no edit summary
The period before the Fall of the Roman Republic was a dramatic and bloody period and it produced many remarkable leaders and generals. One of those figures was Sertorius (123-72 BC), who is often regarded as one of Rome’s most talented generals and a figure who, if he had not been assassinated could have changed the course of ancient history. This largely neglected
figure was a crucial figure in the civil wars that ended the Roman Republic. Moreover, if he had lived he many have established a Romano-Iberian Republic, that could have challenged Rome’s supremacy in the Mediterranean.
[[File: Sert one.jpg |200px|thumb|left|A bust of Sertorius]]
The Roman Republic in the 80s BC had been riven by violent political divisions. The Optimates, who were loyal to the Senatorial elite were pitched in a bloody struggle with the Populares, who claimed to be representing the common citizen body in Rome and the provincials <ref> Hildinger, Erik. Swords Against the Senate: The Rise of the Roman Army and the Fall of the Republic (New York, Da Capo Press, 2002), p 112 </ref>. Sulla, who was loyal to the Senate had marched on Rome in 88 BC with an army after his victory in the Social War. He captured the city to prevent Marius, head of the popular party from becoming Consul. <ref>Plutarch, Life of Sulla, 5, 7</ref>. Sulla re-imposed the authority of the Senatorial elite and purged Rome of the supporters of Marius. However, before he could complete the destruction of the popular party he was summoned by the Senate to fight King Mithridates IV of Pontus in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). In his absence Cinna led a revolution and deposed the Optimates and established a populist government. Marius returned from exile and this led to a bloody purge of the aristocrats and their adherents <ref>Hildinger, p 116</ref>. In 83 BC Sulla, after his defeat of Mithridates IV, once more marched on Rome and re-imposed an Optimates government on the Republic.