State of the East
The state of breathless excitement, in which the revolution kept the Roman government by perpetually renewing the alarm of fire and the cry to quench it, made them lose sight of provincial matters generally; and that most of all in the case of the Asiatic lands, whose remote and unwarlike nations did not thrust themselves so directly on the attention of the government as Africa, Spain, and its Transalpine neighbours. After the annexation of the kingdom of Attalus, which took place contemporaneously with the outbreak of the revolution, for a whole generation there is hardly any evidence of Rome taking a serious part in Oriental affairs—with the exception of the establishment of the province of Cilicia in 652,(1) to which the Romans were driven by the boundless audacity of the Cilician pirates, and which was in reality nothing more than the institution of a permanent station for a small division of the Roman army and fleet in the eastern waters. It was not till the downfall of Marius in 654 had in some measure consolidated the government of the restoration, that the Roman authorities began anew to bestow some attention on the events in the east
In many respects matters still stood as they had done thirty years ago. The kingdom of Egypt with its two appendages of Cyrene and Cyprus was broken up, partly de jure, partly de facto, on the death of Euergetes II (637). Cyrene went to his natural son, Ptolemaeus Apion, and was for ever separated from Egypt. The sovereignty of the latter formed a subject of contention between the widow of the last king Cleopatra (665), and his two sons Soter II Lathyrus (673) and Alexander I (666); which gave occasion to Cyprus also to separate itself for a considerable period from Egypt. The Romans did not interfere in these complications; in fact, when the Cyrenaean kingdom fell to them in 658 by the testament of the childless king Apion, while not directly rejecting the acquisition, they left the country in substance to itself by declaring the Greek towns of the kingdom, Cyrene, Ptolemais, and Berenice, free cities and even handing over to them the use of the royal domains. The supervision of the governor of Africa over this territory was from its remoteness merely nominal, far more so than that of the governor of Macedonia over the Hellenic free cities. The consequences of this measure—which beyond doubt originated not in Philhellenism, but simply in the weakness and negligence of the Roman government— were substantially similar to those which had occurred under the like circumstances in Hellas; civil wars and usurpations so rent the land that, when a Roman officer of rank accidentally made his appearance there in 668, the inhabitants urgently besought him to regulate their affairs and to establish a permanent government among them.
In Syria also during the interval there had not been much change, and still less any improvement. During the twenty years' war of succession between the two half-brothers Antiochus Grypus (658) and Antiochus of Cyzicus(659), which after their death was inherited by their sons, the kingdom which was the object of contention became almost an empty name, inasmuch as the Cilician sea-kings, the Arab sheiks of the Syrian desert, the princes of the Jews, and the magistrates of the larger towns had ordinarily more to say than the wearers of the diadem. Meanwhile the Romans established themselves in western Cilicia, and the important Mesopotamia passed over definitively to the Parthians.
The Parthian State
The monarchy of the Arsacids had to pass through a dangerous crisis about the time of the Gracchi, chiefly in consequence of the inroads of Turanian tribes. The ninth Arsacid, Mithradates II or the Great (630?-667?), had recovered for the state its position of ascendency in the interior of Asia, repulsed the Scythians, and advanced the frontier of the kingdom towards Syria and Armenia; but towards the end of his life new troubles disturbed his reign; and, while the grandees of the kingdom including his own brother Orodes rebelled against the king and at length that brother overthrew him and had put him to death, the hitherto unimportant Armenia rose into power. This country, which since its declaration of independence(2) had been divided into the north-eastern portion or Armenia proper, the kingdom of the Artaxiads, and the south-western or Sophene, the kingdom of the Zariadrids, was for the first time united into one kingdom by the Artaxiad Tigranes (who had reigned since 660); and this doubling of his power on the one hand, and the weakness of the Parthian rule on the other, enabled the new king of all Armenia not only to free himself from dependence on the Parthians and to recover the provinces formerly ceded to them, but even to bring to Armenia the titular supremacy of Asia, as it had passed from the Achaemenids to the Seleucids and from the Seleucids to the Arsacids.
Lastly in Asia Minor the territorial arrangements, which had been made under Roman influence after the dissolution of the kingdom of Attalus,(3) still subsisted in the main unchanged. In the condition of the dependent states—the kingdoms of Bithynia, Cappadocia, Pontus, the principalities of Paphlagonia and Galatia, the numerous city-leagues and free towns—no outward change was at first discernible. But, intrinsically, the character of the Roman rule had certainly undergone everywhere a material alteration. Partly through the constant growth of oppression naturally incident to every tyrannic government, partly through the indirect operation of the Roman revolution—in the seizure, for instance, of the property of the soil in the province of Asia by Gaius Gracchus, in the Roman tenths and customs, and in the human hunts which the collectors of the revenue added to their other avocations there—the Roman rule, barely tolerable even from the first, pressed so heavily on Asia that neither the crown of the king nor the hut of the peasant there was any longer safe from confiscation, that every stalk of corn seemed to grow for the Roman -decumanus-, and every child of free parents seemed to be born for the Roman slave-drivers. It is true that the Asiatic bore even this torture with his inexhaustible passive endurance; but it was not patience and reflection that made him bear it peacefully. It was rather the peculiarly Oriental lack of initiative; and in these peaceful lands, amidst these effeminate nations, strange and terrible things might happen, if once there should appear among them a man who knew how to give the signal for revolt.
There reigned at that time in the kingdom of Pontus Mithradates VI surnamed Eupator (born about 624, 691) who traced back his lineage on the father's side in the sixteenth generation to king Darius the son of Hystaspes and in the eighth to Mithradates I the founder of the Pontic kingdom, and was on the mother's side descended from the Alexandrids and the Seleucids. After the early death of his father Mithradates Euergetes, who fell by the hand of an assassin at Sinope, he had received the title of king about 634, when a boy of eleven years of age; but the diadem brought to him only trouble and danger. His guardians, and even as it would seem his own mother called to take a part in the government by his father's will, conspired against the boy-king's life. It is said that, in order to escape from the daggers of his legal protectors, he became of his own accord a wanderer, and during seven years, changing his resting-place night after night, a fugitive in his own kingdom, led the homeless life of a hunter. Thus the boy grew into a powerful man. Although our accounts regarding him are in substance traceable to written records of contemporaries, yet the legendary tradition, which is generated in the east with the rapidity of lightning, early adorned the mighty king with many of the traits of its Samsons and Rustems. These traits, however, belong to the character, just as the crown of clouds belongs to the character of the highest mountain-peaks; the outlines of the figure appear in both cases only more coloured and fantastic, not disturbed or essentially altered. The armour, which fitted the gigantic frame of king Mithradates, excited the wonder of the Asiatics and still more that of the Italians. As a runner he overtook the swiftest deer; as a rider he broke in the wild steed, and was able by changing horses to accomplish 120 miles in a day; as a charioteer he drove with sixteen in hand, and gained in competition many a prize—it was dangerous, no doubt, in such sport to carry off victory from the king. In hunting on horseback, he hit the game at full gallop and never missed his aim. He challenged competition at table also—he arranged banqueting matches and carried off in person the prizes proposed for the most substantial eater and the hardest drinker—and not less so in the pleasures of the harem, as was shown among other things by the licentious letters of his Greek mistresses, which were found among his papers. His intellectual wants he satisfied by the wildest superstition—the interpretation of dreams and the Greek mysteries occupied not a few of the king's hours— and by a rude adoption of Hellenic civilization. He was fond of Greek art and music; that is to say, he collected precious articles, rich furniture, old Persian and Greek objects of luxury—his cabinet of rings was famous—he had constantly Greek historians, philosophers, and poets in his train, and proposed prizes at his court-festivals not only for the greatest eaters and drinkers, but also for the merriest jester and the best singer. Such was the man; the sultan corresponded. In the east, where the relation between the ruler and the ruled bears the character of natural rather than of moral law, the subject resembles the dog alike in fidelity and in falsehood, the ruler is cruel and distrustful. In both respects Mithradates has hardly been surpassed. By his orders there died or pined in perpetual captivity for real or alleged treason his mother, his brother, his sister espoused to him, three of his sons and as many of his daughters. Still more revolting perhaps is the fact, that among his secret papers were found sentences of death, drawn up beforehand, against several of his most confidential servants. In like manner it was a genuine trait of the sultan, that he afterwards, for the mere purpose of withdrawing from his enemies the trophies of victory, caused his two Greek wives, his sister and his whole harem to be put to death, and merely left to the women the choice of the mode of dying. He prosecuted the experimental study of poisons and antidotes as an important branch of the business of government, and tried to inure his body to particular poisons. He had early learned to look for treason and assassination at the hands of everybody and especially of his nearest relatives, and he had early learned to practise them against everybody and most of all against those nearest to him; of which the necessary consequence—attested by all his history—was, that all his undertakings finally miscarried through the perfidy of those whom he trusted. At the same time we doubtless meet with isolated traits of high-minded justice: when he punished traitors, he ordinarily spared those who had become involved in the crime simply from their personal relations with the leading culprit; but such fits of equity are not wholly wanting in every barbarous tyrant. What really distinguishes Mithradates amidst the multitude of similar sultans, is his boundless activity. He disappeared one fine morning from his palace and remained unheard of for months, so that he was given over as lost; when he returned, he had wandered incognito through all western Asia and reconnoitred everywhere the country and the people. In like manner he was not only in general a man of fluent speech, but he administered justice to each of the twenty-two nations over which he ruled in its own language without needing an interpreter—a trait significant of the versatile ruler of the many-tongued east. His whole activity as a ruler bears the same character. So far as we know (for our authorities are unfortunately altogether silent as to his internal administration) his energies, like those of every other sultan, were spent in collecting treasures, in assembling armies—which were usually, in his earlier years at least, led against the enemy not by the king in person, but by some Greek -condottiere—-in efforts to add new satrapies to the old. Of higher elements—desire to advance civilization, earnest leadership of the national opposition, special gifts of genius—there are found, in our traditional accounts at least, no distinct traces in Mithradates, and we have no reason to place him on a level even with the great rulers of the Osmans, such as Mohammed II and Suleiman. Notwithstanding his Hellenic culture, which sat on him not much better than the Roman armour sat on his Cappadocians, he was throughout an Oriental of the ordinary stamp, coarse, full of the most sensual appetites, superstitious, cruel, perfidious, and unscrupulous, but so vigorous in organization, so powerful in physical endowments, that his defiant laying about him and his unshaken courage in resistance look frequently like talent, sometimes even like genius. Granting that during the death-struggle of the republic it was easier to offer resistance to Rome than in the times of Scipio or Trajan, and that it was only the complication of the Asiatic events with the internal commotions of Italy which rendered it possible for Mithradates to resist the Romans twice as long as Jugurtha did, it remains nevertheless true that before the Parthian wars he was the only enemy who gave serious trouble to the Romans in the east, and that he defended himself against them as the lion of the desert defends himself against the hunter. Still we are not entitled, in accordance with what we know, to recognize in him more than the resistance to be expected from so vigorous a nature. But, whatever judgment we may form as to the individual character of the king, his historical position remains in a high degree significant. The Mithradatic wars formed at once the last movement of the political opposition offered by Hellas to Rome, and the beginning of a revolt against the Roman supremacy resting on very different and far deeper grounds of antagonism—the national reaction of the Asiatics against the Occidentals. The empire of Mithradates was, like himself, Oriental; polygamy and the system of the harem prevailed at court and generally among persons of rank; the religion of the inhabitants of the country as well as the official religion of the court was pre-eminently the old national worship; the Hellenism there was little different from the Hellenism of the Armenian Tigranids and the Arsacids of the Parthian empire. The Greeks of Asia Minor might imagine for a brief moment that they had found in this king a support for their political dreams; his battles were really fought for matters very different from those which were decided on the fields of Magnesia and Pydna. They formed—after a long truce—a new passage in the huge duel between the west and the east, which has been transmitted from the conflicts at Marathon to the present generation and will perhaps reckon its future by thousands of years as it has reckoned its past.
The Nationalities of Asia Minor
Manifest however as is the foreign and un-Hellenic character of the whole life and action of the Cappadocian king, it is difficult definitely to specify the national element preponderating in it, nor will research perhaps ever succeed in getting beyondbgeneralities or in attaining clear views on this point. In the whole circle of ancient civilization there is no region where the stocks subsisting side by side or crossing each other were so numerous, so heterogeneous, so variously from the remotest times intermingled, and where in consequence the relations of the nationalities were less clear than in Asia Minor. The Semitic population continued in an unbroken chain from Syria to Cyprus and Cilicia, and to it the original stock of the population along the west coast in the regions of Caria and Lydia seems also to have belonged, while the north- western point was occupied by the Bithynians, who were akin to the Thracians in Europe. The interior and the north coast, on the other hand, were filled chiefly by Indo-Germanic peoples most nearly cognate to the Iranian. In the case of the Armenian and Phrygian languages(4) it is ascertained, in that of the Cappadocian it is highly probable, that they had immediate affinity with the Zend; and the statement made as to the Mysians, that among them the Lydian and Phrygian languages met, just denotes a mixed Semitic-Iranian population that may be compared perhaps with that of Assyria. As to the regions stretching between Cilicia and Caria, more especially Lydia, there is still, notwithstanding the full remains of the native language and writing that are in this particular instance extant, a want of assured results, and it is merely probable that these tribes ought to be reckoned among the Indo-Germans rather than the Semites. How all this confused mass of peoples was overlaid first with a net of Greek mercantile cities, and then with the Hellenism called into life by the military as well as intellectual ascendency of the Greek nation, has been set forth in outline already.
In these regions ruled king Mithradates, and that first of all in Cappadocia on the Black Sea or Pontus as it was called, a district in which, situated as it was at the northeastern extremity of Asia Minor towards Armenia and in constant contact with the latter, the Iranian nationality presumably preserved itself with less admixture than anywhere else in Asia Minor. Not even Hellenism had penetrated far into that region. With the exception of the coast where several originally Greek settlements subsisted—especially the important commercial marts Trapezus, Amisus, and above all Sinope, the birthplace and residence of Mithradates and the most flourishing city of the empire—the country was still in a very primitive condition. Not that it had lain waste; on the contrary, as the region of Pontus is still one of the most fertile on the face of the earth, with its fields of grain alternating with forests of wild fruit trees, it was beyond doubt even in the time of Mithradates well cultivated and also comparatively populous. But there were hardly any towns properly so called; the country possessed nothing but strongholds, which served the peasants as places of refuge and the king as treasuries for the custody of the revenues which accrued to him; in the Lesser Armenia alone, in fact, there were counted seventy-five of these little royal forts. We do not find that Mithradates materially contributed to promote the growth of towns in his empire; and situated as he was,—in practical, though not perhaps on his own part quite conscious, reaction against Hellenism,—this is easily conceivable.
Acquisitions of Territory by Mithradates
Northern Shores of the Black Sea
He appears more actively employed—likewise quite in the Oriental style—in enlarging on all sides his kingdom, which was even then not small, though its compass is probably over-stated at 2300 miles; we find his armies, his fleets, and his envoys busy along the Black Sea as well as towards Armenia and towards Asia Minor. But nowhere did so free and ample an arena present itself to him as on the eastern and northern shores of the Black Sea, the state of which at that time we must not omit to glance at, however difficult or in fact impossible it is to give a really distinct idea of it. On the eastern coast of the Black Sea—which, previously almost unknown, was first opened up to more general knowledge by Mithradates—the region of Colchis on the Phasis (Mingrelia and Imeretia) with the important commercial town of Dioscurias was wrested from the native princes and converted into a satrapy of Pontus. Of still greater moment were his enterprises in the northern regions.(5) The wide steppes destitute of hills and trees, which stretch to the north of the Black Sea, of the Caucasus, and of the Caspian, are by reason of their natural conditions—more especially from the variations of temperature fluctuating between the climate of Stockholm and that of Madeira, and from the absolute destitution of rain or snow which occurs not unfrequently and lasts for a period of twenty-two months or longer—little adapted for agriculture or for permanent settlement at all; and they always were so, although two thousand years ago the state of the climate was presumably somewhat less unfavourable than it is at the present day.(6) The various tribes, whose wandering impulse led them into these regions, submitted to this ordinance of nature and led (and still to some extent lead) a wandering pastoral life with their herds of oxen or still more frequently of horses, changing their places of abode and pasture, and carrying their effects along with them in waggon-houses. Their equipment and style of fighting were consonant to this mode of life; the inhabitants of these steppes fought in great measure on horseback and always in loose array, equipped with helmet and coat of mail of leather and leather-covered shield, armed with sword, lance, and bow—the ancestors of the modern Cossacks. The Scythians originally settled there, who seem to have been of Mongolian race and akin in their habits and physical appearance to the present inhabitants of Siberia, had been followed up by Sarmatian tribes advancing from east to west,—Sauromatae, Roxolani, Jazyges,—who are commonly reckoned of Slavonian descent, although the proper names, which we are entitled to ascribe to them, show more affinity with Median and Persian names and those peoples perhaps belonged rather to the great Zend stock. Thracian tribes moved in the opposite direction, particularly the Getae, who reached as far as the Dniester. Between the two there intruded themselves—probably as offsets of the great Germanic migration, the main body of which seems not to have touched the Black Sea—the Celts, as they were called, on the Dnieper, the Bastarnae in the same quarter, and the Peucini at the mouth of the Danube. A state, in the proper sense, was nowhere formed; every tribe lived by itself under its princes and elders.
Hellenism in That Quarter
In sharp contrast to all these barbarians stood the Hellenic settlements, which at the time of the mighty impetus given to Greek commerce had been founded chiefly by the efforts of Miletus on these coasts, partly as trading-marts, partly as stations for prosecuting important fisheries and even for agriculture, for which, as we have already said, the north-western shores of the Black Sea presented in antiquity conditions less unfavourable than at the present day. For the use of the soil the Hellenes paid here, like the Phoenicians in Libya, tax and ground-rent to the native rulers. The most important of these settlements were the free city of Chersonesus (not far from Sebastopol), built on the territory of the Scythians in the Tauric peninsula (Crimea), and maintaining itself in moderate prosperity, under circumstances far from favourable, by virtue of its good constitution and the public spirit of its citizens; and Panticapaeum (Kertch) at the opposite side of the peninsula on the straits leading from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, governed since the year 457 by hereditary burgomasters, afterwards called kings of the Bosporus, the Archaeanactidae, Spartocidae, and Paerisadae. The culture of corn and the fisheries of the Sea of Azov had rapidly raised the city to prosperity. Its territory still in the time of Mithradates embraced the lesser eastern division of the Crimea including the town of Theodosia, and on the opposite Asiatic continent the town of Phanagoria and the district of Sindica. In better times the lords of Panticapaeum had by land ruled the peoples on the east coast of the Sea of Azov and the valley of the Kuban, and had commanded the Black Sea with their fleet; but Panticapaeum was no longer what it had been. Nowhere was the sad decline of the Hellenic nation felt more deeply than at these distant outposts. Athens in its good times had been the only Greek state which fulfilled there the duties of a leading power—duties which certainly were specially brought home to the Athenians by their need of Pontic grain. After the downfall of the Attic maritime power these regions were, on the whole, left to themselves. The Greek land-powers never got so far as to intervene seriously there, although Philip the father of Alexander and Lysimachus sometimes attempted it; and the Romans, on whom with the conquest of Macedonia and Asia Minor devolved the political obligation of becoming the strong protectors of Greek civilization at the point where it needed such protection, utterly neglected the summons of interest as well as of honour. The fall of Sinope, the decline of Rhodes, completed the isolation of the Hellenes on the northern shore of the Black Sea. A vivid picture of their position with reference to the roving barbarians is given to us by an inscription of Olbia (near Oczakow not far from the mouth of the Dnieper), which apparently may be placed not long before the time of Mithradates. The citizens had not only to send annual tribute to the court-camp of the barbarian king, but also to make him a gift when he encamped before the town or even simply passed by, and in a similar way to buy off minor chieftains and in fact sometimes the whole horde with presents; and it fared ill with them if the gift appeared too small. The treasury of the town was bankrupt and they had to pledge the temple-jewels. Meanwhile the savage tribes were thronging without in front of the gates; the territory was laid waste, the field-labourers were dragged away en masse, and, what was worst of all, the weaker of their barbarian neighbours, the Scythians, sought, in order to shelter themselves from the pressure of the more savage Celts, to obtain possession of the walled town, so that numerous citizens were leaving it and the inhabitants already contemplated its entire surrender.
Mithradates Master of the Bosphoran Kingdom
Such was the state in which Mithradates found matters, when his Macedonian phalanx crossing the ridge of the Caucasus descended into the valleys of the Kuban and Terek and his fleet at the same time appeared in the Crimean waters. No wonder that here too, as had already been the case in Dioscurias, the Hellenes everywhere received the king of Pontus with open arms and regarded the half-Hellene and his Cappadocians armed in Greek fashion as their deliverers. What Rome had here neglected, became apparent. The demands on the rulers of Panticapaeum for tribute had just then been raised to an exorbitant height; the town of Chersonesus found itself hard pressed by Scilurus king of the Scythians dwelling in the peninsula and his fifty sons; the former were glad to surrender their hereditary lordship, and the latter their long-preserved freedom, in order to save their last possession, their Hellenism. It was not in vain. Mithradates' brave generals, Diophantus and Neoptolemus, and his disciplined troops easily got the better of the peoples of the steppes. Neoptolemus defeated them at the straits of Panticapaeum partly by water, partly in winter on the ice; Chersonesus was delivered, the strongholds of the Taurians were broken, and the possession of the peninsula was secured by judiciously constructed fortresses. Diophantus marched against the Reuxinales or, as they were afterwards called, the Roxolani (between the Dnieper and Don) who came forward to the aid of the Taurians; 50,000 of them fled before his 6000 phalangites, and the Pontic arms penetrated as far as the Dnieper.(7) Thus Mithradates acquired here a second kingdom combined with that of Pontus and, like the latter, mainly based on a number of Greek commercial towns. It was called the kingdom of the Bosporus; it embraced the modern Crimea with the opposite Asiatic promontory, and annually furnished to the royal chests and magazines 200 talents (48,000 pounds) and 270,000 bushels of grain. The tribes of the steppe themselves from the north slope of the Caucasus to the mouth of the Danube entered, at least in great part, into relations of dependence on, or treaty with, the Pontic king and, if they furnished him with no other aid, afforded at any rate an inexhaustible field for recruiting his armies.
Alliance with Tigranes
While thus the most important successes were gained towards the north, the king at the same time extended his dominions towards the east and the west. The Lesser Armenia was annexed by him and converted from a dependent principality into an integral part of the Pontic kingdom; but still more important was the close connection which he formed with the king of the Greater Armenia. He not only gave his daughter Cleopatra in marriage to Tigranes, but it was mainly through his support that Tigranes shook off the yoke of the Arsacids and took their place in Asia. An agreement seems to have been made between the two to the effect that Tigranes should take in hand to occupy Syria and the interior of Asia, and Mithradates Asia Minor and the coasts of the Black Sea, under promise of mutual support; and it was beyond doubt the more active and capable Mithradates who brought about this agreement with a view to cover his rear and to secure a powerful ally.
Paphlagonia and Cappadocia Acquired
Lastly, in Asia Minor the king turned his eyes towards the interior of Paphlagonia—the coast had for long belonged to the Pontic empire— and towards Cappadocia.(8) The former was claimed on the part of Pontus as having been bequeathed by the testament of the last of the Pylaemenids to king Mithradates Euergetes: against this, however, legitimate or illegitimate pretenders and the land itself protested. As to Cappadocia, the Pontic rulers had not forgotten that this country and Cappadocia on the sea had been formerly united, and continually cherished ideas of reunion. Paphlagonia was occupied by Mithradates in concert with Nicomedes king of Bithynia, with whom he shared the land. When the senate raised objections to this course, Mithradates yielded to its remonstrance, while Nicomedes equipped one of his sons with the name of Pylaemenes and under this title retained the country to himself. The policy of the allies adopted still worse expedients in Cappadocia. King Ariarathes VI was killed by Gordius, it was said by the orders, at any rate in the interest, of Ariarathes' brother-in-law Mithradates Eupator: his young son Ariarathes knew no means of meeting the encroachments of the king of Bithynia except the ambiguous help of his uncle, in return for which the latter then suggested to him that he should allow the murderer of his father, who had taken flight, to return to Cappadocia. This led to a rupture and to war; but when the two armies confronted each other ready for battle, the uncle requested a previous conference with the nephew and thereupon cut down the unarmed youth with his own hand. Gordius, the murderer of the father, then undertook the government by the directions of Mithradates; and although the indignant population rose against him and called the younger son of the last king to the throne, the latter was unable to offer any permanent resistance to the superior forces of Mithradates. The speedy death of the youth placed by the people on the throne gave to the Pontic king the greater liberty of action, because with that youth the Cappadocian royal house became extinct. A pseudo-Ariarathes was proclaimed as nominal regent, just as had been done in Paphlagonia; under whose name Gordius administered the kingdom as lieutenant of Mithradates.
Empire of Mithradates
Mightier than any native monarch for many a day had been, Mithradates bore rule alike over the northern and the southern shores of the Black Sea and far into the interior of Asia Minor. The resources of the king for war by land and by sea seemed immeasurable. His recruiting field stretched from the mouth of the Danube to the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea; Thracians, Scythians, Sauromatae, Bastarnae, Colchians, Iberians (in the modern Georgia) crowded under his banners; above all he recruited his war-hosts from the brave Bastarnae. For his fleet the satrapy of Colchis supplied him with the most excellent timber, which was floated down from the Caucasus, besides flax, hemp, pitch, and wax; pilots and officers were hired in Phoenicia and Syria. The king, it was said, had marched into Cappadocia with 600 scythe-chariots, 10,000 horse, 80,000 foot; and he had by no means mustered for this war all his resources. In the absence of any Roman or other naval power worth mentioning, the Pontic fleet, with Sinope and the ports of the Crimea as its rallying points, had exclusive command of the Black Sea.
The Romans and Mithradates
Intervention of the Senate
That the Roman senate asserted its general policy—of keeping down the states more or less dependent on it—also in dealing with that of Pontus, is shown by its attitude on occasion of the succession to the throne after the sudden death of Mithradates V. From the boy in minority who followed him there was taken away Great Phrygia, which had been conferred on his father for his taking part in the war against Aristonicus or rather for his good money,(9) and this region was added to the territory immediately subject to Rome.(10) But, after this boy had at length attained majority, the same senate showed utter passiveness towards his aggressions on all sides and towards the formation of this imposing power, the development of which occupies perhaps a period of twenty years. It was passive, while one of its dependent states became developed into a great military power, having at command more than a hundred thousand armed men; while the ruler of that state entered into the closest connection with the new great-king of the east, who was placed partly by his aid at the head of the states in the interior of Asia; while he annexed the neighbouring Asiatic kingdoms and principalities under pretexts which sounded almost like a mockery of the ill-informed and far-distant protecting power; while, in fine, he even established himself in Europe and ruled as king over the Tauric peninsula, and as lord-protector almost to the Macedono-Thracian frontier. These circumstances indeed formed the subject of discussion in the senate; but when the illustrious corporation consoled itself in the affair of the Paphlagonian succession with the fact that Nicomedes appealed to his pseudo-Pylaemenes, it was evidently not so much deceived as grateful for any pretext which spared it from serious interference. Meanwhile the complaints became daily more numerous and more urgent. The princes of the Tauric Scythians, whom Mithradates had driven from the Crimea, turned for help to Rome; those of the senators who at all reflected on the traditional maxims of Roman policy could not but recollect that formerly, under circumstances so wholly different, the crossing of king Antiochus to Europe and the occupation of the Thracian Chersonese by his troops had become the signal for the Asiatic war,(11) and could not but see that the occupation of the Tauric Chersonese by the Pontic king ought still less to be tolerated now. The scale was at last turned by the practical reunion of the kingdom of Cappadocia, respecting which, moreover, Nicomedes of Bithynia— who on his part had hoped to gain possession of Cappadocia by another pseudo-Ariarathes, and now saw that the Pontic pretender excluded his own—would hardly fail to urge the Roman government to intervention. The senate resolved that Mithradates should reinstate the Scythian princes—so far were they driven out of the track of right policy by their negligent style of government, that instead of supporting the Hellenes against the barbarians they had now on the contrary to support the Scythians against those who were half their countrymen. Paphlagonia was declared independent, and the pseudo- Pylaemenes of Nicomedes was directed to evacuate the country. In like manner the pseudo-Ariarathes of Mithradates was to retire from Cappadocia, and, as the representatives of the country refused the freedom proffered to it, a king was once more to be appointed by free popular election.
Sulla Sent to Cappadocia
The decrees sounded energetic enough; only it was an error, that instead of sending an army they directed the governor of Cilicia, Lucius Sulla, with the handful of troops whom he commanded there against the pirates and robbers, to intervene in Cappadocia. Fortunately the remembrance of the former energy of the Romans defended their interests in the east better than their present government did, and the energy and dexterity of the governor supplied what the senate lacked in both respects. Mithradates kept back and contented himself with inducing Tigranes the great-king of Armenia, who held a more free position with reference to the Romans than he did, to send troops to Cappadocia. Sulla quickly collected his forces and the contingents of the Asiatic allies, crossed the Taurus, and drove the governor Gordius along with his Armenian auxiliaries out of Cappadocia. This proved effectual. Mithradates yielded on all points; Gordius had to assume the blame of the Cappadocian troubles, and the pseudo-Ariarathes disappeared; the election of king, which the Pontic faction had vainly attempted to direct towards Gordius, fell on the respected Cappadocian Ariobarzanes.
First Contact between the Romans and the Parthians
When Sulla in following out his expedition arrived in the region of the Euphrates, in whose waters the Roman standards were then first mirrored, the Romans came for the first time into contact with the Parthians, who in consequence of the variance between them and Tigranes had occasion to make approaches to the Romans. On both sides there seemed a feeling that it was of some moment, in this first contact between the two great powers of the east and the west, that neither should renounce its claims to the sovereignty of the world; but Sulla, bolder than the Parthian envoy, assumed and maintained in the conference the place of honour between the king of Cappadocia and the Parthian ambassador. Sulla's fame was more increased by this greatly celebrated conference on the Euphrates than by his victories in the east; on its account the Parthian envoy afterwards forfeited his life to his masters resentment. But for the moment this contact had no further result. Nicomedes in reliance on the favour of the Romans omitted to evacuate Paphlagonia, but the decrees adopted by the senate against Mithradates were carried further into effect, the reinstatement of the Scythian chieftains was at least promised by him; the earlier status quo in the east seemed to be restored (662).
New Aggressions of Mithradates
So it was alleged; but in fact there was little trace of any real return of the former order of things. Scarce had Sulla left Asia, when Tigranes king of Great Armenia fell upon Ariobarzanes the new king of Cappadocia, expelled him, and reinstated in his stead the Pontic pretender Ariarathes. In Bithynia, where after the death of the old king Nicomedes II (about 663) his son Nicomedes III Philopator had been recognized by the people and by the Roman senate as legitimate king, his younger brother Socrates came forward as pretender to the crown and possessed himself of the sovereignty. It was clear that the real author of the Cappadocian as of the Bithynian troubles was no other than Mithradates, although he refrained from taking any open part. Every one knew that Tigranes only acted at his beck; but Socrates also had marched into Bithynia with Pontic troops, and the legitimate king's life was threatened by the assassins of Mithradates. In the Crimea even and the neighbouring countries the Pontic king had no thought of receding, but on the contrary carried his arms farther and farther.
Aquillius Sent to Asia
The Roman government, appealed to for aid by the kings Ariobarzanes and Nicomedes in person, despatched to Asia Minor in support of Lucius Cassius who was governor there the consular Manius Aquillius— an officer tried in the Cimbrian and Sicilian wars—not, however, as general at the head of an army, but as an ambassador, and directed the Asiatic client states and Mithradates in particular to lend armed assistance in case of need. The result was as it had been two years before. The Roman officer accomplished the commission entrusted to him with the aid of the small Roman corps which the governor of the province of Asia had at his disposal, and of the levy of the Phrygians and Galatians; king Nicomedes and king Ariobarzanes again ascended their tottering thrones; Mithradates under various pretexts evaded the summons to furnish contingents, but gave to the Romans no open resistance; on the contrary the Bithynian pretender Socrates was even put to death by his orders (664).
The State of Things Intermediate between War and Peace
It was a singular complication. Mithradates was fully convinced that he could do nothing against the Romans in open conflict, and was therefore firmly resolved not to allow matters to come to an open rupture and war with them. Had he not been so resolved, there was no more favourable opportunity for beginning the struggle than the present: just at the time when Aquillius marched into Bithynia and Cappadocia, the Italian insurrection was at the height of its power and might encourage even the weak to declare against Rome; yet Mithradates allowed the year 664 to pass without profiting by the opportunity. Nevertheless he pursued with equal tenacity and activity his plan of extending his territory in Asia Minor. This strange combination of a policy of peace at any price with a policy of conquest was certainly in itself untenable, and was simply a fresh proof that Mithradates did not belong to the class of genuine statesmen; he knew neither how to prepare for conflict like king Philip nor how to submit like king Attalus, but in the true style of a sultan was perpetually fluctuating between a greedy desire of conquest and the sense of his own weakness. But even in this point of view his proceedings can only be understood, when we recollect that Mithradates had become acquainted by twenty years' experience with the Roman policy of that day. He knew very well that the Roman government were far from desirous of war; that they in fact, looking to the serious danger which threatened their rule from any general of reputation, and with the fresh remembrance of the Cimbrian war and Marius, dreaded war still more if possible than he did himself. He acted accordingly. He was not afraid to demean himself in a way which would have given to any energetic government not fettered by selfish considerations manifold ground and occasion for declaring war; but he carefully avoided any open rupture which would have placed the senate under the necessity of declaring it. As soon as men appeared to be in earnest he drew back, before Sulla as well as before Aquillius; he hoped, doubtless, that he would not always be confronted by energetic generals, that he too would, as well as Jugurtha, fall in with his Scaurus or Albinus. It must be owned that this hope was not without reason; although the very example of Jugurtha had on the other hand shown how foolish it was to confound the bribery of a Roman commander and the corruption of a Roman army with the conquest of the Roman people.
Aquillius Brings about War
Thus matters stood between peace and war, and looked quite as if they would drag on for long in the same indecisive position. But it was not the intention of Aquillius to allow this; and, as he could not compel his government to declare war against Mithradates, he made use of Nicomedes for that purpose. The latter, who was under the power of the Roman general and was, moreover, his debtor for the accumulated war expenses and for sums promised to the general in person, could not avoid complying with the suggestion that he should begin war with Mithradates. The declaration of war by Bithynia took place; but, even when the vessels of Nicomedes closed the Bosporus against those of Pontus, and his troops marched into the frontier districts of Pontus and laid waste the region of Amastris, Mithradates remained still unshaken in his policy of peace; instead of driving the Bithynians over the frontier, he lodged a complaint with the Roman envoys and asked them either to mediate or to allow him the privilege of self-defence. But he was informed by Aquillius, that he must under all circumstances refrain from war against Nicomedes. That indeed was plain. They had employed exactly the same policy against Carthage; they allowed the victim to be set upon by the Roman hounds and forbade its defending itself against them. Mithradates reckoned himself lost, just as the Carthaginians had done; but, while the Phoenicians yielded from despair, the king of Sinope did the very opposite and assembled his troops and ships. "Does not even he who must succumb," he is reported to have said, "defend himself against the robber?" His son Ariobarzanes received orders to advance into Cappadocia; a message was sent once more to the Roman envoys to inform them of the step to which necessity had driven the king, and to demand their ultimatum. It was to the effect which was to be anticipated. Although neither the Roman senate nor king Mithradates nor king Nicomedes had desired the rupture, Aquillius desired it and war ensued (end of 665).
Preparations of Mithradates
Mithradates prosecuted the political and military preparations for the passage of arms thus forced upon him with all his characteristic energy. First of all he drew closer his alliance with Tigranes king of Armenia, and obtained from him the promise of an auxiliary army which was to march into western Asia and to take possession of the soil there for king Mithradates and of the moveable property for king Tigranes. The Parthian king, offended by the haughty carriage of Sulla, though not exactly coming forward as an antagonist to the Romans, did not act as their ally. To the Greeks the king endeavoured to present himself in the character of Philip and Perseus, as the defender of the Greek nation against the alien rule of the Romans. Pontic envoys were sent to the king of Egypt and to the last remnant of free Greece, the league of the Cretan cities, and adjured those for whom Rome had already forged her chains to rise now at the last moment and save Hellenic nationality; the attempt was in the case of Crete at least not wholly in vain, and numerous Cretans took service in the Pontic army. Hopes were entertained that the lesser and least of the protected states—Numidia, Syria, the Hellenic republics—would successively rebel, and that the provinces would revolt, particularly the west of Asia Minor, the victim of unbounded oppression. Efforts were made to excite a Thracian rising, and even to arouse Macedonia to revolt. Piracy, which even previously was flourishing, was now everywhere let loose as a most welcome ally, and with alarming rapidity squadrons of corsairs, calling themselves Pontic privateers, filled the Mediterranean far and wide. With eagerness and delight accounts were received of the commotions among the Roman burgesses, and of the Italian insurrection subdued yet far from extinguished. No direct relations, however, were formed with the discontented and the insurgents in Italy; except that a foreign corps armed and organized in the Roman fashion was created in Asia, the flower of which consisted of Roman and Italian refugees. Forces like those of Mithradates had not been seen in Asia since the Persian wars. The statements that, leaving out of account the Armenian auxiliary army, he took the field with 250,000 infantry and 40,000 cavalry, and that 300 Pontic decked and 100 open vessels put to sea, seem not too exaggerated in the case of a warlike sovereign who had at his disposal the numberless inhabitants of the steppes. His generals, particularly the brothers Neoptolemus and Archelaus, were experienced and cautious Greek captains; among the soldiers of the king there was no want of brave men who despised death; and the armour glittering with gold and silver and the rich dresses of the Scythians and Medes mingled gaily with the bronze and steel of the Greek troopers. No unity of military organization, it is true, bound together these party-coloured masses; the army of Mithradates was just one of those unwieldy Asiatic war-machines, which had so often already—on the last occasion exactly a century before at Magnesia— succumbed to a superior military organization; but still the east was in arms against the Romans, while in the western half of the empire also matters looked far from peaceful.
Weak Counterpreparatons of the Romans
However much it was in itself a political necessity for Rome to declare war against Mithradates, yet the particular moment was as unhappily chosen as possible; and for this reason it is very probable that Manius Aquillius brought about the rupture between Rome and Mithradates at this precise time primarily from regard to his own interests. For the moment they had no other troops at their disposal in Asia than the small Roman division under Lucius Cassius and the militia of western Asia, and, owing to the military and financial distress in which they were placed at home in consequence of the insurrectionary war, a Roman army could not in the most favourable case land in Asia before the summer of 666. Hitherto the Roman magistrates there had a difficult position; but they hoped to protect the Roman province and to be able to hold their ground as they stood—the Bithynian army under king Nicomedes in its position taken up in the previous year in the Paphlagonian territory between Amastris and Sinope, and the divisions under Lucius Cassius, Manius Aquillius, and Quintus Oppius, farther back in the Bithynian, Galatian, and Cappadocian territories, while the Bithyno-Roman fleet continued to blockade the Bosporus.
Mithradates Occupies Asia Minor
Anti-Roman Movements There
In the beginning of the spring of 666 Mithradates assumed the offensive. On a tributary of the Halys, the Amnias (near the modern Tesch Kopri), the Pontic vanguard of cavalry and light-armed troops encountered the Bithynian army, and notwithstanding its very superior numbers so broke it at the first onset that the beaten army dispersed and the camp and military chest fell into the hands of the victors. It was mainly to Neoptolemus and Archelaus that the king was indebted for this brilliant success. The far more wretched Asiatic militia, stationed farther back, thereupon gave themselves up as vanquished, even before they encountered the enemy; when the generals of Mithradates approached them, they dispersed. A Roman division was defeated in Cappadocia; Cassius sought to keep the field in Phrygia with the militia, but he discharged it again without venturing on a battle, and threw himself with his few trustworthy troops into the townships on the upper Maeander, particularly into Apamea. Oppius in like manner evacuated Pamphylia and shut himself up in the Phrygian Laodicea; Aquillius was overtaken while retreating at the Sangarius in the Bithynian territory, and so totally defeated that he lost his camp and had to seek refuge at Pergamus in the Roman province; the latter also was soon overrun, and Pergamus itself fell into the hands of the king, as likewise the Bosporus and the ships that were there. After each victory Mithradates had dismissed all the prisoners belonging to the militia of Asia Minor, and had neglected no step to raise to a higher pitch the national sympathies that were from the first turned towards him. Now the whole country as far as the Maeander was with the exception of a few fortresses in his power; and news at the same time arrived, that a new revolution had broken out at Rome, that the consul Sulla destined to act against Mithradates had instead of embarking for Asia marched on Rome, that the most celebrated Roman generals were fighting battles with each other in order to settle to whom the chief command in the Asiatic war should belong. Rome seemed zealously employed in the work of self-destruction: it is no wonder that, though even now minorities everywhere adhered to Rome, the great body of the natives of Asia Minor joined the Pontic king. Hellenes and Asiatics united in the rejoicing which welcomed the deliverer; it became usual to compliment the king, in whom as in the divine conqueror of the Indians Asia and Hellas once more found a common meeting-point, under the name of the new Dionysus. The cities and islands sent messengers to meet him, wherever he went, and to invite "the delivering god" to visit them; and in festal attire the citizens flocked forth in front of their gates to receive him. Several places delivered the Roman officers sojourning among them in chains to the king; Laodicea thus surrendered Quintus Oppius, the commandant of the town, and Mytilene in Lesbos the consular Manius Aquillius.(12) The whole fury of the barbarian, who gets the man before whom he has trembled into his power, discharged itself on the unhappy author of the war. The aged man was led throughout Asia Minor, sometimes on foot chained to a powerful mounted Bastarnian, sometimes bound on an ass and proclaiming his own name; and, when at length the pitiful spectacle again arrived at the royal quarters in Pergamus, by the king's orders molten gold was poured down his throat—in order to satiate his avarice, which had really occasioned the war— till he expired in torture.
Orders Issued from Ephesus for a General Massacre
But the king was not content with this savage mockery, which alone suffices to erase its author's name from the roll of true nobility. From Ephesus king Mithradates issued orders to all the governors and cities dependent on him to put to death on one and the same day all Italians residing within their bounds, whether free or slaves, without distinction of sex or age, and on no account, under severe penalties, to aid any of the proscribed to escape; to cast forth the corpses of the slain as a prey to the birds; to confiscate their property and to hand over one half of it to the murderers, and the other half to the king. The horrible orders were—excepting in a few districts, such as the island of Cos—punctually executed, and eighty, or according to other accounts one hundred and fifty, thousand—if not innocent, at least defenceless—men, women, and children were slaughtered in cold blood in one day in Asia Minor; a fearful execution, in which the good opportunity of getting rid of debts and the Asiatic servile willingness to perform any executioner's office at the bidding of the sultan had at least as much part as the comparatively noble feeling of revenge. In a political point of view this measure was not only without any rational object—for its financial purpose might have been attained without this bloody edict, and the natives of Asia Minor were not to be driven into warlike zeal even by the consciousness of the most blood-stained guilt—but even opposed to the king's designs, for on the one hand it compelled the Roman senate, so far as it was still capable of energy at all, to an energetic prosecution of the war, and on the other hand it struck at not the Romans merely, but the king's natural allies as well, the non-Roman Italians. This Ephesian massacre was altogether a mere meaningless act of brutally blind revenge, which obtains a false semblance of grandeur simply through the colossal proportions in which the character of sultanic rule was here displayed.
Organization of the Conquered Provinces
The king's views altogether grew high; he had begun the war from despair, but the unexpectedly easy victory and the non-arrival of the dreaded Sulla occasioned a transition to the most highflown hopes. He set up his home in the west of Asia Minor; Pergamus the seat of the Roman governor became his new capital, the old kingdom of Sinope was handed over to the king's son Mithradates to be administered as a viceroyship; Cappadocia, Phrygia, Bithynia were organized as Pontic satrapies. The grandees of the empire and the king's favourites were loaded with rich gifts and fiefs, and not only were the arrears of taxes remitted, but exemption from taxation for five years was promised, to all the communities- a measure which was as much a mistake as the massacre of the Romans, if the king expected thereby to secure the fidelity of the inhabitants of Asia Minor.
The king's treasury was, no doubt, copiously replenished otherwise by the immense sums which accrued from the property of the Italians and other confiscations; for instance in Cos alone 800 talents (195,000 pounds) which the Jews had deposited there were carried of by Mithradates. The northern portion of Asia Minor and most of the islands belonging to it were in the king's power; except some petty Paphlagonian dynasts, there was hardly a district which still adhered to Rome; the whole Aegean Sea was commanded by his fleets. The south- west alone, the city-leagues of Caria and Lycia and the city of Rhodes, resisted him. In Caria, no doubt, Stratonicea was reduced by force of arms; but Magnesia on the Sipylus successfully withstood a severe siege, in which Mithradates' ablest officer Archelaus was defeated and wounded. Rhodes, the asylum of the Romans who had escaped from Asia with the governor Lucius Cassius among them, was assailed on the part of Mithradates by sea and land with immense superiority of force. But his sailors, courageously as they did their duty under the eyes of the king, were awkward novices, and so Rhodian squadrons vanquished those of Pontus four times as strong and returned home with captured vessels. By land also the siege made no progress; after a part of the works had been destroyed, Mithradates abandoned the enterprise, and the important island as well as the mainland opposite remained in the hands of the Romans.
Pontic Invasion of Europe
Predatory Inroads of the Thracians
Thrace and Macedonia Occupied by the Pontic Armies
Pontic Fleet in the Aegean
But not only was the Asiatic province occupied by Mithradates almost without defending itself, chiefly in consequence of the Sulpician revolution breaking out at a most unfavourable time; Mithradates even directed an attack against Europe. Already since 662 the neighbours of Macedonia on her northern and eastern frontier had been renewing their incursions with remarkable vehemence and perseverance; in the years 664, 665 the Thracians overran Macedonia and all Epirus and plundered the temple of Dodona. Still more singular was the circumstance, that with these movements was combined a renewed attempt to place a pretender on the Macedonian throne in the person of one Euphenes. Mithradates, who from the Crimea maintained connections with the Thracians, was hardly a stranger to all these events. The praetor Gaius Sentius defended himself, it is true, against these intruders with the aid of the Thracian Dentheletae; but it was not long before mightier opponents came against him. Mithradates, carried away by his successes, had formed the bold resolution that he would, like Antiochus, bring the war for the sovereignty of Asia to a decision in Greece, and had by land and sea directed thither the flower of his troops. His son Ariarathes penetrated from Thrace into the weakly-defended Macedonia, subduing the country as he advanced and parcelling it into Pontic satrapies. Abdera and Philippi became the principal bases for the operations of the Pontic arms in Europe. The Pontic fleet, commanded by Mithradates' best general Archelaus, appeared in the Aegean Sea, where scarce a Roman sail was to be found. Delos, the emporium of the Roman commerce in those waters, was occupied and nearly 20,000 men, mostly Italians, were massacred there; Euboea suffered a similar fate; all the islands to the east of the Malean promontory were soon in the hands of the enemy; they might proceed to attack the mainland itself. The assault, no doubt, which the Pontic fleet made from Euboea on the important Demetrias, was repelled by Bruttius Sura, the brave lieutenant of the governor of Macedonia, with his handful of troops and a few vessels hurriedly collected, and he even occupied the island of Sciathus; but he could not prevent the enemy from establishing himself in Greece proper.
The Pontic Proceedings in Greece
There Mithradates carried on his operations not only by arms, but at the same time by national propagandism. His chief instrument for Athens was one Aristion, by birth an Attic slave, by profession formerly a teacher of the Epicurean philosophy, now a minion of Mithradates; an excellent master of persuasion, who by the brilliant career which he pursued at court knew how to dazzle the mob, and with due gravity to assure them that help was already on the way to Mithradates from Carthage, which had been for about sixty years lying in ruins. These addresses of the new Pericles were so far effectual that, while the few persons possessed of judgment escaped from Athens, the mob and one or two literati whose heads were turned formally renounced the Roman rule. So the ex-philosopher became a despot who, supported by his bands of Pontic mercenaries, commenced an infamous and bloody rule; and the Piraeeus was converted into a Pontic harbour. As soon as the troops of Mithradates gained a footing on the Greek continent, most of the small free states—the Achaeans, Laconians, Boeotians—as far as Thessaly joined them. Sura, after having drawn some reinforcements from Macedonia, advanced into Boeotia to bring help to the besieged Thespiae and engaged in conflicts with Archelaus and Aristion during three days at Chaeronea; but they led to no decision and Sura was obliged to retire when the Pontic reinforcements from the Peloponnesus approached (end of 666, beg. of 667). So commanding was the position of Mithradates, particularly by sea, that an embassy of Italian insurgents could invite him to make an attempt to land in Italy; but their cause was already by that time lost, and the king rejected the suggestion.
Position of the Romans
The position of the Roman government began to be critical. Asia Minor and Hellas were wholly, Macedonia to a considerable extent, in the enemy's hands; by sea the Pontic flag ruled without a rival. Then there was the Italian insurrection, which, though baffled on the whole, still held the undisputed command of wide districts of Italy; the barely hushed revolution, which threatened every moment to break out afresh and more formidably; and, lastly, the alarming commercial and monetary crisis(13) occasioned by the internal troubles of Italy and the enormous losses of the Asiatic capitalists, and the want of trustworthy troops. The government would have required three armies, to keep down the revolution in Rome, to crush completely the insurrection in Italy, and to wage war in Asia; it had but one, that of Sulla; for the northern army was, under the untrustworthy Gnaeus Strabo, simply an additional embarrassment. Sulla had to choose which of these three tasks he would undertake; he decided, as we have seen, for the Asiatic war. It was no trifling matter—we should perhaps say, it was a great act of patriotism—that in this conflict between the general interest of his country and the special interest of his party the former retained the ascendency; and that Sulla, in spite of the dangers which his removal from Italy involved for his constitution and his party, landed in the spring of 667 on the coast of Epirus.
But he came not, as Roman commanders-in-chief had been wont to make their appearance in the East. That his army of five legions or of at most 30,000 men,(14) was little stronger than an ordinary consular army, was the least element of difference. Formerly in the eastern wars a Roman fleet had never been wanting, and had in fact without exception commanded the sea; Sulla, sent to reconquer two continents and the islands of the Aegean sea, arrived without a single vessel of war. Formerly the general had brought with him a full chest and drawn the greatest portion of his supplies by sea from home; Sulla came with empty hands—for the sums raised with difficulty for the campaign of 666 were expended in Italy—and found himself exclusively left dependent on requisitions. Formerly the general had found his only opponent in the enemy's camp, and since the close of the struggle between the orders political factions had without exception been united in opposing the public foe; but Romans of note fought under the standards of Mithradates, large districts of Italy desired to enter into alliance with him, and it was at least doubtful whether the democratic party would follow the glorious example that Sulla had set before it, and keep truce with him so long as he was fighting against the Asiatic king. But the vigorous general, who had to contend with all these embarrassments, was not accustomed to trouble himself about more remote dangers before finishing the task immediately in hand. When his proposals of peace addressed to the king, which substantially amounted to a restoration of the state of matters before the war, met with no acceptance, he advanced just as he had landed, from the harbours of Epirus to Boeotia, defeated the generals of the enemy Archelaus and Aristion there at Mount Tilphossium, and after that victory possessed himself almost without resistance of the whole Grecian mainland with the exception of the fortresses of Athens and the Piraeeus, into which Aristion and Archelaus had thrown themselves, and which he failed to carry by a coup de main. A Roman division under Lucius Hortensius occupied Thessaly and made incursions into Macedonia; another under Munatius stationed itself before Chalcis, to keep off the enemy's corps under Neoptolemus in Euboea; Sulla himself formed a camp at Eleusis and Megara, from which he commanded Greece and the Peloponnesus, and prosecuted the siege of the city and harbour of Athens. The Hellenic cities, governed as they always were by their immediate fears, submitted unconditionally to the Romans, and were glad when they were allowed to ransom themselves from more severe punishment by supplying provisions and men and paying fines.
Protracted Siege of Athens and the Piraeus
The sieges in Attica advanced less rapidly. Sulla found himself compelled to prepare all sorts of heavy besieging implements for which the trees of the Academy and the Lyceum had to supply the timber. Archelaus conducted the defence with equal vigour and judgment; he armed the crews of his vessels, and thus reinforced repelled the attacks of the Romans with superior strength and made frequent and not seldom successful sorties. The Pontic army of Dromichaetes advancing to the relief of the city was defeated under the walls of Athens by the Romans after a severe struggle, in which Sulla's brave legate Lucius Licinius Murena particularly distinguished himself; but the siege did not on that account advance more rapidly. From Macedonia, where the Cappadocians had meanwhile definitively established themselves, plentiful and regular supplies arrived by sea, which Sulla was not in a condition to cut off from the harbour- fortress; in Athens no doubt provisions were beginning to fail, but from the proximity of the two fortresses Archelaus was enabled to make various attempts to throw quantities of grain into Athens, which were not wholly unsuccessful. So the winter of 667-8 passed away tediously without result. As soon as the season allowed, Sulla threw himself with vehemence on the Piraeus; he in fact succeeded by missiles and mines in making a breach in part of the strong walls of Pericles, and immediately the Romans advanced to the assault; but it was repulsed, and on its being renewed crescent-shaped entrenchments were found constructed behind the fallen walls, from which the invaders found themselves assailed on three sides with missiles and compelled to retire. Sulla then raised the siege, and contented himself with a blockade. In the meanwhile the provisions in Athens were wholly exhausted; the garrison attempted to procure a capitulation, but Sulla sent back their fluent envoys with the hint that he stood before them not as a student but as a general, and would accept only unconditional surrender. When Aristion, well knowing what fate was in store for him, delayed compliance, the ladders were applied and the city, hardly any longer defended, was taken by storm (1 March 668). Aristion threw himself into the Acropolis, where he soon afterwards surrendered. The Roman general left the soldiery to murder and plunder in the captured city and the more considerable ringleaders of the revolt to be executed; but the city itself obtained back from him its liberty and its possessions— even the important Delos,—and was thus once more saved by its illustrious dead.
Critical Position of Sulla
Want of a Fleet
The Epicurean schoolmaster had thus been vanquished; but the position of Sulla remained in the highest degree difficult, and even desperate. He had now been more than a year in the field without having advanced a step worth mentioning; a single port mocked all his exertions, while Asia was utterly left to itself, and the conquest of Macedonia by Mithradates' lieutenants had recently been completed by the capture of Amphipolis. Without a fleet—it was becoming daily more apparent—it was not only impossible to secure his communications and supplies in presence of the ships of the enemy and the numerous pirates, but impossible to recover even the Piraeeus, to say nothing of Asia and the islands; and yet it was difficult to see how ships of war were to be got. As early as the winter of 667-8 Sulla had despatched one of his ablest and most dexterous officers, Lucius Licinius Lucullus, into the eastern waters, to raise ships there if possible. Lucullus put to sea with six open boats, which he had borrowed from the Rhodians and other small communities; he himself merely by an accident escaped from a piratic squadron, which captured most of his boats; deceiving the enemy by changing his vessels he arrived by way of Crete and Cyrene at Alexandria; but the Egyptian court rejected his request for the support of ships of war with equal courtesy and decision. Hardly anything illustrates so clearly as does this fact the sad decay of the Roman state, which had once been able gratefully to decline the offer of the kings of Egypt to assist the Romans with all their naval force, and now itself seemed to the Alexandrian statesmen bankrupt. To all this fell to be added the financial embarrassment; Sulla had already been obliged to empty the treasuries of the Olympian Zeus, of the Delphic Apollo, and of the Epidaurian Asklepios, for which the gods were compensated by the moiety, confiscated by way of penalty, of the Theban territory. But far worse than all this military and financial perplexity was the reaction of the political revolution in Rome; the rapid, sweeping, violent accomplishment of which had far surpassed the worst apprehensions. The revolution conducted the government in the capital; Sulla had been deposed, his Asiatic command had been entrusted to the democratic consul Lucius Valerius Flaccus, who might be daily looked for in Greece. The soldiers had no doubt adhered to Sulla, who made every effort to keep them in good humour; but what could be expected, when money and supplies were wanting, when the general was deposed and proscribed, when his successor was on the way, and, in addition to all this, the war against the tough antagonist who commanded the sea was protracted without prospect of a close?
Pontic Armies Enter Greece
Evacuation of the Piraeus
King Mithradates undertook to deliver his antagonist from his perilous position. He it was, to all appearance, who disapproved the defensive system of his generals and sent orders to them to vanquish the enemy with the utmost speed. As early as 667 his son Ariarathes had started from Macedonia to combat Sulla in Greece proper; only the sudden death, which overtook the prince on the march at the Tisaean promontory in Thessaly, had at that time led to the abandonment of the expedition. His successor Taxiles now appeared (668), driving before him the Roman corps stationed in Thessaly, with an army of, it is said, 100,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry at Thermopylae. Dromichaetes joined him. Archelaus also—compelled, apparently, not so much by Sulla's arms as by his master's orders— evacuated the Piraeeus first partially and then entirely, and joined the Pontic main army in Boeotia. Sulla, after the Piraeeus with all its greatly-admired fortifications had been by his orders destroyed, followed the Pontic army, in the hope of being able to fight a pitched battle before the arrival of Flaccus. In vain Archelaus advised that they should avoid such a battle, but should keep the sea and the coast occupied and the enemy in suspense. Now just as formerly under Darius and Antiochus, the masses of the Orientals, like animals terrified in the midst of a fire, flung themselves hastily and blindly into battle; and did so on this occasion more foolishly than ever, since the Asiatics might perhaps have needed to wait but a few months in order to be the spectators of a battle between Sulla and Flaccus.
Battle of Chaerones
In the plain of the Cephissus not far from Chaeronea, in March 668, the armies met. Even including the division driven back from Thessaly, which had succeeded in accomplishing its junction with the Roman main army, and including the Greek contingents, the Roman army found itself opposed to a foe three times as strong and particularly to a cavalry fur superior and from the nature of the field of battle very dangerous, against which Sulla found it necessary to protect his flanks by digging trenches, while in front he caused a chain of palisades to be introduced between his first and second lines for protection against the enemy's war-chariots. When the war chariots rolled on to open the battle, the first line of the Romans withdrew behind this row of stakes: the chariots, rebounding from it and scared by the Roman slingers and archers, threw themselves on their own line and carried confusion both into the Macedonian phalanx and into the corps of the Italian refugees. Archelaus brought up in haste his cavalry from both flanks and sent it to engage the enemy, with a view to gain time for rearranging his infantry; it charged with great fury and broke through the Roman ranks; but the Roman infantry rapidly formed in close masses and courageously withstood the horsemen assailing them on every side. Meanwhile Sulla himself on the right wing led his cavalry against the exposed flank of the enemy; the Asiatic infantry gave way before it was even properly engaged, and its giving way carried confusion also into the masses of the cavalry. A general attack of the Roman infantry, which through the wavering demeanour of the hostile cavalry gained time to breathe, decided the victory. The closing of the gates of the camp which Archelaus ordered to check the flight, only increased the slaughter, and when the gates at length were opened, the Romans entered at the same time with the Asiatics. It is said that Archelaus brought not a twelfth part of his force in safety to Chalcis; Sulla followed him to the Euripus; he was not in a position to cross that narrow arm of the sea.
Slight Effect of the Victory
Sulla and Flaccus
It was a great victory, but the results were trifling, partly because of the want of a fleet, partly because the Roman conqueror, instead of pursuing the vanquished, was under the necessity in the first instance of protecting himself against his own countrymen. The sea was still exclusively covered by Pontic squadrons, which now showed themselves even to the westward of the Malean promontory; even after the battle of Chaeronea Archelaus landed troops on Zacynthus and made an attempt to establish himself on that island. Moreover Lucius Flaccus had in the meanwhile actually landed with two legions in Epirus, not without having sustained severe loss on the way from storms and from the war-vessels of the enemy cruising in the Adriatic; his troops were already in Thessaly; thither Sulla had in the first instance to turn. The two Roman armies encamped over against each other at Melitaea on the northern slope of Mount Othrys; a collision seemed inevitable. But Flaccus, after he had opportunity of convincing himself that Sulla's soldiers were by no means inclined to betray their victorious leader to the totally unknown democratic commander-in chief, but that on the contrary his own advanced guard began to desert to Sulla's camp, evaded a conflict to which he was in no respect equal, and set out towards the north, with the view of getting through Macedonia and Thrace to Asia and there paving the way for further results by subduing Mithradates. That Sulla should have allowed his weaker opponent to depart without hindrance, and instead of following him should have returned to Athens, where he seems to have passed the winter of 668-9, is in a military point of view surprising. We may suppose perhaps that in this also he was guided by political motives, and that he was sufficiently moderate and patriotic in his views willingly to forgo a victory over his countrymen, at least so long as they had still the Asiatics to deal with, and to find the most tolerable solution of the unhappy dilemma in allowing the armies of the revolution in Asia and of the oligarchy in Europe to fight against the common foe.
Second Pontic Army Sent to Greece
Battle of Orchomenus
In the spring of 669 there was again fresh work in Europe. Mithradates, who continued his preparations indefatigably in Asia Minor, had sent an army not much less than that which had been extirpated at Chaeronea, under Dorylaus to Euboea; thence it had, after a junction with the remains of the army of Archelaus, passed over the Euripus to Boeotia. The Pontic king, who judged of what his army could do by the standard of victories over the Bithynian and Cappadocian militia, did not understand the unfavourable turn which things had taken in Europe; the circles of the courtiers were already whispering as to the treason of Archelaus; peremptory orders were issued to fight a second battle at once with the new army, and not to fail on this occasion to annihilate the Romans. The master's will was carried out, if not in conquering, at least in fighting. The Romans and Asiatics met once more in the plain of the Cephissus, near Orchomenus. The numerous and excellent cavalry of the latter flung itself impetuously on the Roman infantry, which began to waver and give way: the danger was so urgent, that Sulla seized a standard and advancing with his adjutants and orderlies against the enemy called out with a loud voice to the soldiers that, if they should be asked at home where they had abandoned their general, they might reply—at Orchomenus. This had its effect; the legions rallied and vanquished the enemy's horse, after which the infantry were overthrown with little difficulty. On the following day the camp of the Asiatics was surrounded and stormed; far the greatest portion of them fell or perished in the Copaic marshes; a few only, Archelaus among the rest, reached Euboea. The Boeotian communities had severely to pay for their renewed revolt from Rome, some of them even to annihilation. Nothing opposed the advance into Macedonia and Thrace; Philippi was occupied, Abdera was voluntarily evacuated by the Pontic garrison, the European continent in general was cleared of the enemy. At the end of the third year of the war (669) Sulla was able to take up winter-quarters in Thessaly, with a view to begin the Asiatic campaign in the spring of 670,(15) for which purpose he gave orders to build ships in the Thessalian ports.
Reaction in Asia Minor against Mithradates
Meanwhile the circumstances of Asia Minor also had undergone a material change. If king Mithradates had once come forward as the liberator of the Hellenes, if he had introduced his rule with the recognition of civic independence and with remission of taxes, they had after this brief ecstasy been but too rapidly and too bitterly undeceived. He had very soon emerged in his true character, and had begun to exercise a despotism far surpassing the tyranny of the Roman governors—a despotism which drove even the patient inhabitants of Asia Minor to open revolt. The sultan again resorted to the most violent expedients. His decrees granted independence to the townships which turned to him, citizenship to the -metoeci-, full remission of debts to the debtors, lands to those that had none, freedom to the slaves; nearly 15,000 such manumitted slaves fought in the army of Archelaus. The most fearful scenes were the result of this high-handed subversion of all existing order. The most considerable mercantile cities, Smyrna, Colophon, Ephesus, Tralles, Sardes, closed their gates against the king's governors or put them to death, and declared for Rome.(16) On the other hand the king's lieutenant Diodorus, a philosopher of note like Aristion, of another school, but equally available for the worst subservience, under the instructions of his master caused the whole town-council of Adramyttium to be put to death. The Chians, who were suspected of an inclination to Rome, were fined in the first instance in 2000 talents (480,000 pounds) and, when the payment was found not correct, they were en masse put on board ship and deported in chains under the charge of their own slaves to the coast of Colchis, while their island was occupied with Pontic colonists. The king gave orders that the chiefs of the Celts in Asia Minor should all be put to death along with their wives and children in one day, and that Galatia should be converted into a Pontic satrapy. Most of these bloody edicts were carried into effect either at Mithradates' own headquarters or in Galatia, but the few who escaped placed themselves at the head of their powerful tribes and expelled Eumachus, the governor of the king, out of their bounds. It may readily be conceived that such a king would be pursued by the daggers of assassins; sixteen hundred men were condemned to death by the royal courts of inquisition as having been implicated in such conspiracies.
Lucullus and the Fleet on the Asiatic Coast
While the king was thus by his suicidal fury provoking his temporary subjects to rise in arms against him, he was at the same time hard pressed by the Romans in Asia, both by sea and by land. Lucullus, after the failure of his attempt to lead forth the Egyptian fleet against Mithradates, had with better success repeated his efforts to procure vessels of war in the Syrian maritime towns, and reinforced his nascent fleet in the ports of Cyprus, Pamphylia, and Rhodes till he found himself strong enough to proceed to the attack. He dexterously avoided measuring himself against superior forces and yet obtained no inconsiderable advantages. The Cnidian island and peninsula were occupied by him, Samos was assailed, Colophon and Chios were wrested from the enemy.
Flaccus Arrives in Asia
Fimbria's Victory at Miletopolis
Perilous Position of Mithradates
Meanwhile Flaccus had proceeded with his army through Macedonia and Thrace to Byzantium, and thence, passing the straits, had reached Chalcedon (end of 668). There a military insurrection broke out against the general, ostensibly because he embezzled the spoil from the soldiers. The soul of it was one of the chief officers of the army, a man whose name had become a proverb in Rome for a true mob-orator, Gaius Flavius Fimbria, who, after having differed with his commander-in-chief, transferred the demagogic practices which he had begun in the Forum to the camp. Flaccus was deposed by the army and soon afterwards put to death at Nicomedia, not far from Chalcedon; Fimbria was installed by decree of the soldiers in his stead. As a matter of course he allowed his troops every indulgence; in the friendly Cyzicus, for instance, the citizens were ordered to surrender all their property to the soldiers on pain of death, and by way of warning example two of the most respectable citizens were at once executed. Nevertheless in a military point of view the change of commander-in-chief was a gain; Fimbria was not, like Flaccus, an incapable general, but energetic and talented. At Miletopolis (on the Rhyndacus to the west of Brussa) he defeated the younger Mithradates, who as governor of the satrapy of Pontus had marched against him, completely in a nocturnal assault, and by this victory opened his way to Pergamus, the capital formerly of the Roman province and now of the Pontic king, whence he dislodged the king and compelled him to take flight to the port of Pitane not far off, with the view of there embarking. Just at that moment Lucullus appeared in those waters with his fleet; Fimbria adjured him to render assistance so that he might be enabled to capture the king. But the Optimate was stronger in Lucullus than the patriot; he sailed onward and the king escaped to Mitylene. The situation of Mithradates was even thus sufficiently embarrassed. At the end of 669 Europe was lost, Asia Minor was partly in rebellion against him, partly occupied by a Roman army; and he was himself threatened by the latter in his immediate vicinity. The Roman fleet under Lucullus had maintained its position on the Trojan coast by two successful naval engagements at the promontory of Lectum and at the island of Tenedos; it was joined there by the ships which had in the meanwhile been built by Sulla's orders in Thessaly, and by it position commanding the Hellespont it secured to the general of the Roman senatorial army a safe and easy passage next spring to Asia.
Negotiations for Peace
Mithradates attempted to negotiate. Under other circumstances no doubt the author of the edict for the Ephesian massacre could never have cherished the hope of being admitted at all to terms of peace with Rome; but amidst the internal convulsions of the Roman republic, when the ruling government had declared the general sent against Mithradates an outlaw and subjected his partisans at home to the most fearful persecutions, when one Roman general opposed the other and yet both stood opposed to the same foe, he hoped that he should be able to obtain not merely a peace, but a favourable peace. He had the choice of applying to Sulla or to Fimbria; he caused negotiations to be instituted with both, yet it seems from the first to have been his design to come to terms with Sulla, who, at least from the king's point of view, seemed decidedly superior to his rival. His general Archelaus, a instructed by his master, asked Sulla to cede Asia to the king and to expect in return the king's aid against the democratic party in Rome. But Sulla, cool and clear as ever, while urgently desiring a speedy settlement of Asiatic affairs on account of the position of things in Italy, estimated the advantages of the Cappadocian alliance for the war impending over him in Italy as very slight, and was altogether too much of a Roman to consent to so disgraceful and so injurious a concession.
Preliminaries of Delium
In the peace conferences, which took place in the winter of 669-70, at Delium on the coast of Boeotia opposite to Euboea, Sulla distinctly refused to cede even a foot's-breadth of land, but, with good reason faithful to the old Roman custom of not increasing after victory the demands made before battle, did not go beyond the conditions previously laid down. He required the restoration of all the conquests made by the king and not wrested from him again— Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Galatia, Bithynia, Asia Minor and the islands—the surrender of prisoners and deserters, the delivering up of the eighty war-vessels of Archelaus to reinforce the still insignificant Roman fleet; lastly, pay and provisions for the army and the very moderate sum of 3000 talents (720,000 pounds) as indemnity for the expenses of the war. The Chians carried off to the Black Sea were to be sent home, the families of the Macedonians who were friendly to Rome and had become refugees were to be restored, and a number of war-vessels were to be delivered to the cities in alliance with Rome. Respecting Tigranes, who in strictness should likewise have been included in the peace, there was silence on both sides, since neither of the contracting parties cared for the endless further steps which would be occasioned by making him a party. The king thus retained the state of possession which he had before the war, nor was he subjected to any humiliation affecting his honour.(17) Archelaus, clearly perceiving that much comparatively beyond expectation was obtained and that more was not obtainable, concluded the preliminaries and an armistice on these conditions, and withdrew the troops from the places which the Asiatics still possessed in Europe.
Sulla Proceeds to Asia
But Mithradates rejected the peace and demanded at least that the Romans should not insist on the surrender of the war-vessels and should concede to him Paphlagonia; while he at the same time asserted that Fimbria was ready to grant him far more favourable conditions. Sulla, offended by this placing of his offers on an equal footing with those of an unofficial adventurer, and having already gone to the utmost measure of concession, broke off the negotiations. He had employed the interval to reorganize Macedonia and to chastise the Dardani, Sinti, and Maedi, in doing which he at once procured booty for his army and drew nearer Asia; for he was resolved at any rate to go thither, in order to come to a reckoning with Fimbria. He now at once put his legions stationed in Thrace as well as his fleet in motion towards the Hellespont. Then at length Archelaus succeeded in wringing from his obstinate master a reluctant consent to the treaty; for which he was subsequently regarded with an evil eye at court as the author of the injurious peace, and even accused of treason, so that some time afterwards he found himself compelled to leave the country and to take refuge with the Romans, who readily received him and loaded him with honours. The Roman soldiers also murmured; their disappointment doubtless at not receiving the expected spoil of Asia probably contributed to that murmuring more than their indignation—in itself very justifiable— that the barbarian prince, who had murdered eighty thousand of their countrymen and had brought unspeakable misery on Italy and Asia, should be allowed to return home unpunished with the greatest part of the treasures which he had collected by the pillage of Asia. Sulla himself may have been painfully sensible that the political complications thwarted in a most vexatious way a task which was in a military point of view so simple, and compelled him after such victories to content himself with such a peace. But the self- denial and the sagacity with which he had conducted this whole war were only displayed afresh in the conclusion of this peace; for war with a prince, to whom almost the whole coast of the Black Sea belonged, and whose obstinacy was clearly displayed by the very last negotiations, would still under the most favourable circumstances require years, and the situation of Italy was such that it seemed almost too late even for Sulla to oppose the party in power there with the few legions which he possessed.(18) Before this could be done, however, it was absolutely necessary to overthrow the bold officer who was at the head of the democratic army in Asia, in order that he might not at some future time come from Asia to the help of the Italian revolution, just as Sulla now hoped to return from Asia and crush it. At Cypsela on the Hebrus Sulla obtained accounts of the ratification of the peace by Mithradates; but the march to Asia went on. The king, it was said, desired personally to confer with the Roman general and to cement the peace with him; it may be presumed that this was simply a convenient pretext for transferring the army to Asia and there putting an end to Fimbria.
Peace at Dardanus
Sulla against Fimbria
So Sulla, attended by his legions and by Archelaus, crossed the Hellespont; after he had met with Mithradates on its Asiatic shore at Dardanus and had orally concluded the treaty, he made his army continue its march till he came upon the camp of Fimbria at Thyatira not far from Pergamus, and pitched his own close beside it. The Sullan soldiers, far superior to the Fimbrians in number, discipline, leadership, and ability, looked with contempt on the dispirited and demoralized troops and their uncalled commander-in- chief. Desertions from the ranks of the Fimbrians became daily more numerous. When Fimbria ordered an attack, the soldiers refused to fight against their fellow-citizens, or even to take the oath which he required that they would stand faithfully by each other in battle. An attempt to assassinate Sulla miscarried; at the conference which Fimbria requested Sulla did not make his appearance, but contented himself with suggesting to him through one of his officers a means of personal escape. Fimbria was of an insolent temperament, but he was no poltroon; instead of accepting the vessel which Sulla offered to him and fleeing to the barbarians, he went to Pergamus and fell on his own sword in the temple of Asklepios. Those who were most compromised in his army resorted to Mithradates or to the pirates, with whom they found ready reception; the main body placed itself under the orders of Sulla.
Regulation of Asiatic Affairs
Sulla determined to leave these two legions, whom he did not trust for the impending war, behind in Asia, where the fearful crisis left for long its lingering traces in the several cities and districts. The command of this corps and the governorship of Roman Asia he committed to his best officer, Lucius Licinius Murena. The revolutionary measures of Mithradates, such as the liberation of the slaves and the annulling of debts, were of course cancelled; a restoration, which in many places could not be carried into effect without force of arms. The towns of the territory on the eastern frontier underwent a comprehensive reorganization, and reckoned from the year 670 as the date of their being constituted. Justice moreover was exercised, as the victors understood the term. The most noted adherents of Mithradates and the authors of the massacre of the Italians were punished with death. The persons liable to taxes were obliged immediately to pay down in cash according to valuation the whole arrears of tenths and customs for the last five years; besides which they had to pay a war-indemnity of 20,000 talents (4,800,000 pounds), for the collection of which Lucius Lucullus was left behind. These were measures fearful in their rigour and dreadful in their effects; but when we recall the Ephesian decree and its execution, we feel inclined to regard them as a comparatively mild retaliation. That the exactions in other respects were not unusually oppressive, is shown by the value of the spoil afterwards carried in triumph, which amounted in precious metal to only about 1,000,000 pounds. The few communities on the other hand that had remained faithful—particularly the island of Rhodes, the region of Lycia, Magnesia on the Maeander—were richly rewarded: Rhodes received back at least a portion of the possessions withdrawn from it after the war against Perseus.(19) In like manner compensation was made as far as possible by free charters and special favours to the Chians for the hardships which they had borne, and to the Ilienses for the insanely cruel maltreatment inflicted on them by Fimbria on account of the negotiations into which they had entered with Sulla. Sulla had already brought the kings of Bithynia and Cappadocia to meet the Pontic king at Dardanus, and had made them all promise to live in peace and good neighbourhood; on which occasion, however, the haughty Mithradates had refused to admit Ariobarzanes who was not descended of royal blood—the slave, as he called him—to his presence. Gaius Scribonius Curio was commissioned to superintend the restoration of the legal order of things in the two kingdoms evacuated by Mithradates.
Sulla Embarks for Italy
The goal was thus attained. After four years of war the Pontic king was again a client of the Romans, and a single and settled government was re-established in Greece, Macedonia, and Asia Minor; the requirements of interest and honour were satisfied, if not adequately, yet so far as circumstances would allow; Sulla had not only brilliantly distinguished himself as a soldier and general, but had the skill, in his path crossed by a thousand obstacles, to preserve the difficult mean between bold perseverance and prudent concession. Almost like Hannibal he had fought and conquered, in order that with the forces, which the first victory gave him, he might prepare forthwith for a second and severer struggle. After he had in some degree compensated his soldiers for the fatigues which they had undergone by luxurious winter-quarters in the rich west of Asia Minor, he in the spring of 671 transferred them in 1600 vessels from Ephesus to the Piraeeus and thence by the land route to Patrae, where the vessels again lay ready to convey the troops to Brundisium. His arrival was preceded by a report addressed to the senate respecting his campaigns in Greece and Asia, the writer of which appeared to know nothing of his deposition; it was the mute herald of the impending restoration.