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UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

situation he adopted a course less sincere and open than that which had

marked his previous career. He came to understand the essential unsoundness

of those to whom he had committed himself, and yet as profoundly as ever

distrusted the Senate and the whole aristocracy. He at first declined to

take the oath required by the tribune, but afterwards did so with some

reservations. The senator, Metellus, refused outright to subscribe the

obligation, and his adherents took up arms to defend him, but he declined

their services and Went into exile. Marius kept away from the violent

scenes of these days, and helplessly contemplated the disorders of the

state. In the ensuing election Saturninus was again chosen tribune; but

when Glaucia was about to be beaten for the consulship by Caius Memmius he

hired some assassins to attack and kill his opponent in the streets. The

crime was so notorious and outrageous that Glaucia found no defense. Marius

took command of a body of soldiers, fell upon Saturninus and Glaucia, and

they were both killed, the latter in a private house and the farmer in one

of the chambers of the Senate, where be had taken refuge.

By this time the influence of Marius was well-nigh broken down. The

senators hated him as of old, and the people turned from him for his

refusal to support their unprincipled leaders. An African soothsayer had

predicted that Marius should be seven times consul. He was now in his sixth

term; but the seventh seemed at a great distance. The question of the

return of Metellus was agitated, and Marius, foreseeing his own downfall,

left the city on the pretext of performing vows in Asia Minor. It appears,

however, that his real purpose in going to the East was to regain by some

adventurous enterprise of war his waning ascendancy over the minds of the

Roman people. The relations at present existing between the Senate and

Mithridates, king of Pontus, promised an early outbreak of hostilities, and

Marius hoped to find therein a more congenial exercise for the baffled

forces of his nature. With his retiracy from Rome the reaction gathered

head and broke forth into all the channels of political life.

It is proper at this point in the narrative to consider briefly the causes

which led to the outbreak of the Social War. The Latins had never yet

obtained the rights of citizenship. Measures to secure such. an end had

been frequently adopted, only to be defeated in their application and

results. For thirty years the hope of full rights had been hung before the

Latin subjects of Rome, only to be lifted like the mirage. The Oppressions

to which these people were subjected were intolerable. The Roman magistracy

sat astride of their necks, booted and spurred, and the cruel whip of

injustice was applied without mercy. Even the public officers of the Latin

towns might be beaten like dogs at the dictation of the consul. A Roman

citizen was carried on a litter through Venusia. A freeman not without wit

said to those who bore it: "Are you carrying a dead Man on that litter?"

Thereupon the supposititious dead arose and made a real dead man out of the

wit. The grandee had been insulted. And there was no punishment for the

murder. Still the Latin allies hoped for citizenship. When, after the

departure of Marius for the East, the senatorial party regained full sway,

the two consuls, Licinius and Mucrus Scaevola, succeeded in carrying a law

by which every person not a citizen who should advance a claim to be a

citizen should be severely punished. The measure was leveled directly

against the Italians, whose claims to the freedom and franchise of Romans

were thus choked in the very utterance or suggestion of a right.

The measure was resisted by the allies. When the knights were disposed to

espouse the cause of the Latins, the Senate undertook to deprive the

Equites of the judicial offices to which they were entitled. It came to

pass that neither could a knight obtain justice before a tribunal of

senators, nor could a senator maintain his rights before a bar where the

Equestrians were in a majority.

In its attack upon the judicial power of the knights the Senate committed

the management of the cause to Marcus Livius Drusus. The propositions which

he as tribune of the people brought before the assembly were that colonies

should be established in Italy and Sicily to relieve the distress of the

poor, that three