Lucius Cornelius Sulla was a Roman general and dictator during the last century .
Lucius was born into an impoverished branch of the Cornelii, and he .
lived a poor and dissolute existence until he received two family inheritances that finally gave him the .
financial stature to run for office. Sulla came from a patrician family, served as consul, and led .
military campaigns in North Africa, and against Mithradates of Pontus. In his abscence he was .
declared a public enemy in Rome by his opponents. Sulla returned with his army to Italy and.
marched on Rome. His defeat of his enemy gained him the dictatorship. Sulla was the first man .
to use the army to establish a personal autocracy at Rome. He used his power to re-establish .
the supremacy of Senate in the Roman state and to carry out other reforms. His first major .
break into the Roman political ladder was to serve as quaestor for the famous general, Gaius .
Marius, who was leading Rome's armies against King Jugurtha of Numidia. Sulla eventually .
became Marius' ranking lieutenant. After several years of battles with Jugurtha, Sulla basically .
persuaded one of his relations to betray him.This glorious conclusion to the campaign was an .
achievement the jealous Marius never forgave. At the height of his career he assumed the name .
Felix. He served under Marius in Africa and became consul in 88 B.C., when Mithradates VI of .
Pontus was overrunning Roman territory in the east. Sulla and Marius both wanted the .
command against Mithradates; Marius as a popular leader, Sulla as a senatorial favorite. In 88 .
B.C. Sulla got the office by marching his soldiers on Rome. By 85 B.C. he had driven .
Mithradates' armies back to Asia. Sulla's exploits had included a bloody battle of Athens in 86 .
B.C. After Marius' death in 86 B.C., his party, led by Cinna, sent another army to Greece, .
designed to supplant Sulla's, but the other Marian commander, Fimbria, fought independently. .
Mithradates was defeated in 84 B.