Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates
From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson
Sulla's Political Career
Nothing lay farther from Sulla than systematic ambition. He had too much sense to regard, like the average aristocrats of his time, the inscription of his name in the roll of the consuls as the aim of his life; he was too indifferent and too little of an ideologue to be disposed voluntarily to engage in the reform of the rotten structure of the state. He remained--where birth and culture placed him--in the circle of genteel society, and passed through the usual routine of offices; he had no occasion to exert himself, and left such exertion to the political working bees, of whom there was in truth no lack.
Thus in 647, on the allotment of the quaestorial places, accident brought him to Africa to the headquarters of Gaius Marius. The untried man-of-fashion from the capital was not very well received by the rough boorish general and his experienced staff. Provoked by this reception Sulla, fearless and skilful as he was, rapidly made himself master of the profession of arms, and in his daring expedition to Mauretania first displayed that peculiar combination of audacity and cunning with reference to which his contemporaries said of him that he was half lion half fox, and that the fox in him was more dangerous than the lion.
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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/rome/4-10-sullan-constitution.asp?pg=65