Lucius Cornelius Sulla
From a rather humble beginning Lucius Cornelius Sulla rose to become a great politician and a powerful general in the Roman Republic. As a general, Sulla lead Roman armies to many victories. As a politician he became a powerful dictator and yet was responsible for bringing about many reforms. This essay will prove how he was a great dictator, politician and general, through discussing his background, his military and political career, his dictatorship, and his accomplishments in his later years.
Sulla was born near Rome, into a politically unimportant patrician family in 138 B.C. He received a good education and lived a normal life. After his father died he was forced to live in a run-down neighborhood. He received a good income but did not have enough to qualify him for military service. He became a play writer, and made many friends in the theater where family background didn't matter. Shortly before his 30th birthday something significant occurred. His stepmother died and left him a large amount of money. Now Sulla could begin his political career. In 108 B.C. he was elected to be one of the quaestors or financial officials of Rome.
After he became quaestor, he served under the consul Gaius Marius in the war against king Jugurtha of Numidia. Before Sulla's involvement most of Rome's efforts had failed, but Sulla brought an advantage to the Romans. Even though Rome defeated Jugurtha tensions between Sulla and Marius began to grow. Sulla believed he was the real reason for Rome's victory.
Soon the two were back together and this time they were defending Rome against the Germanic people. Sulla provided excellent military service and leadership. Sulla and Marius soon defeated the Germanic people but the hostilities between them continued to grow.
After this war Sulla and Marius returned to Roman politics. The following year Sulla ran and was elected as praetor, the second-highest position in the Roman republic. After his term of praetor was up, he returned to the battle field. This time it was against Mithridates, King of Pontus.
Sulla did not have a full army with him so he had to recruit soldiers from Roman allies. His ability to get these soldiers and to push Mithridates back, shows his great military skills. This campaign was also important because it brought Rome into contact with the powerful Parthia Empire. He was able to arrange a treaty with Parthia, which was a milestone for Sulla. This would not be the last time he would meet Mithridates in battle.
Soon Sulla and Marius again had to forget there many differences to defend Rome against Allied Italian forces who had declared war on Rome. They had set up their own government and were preparing to become an independent nation. This war was known as the Social War because the Latin name for Roman allies was socii. It was ended by a more important conflict, the invasion of a Roman province in Asia Minor by Mithridates. The...