Gaius Marius' affect on Roman History

Essay by runiamblondeHigh School, 12th gradeA-, December 2004

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A Great Roman Leader: Gaius Marius

Gaius Marius was born into a humble Roman family unlike most successful men of his time (Plutarch, Fall of the Roman Republic, Pg. 14, Para. 1). Even with the handicap of his poor family, he rose steadily in the ranks of the Roman army by working hard and outperforming others. When he was publicly noticed and recognized by Scipio, a popular general, he earned the respect and notice of other great leaders (Plutarch, Fall of the Roman Republic, Pg. 16, Para. 3). It was his success in the Roman army and the backing of Scipio and other generals that made possible his political career. Popular with the masses because of his humble beginnings, because of his reforms in the Roman army, and his prolonged office of consulship, he turned into one of Roman History's most famous leaders and caused the downfall of the Roman Republic.

Marius transformed the army traditions of Rome by earning his rank through hard work and ambition. Where other generals purchased their positions and lived like noblemen, Marius worked along side the common soldiers, encouraging them, sharing their food rations promoting men on standards of merit. Marius insisted that each soldier carry his own gear, no more servants allowed. Soldiers had to train in combat gear and make long marches. Work was shared equally by all, he even made sure the animals were well cared for and improved their efficiency. He went so far as to encourage and enroll

other poor men of ambition, to enter the army and gave them hope for a better life. He promised them land and money at the end of their service years.

Up until this time, only a man of property would have been enrolled in the army. It was felt...