Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla came from an impoverished branch of the Cornelian family and as a young man lived in an apartment block.
His stepmother died leaving him an inheritance enabling him to emabark on a political career. He was elected to the office of questor and served under Marius, whose star was rising. In Africa, Sulla captured the Numidian King, Jugurtha by inducing the King's father-in-law to betray him. Although this aroused the jealousy of Marius, Sulla served with him against the Germans in 104-103.
By using bribery, Sulla managed to be elected praetor urbanus in 98. He was assigned the province of Cappadocia in Asia Minor, with the task of restoring king Ariobarzanes to the throne, which he successfully did.
On his return to Rome in 92 he was again in conflict with Marius, but this was put aside with the revolt in Italy (The Social War).
On the death of Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, Sulla married his widow Caecilia Metella. This may have helped him become consul in 88, with Quintius Pompeius. He was given command of an army to go to the east to defeat King Mithradates, who had seized control of much of Asia Minor and part of Greece. Marius conspired with Sulpicius to have Sulla removed from command of his army and Sulla fled for his life. However, the army's foot soldiers were mutinous and Sulla managed to gain their loyalty. He then marched on Rome, something that had never been done before.
Sulla now campaigned against Mithradates with some success. In the meantime Marius had made a return in Rome. Sulla decided to return and made a settlement with Mithradates to allow him to do so. He arrived in Brindisium in 83 and managed to collect an army with which to march on Rome.
At the walls of Rome, at the Coline Gate, the two sides fought to a stalemate, when a message arrived from Crassus on the right wing, announcing victory. Sulla now ruled Rome and was made dictator. He was intent on revenge and had lists of proscribed names posted.
Having created more senators and magistrates, in 80 he resigned the dictatorship and retired to the country. There he died, as prophesised, at the peak of his powers.