He was triumphantly elected, 1
and at once began to levy troops. Contrary to law and custom he enlisted many a poor and insignificant man, although former commanders had not accepted such persons, but bestowed arms, just as they would any other honour, only on those whose property assessment made them worthy to receive these, each soldier being supposed to put his substance in pledge to the state.
It was not this, however, that brought most odium upon Marius, but the boldly insolent and arrogant speeches with which he vexed the nobles, crying out that he had carried off the consulship as spoil from the effeminacy of the rich and well-born, and that he had wounds upon his own person with which to vaunt himself before the people, not monuments of the dead nor likenesses of other men.
Often, too, he would mention by name the generals in Africa who had been unsuccessful, now Bestia, and now Albinus, men of illustrious houses indeed, but unfortunate themselves, and unwarlike, who had met with disaster through lack of experience; and he would ask his audience if they did not think that the ancestors of these men would have much preferred to leave descendants like himself, since they themselves had been made illustrous, not by their noble birth, but by their valour and noble deeds.
Such talk was not mere empty boasting, nor was his desire to make himself hated by the nobility without purpose; indeed the people, who were delighted to have the senate insulted and always measured the greatness of a man's spirit by the boastfulness of his speech, encouraged him, and incited him not to spare men of high repute if he wished to please the multitude.