Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix was a Roman general and a conservative politician, holding the office of consul twice as well as the dictatorship.
Though he resigned his complete command of the Republic, he is often seen as having hastened the end of the Republic by his example.
In 88 BC, a Roman army was sent to put down king Mithridates of Pontus. The army, however, was defeated. One of Marius' old quaestors, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, had been elected consul for the year. Sulla was then ordered by the senate to assume command of the war against Mithridates. Marius, a member of the democratic ("populare") party, had a tribune revoke Sulla's command of the war against Mithridates. Sulla, a member of the aristocratic ("optimate") party, brought his army back to Italy and marched on Rome. Sulla had become so angry at Marius' tribune that he passed a law that was intended to permanently weaken the tribunate. He then returned to his war against Mithridates.
Sulla soon made peace with Mithridates. In 83 BC, he returned to Rome, overcame all resistance, and captured the city again. Sulla and his supporters then slaughtered most of Marius' supporters. Sulla, who had observed the violent results of radical populare reforms was naturally conservative. As such, he sought to strengthen the aristocracy, and thus the senate. Sulla made himself dictator, passed a series of constitutional reforms, resigned the dictatorship, and served one last term as consul.