Marius now made alliance with Sulpicius who was a tribune of the people, a man second to none in prime villainies, so that the question was not whom else he surpassed in wickedness, but in what he surpassed his own wickedness. For the combination of cruelty, effrontery, and rapacity in him was regardless of shame and of all evil, since he sold the Roman citizenship to freedmen and aliens at public sale, and counted out the price on a money-table which stood in the forum.
Moreover, he maintained three thousand swordsmen, and had about him a body of young men of the equestrian order who were ready for everything, and whom he called his anti-senate. Further, though he got a law passed that no senator should incur a debt of more than two thousand drachmas, he himself left behind him after death a debt of three millions. This man was now let loose upon the people by Marius, and after confounding all things by force and the sword, he proposed certain vicious laws, and particularly one offering to Marius the command in the Mithridatic war.
To prevent voting on these, the consuls decreed suspension of public business, whereupon Sulpicius led a mob against them, as they were holding an assembly near the temple of Castor and Pollux, and, amongst many others, slew also the young son of Pompeius the consul in the forum; but Pompeius himself made his escape unnoticed. Sulla, however, after having been pursued into the house of Marius, was forced to come forth and rescind the decree for suspension of public business;
and it was because he did this that Sulpicius, although he deposed Pompeius, did not take the consulship away from Sulla, but merely transferred the expedition against Mithridates to the command of Marius. He also sent military tribunes at once to Nola, who were to take over the army there and conduct it to Marius.