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Third Mithridatic War, 74-63 B.C.

Third Mithridatic War, 74-63 B.C.

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Third Mithridatic War, 74-63 B.C.

Mithridates Moves West
Lucullus in Pontus
Lucullus in Armenia



The Third Mithridatic War of 74-62 B.C. was the last of three clashes between Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman Republic. A war that began in western Asia Minor ended with Roman armies campaigning in Armenia, to the east of the Black Sea and in Syria and saw Roman power extended into completely new regions.

Mithridates's own ambitions in Asia Minor were responsible for the outbreak of the First Mithridatic War (88-85 B.C.). The short Second Mithridatic War (83-82 B.C.) was largely caused by the ambitions of Murena, then the Roman governor of Asia, and it soon became clear that a third war was almost inevitable. The peace that had ended the first war had been negotiated by Sulla, but he died in 78 B.C., removing one of the few voices for peace. Even some of his former allies believed that the peace of Dardanus of 62 B.C. had been too generous, and after Sulla's death the senate refused to ratify the treaty.

The exact date of the early events in the Third Mithridatic War has been a matter of some debate, with many sources allocating the first battles of the war to 74 B.C. More recently the battle of Chalcedon and the siege of Cyzicus have been dated to 73 B.C. The main evidence for this comes from Cicero, who places Lucullus in Rome in November 74 B.C. He must then have reached Asia early in 73 B.C., and was planning an invasion of Pontus when he learnt of Cotta's defeat at Chalcedon.

Appian, who is our main source for the war, indirectly supports this, although he provides no firm dates. Mithridates is said to have spent 'the remainder of the summer and the whole of the winter' before the outbreak of war building ships and raising his army. His attack into Bithynia came in the following spring. The trigger for the war is given as the death of Nicomedes IV of Pontus, which can be dated to late 75 or early 74. Mithridates's preparations were thus made in the summer of 74 and winter of 74-73, and his attack came in the spring of 73 B.C. This would also have given the two consuls for 74 B.C., Cotta and Lucullus, time to reach Bithynia and Asia and begin their own preparations. Mithridates's warlike preparations during 74 B.C. would also have been the missing motive for the reallocation of the consul's provinces during that year.

As well as building ships and raising his army, Mithridates sought aid from the renegade governor of Spain, Sertorius, who agreed to send a group of officers to train his infantry to fight in the Roman style.

At the time of Nicomedes's death Lucullus had already been allocated Cisalpine Gaul as his province for 74-73 B.C., but early in 74 B.C. soon after reaching his province, the new proconsul of Cilicia died. Lucullus was transferred to Cilicia, and his colleague M. Aurelius Cotta was given Bithynia. Later in the year Lucullus was commissioned to fight a war, on the somewhat dubious grounds that the previous wars against Mithridates had not officially ended.

Mithridates Moves West

If our dates are correct, then early in 73 B.C. Mithridates was ready for his invasion of Bithynia. Cotta, with the Roman fleet (mostly provided by the Republic's allies), would be his immediate opponent. Lucullus, having left Rome at the end of 74 B.C. or early in 73 B.C., was near the Sangarius River in northern Phrygia, preparing for his own invasion of Pontus.

Mithridates raised another vast army. Appian gives him 140,000 infantry and 16,000 cavalry at the start of the war, for a total of 156,000 fighting men. These figures are probably exaggerated, but the Romans acknowledged themselves to be badly outnumbered at the start of the war. An equally large force of 'road-makers, baggage carriers and sutlers' accompanied the army, apparently giving him 300,000 men to feed during the siege of Cyzicus. This army included troops from all around his empire, and from his allies around the Black Sea. Amongst them must have been the force of infantry trained in the Roman style by Marcus Varius.

Lucullus had five legions. The two Fimbric legions had been in Asia Minor since the First Mithridatic War, having been led there by Flavius Fimbria, a political enemy of Sulla, the victorious general of that war. Their poor discipline would later cause Lucullus some serious problems. Another two legions came from Cilicia, where they had served in the campaigns of Servilius, and the final legion accompanied Lucullus from Rome.

In the spring of 73 B.C. Mithridates invaded Bithynia and defeated Cotta in a combined land and sea battle at Chalcedon, at the southern end of the Asian shore of the Bosporus. Cotta's fleet was destroyed, giving Mithridates's command of the Propontis.

From Chalcedon he moved west to besiege Cyzicus, then a major port on the Asian shore of the Propontis. The city was built at the southern tip of the island of Arctonnesus, which at the time of the siege was connected to the mainland by a single causeway. Mithridates needed to capture Cyzicus to use as a supply base for his massive army, but despite having suffered heavy losses at Chalcedon the citizens held out until Lucullus arrived in the area, having abandoned his invasion of Pontus.

Lucullus realised that Mithridates was in a vulnerable position. Most of the Pontic army was on the island, engaged in the siege, and Lucullus was able to take up a strong position on the mainland, from where he cut off Mithridates's supply lines. Despite a series of desperate attempts to capture the city, Cyzicus held out, and as winter approached Mithridates was forced to begin to send his troops away.

This was when Lucullus struck. His first success came when Mithridates attempted to send his cavalry and wounded infantry east into Bithynia. Lucullus caught them at the Rhyndacis River, and is said to have captured 15,000 men and 6,000 horses. Mithridates then decided to completely abandon the siege. While he escaped by sea, his infantry was sent west along the coast in an attempt to reach the harbour at Lampsacus, from where they could be evacuated by the fleet. Lucullus gave chase, attacking them while they were crossing the swollen river Aesepus (Appian), and again further west at the Granicus (Plutarch). According to Plutarch the Pontic army lost 20,000 dead at the Granicus, and close to 300,000 people during the entire campaign. While the overall figures are probably too high, Mithridates does appear to have lost most of his army in the fighting around Cyzicus.

Mithridates did not immediately abandon his campaign in Bithynia. Part of his army did reach Lampsacus, where it came under the command of the Roman renegade Marcus Varius. Mithridates sent 50 ships and 10,000 men under Varius into the Aegean, while he took the rest of his army to attack Perinthus, on the European side of the Propontis. When this attack failed he sailed east to Nicomedia, at the eastern tip of the Propontis.

Lucullus also split his forces. He took command of a fleet that followed Varius into the Aegean, defeating and killing him at Lemnos. C. Valerius Triarius and Barba remained in the Propontis, with orders to eliminate the last Pontic outposts in western Bithynia. Apamea, Prusa and Nicaea soon fell to Triarus and Barba, forcing Mithridates to abandon his position at Nicomedia. He escaped through the Bosporus, and leaving a garrison behind in the free city of Heraclea, made his way back to Pontus. Lucullus and Cotta met at Nicomedia, where Lucullus decided to launch an immediate invasion of Pontus.

Lucullus in Pontus

The exact chronology of Lucullus's campaign in Pontus is just as uncertain as that of the fighting around the Propontis, but its outline is not. Once he discovered that Mithridates had left Nicomedia, Lucullus invaded Pontus and besieged a number of cities, amongst them Heraclea, Amisus, Themiscyra, Sinope and the new Royal city of Eupatoria. Most of these sieges were conducted at a leisurely pace, in an attempt to force Mithridates to fight in the heart of Pontus and not retreat into the mountainous interior of his empire or to join his son-in-law Tigranes in Armenia.

Mithridates gathered together a new army around Cabira (or Cabeira), in the valley of Lycus river, which runs from east to west, parallel to the Black Sea coast, flowing past Cabira to Eupatoria. The general assumption is that Lucullus must have captured Eupatoria before advancing towards Cabira, although Memnon places its fall after the fighting around Cabira. At least one alternative route into the Lycus valley does exist, through the mountains to the south, and Appian describes Lucullus as crossing mountains to reach Cabira.

In the summer of 72 or 71 B.C. Lucullus advanced into the Lycus valley. According to Appian and Plutarch Mithridates had raised an army of 40,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry. Lucullus began his campaign by advancing into the plains around the river, where he suffered a defeat in a cavalry battle. The Romans then took up a position in the hills, receiving their supplies from Cappadocia to the south. The decisive fighting came during an attack on one of these grain convoys. Mithridates's men caught and attacked the Romans in a narrow defile, where their cavalry was useless. The resulting fight ended with the destruction of most of the Pontic force.

When this news reached Mithridates he decided to withdraw from his position at Cabira. According to Appian and Plutarch after Mithridates told his servants of his plans, they attempted to send their own baggage away. The army had not yet been told of the move, and panicked. In the resulting chaos the Pontic camp was destroyed, and all discipline was lost. Mithridates himself was swept away in the chaos, and only escaped from the Romans when the nearest troops were distracted by a mule carrying part of the Royal treasure. While the Romans were looting his camp, Mithridates escaped across the border into Armenia to seek refuge with Tigranes.

Lucullus sent Appius Claudius into Armenia, to ask Tigranes to hand over Mithridates, and then concentrated on finishing the various sieges still going on in Pontus. This process, and the organisation of Pontus into a new province, took him to the end of 70 B.C., by which time Appius had returned, having botched his mission to Armenia. After conspiring with some of Tigranes's vassals, he ordered Tigranes to hand over his father-in-law, or face war with Rome. Hardly surprisingly Tigranes refused to give in to this threat, and at about this time finally agreed to meet Tigranes, who had been kept isolated in a remote fortress for a year and a half.

Very little firm evidence exists for the dates of these events. By pure chance a section from the Collection of Chronicles and Lists of Olympian Victors of Phlegon of Tralles survives in the Bibliotheca of Photius, a series of short reviews of works of ancient authors. Photius read as far as the 177th Olympiad (72-69 B.C.), which happens to include part of Lucullus's campaign. From this source we learn that in the first year of the Olympiad Lucullus was besieging Amisus, but left Murena with two legions to continue the siege, while he advanced into the territory of the Cabiri, where he went into winter quarters. He also ordered Hardian to make war against Mithridates, who was defeated. We also learn of a battle between Lucullus on one side and Mithridates and Tigranes on the other, in the fourth year of the Olympiad (69 B.C.), probably the battle of Tigranocerta. However it is also possible that this refers to the battle on the river Arsania, in the following year, at which Mithridates was actually present.

Even this fragment has been interpreted in a number of different ways. It can be used to date the start of the siege of Amisus to 73 or 72 B.C., and the fighting at Cabira to 72 or 71 B.C., depending on whether Lucullus went into winter quarters before or after defeating Mithridates.

Appian and Plutarch both suggest that Lucullus moved into Pontus soon after the end of the campaign around the Propontis, which would place the start of the sieges in Pontus early in 72 B.C. The campaign around Cabira would then take place in the following summer (72 B.C.), as to place it in 71 B.C. would suggest eighteen months of inaction by both sides. If Lucullus then went into winter quarters at Cabira, then most of the sieges in Pontus would have ended in 71 B.C., during the next campaigning season. Lucullus then spent some time reorganising the Roman province of Asia, possibly during 70 B.C., before turning back to invade Armenia in 69 B.C. Mithridates's twenty months of isolation in Armenia would last from late in 72 B.C., after his defeat at Cabira, to the middle of 70 B.C., after Appius Claudius's visit to Tigranes's court.

Lucullus in Armenia

There is a general consensus that Lucullus's invasion of Armenia took place in 69 B.C. It almost certainly lacked any legal authority from the Senate, and brought the Roman Republic into contact with Armenia and Parthia for the first time. In 68 B.C. he was accused of 'making one war out of another', while Cicero in 66 B.C. described the invasion as affecting tribes that 'the Roman People had never thought to provoke or try out in war'. Lucullus's justification for the invasion was that the war in Pontus would not truly be over until Mithridates was either dead or in Roman hands.

Lucullus invaded Armenia with what he believed were his best troops, probably 12,000 legionaries and 4,000 cavalry and light troops, the equivalent of three legions. His first target was Tigranocerta, Tigranes's new capital city, built somewhere on the borders of southern Armenia (the exact location is still unknown) and his recent conquests in Mesopotamia, and populated by several hundred thousand people taken from their original homes.

Lucullus was able to get quite some way into Armenia before anyone plucked up the courage to tell Tigranes about the invasion. Tigranes responded by throwing a small garrison into the city, and then pulling back to assemble his main army. Although Lucullus didn't have enough men to properly siege Tigranocerta, he began a blockade and waited for Tigranes to return. Mithridates, who had been on the verge of invading Pontus, urged Tigranes to avoid a set-piece battle, but seeing the small size of the Roman army ('too small for an army, too large for an embassy), Tigranes turned down this advice. The battle of Tigranocerta was the only formal set-piece land battle during Lucullus's career, and ended in a crushing Roman victory. Tigranes, with the remnants of his army, was forced to retreat north to join Mithridates.

Lucullus was now faced with a real problem. The victory at Tigranocerta had destroyed much of Tigranes's power in the south of his kingdom, but had not helped end the war. After spending the winter of 69-68 B.C. in the south of Armenia, Lucullus attempted to capture the Armenian capital of Artaxata, to the north east of Mt. Ararat. This campaign would end in failure. Lucullus was a strict disciplinarian, and he was beginning to lose the support of his troops. He was also on the verge of losing command of the war, for Marcius Rex, the consul of 68 B.C., was given Cilicia as his proconsular province, meaning that he would take up his authority there in 67 B.C. He had already lost the province of Asia, which was now some way distant from his area of operation, but for the moment still retained command of the war in the east.

The advance on Artaxata was intended to provoke a final major battle. Plutarch describes one major battle, on the River Arsania, in which Lucullus defeated an Armenian army that had been raised by Mithridates and organised in the Roman style, but in the aftermath of this battle the weather broke, and Lucullus's troops refused to advance any further into the mountains. Lucullus was forced to turn south, where he besieged and captured the city of Nisibis, and went into winter quarters.

The war now turned dramatically against Lucullus. While he was moving south to Nisibis, Mithridates moved west into Lesser Armenia at the head of a force of 4,000 Armenians and 4,000 Pontic troops. The legate Fabius, who had been left with two weak legions to defend Pontus, was defeated in two battles, the second of which only ended with Mithridates was wounded. Fabius was then besieged in Cabira, before reinforcements under Triarius temporarily restored the situation.

The news of this setback also temporarily restored the discipline in Lucullus's army, which had been refusing to obey orders. They now agreed to return to Pontus. Mithridates, who realised that he had to defeat Triarius and Fabius before Lucullus arrived, managed to provoke a battle at Zela (67 B.C.). This ended in his most impressive victory over a genuinely Roman army, but it only won him one more year in power in Pontus.

Before news of the defeat at Zela had reached Rome, the consul for 67 B.C. Acilius Glabro had been appointed to replace Lucullus in the east. Both he and Marcius Rex, the new governor of Cilicia, had now reached Asia, and Lucullus's army refused to obey his commands. Lucullus was forced to retreat into Galatia, where the army waited in vain for Glabrio, who when he discovered the true state of affairs refused to advance any further east than Bithynia. In the absence of any military opposition, Mithridates was able to recover control of all of Pontus.


By a lucky coincidence the Romans had another successful general at large in the eastern Mediterranean as the crisis developed. At the start of 67 B.C. Pompey had been given proconsular powers to operate against piracy throughout the Mediterranean, with authority equal to that of a proconsul anywhere within 50 Roman miles of the coast. With impressive efficiency Pompey swept the organised pirates from the seas in a three month long campaign during the summer of 67 B.C. By the end of 67 B.C. he was at something of a lose end, and was on the verge of going to war with a Roman rival on Crete.

This was avoided early in 66 B.C. when the tribune C. Manilius passed a law that gave Pompey command of the war in the east. He was given substantially the same powers as Lucullus had enjoyed, but was also given the authority to make peace and war and form alliances without consulting the senate.

Pompey was able to call on the three legions under Marcius Rex in Cilicia, and a similar number of men in Lucullus's army. By the end of his period of command in 62 B.C. his army had probably grown from six legions to a maximum size of nine or ten.

Lucullus did not leave his army quietly, but Pompey quickly overcame his objections. His first moves were diplomatic. King Phraates of Parthia agreed to ally with the Romans and invaded Armenia, carrying out an unsuccessful siege of Artaxata which at least prevented Tigranes from helping Mithridates. Pompey then opened peace negotiations with Mithridates. His terms included a formal submission to Pompey's authority and the surrender of a large number of Roman deserters who were now fighting on the Pontic side. Mithridates turned down these terms, and prepared to fight.

The final campaign between Mithridates and the Romans took place in the upper Lycus valley in Lesser Armenia. Mithridates took up a position at the fortress of Dasteira, possibly at the site of the city of Nicopolis, founded by Pompey after the fighting. After forty-five days of fighting around Dasteira Mithridates attempted to escape to the east, this time with a little more success than he had enjoyed against Lucullus. That success ended on the third night of the march, when Pompey attacked the Pontic camp, and destroyed Mithridates's last Pontic army, in what is normally referred to as the battle of Nicopolis.

Mithridates was even less welcome in Armenia in 66 B.C. than on his first appearance in 72 B.C., and must have been surprised when Tigranes put a price on his head. Tigranes' hostility was caused by his rebellious son, another Tigranes, who had been conducting the siege of Artaxata on behalf of the Parthians, having fled from his father's court in fear of his life. After that siege ended in failure, the younger Tigranes considered fleeing to Mithridates, before instead going to Pompey. Tigranes learnt of his son's plans, and assumed that Mithridates was about to turn on him.

Mithridates was forced to flee north, finding a safe haven at the port of Dioscurias in Colchis, one part of his kingdom that had not yet fallen to the Romans. He then made his way to the Crimea. Two stories survive of Mithridates's plans once he reached the Crimea. The most realistic was that he planned to restore his power in the Crimea, and attempt to fight off the Romans. His base was at Phanagorea, on the mainland east of the Crimea, and he also garrisoned the ports of Chersonesus, Theodosia and Nymphaion on the Crimea. This plan fell apart when his son Pharnaces overthrew him in 63 B.C. Mithridates was killed by a Celtic warrior, probably at his own demand. The second story, which developed later and was used by Pompey's enemies, was that Mithridates was planning to invade Italy via the Danube and the Alpine passes, with the help of an anonymous mass of Celts.

Pompey was later criticised in Rome for not pursuing Mithridates. Leaving a naval force to blockade those Black Sea ports where he might find support, Pompey instead invaded Armenia. This time Tigranes was not willing to resist, and as Pompey approached Artaxata the Armenian king surrendered. In the aftermath of this bloodless victory Pompey dismembered Tigranes's empire. Tigranes was left with the lands he had originally inherited, but all of his conquests were taken from him. Tigranes was later officially recognised as a 'friend and ally of the Roman people'.

After dealing with Tigranes, Pompey turned north, entering the area between the Armenian mountains and the Caucasus ranges (modern Georgia), occupied by the Iberian and Albanian tribes. This was one of the areas taken from Tigranes, and now Pompey was determined to impose his authority on them (he may also have been attempting to follow Mithridates, but this seems unlikely).

The Albanians were defeated in a battle on their borders during the winter of 66/5 B.C., then in the spring of 65 B.C. Pompey defeated the Iberians, before marching down the Phasis valley to the Black Sea coast. He then returned to Armenia, before invading the Albanian heartland, winning another battle and reaching within three days march of the Caspian Sea. This effectively ended Pompey's military career in the east. He spent most of 64 B.C. organising Pontus, including a long period counting Mithridates's famous treasure (36,000 talents of gold and silver), then towards the end of the year entered Syria, where he remained until news of Mithridates's death reached him in 63 B.C. Pompey was free to return to Rome, where in 61 B.C. he celebrated his triumph.


The Third Mithridatic War ended with one of the largest expansion of the territory of the Roman republic. Pompey's brief intervention in Armenia gained the Republic northern Syria and a coastal strip of former Seleucid territory. Lucullus and Pompey between them had gained Pontus as a province, and Bithynia was now secure.

The last remnants of the Seleucid Empire had now been absorbed, leaving Egypt as the only survivor of the great Hellenistic successor states to Alexander the Great. The Roman Empire had almost reached its greatest extent in the east.

The Third Mithridatic War: The Roman Republic

The Third Mithridatic war (75-63 B.C.) was the last and longest of a series of conflicts involving the Roman Republic and other regional powers. The long fought war eventually led to a total victory for the Republic, with the Pontic Kingdom who was the belligerent in the previous wars, coming to an end. The Third war was triggered by the death of the ruler of Nicomedes IV, the King of Bithynia.
The Kingdom of Bithynia was to be bequeathed to the Republic, which was stated by Nicomedes IV a short time before his death. However, Mithridates VI of Pontus was not about to let the Republic absorb more land and power. Mithridates began his war preparations in 74 into the winter of 73 B.C. with the mass productions of his naval fleets, and bolstering.

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The Battle

Lucullus's supply lines now came north from Cappadocia, a Roman ally to the south of Pontus. A heavily armed supply convoy, escorted by no less than ten cohorts of infantry, under the command of the legate Sornatius was attacked by the Pontic cavalry. The Romans held off the attack inflicting terrible losses on the Pontic horsemen. When a second supply convoy, also heavily armed, under the command of Marcus Fabius Hadrianus made for Lucullus's camp Mithridates decided to use a combined arms (infantry and cavalry) force. Some 4,000 cavalry and infantry fell upon the convoy unfortunately, the Romans realized the narrow valley at the scene limited the effectiveness of their opponents' cavalry, so they counter-attacked and wiped out half the attacking force. [7]

Mithridates sought to conceal the extent of the disaster from his army. Unfortunately for the Pontic king, Hadrianus marched by his camp in full battle array, complete with the spoils of his victory. The king's reputation must have suffered from being caught in this deception. The Pontic army was unsettled and there was talk about a retreat being in order. [8]

This is when Mithridates decided to cut his losses and flee. The disorder caused by Mithridates's preparations to depart the area led to the complete disintegration of his army. Lucullus saw what was happening and ordered his army to fall on the fleeing forces. The Romans reached the camp, slew everyone who had remained there, and started looting. [9]

DG07 Rhyndacus River (73 BC)

Historical Background
The battle of the Rhyndacis of 73 B.C. was the first of a series of disasters that befell the army of Mithridates VI of Pontus when it attempted to retreat from the siege of Cyzicus.
Mithridates sent is cavalry force (along with wounded infantry) towards Bithynia (while the bulk of his army would withdraw by sea) as they where of little use in siege warfare and weakened due to lack of supplies.
Lucullus gave chase with ten cohorts of infantry and his cavalry (Plutarch), and overtook Mithridates's troops. While they were crossing the River Rhyndacus Lucullus attacked the force.
According to Appian and Plutarch the Romans captured 15,000 men and 6,000 horses in the fighting.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. The rest is history.

Background: The Romans in Judea

The Jewish Province of Judea (later Palestine) first came under Roman Imperialism during the Third Mithridatic War (74-64 B.C.) by Gnaeus Pompey. However, it was not until the 6th century that Judea became an official province of Rome and placed under the authority of Roman Procurators. These Roman authorities were appointed the responsibility for maintaining peace as well as collecting taxes. However, the collection system allowed the Procurators to keep any amount exceeding the tax quota, leading to corrupt means of extracting money from local citizens including individual tax orders and in some cases outright looting and theft.

In addition, Roman authorities declared control over the appointment of the High Priest amongst Jewish society in order to secure individuals willing to cooperate with tax collectors. Other instances of disagreement include Emperor Caligula's declaration of divinity, in which the Emperor ordered that his statue be placed and worshiped in Jewish temples throughout the Empire.

Third Mithridatic War, 74-63 B.C. - History

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Nyssa || Machares || Friend

Write something on Mithridates's wall

Nyssa : Dude. You are SO lame! Get off rome buddy dad! (°___°)

Soldier : Hey man, thanks for leading the army today. We're sure to defeat them soon!

Mithridates is conquering. 2 hours ago

Pompey : I'm calling you out!! Defeat me in battle if you can Mithridates! >:(

Friend : Long time no see! Whats up? How's the poison immunity going?

Mithridates wrote a Note :
My Story: The Third Mithridatic War

The Third Mithridatic War was my last war, and also one of my most exciting. In about 75 or 74 B.C., Nicomedes III of Bithynia, who I had assumed was my friend, died and willed his kingdom to Rome. Believing that his will had been made up by the dreadful Romans, I invaded Rome and set up a puppet-ruler.Of course Rome was not too pleased with my actions and thus the war began.

Rome was engaged in many other wars at the time however, I learned that this did not weaken their attack on Pontus nor any of my other lands. Rome sent Lucius Licinius Lucullus to deal with me along with Marus Aurelius Cotta. Luckily, my son-in-law Tigranes ruled Armenia, where I later fled after being attacked by Lucullus in 73 B.C. in Pontus. Tigranes refused to join fighting with me, but he did offer to provide me with shelter as well as Armenian troops. Over time, Lucullus discovered my hideout and ordered Armenia to surrender myself and my troops. When Tigranes refused his order, Lucullus attacked Armenia.

While all this fighting in Armenia was occuring, I invaded my own country. During this time, which was around 66 B.C., Pompey "The Great" entered the whole debacle, and attacked Pontus. After this, I fled to Armenia sadly facing my defeat. From there, I moved on and ended up in my land north of the Black Sea. In this place, my son Machares, was governing. At this time, around 65 B.C., Machares was friends with Rome, so he too was unwilling to fight with me. After this occassion, any news I received was disheartening, so I attempted suicide with poison. This attempt failed, for I had built up an immunity to poison years ago. As a result, I asked a soldier, who too was my friend, to kill me.

Mithridates just took the What is my personality?"

You are a powerful and determined person. Both confident and self assured, you are not easily intimidated. You can easily master any and all skills. You enjoy planning out your life as you want it, and you are ready to knock down all obstacles/people that keep you from getting what you want. Your enthusiasm lasts for short periods of time, and your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start. You are an original person.

Someone wrote a poem about me!!

There was a king reigned in the East:
There, when kings will sit to feast,
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all the springs to birth
From the many-venomed earth
First a little, thence to more,
He sampled all her killing store
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white’s their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt.
--I tell the tale that I heard told.
Mithridates, he died old


Mithridates is the Greek attestation of the Persian name Mihrdāt, meaning "given by Mithra", the name of the ancient Iranian sun god. [5] The name itself is derived from Old Iranian Miθra-dāta-. [6]

Mithridates Eupator Dionysus (Greek: Μιθραδάτης Εὐπάτωρ Δῐόνῡσος ) was a prince of Persian and Greek ancestry. He claimed descent from Cyrus the Great, the family of Darius the Great, the Regent Antipater, the generals of Alexander the Great as well as the later kings Antigonus I Monophthalmus and Seleucus I Nicator. [7]

Mithridates was born in the Pontic city of Sinope, [8] and was raised in the Kingdom of Pontus. He was the first son among the children born to Laodice VI and Mithridates V of Pontus (reigned 150–120 BC). His father, Mithridates V, was a prince and the son of the former Pontic monarchs Pharnaces I of Pontus and his wife-cousin Nysa. His mother, Laodice VI, was a Seleucid princess and the daughter of the Seleucid monarchs Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his wife-sister Laodice IV. [ citation needed ]

Mithridates V was assassinated in about 120 BC in Sinope, poisoned by unknown persons at a lavish banquet which he held. [9] He left the kingdom to the joint rule of Mithridates' mother, Laodice VI, Mithridates, and his younger brother, Mithridates Chrestus. Neither Mithridates nor his younger brother were of age, and their mother retained all power as regent for the time being. [10] Laodice VI's regency over Pontus was from 120 BC to 116 BC (even perhaps up to 113 BC) and favored Mithridates Chrestus over Mithridates. During his mother's regency, he escaped from his mother's plots against him, and went into hiding. [ citation needed ]

Mithridates emerged from hiding, returning to Pontus between 116 BC and 113 BC and was hailed as king. By this time he had grown to become a man of considerable stature and physical strength. [11] He could combine extraordinary energy and determination with a considerable talent for politics, organization and strategy. [11] Mithridates removed his mother and brother from the throne, imprisoning both, becoming the sole ruler of Pontus. [12] Laodice VI died in prison, ostensibly of natural causes. Mithridates Chrestus may have died in prison also, or may have been tried for treason and executed. [12] Mithridates gave both royal funerals. [13] Mithridates first [ clarification needed ] married his younger sister Laodice, aged 16. [14] His goal was to preserve the purity of their bloodline, solidify his claim to the throne, to co-rule over Pontus, and to ensure the succession to his legitimate children. [ citation needed ]

Mithridates entertained ambitions of making his state the dominant power in the Black Sea and Anatolia. He first subjugated Colchis, a region east of the Black Sea, and prior to 164 BC, an independent kingdom. He then clashed for supremacy on the Pontic steppe with the Scythian King Palacus. The most important centres of Crimea, Tauric Chersonesus and the Bosporan Kingdom readily surrendered their independence in return for Mithridates' promises to protect them against the Scythians, their ancient enemies. [11] After several abortive attempts to invade the Crimea, the Scythians and the allied Rhoxolanoi suffered heavy losses at the hands of the Pontic general Diophantus and accepted Mithridates as their overlord. [ citation needed ]

The young king then turned his attention to Anatolia, where Roman power was on the rise. He contrived to partition Paphlagonia and Galatia with King Nicomedes III of Bithynia. It was probably on the occasion of the Paphlagonian invasion of 108 BC that Mithridates adopted the Bithynian era for use on his coins in honour of the alliance. This calendar era began with the first Bithynian king Zipoites I in 297 BC. It was certainly in use in Pontus by 96 BC at the latest. [15]

Yet it soon became clear to Mithridates that Nicomedes was steering his country into an anti-Pontic alliance with the expanding Roman Republic. When Mithridates fell out with Nicomedes over control of Cappadocia, and defeated him in a series of battles, the latter was constrained to openly enlist the assistance of Rome. The Romans twice interfered in the conflict on behalf of Nicomedes (95–92 BC), leaving Mithridates, should he wish to continue the expansion of his kingdom, with little choice other than to engage in a future Roman-Pontic war. By this time Mithridates had resolved to expel the Romans from Asia. [11]

The next ruler of Bithynia, Nicomedes IV of Bithynia, was a figurehead manipulated by the Romans. Mithridates plotted to overthrow him, but his attempts failed and Nicomedes IV, instigated by his Roman advisors, declared war on Pontus. Rome itself was involved in the Social War, a civil war with its Italian allies. Thus, in all of Roman Asia Province there were only two legions present in Macedonia. These legions combined with Nicomedes IV's army to invade Mithridates' kingdom of Pontus in 89 BC. Mithridates won a decisive victory, scattering the Roman-led forces. His victorious forces were welcomed throughout Anatolia. The following year, 88 BC, Mithridates orchestrated a massacre of Roman and Italian settlers remaining in several Anatolian cities, essentially wiping out the Roman presence in the region. 80,000 people are said to have perished in this massacre. [11] The episode is known as the Asiatic Vespers. [16]

The Kingdom of Pontus comprised a mixed population in its Ionian Greek and Anatolian cities. The royal family moved the capital from Amasia to the Greek city of Sinope. Its rulers tried to fully assimilate the potential of their subjects by showing a Greek face to the Greek world and an Iranian/Anatolian face to the Eastern world. Whenever the gap between the rulers and their Anatolian subjects became greater, they would put emphasis on their Persian origins. In this manner, the royal propaganda claimed heritage both from Persian and Greek rulers, including Cyrus the Great, Darius I of Persia, Alexander the Great and Seleucus I Nicator. [17] Mithridates too posed as the champion of Hellenism, but this was mainly to further his political ambitions it is no proof that he felt a mission to promote its extension within his domains. [11] Whatever his true intentions, the Greek cities (including Athens) defected to the side of Mithridates and welcomed his armies in mainland Greece, while his fleet besieged the Romans at Rhodes. Neighboring King of Armenia Tigranes the Great established an alliance with Mithridates and married one of Mithridates’ daughters, Cleopatra of Pontus. They would support each other in the coming conflict with Rome. [18]

The Romans responded by organising a large invasion force to defeat him and remove him from power. The First Mithridatic War, fought between 88 BC and 84 BC, saw Lucius Cornelius Sulla force Mithridates VI out of Greece proper. After victory in several battles, Sulla received news of trouble back in Rome posed by his enemy Gaius Marius and hurriedly concluded peace talks with Mithridates. As Sulla returned to Italy Lucius Licinius Murena was left in charge of Roman forces in Anatolia. The lenient peace treaty, which was never ratified by the Senate, allowed Mithridates VI to restore his forces. Murena attacked Mithridates in 83 BC, provoking the Second Mithridatic War from 83 BC to 81 BC. Mithridates defeated Murena's two green legions at the Battle of Halys in 82 BC before peace was again declared by treaty. [ citation needed ]

When Rome attempted to annex Bithynia (bequested to Rome by its last king) nearly a decade later, Mithridates VI attacked with an even larger army, leading to the Third Mithridatic War from 73 BC to 63 BC. Lucullus was sent against Mithridates and the Romans routed the Pontic forces at the Battle of Cabira in 72 BC, driving Mithridates to exile into King Tigranes' Armenia. While Lucullus was preoccupied fighting the Armenians, Mithridates surged back to retake his kingdom of Pontus by crushing four Roman legions under Valerius Triarius and killing 7,000 Roman soldiers at the Battle of Zela in 67 BC. He was routed by Pompey's legions at the Battle of the Lycus in 66 BC. After this defeat, Mithridates VI fled with a small army to Colchis (modern Georgia) and then over the Caucasus Mountains to Crimea and made plans to raise yet another army to take on the Romans. His eldest living son, Machares, viceroy of Cimmerian Bosporus, was unwilling to aid his father. Mithridates had Machares killed, and Mithridates took the throne of the Bosporan Kingdom. Mithridates then ordered conscription and preparations for war. In 63 BC, Pharnaces II of Pontus, one of his sons, led a rebellion against his father, joined by Roman exiles in the core of Mithridates' Pontic army. Mithridates withdrew to the citadel in Panticapaeum, where he committed suicide. Pompey buried Mithridates in the rock-cut tombs of his ancestors in Amasia, the old capital of Pontus. [ citation needed ]

During the time of the First Mithridatic War, a group of Mithridates' friends plotted to kill him. These were Mynnio and Philotimus of Smyrna, and Cleisthenes and Asclepiodotus of Lesbos. Asclepiodotus changed his mind and became an informant. He arranged to have Mithridates hide under a couch to hear the plot against him. The other conspirators were tortured and executed. Mithridates also killed all of the plotters' families and friends. [19]

Where his ancestors pursued philhellenism as a means of attaining respectability and prestige among the Hellenistic kingdoms, Mithridates VI made use of Hellenism as a political tool. [11] Greeks, Romans and Asians were welcome at his court. [11] As protector of Greek cities on the Black Sea and in Asia against barbarism, Mithridates VI logically became protector of Greece and Greek culture, and used this stance in his clashes with Rome. [20] Strabo mentions that Chersonesus buckled under the pressure of the barbarians and asked Mithridates VI to become its protector (7.4.3. c.308). The most impressive symbol of Mithridates VI's approbation with Greece (Athens in particular) appears at Delos: a heroon dedicated to the Pontic king in 102/1 by the Athenian Helianax, a priest of Poseidon Aisios. [21] A dedication at Delos, by Dicaeus, a priest of Sarapis, was made in 94/93 BC on behalf of the Athenians, Romans, and "King Mithridates Eupator Dionysus". [22] Greek styles mixed with Persian elements also abound on official Pontic coins – Perseus was favored as an intermediary between both worlds, East and West. [23]

Certainly influenced by Alexander the Great, Mithridates VI extended his propaganda from "defender" of Greece to the "great liberator" of the Greek world as war with the Roman Republic became inevitable. The Romans were easily translated into "barbarians", in the same sense as the Persian Empire during the war with Persia in the first half of the 5th century BC and during Alexander's campaign. How many Greeks genuinely bought into this claim will never be known. It served its purpose at least partially because of it, Mithridates VI was able to fight the First War with Rome on Greek soil, and maintain the allegiance of Greece. [24] His campaign for the allegiance of the Greeks was aided in no small part by his enemy Sulla, who allowed his troops to sack the city of Delphi and plunder many of the city's most famous treasures to help finance his military expenses. [ citation needed ]

After Pompey defeated him in Pontus, Mithridates VI fled to the lands north of the Black Sea in the winter of 66 BC in the hope that he could raise a new army and carry on the war through invading Italy by way of the Danube. [11] His preparations proved to be too harsh on the local nobles and populace, and they rebelled against his rule. He reportedly attempted suicide by poison. This attempt failed because of his immunity to the poison. [25] According to Appian's Roman History, he then requested his Gallic bodyguard and friend, Bituitus, to kill him by the sword:

Mithridates then took out some poison that he always carried next to his sword, and mixed it. There two of his daughters, who were still girls growing up together, named Mithridates and Nysa, who had been betrothed to the kings of [Ptolemaic] Egypt and of Cyprus, asked him to let them have some of the poison first, and insisted strenuously and prevented him from drinking it until they had taken some and swallowed it. The drug took effect on them at once but upon Mithridates, although he walked around rapidly to hasten its action, it had no effect, because he had accustomed himself to other drugs by continually trying them as a means of protection against poisoners. These are still called the Mithridatic drugs. Seeing a certain Bituitus there, an officer of the Gauls, he said to him, "I have profited much from your right arm against my enemies. I shall profit from it most of all if you will kill me, and save from the danger of being led in a Roman triumph one who has been an autocrat so many years, and the ruler of so great a kingdom, but who is now unable to die by poison because, like a fool, he has fortified himself against the poison of others. Although I have kept watch and ward against all the poisons that one takes with his food, I have not provided against that domestic poison, always the most dangerous to kings, the treachery of army, children, and friends." Bituitus, thus appealed to, rendered the king the service that he desired. [26]

Cassius Dio's Roman History records a different account:

Mithridates had tried to make away with himself, and after first removing his wives and remaining children by poison, he had swallowed all that was left yet neither by that means nor by the sword was he able to perish by his own hands. For the poison, although deadly, did not prevail over him, since he had inured his constitution to it, taking precautionary antidotes in large doses every day and the force of the sword blow was lessened on account of the weakness of his hand, caused by his age and present misfortunes, and as a result of taking the poison, whatever it was. When, therefore, he failed to take his life through his own efforts and seemed to linger beyond the proper time, those whom he had sent against his son fell upon him and hastened his end with their swords and spears. Thus Mithridates, who had experienced the most varied and remarkable fortune, had not even an ordinary end to his life. For he desired to die, albeit unwillingly, and though eager to kill himself was unable to do so but partly by poison and partly by the sword he was at once self-slain and murdered by his foes. [27]

At the behest of Pompey, Mithridates' body was later buried alongside his ancestors (in either Sinope or Amaseia). [28] Mount Mithridat in the central Kerch and the town of Yevpatoria in Crimea commemorate his name. [ citation needed ]

In his youth, after the assassination of his father Mithridates V in 120 BC, Mithridates is said to have lived in the wilderness for seven years, inuring himself to hardship. While there, and after his accession, he cultivated an immunity to poisons by regularly ingesting sub-lethal doses of the same poison that killed his father Mithridates V. [29] He invented a complex "universal antidote" against poisoning several versions are described in the literature. Aulus Cornelius Celsus gives one in his De Medicina and names it Antidotum Mithridaticum, whence English mithridate. [30] Pliny the Elder's version comprised 54 ingredients to be placed in a flask and matured for at least two months. After Mithridates' death in 63 BC, many imperial Roman physicians claimed to possess and improve on the original formula, which they touted as Mithradatium. In keeping with most medical practices of his era, Mithridates' anti-poison routines included a religious component they were supervised by the Agari, a group of Scythian shamans who never left him. Mithridates was reportedly guarded in his sleep by a horse, a bull, and a stag, which would whinny, bellow, and bleat whenever anyone approached the royal bed. [31]

In Pliny the Elder's account of famous polyglots, Mithridates could speak the languages of all the twenty-two nations he governed. [32] This reputation led to the use of Mithridates' name as title in some later works on comparative linguistics, such as Conrad Gessner's Mithridates de differentiis linguarum (1555), and Adelung and Vater's Mithridates oder allgemeine Sprachenkunde (1806–1817). [33]

Mithridates VI had wives and mistresses, by whom he had several children. The names he gave his children are a representation of his Persian and Greek heritage and ancestry. [ citation needed ]

His first wife was his sister Laodice. They were married from 115/113 BC until about 90 BC. They had several children. Their sons were Mithridates, Arcathius, Machares and Pharnaces II of Pontus. Their daughters were Cleopatra of Pontus (sometimes called Cleopatra the Elder to distinguish her from her sister of the same name) and Drypetina (a diminutive form of "Drypetis"). Drypetina was Mithridates VI's most devoted daughter. Her baby teeth never fell out, so she had a double set of teeth. [16]

His second wife was a Greek Macedonian Noblewoman, Monime. They were married from about 89/88 BC until 72/71 BC and had a daughter, Athenais, who married King Ariobarzanes II of Cappadocia. His next two wives were also Greek: he was married to his third wife Berenice of Chios, from 86–72/71 BC, and to his fourth wife Stratonice of Pontus, from sometime after 86 to 63 BC. Stratonice bore Mithridates a son Xiphares. His fifth wife is unknown. His sixth wife Hypsicratea, famed for her loyalty and prowess in battle, was Caucasian, and they were married from an unknown date to 63 BC. [ citation needed ]

One of his mistresses was the Galatian Celtic Princess Adobogiona the Elder. By Adobogiona, Mithridates had two children: a son called Mithridates I of the Bosporus and a daughter called Adobogiona the Younger. [ citation needed ]

His sons born from his concubines were Cyrus, Xerxes, Darius, Ariarathes IX of Cappadocia, Artaphernes, Oxathres, Phoenix (Mithridates’ son by a mistress of Syrian descent), and Exipodras, named after kings of the Persian Empire, which he claimed ancestry from. His daughters born from his concubines were Nysa, Eupatra, Cleopatra the Younger, Mithridatis and Orsabaris. Nysa and Mithridatis, were engaged to the Egyptian Greek Pharaohs Ptolemy XII Auletes and his brother Ptolemy of Cyprus. [ citation needed ]

In 63 BC, when the Kingdom of Pontus was annexed by the Roman general Pompey, the remaining sisters, wives, mistresses, and children of Mithridates VI in Pontus were put to death. Plutarch, writing in his Lives (Pompey, v.45), states that Mithridates' sister and five of his children took part in Pompey's triumphal procession on his return to Rome in 61 BC. [ citation needed ]

The Cappadocian Greek nobleman and high priest of the temple-state of Comana, Cappadocia, Archelaus was descended from Mithridates VI. [34] He claimed to be a son of Mithridates VI [35] but the chronology suggests that Archelaus may actually have been a maternal grandson of the Pontic king, and the son of Mithridates VI's favorite general, who may have married one of the daughters of Mithridates VI. [36]

  • The demise of Mithridates VI is detailed in the 1673 play Mithridate written by Jean Racine. This play is the basis for several 18th century operas including one of Mozart's earliest, known most commonly by its Italian name, Mitridate, re di Ponto (1770).
  • Mithridates is the subject of the opera Mitridate Eupatore (1707) by Alessandro Scarlatti. included his "Mithridates" in his 1847 Poems. 's novel The Count of Monte Cristo refers to the potential of a mithridate as an instrument both of defense and offence. , amidst casting about for poetic themes in The Prelude (Bk i vv 186 ff):

Sometimes, more sternly moved, I would relate
How vanquished Mithridates northward passed,
And, hidden in the cloud of years, became
Odin, the Father of a race by whom

Perished the Roman Empire.

    alludes to Mithridates' immunity to poison in his love poem Though I Thy Mithridates Were.
  • The poet A. E. Housman alludes to Mithridates' antidote in the final stanza of "Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff" in A Shropshire Lad:

There was a king reigned in the East:
There, when kings will sit to feast,
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all that springs to birth
From the many-venomed earth
First a little, thence to more,
He sampled all her killing store
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white’s their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt.
–I tell the tale that I heard told.

Mithridates, he died old.

There are Accounts Still Living

Alexandria , while holding the greatest store of the world's knowledge, did not hold all its copies.

There were too many civilizations at the time to fail to store our history.

Whether or not Alexandria lost a significant portion of what we could perceive as a historical record of alien contact , we still have other sources to pull from.

1. Plutarch

Plutarch was a Greek historian and biographer who lived between 46 and 120 AD.

He later became a Roman citizen, adopting the name Lucius Metrius Plutarchus. While his duties in his life varied, his most notable works involved the detailing of various Roman Emperors.

These Roman figures lived long before his time, but his works are regarded by historians as reliable historical sources.

Most of Plutarch's works have been lost to time. Those that have survived to this day are in the majority only fragments of his work, and only a few are complete.

However, there's important information to be derived from the work that we do still have from him.

One of the biographies Plutarch worked on was centered around a man named Lucullus .

He was a politician who served both in the government and in the military.

What's important here is not the man himself, but rather an event that occurred that Plutarch recorded in the biography.

The story goes that Lucullus was leading an army against Mithridates , the king of Pontus. This had been a long ongoing conflict between the Romans and Mithridates, with Lucullus facing him in the Third Mithridatic War.

The event in question took place before a battle with Mithridates, before the conflict began.

The account of the extraterrestrial strikes many similar beat to modern recounts.

As Lucullus marched to battle, the sky evidently opened up to welcome the coming object.

It was described as,

"[appearing] a rapidly descending object resembling a flame, which appeared like a vase in shape and like a glowing annealed metal in color."

This description is taken directly from Plutarch's biography of Lucullus.

It needs to be noted that Plutarch lived long after any of these Romans lived. However, he also lived long after the initial burning of the Library of Alexandria.

Plutarch was renowned for his research, including quotations and sources in each of the Lives he wrote.

Essentially, since he learned of this alien event that Lucullus experienced, it's probable that other documentation of similar events lived as well.

2. Alexander the Great

There's no better source than the man who founded Alexandria himself.

Alexander the Great is regarded as one of humanity's greatest military leaders. According to historical records, Alexander was recorded to have experienced similar phenomena that could easily be described as extraterrestrial.

The modern take on the tale has been established by Frank Edwards , written in 1959.

while Alexander the Great was leading a siege on Tyre, he received assistance by "great silver shields" in the sky.

The extent of the UFO's description ends there, beyond there being three of them flying in a triangle formation.

The UFO's then, allegedly, fired a beam into Tyre's walls, destroying them and allowing Alexander's army entrance into the city.

These shields have reappeared in other campaigns that Alexander lead as well.

While in combat against the Indian army, these same shields were reported to have appeared above the river they were fighting over.

Their swooping down startled the steeds of both armies, and after Alexander the Great won the battle he decided against pressing on into Indian territory.

However, there are issues to be taken into account with this account of an extraterrestrial presence.

While the myth of aliens assisting Alexander in his conquest has gained popularity, the extent of its validity goes no further than Edwards.

He did not cite any sources when writing about the experience, and the histories chronicling Alexander's exploits have been lost.

While there's a chance that there are histories detailing alien presences in Alexander the Great's campaigns, as of now there are no reputable sources to reliably agree on these events occurring.

If Frank Edwards secretly had documents detailing these stories, they were never released.

Whether or not the truth behind aliens aiding Alexander the Great would likely have been found in the Library of Alexandria.

3. Titus Livius Patavinus

Titus Livius Patavinus, colloquially known as Livy , is another well known Roman historian.

While he also lived post-Alexandria burning, any Roman documents are regarded as historically significant due to their extensive practices for reliable documentation.

Livy himself is well-regarded, earning him more than a grain of salt when it comes to his historical recounting. Livy's books of History, of which he wrote many, accounted for much of the established Roman history recorded.

However, the passage we're interested in regards an account of "phantom ships" in the sky. While the record itself appears to be vague, the meteorological event itself is significant.

Could this have been an accounting of visiting extraterrestrials?

There's no certainty, and experts in UFO research contemplate that this experience was more figurative than literal. However, the description itself seems oddly geared toward a specific physical description, not unlike what we've heard in our modern day.

It's even within the realms of similarity with Plutarch's own description.

Regardless, the excerpt describes an event taking place in 218 B.C., well within the time frame of Alexandria's existence.

Surviving accounts, kept by successors to historical knowledge, maintain unexplained phenomena linked to what may be extraterrestrial intervention prior to Alexandria's burning.

There's no telling what other bodies of work written with the same intent may have been lost in the fire.

Appian, Mithridatic Wars Horace White, Ed.

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THE Greeks think that the Thracians who marched to the Trojan war with Rhesus, who was killed by Diomedes in the night-time in the manner described in Homer's poems, 1 fled to the outlet of the Euxine sea at the place where the crossing to Thrace is shortest. Some say that as they found no ships they remained there and possessed themselves of the country called Bebrycia. Others say that they crossed over to the country beyond Byzantium called Thracian Bithynia and settled along the river Bithya, but were forced by hunger to return to Bebrycia, to which they gave the name of Bithynia from the river where they had previously dwelt or perhaps the name was changed by them insensibly with the lapse of time, as there is not much difference between Bithynia and Bebrycia. So some think. Others say that their first ruler was Bithys, the son of Zeus and Thrace, and that the two countries received their names from them.

Y.R. 600
B.C. 154
Y.R. 606
B.C. 148

[ 5 ] In the morning Nicomedes came out of the ship clad in the royal purple and wearing a diadem on his head. Andronicus met him, saluted him as king, and formed an escort for him with 500 soldiers that he had with him. Menas, pretending that he had then for the first time learned that Nicomedes was present, rushed to his 2000 men and exclaimed with assumed trepidation, "Since we have two kings, one at home and the other going there, we must look out for our own interests, and form a careful judgment of the future, because our safety lies in foreseeing correctly which of them will be the stronger. One of them is an old man, the other is young. The Bithynians are averse to Prusias they are attached to Nicomedes. The leading Romans are fond of the young man, and Andronicus has already furnished him a guard, showing that Nicomedes is in alliance with Attalus, who rules an extensive dominion alongside the Bithynians and is an old enemy of Prusias." In addition to this he expatiated on the cruelty of Prusias and his outrageous conduct toward everybody, and the general hatred in which he was held by the Bithynians on this account. When he saw that the soldiers also abhorred the wickedness of Prusias he led them forthwith to Nicomedes and saluted him as king, just as Andronicus had done before, and formed a guard for him with his 2000 men.

[ 6 ] Attalus received the young man warmly and ordered Prusias to assign certain towns for his occupation, and territory to furnish him supplies. Prusias replied that he would presently give his son the whole kingdom of Attalus, which he had intended for Nicomedes when he invaded Asia 3 before. After giving this answer he made a formal accusation at Rome against Nicomedes and Attalus and cited them to trial. The forces of Attalus at once made an incursion into Bithynia, the inhabitants of which gradually took sides with the invaders. Prusias, trusting nobody and hoping that the Romans would rescue him from the toils of the conspiracy, asked and obtained from his son-in-law, Diegylis, the Thracian, 500 men, and with these alone as a body-guard he took refuge in the citadel of Nictæa. The Roman prætor, in order to favor Attalus, delayed introducing the ambassadors of Prusias to the Senate at Rome. When he did introduce them, the Senate voted that the prætor himself should choose legates and send them to settle the difficulty. He selected three men, one of whom had once been struck on the head with a stone, from which he was badly scarred another was a diseased cripple, and the third was considered almost a fool wherefore Cato made the contemptuous remark concerning this embassy, that it had no understanding, no feet and no head.

Y.R. 148

2 The pilleus is known to the modern world as the "cap of liberty."

3 In Roman nomenclature Asia meant the proconsular province composed of Mysia, Lydia, Caria, and Phrygia.

4 Literally: "If anybody wishes to know it all beforehand."

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