Image: Quintus Sertorius

Quintus Sertorius (circa 121-72 bc)

Quintus Sertorius (circa 121-72 bc), Roman general and statesman, prominent in the civil wars of the late Republic. He was born in Nursia in the Sabine territory. In 102 bc he served at Aquae Sextiae (now Aix-en-Provence, France) under the Roman general and statesman Gaius Marius in the war against the Teutons. Sertorius served in Spain in 98 bc, and in 91 bc he became quaestor of Cisalpine Gaul. Upon the outbreak in 88 bc of the struggle between the party of nobles under the Roman general and statesman Lucius Cornelius Sulla and the popular party headed by Marius, Sertorius joined Marius. In conjunction with the Roman patrician Lucius Cornelius Cinna, he fought the Battle at the Colline Gate, which placed Rome at the mercy of the Marians, but he took no active part in the bloody massacres that followed. He became praetor in 83 bc.

With the triumphal return of Sulla from

With the triumphal return of Sulla from the East later in 83, Sertorius went to Spain, where he continued the struggle against Sulla and the aristocratic faction of Roman society. In 80 he headed a native uprising in Lusitania (most of present-day Portugal and a portion of western Spain) and established many reforms. He built up a stable government, founded a Roman school for the Spanish children, and trained the native forces on the model of a Roman army. As the head of a growing anti-Sullan power in Spain, he was joined by Marian troops from Italy and successfully defied the power of Rome, defeating the Roman generals who were sent against him, including Pompey the Great. Sertorius was virtually a monarch in Spain, but his power was undermined by jealousies among his supporters. He was assassinated by a conspiracy of Roman officers led by Marcus Perperna, who was in turn defeated by Pompey and put to death. This defeat marked the complete collapse of the Marian forces in Spain.

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