Lucius Cornelius Sulla

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Lucius Cornelius Sulla was a Roman general and dictator during the last century

of the Roman Republic. Lucius was born into an impoverished branch of the Cornelii, and he

lived a poor and dissolute existence until he received two family inheritances that finally gave him the

financial stature to run for office. Sulla came from a patrician family, served as consul, and led

military campaigns in North Africa, and against Mithradates of Pontus. In his abscence he was

declared a public enemy in Rome by his opponents. Sulla returned with his army to Italy and

marched on Rome. His defeat of his enemy gained him the dictatorship. Sulla was the first man

to use the army to establish a personal autocracy at Rome. He used his power to re-establish

the supremacy of Senate in the Roman state and to carry out other reforms. His first major

break into the Roman political ladder was to serve as quaestor for the famous general, Gaius

Marius, who was leading Rome's armies against King Jugurtha of Numidia.

Sulla eventually

became Marius' ranking lieutenant. After several years of battles with Jugurtha, Sulla basically

persuaded one of his relations to betray him.This glorious conclusion to the campaign was an

achievement the jealous Marius never forgave. At the height of his career he assumed the name

Felix. He served under Marius in Africa and became consul in 88 B.C., when Mithradates VI of

Pontus was overrunning Roman territory in the east. Sulla and Marius both wanted the

command against Mithradates; Marius as a popular leader, Sulla as a senatorial favorite. In 88

B.C. Sulla got the office by marching his soldiers on Rome. By 85 B.C. he had driven

Mithradates' armies back to Asia. Sulla's exploits had included a bloody battle of Athens in 86...