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David Orcutt

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  1. David Orcutt

    About numerous consulships

    Greetings to everyone. I am new here, and joined specifically to ask a question to which I’ve been unable to find an answer. I hoped perhaps someone here might be able to lead me in the proper direction. I am an “amateur” writers - meaning that I’ve written a few books (self published) about Ancient Rome. That said, I write specifically for the gratification of writing - and not to make money. I have discovered that in attempting to write, I am forced to look at the most realistic ways events came about, moreso than when I simply read that this happened, followed by that. I am currently working on a timeline of the rise and fall of Gaius Marius in regards to his liberal fight against the conservative politics of the time and this is what led me to my question. When Gaius Marius was elected to his second consulship, in 104 BC, at the close of his Numidian war, it was somewhat iconic for him to have been elected consul only 3 years from his first consulship, in 107 BC. Also, the Mos Maiorum stated that ex-Consuls were expected to wait a period of 10 years before running for the office again. Of course, Gaius Marius did not run for this second Consulship. He was not even in Rome to formally enter his candidacy, and was the result of the people of Rome, desperate after the loss of so many armies under the Consuls, Silanus, Longinus, Caepio, Maximus, etc to the migrating Germans. And then, of course, we all know that Marius continued to be elected for the 103, 102, 101, and even the 100 BC years. My question is: why was it such a big deal? Hadn’t Quintus Fabius Maximus also held multiple Consulships during the Punic Wars? 5 times if I remember correctly, and with 2 dictatorships. Does anyone know why it was acceptable for Maximus, but controversial for Marius? Or had the 10-year wait between consulships been written into the Mos Maiorum as a result of Maximus holding so many? Thank you to anyone who might have some information on this which would clarify the subject for me.