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Quintus Sertorius (c. 126 – 73 BC) was a Roman general and statesman who led a large-scale rebellion against the
Roman Senate
Roman Senate
on the
Iberian peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region ...

Iberian peninsula
. He had been a prominent member of the
populist faction
populist faction
of Cinna and Marius. During the latter years of the
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publis ...
of 83–81 BC, he was sent to recover the Iberian Peninsula. When his faction lost the war he was
proscribed Proscription ( la, proscriptio) is, in current usage, a 'decree of condemnation to death or banishment' (''Oxford English Dictionary'') and can be used in a political context to refer to state-approved murder or banishment. The term originated ...
(outlawed) by the dictator
Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Roman general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infan ...

Sulla
. Supported by a majority of the native Iberian tribes, Sertorius skillfully used
irregular warfare Irregular warfare (IW) is defined in United States joint doctrine as "a violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant populations." Concepts associated with irregular warfare are older than the te ...
to repeatedly defeat various commanders sent by Rome to subdue him. He was never decisively beaten on the battlefield and remained a thorn in the Senate's side until his murder in 73 BC. The famous Greek biographer
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
dedicated one of his
Parallel Lives Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from a ...
to Sertorius; in it he pairs Sertorius with
Eumenes Eumenes (; grc-gre, Εὐμένης; c. 362316 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek general and satrap. He participated in the Wars of Alexander the Great, serving as both Alexander the Great, Alexander's personal secretary and as a battlefield command ...
. Like Eumenes, Sertorius was betrayed by his own men."Quintus Sertorius"
''
Encyclopædia Britannica Online An encyclopedia (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United ...
''.


Early life and career

Sertorius was born in
Nursia Norcia (), traditionally known in English by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through t ...
(a town whose people had received Roman citizenship in 268 BC) in Sabine territory around 126 BC. The Sertorius family were minor aristocrats, almost certainly
Equites Romani Roman cavalry (Latin language, Latin: ''equites Romani'') refers to the Horses in warfare, horse-mounted forces of the Roman army throughout the Roman Kingdom, Regal, Roman Republic, Republican, and Roman Empire, Imperial eras. In the Regal era ...
, the class directly below the senatorial class. His father died before he became of age and his mother, Rhae, focused all her energies on raising her only son. She made sure he received the best education possible for a young man of his status. In return, according to Plutarch, he became excessively fond of his mother. Like many other young ''domi nobiles'' Sertorius moved to Rome in his mid-to-late teens trying to make it big as an orator and jurist. He made enough of an "impression" on the young Cicero to merit a special mention in a later treatise on oratory: ::Of all the totally illiterate and crude orators, well, actually ranters, I ever knew – and I might as well add 'completely coarse and rustic' – the roughest and readiest were Q. Sertorius ... After his undistinguished career in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
as a
jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and inf ...
and an
orator An orator, or oratist, is a public speaker, especially one who is eloquent or skilled. Etymology Recorded in English c. 1374, with a meaning of "one who pleads or argues for a cause", from Anglo-French ''oratour'', Old French ''orateur'' (14th ...
, he entered the military. His first recorded campaign was under Quintus Servilius Caepio and ended at the
Battle of Arausio The Battle of Arausio took place on 6 October 105 BC, at a site between the town of Arausio (now Orange Orange most often refers to: *Orange (colour), occurs between red and yellow in the visible spectrum *Orange (fruit), the fruit of the t ...
in 105 BC, where he showed unusual courage. Serving under
Gaius Marius Gaius Marius (; – 13 January 86 BC) was a Roman general and statesman. Victor of the Cimbric and Jugurthine wars, he held the office of consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging t ...
, Sertorius succeeded in spying on the wandering Germanic tribes that had defeated Caepio. After this success, he almost certainly fought at the great
Battle of Aquae Sextiae The Battle of Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence Aix-en-Provence (, , ; oc, label=Provençal dialect, Provençal, Ais de Provença in classical norm, or in Mistralian norm, ; la, Aquae Sextiae), or simply Aix (; medieval Old Occitan, Oc ...
(now
Aix-en-Provence Aix-en-Provence (, , ; oc, label=Provençal dialect, Provençal, Ais de Provença in classical norm, or in Mistralian norm, ; la, Aquae Sextiae), or simply Aix (; medieval Old Occitan, Occitan ''Aics''), is a List of communes in France ...

Aix-en-Provence
,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
) in 102 BC in which the
Teutones The Teutons ( la, Teutones, , grc, Τεύτονες) were an ancient northern European tribe mentioned by Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder ...
and the
Ambrones The Ambrones ( grc, Ἄμβρωνες) were an ancient tribe mentioned by Ancient Rome, Roman authors. They are generally believed to have been a Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe from Jutland. In the late 2nd century BC, along with the fellow Cim ...
were decisively defeated. He probably also fought at the
Battle of Vercellae The Battle of Vercellae, or Battle of the Raudine Plain, was fought on 30 July 101 BC on a plain near Vercellae Vercelli (; pms, Vërsèj ), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human ...
in 101 BC, where the
Cimbri The Cimbri (Greek Κίμβροι, ''Kímbroi''; Latin ''Cimbri'') were an ancient tribe in Europe. Ancient authors described them variously as a Celtic people The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS loc ...
were decisively defeated, ending the German invasion. A few years after the Cimbric wars, Sertorius's patron Gaius Marius fell out of grace for his support of the demagogue
Lucius Appuleius Saturninus Lucius Appuleius Saturninus (died late 100 BC) was a Roman Republic, Roman populares, populist and tribune. He is most notable for introducing a series of legislative reforms, alongside his associate Gaius Servilius Glaucia and with the consent of ...

Lucius Appuleius Saturninus
and he and Sertorius had to get out of Rome for a while. Sertorius travelled to
Hispania Ulterior Hispania Ulterior (English: "Further Hispania", or occasionally "Thither Hispania") was a region of Hispania Hispania ( ; ) was the Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th cent ...
and served its governor,
Titus Didius Titus Didius (also spelled Deidius in ancient times) was a politician and general of the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public rel ...
, as a military
tribune Tribune () was the title of various elected officials in ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the ...

tribune
. He distinguished himself by putting down an insurrection in and around
Castulo Castulo (Latin: ''Castulo''; Iberian language, Iberian: ''Kastilo'') was an Iberian peninsula, Iberian town and bishopric (now Latin titular see located in the Andalusian Jaén (Spanish province), province of Jaén, in south-central Spain, near mod ...
and was awarded the
Grass Crown The Grass Crown ( la, corona graminea) or Blockade Crown (''corona obsidionalis'') was the highest and rarest of all military decoration Military awards and decorations are distinctions given as a mark of honor for military heroism, meritori ...
.


Social War and Civil War

In 91 BC, he was elected
quaestor A ( , ; "investigator") was a public official in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest ...
and served in
Cisalpine Gaul Cisalpine Gaul ( la, Gallia Cisalpina, also called ''Gallia Citerior'' or ''Gallia Togata'') was the part of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Ital ...
, where he was in charge of recruiting and training legionaries for the Social War. During the war he sustained a wound that cost him the use of one of his eyes. ::Sertorius used his wounds as personal propaganda. Being scarred in the face had its advantages. 'Other men, he used to say, could not always carry about them the evidence of their heroic achievements. Their tokens, wreaths and spears of honour must at some times be set aside. His proof of valour remained with him at all times.' Upon his return to Rome he ran for
tribune of the Plebs #REDIRECT Tribune of the plebs #REDIRECT Tribune of the plebs#REDIRECT Tribune of the plebs Tribune of the plebs, tribune of the people or plebeian tribune ( la, tribunus plebis) was the first office of the Roman state that was open to the plebeia ...
, but
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Ancient Romans, Roman List of Roman generals, general and Politician, statesman. He won the first large-scale civil war in Roman history, and became the first man of Rom ...
thwarted his efforts (for reasons unknown, but probably because he was in Marius's
clientele In sales, commerce, and economics, a customer (sometimes known as a :wikt:client, client, buyer, or purchasing, purchaser) is the recipient of a Good (economics), good, service (economics), service, product (business), product or an Intellectua ...
, and Sulla and Marius were at odds), causing Sertorius to oppose Sulla. Sertorius, however, did manage to become a senator on the strength of his earlier quaestorship. In 88 BC, after being sidelined by his political opponents, Sulla marched his legions on Rome and took the capital. He took revenge on his enemies and forced Marius into exile, Sulla then left Italy to fight the
First Mithridatic War The First Mithridatic War (89–85 BC) was a war challenging the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public r ...
against
Mithridates VI of Pontus Mithridates or Mithradates VI Eupator ( grc-gre, Μιθραδάτης; 135–63 BC) was ruler of the Kingdom of Pontus The Kingdom of Pontus ( grc, Βασιλεία τοῦ Πόντου, ''Basileía toû Póntou'') was a Hellenistic The ...

Mithridates VI of Pontus
. After Sulla left, violence erupted between the
optimates The optimates (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...
, led by the consul Gnaeus Octavius, and the
populares The Populares (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

populares
, led by the consul
Lucius Cornelius Cinna Lucius Cornelius Cinna (died 84 BC) was a four-time consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the a ...
. Sertorius, being a former subordinate of Marius, declared for Cinna and the populares. When Cinna was driven from Rome he and Sertorius started recruiting ex-legionaries and drumming up enough support to enable them, in their turn, to march on Rome. Though he had a very bad opinion of Marius by then, he consented to Marius's return upon understanding that Marius came at Cinna's request and not of his own accord. ::Oh, really? Here I was thinking that Marius had decided for himself to come to Italy, and so I was trying to decide what good it would do. But it turns out there's nothing to discuss. Since after all, you invited him, then you have to receive and employ him. There's no question about it. In October of 87 BC, Cinna marched on Rome, Sertorius commanded one of Cinna's divisions and fought a battle with troops commanded by
Pompeius Strabo Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo (c. 135 – 87 BC) was a Roman general and politician, who served as consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. L ...
. After Octavius surrendered Rome to the forces of Marius, Cinna, and Sertorius, Sertorius abstained from the proscriptions his fellow commanders engaged in. Sertorius went so far as to rebuke Marius, and move Cinna to moderation. After Marius's death he annihilated Marius's slave army which was still terrorizing Rome. The years 87-84 BC are often described as spent 'waiting for Sulla'. Marius died in January 86 BC. Cinna was murdered in 84 BC, lynched by his own troops. It is probable that Sertorius became praetor in the year Cinna died. On Sulla's return from the East in 83 BC a
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publis ...
broke out. Sertorius, a praetor now, was called upon to serve in the government's armies. When the consul
Scipio Asiaticus Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus (properly Asiagenes; 3rd century BC – after 183 BC) was a general and statesman of the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, r ...
marched against Sulla, Sertorius was part of his staff. Sulla arrived in
Campania it, Campano (man) it, Campana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 ...
and found the other consul,
Gaius Norbanus Gaius Norbanus (died 82 BC) was a Roman politician who was elected Roman consul, consul in 83 BC alongside Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus (consul 83 BC), Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus. He committed suicide in exile at Rhodes after being pro ...
, blocking the road to
Capua Capua (, ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public services ...

Capua
. At the
Battle of Mount Tifata The Battle of Mount Tifata was fought in 83 BC as part of Sulla's Second Civil War. It was fought in the foothills of Mount Tifata, a spur of the Apennines, close to the Volturno, River Vulturnus, and is alternatively known as the Battle of Casili ...
Sulla inflicted a crushing defeat on Norbanus, with Norbanus losing six thousand of his men to Sulla's seventy. The beaten Norbanus withdrew with the remnants of his army to
Capua Capua (, ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public services ...

Capua
. Sulla was stopped in his pursuit by Scipio's advance. However, Scipio was unwilling to risk a battle and started negotiations. Sertorius did not trust Sulla, and advised Scipio to force a decisive action. Instead he was sent to Norbanus to explain that an armistice was in force and negotiations were underway. Sertorius made a detour along his way and captured the town of Suessa which had gone over to Sulla. When Sulla complained to Scipio about this breach of trust he was given back his hostages as a sign of good faith. This behavior of their commander caused Scipio's troops to lose faith in him. Unwilling to fight Sulla's battle hardened veterans they defected. Scipio and his son were found cowering in their tents and brought to Sulla, who released them after extracting a promise that they would never again fight against him or rejoin Carbo. In 82 BC, Marius' son,
Gaius Marius the Younger Gaius Marius "the Younger" (c. 110 – 82 BC) was a Roman republican general and politician who became consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European ...
, became consul without having held the offices which a candidate for the consulship should have held, and at the unconstitutional age of 27. Sertorius, who probably qualified for the office, objected but his opinion was ignored. Plutarch sums up the events: :: Cinna was murdered and against the wishes of Sertorius, and against the law, the younger Marius took the consulship while neffectualmen as Carbo, Norbanus and Scipio had no success in stopping Sulla's advance on Rome, so the Marian cause was being ruined and lost; cowardice and weakness by the generals played its part, and treachery did the rest, and there was no reason why Sertorius should stay to watch things going from bad to worse through the inferior judgement of men with superior power.


Propraetor of Hispania and Fugitive

After having fallen out with the new populares leadership Sertorius was sent to
Hispania Hispania ( ; ) was the Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testame ...

Hispania
as
propraetor In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian i ...
, representing the Cinna-Marian faction and their cause in Spain. When Sertorius marched through the Pyrenees mountain range he ran into severe weather and a mountain tribe which demanded a tribute for allowing his passage. His companions indignantly claimed it was an outrage; but while they considered it disgraceful to give in to extortion, Sertorius simply paid the tribe and commented that he was buying himself time, and that if a man had a lot to do, nothing is more precious than time. The governor of the two Spanish provinces,
Hispania Ulterior Hispania Ulterior (English: "Further Hispania", or occasionally "Thither Hispania") was a region of Hispania Hispania ( ; ) was the Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th cent ...
and
Hispania Citerior Hispania Citerior (English: "Hither Iberia", or "Nearer Iberia") was a Roman province in Hispania Hispania ( ; ) was the Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5t ...
,
Gaius Valerius Flaccus Gaius Valerius Flaccus (; died ) was a 1st-century Roman Empire, Roman poet who flourished during the "Silver Age of Latin literature, Silver Age" under the Flavian dynasty, and wrote a Latin ''Argonautica'' that owes a great deal to Apollonius of ...
did not recognize his authority, but Sertorius had an army at his back and used it to assume control. Then he persuaded the local chieftains of accepting him as the new governor and endeared himself with the general population by cutting taxes. After gaining control of both provinces Sertorius sought to hold them by sending an army, under Julius Salinator, to fortify the pass through the Pyrenees; however, Sulla's forces, under the command of Gaius Annius Luscus, broke through after Salinator was assassinated by Calpurnius Lanarius, who defected to the Sullans. Unable to convince the Spanish tribes to fight for him, Sertorius was seriously outnumbered and he decided to abandon his provinces. With 3,000 of his most loyal followers he fled to
Mauritania Mauritania (; ar, موريتانيا, ', french: Mauritanie; Berber languages, Berber: ''Agawej'' or ''Cengit''; Pulaar language, Pulaar: ''Moritani''; Wolof language, Wolof: ''Gànnaar''; Soninke language, Soninke: ''Murutaane''), officially ...

Mauritania
, but was driven off by the locals who wanted no part of his rebellion. He then fell in with a band of
Cilician pirates Cilician pirates dominated the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has pla ...
who were pillaging the Spanish coast. Together they attacked and took Pityussa, the most southerly of the
Balearic Islands The Balearic Islands ( , also , ; ca, Illes Balears ; es, Islas Baleares ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea contai ...

Balearic Islands
, which they started using as a base. When this was reported to Annius Luscus, he sent a fleet of warships and almost a full legion which drove Sertorius and his pirate allies from the Balearics. The pirates defected and went to Africa to help install the tyrant Ascalis on the throne of
Tingis Tingis (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

Tingis
. Sertorius followed them to Africa, rallied the locals in the vicinity of Tingis, who were unhappy with Ascalis for they saw him as a puppet of Sulla, and defeated Ascalis's men and the pirates in battle. After gaining control over Tingis, Sertorius defeated Paccianus, one of Sulla's generals, who had been sent to put Ascalis on the throne. Local legend had it that
Antaeus Antaeus (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), ...
, the son of
Poseidon Poseidon (; grc-gre, Ποσειδῶν, ) was one of the Twelve Olympians upright=1.8, Fragment of a relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The ...

Poseidon
and
Gaia In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A be ...

Gaia
, and the husband of Tinge who gave name to Tingis, was buried in Mauritania. Sertorius had the tomb excavated for he wanted to see the body of Antaeus which was reported to be sixty cubits in size. According to Plutarch, Sertorius was dumbfounded by what he saw and after performing a sacrifice, he filled the tomb up again, and thereafter was among those promoting its traditions and honours. The North African success won him the fame and admiration of the people of Hispania, particularly that of the warlike
Lusitanians The Lusitanians (or la, Lusitani) were an Indo-European speaking people living in the west of the Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** ...
in the west, whom Roman generals and proconsuls of Sulla's party had plundered and oppressed. The Lusitanians, being threatened by a Sullan governor again, asked Sertorius to be their war leader. Sertorius decided to accept the Lusitanian offer and prepared his army and fleet to return to Hispania.


Sertorian War

On a moonless night in the year 80 BC, Sertorius sailed his forces from Tingis across the Gibraltar strait back to Hispania. A small fleet from the coastal town of Mellaria tried to stop him, but he pushed them aside and landed his army at the small fishing town of Baelo near the
Pillars of Hercules The Pillars of Hercules ( la, Columnae Herculis, grc, Ἡράκλειαι Στῆλαι, , ar, أعمدة هرقل, Aʿmidat Hiraql, es, Columnas de Hércules) was the phrase that was applied in Antiquity Antiquity or Antiquities may refer ...

Pillars of Hercules
. After being reinforced by the Lusitanians he marched on Fufidius, the local Roman governor, intent on defeating him to strengthen his support and prestige. At the
Battle of the Baetis River The Battle of the Baetis River was fought between an army of the Roman Republic and a rebel army at the Baetis river (modern day Guadalquivir) in Spain. The battle took place in 80 BC at the start of the Sertorian War. The Romans were led by Luciu ...
, fought at the Baetis estuary, he defeated Fufidius and started to consolidate his power in Hispania. Brave, noble, and gifted with eloquence, Sertorius was just the man to impress the native warriors, whom he organized into an army. They spoke of him as the "new
Hannibal Hannibal (; xpu, 𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋, ''Ḥannibaʿl''; 247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Carthaginian general and statesman who commanded the forces of Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern ...

Hannibal
" whom he resembled physically (having one eye) and in military skill; he was an extraordinary general who repeatedly defeated forces many times his own force's size. Many Roman and Italian refugees and deserters joined him, and with these and his Spanish and African volunteers and mercenaries he completely defeated several of Sulla's generals (Fufidius,
Domitius Calvinus Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus was a Ancient Rome, Roman general, Roman senator, senator and consul (both in 53 BC and 40 BC) who was a loyal Partisan (political), partisan of Julius Caesar, Caesar and Augustus, Octavianus. Domitius Calvinus came fro ...
and to some less-direct extent Thorius and Manlius). In 77 BC he drove
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius (c. 128 – 63 BC) was a Roman politician and general. Like the other members of the influential Caecilii Metelli The gens Caecilia was a plebeian family at ancient Rome. Members of this gens are mentioned in hi ...

Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius
the proconsul of Hispania Ulterior, who had been given a proconsular command specifically to defeat him, out of his own province. In 76 BC, after Sertorius had been reinforced by the rebel army of Marcus Perperna, the Roman Senate resorted to giving an extraordinary command (pro consulibus) to
Gnaeus Pompey Magnus Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey the Great (), was a leading Roman general and statesman, whose career was significant in Rome's transformation from a Roman Republic, r ...
to help out Metellus who was doing miserably against Sertorius. Pompey recruited a large army from among his father's and Sulla's veterans and marched to Spain. Confident of success he engaged Sertorius at the
Battle of Lauron The Battle of Lauron (also known as the Battle of Lauro, not to be confused for the Battle of Lauro of 45 BC) was fought in 76 BC by a rebel force under the command of the renegade Roman general Quintus Sertorius Quintus Sertorius (c. 126 – 7 ...
in eastern Spain only to suffer a major defeat. The turning point came in 75 BC when Pompey and Metellus started scoring victories against Sertorius's subordinates. Pompey defeated Sertorius's legates Perperna and Herrenius at the Battle of Valentia and Metellus defeated Hirtuleius at the
Battle of Italica The Battle of Italica was fought in 75 BC between a rebel army under the command of Lucius Hirtuleius Lucius Hirtuleius was a legate of Quintus Sertorius during the Sertorian War The Sertorian War was a civil war fought from 80 to 72 BC bet ...
. Sertorius then ruined his army at the
Battle of Sucro The Battle of Sucro was fought in 75 BC between a rebel army under the command of the Roman rebel Quintus Sertorius and a Roman army under the command of the Roman general Pompey. The battle was fought on the banks of the river Júcar, Sucro near ...
and the
Battle of Saguntum The Battle of Saguntum (25 October 1811) saw the Imperial French Army of Aragon under Marshal Marshal is a term used in several official titles in various branches of society A society is a group A group is a number A number i ...
, forcing him on the defensive. From then on Sertorius refrained from fighting battles and reverted to guerrilla warfare. Although Pompey and Metellus had gained the initiative, the war was far from over. Sertorius still enjoyed the support of the inland tribes and their warriors still flocked to his cause. Sertorius owed some of his success to his prodigious ability as a statesman. His goal was to build a stable government in Hispania with the consent and co-operation of the people, whom he wished to civilize along the lines of the Roman model. He established a senate of 300 members, drawn from Roman emigrants (probably also including some from the highest aristocrats of Hispania) and kept a Hispanian bodyguard. For the children of the chief native families he provided a school at Osca (
Huesca Huesca (; an, Uesca) is a city in north-eastern Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map ...

Huesca
), where they received a Roman education and even adopted the dress and education of Roman youths. This followed the Roman practice of taking
hostage A hostage is a person seized by an abductor in order to compel another party such as a relative Relative may refer to: General use *Kinship and family, the principle binding the most basic social units society. If two people are connected by c ...
s. Late in his campaigns, a revolt of the native people arose and Sertorius killed several of the children that he had sent to school at Osca, selling many others into slavery.Sertorius
by
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
Although he was strict and severe with his soldiers, he was particularly considerate to the people in general, and made their burdens as light as possible. It seems clear that he had a peculiar gift for evoking the enthusiasm of the native tribes, and we can understand how he was able to use his famous white fawn, a present from one of the natives that was supposed to communicate to him the advice of the goddess
Diana Diana most commonly refers to: * Diana (name) Diana is a feminine given name of Italian origin.Diana translates to Artemis from Latin. Some usually falsely refer to the name as Diviana. Variants * Female: Daiana ** Altered: Dianella ** Hypocor ...
, to his advantage. ::Spanus, one of the commononers who lived in the country came across a doe trying to escape from hunters. The doe fled faster than he could pursue, but the animal had newly given birth. He
panus ''Panus'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscri ...
was struck by the unusual colour of the fawn, for it was pure white. He pursued and caught it. As it happened, Sertorius was in the area, and it was known that he amply rewarded those who brought him game and produce. So Spanus gave the fawn to Sertorius, who at that time felt only the usual pleasure of one who receives such gift. After a while the animal became so tame and well-trained that it came when he called it, and followed him on his walks without minding the crowds and bustle of life in camp. hat the fawn did this tells us something more about the character of Sertorius.Eventually it occurred to him that the barbarians easily fall into superstition, so he started to give the fawn religious significance. He announced that the doe had been sent by
he goddess He or HE may refer to: Language * He (pronoun) In Modern English Modern English (sometimes New English or NE (ME) as opposed to Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the N ...
Diana, and solemnly claimed that through the doe she revealed hidden information to him. He helped the idea along by various tricks. If he heard of an enemy raid into his territory, or an attempt to subvert a city from its allegiance to him, he would claim that the fawn had told him of this in a dream, and tell his men to prepare. Or when his commanders sent him messages of victory, he would hide the messenger and bring out the white fawn wearing celebratory garlands. He would sacrifice to the gods, and tell his men to celebrate because they would soon hear something good had happened. By such stratagems he persuaded his people they were not by the fallible wisdom of some foreigner, but by divine power. So the people were made tractable and all the more ready to help him with his plans, and consequently the extraordinary growth of Sertorius's power led to reinforcing this belief. For six years he held sway over Hispania. In 76 BC, he was joined — at the insistence of the forces he brought with him — by
Marcus Perpenna Vento Marcus Perperna (or Perpenna) Veiento (also, incorrectly, Vento; died 72 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , ...
, with a following of Roman and Italian aristocrats and a sizeable Roman-style army of fifty-three cohorts. In the same year,
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Republic, Roman general and statesman. He played a significant role in the transformation of ...
(now better known as Pompey) was sent to help Metellus take back Hispania and crush Sertorius's rebelion. Contemptuously calling Pompey 'the young pup' and Metellus 'the old woman' Sertorius proved himself more than a match for his adversaries. After the
Battle of Lauron The Battle of Lauron (also known as the Battle of Lauro, not to be confused for the Battle of Lauro of 45 BC) was fought in 76 BC by a rebel force under the command of the renegade Roman general Quintus Sertorius Quintus Sertorius (c. 126 – 7 ...
, in which he out-generaled Pompey and massacred part of his army, he razed the city (proving Pompey and Metellus could not protect their allies). In 75 BC, Pompey and Metellus made a comeback, Pompey defeated Sertorius' legates Herrenius and Perpenna in the Battle of Valentia and Metellus was able to crush another Sertorian army when he defeated Hirtuleius at the
Battle of Italica The Battle of Italica was fought in 75 BC between a rebel army under the command of Lucius Hirtuleius Lucius Hirtuleius was a legate of Quintus Sertorius during the Sertorian War The Sertorian War was a civil war fought from 80 to 72 BC bet ...
. Sertorius responded by marching against Pompey and nearly capturing him at the
Battle of Sucro The Battle of Sucro was fought in 75 BC between a rebel army under the command of the Roman rebel Quintus Sertorius and a Roman army under the command of the Roman general Pompey. The battle was fought on the banks of the river Júcar, Sucro near ...
, when Pompey decided to fight him without waiting for Metellus. After these battles Sertorius was indecisively beaten at the
Battle of Saguntum The Battle of Saguntum (25 October 1811) saw the Imperial French Army of Aragon under Marshal Marshal is a term used in several official titles in various branches of society A society is a group A group is a number A number i ...
and had to revert to guerrilla combat again. Pompey wrote to Rome for reinforcements, without which, he said, he and Metellus would be driven from Hispania. With these reinforcements Pompey and Metellus were gaining the upper hand, grinding down their enemy by war of attrition, capturing stronghold after stronghold. Though Sertorius was still able to win some victories, he was losing the war, and his authority over his men was declining. He lost much of his acumen and authority, descending into alcoholism and debauchery Sertorius was in league with the
Cilician Pirates Cilician pirates dominated the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has pla ...
, who had bases and fleets all around the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
, was negotiating with the formidable
Mithridates VI of Pontus Mithridates or Mithradates VI Eupator ( grc-gre, Μιθραδάτης; 135–63 BC) was ruler of the Kingdom of Pontus The Kingdom of Pontus ( grc, Βασιλεία τοῦ Πόντου, ''Basileía toû Póntou'') was a Hellenistic The ...

Mithridates VI of Pontus
, and he was also in communication with the insurgent slaves of
Spartacus Spartacus ( el, Σπάρτακος '; la, Spartacus; c. 111–71 BC) was a Thracian The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern and So ...
in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
. But due to jealousies among his high ranking Roman officers and some Iberian chieftains as well a conspiracy was beginning to take form.


Death

In 74 and 73 BC, Pompey and Metellus had been slowly grinding down Sertorius's rebellion. Unable to defeat him in battle they had opted for attritional warfare, what had worked against Hannibal a century and a half before would now be brought to bear on Sertorius. Metellus, seeing that the key to victory was removing Sertorius, had made his pitch toward the Romans still with Sertorius. 'Should any Roman kill Sertorius he would be given a hundred talents of silver and twenty-thousand acres of land. If he was an exile he would be free to return to Rome'. This turned Sertorius paranoid, he started distrusting his Roman retinue. He also no longer trusted his Roman bodyguard, exchanging it for a Spanish one. The war was not going well, so the Roman aristocrats and senators who made up the higher classes of his domain became discontented with Sertorius. They had grown jealous of Sertorius's power, and Perperna, aspiring to take Sertorius's place, encouraged that jealousy for his own ends. The conspirators took to damaging Sertorius by oppressing the local
Iberian Iberian refers to Iberia (disambiguation), Iberia. Most commonly Iberian refers to: *Someone or something originating in the Iberian Peninsula, namely from Spain, Portugal and Andorra. The term ''Iberian'' is also used to refer to anything pertain ...
tribes in his name. This stirred discontent and revolt in the tribes, which resulted in a cycle of oppression and revolt, with Sertorius none the wiser as to who was creating such mischief. Perperna and his fellow conspirator invited Sertorius to a feast to celebrate a supposed victory. While under most circumstances, any festivities to which Sertorius was invited were conducted with great propriety, this particular feast was vulgar, designed to offend the skillful general and get him off his couch and among the crowd where a knife could be shoved through his ribs without difficulty. Disgusted, Sertorius changed his posture on the couch, intent on ignoring them all. This presented something of a problem as Sertorius, although in late middle age, had a well deserved reputation as a skilled fighter. They changed their tactic, Perperna gave the signal to his fellow conspirators, and they rushed and stabbed the unsuspecting Sertorius until he was dead.


Aftermath

Upon learning of the death of Sertorius, some of his Iberian allies sent ambassadors to Pompey or to Metellus and made peace, most simply went home. To make matters worse for Perperna when Sertorius's will was read he had named him his chief beneficiary. Perperna already disgraced as the man who had slain his commander, the man who had given him sanctuary, was now also revealed to have killed his main benefactor and friend. And now that he was dead, the virtues of Sertorius were remembered, and his recent atrocities forgotten. ::People are generally less angry with those who have died, and when they no longer see him alive before them they tend to dwell tenderly on his virtues. So it was with Sertorius. Anger against him suddenly turned to affection and the soldiers clamorously rose up in protest against Perperna.Appian, ''Civil Wars'', 1.114. Sertorius's independent "Roman" Republic in Spain crumbled with the renewed onslaught of Pompey and Metellus, who crushed Perperna's army and eliminated the remaining opposition. Many commentators described Sertorius's life as a tragedy. Spann concluded, "Sertorius' talents were wasted, his life lost, in an inglorious struggle he did not want, could not win, and could not escape".


In fiction

* The 1662 French play ''
Sertorius Quintus Sertorius (c. 126 – 73 BC) was a Roman general and statesman who led Sertorian War, a large-scale rebellion against the Roman Senate on the Iberian peninsula. He had been a prominent member of the Populares, populist faction of Lucius Co ...
'' by
Pierre Corneille Pierre Corneille (; 6 June 1606 – 1 October 1684) was a French tragedy, tragedian. He is generally considered one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists, along with Molière and Jean Racine, Racine. As a young man, he earned ...

Pierre Corneille
and the 1679 English play ''
Sertorius Quintus Sertorius (c. 126 – 73 BC) was a Roman general and statesman who led Sertorian War, a large-scale rebellion against the Roman Senate on the Iberian peninsula. He had been a prominent member of the Populares, populist faction of Lucius Co ...
'' by John Bancroft both portray the events of the rebellion *In Colleen McCullough's novels The First Man in Rome (novel), The First Man in Rome and Fortune's Favourites, Quintus Sertorius features as one of the secondary characters. *In Steven Saylor's short story ''The White Fawn'', Quintus Sertorius features as one of the secondary characters. *In Vincent B. Davis II (Author) novel, The Man With Two Names: A Novel of Ancient Rome (The Sertorius Scrolls Book 1) Quintus Sertorius is the main character


See also

* Sertoria gens * Sertorian War * Timeline of Portuguese history


Notes and references


Bibliography


Ancient sources

*
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from about 90 BC&nbs ...

Plutarch
, ''
Parallel Lives Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from a ...
'', ''Life of Sertorius'' (in his ''Parallel Lives'' Plutarch pairs Sertorius with
Eumenes Eumenes (; grc-gre, Εὐμένης; c. 362316 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek general and satrap. He participated in the Wars of Alexander the Great, serving as both Alexander the Great, Alexander's personal secretary and as a battlefield command ...
− Plutarch saw many parallels between the lives of these two men) * Plutarch, ''
Parallel Lives Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46 – after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist Middle Platonism is the modern name given to a stage in the development of Platonic philosophy, lasting from a ...
'', ''Life of Pompey'', 18. * Appian, ''Bell. civ.'' (Civil Wars). * Appian, ''Hispanica''. * the fragments of Sallust. * Dio Cassius xxxvi. * Frontinus, ''Stratagems''


Modern sources

* * * John Leach, ''Pompey the Great'', chapter 2. (1978) * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Sertorius, Quintus 120s BC births Year of birth uncertain 73 BC deaths 2nd-century BC Romans 1st-century BC Romans Ancient Roman exiles Ancient Roman generals Assassinated military personnel Assassinated Roman politicians People from Norcia Roman governors of Hispania Roman quaestors Roman rebels Roman Republican praetors Romans who received the grass crown