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duties, taxes, and interest of their arrears, they were given up with. out mercy to their crcditors, and often exposed to such barba rous tortures, that slavery, in comparison with their miseries, seemed a kind of redress and tranquillity to them.
These immense debts of the province arose from the fine of 20,000 talents* which Sylla had imposed on it. They had already paid the sum twice over: but those insatiable usurers, by heaping interest upon interest, had run it up to 120,000 talents;ť so that they still owed triple the sums they had already paid.
Tacitust had reason to say, that usury was one of the most ancient evils of the Roman commonwealth, and the most frequent cause of sedition; but at the time we now speak of, it was carried to an excess not easy to be credited.
The interest of money amongst the Romans was paid every month, and was one per cent.; hence it was,called usura centesima, or uncurium fanus; because in reckoning the twelve months, twelve per cent. was paid: Uncia is the twelfth part of a whole.
Thej law of the twelve tables|| prohibited the raising interest to above twelve per cent. This law was revived by the two tribulies of the people, in the 396th year of Rome.
Ten years after, 11 interest was reduced to half that sum, in the 405th year of Rome; semunciarium fænus.
At length, in the 411th year of Rome, ** all interest was prohibited by decree: Ne frenerari liceret.
All these decrees were ineffectual. Avarice was always too strong for the lawsitt and whatever regulations were made to suppress it, either in the time of the republic or under the emperors, it always found means to elude them. Nor has it paid more regard to the laws of the church, which has never entered into any composition on this point, and severely condemns all usury, even the most moderate; because, God having forbidden any, she never believed she had a right to permit it in the least. It is remarkable, that usury has always occasioned the ruin of the states where it has been tolerated; and it was this disorder which contributed very much to subvert the constitution of the Roman commonwealth, and gave birth to the greatest calainities in all the provinces of that empire.
Lucullus, at this time, exerted himself in procuring for the provinces of Asia some relaxation; which he could only effect by putting a stop to the injustice and cruelty of the usurers and taxgatherers. The latter, finding themselves deprived by Lucullus of
* About three millions sterling.
† About eighteen millions sterling. : Sanè vetus urbi fæncbre nalum et seditionen discordiarumque creberrima causa Tacit Annal. l. vi. c. 16.
An 1. c. 16. Liv. I. vii. n. 16. || Nequis unciario fænore amplius exerceto. * Liv. I. vii. n. 27.
** Ibid. n. 42 11 Multis plebiscitis obviàm itum fraudibus: quæ toties repressæ miras per artes ro pum oriebantur. Tacit. l. vi. c. 16.
the immense gain they made, raised a great outcry, as if they had been excessively injured; and by the force of money animated many orators against him; particularly confiding in having most of those who governed the republic in their debt, which gave them a very extensive and almost unbounded influence. But Lucullus despised their clamours with a constancy the more admirable from its being very uncommon.
Lucullus causes war to be declared with Tigranes, and marches against him. Vanity
and ridiculous self-sufficiency of that prince. He loses a great baile. Lucullus takes Tigranocerta, the capital of Armenia. le gains a second victory over the joint forces of Tigranes and Mithridates. Mutiny and revolt in tire-arny of Lucullus.
A. M. 3934. Ant. J. C. 70.
Tigranes,* to whom Lucullus had sent an am.,
bassador, though of no great power in the beginning of his reign, had enlarged it so much by a series of successes, of which there are few examples, that he was commonly surnamed king of kings. After having overthrown and almost ruined the family of the kings, successors of the great Seleucus; after having very often humbled the pride of the Parthians, transported whole cities of Greeks into Media, conquered all Syria and Palestine, and given laws to the Arabians called Scenites; le reigned with an authority respected by all the princes of Asia. The people paid him honours after the manner of the East, even to adoration. His pride was inflamed and supported by the immense riches he possessed, by the excessive and continual praises of his flatierers, and by a prosperity that had never known any interruption.
Appius Clodius was introduced to an audience of this prince, who appeared with all the splen:lour he could display, in order to give the ambassador a higher idea of the royal dignity; who, on his side, uniting the haughtiness of his natural disposition with that which particularly characterized his republic, perfectly supported the dig. nity of a Roman dibassador.
After having explained, in a few words, the subjects of complaint, which the Romans had against Mithridates, and that prince's breach of faith in breaking the peace, without so much as attempting to give any reason or colour for it, he told Tigranes, that he came to demand his being delivered up to him, as due by every sort of title to Lucullus's triumph; that he did not believe, as a friend to the Romans, which he had been till then, that he would make
difhculty in giving up Mithridates; and that, in case of his refusal, he was instructed to declare war against him.
That prince, who had never been contradicted, and wlio knew no other law nor rule than his own will and pleasure, was extremely offended at this Roman freedom. But he was much more so with
* Plut. in Lucul. p. 504—512. Memn. c. xlviii-Ivii. Appian. in Mithrid. p. 229-232.
Lucullus's letter, when it was delivered to him. The title of king only, which it gave him, did not satisfy him. He had assumed that of king of kings, of which he was very fond, and had carried his pride in that respect so far, as to cause hir.iseli to be served by crowned heads. He never appeared in public without having four kings attending him; two on foot on each side of his horse, when he went abroad; at table, in liis chamber; in short, every where, he had always some of them to do the lowest offices for him; but especially when he gave audience to ambassadors. For, at that time, to give strangers a greater idea of his glory and power, he made them all stand in two ranks, on each side of his throne, where they appeared in the habit and posture of common slaves. A pride so full of absurdity offends all the world. One more refined shocks less, though much the same at bottom.
It is not surprising that a prince of this character should bear with impatience the manner in which Clodius spoke to him. It was the first free and sincere speech he had heard during the five-andtwenty years he had governed his subjects, or rather tyrannized over them with excessive insolence. He answered, that Mithridates was the father of Cleopatra, his wife; that the union between them was of too strict a nature to admit his delivering him up
for the triumph of Lucullus; and that if the Romans were unjust enough to make war against him, he knew how to defend himself, and to make them repent it. To express his resentment, he directed his answer only to Lucullus, without adding the usual title of Imperator, or any other commonly given to the Roman generals.
Lucullus, when Clodius reported the result of his commission, and that war had been declared against Tigranes, returned with the utmost diligence into Pontus to begin it. The enterprise seemed rash, and the terrible power of the king astonished all those who relied less upon the valour of the troops and the conduct of the general, than upon a multitude of soldiers. After having made liimself master of Sinope, he gave that place its liberty, us he did also to Amisus, and made them both free and indepen. dent cities. Cotta* did not treat Heraclda, which he took after a long siege by treachery, in the same manner. He enriched himself out of its spoils, treated the inhabitants with excessive cruelty, and burnt almost the whole city. On his return to Rome, he was at first well received by the senate, and honoured with the surname of Ponticus, upon account of taking that place. But soon afier, when the IIeraclcans had laid their complaints before the renate, and represented in a manner capable of moving the hardest hearis, the miseries Cotta's-avarice and cruelty had made them suffer, the senate contented themselves with depriving hina of the lalus clavus, which was the robe worn by the scnators; a punish
ment in no wise proportioned to the flagrant excesses proved upon bim.
Lucullus left Surnatius, one of his generals, in Pontus, with 6000 men, and marched with the rest, which amounted only to 12,000 foot and 3000 borse, through Cappadocia, to the Euphrates. He passed that river in the midst of winter, and afterwards the Ti. gris, and came before Tigranocerta, which was at some small distance, to attack Tigranes in his capital, where he had lately arrivea from Syria. Nobody dared speak to that prince of Lucullus and his mareh, after his cruel treatınent of the person who brought him the first news of it, whom he put to death in reward for so important a service. He listened to nothing but the discourses of flatterers, who told him Lucullus must be a great captain if he only dared wait for him at Ephesus, and did not betake himself to flight and abandon Asia, when he should see the many thousands of which his army was composad. So true it is, says Plutarch, that as al! constitutions are not capable of bearing much wine, all minds are not strong enough to bear great prosperity without loss of reason and infatuation.
Tigranes at first had not designed so much as to see or speak to Mithridates, though his father-in-law, but treated him with the utmost contempt and arrogance, kept him at a distance, and placed a guard over him as a prisoner of state, in marshy unwholesome
places. But after Clodius's embassy, he had or
dered him to be brought to court with all possible honours and marks of respect. In a private conversation which they had together without witnesses, they cured themselves of their mutual suspicions, to the great misfortune of their friends, upon whom they cast all the blame.
In the number of those unfortunate persons was Metrodorus, of the city of Scepsis, a man of extraordinary merit, who had so much influence with Mithridates, that he was called the king's father. That prince had sent him on an embassy to Tigranes, to desire aid against the Romans. When he had explained the ccca. sion of his journey, Tigranes asked him; “And you, Metrodorus, what would you advise me to do, with respect to your master's demands?” Upon which Metrodorus replied, out of an excess of illtimed sincerity, “As an ambassador, I advise you to do what Mithridates demands of you; but as your counsel, not to do it.” This was a criminal prevarication, and a kind of treason. It cost hiin his life, when Mithridates had been apprized of it by Tigranos.
Lucullus was continually advancing against that prince, and was already in a manner at the gates of his palace, without his either knowing or believing any thing of the matter, so much was he blinded by his presumption. Mithrobarzanes, one of his favourites, ventured to carry him that news. The reward he had for it was to be charged with a commission, to go immediately with some troops and bring Lucullus prisoner; as if the matter had been only
A. M. 3935. Ant. J. C. OJ.
to arrest one of the king's subjects. The favourite, with the greatest part of the troops given liim, lost their lives, in endeavouring to execute that dangerous commission.
This ill success opened the eyes of Tigranes, and made him recover from his infatuation. Mithridates had been sent back into Pontus with 10,000 horse to raise troops there, and to return and join Tigranes, in case Lucullus entered Armenia. For himself, he had chosen to continue at Tigranocerta, in order to give the necessary orders for raising troops throughout his whole dominions. After this check, he began to be afraid of Lucullus, quitted Tigranocerta, retired to mount Taurus, and gave orders to all his troops to repair thither to him.
Lucullus marched directly to Tigranocerta, took up his quarters around the place, and formed the siege of it. This city was full of all sorts of riches; the inhabitants of all orders and conditions having emulated each other in contributing to its embellishment and magnificence, in order to make their court to the king : for this reason Lucullus pressed the siege with the utmost vigour; believing that Tigranes would never suffer it to be taken, and that he would come on in a transport of fury to offer him battle, and oblige him to raise the siege. And he was not mistaken in his conjecture. Mithridates sent every day couriers to Tigranes, and wrote him letters, in the strongest terms, to advise him not to hazard a battle, and to make use of his cavalry alone in cutting off Lucullus's provisions. Taxiles himself was sent by him with the same instructions; who, staying with him in his camp, earnestly entreated him, every day, not to attack the Roman armies, as they were excellently disciplined, veteran soldiers, and almost invincible.
At first he hearkened to this advice with patience enough. But when all his troops, consisting of a great number of different nations, were assembled, not only the king's feasts, but his councils, resounded with nothing but vain bravadoes, full of insolence, pride, and barbarian menaces. Taxiles was in danger of being killed, for having ventured to oppose the advice of those who were for a battle : and Mithridates himself was openly accused of opposing it, only out of envy, to deprive his son-in-law of the glory of so great a success.
In this conceit Tigranes determined to wait no longer, lest Mithridates should arrive, and share with him in the honour of the victory. He, therefore, marched with all his forces, telling his friends, that he was only sorry on one account, and that was, his having to engage with Lucullus alone, and not with all the Roman generals together. He measured his hopes of success by the num. ber of his troops. He had twenty thousand archers, or slingers, fifty-five thousand horse, seventeen thousand of which were heavyarmed cavalry, a hundred and fifty thousand foot, divided into companies and battalions, besides pioneers to clear the roads, build bridges, clear and turn the course of rivers, with other labourers