Setting out on the expedition, he laboured to perfect his army as it went along, practising the men in all kinds of running and in long marches, and compelling them to carry their own baggage and to prepare their own food. Hence, in after times, men who were fond of toil and did whatever was enjoined upon them contentedly and without a murmur, were called Marian mules. Some, however, think that this name had a different origin.
Namely, when Scipio was besieging Numantia, 1
he wished to inspect not only the arms and the horses, but also the mules and the waggons, that every man might have them in readiness and good order. Marius, accordingly, brought out for inspection both a horse that had been most excellently taken care of by him, and a mule that for health, docility, and strength far surpassed all the rest. The commanding officer was naturally well pleased with the beasts of Marius and often spoke about them, so that in time those who wanted to bestow facetious praise on a persevering, patient, laborious man would call him a Marian mule.