November 07, 2014


Roman statesman and military commander who defying the Roman Senate became independent ruler of most Spain.

After acquiring some distinction in Rome as a jurist and orator he fought in Gaul against the invading Cimbri and Teutons (105 and 102) and in 97 BC served in Spain.
In 90 he was quaestor in Cisalpine Gaul.

During the civil war (87-86) between the supporters of Lucius Cornelius Sulla and Gaius Marius he supported Marius.
Sertorius wasa praetor in 83 and after being proscribed by Sulla escaped in 83 or 82 to his appointed province of Nearer Spain.
When Sulla sent two legions against him he retreated to Africa.
Returning to Spain in 80 he began the struggle that made him ruler of all Nearer Spain and most of Farther Spain by the end of 77.
Sertorius then allied with the Mediterranean pirates and Mithradates VI of Pontus fellow enemies of Rome.
He was joined by M. Perperna and other supporters of the unsuccessful anti-Sullan rebel Marcus Lepidus but in 77 a Roman army under Gnaeus Pompey arrived in Spain.
For two years Sertorius demonstrated his skill as strategist and tactician against both Pompey and Quintus Caecilius Metellus before suffering severe setbacks (74) in battles against reinforced Roman troops.
The Iberians´ morale declined and Sertorius driven to harsh measures to maintain order, lost popularity.
In 72 he was murdered in a conspiracy headed by Perperna.

Sertorius was in revolt perhaps less against Rome than against the constitution Sulla had imposed on Rome.
He established in Spain a senate of 300 members drawn mainly from Roman inmigrants but probably including a few Spaniards.

Strict and severe with his soldiers he was considerate of the local inhabitants.
He was accompanied everywhere by a white fawn which while supposedly communicating to him the advice of the goddess Diana served also to promote his popularity among the superstitious tribesmen.

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