But in Rome, Sulla was heard of as waging war with the generals of Mithridates in Boeotia, and the consuls quarrelled and were resorting to arms. A battle took place, Octavius won the day, cast out Cinna, who was trying to be too arbitrary in his rule, and put Cornelius Merula in his place as consul; whereupon Cinna assembled a force from the other parts of Italy and made war anew upon Octavius and his colleague.
When Marius heard of these things, he thought best to sail thither as fast as he could; so taking with him from Africa some Moorish horsemen, and some Italians who had wandered thither, the number of both together not exceeding a thousand, he put to sea. Putting in at Telamon in Tyrrhenia, and lauding there, he proclaimed freedom to the slaves; he also won over the sturdiest of the free farmers and herdsmen of the neighbourhood, who came flocking down to the sea attracted by his fame, and in a few days had assembled a large force and manned forty ships.
And now, knowing that Octavius was a most excellent man and wished to rule in the justest way, but that Cinna was distrusted by Sulla and was making war upon the established constitution, he determined to join Cinna with his forces. Accordingly he sent to Cinna and offered to obey him in everything as consul. Cinna accepted his offer, named him proconsul, and sent him the fasces
and other insignia of the office Marius, however, declared that these decorations were not suited to his fortunes,
and in mean attire, his hair uncut since the day of his flight, being now over seventy years of age, came with slow steps to meet the consul. For he wished that men should pity him; but with his appeal for compassion there was mingled the look that was natural to him and now more terrifying than ever, and through his downcast mien there flashed a spirit which had been, not humbled, but made savage by his reverses.