CHAPTER XIII. SULLA IN ITALY.
[Sulla sets out homewards.] Leaving Murena in Asia with Fimbria's legions, Sulla, in 84 B.C., with his soldiers in good humour, and with full coffers, at last set out homewards. Three days after sailing from Ephesus he reached the Piraeus. Thence he wrote to the Senate in a different style from that in which he had communicated his victory over Fimbria, when he had not mentioned his own outlawry. He now recounted the Senate all that he had done, and contrasted it with what had been done to him at Rome, how his house had been destroyed, his friends murdered, and his wife and children forced to fly for their lives. He was on his way, he said, to punish his enemies and those who had wronged him. Other men, including the newly-enfranchised Italians, need be under no apprehension. We do not know much of what had been going on at Rome beyond what has been related in a previous chapter. Cinna and Carbo, the consuls, were making what preparations they could when the letter arrived. But it struck a cold chill of dread into many of the Senate, and Cinna and Carbo were told to desist for a time, while an embassy was sent to Sulla to try and arrange terms, and to ask, if he wished to be assured of his own safety, what were his demands. But when the ambassadors were gone, Cinna and Carbo proclaimed themselves consuls for 83, so that they might not have to come back to Rome to hold the elections; and Cinna was soon afterwards murdered at Ancona. The tribunes then compelled Carbo to come back and hold the elections in the regular manner; and Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus and Caius Norbanus were elected.
Meanwhile the ambassadors had found Sulla in Greece, and had received his answer. [Sulla's response to an embassy from Rome.] He said that he would never be reconciled to such criminals as his enemies, though the Romans might, if they chose; and that, as for his own safety, he had an army devoted to him, and should prefer to secure the safety of the Senate and his own adherents. He sent back with the ambassadors some friends to represent him before the Senate, and, embarking his army at the Piraeus, ordered it to go round the coast to Patrae in Achaia, and thence to the shores opposite Brundisium. He, himself, having a fit of gout, went to Euboea, to try the springs of Aedepsus. [Story of Sulla and some fishermen.] One day, says Plutarch, while he was walking on the shore there some fishermen brought him some fine fish. He was much pleased, but when they told him that they were citizens of Halae, a town which he had destroyed after the battle of Orchomenos, he said in his grim way, 'What! is there a man of Halae still alive?' But then he told the men to take heart, for the fish had pleaded eloquently for them. From Euboea he crossed to the mainland to rejoin his troops. They were about 40,000 in number, and more than 200,000 men were, he said, in arms against him in Italy. [Devotion of Sulla's troops to him.] But Sulla, who had connived at their mutinies, their vices, and their breaches of discipline, who had always led them to victory, and had never yet thrown aside that mask of moderation which veiled an inflexible determination to be revenged - Sulla who had been so long the sole representative of authority, and to whom they had learned to look for their ultimate reward, was their hero and hope. They offered him their money, and of their own accord swore not to disperse or to ravage the country. Sulla refused their money. Indeed he must have had plenty of his own. But now, when slowly and still very cautiously he was unfolding his designs, such devotion must have been very welcome.