Sulla now called together the senate, and had sentence of death passed on Marius himself and a few others, among whom was Sulpicius the tribune of the people. But Sulpicius was killed, after he had been betrayed by a servant, to whom Sulla first gave his freedom, and then had him thrown down the Tarpeian rock; moreover, he set a price on the head of Marius, an act both ungrateful and impolitic, since it was in his house that he had found refuge and surrendered himself a little before this, and had been let off safe.
And yet had Marius at that time not let Sulla go, but given him up to death at the hands of Sulpicius, he might have been absolute master in Rome; nevertheless he spared his life, and when after a few days he had given him the same opportunity, he did not obtain like mercy. By these proceedings Sulla won the secret dislike of the senate; but the people's hatred and indignation was made manifest to him by their acts.
For instance, they ignominiously rejected Nonius his nephew, and Servius, who were his candidates for offices, and appointed others, whose preferment they thought would be most vexing to him. But he pretended to be pleased at this, saying that the people, in doing as it pleased, enjoyed a freedom which was due to him, and out of deference to the hatred of the multitude allowed Lucius Cinna, a man of the opposite faction, to be invested with the consulship, after binding him by solemn oaths to be favourable to his policies.
And Cinna went up to the Capitol with a stone in his hand and took the oaths, and then, after praying that if he did not maintain his goodwill towards Sulla, he might be cast out of the city, as the stone from his hand, he threw the stone upon the ground in the sight of many people. But as soon as he had entered upon his office, he tried to subvert the existing order of things, and had an impeachment prepared against Sulla, and appointed Virginius, a tribune of the people, to be his accuser. But Sulla, ignoring alike accuser and court, set out against Mithridates.1