Shortly after the death of Sulla, Lucullus was made consul along with Marcus Cotta, about the hundred and seventy-sixth Olympiad.1
Many were now trying to stir up anew the Mithridatic war, which Marcus said had not come to an end, but merely to a pause. Therefore when the province of Cisalpine Gaul was allotted to Lucullus, he was displeased, since it offered no opportunity for great exploits. But what most of all embittered him was the reputation which Pompey was winning in Spain.
If the war in Spain should happen to come to an end, Pompey was more likely than anyone else to be at once chosen general against Mithridates. Therefore when Pompey wrote home requesting money, and declaring that if they did not send it, he would abandon Spain and Sertorius and bring his forces back to Italy, Lucullus moved heaven and earth to have the money sent, and to prevent Pompey from coming back, on any pretext whatsoever, while he was consul.
He knew that all Rome would be in Pompey's hands if he were there with so large an army. For the man who at that time controlled the course of political affairs by virtue of doing and saying everything to court the favour of the people, Cethegus, hated Lucullus, who loathed his manner of life, full as it was of disgraceful amours and wanton trespasses.
Against this man Lucullus waged open war. But Lucius Quintus, another popular leader, who opposed the institutions of Sulla and sought to confound the established order of things, he turned from his purpose by much private remonstrance and public admonition, and allayed his ambition, thus treating in as wise and wholesome a manner as was possible the beginnings of a great distemper.