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Rome after Sulla examines Rome's response to the dictatorship of Sulla, concentrating on the years 80-77 BC and the immediate aftermath of Sulla's autocracy. A clear and authoritative account of the political history of this formative era is presented, uniquely piecing together a coherent narrative and unpicking the importance of these years for our broader understanding of the late Republic.
Beginning in 80 BC, at the point when Sulla ceased to hold autocratic power in Rome, Rome After Sulla offers a new approach to our main source for the year 80: Cicero's Pro Roscio, a politicised speech which Cicero delivered in defence of Roscius against a charge of murder. The book proceeds to explore the election of M. Aemilius Lepidus in 79 BC for the consulship of 78 and his revolt against the Sullan system in 78-77, as well as the wider ramifications of these years and the structural pressures which affected the collapse of the republic.
Drawing on Sallust's fragmentary Historiae, as well as Cicero, Plutarch, Appian, and the Livian tradition, a portrait of Roman society struggling to come to terms with the legacy of its first civil war is drawn. Contemporaries and later writers grappled with anxieties about dangerously recurring patterns, about justice, and about the price of stability. This in-depth exploration of the sources and what they say about autocracy and stability contributes to the historical picture not only of Sulla, but also of Caesar and of Rome's move from republic to autocratic rule.