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regarded Marius as their friend and benefactor. The consuls interfered, but Marius and his ally occupied the Forum with an armed force, compelled the consuls to withdraw their interdict, passed the law by intimidation, and easily obtained a vote of the tribes appointing Marius to the command of the Pontic War.
140. This brutal interference with the forms of law was naturally met by an opposing force. The military tribunes sent by Marius to take. command, in his name, of the army at Nola, were stoned to death by the soldiers of Sulla, who instantly marched upon Rome at the head of six legions. The city was unprepared for resistance; Sulla Lecame its master, and Marius, with his son and partisans, fled. He wandered, a fugitive and outlaw, along the coast of southern Italy; now half starved in a wood, now buried all night to his chin in a swamp; again indebted for a few hours' sleep to the charity of a ship-master or to a peasant, who refused the reward offered by Sulla for the head of the outlaw, and enabled him to elude his pursuers.
At Minturnæ he was sheltered by a woman to whom he had formerly rendered some kindness; but the officers of the town resolved to comply with the orders of the government at Rome, and with difficulty prevailed upon a Gallic or Cimbrian soldier to undertake the work of despatching him. But no sooner had the barbarian entered the room where the old general, unarmed and defenseless, lay upon a bed, than his courage failed, his drawn sword fell from his hand, and he rushed from the house, exclaiming, "I can not kill Caius Marius!"
141. The people of Minturnæ now took more generous counsel, and resolved not to destroy the deliverer of Italy. They provided him with a ship, and conducted him with good wishes to the sea, where he embarked for Africa. Here, too, he was warned by the governor to leave the country, or be treated as an enemy of Rome. But a revolution had by this time taken place in Rome itself, which favored the return of Marius. Cinna, one of the new consuls, was of the Marian party, and wished to enforce the laws of Rufus. The aristocrats armed, under the command of the other consul, Octavius, and a battle was fought in the Forum, in which Cinna was defeated and expelled from the city. Like Sulla, he appealed to the army; and as the army was now composed of Italians, who could not but favor that party which promised them supreme power in the Roman elections, the tide was turned against the aristocrats.
Marius returned, seized upon Ostia and other ports on the Latin coast, captured the corn ships, and thus starved Rome into surrender. This time the captured city was given up to a reign of terror. As Marius walked through the streets, his guards stabbed all persons whom he did not salute. Fresh lists were made out every day of those whom he either feared or hated, as victims for the dagger. Marius and Cinna A. H.-20.
declared themselves consuls for B. C. 86, in contempt of the usual form of election. But the unrelenting master of Rome did not long enjoy his seventh consulship, which he had all his life superstitiously expected, and now so unscrupulously obtained. He died on the eighteenth day of his magistracy, and in the seventy-first year of his age.
142. Sulla had brought the Mithridatic War to a victorious conclusion, having conducted five difficult and costly campaigns at his own expense, and recovered for Rome the revolted territories of Greece, Macedonia, and Asia Minor. But he never forgot that the Republic which he was serving had declared him a public enemy, confiscated his wealth, and murdered his best friends for their adherence to him. If his vengeance was delayed, it was only the more bitter and effectual. He now returned with a powerful army devotedly attached to his person, and laden with treasure collected from the conquered cities of Asia.
To disarm the enmity of the Italians, who formed the most valuable part of his opponents' forces, he proclaimed that he would not interfere with the rights of any citizen, old or new. He suffered no injury to be done to either the towns or fields of the Italians, and he made separate treaties with many of their cities, by which he guaranteed their full enjoyment of Roman privileges so long as they should favor his interests. The Samnites alone held out against Sulla, and in concert with the Marian party renewed their old hostilities. Cinna was murdered by his own troops, on his way to meet Sulla in Dalma'tia.
143. Landing at Brundis'ium, Sulla marched without opposition through Calabria, Apulia, and Campania; defeated one consul near Capua, and won over the entire army of the other by means of emissaries well supplied with gold. He was reinforced by three legions, under Cneius Pompey, and by the adherence of many distinguished citizens, among whom were Metellus Pius, Crassus, and Lucullus. He was still outnumbered by the Marians, who, in 82 B. C., brought into the field an army of 200,000 men, under the two consuls Papir'ius Carbo and the younger Marius. The latter was defeated, however, with great loss at Sacripor'tus, and took refuge in Præneste, where he had deposited his military chest, enriched by the treasures of the Capitoline temples. This town was blockaded, while Sulla marched upon Rome. Marius had secretly ordered his partisans in the city to put to death the most illustrious of the Cornelian faction; and thus perished the pontifex maximus, and many others whose sacred office or exalted character would, in more virtuous times, have made them secure from violence.
144. The army of Samnites and Lucanians, by the request of Marius, moved toward Rome, Telesi'nus, their leader, declaring that he would raze the city to the ground. A furious battle was fought near the Colline Gate, in which Sulla was victorious; and, with a cold-blooded
ferocity too common in those fearful times, ordered 6,000 prisoners to be cut to pieces in the Campus Martius. Sulla was now master of Rome and of Italy, and his vengeance had begun. A "proscription list" of his enemies was exhibited in the Forum, and a reward of two talents was offered to all who would kill these outlawed persons, or even show the place of their concealment. As usual, private hatred and even the meanest avarice found indulgence under the name of political enmity., Any friend of Sulla was permitted to add names to the list; and as the property of the proscribed usually went to his accuser, the possession of a house, a field, or even a piece of silver plate was often enough to mark a man as a public enemy.
Sulla was appointed dictator, with unlimited power to "6 restore order to the Republic." The constitutional changes which he made, were designed to re-instate the Senate and nobles in the preeminence which they had enjoyed in the earliest years after the expulsion of the kings. He limited the sway of the tribunes of the people, and lowered the dignity of their office by prohibiting those who had held it from becoming consuls. Though himself a man of dissolute morals, Sulla clearly saw that the worst miseries of the Roman people proceeded from their own corruption,. and he tried to check luxury and crime by the most stringent enactments. But the attempt was hopeless; the character of the nation was so far degraded that no rank or class was fit to rule, and its subjection to the will of a tyrant had become a necessity.
145. Sulla increased the number of the Senate by 300 new members chosen from the knights, all, of course, adherents of his own. He gained, also, a sort of body-guard, by giving the rights of citizenship to 10,000 slaves of those whom he had proscribed. These freedmen all received his own clan-name, Cornelius, and became his clients. He rewarded his veterans with the confiscated lands of the Marian party, thus replacing honest and industrious farmers with too often lawless and thriftless military communities. When Sulla had held the dictatorship three years, he surprised the world by suddenly resigning it, and retiring to his country-seat at Pute'oli. Here he devoted his days to the amusements of literature, mingled, unhappily, with less ennobling pleasures. He died B. C. 78, the year following his abdication. Two days before his death he completed the history of his own life and times, in twenty-two volumes, in which he recorded the prediction of a Chaldæan soothsayer, that he should die, after a happy life, at the very height of his prosperity.
146. A remnant of the Marian faction still held out in the west of Spain. Sertorius had been sent to command that province, chiefly because, as the most honest and keen-sighted of the Marians, he was troublesome to his brother officers. During the proscription by Sulla,
he was joined by many exiles, who aided him in drilling the native troops. Though driven for a time into Africa by the proconsul Anʼnius, he returned, upon the invitation of the Lusitanians, with a Libyan and Moorish army, which defeated the fleet of Sulla in the Straits of Gibraltar, and his land forces near the Guadalquivir. All Roman Spain became subject to Sertorius. With the aid of Cilician pirates, he captured the islands of Ivi'ca and Formente'ra. He formed a government, in which the senate was composed only of Romans; but he distinguished the native Spaniards by many marks of favor, and won their confidence not only by his brilliant genius, but by his perfect justice in the administration of their affairs.
147. Metellus, Sulla's colleague in the consulship, who commanded his armies in Spain, was completely baffled by the unwearied activity and superior knowledge of the country displayed by Sertorius. At length Cneius Pompey, who had already, in his thirtieth year, gained the title of Great, and the honor of a triumph for his victories over the allies of the Marians in Africa, was sent into Spain with the title of proconsul, to share the command with Metellus. His military skill far surpassed that of his predecessors, but for five years the war was still dragged out with more loss and vexation than success.
At last, Sertorius was murdered by one of his own officers, a man of high birth, who envied the ascendency of genius and integrity, and hoped by removing his general to open the way to his own advancement. He was totally defeated and captured by Pompey in the first battle which he fought as commander-in-chief; and though he tried to save his life by giving up the papers of Sertorius, and thus betraying the secrets of his party in Rome, he was ordered to instant execution, B. C. 72.
148. The Spanish war was now ended, but a nearer and greater danger threatened Rome. The pride and luxury fed by foreign conquest had brought no increase of refinement to the common people; and their favorite amusement for festal days was to see the bravest captives, taken in war and trained for the purpose, slaughter each other in the amphitheater. The ædiles, who provided the public shows, vied with each other in the numbers and training of the gladiators, whom they either bought or hired from their owners for exhibition. Among the unhappy men who were under training in the school at Capua, was a Thracian peasant named Spartacus. His soul revolted against the beastly fate to which he was doomed, and he communicated his spirit to seventy of his comrades. Forcibly breaking bounds, they passed out at the gates of Capua, seized upon the road some wagon-loads of gladiators' weapons, and took refuge in an extinct crater of Vesuvius. They defeated 3,000 soldiers who besieged them, and armed themselves more effectively with the spoils of the slain.
Spartacus proclaimed freedom to all slaves who would join him. The half-savage herdsmen of the Bruttian and Lucanian mountains sprang to arms at his call, and the number of insurgents quickly rose to 40,000. They defeated two legions under the prætor Varinius, stormed and plundered Thurii and Metapon'tum, Nola and Nuce'ria, and many other towns of southern Italy. In the second year their forces were increased to 100,000 men, and they defeated successively two consuls, two prætors, and the governor of Cisalpine Gaul. All Italy, from the Alps to the Straits of Messana, quaked at the name of Spartacus, as it had done, more than a hundred years before, at that of Hannibal; but it only proved the decay of Roman character, that a mere bandit chief could accomplish what had once taxed the genius of the greatest general whom the world had yet produced.
149. Spartacus, however, saw clearly that in the end the organized power and resources of Rome must be superior to his own, and he only proposed to his followers to fight their way to and beyond the Alps, and then disperse to their homes; but the insurgents, spoiled with success, refused to leave Italy, and turned again to the south. Their winter-quarters, near Thurii, were like an immense fair crowded with the plunder of the whole peninsula, which merchants from far and near assembled to buy. Spartacus refused gold or silver, and took in exchange only iron or brass, which he converted into weapons of war by means of foundries established in his camp. In the panic which pervaded Rome, no one was willing to offer himself for the office of prætor. At length, Licinius Crassus accepted the appointment, and led eight legions into the field.
150. Spartacus was twice defeated, and driven to the southern point of Bruttium. Thence he tried to escape into Sicily, where the servile war was still smoldering and ready to be rekindled, and where, by holding the grain fields, he could soon have raised a bread-riot among the hungry mob of Rome. But the Cilician pirates, who had engaged to transport him, proved treacherous; and his attempt to convey his army across the straits on rafts and wicker boats was ineffectual. He then, in despair, broke the lines of Crassus, and once more threw Rome into great consternation.
But the same jealousies which had scattered the forces of Greeks and Romans, doomed the barbarians, also, to destruction. Thirty thousand Gauls separated themselves from Spartacus and his Thracians, and were totally destroyed near Crotona. The final encounter took place on the head-waters of the Silarus. Spartacus fell desperately fighting, and his army was destroyed. Only 5,000 of his men made their way to the north of Italy, where they were met by Pompey on his return from Spain, and all put to the sword. The 6,000 prisoners taken by Crassus were crucified along the Appian Way.