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[[File: Sert two.jpg |200px|thumb|left|A medieval manuscript of a battle in the Sertorian Wars]]
==The Life and career of Sertorius==
Quintus Sertorius was born in Norscia (modern Perugia), in Sabine territory to the south of Rome. His family were local notables who were also citizens of Rome <ref> Plutarch, Life of Sertorius, 3. 1</ref>. As a member of the provincial elite he and his family would have been marginalized by the Senatorial elite. Sertorius would naturally have gravitated towards the popular party as a result. He seemed to have been educated in Rome and was regarded as an accomplished jurist and public speaker. When the Cimbri and Teutones invaded Italy he was a member of Marius’ army which defeated the Germans tribes at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae (102 BC). In 97 BC he served in the Spanish province of Hispania where he suppressed a revolt and was awarded Rome’s highest award for bravery, the ‘grass crown’ <ref>Plutarch, Life of Sertorius, 3, 7</ref>. Sertorius later became a Quaestor and fought in the Social War (88-91 BC). When Sulla advanced on Rome, Sertorius, was forced to flee. However, he returned when Sulla left for the east and participated in the political violence that ravaged the city. Sertorius led one of the three armies that drove Sulla’s party from power. The re-establishment of the rule of the popular party was followed by a bloody purge of aristocrats and their supporters. Marius assembled a legion of slaves who committed many atrocities
and there was an orgy of murder and rape in the city. Sertorius to his credit did not take part in these and he persuaded Marius to limit the violence. He later massacred the slaves who had killed so many during a night-time attack on their camp <ref> Plutarch, Life of Sertorius, 4, 1</ref>. Sertorius retreated to Spain with a small army before Sulla returned in 83 BC and ended the rule of the popular party, once more. [[File: Sert two.jpg |200px|thumb|left|A medieval manuscript of a battle in the Sertorian Wars]]
The so-called Sertorian wars were named after Sertorius. They were between Sertorius and the remnants of the Popular party and the Roman Senate. Sertorius was able to secure the Spanish provinces and he soon made himself popular with the local tribes by his mild government and his army’s disciplined behavior <ref>Philip Matysak, Sertorius and the struggle for Spain (Pen and Sword Military, Barnsley, 2013). However, after his legate was murdered a Sullan army was able to cross the Pyrenees and ousted Sertorius, who was forced to flee to North Africa. After a number of escapades and adventures, he was able to defeat a force sent by Rome. Later, the powerful and large Lusitanian tribe who lived in modern Portugal they invited him to lead their army <ref> Matysak, p 18</ref>. They hated the legates that Sulla had imposed on them and they believed that Sertorius based on his previous government was a better alternative. The Roman was able to understand the local Iberians culture and he forged an alliance between them and the many Romans who flocked to him, to escape the vengeful fury of Sulla. Sertorius was able to seize most of Spain except for the east coast and the Balearic Islands. Rome sent a large army, under the distinguished General Metellus. The wily Sertorius was able to use guerrilla tactics to wear down the superior army and to even extend his control in Spain, until he controlled nearly all of the Iberian Peninsula <ref> Matysak, p. 47</ref>. His tactic was to use his Spanish tribesmen to wear down the Senatorial army. The Senate recognized that the Republic was in danger of losing all of Iberia. It sent the talented young general Pompey, later to be regarded as one of the greatest generals in the history of the Republic. In 73 BC Sertorius met the legions of Pompey outside the city of Laroun. Here Sertorius inflicted a bloody defeat on the Pompeiian army and it was only the arrival of Metelleus that prevented the complete annihilation of the legions of Pompey. Later Sertorius fought a much later force at Sucro (74 BC) which was ended in a stalemate. While in 75 BC Sertorius was once again able to inflict heavy casualties on his enemies, using guerrilla tactics and this forced Pompey to write to the Senate begging for more reinforcements <ref>Matysak, p. 61</ref>. At this time the de-facto ruler of much of modern Spain and Portugal was conspiring with the enemies of the Republic including Mithridates IV. At the battle of Saguntum, the Sertorian army fought a bloody draw with Pompey in 75 BC. However, Sertorius’ coalition of Iberians and Romans was breaking down and he was undermined by internal plots. According to Plutarch, the general had become an alcoholic and had abandoned his traditional policy of clemency. Despite this it appears that his army remained in the field and was far from being defeated <ref>Matysak, p 61</ref>. He was assassinated by some of his own party, because they had begun to resent his increasingly erratic leadership. His position was seized by one of his assassins Perpena, but he was later crushed in battle by Pompey. The Iberian provinces were once more in the orbit of Rome and were to remain so until the death throes of the Western Empire in the mid-5th century.