Talk:Gaius Marius

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Why not include any information on the civil war between the Marius and Cinna faction against Sulla? That's actually more important than the information on the Cimbri and Teutoni campaigns, no matter how interesting the details are.

Importance of Gaius Marius[edit]

Just a slight edit, there; for some reason, someone felt it necessary to put all of the fall of the Republic on Marius's shoulders; the changes were important, but conflicts between factions and personalities weren't unimportant.

---Mr. Nexx July 6, 2005 18:25 (UTC)


Anyone feel up to the job of creating a chronology for Marius - help sum up this rather hefty article? GeeJo 16:09, 10 July 2005 (UTC)

  • Never mind, did it myself. If any fancy cleaning it up, you're more than welcome to do so :) GeeJo 18:08, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

Marius - Importance[edit]

just added a quote from Professor Hughs Last on the importance of Marius; it's quite a good one

"[Gaius Marius] did more than any other single factor to make possible that a series of civil wars which only ended in the establishment of the Principate." Either 'that' or 'which' is too much here, right? First one to agree on this can correct it. Piet 12:38, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

Is that really what we're all settling on? I think Sulla's marches on Rome contributed far more than any of Marius's actions. I've edited the line that said Claudis was a "great stepson" of Augustus to "great-nephew" similar to the relationship Julius Caesar had with Augustus. I think the blood relationship has priority over the in-law relationship. Augustus was related by blood to all the Julio-Claudian emperors bar Tiberius. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:40, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Marius and breaking Roman law[edit]

Marius did not break Roman Law when he backed the tribune of the plebs Sulpicius to go to the Assembly (probably the Centuriate Assembly) and remove the command over the eastern war from Sulla. Although the Senate had given command of the War to Sulla, the Senate did not have the power to make this command law. Under the law, the Senate was an advisory body only (although in reality it usually had its way), the Centuriate Assembly passed laws. Now under mos maiorum (tradition), the command of armies went to the consuls of the year, this was a traditional rule, not a legal one. When Sulpicius passed his many anti-senate laws in 88 BC, the consuls of the year issued a iustitium (suspension of public business) to block him (which Sulpicius then declared illegal). Thus while Sulpicius (and his backer Marius) broke the mos maiorum, their acts were technically legal since the Assembly passed a law transferring command from Sulla to Marius. --M Drusus 12:45, 10 April 2006 (UTC)


and isn't he the plebian archetype, an analogy and metaphor for the likes of Juan Peron and his opponents like Franco or Pinochet? It has been said by some modern historians, interpreting Plutarch and others, that during Caesar's struggle for power, the masses in Rome became electrified when in one of Caesar's mass demonstrations banners referring to or with Marius' visage were seen. A portrait of Marius is supposedly in the Governor's Mansion in Texas. In fact, according to Plutarch, during a campaign to subjugate Iberia, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus one night while around the campfire was asked who the next great man at Rome would be, he tapped the young centurion next to him indicating 'perhaps it is this man?'

The Wiki principle[edit]

The opening portion of this article only tells a little bit about who Marius was. This article should begin with an egregious summary of his career before moving onto the complete excruciating history. And I agree that this article should include the conflict with Sulla. In my history textbook, that's practically all that's mentioned.

Missing Information[edit]

Why is there no mention of his changes to the structure of the army, the way the soldiers carried their equipment or the pillium? Missjessica254 17:15, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Cohort pre-empted?[edit]


Just thought I'd mention that I came across this little tidbit last night while trawling for some Celtic history:

"As soon as he arrived in Spain [c. 210 B.C.E.], [Scipio Africanus] began training his men in tactics he derived from his study of Hannibal's battles in Italy. He explored maneuvering with a smaller infantry unit, the cohort. This allowed greater flexibility of maneuver than with the legion. Additionally, S.A. armed his men with short Spanish swords (the gladius hispaniensis), replacing the unwieldy weapons used in the past."


I realise Scipio was only experimenting on his own 'personal' legions, as it were, and it didn't affect the entire Roman military. But the fact that cohorts were used prior to Marius was still new to me.

Tamrhind 18:33, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Most likely a figure of speech. Could be a mistranslation or author could simply mean that he split his forces into smaller vexillations. The importance of the Marian reforms lie in the fact that post-Marius the legions were based on cohorts throughout the legion, not the manipular system.Noddycab (talk) 19:42, 16 June 2008 (UTC)


I added an infobox, but I have only put in one of his 7 consulships. I hesitate to put them all in because the information is already listed at the bottom of the page, though it seems misleading at this point as it would suggest that Marius only held one consulship and not 7. I just don't know the best way to go about this. I think we need an infobox for aesthetic purposes but I don't want it to be too clunky. Doktor Waterhouse (talk) 06:12, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

fiction about him[edit]

The popular author Colleen McCullogh wrote the novel The Grass Crown about GM. Can't that be included on the page somewhere? Kdammers (talk) 12:36, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

McCullogh wrote a great series, Gaius Marius is the major player in The First Man in Rome and in the followup The Grass Crown. I would suggest both as Further Reading, as though they are historical fiction, they seem to be based on exemplar historian foundation. --Stalfur (talk) 16:48, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Please read and UNDERSTAND your sources![edit]

I haven't read this article in full yet, but just a quick glance through it revealed some glaring examples of poor scholarship. One in particular (which I corrected) completely turned the evidence of the ancient sources on its head, simply because the writer of that section clearly didn't read the complete accounts provided in the ancient sources.

They stated that Marius 'ingratiated himself with the troops by relaxing standards of discipline', a statement which is immediately recognised as false and unsupported by anyone properly familiar with the ancient sources. Marius was nothing if not meticulous in maintaining the highest standards of military behaviour and discipline under all conditions, and it was precisely for this reason (rather than the false claim of relaxed standards) that he won the respect and support of the men. He ate his meals with them, he pitched in and worked alongside them in all conditions, and he generally showed that he understood and appreciated what their life was actually like. In the passage from Plutarch that the original writer was clearly working from, there are indeed a couple of sections where he talks about life being made easier - but the complete context is Plutarch stating clearly that it is by sharing burdens that the appearance of lighter burdens is created.

I really don't have the time to give to this and other pages that is required to bring them up to anything approaching a reputable standard, but it wouldn't be necessary if more effort was given to ensuring that sources are read and understood in their entirety, so that such amateur contextual misunderstandings (and the concomitant problems) can be more easily avoided. Kudos to those who do make this effort though, as I do appreciate that there are some who do make this effort consistently! I am me not you (talk) 14:47, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Less bias please[edit]

"We next learn that he ran for the quaestorship after losing an election for local office in Arpinum. This is hard to interpret. The military tribunate shows that he was already interested in Roman politics before the quaestorship. Perhaps he simply ran for local office as a means of gaining support back home, and lost to some other local worthy. Nothing is known of his actions while quaestor."

I hardly believe that this sort of conjecture is necessary, particularly because it is based on thrid-party research ~ Anon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:18, 30 May 2009 (UTC)


According to Plutarch, Marius committed suicide after being blockaded in Praeneste by Sulla. In the article it says nothing about suicide. Starwarsgeek133 (talk) 19:03, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Wrong Marius - that is his son, Gaius Marius the Younger, who did indeed commit suicide in this manner in 82 BC. (Although it's been a while since you posted, I thought it worth answering anyway just in case anyone else were confused.) Drivingrevilo (talk) 16:35, 26 January 2017 (UTC)

"Incumbent" consul[edit]

The infobox currently states that he is the incumbent Roman consul, which is obviously nonsense. I don't know how to fix it (complicated template), so please can it be sorted out? --He to Hecuba (talk) 17:57, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

"Elected" Consul Seven Times?[edit]

Hello. The introductory paragraph states that Gaius Marius "...was elected consul an unprecedented seven times during his career." I wonder whether one can really say with certainty that he was "elected" consul for his seventh and final time? Were there elections? (I certainly don't think so.) Or was this just the (by this time Sullan-partisan purged and Marian-partisan dominated) Senate's doing? Seems to me that just as one wouldn't say that Caesar had been "elected" Dictator, neither is it proper to suggest that all seven of Marius' consulships were duly "elected." Perhaps it would be safer and closer to the truth to simply remove the word in question and say instead that, "He was consul an unprecedented seven times during his career"? Thanks114.167.110.177 (talk) 04:22, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

It depends on whom you believe. Plutarch (Life of Marius 45:1) states that "Marius was elected consul for the seventh time, and assuming office on the Calends of January". Livy's Periochae [

-ln/livy/periochae/periochae076.html#80 (Book 80)] declares that "without even the appearance of election, they [Cinna and Marius] appointed themselves consuls for the next year." It is traditional to describe Marius as having been elected seven times, and I suspect both consuls would have liked the veneer of legality that an election would have conferred, even if it were rigged by Marius' gang of ruffians and ex-soldiers. Oatley2112 (talk) 05:26, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

To remove the unnecessary "citation needed" next to the word "elected" consul, with its inherent implication of corruption, I've suggested a compromise of "held the office of consul", which cannot be denied. - Anon

Looks like a definitional issue. Plutarch (or his translator) meant one thing by the word then, we interpret it quite differently today. An election does not need to be a popular one--meaning one does not have to be selected to office by popular vote to be considered 'elected'. Those with the power to make the selection can do the electing. Perhaps there's an elegant way of preserving Plutarch's words while explaining to modern-day readers? Artaxerxes (talk) 21:08, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Oatley's point seems to be rather different: notice that without even the appearance of election. Rome had quite specific popular electoral procedures, and one of the symptoms of the breakdown of the republican system during this period was electoral irregularity. The passage as quoted means quite specifically that the normal electoral procedures were suspended. The recent emendation to "held office" instead of "elected" solves the problem, and Plutarch may've meant nothing more than "attained the office". Cynwolfe (talk) 23:36, 21 August 2012 (UTC)


This article is not B-class. One section doesn't even have in-line citations. Psychotic Spartan 123 16:09, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus vs. Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus?[edit]

Hello, great article! I had a quick question, though: in the "Early Career" section, it says that Marius won the office of plebeian tribune with the support of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus. Are we sure about this? It seems like Numidicus held no public office at the time, whereas his brother Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus was consul for this year (119 BC). Wouldn't it make more sense for Dalmaticus to be the one to endorse Marius, since he and Marius would have been running at the same time (120 BC)?

I tried to check Plutarch on this, but he just refers to both the man who supported Marius' tribuneship and the consul Marius served under in Africa as "Caecilius Metellus," so it's kind of ambiguous. But in the section here:*.html#4

, it mentions that Marius wanted to haul off both Cotta and Metellus to jail. Does this mean that Marius was threatening both consuls with arrest, since Lucius Aurelius Cotta and Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus were co-consuls in 119 BC? Or does it suggest that the Metellus in question was Numidicus after all, since it would be rare for both consuls to be in Rome at the same time? Giving weight to the latter interpretation is the fact that Dalmaticus was at war with the Dalmatians at some point during his consulship, so he may have been away from Rome at the time; in addition, Plutarch refers to Cotta in this section as a consul, but he doesn't mention any title at all for Metellus. Anyway, just curious what everybody's thoughts are. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dfault (talkcontribs) 18:24, 14 February 2018 (UTC)

tagged for references + modern RS's[edit]

The section " Battle with the Germanic tribes " is almost complete unreferenced and seems to be taken from primary ancient history and/or dated sources; this section needs in-line citations and additional modern scholarly sources that reflect doubt on certain aspects such as the total number of barbarians defeated/killed, etc.

I tagged another section that has no references at all . . . this article is on the verge of being a 'good article' if a little tightening of the information is done AND most importantly is cited properly.

I am away from my personal library so I can't be much help at this time. (talk) 03:02, 2 December 2018 (UTC)

That's Sertorius...[edit]

That's a picture of a bust of Sertorius. Definitely not Gaius Marius — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2607:F720:F00:4862:1D6:72E8:AC32:C779 (talk) 09:09, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Which bust is Sertorius? What's your source for this? Paul August 16:11, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Gaius Marius/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Jens Lallensack (talk · contribs) 21:36, 27 June 2019 (UTC)

Happy to review this one!

Before I start reading, may I ask you to make sure that all sentences are sourced (there are multiple paragraphs without an inline citation at their end), and that especially all maintenance tags are resolved ("citation needed" etc)? Currently, the article does not met Good Article criterion 2 ("Verifiable"). --Jens Lallensack (talk) 21:36, 27 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Hey Ifly6 could you please address Jens comment here, because this one is running for almost a month. Cheers. CPA-5 (talk) 21:07, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I am archiving now, in the absence of a reviewer's response. --Jens Lallensack (talk) 19:36, 3 August 2019 (UTC)