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[55] Hitherto the murders and seditions had been merely intestine squabbles. Afterward the chiefs of factions assailed each other with great armies, according to the usage of war, and the country lay as a prize between them. The beginning and origin of these contentions came about directly after the Social War, in this wise. When Mithridates, king of Pontus and of other nations, invaded Bithynia and Phrygia and that part of Asia adjacent to those countries, as I have related in the preceding book, the consul Sulla was chosen by lot to the command of Asia and the Mithridatic war, but was still in Rome. Marius thought that this would be an easy and lucrative war and he desired the command of it. So he prevailed upon the tribune, Publius Sulpicius, by many promises, to help him obtain it. He also led the new Italian citizens, who had very little power in the elections, to hope that they should be distributed among all the tribes--not putting forward anything concerning his own advantage, but with the expectation of employing them as loyal servants in his every
Y.R. 666
attempt. Sulpicius straightway brought forward a law for
B.C. 88
this purpose. If it were enacted Marius and Sulpicius would have everything they wanted, because the new citizens far outnumbered the old ones. The old citizens saw this and opposed the new ones with all their might. They fought each other with sticks and stones, and the evil increased continually. The consuls, becoming apprehensive, as the day for voting on the law drew near, proclaimed a vacation of many days' duration, such as was customary on festal occasions, in order to postpone the voting and the danger.

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