Delphi and Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla

The first theft of ancient Greek art masterpieces dates back in the Roman Republican period, during the  times of Roman rule by Dictator general Lucius Cornelius Sulla (around 81 BC).

Sulla sent his troops to Delphi to ask for the statues, treasures, monuments along with the valuable donations of the city’s  hegemony to Apollo’s temple.

Delphian priests had an idea: They thought that, by spreading the word out that “Apollo cries and weeps after his lost treasures every evening at his temple” Sulla would change his mind.

When Sulla heard the rumors about “crying Apollo”, he understood the trick. He smiled and said: “Can’t you see that Apollo is not weeping, but merely cheering upon the new glory of his gifts, seeing them traveling to Rome, the Glorious city!”

The power mocks at the face of the former powerful, as authority is shifting to the newcomer barbarian.


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