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Roman History VI: Rome in the
Culture Lesson for 3rd Year Latin
Origins of Parties
In this period of Roman history, many Romans are divided into two “political
 Optimates- “The Best Men.” Look to the benefits and status of aristocracy
 Populares- “The People’s Men.” Look to the benefits and status of common
Define positions more than people, as many support issues from both sides
throughout their careers
Threats to Rome
Jugurtha of Numidia begins armed insurrection within the
province, 112 B.C.
Sicilian slaves revolt, halting grain shipments, 132 and 103101 B.C.
Invasion of Italy by Gallic and Germanic tribes, 104-101 B.C.
Rise of G. Marius
Born in Arpinum, Latium
Member of the equites class
Begins official life in 119 after a brief military career; holds all
offices but consul by 109
In 109, joins war against Jugurtha. Commander does not
release him to run for consul, and Marius retaliates
The Consulships of Gaius Marius
In 107, Marius runs for consulship against Metellus, his commander
Promises a quick end to the Jugurthine War, professes he will not be
corrupted by money
Previously, Jugurtha had bought off generals or senators to make
peace and remove Roman armies from Numidia
Marius wins easily, takes command of war in Africa
A Solution… Isn’t It?
Lacking in soldiers, Marius comes up with a new method of
military recruitment
Dissolves land ownership requirement, enlists from the
massive urban poor of Rome
Provides all equipment, food, and pay for soldiers
The Fall of Jugurtha
From 107 to 105, engages in war with Jugurtha. However,
cannot end the war through battle.
Marius’ quaestor, L. Cornelius Sulla, arranges for Jugurtha’s
betrayal and successful capture; Jugurtha then surrenders to
Sulla, not Marius
Now for the Germans
Two German tribes, the Cimbri and Teutones, invade Italy in 104 B.C.
Senate gives Marius dispensation to run again for consulship, despite
not having had enough time between terms
Continues to run for, win office from 104 all the way through 100 B.C.
Defeats the Teutones at Aquae Sextiae, 102 B.C.
Defeats the Cimbri at Vercellae, 101 B.C.
Not through his efforts, but Sicilian slave revolt also
successfully suppressed, grain supplies flow again
But alas…
Following unprecedented 6 consulships (5 of them consecutive)
Marius becomes envied by aristocracy of Rome
Especially envied because he is a novus homo (new man), the first
person in his family to hold high office
Public opinion favored his former ally, Sulla, and Marius contemplates
military action against him, until…
Italian allies, upset at lack of rights and citizenship, revolt
War lasts from 91-89 B.C.
Marks the first military experience for Gn. Pompey, M.
Crassus, and M. Cicero
While Rome wins in the field, peace is only achieved through
giving all Italians citizenship
And then…
During the distraction of the Social War, Mithridates VI of
Pontus invades eastern provinces
Rather than turn to Rome for protection, many provincials
look to Mithridates as a liberator
With the war over in 89, Rome turns its eyes east to retake its
But first…
Sulla legally elected consul for 88 and given charge of the
campaign against Mithridates
Plebeian assembly passes a law giving Marius the command
Sulla therefore attacks Rome, wrests the command from the
people by force, kills his enemies… then leaves for the East.
While Sulla’s away…
Marius and his supporters retake power. Marius becomes
consul again in 87, his seventh consulship in a lifetime
Like Sulla, eliminates all opposition, solidifies power base
Marius dies in 86, leaving control to his friend Cinna
Sulla Redit!
Successfully restoring Roman authority to the eastern
provinces in 83 B.C., Sulla returns to Rome
Waiting for him is a pro-Marius government
Sulla again attacks Rome, winning final victory at the battle of
the Colline Gate
Sulla, Dictator
1st act- gets himself declared dictator
2nd act- makes himself legally immune to prosecution for all deeds past
and future
3rd act- publishes proscription lists
 Proscription- authorized murder of enemies. May be performed by
anyone. State seizes the property of the dead person, to later be
sold in special auctions
Sulla, Optmatis
From 81 to 79 B.C. strengthened the role of aristocrats and
the authority of tradition
Overhauled office of tribune
Made the cursus honorum a strict progression rather than a
Added more quaestors and praetors
Quaestors automatically became senators following year in office
May have ended grain dole
The Slow Fade
Sulla had no public images of himself erected, no coins
minted with his face (usual acts of a petty tyrant)
In 79, resigned dictatorship and became a co-consul
Left office completely in 78 B.C.; died that same year in
Campania, his home region
Effects of Sulla’s Reign
Provinces of Asia bled dry, opening door for second war with
Increased resentment of aristocracy by plebeians and nonRomans
Along with Marius, created precedent of military insurrection as
means of effecting political change