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The Over-Mihgty Generals

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The first of these over-mighty generals was Gaius Maruis, who won renown for his victory over King Jugurtha of Numidia and went on to save Rome from the threat of invasion by the Germanic war bands of Cimbri and Teutones. Marius also reformed the Roman army, making it a more disciplined and redoubtable fighting force. His place as leading general was taken by Sulla, who distinguished himself in the Social war of 91-89 BC against Rome's former Italian allies. In 86 BC Sulla moved east to defeat King Mithridates of Pontus, who had taken advantage of the Social War to invade Roman territory in Asia Minor and Greece. When Sulla returned to Rome in 82 BC, he quelled the political opposition and had himself made dicator with absolute power. In 79 BC, he abdicated and retired to private life, and died shortly afterwards. This left the field open for younger rivals, including Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. In the 70s BC, Pompey campaigned in Spain against the rebel general Sertoruis, and in the following decade he reached the peak of his power. In 67 BC, he was given an extraordinary command against the pirates who were harrying Mediterranean shipping, and flushed them from the Silician strongholds. He then went on to inflict a final defeat on Mithridates of Pontus near Nicopolis, and in 64 BC, imposed a general settlement on the Near East, making the remains of the Seleucid kingdom the Roman province of Syria, and Judaea a Roman dependency.

     
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