Gaius Marius (Hardback)
The Rise and Fall of Rome's Saviour
Lawrence W. Reed, Foundation for Economic Education
Gaius Marius was one of the most remarkable and significant figures of the late Roman Republic. At a time when power tended to be restricted to a clique of influential families, he rose from relatively humble origins to attain the top office of consul. He even went on to hold the post an unprecedented seven times. His political career flourished but was primarily built on military success. First serving in the Numantine War in Spain, he later rose to high command and brought a long-running war in North Africa to a successful conclusion, bringing the Numidian King Jurgurtha back in chains. His return was timely as northern barbarian tribes threatened Italy and had previously defeated several Roman armies. Marius reformed and retrained the Republic's forces and decisively defeated the invaders that had easily overpowered his predecessors.
Marius'subsequent career was primarily that of an elder statesman, but it was dominated by his rivalry with his erstwhile subordinate, Sulla, which ultimately led to the latter's bloody coup. Marius, once hailed as the saviour of Rome, eventually became a desperate fugitive, literally fleeing for his life from his pursuers. However, after several harrowing brushes with death, Marius seized an opportunity to return to Rome and mete out justice to his enemies, which tarnished his once-enviable reputation.
I was very impressed with Hyden’s attention to detail. He has done a wonderful job in putting this topic to words. Through his words, the reader is able to visualize a lot of the content within, although a few images would have also helped. Aside from the maps at the beginning of the book, the book contains no additional photographs. Regardless, this was an excellent book depicting an excellent historical figure. I highly recommend it.Ancient Origins
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I leave it to the interested reader to learn more from Hyden’s book about this fascinating Roman. As you read it, consider it more than the story of one life of antiquity. Think of it as an exegesis of power. The Roman historian Tacitus knew well what he was talking about when he wrote in 117 AD, “Lust of power is the most flagrant of all the passions.”Foundation of Economic Education