The name of the man whom the discontented had summoned to the head
of the state, Lucius Cornelius Cinna, had been hitherto scarcely
heard of, except so far as he had borne himself well as an officer
in the Social war. We have less information regarding the
personality and the original designs of Cinna than regarding those
of any other party leader in the Roman revolution. The reason is,
to all appearance, simply that this man, altogether vulgar and
guided by the lowest selfishness, had from the first no ulterior
political plans whatever.
It was asserted at his very first
appearance that he had sold himself for a round sum of money to
the new burgesses and the coterie of Marius, and the charge looks
very credible; but even were it false, it remains nevertheless
significant that a suspicion of the sort, such as was never
expressed against Saturninus and Sulpicius, attached to Cinna.
In fact the movement, at the head of which he put himself, has
altogether the appearance of worthlessness both as to motives and
as to aims.