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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
VIII. THE GREAT AGE OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC, 264-31 B.C.
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MARIUS AND SULLA
MARIUS AND THE JUGURTHINE WAR, 112-106 B.C.
Although Rome now ruled throughout the Mediterranean, she was constantly engaged in border wars in one corner or another of her wide dominions. These wars brought to the front new military leaders, of whom the first was Gaius Marius. He was a peasant's son, a coarse, rude soldier, but an honest, courageous, and able man. Marius rose to prominence in the so- called Jugurthine War, which the Romans were waging against Jugurtha, king of Numidia. That wily African had discovered that it was easier to bribe the Roman commanders than to fight them; and the contest dragged on in disgraceful fashion year after year. Marius at last persuaded the people to elect him consul and intrust him with the conduct of the war. By generalship and good fortune he speedily concluded the struggle and brought Jugurtha in chains to Rome.
MARIUS AND THE WAR WITH THE GERMANS, 102-101 B.C.
A few years later Marius had another opportunity to win distinction. He became the defender of Rome and Italy against a dangerous invasion of Germanic barbarians, who were ravaging Transalpine Gaul and the Po Valley. The decisive victories which Marius gained over them removed a grave danger which threatened the Roman world. The time had not yet come for ancient civilization to be submerged under a wave of barbarism.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy