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Headword: Σύλλας
Adler number: sigma,1337
Translated headword: Sulla
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
[genitive] Σύλλου : a proper name.
The Romans' civil war started in the consulship of Sulla.[1] Livy and Diodorus tell that [omens] indicated the course of the evils to come. In a calm and clear sky there was heard the sound of a trumpet, with a loud and dismal blast.[2] And all who heard it went out of their minds with terror: the Etruscan sages affirmed that this prodigy betokened the mutation of the age, and a general revolution in the world. For according to them there are in all eight ages, differing one from another in the lives and the characters of men, and to each of these god has allotted a certain measure of time, determined by the circuit of the great year. And when one age is run out, at the approach of another, there appears some wonderful sign from earth or heaven, such as makes it manifest at once to those who have made it their business to study such things, that there has succeeded in the world a new race of men, differing in customs and institutes of life, and less regarded by the gods than the preceding. So whether all this was so or otherwise I refrain from investigating. Sulla the consul, having set out from Ephesus,[3] passed a certain time in the city of Athens and seized the library of Apellikon the Teian,[4] in which were most of the books of Theophrastus and Aristotle, as Plutarch says, not well-known at this time to many people, but since then, they would amplify human knowledge. Sulla the consul, having made an history of his own actions, began to call and write of himself as 'Fortunate'. And once Laberia,[5] a notable Roman woman, when passing along behind Sulla, leaned on him with her hand, and plucked a bit of wool from his garment. And when Sulla turned round, "Do not worry, imperator," said she, "but I want to partake a little in your felicity". And after Metella's death, he married, after a little, this woman.
Greek Original:
Σύλλας, Σύλλου: ὄνομα κύριον. ὅτι ἐπὶ Σύλλα τοῦ ὑπάτου ὁ ἐμφύλιος Ῥωμαίων ἀνήφθη πόλεμος. ἐπισημῆναι δὲ τὴν τῶν μελλόντων κακῶν φορὰν Λίβιός φησι καὶ Διόδωρος. ἐξ ἀνεφέλου τοῦ ἀέρος καὶ αἰθρίας πολλῆς ἦχον ἀκουσθῆναι σάλπιγγος, ὀξὺν ἀποτεινούσης καὶ θρηνώδη φθόγγον. καὶ τοὺς μὲν ἀκούσαντας ἅπαντας ἔκφρονας ὑπὸ δέους γενέσθαι: τοὺς δὲ Τυρρηνῶν μάντεις μεταβολὴν τοῦ γένους καὶ μετακόσμησιν ἀποφήνασθαι σημαίνειν τὸ τέρας. εἶναι μὲν γὰρ ἀνθρώπων η# γένη, διαφέροντα τοῖς βίοις καὶ τοῖς ἤθεσιν ἀλλήλων: ἑκάστῳ δὲ ἀφωρίσθαι χρόνον ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, συμπεραινόμενον ἐνιαυτοῦ μεγάλου περιόδῳ. τῆς γοῦν προτέρας περιόδου τελευτώσης καὶ ἑτέρας ἐνισταμένης, κινεῖσθαί τι σημεῖον ἐκ γῆς ἢ οὐρανοῦ θαυμάσιον, ὃ δῆλον εὐθὺς τοῖς τὰ τοιαῦτα σοφοῖς γίνεσθαι, ὅτι καὶ τρόποις ἄλλοις καὶ βίοις ἄνθρωποι χρώμενοι γεγόνασι καὶ θεοῖς ἧττον τῶν προτέρων μέλονται. ταῦτα μὲν οὖν εἴτε οὕτως εἴτε ἄλλως πως ἔχει, σκοπεῖν παρίημι. ὅτι Σύλλας ὁ ὕπατος ἀπάρας ἐξ Ἐφέσου προσσχών τε ταῖς Ἀθήναις ἐνδιέτριψε τῇ πόλει χρόνου τινὸς καὶ τὴν Ἀπελλικῶντος τοῦ Τηί̈ου καταλαβὼν ἐνταῦθα βιβλιοθήκην ἀνείλετο: ἐν ᾗ πλεῖστα τῶν Ἀριστοτέλους καὶ Θεοφράστου βιβλίων ἦν, οὔπω τότε τοῖς πολλοῖς, ᾗ φησι Πλούταρχος, γνωριζόμενα, ἀλλ' ἐντεῦθεν ἐς τὴν τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐκφοιτήσαντα γνῶσιν. ὅτι Σύλλας ὁ ὕπατος ἐπιλογισμὸν τῶν ἑαυτοῦ πράξεων ποιήσας Εὐτυχῆ ἑαυτὸν ἐκάλει καὶ ἔγραφε. καί ποτε Λαβερία, Ῥωμαία γυνὴ οὐκ ἀφανής, ἐξόπισθεν τοῦ Σύλλου πορευομένη ἐπιβάλλει τὴν χεῖρα καὶ κροκύδα τοῦ ἱματίου σπᾷ. τοῦ δὲ ἐπιστραφέντος, οὐδὲν δεινόν, εἰπεῖν, αὐτόκρατορ: ἀλλὰ βούλομαι τῆς σῆς κἀγὼ μικρὸν εὐτυχίας μεταλαβεῖν. τὸν δὲ ὑπερησθῆναί τε τῷ ῥηθέντι καὶ μετὰ μικρὸν ἀγαγέσθαι ταύτην γυναῖκα, τῆς Μετέλλης ἤδη τεθνηκυίας.
Notes:
For L. Cornelius Sulla see generally OCD4 s.v. Cornelius Sulla Felix, Lucius. The present entry uses John of Antioch's digest of earlier writers.
[1] 88 BCE.
[2] cf. Plutarch, Sulla 7.6.
[3] cf. Plutarch, Sulla 26.1-2.
[4] Apellikon (alpha 3009), a wealthy native of Teos, afterwards an Athenian citizen, was a famous book collector of the 1st century BCE. He not only spent large sums in the acquisition of his library, but stole original documents from the archives of Athens and other cities of Greece. Being detected, he fled in order to escape punishment, but returned when Athenion (or Aristion), a bitter opponent of the Romans, had made himself tyrant of the city with the aid of Mithradates. Athenion sent him with some troops to Delos, to plunder the treasures of the temple, but he showed little military capacity. He was surprised by the Romans under the command of Orobius (or Orbius), and only saved his life by flight. He died a little later, probably in 84. Apellikon's chief pursuit was the collection of rare and important books. He purchased from the family of Neleus of Skepsis, in the Troad, manuscripts of the works of Aristotle and Theophrastus (including their libraries), which had been given to Neleus by Theophrastus himself, whose pupil Neleus had been. They had been concealed in a cellar to prevent their falling into the hands of the book-collecting princes of Pergamon, and were in a very dilapidated condition. Apellikon filled in the lacunae, and brought out a new, but faulty, edition. In 84 Sulla removed Apellikon's library to Rome (Strabo 13.1.54; Plutarch, Sulla 26). Here the manuscripts were handed over to the grammarian Tyrannion, who took copies of them, on the basis of which the Peripatetic philosopher Andronicus of Rhodes prepared an edition of Aristotle's works. Apellicon's library contained a remarkable old copy of the Iliad. He is said to have published a biography of Aristotle, in which the calumnies of other biographers were refuted.
[5] cf. Plutarch, Sulla 35.7. Plutarch says that Valeria was the protagonist of this anecdote: she was daughter of M. Valerius Messalla and Hortensia, sister of the orator Hortensius; f. Münzer, RE s.v. Valerius 389 col. 243.
References:
Baker G.P., Sulla the fortunate: the great dictator, being an essay on politics in the form of a historical biography. London 1927
Carcopino J., Silla o la monarchia mancata. Milan 1979
Keaveney A., Sulla: th last Republican. London 1982
Keywords: biography; chronology; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; historiography; history; military affairs; philosophy; religion; women
Translated by: Andrea Consogno on 3 July 2005@05:38:57.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (modified translation) on 3 July 2005@19:38:36.
David Whitehead (modified headword; supplemented and modified translation; augmented notes and keywords) on 4 July 2005@03:35:26.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 4 July 2005@22:30:08.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 7 July 2005@03:08:58.
David Whitehead (tweaking; raised status) on 2 January 2014@06:23:24.
David Whitehead on 9 August 2014@12:11:37.

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