Some Criminals Receive Correction

“However, when it was already late at night there came to Sulla’s camp messengers from Crassus to fetch food for Crassus himself and for his soldiers. For they had defeated the enemy, pursued them to Antennae, and were now in camp there. When Sulla heard this and heard also that most of the enemy had been destroyed, he came to Antennae at dawn.  Here 3,000 of those left inside sent a deputation to him to ask for terms, and Sulla promised that he would guarantee their safety if, before coming over to him, they would do some harm to the rest of his enemies.”*

Plutarch describes the triumph of the Sulla and his generals in a civil war from 83 BC to 81 BC. Crassus, later the wealthiest man in Rome, fought with Sulla.  His army chased their enemies to Antennae where Sulla made the deal with the men there.  They did attack Sulla’s other enemies and many killed each other. In the end, Sulla’s army rounded up about 6,000 of his enemies and put them in the Field of Mars in Rome. Then Sulla called the Senate to meet near there.  Plutarch explained:

“He then summoned the senate to meet in the Temple of Bellona, and at the same moment as he himself rose up to speak those who had been given the job began to butcher the 6,000 in the circus.  The noise of the shrieks – so many men being massacred in so small a space – was, as might be expected, easily audible and the senators were dumbfounded.  Sulla, however, continued to speak with the same calm and unmoved expression. He told the senators to listen to what he had to say and not to bother their heads with what was going on outside. ‘Some of the criminals’, he said, ‘are receiving correction. It is being done by my order.’ “**

Plutarch discussed Sulla’s actions in the following paragraph:

* Plutarch, Fall of the Roman Empire, trans. Rex Warner, Revised Ed. (New York, 2005), pp. 95-96

** Ibid., 96.

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