Pompeius Suppresses Piracy
We have already seen how wretched was the state of the affairs of Rome by land and sea in the east, when at the commencement of 687 Pompeius, with an almost unlimited plenitude of power, undertook the conduct of the war against the pirates. He began by dividing the immense field committed to him into thirteen districts and assigning each of these districts to one of his lieutenants, for the purpose of equipping ships and men there, of searching the coasts, and of capturing piratical vessels or chasing them into the meshes of a colleague. He himself went with the best part of the ships of war that were available—among which on this occasion also those of Rhodes were distinguished—early in the year to sea, and swept in the first place the Sicilian, African, and Sardinian waters, with a view especially to re-establish the supply of grain from these provinces to Italy. His lieutenants meanwhile addressed themselves to the clearing of the Spanish and Gallic coasts. It was on this occasion that the consul Gaius Piso attempted from Rome to prevent the levies which Marcus Pomponius, the legate of Pompeius, instituted by virtue of the Gabinian law in the province of Narbo—an imprudent proceeding, to check which, and at the same time to keep the just indignation of the multitude against the consul within legal bounds, Pompeius temporarily reappeared in Rome.(1) When at the end of forty days the navigation had been everywhere set free in the western basin of the Mediterranean, Pompeius proceeded with sixty of his best vessels to the eastern seas, and first of all to the original and main seat of piracy, the Lycian and Cilician waters. On the news of the approach of the Roman fleet the piratical barks everywhere disappeared from the open sea; and not only so, but even the strong Lycian fortresses of Anticragus and Cragus surrendered without offering serious resistance. The well-calculated moderation of Pompeius helped even more than fear to open the gates of these scarcely accessible marine strongholds. His predecessors had ordered every captured freebooter to be nailed to the cross; without hesitation he gave quarter to all, and treated in particular the common rowers found in the captured piratical vessels with unusual indulgence. The bold Cilician sea-kings alone ventured on an attempt to maintain at least their own waters by arms against the Romans; after having placed their children and wives and their rich treasures for security in the mountain-fortresses of the Taurus, they awaited the Roman fleet at the western frontier of Cilicia, in the offing of Coracesium. But here the ships of Pompeius, well manned and well provided with all implements of war, achieved a complete victory. Without farther hindrance he landed and began to storm and break up the mountain-castles of the corsairs, while he continued to offer to themselves freedom and life as the price of submission. Soon the great multitude desisted from the continuance of a hopeless war in their strongholds and mountains, and consented to surrender. Forty-nine days after Pompeius had appeared in the eastern seas, Cilicia was subdued and the war at an end.
The rapid suppression of piracy was a great relief, but not a grand achievement; with the resources of the Roman state, which had been called forth in lavish measure, the corsairs could as little cope as the combined gangs of thieves in a great city can cope with a well-organized police. It was a naive proceeding to celebrate such a razzia as a victory. But when compared with the prolonged continuance and the vast and daily increasing extent of the evil, it was natural that the surprisingly rapid subjugation of the dreaded pirates should make a most powerful impression on the public; and the more so, that this was the first trial of rule centralized in a single hand, and the parties were eagerly waiting to see whether that hand would understand the art of ruling better than the collegiate body had done. Nearly 400 ships and boats, including 90 war vessels properly so called, were either taken by Pompeius or surrendered to him; in all about 1300 piratical vessels are said to have been destroyed; besides which the richly-filled arsenals and magazines of the buccaneers were burnt. Of the pirates about 10,000 perished; upwards of 20,000 fell alive into the hands of the victor; while Publius Clodius the admiral of the Roman army stationed in Cilicia, and a multitude of other individuals carried off by the pirates, some of them long believed at home to be dead, obtained once more their freedom through Pompeius. In the summer of 687, three months after the beginning of the campaign, commerce resumed its wonted course and instead of the former famine abundance prevailed in Italy.
Dissensions between Pompeius and Metellus as to Crete
A disagreeable interlude in the island of Crete, however, disturbed in some measure this pleasing success of the Roman arms. There Quintus Metellus was stationed in the second year of his command, and was employed in finishing the subjugation-already substantially effected—of the island,(2) when Pompeius appeared in the eastern waters. A collision was natural, for according to the Gabinian law the command of Pompeius extended concurrently with that of Metellus over the whole island, which stretched to a great length but was nowhere more than ninety miles broad;(3) but Pompeius was considerate enough not to assign it to any of his lieutenants. The still resisting Cretan communities, however, who had seen their subdued countrymen taken to task by Metellus with the most cruel severity and had learned on the other hand the gentle terms which Pompeius was in the habit of imposing on the townships which surrendered to him in the south of Asia Minor, preferred to give in their joint surrender to Pompeius. He accepted it in Pamphylia, where he was just at the moment, from their envoys, and sent along with them his legate Lucius Octavius to announce to Metellus the conclusion of the conventions and to take over the towns. This proceeding was, no doubt, not like that of a colleague; but formal right was wholly on the side of Pompeius, and Metellus was most evidently in the wrong when, utterly ignoring the convention of the cities with Pompeius, he continued to treat them as hostile. In vain Octavius protested; in vain, as he had himself come without troops, he summoned from Achaia Lucius Sisenna, the lieutenant of Pompeius stationed there; Metellus, not troubling himself about either Octavius or Sisenna, besieged Eleutherna and took Lappa by storm, where Octavius in person was taken prisoner and ignominiously dismissed, while the Cretans who were taken with him were consigned to the executioner. Accordingly formal conflicts took place between the troops of Sisenna, at whose head Octavius placed himself after that leader's death, and those of Metellus; even when the former had been commanded to return to Achaia, Octavius continued the war in concert with the Cretan Aristion, and Hierapytna, where both made a stand, was only subdued by Metellus after the most obstinate resistance.
In reality the zealous Optimate Metellus had thus begun formal civil war at his own hand against the generalissimo of the democracy. It shows the indescribable disorganization in the Roman state, that these incidents led to nothing farther than a bitter correspondence between the two generals, who a couple of years afterwards were sitting once more peacefully and even "amicably" side by side in the senate.
Pompeius Takes the Supreme Command against Mithradates
Pompeius during these events remained in Cilicia; preparing for the next year, as it seemed, a campaign against the Cretans or rather against Metellus, in reality waiting for the signal which should call him to interfere in the utterly confused affairs of the mainland of Asia Minor. The portion of the Lucullan army that was still left after the losses which it had suffered and the departure of the Fimbrian legions remained inactive on the upper Halys in the country of the Trocmi bordering on the Pontic territory. Lucullus still held provisionally the chief command, as his nominated successor Glabrio continued to linger in the west of Asia Minor. The three legions commanded by Quintus Marcius Rex lay equally inactive in Cilicia. The Pontic territory was again wholly in the power of king Mithradates, who made the individuals and communities that had joined the Romans, such as the town of Eupatoria, pay for their revolt with cruel severity. The kings of the east did not proceed to any serious offensive movement against the Romans, either because it formed no part of their plan, or—as was asserted— because the landing of Pompeius in Cilicia induced Mithradates and Tigranes to desist from advancing farther. The Manilian law realized the secretly-cherished hopes of Pompeius more rapidly than he probably himself anticipated; Glabrio and Rex were recalled and the governorships of Pontus-Bithynia and Cilicia with the troops stationed there, as well as the management of the Pontic-Armenian war along with authority to make war, peace, and alliance with the dynasts of the east at his own discretion, were transferred to Pompeius. Amidst the prospect of honours and spoils so ample Pompeius was glad to forgo the chastising of an ill-humoured Optimate who enviously guarded his scanty laurels; he abandoned the expedition against Crete and the farther pursuit of the corsairs, and destined his fleet also to support the attack which he projected on the kings of Pontus and Armenia. Yet amidst this land-war he by no means wholly lost sight of piracy, which was perpetually raising its head afresh. Before he left Asia (691) he caused the necessary ships to be fitted out there against the corsairs; on his proposal in the following year a similar measure was resolved on for Italy, and the sum needed for the purpose was granted by the senate. They continued to protect the coasts with guards of cavalry and small squadrons, and though as the expeditions to be mentioned afterwards against Cyprus in 696 and Egypt in 699 show, piracy was not thoroughly mastered, it yet after the expedition of Pompeius amidst all the vicissitudes and political crises of Rome could never again so raise its head and so totally dislodge the Romans from the sea, as it had done under the government of the mouldering oligarchy.
War Preparations of Pompeius
Alliance with the Parthians
Variance between Mithradates and Tigranes
The few months which still remained before the commencement of the campaign in Asia Minor, were employed by the new commander- in-chief with strenuous activity in diplomatic and military preparations. Envoys were sent to Mithradates, rather to reconnoitre than to attempt a serious mediation. There was a hope at the Pontic court that Phraates king of the Parthians would be induced by the recent considerable successes which the allies had achieved over Rome to enter into the Pontic-Armenian alliance. To counteract this, Roman envoys proceeded to the court of Ctesiphon; and the internal troubles, which distracted the Armenian ruling house, came to their aid. A son of the great-king Tigranes, bearing the same name had rebelled against his father, either because he was unwilling to wait for the death of the old man, or because his father's suspicion, which had already cost several of his brothers their lives, led him to discern his only chance of safety in open insurrection. Vanquished by his father, he had taken refuge with a number of Armenians of rank at the court of the Arsacid, and intrigued against his father there. It was partly due to his exertions, that Phraates preferred to take the reward which was offered to him by both sides for his accession—the secured possession of Mesopotamia—from the hand of the Romans, renewed with Pompeius the agreement concluded with Lucullus respecting the boundary of the Euphrates,(4) and even consented to operate in concert with the Romans against Armenia. But the younger Tigranes occasioned still greater mischief than that which arose out of his promoting the alliance between the Romans and the Parthians, for his insurrection produced a variance between the kings Tigranes and Mithradates themselves. The great-king cherished in secret the suspicion that Mithradates might have had a hand in the insurrection of his grandson—Cleopatra the mother of the younger Tigranes was the daughter of Mithradates— and, though no open rupture took place, the good understanding between the two monarchs was disturbed at the very moment when it was most urgently needed.
At the same time Pompeius prosecuted his warlike preparations with energy. The Asiatic allied and client communities were warned to furnish the stipulated contingents. Public notices summoned the discharged veterans of the legions of Fimbria to return to the standards as volunteers, and by great promises and the name of Pompeius a considerable portion of them were induced in reality to obey the call. The whole force united under the orders of Pompeius may have amounted, exclusive of the auxiliaries, to between 40,000 and 50,000 men.(5)
Pompeius and Lucullus
In the spring of 688 Pompeius proceeded to Galatia, to take the chief command of the troops of Lucullus and to advance with them into the Pontic territory, whither the Cilician legions were directed to follow. At Danala, a place belonging to the Trocmi, the two generals met; but the reconciliation, which mutual friends had hoped to effect, was not accomplished. The preliminary courtesies soon passed into bitter discussions, and these into violent altercation: they parted in worse mood than they had met. As Lucullus continued to make honorary gifts and to distribute lands just as if he were still in office, Pompeius declared all the acts performed by his predecessor subsequent to his own arrival null and void. Formally he was in the right; customary tactin the treatment of a meritorious and more than sufficientlymortified opponent was not to be looked for from him.
Invasion of Pontus
Retreat of Mithradates
So soon as the season allowed, the Roman troops crossed the frontier of Pontus. There they were opposed by king Mithradates with 30,000 infantry and 3000 cavalry. Left in the lurch by his allies and attacked by Rome with reinforced power and energy, he made an attempt to procure peace; but he would hear nothing of the unconditional submission which Pompeius demanded—what worse could the most unsuccessful campaign bring to him? That he might not expose his army, mostly archers and horsemen, to the formidable shock of the Roman infantry of the line, he slowly retired before the enemy, and compelled the Romans to follow him in his various cross-marches; making a stand at the same time, wherever there was opportunity, with his superior cavalry against that of the enemy, and occasioning no small hardship to the Romans by impeding their supplies. At length Pompeius in his impatience desisted from following the Pontic army, and, letting the king alone, proceeded to subdue the land; he marched to the upper Euphrates, crossed it, and entered the eastern provinces of the Pontic empire. But Mithradates followed along the left bank of the Euphrates, and when he had arrived in the Anaitic or Acilisenian province, he intercepted the route of the Romans at the castle of Dasteira, which was strong and well provided with water, and from which with his light troops he commanded the plain. Pompeius, still wanting the Cilician legions and not strong enough to maintain himself in this position without them, had to retire over the Euphrates and to seek protection from the cavalry and archers of the king in the wooded ground of Pontic Armenia extensively intersected by rocky ravines and deep valleys. It was not till the troops from Cilicia arrived and rendered it possible to resume the offensive with a superiority of force, that Pompeius again advanced, invested the camp of the king with a chain of posts of almost eighteen miles in length, and kept him formally blockaded there, while the Roman detachments scoured the country far and wide. The distress in the Pontic camp was great; the draught animals even had to be killed; at length after remaining for forty-five days the king caused his sick and wounded, whom he could not save and was unwilling to leave in the hands of the enemy, to be put to death by his own troops, and departed during the night with the utmost secrecy towards the east. Cautiously Pompeius followed through the unknown land: the march was now approaching the boundary which separated the dominions of Mithradates and Tigranes. When the Roman general perceived that Mithradates intended not to bring the contest to a decision within his own territory, but to draw the enemy away after him into the far distant regions of the east, he determined not to permit this.
Battle at Nicopolis
The two armies lay close to each other. During the rest at noon the Roman army set out without the enemy observing the movement, made a circuit, and occupied the heights, which lay in front and commanded a defile to be passed by the enemy, on the southern bank of the river Lycus (Jeschil-Irmak) not far from the modern Enderes, at the point where Nicopolis was afterwards built. The following morning the Pontic troops broke up in their usual manner, and, supposing that the enemy was as hitherto behind them, after, accomplishing the day's march they pitched their camp in the very valley whose encircling heights the Romans had occupied. Suddenly in the silence of the night there sounded all around them the dreaded battle-cry of the legions, and missiles from all sides poured on the Asiatic host, in which soldiers and camp-followers, chariots, horses, and camels jostled each other; and amidst the dense throng, notwithstanding the darkness, not a missile failed to take effect. When the Romans had expended their darts, they charged down from the heights on the masses which had now become visible by the light of the newly-risen moon, and which were abandoned to them almost defenceless; those that did not fall by the steel of the enemy were trodden down in the fearful pressure under the hoofs and wheels. It was the last battle-field on which the gray-haired king fought with the Romans. With three attendants—two of his horsemen, and a concubine who was accustomed to follow him in male attire and to fight bravely by his side— he made his escape thence to the fortress of Sinoria, whither a portion of his trusty followers found their way to him. He divided among them his treasures preserved there, 6000 talents of gold (1,400,000 pounds); furnished them and himself with poison; and hastened with the band that was left to him up the Euphrates to unite with his ally, the great-king of Armenia.
Tigranes Breaks with Mithradates
Mithradates Crosses the Phasis
This hope likewise was vain; the alliance, on the faith of which Mithradates took the route for Armenia, already by that time existed no longer. During the conflicts between Mithradates and Pompeius just narrated, the king of the Parthians, yielding to the urgency of the Romans and above all of the exiled Armenian prince, had invaded the kingdom of Tigranes by force of arms, and had compelled him to withdraw into the inaccessible mountains. The invading army began even the siege of the capital Artaxata; but, on its becoming protracted, king Phraates took his departure with the greater portion of his troops; whereupon Tigranes overpowered the Parthian corps left behind and the Armenian emigrants led by his son, and re-established his dominion throughout the kingdom Naturally, however, the king was under such circumstances little inclined to fight with the freshly-victorious Romans, and least of all to sacrifice himself for Mithradates; whom he trusted less than ever, since information had reached him that his rebellious son intended to betake himself to his grandfather. So he entered into negotiations with the Romans for a separate peace; but he did not wait for the conclusion of the treaty to break off the alliance which linked him to Mithradates. The latter, when he had arrived at the frontier of Armenia, was doomed to learn that the great-king Tigranes had set a price of 100 talents (24,000 pounds) on his head, had arrested his envoys, and had delivered them to the Romans. King Mithradates saw his kingdom in the hands of the enemy, and his allies on the point of coming to an agreement with them; it was not possible to continue the war; he might deem himself fortunate, if he succeeded in effecting his escape along the eastern and northern shores of the Black Sea, in perhaps dislodging his son Machares—who had revolted and entered into connection with the Romans(6)—once more from the Bosporan kingdom, and in finding on the Maeotis a fresh soil for fresh projects. So he turned northward. When the king in his flight had crossed the Phasis, the ancient boundary of Asia Minor, Pompeius for the time discontinued his pursuit; but instead of returning to the region of the sources of the Euphrates, he turned aside into the region of the Araxes to settle matters with Tigranes.
Pompeius at Artaxata
Peace with Tigranes
Almost without meeting resistance he arrived in the region of Artaxata (not far from Erivan) and pitched his camp thirteen miles from the city. There he was met by the son of the great-king, who hoped after the fall of his father to receive the Armenian diadem from the hand of the Romans, and therefore had endeavoured in every way to prevent the conclusion of the treaty between his father and the Romans. The great-king was only the more resolved to purchase peace at any price. On horseback and without his purple robe, but adorned with the royal diadem and the royal turban, he appeared at the gate of the Roman camp and desired to be conducted to the presence of the Roman general. After having given up at the bidding of the lictors, as the regulations of the Roman camp required, his horse and his sword, he threw himself in barbarian fashion at the feet of the proconsul and in token of unconditional surrender placed the diadem and tiara in his hands. Pompeius, highly delighted at a victory which cost nothing, raised up the humbled king of kings, invested him again with the insignia of his dignity, and dictated the peace. Besides a payment of; 1,400,000 pounds (6000 talents) to the war-chest and a present to the soldiers, out of which each of them received 50 -denarii- (2 pounds 2 shillings), the king ceded all the conquests which he had made, not merely his Phoenician, Syrian, Cilician, and Cappadocian possessions, but also Sophene and Corduene on the right bank of the Euphrates; he was again restricted to Armenia proper, and his position of great-king was, of course, at an end. In a single campaign Pompeius had totally subdued the two mighty kings of Pontus and Armenia. At the beginning of 688 there was not a Roman soldier beyond the frontier of the old Roman possessions; at its close king Mithradates was wandering as an exile and without an army in the ravines of the Caucasus, and king Tigranes sat on the Armenian throne no longer as king of kings, but as a vassal of Rome. The whole domain of Asia Minor to the west of the Euphrates unconditionally obeyed the Romans; the victorious army took up its winter-quarters to the east of that stream on Armenian soil, in the country from the upper Euphrates to the river Kur, from which the Italians then for the first time watered their horses.
The Tribes of the Caucasus
But the new field, on which the Romans here set foot, raised up for them new conflicts. The brave peoples of the middle and eastern Caucasus saw with indignation the remote Occidentals encamping on their territory. There—in the fertile and well-watered tableland of the modern Georgia—dwelt the Iberians, a brave, well-organized, agricultural nation, whose clan-cantons under their patriarchs cultivated the soil according to the system of common possession, without any separate ownership of the individual cultivators. Army and people were one; the people were headed partly by the ruler- clans—out of which the eldest always presided over the whole Iberian nation as king, and the next eldest as judge and leader of the army—partly by special families of priests, on whom chiefly devolved the duty of preserving a knowledge of the treaties concluded with other peoples and of watching over their observance. The mass of the non-freemen were regarded as serfs of the king. Their eastern neighbours, the Albanians or Alans, who were settled on the lower Kur as far as the Caspian Sea, were in a far lower stage of culture. Chiefly a pastoral people they tended, on foot or on horseback, their numerous herds in the luxuriant meadows of the modern Shirvan; their few tilled fields were still cultivated with the old wooden plough without iron share. Coined money was unknown, and they did not count beyond a hundred. Each of their tribes, twenty-six in all, had its own chief and spoke its distinct dialect. Far superior in number to the Iberians, the Albanians could not at all cope with them in bravery. The mode of fighting was on the whole the same with both nations; they fought chiefly with arrows and light javelins, which they frequently after the Indian fashion discharged from their lurking-places in the woods behind the trunks of trees, or hurled down from the tops of trees on the foe; the Albanians had also numerous horsemen partly mailed after the Medo-Armenian manner with heavy cuirasses and greaves. Both nations lived on their lands and pastures in a complete independence preserved from time immemorial. Nature itself as it were, seems to have raised the Caucasus between Europe and Asia as a rampart against the tide of national movements; there the arms of Cyrus and of Alexander had formerly found their limit; now the brave garrison of this partition-wall set themselves to defend it also against the Romans.
Albanians Conquered by Pompeius
Alarmed by the information that the Roman commander-in-chief intended next spring to cross the mountains and to pursue the Pontic king beyond the Caucasus—for Mithradates, they heard, was passing the winter in Dioscurias (Iskuria between Suchum Kale and Anaklia) on the Black Sea—the Albanians under their prince Oroizes first crossed the Kur in the middle of the winter of 688-689 and threw themselves on the army, which was divided for the sake of its supplies into three larger corps under Quintus Metellus Celer, Lucius Flaccus, and Pompeius in person. But Celer, on whom the chief attack fell, made a brave stand, and Pompeius, after having delivered himself from the division sent to attack him, pursued the barbarians beaten at all points as far as the Kur. Artoces the king of the Iberians kept quiet and promised peace and friendship; but Pompeius, informed that he was secretly arming so as to fall upon the Romans on their march in the passes of the Caucasus, advanced in the spring of 689, before resuming the pursuit of Mithradates, to the two fortresses just two miles distant from each other, Harmozica (Horum Ziche or Armazi) and Seusamora (Tsumar) which a little above the modern Tiflis command the two valleys of the river Kur and its tributary the Aragua, and with these the only passes leading from Armenia to Iberia. Artoces, surprised by the enemy before he was aware of it, hastily burnt the bridge over the Kur and retreated negotiating into the interior. Pompeius occupied the fortresses and followed the Iberians to the other bank of the Kur; by which he hoped to induce them to immediate submission. But Artoces retired farther and farther into the interior, and, when at length he halted on the river Pelorus, he did so not to surrender but to fight. The Iberian archers however withstood not for a moment the onset of the Roman legions, and, when Artoces saw the Pelorus also crossed by the Romans, he submitted at length to the conditions which the victor proposed, and sent his children as hostages.
Pompeius Proceeds to Colchis
Pompeius now, agreeably to the plan which he had formerly projected, marched through the Sarapana pass from the region of the Kur to that of the Phasis and thence down that river to the Black Sea, where on the Colchian coast the fleet under Servilius already awaited him. But it was for an uncertain idea, and an aim almost unsubstantial, that the army and fleet were thus brought to the richly fabled shores of Colchis. The laborious march just completed through unknown and mostly hostile nations was nothing when compared with what still awaited them, and if they should really succeed in conducting the force from the mouth of the Phasis to the Crimea, through warlike and poor barbarian tribes, on inhospitable and unknown waters, along a coast where at certain places the mountains sink perpendicularly into the sea and it would have been absolutely necessary to embark in the ships— if such a march should be successfully accomplished, which was perhaps more difficult than the campaigns of Alexander and Hannibal— what was gained by it even at the best, corresponding at all to its toils and dangers? The war doubtless was not ended, so long as the old king was still among the living; but who could guarantee that they would really succeed in catching the royal game for the sake of which this unparalleled chase was to be instituted? Was it not better even at the risk of Mithradates once more throwing the torch of war into Asia Minor, to desist from a pursuit which promised so little gain and so many dangers? Doubtless numerous voices in the army, and still more numerous voices in the capital, urged the general to continue the pursuit incessantly and at any price; but they were the voices partly of foolhardy Hotspurs, partly of those perfidious friends, who would gladly at any price have kept the too-powerful Imperator aloof from the capital and entangled him amidst interminable undertakings in the east. Pompeius was too experienced and too discreet an officer to stake his fame and his army in obstinate adherence to so injudicious an expedition; an insurrection of the Albanians in rear of the army furnished the pretext for abandoning the further pursuit of the king and arranging its return. The fleet received instructions to cruise in the Black Sea, to protect the northern coast of Asia Minor against any hostile invasion, and strictly to blockade the Cimmerian Bosporus under the threat of death to any trader who should break the blockade. Pompeius conducted the land troops not without great hardships through the Colchian and Armenian territory to the lower course of the Kur and onward, crossing the stream, into the Albanian plain.
Fresh Conflicts with the Albanians
For several days the Roman army had to march in the glowing heat through this almost waterless flat country, without encountering the enemy; it was only on the left bank of the Abas (probably the river elsewhere named Alazonius, now Alasan) that the force of the Albanians under the leadership of Coses, brother of the king Oroizes, was drawn up against the Romans; they are said to have amounted, including the contingent which had arrived from the inhabitants of the Transcaucasian steppes, to 60,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry. Yet they would hardly have risked the battle, unless they had supposed that they had merely to fight with the Roman cavalry; but the cavalry had only been placed in front, and, on its retiring, the masses of Roman infantry showed themselves from their concealment behind. After a short conflict the army of the barbarians was driven into the woods, which Pompeius gave orders to invest and set on fire. The Albanians thereupon consented to make peace; and, following the example of the more powerful peoples, all the tribes settled between the Kur and the Caspian concluded a treaty with the Roman general. The Albanians, Iberians, and generally the peoples settled to the south along, and at the foot of, the Caucasus, thus entered at least for the moment into a relation of dependence on Rome. When, on the other hand, the peoples between the Phasis and the Maeotis—Colchians, Soani, Heniochi, Zygi, Achaeans, even the remote Bastarnae—were inscribed in the long list of the nations subdued by Pompeius, the notion of subjugation was evidently employed in a manner very far from exact. The Caucasus once more verified its significance in the history of the world; the Roman conquest, like the Persian and the Hellenic, found its limit there.
Mithradates Goes to Panticapaeum
Accordingly king Mithradates was left to himself and to destiny. As formerly his ancestor, the founder of the Pontic state had first entered his future kingdom as a fugitive from the executioners of Antigonus and attended only by six horsemen, so had the grandson now been compelled once more to cross the bounds of his kingdom and to turn his back on his own and his fathers' conquests. But for no one had the dice of fate turned up the highest gains and the greatest losses more frequently and more capriciously than for the old sultan of Sinope; and the fortunes of men change rapidly and incalculably in the east. Well might Mithradates now in the evening of his life accept each new vicissitude with the thought that it too was only in its turn paving the way for a fresh revolution, and that the only thing constant was the perpetual change of fortune. Inasmuch as the Roman rule was intolerable for the Orientals at the very core of their nature, and Mithradates himself was in good and in evil a true prince of the east, amidst the laxity of the rule exercised by the Roman senate over the provinces, and amidst the dissensions of the political parties in Rome fermenting and ripening into civil war, Mithradates might, if he was fortunate enough to bide his time, doubtless re-establish his dominion yet a third time. For this very reason—because he hoped and planned while still there was life in him—he remained dangerous to the Romans so long as he lived, as an aged refugee no less than when he had marched forth with his hundred thousands to wrest Hellas and Macedonia from the Romans. The restless old man made his way in the year 689 from Dioscurias amidst unspeakable hardships partly by land partly by sea to the kingdom of Panticapaeum, where by his reputation and his numerous retainers he drove his renegade son Machares from the throne and compelled him to put himself to death. From this point he attempted once more to negotiate with the Romans; he besought that his paternal kingdom might be restored to him, and declared himself ready to recognize the supremacy of Rome and to pay tribute as a vassal. But Pompeius refused to grant the king a position in which he would have begun the old game afresh, and insisted on his personal submission.
His Last Preparations against Rome
Mithradates, however, had no thought of delivering himself into the hands of the enemy, but was projecting new and still more extravagant plans. Straining all the resources with which the treasures that he had saved and the remnant of his states supplied him, he equipped a new army of 36,000 men consisting partly of slaves which he armed and exercised after the Roman fashion, and a war-fleet; according to rumour he designed to march westward through Thrace, Macedonia, and Pannonia, to carry along with him the Scythians in the Sarmatian steppes and the Celts on the Danube as allies, and with this avalanche of peoples to throw himself on Italy. This has been deemed a grand idea, and the plan of war of the Pontic king has been compared with the military march of Hannibal; but the same project, which in a gifted man is a stroke of genius, becomes folly in one who is wrong-headed. This intended invasion of Italy by the Orientals was simply ridiculous, and nothing but a product of the impotent imagination of despair. Through the prudent coolness of their leader the Romans were prevented from Quixotically pursuing their Quixotic antagonist and warding off in the distant Crimea an attack, which, if it were not nipped of itself in the bud, would still have been soon enough met at the foot of the Alps.
Revolt against Mithradates
In fact, while Pompeius, without troubling himself further as to the threats of the impotent giant, was employed in organizing the territory which he had gained, the destinies of the aged king drew on to their fulfilment without Roman aid in the remote north. His extravagant preparations had produced the most violent excitement among the Bosporans, whose houses were torn down, and whose oxen were taken from the plough and put to death, in order to procure beams and sinews for constructing engines of war. The soldiers too were disinclined to enter on the hopeless Italian expedition. Mithradates had constantly been surrounded by suspicion and treason; he had not the gift of calling forth affection and fidelity among those around him. As in earlier years he had compelled his distinguished general Archelaus to seek protection in the Roman camp; as during the campaigns of Lucullus his most trusted officers Diodes, Phoenix, and even the most notable of the Roman emigrants had passed over to the enemy; so now, when his star grew pale and the old, infirm, embittered sultan was accessible to no one else save his eunuchs, desertion followed still more rapidly on desertion. Castor, the commandant of the fortress Phanagoria (on the Asiatic coast opposite Kertch), first raised the standard of revolt; he proclaimed the freedom of the town and delivered the sons of Mithradates that were in the fortress into the hands of the Romans. While the insurrection spread among the Bosporan towns, and Chersonesus (not far from Sebastopol), Theudosia (Kaffa), and others joined the Phanagorites, the king allowed his suspicion and his cruelty to have free course. On the information of despicable eunuchs his most confidential adherents were nailed to the cross; the king's own sons were the least sure of their lives. The son who was his father's favourite and was probably destined by him as his successor, Pharnaces, took his resolution and headed the insurgents. The servants whom Mithradates sent to arrest him, and the troops despatched against him, passed over to his side; the corps of Italian deserters, perhaps the most efficient among the divisions of Mithradates' army, and for that very reason the least inclined to share in the romantic—and for the deserters peculiarly hazardous—expedition against Italy, declared itself en masse for the prince; the other divisions of the army and the fleet followed the example thus set.
Death of Mithadates
After the country and the army had abandoned the king, the capital Panticapaeum at length opened its gates to the insurgents and delivered over to them the old king enclosed in his palace. From the high wall of his castle the latter besought his son at least to grant him life and not imbrue his hands in his father's blood; but the request came ill from the lips of a man whose own hands were stained with the blood of his mother and with the recently-shed blood of his innocent son Xiphares; and in heartless severity and inhumanity Pharnaces even outstripped his father. Seeing therefore he had now to die, the sultan resolved at least to die as he had lived; his wives, his concubines and his daughters, including the youthful brides of the kings of Egypt and Cyprus, had all to suffer the bitterness of death and drain the poisoned cup, before he too took it, and then, when the draught did not take effect quickly enough, presented his neck for the fatal stroke to a Celtic mercenary Betuitus. So died in 691 Mithradates Eupator, in the sixty-eighth year of his life and the fifty-seventh of his reign, twenty-six years after he had for the first time taken the field against the Romans. The dead body, which king Pharnaces sent as a voucher of his merits and of his loyalty to Pompeius, was by order of the latter laid in the royal sepulchre of Sinope.
The death of Mithradates was looked on by the Romans as equivalent to a victory: the messengers who reported to the general the catastrophe appeared crowned with laurel, as if they had a victory to announce, in the Roman camp before Jericho. In him a great enemy was borne to the tomb, a greater than had ever yet withstood the Romans in the indolent east. Instinctively the multitude felt this: as formerly Scipio had triumphed even more over Hannibal than over Carthage, so the conquest of the numerous tribes of the east and of the great-king himself was almost forgotten in the death of Mithradates; and at the solemn entry of Pompeius nothing attracted more the eyes of the multitude than the pictures, in which they saw king Mithradates as a fugitive leading his horse by the rein and thereafter sinking down in death between the dead bodies of his daughters. Whatever judgment may be formed as to the idiosyncrasy of the king, he is a figure of great significance—in the full sense of the expression—for the history of the world. He was not a personage of genius, probably not even of rich endowments; but he possessed the very respectable gift of hating, and out of this hatred he sustained an unequal conflict against superior foes throughout half a century, without success doubtless, but with honour. He became still more significant through the position in which history had placed him thanthrough his individual character. As the forerunner of the national reaction of the Orientals against the Occidentals, he opened the new conflict of the east against the west; and the feeling remained with the vanquished as with the victors, that his death was not so much the end as the beginning.
Pompeius Proceeds to Syria
Meanwhile Pompeius, after his warfare in 689 with the peoples of the Caucasus, had returned to the kingdom of Pontus, and there reduced the last castles still offering resistance; these were razed in order to check the evils of brigandage, and the castle wells were rendered unserviceable by rolling blocks of rock into them. Thence he set out in the summer of 690 for Syria, to regulate its affairs.
State of Syria
It is difficult to present a clear view of the state of disorganization which then prevailed in the Syrian provinces. It is true that in consequence of the attacks of Lucullus the Armenian governor Magadates had evacuated these provinces in 685,(7) and that the Ptolemies, gladly as they would have renewed the attempts of their predecessors to attach the Syrian coast to their kingdom, were yet afraid to provoke the Roman government by the occupation of Syria; the more so, as that government had not yet regulated their more than doubtful legal title even in the case of Egypt, and had been several times solicited by the Syrian princes to recognize them as the legitimate heirs of the extinct house of the Lagids. But, though the greater powers all at the moment refrained from interference in the affairs of Syria, the land suffered far more than it would have suffered amidst a great war, through the endless and aimless feuds of the princes, knights, and cities.
The actual masters in the Seleucid kingdom were at this time the Bedouins, the Jews, and the Nabataeans. The inhospitable sandy steppe destitute of springs and trees, which, stretching from the Arabianpeninsula up to and beyond the Euphrates, reaches towards the west as far as the Syrian mountain-chain and its narrow belt of coast, toward the east as far as the rich lowlands of the Tigris and lower Euphrates—this Asiatic Sahara—was the primitive home of the sons of Ishmael; from the commencement of tradition we find the "Bedawi," the "son of the desert," pitching his tents there and pasturing his camels, or mounting his swift horse in pursuit now of the foe of his tribe, now of the travelling merchant. Favoured formerly by king Tigranes, who made use of them for his plans half commercial half political,(8) and subsequently by the total absence of any master in the Syrian land, these children of the desert spread themselves over northern Syria. Wellnigh the leading part in a political point of view was enacted by those tribes, which had appropriated the first rudiments of a settled existence from the vicinity of the civilized Syrians. The most noted of these emirs were Abgarus, chief of the Arab tribe of the Mardani, whom Tigranes had settled about Edessa and Carrhae in upper Mesopotamia;(9) then to the west of the Euphrates Sampsiceramus, emir of the Arabs of Hemesa (Homs) between Damascus and Antioch, and master of the strong fortress Arethusa; Azizus the head of another horde roaming in the same region; Alchaudonius, the prince of the Rhambaeans, who had already put himself into communication with Lucullus; and several others.
Alongside of these Bedouin princes there had everywhere appeared bold cavaliers, who equalled or excelled the children of the desert in the noble trade of waylaying. Such was Ptolemaeus son of Mennaeus, perhaps the most powerful among these Syrian robber- chiefs and one of the richest men of this period, who ruled over the territory of the Ityraeans—the modern Druses—in the valleys of the Libanus as well as on the coast and over the plain of Massyas to the northward with the cities of Heliopolis (Baalbec) and Chalcis, and maintained 8000 horsemen at his own expense; such were Dionysius and Cinyras, the masters of the maritime cities Tripolis (Tarablus) and Byblus (between Tarablus and Beyrout); such was the Jew Silas in Lysias, a fortress not far from Apamea on the Orontes.
In the south of Syria, on the other hand, the race of the Jews seemed as though it would about this time consolidate itself into a political power. Through the devout and bold defence of the primitive Jewish national worship, which was imperilled by the levelling Hellenism of the Syrian kings, the family of the Hasmonaeans or the Makkabi had not only attained to their hereditary principality and gradually to kingly honours;(10) but these princely high-priests had also spread their conquests to the north, east, and south. When the brave Jannaeus Alexander died (675), the Jewish kingdom stretched towards the south over the whole Philistian territory as far as the frontier of Egypt, towards the south-east as far as that of the Nabataean kingdom of Petra, from which Jannaeus had wrested considerable tracts on the right bank of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, towards the north over Samaria and Decapolis up to the lake of Gennesareth; here he was already making arrangements to occupy Ptolemais (Acco) and victoriously to repel the aggressions of the Ityraeans. The coast obeyed the Jews from Mount Carmel as far as Rhinocorura, including the important Gaza—Ascalon alone was still free; so that the territory of the Jews, once almost cut off from the sea, could now be enumerated among the asylums of piracy. Now that the Armenian invasion, just as it approached the borders of Judaea, was averted from that land by the intervention of Lucullus,(11) the gifted rulers of the Hasmonaean house would probably have carried their arms still farther, had not the development of the power of that remarkable conquering priestly state been nipped in the bud by internal divisions.
The spirit of religious independence, and the spirit of national independence—the energetic union of which had called the Maccabee state into life—speedily became once more dissociated and even antagonistic. The Jewish orthodoxy or Pharisaism, as it was called, was content with the free exercise of religion, as it had been asserted in defiance of the Syrian rulers; its practical aim was a community of Jews, composed of the orthodox in the lands of all rulers, essentially irrespective of the secular government— a community which found its visible points of union in the tribute for the temple at Jerusalem, which was obligatory on every conscientious Jew, and in the schools of religion and spiritual courts. Overagainst this orthodoxy, which turned away from political life and became more and more stiffened into theological formalism and painful ceremonial service, were arrayed the defenders of the national independence, invigorated amidst successful struggles against foreign rule, and advancing towards the ideal of a restoration of the Jewish state, the representatives of the old great families—the so-called Sadducees—partly on dogmatic grounds, in so far as they acknowledged only the sacred books themselves and conceded authority merely, not canonicity, to the "bequests of the scribes," that is, to canonical tradition;(12) partly and especially on political grounds, in so far as, instead of a fatalistic waiting for the strong arm of the Lord of Zebaoth, they taught that the salvation of the nation was to be expected from the weapons of this world, and from the inward and outward strengthening of the kingdom of David as re-established in the glorious times of the Maccabees. Those partisans of orthodoxy found their support in the priesthood and the multitude; they contested with the Hasmonaeans the legitimacy of their high- priesthood, and fought against the noxious heretics with all the reckless implacability, with which the pious are often found to contend for the possession of earthly goods. The state-party on the other hand relied for support on intelligence brought into contact with the influences of Hellenism, on the army, in which numerous Pisidian and Cilician mercenaries served, and on the abler kings, who here strove with the ecclesiastical power much as a thousand years later the Hohenstaufen strove with the Papacy. Jannaeus had kept down the priesthood with a strong hand; under his two sons there arose (685 et seq.) a civil and fraternal war, since the Pharisees opposed the vigorous Aristobulus and attempted to obtain their objects under the nominal rule of his brother, the good-natured and indolent Hyrcanus. This dissension not merely put a stop to the Jewish conquests, but gave also foreign nations opportunity to interfere and thereby obtain a commanding position in southern Syria.
This was the case first of all with the Nabataeans. This remarkable nation has often been confounded with its eastern neighbours, the wandering Arabs, but it is more closely related to the Aramaean branch than to the proper children of Ishmael. This Aramaean or, according to the designation of the Occidentals, Syrian stock must have in very early times sent forth from its most ancient settlements about Babylon a colony, probably for the sake of trade, to the northern end of the Arabian gulf; these were the Nabataeans on the Sinaitic peninsula, between the gulf of Suez and Aila, and in the region of Petra (Wadi Mousa). In their ports the wares of the Mediterranean were exchanged for those of India; the great southern caravan-route, which ran from Gaza to the mouth of the Euphrates and the Persian gulf, passed through the capital of the Nabataeans—Petra—whose still magnificent rock-palaces and rock-tombs furnish clearer evidence of the Nabataean civilization than does an almost extinct tradition. The leaders of the Pharisees, to whom after the manner of priests the victory of their faction seemed not too dearly bought at the price of the independence and integrity of their country, solicited Aretas the king of the Nabataeans for aid against Aristobulus, in return for which they promised to give back to him all the conquests wrested from him by Jannaeus. Thereupon Aretas had advanced with, it was said, 50,000 men into Judaea and, reinforced by the adherents of the Pharisees, he kept king Aristobulus besieged in his capital.
Amidst the system of violence and feud which thus prevailed from one end of Syria to another, the larger cities were of course the principal sufferers, such as Antioch, Seleucia, Damascus, whose citizens found themselves paralysed in their husbandry as well as in their maritime and caravan trade. The citizens of Byblus and Berytus (Beyrout) were unable to protect their fields and their ships from the Ityraeans, who issuing from their mountain and maritime strongholds rendered land and sea equally insecure. Those of Damascus sought to ward off the attacks of the Ityraeans and Ptolemaeus by handing themselves over to the more remote kings of the Nabataeans or of the Jews. In Antioch Sampsiceramus and Azizus mingled in the internal feuds of the citizens, and the Hellenic great city had wellnigh become even now the seat of an Arab emir. The state of things reminds us of the kingless times of the German middle ages, when Nuremberg and Augsburg found their protection not in the king's law and the king's courts, but in their own walls alone; impatiently the merchant-citizens of Syria awaited the strong arm, which should restore to them peace and security of intercourse.
The Last Seleucids
There was no want, however, of a legitimate king in Syria; there were even two or three of them. A prince Antiochus from the house of the Seleucids had been appointed by Lucullus as ruler of the most northerly province in Syria, Commagene.(13) Antiochus Asiaticus, whose claims on the Syrian throne had met with recognition both from the senate and from Lucullus,(14) had been received in Antioch after the retreat of the Armenians and there acknowledged as king. A third Seleucid prince Philippus had immediately confronted him there as a rival; and the great population of Antioch, excitable and delighting in opposition almost like that of Alexandria, as well as one or two of the neighbouring Arab emirs had interfered in the family strife which now seemed inseparable from the rule of the Seleucids. Was there any wonder that legitimacy became ridiculous and loathsome to its subjects, and that the so-called rightful kings were of even somewhat less importance in the land than the petty princes and robber-chiefs?
Annexation of Syria
To create order amidst this chaos did not require either brilliance of conception or a mighty display of force, but it required a clear insight into the interests of Rome and of her subjects, and vigour and consistency in establishing and maintaining the institutions recognized as necessary. The policy of the senate in support of legitimacy had sufficiently degraded itself; the general, whom the opposition had brought into power, was not to be guided by dynastic considerations, but had only to see that the Syrian kingdom should not be withdrawn from the clientship of Rome in future either by the quarrels of pretenders or by the Covetousness of neighbours. But to secure this end there was only one course; that the Roman community should send a satrap to grasp with a vigorous hand the reins of government, which had long since practically slipped from the hands of the kings of the ruling house more even through their own fault than through outward misfortunes. This course Pompeius took. Antiochus the Asiatic, on requesting to be acknowledged as the hereditary ruler of Syria, received the answer that Pompeius would not give back the sovereignty to a king who knew neither how to maintain nor how to govern his kingdom, even at the request of his subjects, much less against their distinctly expressed wishes. With this letter of the Roman proconsul the house of Seleucus was ejected from the throne which it had occupied for two hundred and fifty years. Antiochus soon after lost his life through the artifice of the emir Sampsiceramus, as whose client he played the ruler in Antioch; thenceforth there is no further mention of these mock-kings and their pretensions.
Military Pacification of Syria
But, to establish the new Roman government and introduce any tolerable order into the confusion of affairs, it was further necessary to advance into Syria with a military force and to terrify or subdue all the disturbers of the peace, who had sprung up during the many years of anarchy, by means of the Roman legions. Already during the campaigns in the kingdom of Pontus and on the Caucasus Pompeius had turned his attention to the affairs of Syria and directed detached commissioners and corps to interfere, where there was need. Aulus Gabinius—the same who as tribune of the people had sent Pompeius to the east—had in 689 marched along the Tigris and then across Mesopotamia to Syria, to adjust the complicated affairs of Judaea. In like manner the severely pressed Damascus had already been occupied by Lollius and Metellus. Soon afterwards another adjutant of Pompeius, Marcus Scaurus, arrived in Judaea, to allay the feuds ever breaking out afresh there. Lucius Afranius also, who during the expedition of Pompeius to the Caucasus held the command of the Roman troops in Armenia, had proceeded from Corduene (the northern Kurdistan) to upper Mesopotamia, and, after he had successfully accomplished the perilous march through the desert with the sympathizing help of the Hellenes settled in Carrhae, brought the Arabs in Osrhoene to submission. Towards the end of 690 Pompeius in person arrived in Syria,(15) and remained there till the summer of the following year, resolutely interfering and regulating matters for the present and the future. He sought to restore the kingdom to its state in the better times of the Seleucid rule; all usurped powers were set aside, the robber-chiefs were summoned to give up their castles, the Arab sheiks were again restricted to their desert domains, the affairs of the several communities were definitely regulated.
The Robber-Chiefs Chastised
The legions stood ready to procure obedience to these stern orders, and their interference proved especially necessary against the audacious robber-chiefs. Silas the ruler of Lysias, Dionysius the ruler of Tripolis, Cinyras the ruler of Byblus were taken prisoners in their fortresses and executed, the mountain and maritime strongholds of the Ityraeans were broken up, Ptolemaeus son of Mennaeus in Chalcis was forced to purchase his freedom and his lordship with a ransom of 1000 talents (240,000 pounds). Elsewhere the commands of the new master met for the most part with unresisting obedience.
Negotiations and Conflicts with the Jews
The Jews alone hesitated. The mediators formerly sent by Pompeius, Gabinius and Scaurus, had—both, as it was said, bribed with considerable sums—in the dispute between the brothers Hyrcanus and Aristobulus decided in favour of the latter, and had also induced king Aretas to raise the siege of Jerusalem and to proceed homeward, in doing which he sustained a defeat at the hands of Aristobulus. But, when Pompeius arrived in Syria, he cancelled the orders of his subordinates and directed the Jews to resume their old constitution under high-priests, as the senate had recognized it about 593,(16) and to renounce along with the hereditary principality itself all the conquests made by the Hasmonaean princes. It was the Pharisees, who had sent an embassy of two hundred of their most respected men to the Roman general and procured from him the overthrow of the kingdom; not to the advantage of their own nation, but doubtless to that of the Romans, who from the nature of the case could not but here revert to the old rights of the Seleucids, and could not tolerate a conquering power like that of Jannaeus within the limits of their empire. Aristobulus was uncertain whether it was better patiently to acquiesce in his inevitable doom or to meet his fate with arms in hand; at one time he seemed on the point of submitting to Pompeius, at another he seemed as though he would summon the national party among the Jews to a struggle with the Romans. When at length, with the legions already at the gates, he yielded to the enemy, the more resolute or more fanatical portion of his army refused to comply with the orders of a king who was not free. The capital submitted; the steep temple-rock was defended by that fanatical band for three months with an obstinacy ready to brave death, till at last the besiegers effected an entrance while the besieged were resting on the Sabbath, possessed themselves of the sanctuary, and handed over the authors of that desperate resistance, so far as they had not fallen under the sword of the Romans, to the axes of the lictors. Thus ended the last resistance of the territories newly annexed to the Roman state.
The New Relations of the Romans in the East
The work begun by Lucullus had been completed by Pompeius; the hitherto formally independent states of Bithynia, Pontus, and Syria were united with the Roman state; the exchange—which had been recognized for more than a hundred years as necessary— of the feeble system of a protectorate for that of direct sovereignty over the more important dependent territories,(17) had at length been realized, as soon as the senate had been overthrown and the Gracchan party had come to the helm. Rome had obtained in the east new frontiers, new neighbours, new friendly and hostile relations. There were now added to the indirect territories of Rome the kingdom of Armenia and the principalities of the Caucasus, and also the kingdom on the Cimmerian Bosporus, the small remnant of the extensive conquests of Mithradates Eupator, now a client-state of Rome under the government of his son and murderer Pharnaces; the town of Phanagoria alone, whose commandant Castor had given the signal for the revolt, was on that account recognized by the Romans as free and independent.
Conflicts with the Nabataeans
No like successes could be boasted of against the Nabataeans. King Aretas had indeed, yielding to the desire of the Romans, evacuated Judaea; but Damascus was still in his hands, and the Nabataean land had not yet been trodden by any Roman soldier. To subdue that region or at least to show to their new neighbours in Arabia that the Roman eagles were now dominant on the Orontes and on the Jordan, and that the time had gone by when any one was free to levy contributions in the Syrian lands as a domain without a master, Pompeius began in 691 an expedition against Petra; but detained by the revolt of the Jews, which broke out during this expedition, he was not reluctant to leave to his successor Marcus Scaurus the carrying out of the difficult enterprise against the Nabataean city situated far off amidst the desert.(18) In reality Scaurus also soon found himself compelled to return without having accomplished his object. He had to content himself with making war on the Nabataeans in the deserts on the left bank of the Jordan, where he could lean for support on the Jews, but yet bore off only very trifling successes. Ultimately the adroit Jewish minister Antipater from Idumaea persuaded Aretas to purchase a guarantee for all his possessions, Damascus included, from the Roman governor for a sum of money; and this is the peace celebrated on the coins of Scaurus, where king Aretas appears—leading his camel— as a suppliant offering the olive branch to the Roman.
Difficulty with the Parthians
Far more fraught with momentous effects than these new relations of the Romans to the Armenians, Iberians, Bosporans, and Nabataeans was the proximity into which through the occupation of Syria they were brought with the Parthian state. Complaisant as had been the demeanour of Roman diplomacy towards Phraates while the Pontic and Armenian states still subsisted, willingly as both Lucullus and Pompeius had then conceded to him the possession of the regions beyond the Euphrates,(19) the new neighbour now sternly took up his position by the side of the Arsacids; and Phraates, if the royal art of forgetting his own faults allowed him, might well recall now the warning words of Mithradates that the Parthian by his alliance with the Occidentals against the kingdoms of kindred race paved the way first for their destruction and then for his own. Romans and Parthians in league had brought Armenia to ruin; when it was overthrown, Rome true to her old policy now reversed the parts and favoured the humbled foe at the expense of the powerful ally. The singular preference, which the father Tigranes experienced from Pompeius as contrasted with his son the ally and son-in-law of the Parthian king, was already part of this policy; it was a direct offence, when soon afterwards by the orders of Pompeius the younger Tigranes and his family were arrested and were not released even on Phraates interceding with the friendly general for his daughter and his son-in-law. But Pompeius paused not here. The province of Corduene, to which both Phraates and Tigranes laid claim, was at the command of Pompeius occupied by Roman troops for the latter, and the Parthians who were found in possession were driven beyond the frontier and pursued even as far as Arbela in Adiabene, without the government of Ctesiphon having even been previously heard (689). Far the most suspicious circumstance however was, that the Romans seemed not at all inclined to respect the boundary of the Euphrates fixed by treaty. On several occasions Roman divisions destined from Armenia for Syria marched across Mesopotamia; the Arab emir Abgarus of Osrhoene was received under singularly favourable conditions into Roman protection; nay, Oruros, situated in Upper Mesopotamia somewhere between Nisibis and the Tigris 220 miles eastward from the Commagenian passage of the Euphrates, was designated as the eastern limit of the Roman dominion— presumably their indirect dominion, inasmuch as the larger and more fertile northern half of Mesopotamia had been assigned by the Romans in like manner with Corduene to the Armenian empire. The boundary between Romans and Parthians thus became the great Syro-Mesopotamian desert instead of the Euphrates; and this too seemed only provisional. To the Parthian envoys, who came to insist on the maintenance of the agreements—which certainly, as it would seem, were only concluded orally—respecting the Euphrates boundary, Pompeius gave the ambiguous reply that the territory of Rome extended as far as her rights. The remarkable intercourse between the Roman commander-in-chief and the Parthian satraps of the region of Media and even of the distant province Elymais (between Susiana, Media, and Persia, in the modern Luristan) seemed a commentary on this speech.(20) The viceroys of this latter mountainous, warlike, and remote land had always exerted themselves to acquire a position independent of the great-king; it was the more offensive and menacing to the Parthian government, when Pompeius accepted the proffered homage of this dynast. Not less significant was the fact that the title of "king of kings," which had been hitherto conceded to the Parthian king by the Romans in official intercourse, was now all at once exchanged by them for the simple title of king. This was even more a threat than a violation of etiquette. Since Rome had entered on the heritage of the Seleucids, it seemed almost as if the Romans had a mind to revert at a convenient moment to those old times, when all Iran and Turan were ruled from Antioch, and there was as yet no Parthian empire but merely a Parthian satrapy. The court of Ctesiphon would thus have had reason enough for going to war with Rome; it seemed the prelude to its doing so, when in 690 it declared war on Armenia on account of the question of the frontier. But Phraates had not the courage to come to an open rupture with the Romans at a time when the dreaded general with his strong army was on the borders of the Parthian empire. When Pompeius sent commissioners to settle amicably the dispute between Parthia and Armenia, Phraates yielded to the Roman mediation forced upon him and acquiesced in their award, which assigned to the Armenians Corduene and northern Mesopotamia. Soon afterwards his daughter with her son and her husband adorned the triumph of the Roman general. Even the Parthians trembled before the superior power of Rome; and, if they had not, like the inhabitants of Pontus and Armenia, succumbed to the Roman arms, the reason seemed only to be that they had not ventured to stand the conflict.
Organization of the Provinces
There still devolved on the general the duty of regulating the internal relations of the newly-acquired provinces and of removing as far as possible the traces of a thirteen years' desolating war. The work of organization begun in Asia Minor by Lucullus and the commission associated with him, and in Crete by Metellus, received its final conclusion from Pompeius. The former province of Asia, which embraced Mysia, Lydia, Phrygia, and Caria, was converted from a frontier province into a central one. The newly-erected provinces were, that of Bithynia and Pontus, which was formed out of the whole former kingdom of Nicomedes and the western half of the former Pontic state as far as and beyond the Halys; that of Cilicia, which indeed was older, but was now for the first time enlarged and organized in a manner befitting its name, and comprehended also Pamphylia and Isauria; that of Syria, and that of Crete. Much was no doubt wanting to render that mass of countries capable of being regarded as the territorial possession of Rome in the modern sense of the term. The form and order of the government remained substantially as they were; only the Roman community came in place of the former monarchs. Those Asiatic provinces consisted as formerly of a motley mixture of domanial possessions, urban territories de facto or de jure autonomous, lordships pertaining to princes and priests, and kingdoms, all of which were as regards internal administration more or less left to themselves, and in other respects were dependent, sometimes in milder sometimes in stricter forms, on the Roman government and its proconsuls very much as formerly on the great-king and his satraps.
The first place, in rank at least, among the dependent dynasts was held by the king of Cappadocia, whose territory Lucullus had already enlarged by investing him with the province of Melitene (about Malatia) as far as the Euphrates, and to whom Pompeius farther granted on the western frontier some districts taken off Cilicia from Castabala as far as Derbe near Iconium, and on the eastern frontier the province of Sophene situated on the left bank of the Euphrates opposite Melitene and at first destined for the Armenian prince Tigranes; so that the most important passage of the Euphrates thus came wholly into the power of the Cappadocian prince. The small province of Commagene between Syria and Cappadocia with its capital Samosata (Samsat) remained a dependent kingdom in the hands of the already-named Seleucid Antiochus;(21) to him too were assigned the important fortress of Seleucia (near Biradjik) commanding the more southern passage of the Euphrates, and the adjoining tracts on the left bank of that river; and thus care was taken that the two chief passages of the Euphrates with a corresponding territory on the eastern bank were left in the hands of two dynasts wholly dependent on Rome. Alongside of the kings of Cappadocia and Commagene, and in real power far superior to them, the new king Deiotarus ruled in Asia Minor. One of the tetrarchs of the Celtic stock of the Tolistobogii settled round Pessinus, and summoned by Lucullus and Pompeius to render military service with the other small Roman clients, Deiotarus had in these campaigns so brilliantly proved his trustworthiness and his energy as contrasted with all the indolent Orientals that the Roman generals conferred upon him, in addition to his Galatian heritage and his possessions in the rich country between Amisus and the mouth of the Halys, the eastern half of the former Pontic empire with the maritime towns of Pharnacia and Trapezus and the Pontic Armenia as far as the frontier of Colchis and the Greater Armenia, to form the kingdom of Lesser Armenia. Soon afterwards he increased his already considerable territory by the country of the Celtic Trocmi, whose tetrarch he dispossessed. Thus the petty feudatory became one of the most powerful dynasts of Asia Minor, to whom might be entrusted the guardianship of an important part of the frontier of the empire.
Princes and Chiefs
Vassals of lesser importance were, the other numerous Galatian tetrarchs, one of whom, Bogodiatarus prince of the Trocmi, was on account of his tried valour in the Mithradatic war presented by Pompeius with the formerly Pontic frontier-town of Mithradatium; Attalus prince of Paphlagonia, who traced back his lineage to the old ruling house of the Pylaemenids; Aristarchus and other petty lords in the Colchian territory; Tarcondimotus who ruled in eastern Cilicia in the mountain-valleys of the Amanus; Ptolemaeus son of Mennaeus who continued to rule in Chalcis on the Libanus; Aretas king of the Nabataeans as lord of Damascus; lastly, the Arabic emirs in the countries on either side of the Euphrates, Abgarus in Osrhoene, whom the Romans endeavoured in every way to draw over to their interest with the view of using him as an advanced post against the Parthians, Sampsiceramus in Hemesa, Alchaudonius the Rhambaean, and another emir in Bostra.
To these fell to be added the spiritual lords who in the east frequently ruled over land and people like secular dynasts, and whose authority firmly established in that native home of fanaticism the Romans prudently refrained from disturbing, as they refrained from even robbing the temples of their treasures: the high-priest of the Goddess Mother in Pessinus; the two high-priests of the goddess Ma in the Cappadocian Comana (on the upper Sarus) and in the Pontic city of the same name (Gumenek near Tocat), both lords who were in their countries inferior only to the king in power, and each of whom even at a much later period possessed extensive estates with special jurisdiction and about six thousand temple-slaves—Archelaus, son of the general of that name who passed over from Mithradates to the Romans, was invested by Pompeius with the Pontic high-priesthood—the high-priest of the Venasian Zeus in the Cappadocian district of Morimene, whose revenues amounted annually to 3600 pounds (15 talents); the "archpriest and lord" of that territory in Cilicia Trachea, where Teucer the son of Ajax had founded a temple to Zeus, over which his descendants presided by virtue of hereditary right; the "arch-priest and lord of the people" of the Jews, to whom Pompeius, after having razed the walls of the capital and the royal treasuries and strongholds in the land, gave back the presidency of the nation with a serious admonition to keep the peace and no longer to aim at conquests.
Alongside of these secular and spiritual potentates stood the urban communities. These were partly associated into larger unions which rejoiced in a comparative independence, such as in particular the league of the twenty-three Lycian cities, which was well organized and constantly, for instance, kept aloof from participation in the disorders of piracy; whereas the numerous detached communities, even if they had self-government secured by charter, were in practice wholly dependent on the Roman governors.
Elevation of Urban Life in Asia
The Romans failed not to see that with the task of representing Hellenism and protecting and extending the domain of Alexander in the east there devolved on them the primary duty of elevating the urban system; for, while cities are everywhere the pillars of civilization, the antagonism between Orientals and Occidentals was especially and most sharply embodied in the contrast between the Oriental, military-despotic, feudal hierarchy and the Helleno- Italic urban commonwealth prosecuting trade and commerce. Lucullus and Pompeius, however little they in other respects aimed at the reduction of things to one level in the east, and however much the latter was disposed in questions of detail to censure and alter the arrangements of his predecessor, were yet completely agreed in the principle of promoting as far as they could an urban life in Asia Minor and Syria. Cyzicus, on whose vigorous resistance the first violence of the last war had spent itself, received from Lucullus a considerable extension of its domain. The Pontic Heraclea, energetically as it had resisted the Romans, yet recovered its territory and its harbours; and the barbarous fury of Cotta against the unhappy city met with the sharpest censure in the senate. Lucullus had deeply and sincerely regretted that fate had refused him the happiness of rescuing Sinope and Amisus from devastation by the Pontic soldiery and his own: he did at least what he could to restore them, extended considerably their territories, peopled them afresh—partly with the old inhabitants, who at his invitation returned in troops to their beloved homes, partly with new settlers of Hellenic descent—and provided for the reconstruction of the buildings destroyed. Pompeius acted in the same spirit and on a greater scale. Already after the subjugation of the pirates he had, instead of following the example of his predecessors and crucifying his prisoners, whose number exceeded 20,000, settled them partly in the desolated cities of the Plain Cilicia, such as Mallus, Adana, Epiphaneia, and especially in Soli, which thenceforth bore the name of Pompeius' city (Pompeiupolis), partly at Dyme in Achaia, and even at Tarentum. This colonizing by means of pirates met with manifold censure,(22) as it seemed in some measure to set a premium on crime; in reality it was, politically and morally, well justified, for, as things then stood, piracy was something different from robbery and the prisoners might fairly be treated according to martial law.
New Towns Established
But Pompeius made it his business above all to promote urban life in the new Roman provinces. We have already observed how poorly provided with towns the Pontic empire was:(23) most districts of Cappadocia even a century after this had no towns, but merely mountain fortresses as a refuge for the agricultural population in war; the whole east of Asia Minor, apart from the sparse Greek colonies on the coasts, must have been at this time in a similar plight. The number of towns newly established by Pompeius in these provinces is, including the Cilician settlements, stated at thirty- nine, several of which attained great prosperity. The most notable of these townships in the former kingdom of Pontus were Nicopolis, the "city of victory," founded on the spot where Mithradates sustained the last decisive defeat(24)—the fairest memorial of a general rich in similar trophies; Megalopolis, named from Pompeius' surname, on the frontier of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia, the subsequent Sebasteia (now Siwas); Ziela, where the Romans fought the unfortunate battle,(25) a township which had arisen round the temple of Anaitis there and hitherto had belonged to its high- priest, and to which Pompeius now gave the form and privileges of a city; Diopolis, formerly Cabira, afterwards Neocaesarea (Niksar), likewise one of the battle-fields of the late war; Magnopolis or Pompeiupolis, the restored Eupatoria at the confluence of the Lycus and the Iris, originally built by Mithradates, but again destroyed by him on account of the defection of the city to the Romans;(26) Neapolis, formerly Phazemon, between Amasia and the Halys. Most of the towns thus established were formed not by bringing colonists from a distance, but by the suppression of villages and the collection of their inhabitants within the new ring-wall; only in Nicopolis Pompeius settled the invalids and veterans of his army, who preferred to establish a home for themselves there at once rather than afterwards in Italy. But at other places also there arose on the suggestion of the regent new centres of Hellenic civilization. In Paphlagonia a third Pompeiupolis marked the spot where the army of Mithradates in 666 achieved the great victory over the Bithynians.(27) In Cappadocia, which perhaps had suffered more than any other province by the war, the royal residence Mazaca (afterwards Caesarea, now Kaisarieh) and seven other townships were re-established by Pompeius and received urban institutions. In Cilicia and Coelesyria there were enumerated twenty towns laid out by Pompeius. In the districts ceded by the Jews, Gadara in the Decapolis rose from its ruins at the command of Pompeius, and the city of Seleucis was founded. By far the greatest portion of the domain-land at his disposal on the Asiatic continent must have been applied by Pompeius for his new settlements; whereas in Crete, about which Pompeius troubled himself little or not at all, the Roman domanial possessions seem to have continued tolerably extensive.
Pompeius was no less intent on regulating and elevating the existing communities than on founding new townships. The abuses and usurpations which prevailed were done away with as far as lay in his power; detailed ordinances drawn up carefully for the different provinces regulated the particulars of the municipal system. A number of the most considerable cities had fresh privileges conferred on them. Autonomy was bestowed on Antioch on the Orontes, the most important city of Roman Asia and but little inferior to the Egyptian Alexandria and to the Bagdad of antiquity, the city of Seleucia in the Parthian empire; as also on the neighbour of Antioch, the Pierian Seleucia, which was thus rewarded for its courageous resistance to Tigranes; on Gaza and generally on all the towns liberated from the Jewish rule; on Mytilene in the west of Asia Minor; and on Phanagoria on the Black Sea.
Thus was completed the structure of the Roman state in Asia, which with its feudatory kings and vassals, its priests made into princes, and its series of free and half-free cities puts us vividly in mind of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. It was no miraculous work, either as respects the difficulties overcome or as respects the consummation attained; nor was it made so by all the high-sounding words, which the Roman world of quality lavished in favour of Lucullus and the artless multitude in praise of Pompeius. Pompeius in particular consented to be praised, and praised himself, in such a fashion that people might almost have reckoned him still more weak-minded than he really was. If the Mytilenaeans erected a statue to him as their deliverer and founder, as the man who had as well by land as by sea terminated the wars with which the world was filled, such a homage might not seem too extravagant for the vanquisher of the pirates and of the empires of the east. But the Romans this time surpassed the Greeks. The triumphal inscriptions of Pompeius himself enumerated 12 millions of people as subjugated and 1538 cities and strongholds as conquered—it seemed as if quantity was to make up for quality— and made the circle of his victories extend from the Maeotic Sea to the Caspian and from the latter to the Red Sea, when his eyes had never seen any one of the three; nay farther, if he did not exactly say so, he at any late induced the public to suppose that the annexation of Syria, which in truth was no heroic deed, had added the whole east as far as Bactria and India to the Roman empire— so dim was the mist of distance, amidst which according to his statements the boundary-line of his eastern conquests was lost. The democratic servility, which has at all times rivalled that of courts, readily entered into these insipid extravagances. It was not satisfied by the pompous triumphal procession, which moved through the streets of Rome on the 28th and 29th Sept. 693— the forty-sixth birthday of Pompeius the Great—adorned, to say nothing of jewels of all sorts, by the crown insignia of Mithradates and by the children of the three mightiest kings of Asia, Mithradates, Tigranes, and Phraates; it rewarded its general, who had conquered twenty-two kings, with regal honours and bestowed on him the golden chaplet and the insignia of the magistracy for life. The coins struck in his honour exhibit the globe itself placed amidst the triple laurels brought home from the three continents, and surmounted by the golden chaplet conferred by the burgesses on the man who had triumphed over Africa, Spain, and Asia. It need excite no surprise, if in presence of such childish acts of homage voices were heard of an opposite import. Among the Roman world of quality it was currently affirmed that the true merit of having subdued the east belonged to Lucullus, and that Pompeius had only gone thither to supplant Lucullus and to wreathe around his own brow the laurels which another hand had plucked. Both statements were totally erroneous: it was not Pompeius but Glabrio that was sent to Asia to relieve Lucullus, and, bravely as Lucullus had fought, it was a fact that, when Pompeius took the supreme command, the Romans had forfeited all their earlier successes and had not a foot's breadth of Pontic soil in their possession. More pointed and effective was the ridicule of the inhabitants of the capital, who failed not to nickname the mighty conqueror of the globe after the great powers which he had conquered, and saluted him now as "conqueror of Salem," now as "emir" (-Arabarches-), now as the Roman Sampsiceramus.
Lucullus and Pompeius as Administrators
The unprejudiced judge will not agree either with those exaggerations or with these disparagements. Lucullus and Pompeius, in subduing and regulating Asia, showed themselves to be, not heroes and state-creators, but sagacious and energetic army-leaders and governors. As general Lucullus displayed no common talents and a self-confidence bordering on rashness, while Pompeius displayed military judgment and a rare self-restraint; for hardly has any general with such forces and a position so wholly free ever acted so cautiously as Pompeius in the east. The most brilliant undertakings, as it were, offered themselves to him on all sides; he was free to start for the Cimmerian Bosporus and for the Red Sea; he had opportunity of declaring war against the Parthians; the revolted provinces of Egypt invited him to dethrone king Ptolemaeus who was not recognized by the Romans, and to carry out the testament of Alexander; but Pompeius marched neither to Panticapaeum nor to Petra, neither to Ctesiphon nor to Alexandria; throughout he gathered only those fruits which of themselves fell to his hand. In like manner he fought all his battles by sea and land with a crushing superiority of force. Had this moderation proceeded from the strict observance of the instructions given to him, as Pompeius was wont to profess, or even from a perception that the conquests of Rome must somewhere find a limit and that fresh accessions of territory were not advantageous to the state, it would deserve a higher praise than history confers on the most talented officer; but constituted as Pompeius was, his self- restraint was beyond doubt solely the result of his peculiar want of decision and of initiative—defects, indeed, which were in his case far more useful to the state than the opposite excellences of his predecessor. Certainly very grave errors were perpetrated both by Lucullus and by Pompeius. Lucullus reaped their fruits himself, when his imprudent conduct wrested from him all the results of his victories; Pompeius left it to his successors to bear the consequences of his false policy towards the Parthians. He might either have made war on the Parthians, if he had had the courage to do so, or have maintained peace with them and recognized, as he had promised, the Euphrates as boundary; he was too timid for the former course, too vain for the latter, and so he resorted to the silly perfidy of rendering the good neighbourhood, which the court of Ctesiphon desired and on its part practised, impossible through the most unbounded aggressions, and yet allowing the enemy to choose of themselves the time for rupture and retaliation. As administrator of Asia Lucullus acquired a more than princely wealth; and Pompeius also received as reward for its organization large sums in cash and still more considerable promissory notes from the king of Cappadocia, from the rich city of Antioch, and from other lords and communities. But such exactions had become almost a customary tax; and both generals showed themselves at any rate to be not altogether venal in questions of greater importance, and, if possible, got themselves paid by the party whose interests coincided with those of Rome. Looking to the state of the times, this does not prevent us from characterizing the administration of both as comparatively commendable and conducted primarily in the interest of Rome, secondarily in that of the provincials.
The conversion of the clients into subjects, the better regulation of the eastern frontier, the establishment of a single and strong government, were full of blessing for the rulers as well as for the ruled. The financial gain acquired by Rome was immense; the new property tax, which with the exception of some specially exempted communities all those princes, priests, and cities had to pay to Rome, raised the Roman state-revenues almost by a half above their former amount. Asia indeed suffered severely. Pompeius brought in money and jewels an amount of 2,000,000 pounds (200,000,000 sesterces) into the state-chest and distributed 3,900,000 pounds (16,000 talents) among his officers and soldiers; if we add to this the considerable sums brought home by Lucullus, the non-official exactions of the Roman army, and the amount of the damage done by the war, the financial exhaustion of the land may be readily conceived. The Roman taxation of Asia was perhaps in itself not worse than that of its earlier rulers, but it formed a heavier burden on the land, in so far as the taxes thenceforth went out of the country and only the lesser portion of the proceeds was again expended in Asia; and at any rate it was, in the old as well as the newly-acquired provinces, based on a systematic plundering of the provinces for the benefit of Rome. But the responsibility for this rests far less on the generals personally than on the parties at home, whom these had to consider; Lucullus had even exerted himself energetically to set limits to the usurious dealings of the Roman capitalists in Asia, and this essentially contributed to bring about his fall. How much both men earnestly sought to revive the prosperity of the reduced provinces, is shown by their action in cases where no considerations of party policy tied their hands, and especially in their care for the cities of Asia Minor. Although for centuries afterwards many an Asiatic village lying in ruins recalled the times of the great war, Sinope might well begin a new era with the date of its re-establishment by Lucullus, and almost all the more considerable inland towns of the Pontic kingdom might gratefully honour Pompeius as their founder. The organization of Roman Asia by Lucullus and Pompeius may with all its undeniable defects be described as on the whole judicious and praiseworthy; serious as were the evils that might still adhere to it, it could not but be welcome to the sorely tormented Asiatics for the very reason that it came attended by the inward and outward peace, the absence of which had been so long and so painfully felt.
The East after the Departure of Pompeius
Peace continued substantially in the east, till the idea—merely indicated by Pompeius with his characteristic timidity—of joining the regions eastward of the Euphrates to the Roman empire was taken up again energetically but unsuccessfully by the new triumvirate of Roman regents, and soon thereafter the civil war drew the eastern provinces as well as all the rest into its fatal vortex. In the interval the governors of Cilicia had to fight constantly with the mountain-tribes of the Amanus and those of Syria with the hordes of the desert, and in the latter war against the Bedouins especially many Roman troops were destroyed; but these movements had no farther significance. More remarkable was the obstinate resistance, which the tough Jewish nation opposed to the conquerors. Alexander, son of the deposed king Aristobulus, and Aristobulus himself who after some time succeeded in escaping from captivity, excited during the governorship of Aulus Gabinius (697-700) three different revolts against the new rulers, to each of which the government of the high-priest Hyrcanus installed by Rome impotently succumbed. It was not political conviction, but the invincible repugnance of the Oriental towards the unnatural yoke, which compelled them to kick against the pricks; as indeed the last and most dangerous of these revolts, for which the withdrawal of the Syrian army of occupation in consequence of the Egyptian crisis furnished the immediate impulse, began with the murder of the Romans settled in Palestine. It was not without difficulty that the able governor succeeded in rescuing the few Romans, who had escaped this fate and found a temporary refuge on Mount Gerizim, from the insurgents who kept them blockaded there, and in overpowering the revolt after several severely contested battles and tedious sieges. In consequence of this the monarchy of the high-priests was abolished and the Jewish land was broken up as Macedonia had formerly been, into five independent districts administered by governing colleges with an Optimate organization; Samaria and other townships razed by the Jews were re-established, to form a counterpoise to Jerusalem; and lastly a heavier tribute was imposed on the Jews than on the other Syrian subjects of Rome.
The Kingdom of Egypt
It still remains that we should glance at the kingdom of Egypt along with the last dependency that remained to it of the extensive acquisitions of the Lagids, the fair island of Cyprus. Egypt was now the only state of the Hellenic east that was still at least nominally independent; just as formerly, when the Persians established themselves along the eastern half of the Mediterranean, Egypt was their last conquest, so now the mighty conquerors from the west long delayed the annexation of that opulent and peculiar country. The reason lay, as was already indicated, neitherin any fear of the resistance of Egypt nor in the want of a fitting occasion. Egypt was just about as powerless as Syria, and had already in 673 fallen in all due form of law to the Roman community.(28) The control exercised over the court of Alexandria by the royal guard—which appointed and deposed ministers and occasionally kings, took for itself what it pleased, and, if it was refused a rise of pay, besieged the king in his palace— was by no means liked in the country or rather in the capital (for the country with its population of agricultural slaves was hardly taken into account); and at least a party there wished for the annexation of Egypt by Rome, and even took steps to procure it But the less the kings of Egypt could think of contending in arms against Rome, the more energetically Egyptian gold set itself to resist the Roman plans of union; and in consequence of the peculiar despotico- communistic centralization of the Egyptian finances the revenues of the court of Alexandria were still nearly equal to the public income of Rome even after its augmentation by Pompeius. The suspicious jealousy of the oligarchy, which was chary of allowing any individual either to conquer or to administer Egypt, operated in the same direction. So the de facto rulers of Egypt and Cyprus were enabled by bribing the leading men in the senate not merely to respite their tottering crowns, but even to fortify them afresh and to purchase from the senate the confirmation of their royal title. But with this they had not yet obtained their object. Formal state-law required a decree of the Roman burgesses; until this was issued, the Ptolemies were dependent on the caprice of every democratic holder of power, and they had thus to commence the warfare of bribery also against the other Roman party, which as the more powerful stipulated for far higher prices.
The result in the two cases was different. The annexation of Cyprus was decreed in 696 by the people, that is, by the leaders of the democracy, the support given to piracy by the Cypriots being alleged as the official reason why that course should now be adopted. Marcus Cato, entrusted by his opponents with the execution of this measure, came to the island without an army; but he had no need of one. The king took poison; the inhabitants submitted without offering resistance to their inevitable fate, and were placed under the governor of Cilicia. The ample treasure of nearly 7000 talents (1,700,000 pounds), which the equally covetous and miserly king could not prevail on himself to apply for the bribes requisite to save his crown, fell along with the latter to the Romans, and filled after a desirable fashion the empty vaults of their treasury.
Ptolemaeus in Egypt Recognized but Expelled by His Subjects
On the other hand the brother who reigned in Egypt succeeded in purchasing his recognition by decree of the people from the new masters of Rome in 695; the purchase-money is said to have amounted to 6000 talents (1,460,000 pounds). The citizens indeed, long exasperated against their good flute-player and bad ruler, and now reduced to extremities by the definitive loss of Cyprus and the pressure of the taxes which were raised to an intolerable degree in consequence of the transactions with the Romans (696), chased him on that account out of the country. When the king thereupon applied, as if on account of his eviction from the estate which he had purchased, to those who sold it, these were reasonable enough to see that it was their duty as honest men of business to get back his kingdom for Ptolemaeus; only the parties could not agree as to the person to whom the important charge of occupying Egypt by force along with the perquisites thence to be expected should be assigned. It was only when the triumvirate was confirmed anew at the conference of Luca, that this affair was also arranged, after Ptolemaeus had agreed to a further payment of 10,000 talents (2,400,000 pounds); the governor of Syria, Aulus Gabinius, now obtained orders from those in power to take the necessary steps immediately for bringing back the king. The citizens of Alexandria had meanwhile placed the crown on the head of Berenice the eldest daughter of the ejected king, and given to her a husband in the person of one of the spiritual princes of Roman Asia, Archelaus the high-priest of Comana,(29) who possessed ambition enough to hazard his secure and respectable position in the hope of mounting the throne of the Lagids. His attempts to gain the Roman regents to his interests remained without success; but he did not recoil before the idea of being obliged to maintain his new kingdom with arms in hand even against the Romans.
And Brought Back by Gabinius
A Roman Garrison Remains in Alexandria
Gabinius, without ostensible powers to undertake war against Egypt but directed to do so by the regents, made a pretext out of the alleged furtherance of piracy by the Egyptians and the building of a fleet by Archelaus, and started without delay for the Egyptian frontier (699). The march through the sandy desert between Gaza and Pelusium, in which so many invasions previously directed against Egypt had broken down, was on this occasion successfully accomplished—a result especially due to the quick and skilful leader of the cavalry Marcus Antonius. The frontier fortress of Pelusium also was surrendered without resistance by the Jewish garrison stationed there. In front of this city the Romans met the Egyptians, defeated them—on which occasion Antonius again distinguished himself—and arrived, as the first Roman army, at the Nile. Here the fleet and army of the Egyptians were drawn up for the last decisive struggle; but the Romans once more conquered, and Archelaus himself with many of his followers perished in the combat. Immediately after this battle the capital surrendered, and therewith all resistance was at an end. The unhappy land was handed over to its legitimate oppressor; the hanging and beheading, with which, but for the intervention of the chivalrous Antonius, Ptolemaeus would have already in Pelusium begun to celebrate the restoration of the legitimate government, now took its course unhindered, and first of all the innocent daughter was sent by her father to the scaffold. The payment of the reward agreed upon with the regents broke down through the absolute impossibility of exacting from the exhausted land the enormous sums required, although they took from the poor people the last penny; but care was taken that the country should at least be kept quiet by the garrison of Roman infantry and Celtic and German cavalry left in the capital, which took the place of the native praetorians and otherwise emulated them not unsuccessfully. The previous hegemony of Rome over Egypt was thus converted into a direct military occupation, and the nominal continuance of the native monarchy was not so much a privilege granted to the land as a double burden imposed on it.