Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Sulla, Lucius Cornelius (138–78 B.C.), Roman general and ruler. Sulla was born into the Roman upper class and entered politics as a praetor in 94 B.C. In 88 B.C., after fighting in the Social War, he became one of two consuls ruling Rome. As a military leader, he successfully fought armies of King Mithridates VI of Pontus that were attempting to overtake Roman territories (87–85 B.C.). After Mithridates surrendered, Sulla returned to Rome to confront his opponents, headed by Marius, who accused him of being an enemy of Rome (83 B.C.). He won the civil war against them the following year and became a dictator. Sulla initiated many reforms, such as restoring power to the Senate, but his reign was known for cruelty and illegality. He retired in 79 B.C.