Lucius Cornelius Sulla is one of the central figures of the late Roman Republic. Indeed, he is often considered a major catalyst in the death of the republican system. the ambitious general whose feud with a rival (Marius) led to his marching on Rome with an army at his back, leading to civil war and the terrible internecine bloodletting of the proscriptions. In these things, and in his appropriation of the title of dictator with absolute power, he set a dangerous precedent to be followed by Julius Caesar a generation later.
Lynda Telford believes Sulla's portrayal as a monstrous, brutal tyrant is unjustified. While accepting that he was responsible for much bloodshed, she contends that he was no more brutal than many of his contemporaries who have received a kinder press. Moreover, even his harshest measures were motivated not by selfish ambition but by genuine desire to do what he believed best for Rome. The author believes the bias of the surviving sources, and modern biographers, has exaggerated the ill-feeling towards Sulla in his lifetime. After all, he voluntarily laid aside dictatorial power and enjoyed a peaceful retirement without fear of assassination. The contrast to Caesar is obvious.
Lynda Telford gives a long overdue reappraisal of this significant personality, considering such factors as the effect of his disfiguring illness. The portrait that emerges is a subtle and nuanced one; her Sulla is very much a human, not a monster.
The author brings his life and times to us in its full panoply.Society of Ancients Slingshot 311
I heartily recommend this book to anyone who has even the slightest interest in the history of the later Roman republic.
The author brings his life and times to us in it's full panoply. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who has even the slightest interest in the history of the later Roman republic. Hopefully, she is hard at work on a biography of Pompey. In the meantime join me on every Ides of March, and raise a toast to Sulla and Pompey.A Wargamers Needful Things
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Sulla is one of the most controversial figures in Roman history ...the author has done her research.History of War
Well researched and well argued, this is an intelligent and thought-provoking book, well worth a read.Steve Earles, destructive-music.com