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turn on the merits of the Roman commanders, then in being, one of the company, either out of complaifance to the general, or that it was really a doubt with him, asked Scipio, "Where the Romans would find fuch another general when he was gone?" Scipio, gently clapping Marius, who fat next him, on the back, replied, "Here perhaps !" Such, fays Plutarch, was the happy genius of these two great men; one of which, in his very youth, gave thofe early promises of his future greatnefs; and the other could, from fuch beginnings, clearly foresee that long series of glory and renown which was to follow.
Marius, infpired by this fpeech of Scipio as by a divine oracle, affumed the courage to apply himself to the management of public affairs; and by the patronage of Cæcilius Metellus, (on whofe family, he, as well as his father, had always been dependants), he obtained the office of Tribune of the people.
During his being in this office, in a dispute with Cotta the conful, he gave the firft proofs of his abilities in that line. Upon this occafion he did not behave himfelf like a young man, newly and undefervedly advanced to authority, but, exerting that firm resolution
and perfeverance which was the foundation of his future honours, not only carried the point against the Conful, but ordered his patron Metellus into cuftody, for voting with Cotta. As the decree he fupported was in favour of the people, he was henceforth confidered by them as a vigorous supporter of their cause against the senate.
But he foon after pursued a different conduct: for, when a law concerning the diftribution of corn was propofed, he very ftrenuoufly oppofed it, and carried it against the people; thereby making himself equally honoured by all parties, as a person who could not be induced to gratify either, at the expence of the public good.
When the year of his tribunefhip was expired, he stood for the office of Edile, but miscarried in it. He, however, foon after obtained, though with fome difficulty, the pretorship; at the expiration of which, the province of Farther Spain fell to his lot, when he put a stop to the numerous robberies which were at that time committed by the Spaniards, and which were then confidered by them as proofs of their valour.
Upon his return to Rome, Marius found himself without riches or eloquence, the two great requifites to obtain him a share in the administration which he was eager to obtain ; but the citizens holding in high esteem his great courage, the indefatigable pains he took, and his popular way of living, through their interest he was soon advanced to the highest honours and offices of government, by means of which he acquired great wealth and power; so that he made a very honourable match with Julia, one of the renowned family of the Cæfars, to whom Julius Cæfar (afterwards fo celebrated) was nephew, and who, through this alliance, zealously supported the cause of Marius.
As a proof of the refolution and patience of Marius, an inftance is given, in his fuffering fome large tumours, with which his legs were covered, to be cut off, without flinching or complaining, though the operation was attended with exceffive pain.
About this time Cæcilius Metellus, the conful, being declared general in the war againft Jugurtha, he took Marius with him as one of his lieutenants. Marius thought this a favourable opportunity for acquiring reL 2
nown, and to that dedicated every thought. And as this war was always attended with extreme difficulties and infinite dangers, he, neither, out of fear, declined the most perilous fervice, nor, out of pride, the most fervile; but, furpaffing his equals in counsel and conduct, and the common foldiers in labour and abftemiousness, he gained the affections both of the one and the other.
While Marius was thus employed, the fame of his deeds filled both Africa and Rome; at which he was fo elated, that he returned to Italy, contrary to the inclinations of Metellus, in order to ftand for the confulship, and was elected with great unanimity but, presently after, levying foldiers contrary both to law and cuftom, and treating the nobility with the greatest arrogance and contempt, he made the fenate his enemies.
Upon his return to Africa, Metellus, towards whom Marius behaved in the moft ungrateful manner, no longer able to bear up under the violence of his envy and impetuofity, furrendered up the command of the army to him; but he was fo hurt at being obliged to give it up, just as the war was in a manner finished, and to be bereaved of his victory and triumph
triumph by means of one who had grown great merely through him, that he could not ftand the interview, but retired, while Rutilius, his lieutenant, put Marius in poffeffion of the fupreme command.
Before the end of this very war, however, Divine vengeance retaliated upon Marius his injuftice to Metellus; for, Sylla came in the fame critical juncture, to deprive him of the glory of ending the war, as he had wrested it out of the hands of his patron.
This gave the first rise to a civil war, which almoft ruined the whole Roman empire; for many that envied Marius, attributing the fuccefs wholly to Sylla, Marius, who was by nature extremely ambitious, and far from fuffering any one to fhare with him in that renown and glory which he thought due to his exploits, was fo much provoked at it, that he ever after confidered him as a dangerous rival.
But all the envy, detraction, and calumny, attending this variance, vanifhed in an inflant, upon the report of the imminent danger Italy was in from an invafion of the Teu