Definitions

gaius marius

gaius marius

[mair-ee-uhs, mar-]

Gaius Marius was a general and politician who played a key role in Roman history. He lived from 157 to 86 BC, and was elected Consul, the highest office in the Republic, seven times. His political struggles with Lucius Sulla led to civil war in the Republic and its transformation into the Roman Empire.

Marius was particularly noted for his work in remaking the Roman army, eliminating the old maniples and implementing the cohort structure that proved so successful in battle. He also relaxed the requirements for entry into the army, removing the requirement to own land and provide weapons. As a general, he defeated several Germanic tribes on the frontiers, expanding the Republic and later the Empire into that area.

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