Caesar, a History of the Art of War among the Romans down to the End of the Roman Empire, with a Detailed Account of the Campaigns of Caius Julius Caesar - Vol. 1

By Theodore Ayrault Dodge | Go to book overview

II.
SULLA, POMPEY. 90-60 B. C.

SULLA was one of the ablest generals of his era. He learned his trade under Marius. He first used earthworks in battle to protect his lines, and at Orchomenus he used fieldworks to hem in his enemy. Sulla was bold and discreet; he was both lion and fox. Pompey was one of those captains upon whom greatness happens to be thrust. Of good but not high ability, exceptional fortune enabled him to reap the benefit of the hard work of others. He was slow and lacked initiative, but did some of his work well. His early successes in Sicily and Africa earned him the title of Great at twenty-four; but when he went to Spain and opposed Sertorius, one of the most noteworthy generals of antiquity, he more than met his match. Only the death of Sertorius enabled him to win success. The campaign in which Pompey swept the pirates from the Mediterranean was a simple piece of work excellently done; his campaign in the East had been already made easy by Lucullas, whose labors redounded to Pompey's credit. On the whole, while Pompey should not be underrated, it must be acknowledged that he earned his great repute on more than usually slender grounds.

SULLA, as a general, stands higher than any of the men immediately preceding Cæsar. He got his training in the Jugurthan war under Marius, and won his first laurels by the able negotiations which mainly contributed to the capture of Jugurtha and the ending of that difficult conflict. He again served under Marius in the campaign against the Cimbri and Teutones. Later on, master and pupil marked an era in the history of Rome by their competition for the supremacy of the state.

Sulla's work in the East in the Mithridatic war was masterly. His siege of Athens, coupled to the earlier siege of Numantia by Scipio Africanus Minor, furnished the pattern

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