Gaius Marius

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Gaius Marius[1] (157 BC – January 13, 86 BC) was a Roman general and statesman. He was elected consul an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his dramatic reforms of Roman armies, authorizing recruitment of landless citizens, eliminating the manipular military formations, and reorganizing the structure of the legions into separate cohorts. His life and career were significant in Rome's transformation from Republic to Empire.



Early career

Marius was born in 157 BC in the town of Arpinum in southern Latium. The town had been conquered by the Romans in the late 4th century BC and was given Roman citizenship without voting rights. Only in 188 BC did the town receive full citizenship. Although Plutarch claims that Marius' father was a laborer, this is almost certainly false since Marius had connections with the nobility in Rome, he ran for local office in Arpinum, and he had marriage relations with the local nobility in Arpinum, which all combine to indicate that he was born into a locally important family of equestrian status.[2] The problems he faced in his early career in Rome show the difficulties that faced a "new man" (novus homo).

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