In this space, you can read excerpts from the work of Gheorghe Schwartz – The Hundred, Ecce Homo. This is the second volume, out of the 11 of the CEI O SUTĂ cycle, and it appeared in 1993 at the Cartea Românească publishing house in Bucharest.
Sulla’s withdrawal from the dictatorship in full force was the worst blow to Ultimus’ life. Even if the power of his idol did not diminish too much, he only exercised it rhapsodically, depending on his state of mind. All the intrigues still woven by the Eighteenth were now much more difficult to materialize, and it took a double effort to bring them to life. The people and their leaders knew that Sulla had kept her strength intact and that she could use it again and again, so no one dared to oppose her, even when the cruel character seemed to have calmed down. But there is a big difference between not being bothered and being feared for hours. Ultimus saw that all the ploys with which he had tried to get under Sulla’s skin were turning against him. Even his appetite for culture had become an utterly unexpected vice in the eyes of the Eighteenth. When he advised the one who set fire to so many works of art in Athena, the one who did not hesitate to use the trees on the holy fields of the Academy and the High School for the war carriages, to buy the library left after Neleus or when he suggested and he himself assembled one of the largest collections of manuscripts and sculptures of the time — no matter, of course, by what means he did it — Ultimus did not suspect that art would make his protector waste so much time in discussions. peripatetic and in aesthetic contemplations, to the detriment of direct and so effective actions. Sulla soon came to prefer to consult Aristotle’s manuscripts — purchased from Neleus, the son of Kiriskos of Skepsis — than to discuss a plan of revenge meticulously detailed by his favorite.
At that time, as much as the “sleeping lion”, the memoirs were perhaps the only consolation for the Eighteenth and the way he used their writing proved to be the only definite success in his life. Let us not forget that the same “Memoirs” were the basis of the information of many analysts, and the face of the dictator remained largely in accordance with them, for example, Plutarch himself, using them to the full. The scribe would injustice Mendax’s son by taking this victory and making the hero of the book a character that too few initiates will be able to superimpose on the true Eighteenth of the One Hundred.
After the death of Sulla, which occurred after a very short illness2, Ultimus attempted a palace coup under the same pretext used a few years ago, that the dictator would live on in the body of his “secretary”. But with the funeral taking place in front of the crowd, no one was willing to accept such a bribe. Soon, when the world realized that the protector of the “man with the wound on his cheek” had indeed died this time, it proved dangerous for the Eighteenth to remain in Rome. Immediately after Sulla’s death, he was offered a small mission in Africa, but he considered it an insult. He would later gratefully accept such a saving chance, but was not offered anything. He left as a private individual to Brundisium, thinking of going to Greece. Here came the latest news that serious charges had been leveled against him in Rome and that he risked being arrested, tried and sentenced to death, wherever he was. Fearing to go further into one of the provinces, Ultimus – making a wide detour by sea – first went to Narbatea, then, apparently, on the advice of someone in the immediate vicinity of King Arethas Philhellenes (?) And with the help of pirates, bought with large sums of money, reached Hispania where Quintus Sertorius organized a state after the Roman model, but opposite to Rome. (Sulla’s Rome…)
It is difficult to guess, after so many years, with what plans Ultimus left for Hispania, knowing that Sertorius was one of Sulla’s fiercest enemies and that many people persecuted by the terrible dictator had taken refuge with him. Therefore, the appearance of the Eighteenth is one of those oddities of history that – if it had not happened – we would have considered impossible.3 For a time the gesture of Ultimus was commented on as a last attempt to change color: he who gave up his own father, the one who then betrayed his adoptive father, why not have defiled the memory of the man in whose shadow he had lived and killed so many people? But those who commented on Ultimus’ departure to Quintus Sertorius did not know the character. The Eighteenth did not go to Iberia to renounce Sulla, but precisely to conquer this province in the name of the former dictator. It doesn’t matter that this enormity was born in his head or that he started from the beginning with such plans. The fact is that Sertorius also organized a Roman-style senate among the Lusitanians, and that before this meeting Ultimus met face to face with many people whom he had caused great trouble in Rome. Instead of apologizing, he tried in two speeches, partly preserved, to persuade Sulla’s former opponents to continue fighting in the spirit of ideas and for the glory of the dead dictator. Sertorius, who rose up both against the excesses of Cinna and Marius and against the terror unleashed by Sulla, tried to quell the indignation of those around him, demanding that Ultimus’s work be judged impartially, especially since the individual came voluntarily into the face of that senate, thus proving confidence in him. But the Eighteenth, living his chimeras on, also demanded in the second speech that Sertorius be removed and in his place take over the command of the revolted province, the one who best knows how to interpret in life the intentions of Sulla’s spirit, that is. to entrust his leadership to Ultimus himself.
Today one might think that the Eighteenth came out of his mind going straight into the lair of his enemies and asking them to obey him, but – as I said – such examples have been encountered in history and sometimes his improbable perfected with the victory of the one who dared such a mad act. This was not the case with Ultimus. Sentenced to death in Rome, he was also sentenced in Hispania4. It is said that until his last moments he had behaved like a fool, being convinced that he would contain Sulla’s soul and that, as a result, nothing bad could happen to him. And isn’t such a proof of fidelity superb, even if it comes from someone who has betrayed so many times?
Besides, that’s all: Claelia, understanding that everything is lost for her husband, didn’t even try to stop him from going to Iberia. Only such an adventure contained a tiny percentage of hope. And the probable failure, she guessed, would have allowed him to end up in the middle of dreams, instead of brutally throwing him into a miserable remnant of life. Letting him sacrifice himself, in her own way, Claelia let it happen. And isn’t this also a sign of supreme fidelity for the only being who loved him unconditionally?
He lived two centuries earlier, being a disciple of Theophrastus, who also offered him the library. The manuscripts, especially valuable, were taken to Skepsis, where they lay unnoticed for another two centuries, until he discovered them, bought them and brought them back to Athens Apellikon in Theos. But soon, that is, after the conquest of Piraeus by Sulla, the entire library, including unpublished works by Theophrastus and Aristotle, was carried to Rome. Then, according to Athenaios, Sulla would sell it to Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who moved it to Alexandria. The latter gesture proves that Sulla was not as cultured as Ultimus was.
2 At one point, a rumor circulated that Ultimus had poisoned his protector, who had become too apathetic for his taste, in the mad hope of taking his place, posthumously using his name. But the words died out as quickly as they were born: with Sulla’s death, everyone breathes a sigh of relief and prefers to forget the terrible character with wounds on his cheeks for the time being. After a while, only when the dangers subsided, the world dared to remember the culprit of the death of so many Romans.
3 Something similar happened during World War II, but it is risky to make a comparison between Sulla’s deputy who arrived in Spain and Hitler’s deputy who landed two thousand years later in England. It is risky to make a comparison for the simple reason that such acts fall outside the realm of analogies.
4 Legend has it that Ultimus did not succeed in being condemned because, seeing that he had no success with those whom he tried to persuade to come under his command, he would have swollen with wounds. so awful that he couldn’t resist and scratched himself to the point of suicide.
*The article has been translated based on the content of Cotidianul RO by www.cotidianul.ro. If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!
*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.
*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!