Sulla in Sallust's Works

Korolenkov Anton V.

Sulla is the only character mentioned in all the three works of Sallust. But an integral analysis of Sulla's figure in all these works has not yet been undertaken. Sulla receives closest attention in Bellum Iugurtinum, where he plays a certain role at the final stage of the war. He is given a detailed laudatory characteristic pointing out his facundia, cupiditas gloriae, calUditas and largitio. Notably, Sulla is not free of shortcomings, but he is able to overcome them - he is the only one of Sallust's characters to receive such an appraisal. Sallust writes that Sulla's fortuna never surpassed his industria, but he does not mention his virtus, though juxtaposition of virtus and fortuna would only be natural. This is not accidental: the writer does not acknowledge Marius' virtus either, for both these military leaders plunged Rome into civil war. Sulla's outstanding qualities are revealed during his negotiations with Bocchus, but a closer analysis proves that it was not under the influence of Sulla's diplomatic art that Bocchus took the decision in favour of the Romans. Bocchus is shown constantly hesitative and changeable as fortuna herself - and it is with her that Sulla is fighting in Bocchus' person. His success is well deserved, though, which illustrates one of the writer's points: Fortuna meliores sequitur. In Coniuratio Catilinae and Historiae the dictator is described in purely negative terms: he is not just a tyrant, but the one whose activities accelerate moral degradation of the society. But essentially, his former virtues are never denied. The point is that he was overwhelmed by cupido dominandi, and so his virtues served evil purposes. Thus, the more he is praised in Bellum Iugurtinum, the more severely he is censured in Coniuratio Catilinae and Historiae.