Зображення сторінки


be seen as he stood, a man of fifty years, rugged in feature and in tongue, proud in himself and bitter against his adversaries, with scarce a friendly feeling towards any but his warmest partisans or bravest fellow-soldiers. “Concerning the Commonwealth, then," he added, “be of good cheer about Numidia. Ye yourselves have put to rout the avarice, the ignorance, and the haughtiness, in which Jugurtha has hitherto found protection amongst you. And now do ye, who are of age, give me your aid, and I will be, not only your leader, but your comrade. I would say more, if words could add valor to the timid; but I think I have said more than enough for the brave.” 26 The liberty of the Commonwealth, to which this kind of support alone was promised by its Consul, is to be computed according to the general principles already alleged in introducing the successor of the Gracchi.

With new forces, principally raised from the lowest and the poorest classes, besides whom there were few Romans or even Italians to enter upon military service, Marius hastened to Numidia, where he took the army of Metellus under his command, and immediately began his operations against the enemy. The Numidians feared him as more than mortal, says the historian; and in presence of their dread, the confidence of his own soldiers, with whom he shared both toils and prizes,28 as he had promised, like a

3 See the whole speech as re- 27 Sall., Jug., 92. ported or composed by Sallust in his 28 Ibid., 87. See the description Jug., 85, and compare Plut., Mar., of Marius as the general, Capp.

87, 100. VOL. II.

[ocr errors]

comrade, enabled him soon to overcome Jugurtha and close the five years' war. The adversaries of the conqueror would have given the credit of the victory to Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a Quæstor under Marius, into whose hands the Numidian king had been betrayed; but though Marius yet lingered near two years in Numidia, in order to complete its settlement as a province, he was elected to the consulship before his return,29 and welcomed by the larger part of his countrymen as the greatest hero of their times.

Marius was already counted upon to finish another war far more threatening than that from which he was then returning. A horde of barbarians, driven, it was said, by some dreadful inundation of the sea from the Baltic shores, but known only by name as the Cimbri and the Teutones,30 with whom various tribes from Central Europe joined themselves, defeated within six years 31 four Roman armies endeavouring to stay their progress. At about the time of Marius's departure from Numidia, a fifth army, though composed of a double consular force, was confronted in Gaul, and there destroyed.32 The terror of the Romans, victors as they were, was always easily

29 For the year A. C. 104. His 30 In numbers, perhaps with their triumph was " very glorious," says allies, they were reported at 300,000 Sallust, Jug., 114. Metellus had fighting men. To say truly, howobtained his triumph and the sur- ever, as Plutarch wrote (Mar., 11), name of Numidicus (Vell. Pat., II. “None knew who they were, or 11) before Sulla was taken by the whence they issued, like a cloud." aristocracy for their hero. Jugurtha 31 A. C. 113-107. Liv., Epit. was put to death in prison after Ma- LXIII., LXV., LXVII. rius's triumph. Liv., Epit. LXVII. 32 A. C. 105. Liv., Epit. LXVII. Plut., Mar. 12.

aroused by the din of barbarian arms; and the rumor easily spread, that the fearful warriors were bent upon ravaging Italy and sacking Rome.33 It was in face of this report, and after these actual losses, that Marius was elected Consul, not only for the second, but, as the invaders delayed their coming, for the third, the fourth, and again for the fifth time ; 34 the news of this last election being brought to him at the moment of sacrifice for the first victories 35 he had won, near Aquæ Sextiæ in Gaul, over the Teutones and their allies. The three preceding years had been spent in rigid preparation against the enemy; and the battles at Aquæ Sextiæ had scarcely proved the skill of the general and the discipline of the men, before they were obliged to hasten into the North of Italy, where the other division of the barbarians, the Cimbri, were driving the army under the command of the Proconsul, Lutatius Catulus, to the Roman side of the river Po. Marius, who, meanwhile, had gone to Rome at the summons of the Senate, but who had refused to celebrate any triumph while the foe was sweeping Italy, hurried back to join his army on its march, with which, in conjunction with that of Catulus, he overtook the Cimbri near Vercellæ, and not only totally defeated, but actually annihilated, the entire horde.36 The victorious general had not exaggerated the importance of the war thus ended, when he told his soldiers in Gaul, that they were not come

33 Plut., Mar., 11.

35 “ Duobus præliis.” Liv., Epit. 34 That is, for A. C. 103, 102, 101, LXVIII. successively. Plut., Mar., 14, 22. 36 Liv., Epit. LXVIII.

out to fight for temples or for trophies, but to dispel a tempest that menaced Italy with ruin.37

The best days in the life of Caius Marius were those which followed these momentous victories. His passions seemed to have been fed to repletion upon the boisterous excitements and the hard privations of the years just passed; and when he came back to Rome, it was to prove his forbearance, and to enjoy, as it appears, a brief repose. Taunted by the very men who had shortly before entreated him to accept their proffered honors, but who were now so liberated from their fears as to turn against him and ascribe the credit he deserved 38 to Catulus, Marius was, for the moment, too high removed above factions and jealousies to retort upon his former colleague or his recent supporters. Instead of commemorating his victories by himself, he shared with Catulus his triumphal festivities for the defeat of the Cimbri, and refused the solitary celebration offered him for his successes in Gaul.39 The rude heart of the warrior was touched by the praises he received, and still more, perhaps, by the superstitious confidence he gave himself as the preserver of the Commonwealth and the third founder of Rome.40

37 Plut., Mar., 16.

40 Ibid., and Val. Max., VIII. 38 The account in Plut., Mar., 15. 7. “ Actum erat,” says Flo27, must be taken as one derived rus (III. 3), “ nisi Marius illi sæculo from the authority of Marius's ene- contigisset.” mies, perhaps from the Commen- "Et solus trepidantem protegit urbem." taries of Sulla.

Juvenal, Sat., VIII. 250. 39 Liv., Epit. LXVIII. Plut., Mar., 27.

Leaving Marius to the enjoyment of his fame and better spirit, we may turn to other names, and seek the courses of other lives, concerning which there are various episodes to be introduced into our history.

Some fifteen years before the repulse of the barbarians, Metellus Macedonicus, the hero of several campaigns, not only in Macedonia, whence he obtained his name, but in Achaia and Spain, — the person also whom Atinius Labeo, the Tribune, assailed, as previously described, — was gathered to his fathers. Long remembered by his contemporaries and their posterity as a man whose happiness could hardly be matched in “any nation, rank, or age,” 41 according to the historian, he seems to be still the fittest example of the life and the renown in most esteem amongst his countrymen. It was, in their eyes, by Fortune that he had been conducted with never-ceasing indulgence from the first to the last day of his existence ; 42 and in presence of the testimonies that remain concerning his rank, his wealth, his honors, and his family, there is little reason to doubt that Metellus was as fortunate a man as had ever lived and died in Rome. The fame he obtained alike in peace and war filled his home with incense, through which it is not immediately possible to see his features, or to hear his deeds repeated, as they

41 « Vix ullius gentis, ætatis, or- miring chronicler in Val. Max., VII. dinis hominem inveneris cujus felici- 1, sect. 1, and look into Plin., Nat. tatem fortunæ Metelli compares." Hist., VII. 45, or Cic., De Fin. Vell. Pat., I. 11.

Bon. et Mal., V. 27. He died A. 42 See the panegyric of the ad- C. 115.

« НазадПродовжити »