SULLA ENTERS ROME WITH HIS TROOPS
 DURING the absence of Marius the influence of Sulla grew by
leaps and bounds. It was this, it may be, that drew
Marius back to Rome.
He came, hoping once again to win the goodwill of the
people, and he even took a house near the Forum so as
to be in their midst.
But the people paid little attention to the general
whom in time of war they had courted and admired. In
time of peace they had no use for one who was above all
else a soldier.
Sulla, too, had proved himself a great general, but he,
unlike Marius, was an educated man and an Optimate, and
was useful in time of peace as in time of war.
The ever-ready jealousy of Marius was roused when he
noticed that Sulla was now much more powerful in Rome
than was he.
Nor were his feelings soothed when he saw on the
Capitol a new statue of victory, which had been erected
by Bocchus, King of Numidia. By the side of the chief
figure were others in gold, representing Bocchus
delivering Jugurtha to Sulla.
To Sulla! Marius was very angry when he saw that.
Jugurtha would never have been captured but for him.
It was he, Marius, who should have stood in the place
Sulla had been given!
The old general determined to pull down the statue.
But Sulla heard what Marius meant to do, and refused to
allow it, so that a struggle between them was
inevitable. But at
 this very time a new war broke out, and all private
quarrels were laid aside.
The war that began in 89 B.C. was called the Social
War. It was caused by the discontent of the Italian
people, to whom the full rights of Roman citizens had
not been given. Marius and Sulla both fought in this
As of old, Marius was never to be enticed to fight
against his will. So slow, indeed, was he to lead his
men to battle, that one of the generals on the other
side doubted his courage. "If you are indeed a great
general, Marius," he said, "leave your camp and fight
But all Marius answered was: "If you are one, make me
do so against my will."
Although Marius was now sixty-six years of age, he was
as good a commander as ever, and won a great battle, in
which six thousand of the enemy was slain. But at the
end of a year, although the war was not yet over,
Marius resigned his command, saying that his health was
Sulla also gained many victories in this Social War,
which came to an end in 88 B.C., for the Senate then
granted the Italians the rights of citizens, and to
obtain this had been the object of the war. But while
all the Italian cities enjoyed new privileges, Rome was
still to continue the centre of the Republic, where
magistrates were elected and laws were ratified.
Sulla returned to Rome in time to be elected Consul for
the year 88 B.C. He was also appointed by the Senate
to take command of the army which was now to go to
Asia. For war had broken out against Mithridates, King
Now one of the tribunes, named Sulpicius, was not
satisfied that Sulla should have this honour, and he
proposed that Marius should be made pro-Consul and
general of the war.
Marius, you remember, had laid down his command in the
Social War on account of his health. So now those who
wished Sulla to be commander of the army jeered at
Marius, bidding him stay at home to tend his worn-out
 Marius was too eager to oust his rival to give heed to
these taunts. He laid himself, indeed, open to more.
For now he was to be seen out each day taking exercises
with the youths of the city.
He had grown stout and heavy, but he soon showed that,
in spite of this and of his infirmities, he could vault
lightly enough into his saddle, and could claim still
to be "nimble," even when he wore his armour.
Sulpicius now brought forward a series of laws, bribed,
so said some, by Marius. It is certain that one of the
laws proposed that Marius should be commander of the
As these laws, if they were passed, would make the
Populares, or party of the people, powerful, the
Optimates determined to overthrow them. But Sulpicius
was not a man to yield without a struggle. He sent
armed men to attack the Consuls, for they were on the
side of the Optimates.
Rufus, the colleague of Sulla, escaped from the city,
but in the riot raised by the people his son was
Sulla saved his life only by hiding in the house of
Marius, where no one dreamed of looking for him. When
the riot was over, he escaped to the camp at Nola.
With the Consuls absent, and the Optimates for the time
cowed, the laws which had caused all this trouble were
passed, and became known as the Sulpician Laws.
By one of these laws Marius became commander of the
army, and he at once sent two tribunes to Nola to warn
Sulla that he would soon arrive at the camp to take
over the command.
But, as Marius might have foreseen, Sulla did not mean
to submit to such a defeat.
He, Sulla, had been appointed by the Senate, while it
was by violence that Marius had been proclaimed
Sulla knew that the army was devoted to him, and would
do anything to win his favour. So he assembled the
 and told them the story of his defeat, and how Marius
was coming to lead them to Asia.
They at once broke out into loud shouts of protest,
crying that none but he should be their leader. If it
was his will they would follow him to Rome and overcome
his enemies. In the meantime, they would put to death
the two tribunes who had been sent by Marius to the
Thus it was that before long Sulla was marching toward
Rome, at the head of his troops, being joined on the
way by Rufus.
Marius and Sulpicius, when they heard that Sulla had
appealed to the army, had at once tried to raise a
force to oppose him, even offering freedom to the
slaves if they would fight faithfully.
But their efforts were vain, and they fled from the
city before Sulla entered it.
From the people Sulla received but a sorry welcome, for
so angry were they with him for bringing his army
within the walls of the city, that they climbed to the
roofs of the houses and flung stones and every missile
that they could find upon the troops. But the Senate
welcomed the Consuls with open arms.
Marius, Sulpicius, and twelve of their followers were
at once declared public enemies. This meant that it
was not only the right, but the duty, of every one to
Sulpicius, who had found shelter in a house in the
country, was put to death by a slave.
Sulla gave the slave his freedom, and then, in dislike
of his treachery, he ordered him to be hurled from the