Crisis of Rome: The Jugurthine and Northern Wars and the Rise of Marius

Crisis of Rome: The Jugurthine and Northern Wars and the Rise of Marius

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 1844159728

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In the later 2nd century BC, after a period of rapid expansion and conquest, the Roman Republic found itself in crisis. In North Africa her armies were already bogged down in a long difficult guerrilla war in a harsh environment when invasion by a coalition of Germanic tribes, the Cimbri, Teutones and Ambrones, threatened Italy and Rome itself, inflicting painful defeats on Roman forces in pitched battle Gaius Marius was the man of the hour. The first war he brought to an end through tactical brilliance, bringing the Numidian King Jugurtha back in chains. Before his ship even returned to Italy, the senate elected Marius to lead the war against the northern invaders. Reorganizing and reinvigorating the demoralized Roman legions, he led them to two remarkable victories in the space of months, crushing the Teutones and Ambrones at Aquiae Sextae and the Cimbri at Vercellae. The Roman army emerged from this period of crisis a much leaner and more professional force and the author examines the extent to which the 'Marian Reforms' were responsible for this and the extent to which they can be attributed to Marius himself.


“…interesting account of an obscure but critically important period in the history of the Roman Republic, making good use of the admittedly limited sources to produce a clear picture of a series of wars that genuinely threatened the existence of the young empire.”
History of 08/2010

“…an intriguing account of one of Rome’s greatest warriors…”
Military Heritage, 06/2011

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had been the rulers of the Massyli tribe, sandwiched between the might of Carthage to the east and their traditional enemies the Masaesulians in the west. Yet the peace treaty that ended the Second Punic War gave Masinissa an unparalleled position. Firstly, Carthage was forced to recognize his annexation of Syphax’s kingdom and the de-facto creation of the kingdom of Numidia. Secondly, and more importantly, the Carthaginians were prevented from making war in Africa without express Roman consent

again, we have no description of this crucial second battle against the Cimbri, other than that it was another Roman disaster. Silanus returned to Rome and was left alone for a while until in 104 he was prosecuted for his actions in the defeat, though he was acquitted.239 We are not even sure of the year that the battle took place, with the sources being vague and allowing it to be dated to either 109 or 108 BC. Recently, Evans has speculated that it took place to the northwest of the Alps near

last run at the consulship is understandable enough, but that would not automatically bring with it command in Numidia. Metellus had already had his command in Numidia made proconsular and thus would run at the Senate’s discretion, which given the dominant Metellan position within the Senate, would be for as long as Metellus himself wanted. Under normal circumstances foreign affairs were a matter for the Senate and it alone, though Tiberius Gracchus had infamously infringed on this right with the

superficially resemble that of 111 and 109 BC there were significant differences. The primary one is that the Numidians had already been defeated in battle. Jugurtha himself may not have accepted this fact, but it is clear that the country and people as a whole had, hence Jugurtha’s reliance on an army of Gaetulians. Numidian armies had been easily defeated by Roman armies, and their cities occupied and in some cases laid waste. Nor was this a Roman war of conquest, but rather a war focussed

Cimbri, Teutones, Tigurini and Ambrones, nations of Germans and Gauls, near the River Rhone, and being reduced by a terrible slaughter lost their very camp as well as the greater part of the army.329 Vegetius The Cimbri destroyed the legions of Caepio and Mallius inside Gaul. The remnants were taken up by C. Marius, who trained them in the knowledge and art of warfare.330 Plutarch He [Sertorius] had his first experience of war under Caepio during the campaign in which the Cimbri and

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