Livy, Periochae 81-85

Titus Livius or Livy (59 BCE - 17 CE): Roman historian, author of the authorized version of the history of the Roman republic.

A large part of Livy's History of Rome since the Foundation is now lost, but fortunately we have an excerpt, called the Periochae, which helps us reconstruct the general scope. This translation was made by Jona Lendering.


From Book 81

[81.1] [87 BCE] Lucius Sulla besieged Athens, which had been occupied by Archelaus, an officer of Mithridates;

[81.2] [86] after much labor he took the city ....note he gave it back the freedom it used to have.

[81.3] Magnesia, the only city in Asia that remained loyal, was defended against Mithridates with the greatest courage.

[81.4] Itnote also contains an account of Thracian raids into Macedonia.

From Book 82

[82.1] Sulla defeated in battle the army of the king, which had occupied Macedonia and entered Thessaly. 100,000 enemies were killed and the camp was captured.

[82.2] Later, the war was renewed and Sulla defeated and destroyed a second army of the king.

[82.3] Archelaus and the royal navy surrendered to Sulla.

[82.4] Because of his avarice, consul Lucius Valerius Flaccus, the colleague of Cinna, who was sent out to replace Sulla, was impopular with his army, and he was murdered by his own deputy, Gaius Fimbria, an utterly reckless man, and the command was transferred to Fimbria.

[82.5] Itnote also contains accounts of Mithridates' attack on the cities in Asia, the ruin of that province, and Thracian raids into Macedonia.

From Book 83

[83.1] After defeating in Asia several commanders of Mithridates in battle, Flavius Fimbria captured the city of Pergamon, and narrowly failed to arrest the king he was besieging

[83.2] He also took and sacked the city of Troy, which was waiting to surrender to Sulla, and recovered a large part of Asia.

[83.3] Sulla crushed the Thracians in many battles.

[83.4] [85] When Lucius Cinna and Gnaeus Papirius Carbo, who had made themselves consuls for two years, were preparing the war against Sulla, Lucius Valerius Flaccus (the princeps of the Senate) delivered a speech in the Senate and, with the help of those who were pressing for unity, made sure that envoys were sent to Sulla to discuss peace.

[83.5] [84] Cinna was killed by his own army, which he had tried to force against its will to board ships and set out against Sulla. 

[83.6] Carbo was now sole consul.

[83.7] [85] Sulla crossed into Asia and made peace with Mithridates, so that he ceded the provinces of Asia, Bithynia, and Cappadocia.

[83.8] Fimbria, left by his army, which sided with Sulla, stabbed himself, offered his neck to a slave, and persuaded the latter to kill him.

From Book 84

[84.1] Sulla replied to the envoys who had been sent by the Senate that he would submit to the authority of the Senate if the rights of the citizens who had been expelled by Cinna and fled to him, were restored.

[84.2] Although this demand appeared to be reasonable to the Senate, Carbo and his faction, to whom war seemed more useful, prevented an agreement.

[84.3] When the same Carbo wanted to ask for hostages from all Italian towns and colonies, to secure their loyalty against Sulla, this was prevented by a unified Senate.

[84.4] By senatorial decree, the new citizens received the right to vote.

[84.5] After Quintus Metellus Pius, who had embraced the politics of the optimates and provoked a war in Africa, had been defeated by praetor Gaius Fabius, the faction of Carbo and the adherents of Marius passed a senatorial decree that all armies everywhere ought to be disbanded.

[84.6] Freedmen were registered in the thirty-five voting districts.

[84.7] Itnote also contains an account of the preparations of the war that was to be launched against Sulla.

From Book 85

[85.1] [83] When Sulla crossed into Italy with his army, he sent envoys to talk about peace, but when they were maltreated by consul Gaius Norbanus, he defeated this same Norbanus in battle.

[85.2] And when he was about to attack the camp of Lucius Scipio (the other consul), with whom he had unsuccessfully tried to reach an agreement, the entire consular army, invited by soldiers sent by Sulla, transferred its allegiance to Sulla.

[85.3] Scipio, who might have been killed, was released.

[85.4] Gnaeus Pompey (the son of the Gnaeus Pompeius who had captured Asculum) conscripted a three-legion army of volunteers and went to Sulla, to whom all leading men of Rome made their way as well, and because of this going to the camp, the city seemed abandoned.

[85.5] Itnote also contains an account of the expeditions of war leaders of both sides all over Italy.