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Military Dictator
• He served under Marius in the 100s before
transferring to a different commander and was
distinguished in helping defeat Jugurtha.
• He was one of the main commanders
responsible for ending the Marsic war against
the Italians (trying to gain Roman citizenship
for all Italians).
• Elected Consul in 88 and was sent to protect
Asia from Mithridates of Pontus.
• Marius wanted to take the army to fight
Mithridates, whose political allies tried to stop
Sulla’s command through legislation.
• Sulla marched on Rome with his army to
crush dissent for his command, declared
Marius forces enemies of the state, and was
therefore able to embark.
• He went on to fight in the east for the next
several years.
• While Sulla was away, Marius made his march
upon Rome and subsequently died. Election of
consuls resumed, but the senate was getting
nervous about Sulla’s power.
• In 83 Sulla landed in Italy and began his move
against Rome. The senate and other political
institutions broke apart along party lines and civil
war broke out (enter Crassus and Pompey!).
• In 82 pro-Marian forces (led by C. Marius’ son, C.
Marius) were defeated.
• Sulla declared himself dictator with no term limit
(officially done by the senate).
• But the senate was pretty devastated by both
sides during the war. It wasn’t exactly a free
• And then there were thee constitutional reforms
– took power from the tribunes
– increased courts (especially to prosecute treason)
– decreased the power of magistrates by making more
In 79 he retired; in 78 he died.