In antiquity Lucullus was indisputably a great general, one to be numbered with Sulla and Pompey. This book narrates in detail the great Asiatic campaigns upon which his military repute chiefly rests. But there is a darker side. Another ancient tradition suggests that when the wars were done Lucullus became a fatty degenerate, a miserable trifler devoting his time to banquets, baths and the building of follies. This book explodes this myth, arguing that Lucullus' leisure activities were the outward expression of an aesthetic impulse, not simply weak self-indulgence. It is demonstrated that Lucullus was highly active in public spheres to the very end of his life.
Sulla, one of the republic's great dictators, was a seminal influence on the life and political outlook of Lucullus. Lucullus and his friends aimed to carry the Sullan political ideal and constitutional arrangements into the next generation. This book details Lucullus' fight to do this, and shows how and why he ultimately failed. It is suggested that he may be viewed as a paradigm of the age in which he lived. Inheritor of the Sullan ideal, his failure is also its failure - in one man is embodied a whole class and its melancholy fate.
This is the first full length study of this most interesting figure to be undertaken in English. Lucullus: A Life offers a thoroughly revisionist account of this ruler - dispelling many of the wild fictions which have accumulated to his name. It will be of great interest to students of the Roman republic and culture.
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Taylor & Francis
August 13, 1992
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