Battle of Sacriporto

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Battle of Sacriporto
Part of Sulla's Second Civil War
Young Folks' History of Rome illus226.png
A rendition of Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix.
Date April, 82 BC
Location Sacriporto, Italia
Result Decisive Optimate Victory
Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Optimates Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Populares
Commanders and leaders
Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svg Gaius Marius the Younger
40,000 Legionaries 45,000 Legionaries
Casualties and losses
Low ~15,000 Killed

The Battle of Sacriporto was a battle that took place in April of 82 BC during the context of Sulla's Second Civil War. The battle pitted the Optimates under the command of Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix against the Populares forces commanded by Gaius Marius the Younger. The battle resulted in a decisive Optimate victory.


After signing the peace treaty at Dardanos, Sulla returned to Rome with the intention of confronting his other political opponents, the Populares. They were led by Gaius Marius the Younger and by Gnaeus Papirius Carbo. Sulla therefore invaded Italia in 83 BC, routing various Populares armies. Encamping for the winter, both sides made preparations to continue the fighting with the start of the Spring war season when the war became intensified and bloody.

The Battle[edit]

According to historical accounts, one night in April, Sulla had a dream that Gaius Marius told his son, Gaius Marius the Younger, that he should not give battle to Sulla's forces the following day. Encouraged by this premonition, Sulla decided to immediately give combat and called on Gnaeus Cornelius Dolabella who was encamped nearby. Dolabella's army was exhausted from marching in an intense rainstorm and the military tribunes had ordered that the army make camp rather than give battle. Emboldened by the enemy's lack of offensive action, Gaius Marius decided to attack thinking he would be able to surprise the Optimates and win the day. The Optimates instead rallied to their units and gave battle against troops of Marius. Their defense was so fierce that Marius was eventually obliged to retire from the fray.[1]


The surviving Populares forces, including Marius, took refuge at Preneste to escape the pursuing Sullan forces. Sulla arrived shortly thereafter and besieged the city. The city fell on 4 November, holding out surprisingly until all of Italy was under Sulla's direct control.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Appian, The Civil Wars, 1, 87.
  2. ^ Appian, The Civil Wars, 1, 88.


Classic Sources[edit]

Modern Sources[edit]