Lucius Cornelius Sulla, cognominated Felix ("lucky"), was born in 138 BC and died in 78 BC at the age of 60.
He began his military career serving as a quaestor under Gaius Marius, and in 107 BC aided in the capture of Jugurtha of Numidia. He then served as praetor in 94 BC, and fought in the Social War (90-89 BC), a conflict which focused on the struggles of the Italian Allies to win full Roman citizenship.
Sulla learned under the leadership of Gaius Marius, but as the men grew older, they also grew apart due to their opposing political views. When Sulla was appointed consul in 88 BC, he won the right to command an army against King Mithradates VI of Pontus in Asia Minor. Gaius Marius, jealous and fearful that Sulla's military prowess would eclipse his own, wrested that command away from Sulla by bribing a tribune of the plebs named Sulpicius, who exercised his veto power against Sulla, thus giving command to Marius.
An enraged Sulla, his army already assembled, then decided to march on Rome itself, the first (but certainly not the last) Roman general to do so. Killing Sulpicius and with Marius in full flight as an outlaw as a result, Sulla once again turned his army towards Asia Minor and war with Mithradates.
He laid siege to Athens, ending with its capture in 86 BC. Mithradates became a vassal once again, and Sulla worked to restore peace to the majority of Greece and Asia.
Back in Rome, however, a number of Senators who were outraged by his march on the city, had Sulla declared public enemy number one. The laws Sulla had promulgated were repealed. His house was destroyed, and most of his family (and a good number of his friends) fled to Greece to join him in a sort of exile, though technically Sulla was still in command of the armies located in that area of the world.
That changed when the Senate sent the consular Lucius Valerius Flaccus to replace Sulla as commander. However, along the way, Flaccus was murdered by his lieutenant. Sulla took this as a portent that his luck would hold, and marched once again on Rome.
A battle was fought at the Colline Gate in northern Rome in 82 BC and Sulla's victory there, along with the fall of Praeneste, ended this particular Roman civil war.
He was declared dictator under the Lex Valeria that same year, making Sulla nigh omnipotent in his power over Rome and the Roman people. His dictatorship was unusual, as his term in the position was not defined (prior dictators had a term limit imposed on them lasting just six months--Sulla remained dictator for nearly three years), though Sulla always promised to step down once he deemed his work to be complete--promises the common Roman really didn't believe. During his reign he once again introduced a number of laws, most of which were designed to re-establish the Senate's supremacy in the governance of the Roman State. He passed laws increasing the number of courts available for criminal trials, instituted a new treason law, and passed laws which attempted to protect the people from judicial and executive excesses.
Stunning nearly everyone, Sulla remained true to his word and resigned the position of dictator in 79 BC, retiring to the village of Puteoli in Campania to write his memoirs as a private citizen.
Sulla was struck by a fever in 78 BC, and died in his bed, thus becoming one of the few (one might say one of the lucky) Roman dictators to die by non-violent means.
Primary source for this writeup: The Masters of Rome series of books by Colleen McCullough and various historical texts.
And, oddly enough, this was a nodeshell rescue.
Okay so the rake informs me it's not really a nodeshell rescue, but for further details, you'll have to go straight to the source.