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 When Sulla heard of this he resolved to decide the question by war. He called the army together in a conference. They were eager for the war against Mithridates because it promised much plunder, and they feared that Marius would enlist other soldiers instead of themselves. Sulla spoke of the indignity put upon him by Sulpicius and Marius, and while he did not openly allude to anything else (for he did not dare as yet to mention this kind of a war), he urged them to be ready to obey his orders. They understood what he meant, and as they feared lest they should miss the campaign they spoke boldly what Sulla had in his mind, and told him to be of good courage, and to lead them to Rome. Sulla was overjoyed and led six legions thither forthwith, but all of his superior officers, except one quæstor, left him and hastened to the city, because they would not submit to the idea of leading an army against their country. Envoys met him on the road and asked him why he was marching with armed forces against his country. "To deliver her from her tyrants," he replied. He gave the same answer to a second and a third embassy that came to him, one after another, but he announced to them finally that the Senate and Marius and Sulpicius might meet him in the Campus Martius if they liked, and that he would do whatever might be agreed upon after consultation. As he was approaching, his colleague, Pompeius, came to meet him and praised him for what he had done, for Pompeius was delighted, and coöperated with him in every way. As Marius and Sulpicius needed some short interval for preparation, they sent other messengers, in the guise of envoys from the Senate, directing him not to move his camp nearer than forty stades from the city until they could consider of the business in hand. Sulla and Pompeius understood their game perfectly and promised to comply, but as soon as the envoys were returning they followed them.
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