Gaius Marius (in Latin: Gaius Marius, classical or restitute pronunciation: [ˈɡaː.ɪ.ʊs ˈmarɪ.ʊs]; in the epigraphs: C · MARIVS · C · F · C · N; in ancient Greek: Γαίος Μάριος, Gaios Marios; Cereatae, 157 BC - Rome, 13 January 86 BC) was a Roman military and politician, for seven times consul of the Roman Republic.
The historian Plutarch dedicated one of his parallel Lives to him, comparing him to the king of Epirus Pyrrhus.
The career of Gaius Marius is particularly emblematic of the situation in the late republic, as it develops through facts and circumstances which, later on, will lead to the fall of the Roman Republic. Mario was a homo novus, that is, coming from an Italic family that was not part of the Roman nobility, and he knew how to distinguish himself and come to the fore in the public life of Rome thanks to his military competence. The ruling oligarchy was forced, in spite of itself, to co-opt him into its own system of power. Due to the occurrence of a situation of great danger due to the threat of large-scale invasions, he had to be granted military power unprecedented in the history of Rome. , and this to the detriment of respect for the laws and traditions in force, which had to be adapted to the new emergency situation. In the end, a profound reform of the military conscription was launched, which in the past only included landowners, and which since then has also been open to citizens from the classes of possessors. In the long term, this reform had the effect of radically and irreversibly changing the nature of relations between the army and the state.
Family origins and youth
Gaius Mario was born in Arpinum, in the Latium adiectum, precisely in the hamlet that still bears his name today: Casamari (today a fraction of the municipality of Veroli, in the province of Frosinone), in 157 BC. it was conquered by the Romans towards the end of the 6th century BC, and had received Roman citizenship without the right to vote (civitas sine suffragio). It was only in 188 BC (?) That she was granted full civil rights. Plutarch reports that his father was a laborer, but the news is not confirmed by other sources, and everything suggests that it is false. In fact, the Marii had relations with circles of the Roman nobility, participated as protagonists in the political life of the small town and belonged to the equestrian order. The difficulties he encountered at the beginning of his career in Rome show, if anything, how difficult it was for a homo novus to establish himself in the Roman society of the time.
Early career (134-110 BC)
In 134 BC he distinguished himself for the notable military attitudes demonstrated on the occasion of the siege of Numantia, in Spain, so much so that he was noticed by Publio Cornelio Scipione Emiliano (nicknamed African Minor). It is not known with certainty whether he came to Spain in the wake of Scipio's army, or whether he was previously serving in the contingent that, with little success, had been besieging Numantia for some time. The fact is that Mario seemed very interested in making a political career in Rome itself from the beginning. In fact, he ran for the position of military tribune of one of the first 4 legions (in all the elected tribunes were 24, while all the others were appointed by the magistrates in charge of enlisting).
The historian Sallust informs us that his name was completely unknown to the voters, but that in the end the representatives of the tribes elected him due to his excellent service and on the recommendation of Scipione Emiliano. Subsequently there is news of his candidacy for the position of quaestor in Arpino. It is probable that he used the command positions in Arpino to gather behind him a substantial number of customers on whom to rely for the next moves he had in mind to make. However I'm alone with