They were Gaius Marius
, a brilliant and resourceful New Man politician who had nothing but contempt for what he considered the incompetent, grasping, hidebound aristocracy; and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a dissolute but clever military genius with large appetites and a powerful fealty to the old days of senatorial dominance, though his own highborn family had been in reduced circumstances for generations.
Through the diary of soldier Gaius Marius
Insubrecus, the past is brought to life in vivid and unsparing detail.
He provides a brief biography of the remarkable Gaius Marius
(158/157-86 BC), an important Roman general, albeit one with mixed reviews.
On the Wings of Eagles: The Reforms of Gaius Marius
and the Creation of Rome's First Professional Soldiers.
Martialis, left, and Lorenzo Perrine, of Shrewsbury * Adam Wink, of Felixstowe, in a uniform of around 250 AD, left, and James Hirons, of Coventry, in the Augustin uniform, dated around 10 BC * The Romans Return event was held in the grounds of Cardiff Castle over the weekend
The Emperor Gaius Marius
(157-86 BC) initiated sweeping organizational reforms and greatly reduced the size of the logistics train by requiring each legionnaire to carry his armor, weapons, 15 days of rations (grain) and other gear.
Such a connection is unexpected, since Gaius Marius
, the ancient late Roman Republican general, is a brutish and unphilosophical statesman, while Odysseus is portrayed by Plutarch as a man of virtue who is always concerned with public welfare.
The Cimbri were defeated by Gaius Marius
at Vercellae and the Celtiberians were decimated by the Romans in Iberia in the next decade or so.
The novel tells the ending of Sulla's story, so fully captured in The Grass Crown, and illustrates the long-range effects of the influence of Gaius Marius
, introduced in The First Man in Rome.