Parthagica Directory 05
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Parthagica Directory 05
Page 07

The dispute between Marias and Sulla for the command against Mithridates was the occasion of the first Civil War. The ability which Sulla had displayed in the Social War, and his well-known attachment to the Senatorial party, naturally marked him out as the man to whom this important dignity was to be granted. He was accordingly elected Consul for the year 88 B.C., with Q. Pompeius Rufus as his colleague; and he forthwith received the command of the Mithridatic War. But Marius had long coveted this distinction; he quitted the magnificent villa which he had built at Misenum, and took up his residence at Rome; and in order to show that neither his age nor his corpulency had destroyed his vigor, he repaired daily to the Campus Martius, and went through the usual exercises with the young men. He was determined not to yield without a struggle to his hated rival. As he had formerly employed the Tribune Saturninus to carry out his designs, so now he found an able instrument for his purpose in the Tribune P. Sulpicius Rufus. Sulpicius was one of the greatest orators of the age, and had acquired great influence by his splendid talents. He was an intimate friend of the Tribune M. Livius Drusus, and had been himself elected Tribune for B.C. 88, through the influence of the Senatorial party, who placed great hopes in him; but, being overwhelmed with debt, he now sold himself to Marius, who promised him a liberal share of the spoils of the Mithridatic War. Accordingly, Sulpicius brought forward a law by which the Italians were to be distributed among the thirty-five tribes.

A piece of music, again, without any words at all, or a song with words that have nothing in the world to do with the ideas which it is nevertheless made to convey, is often very effectual language. Much lying, and all irony depends on tampering with covenanted symbols, and making those that are usually associated with one set of ideas convey by a sleight of mind others of a different nature. That is why irony is intolerably fatiguing unless very sparingly used. Take the song which Blondel sang under the window of King Richard's prison. There was not one syllable in it to say that Blondel was there, and was going to help the king to get out of prison. It was about some silly love affair, but it was a letter all the same, and the king made language of what would otherwise have been no language, by guessing the meaning, that is to say by perceiving that he was expected to enter then and there into a new covenant as to the meaning of the symbols that were presented to him, understanding what this covenant was to be, and acquiescing in it.

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