Saturday, 13 October 2012

More On Marius

In Poul Anderson's The Golden Slave (New York, 1980), before the battle at which the Romans led by Marius are to annihilate the barbarian Cimbri, a Roman slave gives a chief of the Cimbri a brief description of the Roman general:

" 'Gaius Marius...A plebeian, a demagogue, a self-righteous and always angry creature who actually boasts of knowing no Greek...His one lonely virtue is that he is a fiend of a soldier.' " (p. 18)

That fits with the account in Anderson's "Marius" which relates that the general used his military reputation to enter politics without understanding it, thus causing fifty years of corruption, murder and civil war. It also suggests that the viewpoint character of "Marius," Fourre, unjustly maligns his opponent, Reinach, when he says that the latter could have become another Marius.

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