c. 138 BC Lucius Cornelius Sulla, later surnamed Felix, born of an old but recently undistinguished patrician family.
107-105 Serves as quaestor to Marius in Numidia. Engineers the surrender of Jugurtha.
103-104 Serves under Marius in German wars.
101 As legionary commander under Q. Lutatius Catulus, consul in 102, plays a big part in the defeat of the Cimbri, and also of the Tigurini.
97 Praetor.
96-92 Governor of Cilicia.
91-88 Social War, in which Sulla distinguishes himself as a commander on the southern front.
89 Marries Caecilia Metella, widow of M. Aemilius Scaurus. They have twins (c. 88), Faustus and Fausta.
88 Consul with Q. Pompeius Rufus. Sulla, having been given the command against Mithridates by the senate, loses it to Marius on a motion of P. Sulpicius Rufus, tribune of the people. Sulla marches on Rome with his troops. Rufus is killed, Marius outlawed.
87 Sulla departs for the east.
85 Agrees peace terms with Mithridates after having twice defeated the king’s general, Archelaus, and sacked the Piraeus and parts of Athens in Greece.
84 Having heard of Cinna’s death, he rebels against the state of Rome.
83 Lands in Italy, where he is joined, among others, by Crassus and Pompey.
82 Sulla’s forces defeat in the north the consul Carbo, who flees to Africa, and in the south the other consul, Gaius Marius junior, who commits suicide. Tremendous battle before Rome, with the government troops bolstered by the Samnites, who are cut to pieces and the survivors butchered. Sulla enters Rome, and is proclaimed permanent dictator. Proscriptions begin.
81 Proscriptions nominally end on 1 June. Constitutional and legislative reforms include increasing the number of senators, giving quaestors automatic entry to the senate, and reducing the authority of the tribunes of the people. Settles his veterans on confiscated land. Divorces Caecilia and has her carried out of the house so as not ritually to contaminate it by reason of the disease from which she was dying. Elected consul for 80, with Metellus Pius.
80 Resigns as dictator.
79 Retires to his estate at Puteoli to write his memoirs. Marries Valeria, a young divorcée whom he has spotted at a gladiatorial show.
78 Dies, probably from phthiriasis which developed from an ulcerous condition, having written 22 books of his autobiography.