Born of an old, but not recently prominent, patrician family, after a dissolute youth inherited a fortune from his stepmother, which enabled him to enter the aristocratic career. Chosen by C. *Marius (1) as his *quaestor (107 he distinguished himself in the Numidian War, finally securing the surrender of *Jugurtha by *Bocchus I through diplomacy and thus ending the war. He again served under Marius against the Germans in 104 and 103, then joined the army of Q. *Lutatius Catulus (2), probably dispatched by Marius to advise Catulus, and enabled him to join in the final victory. Omitting the *aedileship, he failed to become *praetor for 98, but succeeded through lavish bribery in becoming praetor urbanus97. He was assigned *Cilicia*pro consule, then instructed to instal *Ariobarzanes (1) in *Cappadocia. He accomplished this largely with local levies and displayed Roman power to the eastern kingdoms, including (for the first time) *Parthia.