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Title: Cutthroats and Profiteers: The Beneficiaries of Sulla in Roman Italy
Authors: Tobin, Carolyn Hartle
Advisors: Flower, Harriet
Contributors: Classics Department
Keywords: Ancient History
Economic History
Political History
Roman History
Roman Republic
Social History
Subjects: Ancient history
Classical studies
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation explores the aftermath of the brief dictatorial regime of Lucius Cornelius Sulla in the first century BCE by considering the men and women who profited from it. Far from merely a few elite partisans, Sulla’s beneficiaries stretched across social and economic classes: the profiteers of the auctions of property confiscated from the dictator’s enemies, the 10,000 slaves of Sulla’s enemies that he freed and gave his name, the soldiers of Sulla given plots of land in return for their service, and the members of Sulla’s family. The project considers these four groups of beneficiaries and their presence in the public imagination after Sulla’s death. Many of these men and women went on to thrive in the difficult economic climate of the 80s-60s BCE, and it only took a few public success stories for entire groups to face opprobrium, regardless of the level of their connection to Sulla himself. Although most accounts of Sulla’s dictatorship focus on the elite winners and losers who chose sides during the civil war, this dissertation argues that there were thousands of slaves, freedmen, and nonelite men who profited from his victory and subsequent policies. Part I considers Sulla’s proscriptions, a process in which the lives of his enemies were made forfeit and their wealth auctioned off by the state. It argues that the property of the proscribed was acquired by men and women across the social spectrum, and that the auctions were remembered particularly for the freed and nonelite men they elevated. Part II examines Sulla’s veteran soldiers, who were settled in colonies and individual land grants across Italy. These men became synonymous with both ill-gotten wealth and extreme poverty as the soldiers themselves faced both a difficult economic climate and waves of reenlistment, but some men did find success in their new homes. Finally, Part III considers Sulla’s extended household, which included both his relatives and the 10,000 slaves that he freed. Although these groups are opposites in many respects, they both faced strong social ties to the dictator, and Sulla’s son and grandsons continued to celebrate him after his death.
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Classics

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