Birth of a New Man ?
Caius Marius was born in Ceraetae outside the town of Arpinum, Plutarch says that “Marius parents laboured with their own hands to work their small farms”but of course this is mostly untrue, Marius was a “new man” but is family must have been Nobiles from Arpinum. Only equestrians could seek election in Rome. He was probably educated in Latin and only Latin, not like other young aristrocrat who where tought in Latin and Greek.
Marius the soldier
Marius started is military career in Celtiberian. Marius serve under Scipio Aemilianus (Scipio Africanus adopted grandson). Marius readily accepted the ruff and stricter discipline imposed by Scipio. Story tell us that Marius would try to show is prowess and discipline in front of Scipio (such as wrestling). He must have fought at Numantia.
Friends and Foes in Numandia
It was common in Ancient Rome for young ambitious man to seek help from powerful families, for Marius he was lucky is father was able to be under the guarded wing of the rich Caecilii Metelii. In 119 L. Caecilius Metellus (Delmaticus) became consul and was able to help Marius become tribune, he was only able to pass small bills with little importance. He was just able to become praetor in 115, it seems that Marius would no be able to go anywhere after is praetorship but something amazing happen in Numidia that would change Marius life.
Micipsa king of Numidia and great allies of Rome died dividing the kingdom between his sons Adherbal and Hiempsal and is nephew Jugurtha. Few weeks later Hiempsal was killed by is cousin, after this Adherbal left to Rome for assistance. Rome was able to create a fragile peace, but it did not last Jugurtha continued is operation against is cousin besieging is capital Cirta in 112, after the city fell Adherbal was caputre but the worst (for the Roman) was that every Italian clerks where slaughter. Rome was outraged and in 111 declared war sending the consul L. Calpurnius Bestia but instead Jugurtha decided to come to Rome for peace terms. Instead Jugurtha bribe most of the senate and hade even one killed but worst was to come, Sp. Postumius Albinus, Bestia successor led a spiritless attack on Jugurtha at Suthul before the attack Jugurtha was able to bribed some centurion and officers. Later that night the king was able to ambush Albinus army what happen next was a complete route the Thracian cavalry deserted en masse and the senior centurion (Primus pilus) of the third legion open the gates to the army. What was left of the army routed to the hill near by. The next morning Jugurtha would give peace to the army on the condtion has the rightful king of Numidia and walk under the yoke of spears (a very humiliating thing to do).
In 109 Quintus Caecilius Metellus, Delmaticus brother. With none other than Marius where sent to Numidia to replace Albinus. Quintus first order was to reshape the army into a fighting force usin the old method of Scipio Aemilianus. After a wild Quintus felt ready to attack Jugurtha but the king avoided battle making Quintus having to resort to siege, attacking is stronghold and even able to capture Cirta the capital. With the lost of the capital Jugurtha decided to attack is army at the River Muthul what happen next was a draw but both armies losing many men, Jugurtha decided to retreat. Quintus on the other hand waited four days bring the moral back to his army and then continued on attacking the city of Zama unable to tack it Quintus retreaded, by know is army was tiered. In 108 Marius was able to leave Africa to go to Rome of the Consul election but it took time seeing that Quintus tried to unsuccessfully to stop Marius from going.
Consul and Luck
Marius Electoral campaign was highly successful easily persuading the senators by saying that it would take few weeks to defeat Jugurtha he also tried to persuaded the poor (where he was very popular with).
Finally Marius was elected Consul for 107 b.c and replace Quintus as commander of Africa but in fact Marius campaign did not win a swift victory like he would have thought, because of this he had is command extended, but it took three long years to end the war. He decided to take the same strategy as Quintus taking strongholds after Strongholds like every Roman commander he had luck on his side like when a Ligurian auxiliary out looking for food discovered a pathway leading up t a weak spot in the defences of a fortress near the River Mulaccha. Marius who had by now decided the siege should end, was able to take this advantage and storm the fortress with ease. But this success would not wavered Jugurtha and is army, finally he decided to use treachery, presuading Jugurtha ally King Bocchus of Mauretania to betray him to the Romans in late 105 b.c. The operation was organized by is Quaestor, Lucius Cornelius Sulla (is future rival)who mange a good part of the credit for the operation (Jugurtha was executed by the Romans in 104 BC, after being paraded through the streets in Marius' Triumph.). Nevertheless Marius return to Rome on the 1 of January 104 to celebrate is triumph, entering on the same day to become for the second time as consul.. This was quit strange but by know Italy was being threatened by a massive migration of Cimbri and Teutones and Marius was needed.
I will add more tomorrow