UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
second provision revived the old Servian Law for voting in the comitia
centuriata; while the third enactment provided for filling vacant seats in
the Senate by the election of three hundred new members, all to be chosen
from the Optimates. As a sop for the poor, some clauses were added for the
establishment of colonies, and the reduction of the rate of interest.
Having remained in Rome until after the election of B. C. 87, in which
Cneius Octavius and Cornelius Cinna-both Optimates-were chosen consuls,
Sulla extorted a promise from the new officers that the new law should be
faithfully executed, and then left Italy to prosecute the war with
After a perilous escape from Rome the aged Marius made his way to Ostia and
took ship for Africa; but the vessel was presently driven ashore near the
Circeian headland. Here he was left to perish, but found a temporary refuge
in a fisherman's hut. Afterwards he fled into the swamps of Minturnae, and
sank himself up to his throat in a quagmire. Here his pursuers overtook
him, dragged him from the marsh, and before the magistrates, by whom he was
condemned to death; for a great reward had been offered for his head. He
was accordingly pitched into a dark dungeon, and a Cimbric slave was sent
to dispatch him. But when he entered the prison and met the unquenchable
gleam of the savage veteran's eyes glaring at him out of the darkness, he
quailed before the apparition and could not perform his task. "Durst thou
kill Cams Marius?" said a steady and solemn voice out of the gloom, and the
slave fled, repeating to those who sent him, "I can not kill Caius Marius"
The magistrates were also seized with a spell, and said one to another,
"Let him go and find his fate in some foreign land, lest the gods who
preside over Roman hospitality should smite us for our crime." The exile
then escaped to the island of AEniria, where he was joined by some friends,
and thence made his way to Africa. On reaching the site of Carthage a
messenger came to him from the praetor Sextilius, bringing a warning not to
land in the country under penalty of death. Then it was that he who had
been six times consul of Rome made to the envoy the celebrated answer: "Go
and tell the praetor that you have seen Caius Marius sitting among the
ruins of Carthage." He, however, obeyed the warning, and sailed away with
his son to the island of Cercina.
Meanwhile in Rome there remained a strong party favorable to the Marian
cause. Shortly after the departure of Sulla the tribunes of the people, led
by the consul Cinna, brought forward a measure looking to the enrollment of
the enfranchised Italians among the thirty-five tribes, and the recall of
those who had been banished. The other consul, Cneius Octavius, at the head
of the senatorial party opposed the measure with great violence, and civil
war broke out in the city. The riot grew to such frightful proportions that
ten thousand people were killed. The party of Octavius gained the day, and
Cinna, with his following, fled from the city. Making his way into Campania
he gained over a portion of the army posted there, and marched on Rome.
Marius, who was watching from afar, returned in haste to Italy, captured
Ostia, and effected a junction with Cinna. Meanwhile the Senate had
summoned home Pompeius from Gaul and Metellus from Samnium. With the troops
commanded by these generals, an effort was made to regain what was lost;
but the larger part of the soldiers were in sympathy with the Marian party,
and the Senate was obliged to recognize Cinna as consul. Marius himself
refused to enter Rome until the sentence of outlawry should be revoked.
When this was done the army marched through the gates, and a scene began
such as Rome had never witnessed before. For five days massacre held a
carnival in the streets. Distinguished men were Cut down by hundreds.
Octavius was murdered while sitting in his chair of office and wearing his
consular robes. Generals and orators were slain in every quartet. When
Cinna's vengeance was appeased that of Marius still demanded fresh
butcheries. The truculent old man was now in the height of his glory. After
he had glutted himself with blood he demanded and obtained the passage of
an act by which Sulla was condemned and his property confiscated.
When in B. C. 87 the time for the election