The First Man in Rome – Colleen McCullough

9780061582417_p0_v2_s260x4201-29-15:  Rest In Peace Colleen McCullough.  I love this author. This book, the first in a series, is a favorite.  Meticulously researched, it focuses on Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla of the late Roman republic as Marius rises to power.  It begins when he forms a political alliance with the Caesars by marrying daughter, Julia. He proves his military prowess by winning the Numidian war after his protegé, Sulla, captures King Jugurtha.  Needing troops to fend off Germans, Marius angers aristocrats by recruiting the poor and reorganizing the Roman army which does result in defeat for the Germans. Marius contends with political opposition as he enjoys unprecedented consecutive consulships.  Many of his reforms frighten the upper classes.  Marius uses a client, Saturninus, to introduce measures in the Senate.  When he agrees to compromise with patricians, Saturninus feels betrayed and leads an uprising.  Marius crushes the revolt which leaves him in full control and the undisputed First Man in Rome.

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