L. Cornelius Sulla (138-78 BCE)



Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (ca. 138 BC-78 BC), held numerous positions in Rome, including General and later dictator, during and after the reign of Marcus. He was a renowned general who led Roman armies in the Mithridatic Wars and the Siege of Athens. He later returned to Rome determined to gain control and proceeded to march on city, chasing out the remnants of Marcus' reign in the process. The Senate proclaimed him dictator indefinitely and provided him complete control of the city and its territories. Under his rule he made notable laws regarding the use of toxics including the_Lex Cornelia de sicariis et veneficis_ - which made it illegal to poison people including prisoners. It also made it illegal to buy, sell, or purchase poisons.

Toxicological Perspective

Sulla outlawed the use of poisons in all Roman territories.


Sulla was born into a upstanding family, but by the time of his birth his family had fallen into disrepute. Impoverished, Sulla spent much time among the so-called dregs of society. He however did receive a good education. He moved his way up the hierarchy of the Roman political machine by first becoming a quaster but soon went to war commanding some of newly elected Consul Gaius Marius's army. During this campaign, Sulla conquered Numidian King Juggartha and received a major political boost because of it. After years of fighting, Sulla returned to Rome and was able to get himself elected praetor then later governor of a city.