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Gaius Marius' Affect On Roman History

1234 words - 5 pages

A Great Roman Leader: Gaius MariusGaius Marius was born into a humble Roman family unlike most successful men of his time (Plutarch, Fall of the Roman Republic, Pg. 14, Para. 1). Even with the handicap of his poor family, he rose steadily in the ranks of the Roman army by working hard and outperforming others. When he was publicly noticed and recognized by Scipio, a popular general, he earned the respect and notice of other great leaders (Plutarch, Fall of the Roman Republic, Pg. 16, Para. 3). It was his success in the Roman army and the backing of Scipio and other generals that made possible his political career. Popular with the masses because of his humble beginnings, because of his reforms in the Roman army, and his prolonged office of consulship, he turned into one of Roman History's most famous leaders and caused the downfall of the Roman Republic.Marius transformed the army traditions of Rome by earning his rank through hard work and ambition. Where other generals purchased their positions and lived like noblemen, Marius worked along side the common soldiers, encouraging them, sharing their food rations promoting men on standards of merit. Marius insisted that each soldier carry his own gear, no more servants allowed. Soldiers had to train in combat gear and make long marches. Work was shared equally by all, he even made sure the animals were well cared for and improved their efficiency. He went so far as to encourage and enrollother poor men of ambition, to enter the army and gave them hope for a better life. He promised them land and money at the end of their service years.Up until this time, only a man of property would have been enrolled in the army. It was felt that and owner of property would be more loyal to the state than a poor man. A skilled and well loved general; he led his men by example and was rarely defeated. He was careful with his men and animals. He made changes in the weapons the army used to make them more deadly for the enemy and safer for his men to use. One example of this was his use of soft metal in the tip of the javelin that made it impossible for an enemy to pick up a spear that had been thrown and use it against his men. He went as far as developing these new weapons to better protect his men (Plutarch, Fall of the Roman Republic, Pg. 37, Para. 26). His caution in battle saved the lives of his men and demonstrated his love for them. His men wrote home regularly, extolling Marius' praises, recommending his election to higher office. None of this pleased the other leaders of his time.Love and adored by his soldiers, he was not so popular with the established political leaders. This popularity made Marius as many enemies as it made him friends. Even his old friends that had been helpful to him, early in his career, became bitter as their entitlements were threatened. Metellus was one of these old friends that had done much to help Marius rise in politics, only to be pushed out as Marius rose in popularity with...

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