority called an ad hominem argument. That is false logic.
If a quote like that belongs anywhere, it belongs in "Legacy". If you want your text in, why don't you rewrite it (avoiding weasel words of course)? The passage can also be toned down (under the legacy header) by avoiding pejorative words like "supreme" and controversial judgments like "Sulla was the wiser".
Next point. if you're going to use a template, make sure it's a working template, otherwise you should remove it. You should not practive on live articles. I left the article as it is with the dead template link to give you the opportunity to correct it yourself.
Next point. You keep telling me to leave it alone. I am leaving it alone. I hold the opposite viewpoint (I think Caeser was the wiser and greater man) but I don't go inserting my POV into the article! Of course Caesar was the wiser man. His reforms survived him, Sulla's did not. Don't we still use a slightly modified version of the Julian calendar 2000 years after Caesar instituted it.
As for dying in bed vs. dying murdered in the forum, well I'm in hospital at this very moment recovering from abdominal surgery. Even under the best of care (Jikei is a great hospital BTW) this was painful for a few days. It's not much, but it's enough to convince me that suffering in bed for a year with my organs failing is NOT the way I'd like to go. But that's my POV, so I won't put it in the article.
Finally, I checked your contribitions and I see no attempt to ask for mediation since February 28th. That was eight days ago. Why are you writing in your comments that you are looking for mediation when you haven't done so in 8 days? Vincent 22:25, 7 March 2007 (UTC)


I have taken a few days to think things over. I edited the POV text and took the quote out of the Dictatorship section but I have pasted it back in the Legacy section, as I had urged Sulla16 to do himself. Note thatI left out the items "lesson in supreme confidence" and "Sulla was to have the last laugh". These two items are completely POV and judgemental. It is factual to say that Caesar ridiculed Sulla, it is opinion to say Caesar was wrong. That depends on one's point of view.

I strongly suggest to Sulla16 that he accept the compromise. If he does not accept the compromise and if he reinserts the text as it was and where it was, I will have to take the case to arbitration (one level higher than mediation) and ask that his account be suspended for a short period and that he be banned from the Sulla page for a much longer period. Vincent 01:38, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

That seems like a sensible compromise. I urge you both to accept it and adhere to it. -- fdewaele, 12 March 2007, 9:08.
Seems Sulla16 disagrees, so I reverted, but to show good faith, I reverted to the proposed compromise. I did not eliminate the whole text, I left most of it in legacy. Sulla16 is showing bad faith. Vincent 00:27, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

No I do not agree, and I want to see the outcome of mediationNick 16:12, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

ps. it would be ironic to ban me from the Sulla page as I wrote 80% of itNick 16:13, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

So you think you own the page? Sorry, you don't. Wikipedia is a collaborative effort, the Main Page says very clearly that anyone can edit. The Wikipedia:About page says it's written collaboratively. It would not be ironic at all if you were banned from editing the Sulla article because you are behaving in an uncompromising manner. Vincent 19:30, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

I've rephrased the section in dispute to make it less POV, but keeping the quote from Caesar, which is not POV. If anyone has a probkem with it please discuss. -R. fiend 16:03, 19 March 2007 (UTC)


Nick (who used to sign Sulla16) keeps reverting to his POV version commenting that he wants to wait for the result of mediation. However apart from signing the Request for mediation page he has been doing just that: waiting for mediation. He hasn't participated, he has only gone on with his reverts. After NPOV, core Wikipedia values include collective participation and consensus. Nick is not following this by telling me earlier I can't edit, by implying (see above) that his voice carries more weight because he's written "80% of the article" and by ignoring the mediation process. Any thoughts? Vincent 23:00, 15 March 2007 (UTC)


Request for Comment: Lucius Cornelius Sulla

This is a dispute about one small section of the Sulla article. 14:52, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Statements by editors involved in dispute

Statement by Sulla16[edit]

1) The quote is a sourced reference.

2) I agreed with the compromise suggested by [Yxrael] in our mediation, that the disputed section should re-phrased as follows:

...This lesson in supreme confidence, Caesar later ridiculed - "Sulla did not know his political ABCs". As Ihne indicated in his history of the period: " retrospect, of the two, Sulla was to have the last laugh, as it was he who died in his own bed." [9]

3) I also agreed to remove the Suetonius text from the article, just leaving the reference link (10).

4) Vincent is the one that abandoned mediation, despite [Yxrael] suggesting we should continue to try for a resolution, something I totally agree with and am more than happy to try.

Finally, I also have no intention in getting into a pointless and childish "who said such and such...or suggesting this or that person should be banned", It is not my place. All I want is for this to be arbitrated fairly, based on Wikipedia rules, and the fact that historical articles are by their very nature subject to a certain amount of "interpretation of events" (determined by whoever wrote the history in the first place - in many cases the winner of a conflict). It would be impossible to to have any historical perspective of events in Wikipedia, if this is not accepted. Suetonius (writing well after events had taken place) would be right out as an historical source, if this were not the case, and our knowledge of Ancient times would be severely compromised. History fortunately or otherwise is not like scientific fact and historical articles need to take that into account. 14:52, 19 March 2007 (UTC)


Statement by Vfp15[edit]

1) The quote Sulla16 means is which quote? There are four quotes at issue:

i) Unsourced, "This lesson in supreme confidence";
ii) Unsourced, "Of the two Sulla was said to have the last laugh";
iii) Sourced, Caesar's quote that Sulla did not know his political abc;
iv) Sourced, Suetonius's comments on Caesar.

The wording of i) and ii) is not sourced, those two phrases are just comments on sourced material. This is the crux of the dispute. Sulla16 insists on putting in those words, which I believe they are his own.

As for quotes iii) and iv) I think they belong in a reference or legacy section, not in the main body of the article.

2) Xyrael, the mediator in the RfM, did not support, suggest, or endorse any specific compromise. He just urged that we reach a compromise but I believe he stayed neutral and favored neither of us in the dispute.

3) Sulla16 says he accepted a compromise, but he insisted on retaining "supreme lesson" and "last laugh". In other words, Sulla16's idea of a compromise was to leave the article exactly as I found it, with a quote he added later moved to a reference.

4) I did abandon mediation when Sulla16 began misrepresenting what the mediator said, and when he stated the above was a compromise. I feel private mediation is fruitless at this point and prefer going back to a public discussion so I opened a Request for Arbitration. This was justified

Finally, behaviour is important in Wikipedia. Sulla16 has made personal attacks on me, he's given me orders to leave the article alone, and despite what he says, Sulla16 was not looking for compromise. It's OK to provide a variety of historical quotes having POV, as long as on the whole they are NPOV. It's not OK to write one's own POV or to select quotes with the sole purpose of pushing one's POV.

Vincent 23:12, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Compromise suggested by R. fiend[edit]

All of that aside, do you have any objections to the current phrasing of the article, now that "supreme sacrifice" and "last laugh" have been removed? I suppose you want it moved to a different section, but I think it's fine where it is. The body of the article is where most information belongs; I would hate to see the Caesar quote moved to some "trivia" section for instance, which is all the rage these days. Sulla16 has agreed to the current compromise; if you can as well we can call the matter settled. -R. fiend 00:04, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

The Suetonius quote is too long to stay in the main body as it is; it's longer on its own than the rest of the disputed text! And anyway it's about Caesar rather than about Sulla.
Also, the text as a whole is unbalanced because it clearly implies Sulla's dictatorship was more successful. If we are to have POV, we should have POV1+POV2=NPOV, not POV2 (Suetonius's) used to invalidate POV1 (Caesar's). For example we could put the whole Suetonius quote in reference and write something like the following in the main body:
In a manner which the historian Suetonius thought arrogant , Caesar later ridiculed Sulla for these actions, stating "Sulla did not know his political ABCs". However, comparing the two dictatorships, it should be noted that Caesar was assassinated because of his dictatorship, but with his reforms surviving him, while Sulla died of natural causes after resigning his, but with his reforms undone.
In a manner which the historian Suetonius thought arrogant , Caesar later ridiculed Sulla for these actions, stating "Sulla did not know his political ABCs". However, comparing the two dictatorships, it should be noted that Caesar was assassinated because of his dictatorship while Sulla died of natural causes after resigning his. Yet Caesar's reforms survived him, while Sulla's did not.
In a manner which the historian Suetonius thought arrogant , Caesar later ridiculed Sulla for these actions, stating "Sulla did not know his political ABCs". However, comparing the two dictatorships, it should be noted that Caesar's reforms survived him, while Sulla's did not. Yet Caesar was assassinated because of his dictatorship while Sulla died of natural causes after resigning his.
Any of the three versions above are OK with me as they are. The second favours Caesar a tiny bit, the third favours Sulla a tiny bit, the first is the most neutral but also the hardest to read. Vincent 01:54, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Pope Gregory must be spinning in his grave! Leaving aside Vincent's lack of historical knowledge generally; specifically in the case of Sulla and Caesar and his assertions of relative success (I have tried to paint Sulla in this article with "warts and all") - a large part of Sulla's constitutional reforms lasted well into the Principate (his reorganization of the courts and legal system, is just one example). Also, his Senate reorganization (increased membership to 600 and qualifications for admittance), while adjusted by Caesar to 900, was returned to the basic Sullan 600 model by Augustus. In light of this, I am having a tough time taking Vincent seriously, as even a junior-high school scholar of the period! For me, I think that R. fiend has come up with an equitable and balanced solution, and this section of the article should now rest for a period. Nick 12:22, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Finally this is an interesting quote from Vincent, he can't be bothered to research and contribute to the Sulla article, but is more than happy to impose his viewpoint from a state of ignorance:

  • "Understood about the limitation of the mediation committee's remit. Thanks for the interest. I'm not interested enough in Sulla to research and source corrections myself, I am however interested in NPOV and compromise." Cheers Vincent 01:47, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Nick 16:39, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

On an accuracy point, there is no evidence that Sulla reformed the courts - it's a modern myth, I'm afraid. Most of his reforms did fail or were ignored - the article isn't completely accurate for much of the effects of his reforms and their specifics. Caesar was technically more successful as many of his changes to the constitution did survive - the two I can think of off the top of my head are his agrarian legislation and reforms of the legal system (mainly grain laws), and Augustus took a lot of credit as many were put into practice under him, although proposed by Caesar. Also with mild trepidation at wading into a debate, the Suetonius quote can also be taken several ways - Caesar could be saying that Sulla did not go far enough, as he resigned power when he hadn't done enough. But *shrugs*...Sulla's enough of an argument by himself as it is. Tbarker 12:35, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Well let's see: Outlines of Roman History by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L. New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: American Book Company (1901). IV. THE DICTATORSHIP OF SULLA (B.C. 82-79) 1901 could be considered modern I suppose...

Sulla passes a series of laws, setting up courts to try cases of murder, extortion, treason, bribery and insults.

  • Read Cicero's account

@ Cic:Clu_151, 154, :Pis_50, :RabPost_8-9,*  :Fam_3.11'2; Sen:Apocol_14'1; Justin:Dig_1.2.2'32, 29.5.25'1, 48.5.23'2; Justin:Dig_9.2.5'1,L 47.10.5'1-7, 7'1; Justin:Dig_47.10.37'1, 48.8'1-17; Justin:Dig_47.13'2, 48.5.33'1; Justin:Dig_48.2.12'4; {CAH_9'503, '512; OCD_s.}

Perhaps this one is a little more contemporary...

There are many other examples, ancient and modern, I rest my case Nick 13:05, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Nick, the orthodox churches still use the Julian calendar today, that's why orthodox Christmas and Easter don't match with the rest of the western world. Russia used it officially until early in the 20th century and England used it well into the 18th century. In any case, the Gregorian calendar is a minor adjustment done 15 centuries later to Caesar's calendar.
As for the quote you made of my postings: I agree with it. Many wikipedians go around taking "janitorial" duties. I am more interested in a good NPOV article than in Sulla. NPOV is the second pillar of Wikipedia and no personal attacks is part of the fourth), which you have again broken (I bolded the text in the first line of your last post).
As for compromise, I'd like to point out you never offered any compromise. You started by reverting, then you expanded your POV. You rejected my earlier compromise, and now you are rejecting my second compromise, without providing an alternative of your own. The arbitrators have rejected the RfA because it was premature, but if you keep on this way it won't be premature anymore. Vincent 01:09, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Resumption of edits[edit]

The mediation is closed, the Arb committee won't hear the case, so I will start editing again. I inserted what I suggested above, with the full text of the Suetonius quote in reference below along with the other footnotes.Vincent 01:30, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

I am sooo frightened by you threats. I am curious as to how many times you have been banned from editing for being disruptive, more than a couple I'll wager. Sulla16 01:46, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Personal attacks & compromise[edit]

Nick, you have now made at least three personal attacks on me. I've put them in bold. Read the five pillars page and then follow the link on personal attacks. If you persist in making personal attacks, you will be blocked. That's not a threat, it's policy. Coming from me it cannot be a threat since I am not an administrator and cannot block. I am pointing out what happens to wikipedians who do make personal attacks.

Also, please understand that Xyrael never endorsed a specific compromise as you say he did. His opinion was that we could achieve a compromise he never endorsed one in particular. You imagined he endorsed a change back to the original wording with the Suetonius quote in a footnote. He did not. He was neutral.

You'll note that during the RfM which I started, I left the page at your version. I'd appreciate the same courtesy.

As for compromise, let's compare what you want with what I want.

  • What I want: the four quotes completely out of the whole article.
  • What you want: the four quotes completely in the main text of the article.
  • What R. Fiend proposed: the first two quotes out, the last two quotes in the main body.
  • What I counterproposed: the first two quotes out, the third quote (Caesar's) in the main body qualified with a reference to the fourth quote moved to the footnotes.

I think that's fair and it's what cooperation is all about. It's not about banning every idea I might have because you seemingly think I'm an annoying little prat. I'm willing to listen to other proposals but you never make them. For example I'd consider your putting a much shorter version of the Suetonius quote in the main body, with the full version in footnotes.

How far can that be from what you'd accept given that you even wrote in your official statement that you "also agreed to remove the Suetonius text from the article, just leaving the reference link". Vincent 06:49, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Comment by Septentrionalis[edit]

The following sentences seem to be the bone of contention:

However, comparing the two dictatorships, it should be noted that Caesar's reforms survived him, while Sulla's did not. Yet Caesar was assassinated because of his dictatorship while Sulla died of natural causes after resigning his.

They are unsourced; and I believe unsourceable. Some of Sulla's reforms, chiefly the cursus honorum, did survive him; several of Caesar's actions survived only in the sense that something of the same name was adopted by Augustus. Sulla died of natural causes four years after his coup. If Caesar had done the same, he would never have been assasssinated; and Caesar did (formally) resign his first dictatorship, in 49 BC.

I find this whole section original research, and oppose the inclusion of any of it; I hope this helps. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:31, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Your version is much better than the one I put up, so I reverted to it. Thanks. Vincent 01:52, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
Vincent, you know you could have just countered Suetonius w/ Plutarch. anyways, it smells like original research. if you must make a comparison between dictators, best to find a source first, no? i'm rabidly anti-Sulla, so i'll stick to arguments of form. Do enjoy the debate from the sidelines, and one last note, i wouldn't hold Caesar's assassination as evidence of a mistake or fault on his part, Shakespeare aside. And reading Appian can leave one wondering which was more dangerous, Sulla's army or his bank account. The Jackal God 07:50, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Jackal. Sulla16 just keeps reverting, the Suetonius quote is about Caesar anyway so rather than counter it with still more stuff, I think it's best to just remove the quote. I won't oppose reinserting it (as a reference, not in main body) if someone besides Sulla16 really really wants it in. Like I said before: he wants all four of his "quotes" in, I was willing to accept the two sourced one, one in the text & one in ref, but Sulla16 is being uncooperative and I think I've tried hard enough to accommodate him. Vincent 06:35, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Cleaning up[edit]

Quite apart from the above edit war, which has gone on long enough, the whole article contains too much original research, POV, outright speculation, etc. I've begun the cleanup task. It's really too bad: Sulla16 could have participated productively in this process, but it seems he'll just go on reverting and reverting. Vincent 08:23, 27 March 2007 (UTC)


At the end of the references part of this article, someone has written PENIS several times in all caps. n00b that I am, I can't figure out how to fix it, as it doesnt show up on the edit page for some reason. Why is this? I was excited to be this crusading anti-vandalism editor and was sadly thwarted in this ambition. Anyway, someone older and wiser ought to take care of it posthaste. Robberex 02:02, 8 May 2007 (UTC)Robberex

Sulla's First Wife[edit]

"First wife, Ilia (possibly Julia (Julilla) Minor, Aunt of Gaius Julius Caesar)" [2]

Shouldn't this be corrected? See

"Sulla occasionally becomes the central figure of the narrative; there are several lengthy sections dealing with his plot to murder the two wealthy women with whom he lives, his use of the newfound wealth in establishing himself politically, his homosexual relationship with the Greek actor-child Metrobius, and his marriage to the (fictional) younger daughter of 'Julius Caesar Grandfather', Julilla." [3]

Julilla as a wife of Sulla is an invention by the novelist Colleen McCullough. She herself notes that in her book.

Sulla first wife Ilia/Julia (McCullough's Julilla) was not Caesar's aunt. That distinction goes to Julia, the wife of Caius Marius, who herself died in 69 BC. Arthur Keaveney (2005) "Sulla: the Last Republican" 2nd ed p. 8 (i.e. in the most recent biography of Sulla) briefly discusses the identity of Ilia: "There is some confusion over her name which may have been either Ilia or Julia. If we assume the latter to be correct then she could have been a sister of the famous orator Caesar Strabo [i.e. C. Julius Caesar Strabo Vopiscus] and L. Julius Caesar who was to be consul in 90." Hence IF Julia was sister to Strabo and L. Caesar (itself no means certain but possible) her relationship to Julius Caesar the dictator would have been first-cousin once-removed. I have edited the article appropriately. (talk) 09:40, 22 February 2008 (UTC)Catiline63

then you should source this in the article itself (footnote) instead of simply chaning the text. -- fdewaele, 22 february 2008, 10:55. CET

As should have your assertion that she was his aunt... (talk) 10:07, 22 February 2008 (UTC)Catiline63


I just read a book by Colleen McGuhlough in which is stated this Sulla was bisexual. I could not find this in the article. Should it perhaps be included in the article, or at least searched for? It wasn't the first time I read about it, so I wander... Angela from the Blue (talk) 13:54, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

I think perhaps it is to be assumed, what with Sulla being with Metrobius, yet having been married 4 times. --Agreatguy6 (talk) 07:39, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

...Colleen McGillicuddy being a novelist...great resource The Jackal God (talk) 20:49, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

You have to remember that the entire concept of "sexual orientation" is only a modern construct and inappropriate in this context; sex was defined more along the lines of active and passive partners, and gender was largely immaterial. For example, the person of a higher social class was expected to be the dominant partner during a sexual encounter, and it didn't really matter which gender the passive partner belonged to. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:31, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Wasn't there at least a mention of Metrobius in this article before? I feel like there was.

Indeed previous versions of this page mentioned Metrobius, whom Sulla officially recognized as his lover when they retired together. No idea why this was deleted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:02, 25 July 2010 (UTC) A

Metrobius is sited in both Plutarch and Seutonius, and should be mentioned here. Otherwise it smacks of white-washing. The exact passage from Plutarch "Although Metrobius was past the age of youthful bloom, Sulla remained to the end of his life in love with him, and made no secret of the fact" Plutarch, Roman Lives, Oxford World Classics, 1999 edition.

Both Plutarch and Tacticus mention Metrobius, I think it should be in the article, at least as a note to his retirement, as he left Rome with Metrobius and spent his time afterwards with the "Greek Actor" as he is called, rather obscurely, further down the article, in reference to the McCullogh series, implying that Metrobius is fictional as is Sulla's historically established homosexual relationship.

Primary Sources[edit]

Out of curiosity, what are the other Primary Sources on Sulla available outside of Plutarch, Appian, Cassius Dio, and Livy? It's for a school final, so I thought this might at least lead me in the right direction, much appreciated --Agreatguy6 (talk) 07:39, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Florus, Velleius Paterculus, Valerius Maximus, and some parts of Cicero are also valuable primary sources on Sulla and the wider 90s and 80s BC. You might get even more marks if you mention Eutropius, Orosius, and Granius Licinianus. English text for Velleius Paterculus is available at Bill Theyer's brilliant 'Lacus Curtius' site. English text for Granius Licinianus is at ''. An Enlish version of Eutropius is at 'Corpus Scriptorum Latinorum'. Good luck! (talk) 23:10, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Much thanks! --Agreatguy6 (talk) 01:16, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Flowery and POV edit to introduction[edit]

Addition to the introduction made by Fabartus on 27 May 2008:

"Sulla... was the first roman general to use his troops against Roman political opponents. In his career, due to such ruthless machinations, he ended up holding the office of consul twice as well as the dictatorship. This set the stage for other generals, in particular Julius Caesar, leading to the end of the Roman Republic, and setting the precedent that would in the future frequently be used to settle succession questions of the Empire. A gifted and effective general, Sulla marched his armies on Rome twice, ruthlessly murdering opposition and furthering the cause of supporters in the Roman Senate— and by such alteration of the political make-up, came to enjoy the absolute power of a dictator when named "dictator rei publicae constituendae" ("Dictator for the Reconstitution of the Republic") —among the last to do so under the Republic. Though he resigned his office following the customary six month time limit, his complete command of the Republic and use of proscription par excellence in 82 BC as dictator let him install supporters and eliminate so many enemies that he'd become the foremost power in Rome while he lived. Since he set precedent going against the Senate, by employing assassination of opponents and by marching on the capital itself, he is often condemned by historians as having hastened the end of the Republic by his example, and as having set bad precedents for the empire to follow."

This essay shows little understanding of the subtleties of the situation in the 80s BC. First, POV language: "the first Roman general to use his troops against Roman political opponents", "ruthless machinations", "ruthlessly murdering", "furthering the cause of supporters in the Roman Senate", "use of proscription par excellance", "eliminate... enemies", and "assassinating... opponents" is all POV. Much of is also wrong. The errors and misunderstandings are interlinked.

Sulla was not the first Roman commander to use his position to kill his opponents. Indeed one of the very reasons for Sulla's opposition to the regimes of Cinna and Marius was that many of his friends had been eliminated during their "rule". In 86/5 (under Marius and Cinna), many were killed in Italy, including over half a dozen consulars (mostly old men, thus non-military), the father of Marcus Crassus, and several of the Julii Caesares. A tribune was also flung from the Tarpeian Rock. In itself this last matter was a capital offence.

When, in 82, Sulla's forces were approaching Rome - in order, so he (truthfully, as it turns out) stated to free the city from such unlawfullness - Marius the Younger and Carbo killed a consular and the pontifex maximus, among others.

Thus the reason for Sulla's taking up of dictatorial potestas was not to initiate some new reign of terror but to restore the constitution and the laws of the Republic to the way they had been in the preceding centuries. The Senate was to rule again, its wishes respected, and it was not to be made subordinate to the caprice of unlawful and authoritarian individuals such as Cinna, Marius, and Carbo. Only a dictator could carry out such a recovery in a short time. Sulla's full title - dictator legibus faciendis et reipublicae constituendae - illustrates his intentions and his traditionalist sentiments, as the fact that he resigned (not to have done so would have been unlawful and would have made him a hypocrite). The proscriptions that followed were a continuation of that programme of restoration. True, some innocents seem to have been killed, but those who were implicated in and/or had profited from the recent lawlessness were its primary targets. Those who were killed were killed as criminals and traitors, enemies of the Republic not as enemies of Sulla personally.

Finally, while it is true that Sulla's second march on Rome provided a precedent for Caesar, that aspect was already addressed in the article as it existed. (talk) 02:48, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

A contribution from user Sulla16[edit]

I'm untrusting of the quality (necessity and validity) of the changes introduced by Sulla16 in edit 152467867. This change contributes a lot but, where I'm competent to judge, I find the changes bad. Where I don't find them bad, I'm not competent to judge. Unfortunately, I'm not competent at all when it comes to history.

Some objections:

  1. As a bulk edit ("copy edit"), it doesn't mentions any justification even for the controversial changes.
  2. Typography: Replacing of middle dots (·) with bullets (•), for interpunct, in the Roman-style script, and even in Chinese script. I admit that section Similar symbols in the article Interpunct #Similar symbols mentions both symbols as similar to the original interpunct, rather than distinguishing a correct one by leaving it another one (presumably bullet) out. Still, I don't feel that the Romans intended interpuncts as bullets.
  3. Punctuation: "Obsidional or Blockade Crown" was given in quotation marks.
  4. Changes for the sake of change (which, like randomness, can produce the effect of "aging", or generation lossentropic decrease of the original reliability and quality in thus evolving content):
    1. The word "even" is deleted in: "Sulla's descendents continued to be prominent in Roman politics, even into the empire imperial period."
      My question: Why was the word "even" incorrect?
    2. "Female prostitutes" is deleted in: "Lacking ready money, Sulla spent his youth amongst Rome’s low-lifes – comics, actors, lute-players, dancers, female prostitutes"
      My question: Why is Sulla16 stays unskeptical about lute-players whereas he removes prostitutes from the equation with such a confidence? He also adds an incorrect apostrophe into "low-life's".
    3. "his" into "this" "Machiavelli would later allude to this description of Sulla".

6birc (talk) 03:54, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Revised: 6birc (talk) 20:50, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

That Keaveney wrote a book called "Sulla: the Last Republican" is not in doubt, but to state "by resigning, Sulla is sometimes referred to as "The Last Republican" - Keaveney", means nothing at all. Is Keaveney's calling of Sulla "the last Republican" inspired exclusively by his laying down of dictatorial powers and nothing else at all? Indeed, can reference to one author justify the "is sometimes referred to" as if more than one writer is being cited? (talk) 16:49, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

his memoirs?[edit]

shame his memoirs Res Gestae were lost. just wow.-- (talk) 08:37, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

"Conservative politician"[edit]

The opening blurb describes Sulla as a "conservative politician". What, in this article, supports such a claim? -- LightSpectra (talk) 15:42, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Sulla always placed the interests of the Republic first. He was a great man. Julius Ceasar was an ambitious, amoral thug who destroyed the Republic. (talk) 23:17, 4 October 2008 (UTC)daver852

Very funny. Derekpatterson (talk) 09:28, 6 August 2009 (UTC)


Cilician governorship

Returning to Rome, Sulla was elected 'Praetor urbanus' in 97 BC. According to rumour,[citation needed] this was done through massive bribery of epic proportions. The next year he was appointed pro consule to the province of Cilicia (in Anatolia).

Sula only was elected consul in 88 bC, so he can't be a pro consule in 96 bC, as a pro consule was "In the Roman Republic, a proconsul was a promagistrate (like a propraetor) who, after serving as consul, spent a year as a governor of a province." Thanks by your excellent job.--Qamaq (talk) 20:41, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Nonsensical content[edit]

This "His son, Faustus Cornelius Sulla, issued denarii bearing the name of the dictator, as a grandson, Quintus Pompeius Rufus." doesn't seem to make any sense as it stands ("as a grandson" ??) -- if anyone knows what the author was attempting to say, perhaps they could edit it to become legible... Sisyphus88 (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 11:02, 30 December 2008 (UTC).

Done.Catiline63 (talk) 11:36, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Name in small capitals[edit]

For a discussion about the usefulness/accuracy of writing a Roman name in small capitals, see Talk:Augustus#Latin name. Adam Bishop (talk) 06:49, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Battle of Chaeronea (86 BC)[edit]

The description of this battle doesn't match the description in the main article for |Battle of Chaeronea (86 BC| Can anyone shed some light here? KeithJonsn (talk) 13:52, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

That section has no footnotes. I wonder whether Keaveney was used. If so, that might explain it, as I've found other instances in his Sulla where he, ahem, diverges from the readings of other scholars, particularly in military campaign history. Cynwolfe (talk) 12:21, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

using German article to expand[edit]

I perhaps rashly deleted a tag at the top of this article suggesting that it be expanded through translating its German counterpart. I'm not sure that's a good idea. First, the English article is already not insubstantial. Second, the German article will use mainly German sources, and high-quality English sources are readily available. So while German scholarship should certainly be used by those who can read it, I question the wisdom of simply translating someone else's reading of those sources in order to produce an English article. This would seem also to contradict WP:RSUE, though I think non-English sources should be used more often. The suggestion to expand an article usually makes sense when the subject isn't well covered in English sources; for instance, an article on a German town or political institution is likely to be superior on German WP, with limited English sources. Here it just seems to add an extra layer of transmission, when one could just as easily read the primary and secondary sources in English, supplemented with the German sources if one's German was good enough to translate an article in the first place. Cynwolfe (talk) 12:16, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Wrong way round ?[edit]

Misguidedly, I just linked to this page under the heading of the this section on this page, without reading the second civil war page through first (as soon as I found out it existed, and having seen the similar link for his first civil war, I thought it made sense and did the edit before actually reading it) I then found out that i had just linked to a terse summary of the war from a more detailed explanation of it. Should not the dedicated article bear more info than the section in the biography? In yet another of my many floutings of WP:BOLD, I have put this issue to the community both here and on the Second Civil war talk page.

Since this is the bigger page with more traffic (perhaps the root of the problem), I suggest we discuss it here.

мдснєтє тдлкЅТЦФФ 09:30, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

POV issue[edit]

In the introduction, it is stated, "He was one of the canonical great men of Roman history" without a citation being given. This seems like a POV issue to me.Blaylockjam10 (talk) 10:22, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

Yes, there is a POV issue. I can cite more: "He was one of the canonical great men of Roman history" (peacock!), "Sulla was a highly original, gifted and skillful general" (peacock!), "he then stunned the Roman World (and posterity) by resigning the dictatorship" (no, he doesn't stun me, I don't share the feelings of the text), "the former [optimates] seeking to maintain the power of the oligarchy in the form of the Senate while the latter [populares] resorted in many cases to naked populism". This is not good writing, and somewhere underneath was an original text that I guess was copied from an old version of Enc. Britannica, or some such. Happenstance I POVly agree that there were a power struggle below this, but I don't sympathize either way, I just want to know how he acted in what context, and how the opponents acted, and for the rest POVly think that that age was a bloody age, solving the conflicts by the sword.
Ah'gonna POV-mark it. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 13:03, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
I took {{peacock}} instead. The article is generally acceptable, but the language annoyingly subjective. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 13:07, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Empire Earth in legacy[edit]

Where does Sulla lose in the Game Empire Earth. I know it's a trivial point but i though i should clear it up. If nobody minds and nobody objects i hope i can change it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tca achintya (talkcontribs) 20:07, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

bold rewrite of lead[edit]

I am going now to rewrite the lead, removing all the gushing about Sulla. Feel free to criticize. Bazuz (talk) 00:13, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

These edits seem to be less POV to me. IP undid them, but I've restored them for now. I'd be willing to discuss these with the IP or others. Paul August 18:13, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I'd also like to hear why the IP thought my edits were undesirable. I was mulling over mentioning the proscriptions in the lead (Sulla was the first one who introduced this nefarious concept to Rome) but then decided against it. The old lead presented the facts well, it just did so in a slightly hagiographic way, which I believe is misplaced here. Bazuz (talk) 15:58, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Move. Jafeluv (talk) 11:17, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

Lucius Cornelius SullaSullaSulla already redirects to Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who is the clear primary topic. As is noted, this figure is commonly referred to simply as "Sulla". Cynwolfe (talk) 17:06, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

  • Support. WP:ROMANS recommends use of common names over formal names, except where there is no clear primary topic. Sulla is nearly always referred to as such and is the most well-known Roman of the name. Knight of Truth (talk) 11:26, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. per KoT. Peacemaker67 (send... over) 12:03, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - very commonly referred to as just "Sulla". Pity we don't have the same situation with Julius Caesar, even though he is the first person I think off when I say Caesar. Green Giant (talk) 04:28, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Support per all the above. Paul August 12:29, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Negotiation with Bocchus to betray Jugurtha[edit]

Can someone explain how Sulla managed to persuade Bocchus to betray Jugurtha when Bocchus was father in law to Jugurtha? How in the blazes did Sulla manage this? Is it due to his character, and so what specifically? Did he just understand something about human nature? (talk) 08:46, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

No, in 108 BC Bocchus had vacillated between joining either Jugurtha or the Romans, and he joined Jugurtha only on his promising him the third part of his Numidian kingdom. The two kings were then twice defeated in battleby Marius and Bocchus, wanting to extricate himself from the adventure, made overtures to the Romans, and after an interview with Sulla, who was Gaius Marius's Quaestor at that time, sent ambassadors to Rome. In Rome the hope of an alliance was encouraged by the Senate, but on condition that Bocchus showed himself deserving of it. After further negotiations with Sulla, he finally agreed to send a message to Jugurtha requesting his presence. Jugurtha fell into the trap and was given up to Sulla. Bocchus concluded a treaty with the Romans, and a portion of Numidia was added to his kingdom. So Bocchus’ reasons were entirely self-serving politics: he was tired of a war he considered unwinnable and by betraying his son-in-law he even managed to enlarge his own kingdom: a bit Machiavellian but a win-win situation for Bocchus nonetheless. -- fdewaele, 12 June 2014, 11:49 CET.

Thank you for the timely response. This is a bit unrelated to the question, but still on Sulla, do you think that his memoirs are lost in time because history gave him the finger since, no other dictator has gotten away with it like him, they're either dethroned, assassinated, etc while he died of disease/drunkeness! He just seems to "perfect" or too much to "idolize" over by naive people looking for those "badass" figures who never lost, so Caesar obviously has his rich memoirs intact but he of course was offed, so it is this tradeoff (coincidentally i wonder if Hannibal had memoirs) If this is complete nonsense than disregard.2602:306:36A6:E080:F0AF:E459:EFA8:A4CA (talk) 07:23, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

They're probably just lost and not intentionally destroyed as a damnatio memoriae. Some of the most renowned works of Roman antiquity and literature have been lost or are known to us in incomplete form (for instance work by Livius or Tacitus) or were preserved/survived by chance (a single copy found in a library). Lesser known work is even easier lost. And some famous works are only known to us by referrals in other books (Sulla's Memoirs are referenced by Plutarch) or by reputation. Many works were lost in the period after the fall of the empire, when barbarian hordes overran the empire and plundered and culture became on the backburner. Sometimes a work is rediscovered, for instance Cicero’s famous work De re publica was rediscovered only in 1822.

The following Roman works were lost to us but we know of them by referral:

  • Emperor Augustus' De Vita Sua
  • Caesar's Anticatonis Libri II (only fragments survived), Carmina et prolusiones (only fragments survived), De analogia libri II ad M. Tullium Ciceronem, De astris liber, Dicta collectanea, Letters (only fragments survived) Epistulae ad Ciceronem & Epistulae ad familiares, Iter (only one fragment survived), Laudes Herculis, Libri auspiciorum ("books of auspices", also known as Auguralia), Oedipus.
  • Cato the Elder's Origines (a 7 book history of Rome and the Italian states), Carmen de moribus (a book of prayers or incantations for the dead in verse), Praecepta ad Filium (a collection of maxims)
  • From the Emperor Claudius: De arte alea ("the art of playing dice", a book on dice games), an Etruscan dictionary, an Etruscan history, a history of Augustus' reign, eight volumes on Carthaginian history, a defense of Cicero against the charges of Asinius Gallus
  • Verrius Flaccus' De Orthographia: De Obscuris Catonis (an elucidation of obscurities in the writings of Cato the Elder), Saturnus (dealing with questions of Roman ritual), Rerum memoria dignarum libri (an encyclopaedic work much used by Pliny the Elder), Res Etruscae (on augury).
  • Frontinus: De re militari (a military manual)
  • Livy: 107 of the 142 books of Ab Urbe Condita
  • Lucan's: Catachthonion, Iliacon (from the Trojan cycle), Epigrammata, Adlocutio ad Pollam, Silvae, Saturnalia, Medea, Salticae Fabulae, Laudes Neronis (a praise of Nero), Orpheus, Prosa oratio in Octavium Sagittam, Epistulae ex Campania, De Incendio Urbis
  • Ovid's poem Medea, of which only two fragments survive.
  • Pliny the Elder's: History of the German Wars (some quotations survive in Tacitus' Annals and Germania), Studiosus (a detailed work on rhetoric), Dubii sermonis, History of his Times ( in thirty-one books, also quoted by Tacitus), De jaculatione equestri (a military handbook on missiles thrown from horseback).
  • Gaius Asinius Pollio's Historiae ("Histories")
  • Quintilian's De Causis Corruptae Eloquentiae (On the Causes of Corrupted Eloquence)
  • Diodorus Siculus' Bibliotheca historia (Historical Library)- of 40 books, only the first 5 books, and books 10 through 20 are extant.
  • Strabo's History.
  • Marcus Terentius Varro's: Saturarum Menippearum libri CL (Menippean Satires in 150 books), Antiquatatum rerum humanarum et divinarum libri XLI, Logistoricon libri LXXVI, Hebdomades vel de imaginibus, Disciplinarum libri IX
  • Suetonius: De Viris Illustribus ("On Famous Men" — in the field of literature), to which belongs: De Illustribus Grammaticis ("Lives Of The Grammarians"), De Claris Rhetoribus ("Lives Of The Rhetoricians"), and Lives Of The Poets. Some fragments exist, Lives of Famous Whores, Royal Biographies, Roma ("On Rome"), in four parts: Roman Manners & Customs, The Roman Year, The Roman Festivals, and Roman Dress, Greek Games, On Public Offices, On Cicero’s Republic, The Physical Defects of Mankind, Methods of Reckoning Time, An Essay on Nature, Greek Terms of Abuse, Grammatical Problems, Critical Signs Used in Books
  • Lost plays of Aeschylus. He is believed to have written some 90 plays of which six plays survive

And so on… -- fdewaele, 13 June 2014, 10:20 CET.

That is interesting about about damnation memorize never realized that… but meant more along the lines of ….fate….. but yeah probably people physically destroying it makes more plausible sense (even though as you say they wetre just lost) (talk) 20:15, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

Don't forget that in that time only a small percentage or the population was literate and that books, before the advent of mass production printed literature in the late 15th century AD, were always handwritten copies, made by slaves, and were always in small numbers. There were also very few libraries existent, making books always part of private collections. Thus books were rare, making lost literature even more probable. -- fdewaele, 20 June 2014, 11:30 CET.

Closest visual representation?[edit]

The photo of ol' Mr. Felix on the page , is this really the most accurate depiction of how he looked? It certainly captures that brutality definitely better than this one except this one looks more realistic and less exaggerated:

Although this color drawn pic based off of the original photo definitely feels like a person moreso with actual features

However in truth was he really so hearty looking or more slimmer as in the 2nd photo? (talk) 08:10, 20 June 2014 (UTC)

Who will tell? We have to work with the materials at hand because photographic evidence is off course to recent and invention :lol:. That said, the so-called bust of Sulla in the Munich Glyptothek, depicting him in his late thirties, early forties, is the most accepted version of how he probably looked like. A variant (going to below the shoulders and thus not only head and neck as the in the Munich one) exists where he has clothes and even has a nose, and which has a remarkable facial similarity with the Munich bust. There is also a known bust of Sulla in old age in which one can see some likeness with the Munich bust. In Roman times, however those busts and statues would have been more lifelike as they were painted. It would have shown Sulla as a redhead. Plus, how he looked like would depend and vary on the sculptor as some "artistic license" was not uncommon. -- fdewaele, 20 June 2014, 11:40 CET.
Would you say this illustration is an accurate depiction? (talk) 06:32, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

What did he do before becoming Marius's Quester and why choice of career?[edit]

So has it ever been revealed why Sulla chose to go the route of politics/military over anything else? Don't get it. There's this blank section bridging when he's living a dissolute life to when he is Marius's Quester against Jugurtha. Why didn't he instead, oh i don't know choose to be an actor or something since he hung out with those folks so much? Why politics? Was he even a soldier before? (talk) 01:47, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

While you will find many people on these talk pages who are deeply interested in the subject matter, this isn't what the talk pages are for. Please read WP:TALK#USE, specifically:
Stay on topic: Talk pages are for discussing the article, not for general conversation about the article's subject (much less other subjects).
As for your basic question, history doesn't have an answer. Details about that era of his life simply haven't survived the years. You can find much speculation on the subject, but nothing definitive. Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 02:05, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
According to Plutarch, Sulla was a member of an impoverized branch of the Cornelii. Plutarch states that he managed to reverse his finances by inheriting from his mistress Nicopolis and from his stepmother. Why did he enter politics and the military? Firstly because military service was a prerequisite for a young noble Roman to make a career. Because for a noble Roman politics was the evident way of life and it was expected of him to pursue the cursus honorum. Higher ranks in the Roman military were also part of politcs: it was coupled to certain political offices (quaestor, praetor, consul, proconsul). Plus family and friendship ties often meant that one accompagnied a member of the family holding a high office, as his legatus. -- fdewaele, 22 June 2014.
Oh got it Neustaedter. And also thanks fedweale yes. just lineage nothing surprising then. (talk) 00:44, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Political Party[edit]

There is no consensus that optimates and populares could accurately be described as political parties; it shouldn't be implied that there is by listing optimates as a political party. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:00, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

ok 2602:306:36A6:CF60:4DF3:8016:7902:A48C (talk) 20:38, 15 July 2014 (UTC)