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Most scholars are convinced that Rome in 79 b.c.e. remained cowed by fear of Sulla. This paper attempts a new reconstruction of the political mood of the year 79 and the significance of the successful consular canvass of M. Aemilius Lepidus. I argue that the insecurity of Sulla’s settlement was felt almost immediately after he stepped back from formal power. A general unease crystallized around two specific and explosive issues: the unresolved fate of those in exile from the Sullan regime and the possibility of recriminations for actions taken during the civil war and proscriptions.