Qnintus Sertorius, a Roman general, born at Nursia, in the country of the Sabines, about 121 B. C., assassinated in 72. He distinguished himself in the campaign of Marius against the Cimbri and Teutons, was tribune in Spain under the praetor Didius, joined the party of Cinna and Marius upon his return, and when Marius was driven from Italy raised fresh troops with Cinna and upheld the fortunes of the party. In the subsequent triumph of Ma-rius, Sertorius was the only one of his adherents who exhibited any moderation of conduct; and so strongly was he incensed by the excesses committed at this time, that after the death of their chief he put to the sword 4,000 slaves who had been the body guard of Marius, and had perpetrated every possible crime against the citizens. When Sulla returned to Italy in 83, Sertorius obtained the post of proconsul of Spain, where he governed with justice. An army having been sent against him by Sulla, he was forced after a temporary success to cross into Africa, where, joining the native princes, he defeated Sulla's general Paccianus. Returning to Spain, he placed himself at the head of the Lusitanians, and defeated the four Roman generals who held possession of the greater part of the country.
His design was to found an independent power in Spain, in which the native Spaniards should enjoy equal rights with the Roman settlers. He gained the affection of the inhabitants, and impressed them with a superstitious awe by means of a white fawn which he pretended had been given to him by Diana. The Roman senate at length sent Pompey with a large force against Sertorius, and the first battle took place near Su-cro. The force under the command of Per-perna was beaten by the Romans under Me-tellus; but the Romans under Pompey were beaten by Sertorius, and Pompey himself was wounded. Pompey was a second time beaten on the plains of Saguntum, and compelled to withdraw beyond the Pyrenees. ReŽnforced from Rome, he began a second campaign, but through the summer of 73 failed to bring Sertorius to battle or to gain any material advantage. An offer was finally made of 100 talents and 20,000 acres of land to any Roman citizen who should kill Sertorius; and he was slain by conspirators at a banquet to which he had been invited by his own general Perperna.