26. “Then We Shall Take Nola in the Eleventh Year“
The Samnites were famous for their stubbornness, and they seriously disliked the Romans, as evinced by the protracted wars they had fought against Rome. There was thus little reason to doubt that the Nola’s Samnite defenders would continue to fight unless the Romans improved their terms. However, the Romans were even more stubborn. To the Samnite commander’s taunt that Nola had enough supplies for ten years, the Roman commander replied “then we shall take Nola in the eleventh year“. He was in deadly earnest. The Roman general and future dictator Sulla was put in charge of the siege of Nola to keep it under tight siege. The Social War ended in 88 BC, and the siege of Nola went on.
A Roman civil war broke out between Sulla and Marius, and Sulla marched on Rome, leaving a legion behind to continue the Siege of Nola. Sulla chased Marius out of Italy and executed some of his followers, then headed east to fight a war against King Mithridates of Pontus. The siege of Nola went on. The Marians came back, retook Rome, and executed an even bigger batch of Sullans before Marius dropped dead. The siege of Nola went on. Then Sulla came back, retook Rome, made himself dictator, and subjected the Marians to a bloodbath that claimed thousands. All throughout, the siege of Nola, virtually forgotten by the outside world, went on. Finally, on the eleventh year of the siege, in 80 BC, Nola’s defenders ran out of supplies and were starved into surrender.