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Lyrics: Sulla The Great

Explanation and references below the lyrics.

Wassim Alhajomar ยท Sulla the Great

Verse 1

At a young Vesuvius
the death of thousands: twenty
Through the thickets came the crown
and hailed to Imperator

On the forum on the fields,
He sown seeds to plenty
by the senate ascends a god
electing him dictator

Chorus 1

All the days are gone
and all but one remain
to be called upon
saving home

Tell the romans home
to cry loud in vain
as the legions crawl
taking rome

Verse 2

To the banks of Aegaeum
the goddess wails in fire
send the flowing springs of blood
the famished to oblivion

All the heads that he shall take
beyond a man's desire
as the men approach the walls
of mountainous Pomerium

Chorus 2

And the raging wars
and the nights bright in flame
for a man they call
to be known

Tell the romans home
to cry loud in vain
as the legions crawl
taking rome

Bridge 1

on the day he came bells of justice toll
the death of his enemies on the hands of all
and the tiber floods on the blood of the doomed
terror and shock engulfing the feeble tombed
dawn and dusk hand in hand nightmare of chaos enuses
thousands of romans purged flooding the tombs

Bridge 2

hear the call heavens await
lead us all Sulla the great
call the weak open the gate
we are here with Sulla the great
bells will toll today is the date
call us here with Sulla the great

Verse 3

When the cleansing days are gone
The man they all admire
on the forum calls the seas
announces he'll retire

As he gazed upon the fields
the men that he inspired
and a state that he once ruled
republics must expire

Chorus 3

And the swords were drawn
and the legions were slain
for the call of those
like him born

To his friends he's known
to his sworn enemies
on a tomb he may
be adorn

Explanation and references

Verse 1:
Mentions the events of the battle at Nola in 89 BC during the siege of Pompei during the Social War. Thus mentioning mount 'Vesuvius'. The war was fought by Sulla, a praetor at the time, against a rebel reinforcement of to Pompei, with Lucius Cleuntius on its head. It is said that on that day twenty thousand rebels were killed by Sulla's troops in front of the city walls of Nolla. After the battle Sulla's troops presented him the Grass Crown, and hailed him Imperator, the highest honor troops in the field could bestow upon their commander for saving them from certain death. This honor was rare.
The verse goes on to tell and foretell Sulla's growing influence in Rome, and his eventual rise to dictatorship, assigned to him by the senate, when he forced himself into the city.

Chorus 1:
As the days went on, Sulla's opponents during the Social War were defeated one by one as only him remained in the end. When he was assigned consul of Rome, the highest political command. He was 50 by the time (88 BC).
The second part of the chorus sings about Sulla's first march on Rome, a first in the Roman Republic history, with the army that hailed him Imperator. His enemies, supporters of his rival Marius, fled the city. He consolidated his power and left the city to the war with Mithridates in northern Anatolia. Verse 2:
The verse is about the sack of Athens by the aegean sea (the goddess in the verse) in 86 BC. After months of siege, the city was starving as people were reduced to eating shoe leather for the lack of food. When the city finally broke, Sulla was not magnanimus and let his army loose on the starved people. It is said that the streets were flooded with blood. He then set fire to the city.
The second part mentions the Pomerium which was the religious boundary around the city of Rome, crossed when he marched on it, a second time later.

Chorus 2:
Speaks of the long and bloody battles against rebels during the Social War, Sulla defeating his opponents one after the other, last of thesed battles being at the Colline Gate just outside Rome, where he defeated the Marians and Samnite forces. Sulla marched a second time onto Rome, this time standing the sole master of the city. Where he was assigned the role of Dicatator for life by the Senate, a position not unknown to Rome, but one that usually has a term limit of 6 months.

The solo and following music and chant are about the bloody series of proscriptions over many months where Sulla purged hisopponents and any people associated with them, engulfing the city in terror,with massive deaths of thousands, many of which innocent killed in the chaos. Sulla orderd around 1500 nobels killed, while around 9000 were killed. Interestingly, the young Julius Caesar survived the purge, despite his association to Marius.

Verse 3 and Chorus 3:
The last verse talks about Sulla's surpirse decision to retire (as promised when assigned) after he finished what he had planned. he would retire to his Villa with his family, content that he had saved the republic, perhapse unaware that his actions had set an example and role model for other ambitious men to follow suit. It was just another nail in the coffin of the Roman Republic which would fall over the next two generations.
On his gravestone, Sulla writes "No better friend, no worse enemy" aptly summarizing his fascinating life.