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THE FLIGHT OF MARIUS
WITH the battle-loving Romans, the end of one war was
generally a signal for the beginning of another. So,
as soon as the Social War was finished, they sent out
an army against Mithridates, the most powerful king in
the East at that time.
Marius had been preparing for this war, and hoped to be
the general; but, to his great disappointment, the
command was given to his rival, Sulla. The army had no
sooner started than the envious Marius began to do all
 to have Sulla recalled. His efforts were successful,
for the Romans soon sent orders for Sulla to come home,
and gave the command of the army to Marius instead.
When the officers came to tell Sulla that he must give
up his position, he was so angry that he had the
messengers put to death. Then, as his soldiers were
devoted to him, they all asked him to lead them back to
Rome, so that they might punish his enemies for
slandering him behind his back.
This change of programme suited Sulla very well.
Instead of going to Asia, he soon entered Rome, sword
in hand, routed Marius and his party, and, after
forcing them to seek safety in flight, took the lead in
all public affairs.
Marius was declared an enemy of his country, and
closely pursued by some of Sulla's friends. Although
seventy years of age, he fled alone and on foot, and
made his way down to the seashore. He then tried to
escape on a vessel which he found there; but,
unfortunately, the captain was a mean man, who, in fear
of punishment, soon set Marius ashore and sailed away.
The aged fugitive was then obliged to hide in the
marshes; and for a long time he stood there buried in a
quagmire up to his chin. Finally he was captured, and
fell into the hands of the governor of
Marius, the man who had enjoyed two triumphs, and had
six times been consul of Rome, was now thrust into a
dark and damp prison. A slave—one of the
vanquished Cimbri—was then sent to his cell to
cut off his head. But when the man entered, the
prisoner proudly drew himself up, and, with flashing
eye, asked him whether he dared lay hands upon Marius.
 Terrified by the gaunt and fierce old man, the slave
fled, leaving the prison door open. The governor, who
was very superstitious, now said it was clear that the
gods did not wish Marius to perish; so he not only set
the prisoner free, but helped him find a vessel which
would take him to Carthage.
There, amid the ruins of that once mighty city, the
aged Marius sat mourning his fate, until ordered away
by the Roman guard, a man whom he had once befriended.
Again Marius embarked, to go in search of another place
of refuge; but, hearing that Cinna, one of his
friends, had taken advantage of Sulla's absence from
Rome to rally his party, he decided to return at once