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Mithridates, at twelve years of age, ascends the throne of Pontus. He seizes Cappa

docia and Bithynia, having first expelled their kings. The Romans re-establish them He causes all the Romans and Italians in Asia Minor to be put to the sword in ono day. First war of the Romans with Mithridates, who had made himself master of Asia Minor and Greece, and had taken Athens. Sylla is charged with this war. He besieges and retakes Athens. He gains three great battles against the generals of Mithridates. He grants that prince peace in the fourth year of the war. Library of Athens, in which were the works of Aristotle. Sylla causes it to be carried to Rome.

MITHRIDATES, king of Pontus, whose history I am now beginning to relate, and who rendered himself so famous by the war he supported, during almost thirty years, against the Romans, was surnamed Eupator. He was descended from a house which had given a long succession of kings to the kingdom of Pontus. The first, according to some historians, was Artabazus, one of the seven princes that slew the Magi, and set the crown of Persia upon the head of Darius Hystaspes, who rewarded him with the kingdom of Pontus. But, besides that we do not find the name of Artabazus amongst those seven Persians, many reasons induce us to believe, that the prince of whom we speak was the son of Darius, the same who is called Artabarzanes, who was competitor with Xerxes for the throne of Persia, and was made king of Pontus either by his father or his brother, to console him for the preference given to Xerxes. His posterity enjoyed that kingdom during seventeen generations. Mithridates Eupator, of whom we are treating in this place, was the sixteenth from him.

He was but twelve years of age when he began

to reign. His father, before his death, had appointed him his successor, and had given him his mother for guardian, who was to govern jointly with him. He began his reign by putting his mother and brother to death;* and the sequel corre.

A. M. 3880. Ant. J. C. 124.

Memnon in excerptis Photii, c xadi.

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A. M. 3913. Ant. J. C. 91.

sponded but too well with such a beginning. Nothing is said of the first years of his reign,* except that one of the Roman generals, whom he had corrupted with money, having surrendered, and put him into possession of Phrygia, it was soon after taken from him by the Romans, which gave birth to his enmity against them.

Ariarathes, king of Cappadocia, being dead,

Mithridates caused the two sons he had left behind him to be put to death, though their mother Laodice was his own sister, and placed one of his own sons, at that time very young, upon the throne, giving him the name of Ariarathes, and appointing Gordius his guardian and regent. Nicomedes, king of Bithynia, who was apprehensive that this increase of power would put Mithridates into a condition to possess himself also of his dominions in time, thought proper to set up a certain young man (who seemed very fit for acting such a part) as a third son of Ariarathes. He engaged Laodice, whom he had espoused after the death of her first husband, to acknowledge him as such, and sent her to Rome, to assist and support by her presence the claim of this pretended son, whom she carried thither along with her. The cause being brought before the senate, both parties were condemned; and a decree passed, by which the Cappadocians were declared free. But they said they could not be without a king. The senate permitted them to choose whom they thought fit. They elected Ariobarzanes, a nobleman of their nation. Sylla, upon his quitting the office of prætor, was charged with the commission of establishing him upon the throne. That was the pretext assigned for this expedition; but the real motive of it was, to check the enterprises of Mithridates, whose power daily augmenting, gave umbrage to the Romans. Sylla

executed his commission the following year; and

after having defeated a great number of Cappadocians, and a much greater of Armenians, who came to their aid, he expelled Gordius, with the pretended Ariarathes, and set Ariobarzanes in his place.

Whilst Sylla was encamped upon the banks of the Euphrates, a Parthian, named Orobasus, arrived at his camp, deputed from king Arsaces,t to demand the alliance and amity of the Romans. Sylla, when he received him at his audience, caused three seats to be placed in his tent, one for Ariobarzanes, who was present, another for Orobasus,

and that in the midst for himself. The Parthian king afterwards, offended at his deputy for having acquiesced in this instance of Roman pride, caused him to be put to death. This is the first time the Parthians had any intercourse with the Romans.

Mithridates did not dare at that time to oppose the establishment of Ariobarzanes; but dissembling the mortification that conduct of the Romans gave him, he resolved to take an opportunity of being revenged upon them. In the mean while he engaged in cultivating powerful alliances for the augmentation of his strength; and began • Appian. in Mithrid 177, 178.

This was Mithridates II,

A. M. 3914. Ant. J. C. 90.

A. M. 3915. Ant. J. C. 89.

with Tigranes, king of Armenia, a very powerful prince. Arme. nia* bad at first appertained to the Persians; it came under the Macedonians afterwards; and upon the death of Alexander made part of the kingdom of Syria. Under Antiochus the Great, two of his generals, Artaxius and Zadriadres, with that prince's permission, established themselves in this province, of which it is probable they were before governors. After the defeat of Antiochus, they adhered to the Romans, who acknowledged them as kings. They had divided Armenia into two parts. Tigranes, of whom we now speak, was descended from Artaxius. He possessed himself of all Armenia, subjected several neighbouring countries by his arms, and thereby formed a very powerful kingdom. Mithridates gave him his daughter Cleopatra in marriage, and engaged him to enter so far into his projects against the Romans, that they agreed Mithridates should have the cities and countries they should conquer for his share, and Tigranes the people, with all the effects capable of being carried away.

The first enterprise and act of hostility was

committed by Tigranes, who deprived Ariobarzanes of Cappadocia, of which the Romans had put him into possession, and re-established Ariarathes, the son of Mithridates, in it. Nicomedes, king of Bithynia, happening to die about this time, his eldest son, called also Nicomedes, ought naturally to have succeeded him, and was accordingly proclaimed king. But Mithridates set up his younger brother Socrates against him, who deprived him of the throne by force of arms. The two dethroned kings went to Rome, to implore aid of the senate, who decreed their re-establishment, and sent Manius Aquilius and M. Altinius to put that decree in execution.

They were both reinstated. The Romans advised them to make irruptions into the lands of Mithridates, promising them their support; but neither the one nor the other dared to attack so powerful a prince so near home. At length, however, Nicomedes, urged both by the ambassadors, to whom he had promised great sums for his re-establishment, and by his creditors, Roman citizens settled in Asia, who had lent him very considerable sums for the same purpose, could no longer resist their solicitations. He made incur sions upon the lands of Mithridates, ravaged all the flat country as far as the city Amastris, and returned home laden with booty, which he applied in discharging part of his debts.

Mithridates was not ignorant by whose advice Nicomedes had committed this irruption. He might easily have repulsed him, as he had a great number of good troops on foot; but he did not take the field. He was glad to throw the blame on the side of the Romans, and to have a just cause for declaring war against them. He began by making remonstrances to their generals and ambassadorf.

Strab. L. xi. p. 531, 532


Pelopidas was at the head of this embassy. He complained of the various contraventions of the Romans to the treaty of alliance subsisting between them and Mithridates, and in particular of the protection granted by them to Nicomedes, his declared enemy. The ambassadors of the latter replied, and made complaints on their side against Mithridates. The Romans, who were unwilling to declare themselves openly at present, gave the man answer in loose and general terms; that the Roman people had no intention that Mithridates and Nicomedes should injure each other.

Mithridates, who was not satisfied with this answer, made his troops march immediately intu Cappadocia, expe.led Ariobarzanes again, and set his son Ariarathes upon the throne, as he had done before. At the same time, he sent bis ambassador to the Roman generals to make his apology, and to renew his complaints against them. Pelopidas declared to them, that his master was contented the Roman people should be umpire in the affair; and added, that he had already sent his ambassadors to Rome. He exhorted them not to undertake any thing, till they had received the senate's orders, por engage rashly in a war that might be attended with fatal con sequences. For the rest, he gave them to understand, that Mithridates, in case justice were refused him, was in a condition to procure it for himself. The Romans, highly offended at so haughty a declaration, made answer, that Mithridates was inmediately to withdraw his troops from Cappadocia, and not to continue to disturb Nicomedes or Ariobarzanes. They ordered Pelopidas to quit the camp that moment, and not return, unless his master obeyed. The other ambassadors were no better received at Rome.

The rupture was then inevitable, and the Roman generals did not wait till the orders of the senate and people arrived; which was what Mithridates wished. The design he had long formed of declaring war against the Romans, had occasioned his having made many alliances, and engaged many nations in his interest. Amongst his troops were reckoned twenty-two nations, of as many different languages, all which Mithridates himself spoke with facility. His army consisted of 250,000 foot and 40,000 horse, without including 130 armed chariots and a fleet of 400 ships.

Before he proceeded to action,* he thought it necessary to prepare his troops for it, and made them a long discourse to animate them against the Romans.t He represented to them, “ That the matter now in hand was not to exainine whether war or peace were to be preferred; that the Romans, by attacking the first, had left them no room for deliberation: that their business was to fight and conquer: that he assured himself of success, if the troops persisted to

• Justin. l. xxxyiii. c. 3—7.

1 I have ahridged this discourse extremely, which Justin repeats at length, as it stood in Trogus Pon, peius, of whom he is only the epitomiser. The discourse is a specimen of that excellent historian's style, and ought to make us very much regre the loss of his writings.


act with the same valour they had already shown upon so many occasions, and very lately against the same enemies, whom they had put to fight and cut to pieces in Bithynia and Cappadocia: that there could not be a more favourable opportunity than the present, when the Marsi infested and ravaged the very heart of Italy; when Rome was torn in pieces by civil wars, and an innumerable army of the Cimbri trom Germany overran all Italy: that the time was come for hunbliny those proud republicans, who were hostile to the royal dignity, aní had sworn to pull dowu all the thrones of the universe. Then as to what remained,* the war his soldiers were now entering upon was highly different from that they had sustained with so much valour in the horrid deserts and frozen regions of Scythia: that he should lead them into the most fruitful and temperate country of the world, abounding with rich and opulent cities, which seemed to offer themselves an easy prey: that Asia, abandoned to be devoured by ihe insatiable avarice of the proconsuls, the inexorable cruelty of tax-gatherers, and the flagrant injustice of corrupt judges, held the name of Roman in abhorrence, and impatiently expected them as her deliverers: that they followed him, not so much to a war, as to assured victory and certain spoils.” The army answered this discourse with universal shouts of joy, and reiterated protestations of service and fidelity.

The Romans had formed three arnies out of their troops in the several parts of Asia Minor. The first was commanded by L. Cussius, who had the government of the province of Pergamus; the second, by Manius Aquilius; the third, by Q. Oppius, proconsul, in his province of Pamphylia. Each of them had forty thousand men, including the cavalry. Besides these troops, Nicomedes had fifty thousini foot and six thousand horse. They began the war, as I have already observed, without waiting for orders from Rome, and carried it on with so much negligence and so little judgment, that they were all three defeated on different occasions, and their armies ruinel. Aquilius and Oppius themselves were taken prisoners, and treated with all kinds of insults. Mithridates, considering Aquilius as the principal author of the war, treated him with the highest in lignities. He made him pass in review before the troops, and presented him as a sight to the people, mounted on an ass, obliging him to cry out with a loud voice, that he was Manius Aquilius. At other times he obliged him to walk on foot with his hands fastened by a chain to a horse, that drew him along. At last he caused

* Nunc se diversam belli conditionem ingredi. Nam neque cælo Asiæ esse temper ratius aliui, nec solo fertilius, nec urbium multitudine amenius; magnamque temporis qartem, non ut militiam, sed ut festum diein, acturos, bello dubium facili magis an uberi maturque se avida expectat Asia, ut etiam vocibus vocet: adeò illis odium Romanor:un incussit rapacitas proconsului, sectio publicanorum, calumniæ litiuin." Justin.

Sectio publicanorum" in this passage properly signifies, the forcible sale of the goods of those who for default of payınent of taxes and imposts had their estates and effects seized on and so:d by the publicans. “Calumnir litium" are the unjust quirks and chicanery, which served as pretexts for depriving the rich of their eslatos, either upon account of Laxes, or under some other colour.

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