In 87–86 BCE, the Roman army under L. Cornelius Sulla invaded Attica and, after a long siege, sacked Athens and the Piraeus. In both ancient and modern eyes, Sulla's sack has been seen as a key event, which marked not only the end of Athenian independence but also the beginning of an irreversible decline for its port, the Piraeus, in antiquity. Ancient literary testimonies in the decades following the Sullan sack portray the Piraeus as an urban wasteland, crammed with ruins but devoid of life. Strabo, writing in the Augustan age, notes that the town of his time endured, but had shrunk between the two harbours (the Kantharos and Zea); Pausanias, writing later in the second century CE, mentions a number of monuments but pays more attention to the old, ‘Classical’, town than to the contemporary ‘Roman’ Piraeus. Rescue excavations in the last few decades have provided corroboration for Strabo's remark. Building remains dating to the Classical period (mainly the fourth century BCE) extend over a larger area than those of Roman date, which tend to concentrate on the isthmus between the Kantharos and Zea harbours. Nevertheless, more recent finds and a reconsideration of the available archaeological evidence has shown that settlement clustering around the main harbour did not result from the destruction of the port by Sulla but had started in Hellenistic times and was intensified in the Roman period.