Marius, Sulla, and the Fall of the Roman Republic
Marius and Sulla are very curious figures in the late Roman Republic. History has portrayed them as being emblematic for a generation of chaos in Roman society. However, despite this portrayal, particularly from Plutarch’s accounts, it is difficult to determine just how culpable Marius and Sulla were for the chaos that engulfed the Roman Republic in the 1st century B.C.. Both leaders had major character flaws that defined their political careers to be sure but to what extent did they personally contribute to the decline of the Republic and to what extent was the Republic’s decline due to structural issues which had been long in the making? This essay will endeavor to demonstrate that, while the Republic had begun to decline well before Sulla and Marius, it was these 2 men who ultimately tipped the balance irresistibly towards rapid decline and further destructive civil wars.
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