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107 BC: if Marius and Sulla had died fighting in Numidia

Aznavour

Well-known member
Published by SLP
The Time:Late Republic, post-Carthage, Mediterranean hegemony, crooked Rome.

The Context: fat and lazy after Hannibal, fighting the Cimbrians in the North, Numidia and Mauritania in the South and a combination of corruption, decay and popular upheaval at home that would devolve into the Civil War between Marius and Sulla.

The Situation: to fight Jugurtha of Numidia, Gaius Marius maneuvered himself into the consulship and wrestled command of the North African Army from Metellus, the only guy in Numidia who had actually been competent before Marius. Along him was questor/future rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla

By marching so far to the west Marius had brought the Roman army very near to the dominions of king Bocchus finally provoking the Mauretanian into direct war; and, in the deserts just west of Serif, Marius was taken by surprise by a massive army of Numidians and Mauretanians under command of the two enemy kings.[32]For once, Marius was unprepared for action and in the melee all he could do was form defensive circles.[32] The attack was pressed by Gaetulian and Mauretanian cavalries and for a time Marius and his main force found themselves besieged on a hill, while Marius's quaestor Lucius Cornelius Sulla and his men were on the defensive on another hill nearby.[32]However, the Romans managed to hold off the enemy until evening and the Africans retired confident of finishing the job the next morning.
What if the Romans had not reacted as swiftly and both Marius and Sulla were lost in the battle, as it happened to the legions sent against the Cimbri in the North?

Where does that leave Roman politics, the badly outdated and in need of reform Roman Army? The Populares and Optimates?
 

Aznavour

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Looking back at this, Metellus could very well subdue Numidia eventually, while either he or Lucullus could drive back the Cimbrians. But could they take Sulla’s place as leader of the Optimates? Or would the lack of Marius mean that the class conflict and tensions between Rome and the Socii keep simmering without exploding without Marius and Sulla to push it into civil wars?
 
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