Cassius Dio.

Dio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E online

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Online LibraryCassius DioDio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E → online text (page 4 of 30)
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Lucius Cotta and Lucius Torquatus, he engaged in warfare against both
the Albanians and the Iberians. With the latter of these he was
compelled to become embroiled quite contrary to his plan. The Iberians
dwell on both sides of the Cyrnus, adjoining on the one hand the
Albanians and on the other the Armenians. Arthoces, their king, fearing
that Pompey would direct his steps against him, too, sent envoys to him
on a pretence of peace, but prepared to attack the invader at a time
when, feeling secure, he should be therefore off his guard. Pompey
learning of this betimes was in good season in making an incursion into
the territory of Arthoces, ere the latter had made ready sufficiently or
had occupied the pass on the frontier, which was well nigh impregnable.
He marched on, indeed, to the city called Acropolis,[11] before Arthoces
ascertained that he was at hand. At that moment he was right at the
narrowest point, where the Cyrnus[12] flows on the one side and the
Caucasus extends on the other, and had fortified the mountain in order
to guard the pass. Arthoces, panic-stricken, had no chance to array his
forces, but crossed the river, burning down the bridge; and those within
the wall, in view of his flight and a defeat they had sustained in
battle, surrendered. Pompey made himself master of the thoroughfares,
left a garrison in charge of them, and advancing from that point
subjugated all the territory within the river boundary. [-2-] But when
he was on the point of crossing the Cyrnus also, Arthoces sent to him
requesting peace and promising voluntarily to furnish him control of the
bridge and provisions. Both of these promises the king fulfilled as if
he intended to come to terms, but terrified when he saw his adversary
already across he fled away to the Pelorus, another river that flowed
through his dominions. The man that he might have hindered from crossing
he avoided by running away after drawing him on.

Pompey, seeing this, pursued after, overtook and conquered him. By a
charge he got into close quarters with the enemy's bowmen before they
could show their skill, and in the briefest time routed them. When
things took this turn, Arthoces crossed the Pelorus and fled, burning
the bridge over that stream too: of the rest some were killed in
hand-to-hand fights, and some while fording the river on foot. Many,
also, scattered through the woods, survived for a few days by shooting
from the trees, which were exceedingly tall, but soon the trees were cut
down at the base and they also were destroyed. Under these conditions
Arthoces again sent a herald to Pompey for peace, and forwarded gifts.
These the other accepted, in order that the king in his hope to secure a
truce might not proceed farther in any direction; but he did not agree
to grant peace till the petitioner should first convey to him his
children as hostages. Thus Pompey waited for a time until in the course
of the summer the Pelorus became fordable in places, and then the Romans
crossed over; their passage was especially easy as they met no one to
hinder them. Then Arthoces sent his children to him and finally
concluded a treaty.

[-3-] Pompey, learning directly that the Phasis was not distant, decided
to descend along its course to Colchis and thence to march to the
Bosphorus against Mithridates. He advanced as planned, traversing the
territory of the Colchians and their neighbors, using persuasion in some
quarters and inspiring fear in others. There perceiving that his route
on land led through many unknown and hostile tribes, and that the sea
journey was rather difficult on account of the country's having no
harbors and on account of the people inhabiting the region, he ordered
the fleet to blockade Mithridates so as to watch that the latter did not
set sail in any direction and to cut off his importation of provisions,
while he himself turned his steps against the Albanians. He took what
was not the shortest path, but went inland to Armenia in order that such
action, coupled with the truce, might enable him to find them not
expecting him. And the Cyrnus, too, he crossed at a point where it had
become passable because of summer, ordering the cavalry to cross down
stream with the baggage animals next, and the infantry afterward. The
object was that the horses should break the violence of the current with
their bodies, and if even so any one of the pack animals should be swept
off its feet it might collide with the men going alongside and not be
carried further down. From there he marched to Cambyse without suffering
any injury at the hands of the enemy, but through the influence of the
scorching heat and consequent thirst he in common with, the whole army
experienced hardship in his progress even at night over the greater part
of the road. Their guides, being some of the captives, did not lead them
by the most suitable route, and the river was of no advantage to them;
for the water, of which they drank great quantities, was very cold and
made a number sick.

When no resistance to them developed at this place either, they marched
on to the Abas, carrying supplies of water only; everything else they
received by the free gift of the natives, and for this reason they
committed no depredations.

[-4-] After they had already got across the river, Oroeses was announced
as coming up. Pompey was anxious to lead him into conflict somehow
before he should find out the number of the Romans, for fear that when
he learned it he might retreat. Accordingly he marshaled his cavalry
first, giving them notice beforehand what they should do; and keeping
the rest behind them in a kneeling position and covered with their
shields he made these last remain motionless, so that Oroeses should not
ascertain their presence until he came close up. Thereupon the latter,
in contempt for the cavalry who were alone, as he thought, joined battle
with them, and when after a little they purposely turned to flight,
pursued them at full speed. Then the infantry suddenly rising stood
apart to furnish their own men a safe means of escape through their
midst, but received the enemy, who were heedlessly bent on pursuit, and
surrounded a number of them. So these soldiers cut down those caught
inside the circle; and the cavalry, some of whom went round on the right
and some on the other side of them, assailed in the rear those outside.
Each of these bodies slaughtered many in that place and others who had
fled into the woods they burned to death, and they cried out, "Ha! ha!
the Saturnalia!" with reference to the attack made at that festival by
the Albanians.

[-5-] After accomplishing this and overrunning the country, Pompey
granted peace to the Albanians, and on the arrival of heralds concluded
a truce with some of the other tribes that dwell along the Caucasus as
far as the Caspian Sea, where the mountains, which begin at the Pontus,
come to an end. Phraates likewise sent to him, wishing to renew the
covenants. The sight of Pompey's onward rush and the fact that his
lieutenants were also subjugating the rest of Armenia and that region of
Pontus and that Grabinius had advanced across the Euphrates as far as
the Tigris filled him with fear of them, and he was anxious to confirm
the agreement. He effected nothing, however. Pompey, in view of the
existing conditions and the hopes which they inspired, held him in
contempt and replied scornfully to the ambassadors, among other things
demanding back the territory of Corduene, concerning which Phraates was
having a dispute with Tigranes. When the envoys made no answer, inasmuch
as they had received no instructions on this point, he wrote a few words
to Phraates, but instead of waiting for any answer suddenly despatched
Afranius into the territory, and having occupied it without a battle
gave it to Tigranes.

[B.C. 65]

Afranius, returning through Mesopotamia to Syria, contrary to the
agreement made with the Parthian, wandered from the way and endured much
evil by reason of the winter and lack of supplies. Indeed, he would have
perished, had not Carraeans, colonists of the Macedonians who dwelt
somewhere in that vicinity, supported him and helped him forward.

[-6-] This was the treatment that Pompey[13]out of the fullness of his
power accorded Phraates, thereby indicating very clearly to those
desiring personal profit that everything depends on armed force, and he
who is victorious by its aid wins inevitably the right to lay down what
laws he pleases. Furthermore, he did violence to the title of that
ruler, in which Phraates delighted before all the world and before the
Romans themselves, and by which the latter had always addressed him. For
whereas he was called "king of kings," Pompey clipped off the phrase "of
kings" and wrote "to the king," with merely that direction, in spite of
the fact that he had given this title to the captive Tigranes even
contrary to their custom when he celebrated the triumph over him in
Rome. Phraates, consequently, although he feared and was subservient to
him, was vexed at this, feeling that he had been deprived of the
kingdom; and he sent ambassadors, reproaching him with all the injustice
he had done, and forbade him to cross the Euphrates.

[-7-] As Pompey made no reasonable reply, the other immediately
instituted a campaign in the spring against Tigranes, being accompanied
by the latter's son, to whom he had given his daughter in marriage. This
was in the consulship Of Lucius Caesar and Gaius Figulus.

[B.C. 64 (_a.u._ 690)]

In the first battle Phraates was beaten, but later was victorious in his
turn. And when Tigranes invoked the assistance of Pompey, who was in
Syria, he sent ambassadors to the Roman commander, making many
accusations and throwing out numerous hints against the Romans, so that
Pompey was both ashamed and alarmed. As a result the latter lent no aid
to Tigranes and took no hostile measures against Phraates, giving as an
excuse that no such expedition had been assigned to him and that
Mithridates was still in arms. He declared himself satisfied with what
had been effected and said that he feared in striving for additional
results he might meet with reverses, as had Lucullus.

Such was the trend of his philosophy: he maintained that to make
personal gains was outrageous and to aim at the possessions of others
unjust, as soon as he was no longer able to use them. Through dread of
the forces of the Parthian, therefore, and fear of the unsettled state
of affairs he did not take up this war in spite of many solicitations.
As for the barbarians' complaints, he disparaged them, offering no
counter-argument, but asserting that the dispute which the prince had
with Tigranes concerned some boundaries, and that three men should
decide the case for them. These he actually sent, and they were enrolled
as arbitrators by the two kings, who then settled all their mutual
complaints. For Tigranes was angry at not having obtained assistance,
and Phraates wished the Armenian ruler to survive, so that in case of
need he might some day have him as an ally against the Romans. They both
understood well that whichever of them should conquer the other would
simply help on matters for the Romans and would himself become easier
for them to subdue. For these reasons, then, they were reconciled.

Pompey passed the winter in Aspis, winning over the sections that were
still resisting, and took Symphorion,[14] a fort which Stratonice
betrayed to him. She was the wife of Mithridates, and in anger toward
him because she had been abandoned sent the garrison out pretendedly to
collect supplies and let the Romans in, although her child was with ...
[15] ...

[B.C. 65 (_a.u._ 689)]

[-8-] ... [not (?)] for this alone in his aedileship he (C. Jul. Caesar)
received praise, but because he had also conducted both the Roman and
the Megalesian games on the most expensive scale and had further
arranged contests of gladiators in the most magnificent manner. Of the
sums expended on them a portion was raised by him in conjunction with
his colleague Marcus Bibulus, but another portion by him privately; and
his individual expenditure on the spectacles so much surpassed, that he
appropriated to himself the glory for them, and was thought to have
taken the whole cost on himself. Even Bibulus joked about it saying that
he had suffered the same fate as Pollux: for, although that hero
possessed a temple in common with his brother Castor, it was named only
for the latter.

[-9-] All this contributed to the Romans' joy, but they were quite
disturbed at the portents of that year. On the Capitol many statues were
melted by thunderbolts, among other images one of Jupiter, set upon a
pillar, and a likeness of the she-wolf with Romulus and Remus, mounted
on a pedestal, fell down; also the letters of the tablets on which the
laws were inscribed ran together and became indistinct. Accordingly, on
the advice of the soothsayers, they offered many expiatory sacrifices
and voted that a larger statue of Jupiter should be set up, looking
toward the east and the Forum, in order that the conspiracies by which
they were distraught might dissolve.

Such were the occurrences of that year. The censors also became involved
in a dispute regarding the dwellers beyond the Po: one thought it wise
to admit them to citizenship, and another not; so they did not perform
any of their duties, but resigned their office. Their successors, too,
did nothing in the following year, for the reason that the tribunes
hindered them in regard to the list of the senate, in fear lest they
themselves should be dropped from that assembly. Meantime all those who
were resident aliens in Rome, except those who dwelt in what is now
Italy, were banished on the motion of one Gaius Papius, a tribune,
because they were getting to be in the majority and were not thought fit
persons to dwell among the citizens.

[B.C. 64(_a.u._ 690)]

[-10-] In the ensuing year, with Figulus and Lucius Caesar in office,
notable events were few, but worthy of remembrance in view of the
contradictions in human affairs. For the man[16] who had slain Lucretius
at the instance of Sulla and another[17] who had murdered many of the
persons proscribed by him were tried for the slaughter and
punished, - Julius Caesar being most instrumental in bringing this about.
Thus the changes of affairs often render those once thoroughly powerful
exceedingly weak. But though this matter went contrary to the
expectation of the majority, they were equally surprised that Catiline,
who had incurred guilt on those same grounds (for he, too, had put out
of the way many similar persons), was acquitted. The result was that he
became far worse and for that reason also perished.

[B.C. 63 (_a.u._ 691)]

For, when Marcus Cicero was consul with Gaius Antonius, and Mithridates
no longer inflicted any injury upon the Romans but had destroyed his own
self, Catiline undertook to set up a new government, and by banding
together the allies against the state threw the people into fear of a
mighty conflict. Now each of these occurrences came about as follows.

[-11-] Mithridates himself did not give way under his disasters, but
trusting more in his will than in his power, especially while Pompey was
lingering in Syria, planned to reach the Ister through Scythia, and from
that point to invade Italy. As he was by nature given to great projects
and had experienced many failures and many successes, he regarded
nothing as beyond his ability to venture or to hope. If he missed he
preferred to perish conjointly with his kingdom, with pride unblemished,
rather than to live deprived of it in inglorious humility. On this idea
he grew strong. For in proportion as he wasted away through weakness of
body, the more steadfast did he grow in strength of mind, so that he
even revived the infirmity of the former by the reasonings of the

The rest who were his associates, as the position of the Romans kept
getting always more secure and that of Mithridates weaker, - among other
things the greatest earthquake that had ever occurred destroyed many of
their cities - became estranged; the military also mutinied and unknown
persons kidnapped some of his children, whom they conveyed to Pompey.

[-12-] Thereupon he detected and punished some; others he chastised from
mere suspicion: no one could any longer trust him; of his remaining
children, even, he put to death one of whom he grew suspicious. Seeing
this, one of his sons, Pharnaces, impelled at once by fear of the king
and an expectation that he would get the kingdom from the Romans, being
now of man's estate, plotted against him. He was detected, for many both
openly and secretly meddled constantly with all he was doing; and if the
body-guard had had even the slightest good will toward their aged
sovereign, the conspirator would immediately have met his just deserts.
As it was, Mithridates, who had proved himself most wise in all matters
pertaining to a king, did not recognize the fact that neither arms nor
multitude of subjects are of value to any one, without friendship on the
part of the people; nay, the more dependents a person has (unless he
holds them faithful to him) the greater burden they are to him. At any
rate Pharnaces, followed both by the men he had made ready in advance,
and by those whom his father had sent to arrest him (and these he very
easily made his own) hastened straight on against the father himself.
The old king was in Panticapaeum when he learned this, and sent ahead
some soldiers against his son, saying that he himself would soon follow
them. These also Pharnaces quickly diverted from their purpose, inasmuch
as they did not love Mithridates either, and after receiving the
voluntary submission of the city, put to death his father, who had fled
for refuge into the palace.

[-13-] The latter had tried to make way with himself, and after removing
beforehand by poison his wives and remaining children, he had swallowed
what was left to the last drop. Neither by that means nor by the sword
was he able to induce death with his own hands. For the poison, although
deadly, did not prevail over him, since he had inured his constitution
to it, taking every day precautionary antidotes in large doses: and the
force of the sword blow was lessened on account of the weakness of his
hand, caused by his age and the interference of those around him, and on
account of the effect of the poison, of whatever sort it was. When,
therefore, he failed to pour out 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 swords and spear points.
Mithridates, who had experienced the most varied and tremendous fortune,
found the close of his life equally far from being simple. He desired to
die against his will, and though anxious to kill himself was not able;
but first by poison and then by the sword at once became a suicide and
was slain by his foes.

[-14-] Pharnaces embalmed his body and sent it to Pompey as a proof of
what had been done, and surrendered himself and his dominions. The Roman
showed Mithridates no indignity, on the contrary commanding that he be
buried among the graves of his ancestors; for, feeling that his
hostility had been extinguished with his life, he indulged in no vain
anger against the dead body. The kingdom of Bosporus, however, he
granted to Pharnaces as the wages of his bloody deed, and enrolled him
among his friends and allies.

After the death of Mithridates all portions of his dominions, except a
few, were subjugated. Garrisons which at that date were still holding a
few fortifications outside of Bosporus, did not immediately come to
terms, - not so much because they were minded to resist him as because
they were afraid that some persons might confiscate beforehand the money
which they were guarding and lay the blame upon them: hence they waited,
wishing to exhibit everything to Pompey himself.[-15-] When, then, the
regions in that quarter had been subdued, and Phraates remained quiet,
while Syria and Phoenicia were in a state of calm, the conqueror turned
against Aretas. The latter was king of the Arabians, now slaves to the
Romans as far as the Red Sea. Previously he had done the greatest injury
to Syria and had on this account become involved in a battle with the
Romans who were defending it: he was defeated by them, but nevertheless
continued hostile at that time. Upon him and his neighbors Pompey made a
descent, overcame them without effort, and handed them over to a
garrison. Thence he proceeded against Palestine, in Syria, because its
inhabitants were harming Phoenicia. Their rulers were two brothers,
Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, who[18] were themselves quarreling, as it
chanced, and stirring up the cities concerning the priesthood (for so
they called their kingdom) of their God, whoever he is.

Pompey immediately brought to his side without a battle Hyrcanus, who
had no force worthy of note, and by confining Aristobulus in a certain
spot compelled him to come to terms. And when he would surrender neither
money nor garrison,[19] Pompey threw him into prison. After this he more
easily overcame the rest, but in the siege of Jerusalem found trouble.
[-16-]Most of the city he took without exertion, as he was received by
the party of Hyrcanus, but the temple itself, which the others had
occupied in advance, he did not capture without labor. It was on high
ground and strengthened by its own defences, and if they had continued
defending it on all days alike, he could not have got possession of it.
As it was, they made an exception of what were called the days of
Saturn,[20] and by doing no work at all on them offered the Romans an
opportunity in this vacant interval to batter down the wall. The latter
on learning this superstition of theirs, made no serious attempt the
rest of the time, but on those days, when they came around in
succession, assaulted most vigorously. Thus the holders were captured on
the day of Saturn, making no defence, and all the money was plundered.
The kingdom was given to Hyrcanus, and Aristobulus was carried back to

This was the course of events at that time in Palestine. That is the
name that has been applied from of old to the whole race, which extends
from Phoenicia to Egypt along the inner sea. They have also another name
that has been acquired, - i.e., the country has been called Judaea, and
the people themselves Jews. [-17-]I do not know from what source this
title was first given them, but it applies also to all the rest of
mankind, although of foreign race, who cherish their customs. This
nation exists among the Romans also, and though often diminished has
increased to a very great extent and has won its way to the right of
freedom in its observances. They are distinguished from the rest of
mankind in every detail of life, so to speak, and especially by the fact
that they do not honor any of the usual gods, but reverence mightily one
particular divinity. They never had any statue in Jerusalem itself, but
believing him to be inexpressible, invisible, they worship him in the
most extravagant fashion on earth. They built to him a temple that was
extremely large and beautiful, except in so far as it was void and
roofless, and dedicated the day called the day of Saturn, on which,
among many other most peculiar actions, they undertake no serious

Now as for him, who he is and why he has been so honored, and how they
got their superstition about accounts have been given by many, no one of
which pertains to this history.

[-18-] The custom of referring the days to the seven stars called
planets was established by the Egyptians, but has spread to all men,
though it was instituted comparatively not long ago. At any rate the
original Greeks in no case understood it, so far as I am aware. But
since it is becoming quite habitual to all the rest of mankind and to
the Romans themselves, and this is to them already in a way an
hereditary possession, I wish to make a few brief statements about it,
telling how and in what way it has been so arranged.

I have heard two accounts, in general not difficult of comprehension,
and containing some one's theories. If one apply the so-called
"principle of the tetrachord" (which is believed to constitute the basis
of music) in order to these stars, by which the whole universe of heaven
is divided into regular intervals, as each one of them revolves, and
beginning at the outer orbit assigned to Saturn, then omitting the next
two name the master of the fourth, and after him passing over two others

Online LibraryCassius DioDio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E → online text (page 4 of 30)