|The Story of Rome|
|by Mary Macgregor|
|A vivid account of the story of Rome from the earliest times to the death of Augustus, retold for children, chronicling the birth of a city and its growth through storm and struggle to become a great world empire. Gives short accounts of battles and campaigns, and of the men who expanded the borders of the Roman empire to include all lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Ages 10-14 |
THE PROSCRIPTIONS OF SULLA
 AFTER his victory over the Samnites, Sulla met the Senate in
the temple of Bellona, without the walls of the city.
Ominous thoughts stole into the minds of the senators
and distracted them, as the general's speech was
suddenly interrupted by terrible shrieks as of those in
Sulla alone remained undisturbed. But seeing that the
senators were not listening to his speech, he sternly
bade them "not to busy themselves with what was doing
out of doors."
The cries were those of the six thousand Samnite
prisoners, who were being ruthlessly slain by Sulla's
At this time, too, young Marius, who had fought against
Sulla, killed himself rather than fall into the hands
of his father's enemy.
His head was brought to Sulla at Rome. "One should be
rower before one takes the helm," said the tyrant,
looking with unconcern at the hideous trophy. For he
was angry that young Marius had been chosen Consul when
he was only twenty-seven years of age.
The forebodings of many were now justified, for Rome
became as a city of the dead. Sulla had determined to
kill all who had been his enemies while he was absent
Day after day the cruel slaughter went on. Forty
senators and sixteen hundred of the citizens were
condemned, and to add to the consternation among those
who had escaped, there were others yet to be punished.
Sulla said that he could not remember their names. The
suspense in the city was terrible.
 One senator, bolder than the others, said to Sulla:
"We do not ask you to pardon any whom you have resolved
to destroy, but to free from doubt those whom you are
pleased to spare."
"I know not as yet whom I will spare," grimly answered
"Why, then," persisted the senator, "tell us whom you
Sulla promised to do this, and henceforth lists of
those who were doomed were hung up in the Forum. These
lists were called the "Proscriptions of Sulla."
Lists of those who were doomed were hung up in the Forum.
In the first list eighty persons were proscribed, and
for a moment Rome dreamed that there would be no more
dread uncertainty, that the end of the death sentences
had at least come in sight.
But the horror in the city was but heightened by the
proscriptions, when the first list was followed by
another, and yet another.
Moreover, an edict was published, saying that if any
one dared to give shelter or food to a proscribed
person he would be punished with death. While, if any
one killed a person whose name was on the list of the
condemned, he would be rewarded. The property of those
who perished was forfeited, and in this way Sulla and
his friends soon grew rich. These cruel proscriptions
remain for ever a blot on Sulla's fame.
For one hundred and twenty years there had been no
Dictator. But now Sulla determined to become the ruler
of Rome under that name.
In other times a Dictator was elected only for six
months, but Sulla had no intention of abdicating in so
short a time. He meant to remain Dictator as long as
The tyrant was of course elected, for no one dared to
resist his will. He took the title toward the end of
82 B.C., and held it for about three years.
But there was one man in Rome whose influence was
 fast increasing, and he was not afraid of Sulla. This
Pompey had been sent to Africa by Sulla, and in forty
days had defeated the enemies of Rome, and restored the
King of Numidia to his throne.
When the successful general returned Sulla went out to
meet him at the head of a great procession, and
welcomed him as Magnus, or the Great. And the name
clung to him, for from that time he was known as Pompey
But when Pompey claimed a triumph, Sulla was not
pleased, and refused to grant it.
Pompey knew that he was liked by the people, while
Sulla ruled only because he had inspired them with
terror. It would not be long in the Dictator's power
to refuse his claim.
"More worship the rising than the setting sun," he
murmured, and those around him who heard these bold
words were startled. Sulla, seeing their amazement,
demanded what Pompey had said.
On being told, he cried out testily: "Let him
triumph, let him triumph."
In 79 B.C. Sulla, to the surprise and relief of Rome,
laid down his Dictatorship, and retired to a beautiful
villa he had built near Cumæ.
Here he employed his time in entertaining men of
letters and artists, and in writing his memoirs. He
died in 78 B.C., while his memoirs were still
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