Charles Rollin.

The ancient history of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians ..., Volume 8 online

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Roman fleet, beat them twice ;t the first time at Tenedos, and the
other at Lemnos, when the enemy thought of nothing less than
miking sail for Italy, and of alarming and plundering the coasts of
R )me itself. He killed almost ^il their men in these two engage-
ra3nts : and in tlie last took their three generals, one of whom was
W- Mdrius, the Roman senator whom Sertorius had sent from
dpain to the aid of Mithridates. Lucullus ordered him to be put
t.j death, because it was not consistent with the Roman dignity that
a senator of Rome should be led in triumph. One of the two others
poisoned himself, and the third was reserved for the triumph. After
having cleared the coasts by these two victories, Lucullus turned
his arms towards the continent ; reduced Bithynia first, then Paphla-
gonia ; marched afterwards into Pontus, and carried the war into
the heart of Mithridates^s dominions.

' Cum totitts impetus belli ad Cyzioenoram moBoia constltisaet, eamque urbem sibi
M:tbrj(]atS8 Asiat Januam fure putaviawt, qu& effracUi et revuls& tola patoret provin-
cia; perfecta ab Lucullo hxc sunt omnia, ut urba fldeliMsimorum sociorum defendere-
tur ut umnes cnpiae regis diuturuitate obsidiouis conaumereniur. de. in Or at. pro
Jitnr. ti. a'l.

t Ab eodem imperatore claasera magnam et ornatam, que ducibua Scrtorianif ad
It'fiiam studio inflammato raperetur, superaiam esse atque depressam. Cie. pro lego
Manil. n.3l.

Uuid 1 illam pui^nam navalera ad Tenedum, ciim tanto concureu, acerrimis ducibua,
hoaUum claasis Itallam spe atque animis inflata peteret, mediocri certaoiUie et parra
^_. — . _ ^ cjjnioijji^n, arUtratris 1 OU. pro Jivrmndt n. 33.



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19 H18T0«;r OF

He suffered at tot so greatly &om a want of pQ»visiQpji.Ui t^

expedition, that he was obliged to make thirty thousand GalatmiM
follow the army, each with a quantity of wheat unon his shoulders.
But upon his advancing into the country, and subjecting the cities
and provinces, he found such abundance of all things, that an oz
■old for only one drachmas,* and a slave for no more than four.

Mithridates had sufiered almost as much by a tempest, in his pas-
sage on the Euxine Sea, as in the campaign, wherein he had been
treated so roughly* He lost^m it almost all the remainder of his
fleet and the troops he had brought thither for the defence of his
ancient dominions. When Lucullus arrived, he was making new
levies with the utmost expedition, to defend himself against that
invasion which he had clearly foreseen.

LucuUns, upon arriving in Pontus, without loss of time besieged
Amisus and Eupatoria, two of the principal cities in tlxe country,
very near each other.

The latter, which had been very lately built, was called Eupato-
ria, from the surname of Eupator, ffiven to Mithridates; this place
was his usual residence, and he had designed to make it the capital
of his dominions. Not content with these two sieges at once, Lu-
cullus sent a detachment of his army to form thafof Themiscyra,
upon the river Thermodon, which pkce was not less considerable
than tlie two others.

The officers of LucuUus's army complained, that their general
amused himself too long in sieges which were not worth his trou-
ble, and that in the mean time he gave Mithridates opportunity to
augment his army and gather strength. To whicli he answered
in nis justification : " That is directly what I want ; I act design-
edly thuS; that our enemy may take new courage, and assemble so
numerous an army as may embolden him to wait for us in the field
and fly no longer before us. Do you not observe, that he has be-
hind him immense wildernesses, and infinite deserts, in which it
will be impossible for us either to pursue or come up with him?
Armenia is but a few days' march from these deserts. There Ti-
granes keeps his court, that king of kings, whose power is so great
that he subdues the Parthians, transports whole cities of Greeks
into the heart of Media, has made himself master of Syria and
Palestine, exterminated the kings descended from Seleucus, and
carried their wives and daughters into captivity. This powerful
prmce is the ally and son-in-law of Mithridates. Do you thmk,
when he has hun in his palace as a suppliant, that he will tkbandon
him, and not make war against us? Hence in hastening to drive
away Mithridates, we shall be in great danger of drawing Tir
granes upon our hands, who has long sought pretexts for decuLring
against us, and who can never find one more specious, legitimate,
and honourable, than that of assisting his father-in law, and a king



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radaced to the laA ^xtlremity. Why, therefore, should we serve
Mithrldates against ooiselves ; or show him to whom he should
have recourse for the means of supporting the war with us, bjr
pushing him,'agrainst his will, and at a time perhaps when he looks
apon such a step as unworthy his valour and greatness, into the
arms and protection of Tigranes ? Is it not infinitely better, by
g'iving him time to take courage and strengthen himself with his
own forces, to have only upon our h»nds the troops of Colchis, the
Tibarenians, and Cappadocians, whom we have so often defeated,
than to expose ourselves to have the additional force of the Arme-
nians and Modes to contend with ?"
A. M. 3933. Whilst the Romans attacked tlie three places

Ant. J. c. 71. we have mentioned, Mithridates, who had already
formed a new army, took the field very early in the spring. Lu-
cuUue left the command of the sieges of Amisus and Eupatoria to
Murena, the son of him whom we have spoken of before, whom
Cicero represents in a very favourable light: '' He went into Asia,*
a province abounding with riches and pleasures, where he left be
hind him no traces either of avarice or luxury. He behaved in such
a manner in this important war, that he did many great actions
without the general, the general none without him." Lucullus
marched against Mithridates, who lay encamped in the plains of
Cabirae. The latter had the advantage in two actions, but wa»
entirely defeated in the third, and obliged to fly, without either
eervant or equerry to attend him, or a single horse of his stable. It
was not till after some time, that one of his eunuchs, seeing him c«
foot in the midst of the flying crowd, got off his horse and gave it
him. The Romans were so near him, that tliey ahnost had iiim in
their hands ; and it was owing entirely to themselves that they .did
not take him. The avarice alone of the soldiers lost them a prey,
which they had pursued so long, through so many toils, dangers,
and battles, and deprived Lucullus of the sole reward of all his vic-
tories. Mithridates, says Cicero,-]- artfully imitated the manner in
which Medea, in the same kingdom of Pontiis, formerly escaped the
pursuit of her father. That princess is said to have cut in pieces
the body of Absyrtus, her brother, and to have scattered his Umbs
in the places through which her father pursued her; in order that
his care in taking up those dispersed members, a.nd the grief so sad
a spectacle woiUd give him, might stop the rapidity of his pursuit.

* Astum istam refertmn eteaudetn dcHcatam, sic obiit, at in e& nequc avaritiiCv ncque
fcixarias vestigiunil leliqueilt Maximo in bello sic est versatus, ut tiic miiltas res e|
^naf naa sine imperatore gesserit, nuHam sine iioc imperator. Cie. pro Martend^ n. 30.

t Ex Euo regno sic Mithridates profugit, ut ex eodum Ponto MetUia ilia quondam pro-
fttgisse dicitur : quaai preedicanu in fug^, fratria sui membra in iis locts, qua se parens
persequeretijr, disnipavisse, ut eorum collectio dispersa, mserortiue pntrius, ccleritateni
porsequendi retardaret. Sic Mittiridatea fugiena maximam vim auri atqiic argenti, pul-
cberrimarainque renim omnium, quaa ut k majoribus acceperat, ct ipse beltosupmiorfl
«x tanH Asi& cUrepias in suiim regnum congosserat in Ponto, omnem rcliquit. Htec dun
ooctri eoliiguat omnia diiigootiiiut, rex Ipse d maoibus effugit Ita Ulum in pcrsequouU
AikUo nuBior, dqs tetltta retardavlt. Ci$. de leg- Manil. n. 93.
▼Oi;. nil. H



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Mithridates, in like manner, as he fled, left upon the way a great
quantity of g-old, silver, and precious effects, which had either de-
scended to hull from his ancestors, or had been amassed by himself
m preceding wars; and whilst the soldiers employed themselves in
gntliering those treasures, the king escaped their hands. So that
the father of Medea was stopped in his pursuit by sorrow, but the
Romans by joy.

Afler this defeat of the enemy, Lucullus took the city of Cabirtt,
with several other places and castles, in which he found great riches,
fie found also the prisons full of Greeks and princes nearly related
to the king, who were confined in them. As those unhappy persons
had long given themselves over for dead, the liberty they received
from Lucullus, seemed less a deliverance than a new life to them.
In one of those castles, a sister of the king's, named Nyssa, was
also taken, which was to her a great instance of good fortune. For
the other sisters of that prince, with his wives, who had been sent
farther from the danger, and who believed themselves in safety and
repose, ^\ died miserably, Mithridates on his flight having sent them
orders to die by Bacchidas the eunuch.

Among, the other sisters of the king were Roxana and Statira,
both unmarried, and about forty years of age, with two of bis wives,
Berenice and Monima, both of Ionia. Ail Greece spoke much of
the latter, whom they admired more for her prudence than her
beauty, though exquisite. The king having fallen desperately in
love with her, had forgotten nothing that might incline her to favour
his passion: he sent her at once 15,000 pieces of gold. She was
always averse to him, and refused his presents, till he gave her the
quality of wife and queen, and sent her the royal tiara, or diadem,
a.n essential ceremony in the marriage of the kings of those nations.
Nor did she then comply wit'iout extreme regret, and in compliance
with the wishes of hor family, who were dazzled with the splendour
of a^ crown and the power of Mithridates, who was at that time
victorious, and at the height of his glory. From the time of her
marriage to the instant of which we are now speakiiig, that unfor-
tunate princess had passed her life in continual sadness and afflic-
tion, lamenting her fatal beauty, which instead of a husband had
given her a master, and instead of procuring her an honourable
abode and the endearments of conjug»l society, had confined her in
a close prison, under a guard of barbarians; where, far removed
from fhe delightful regions of Greece, she had only enjoyed a dream
of the happiness with which she had been flattered, and had really
lost that solid and essential good slie possessed in her own belovei
country.

When Bacchidas arrived, and had signified to the princesses the
order of Mithridates, which favoured them no farther than to leave
them at liberty to choose the kind of death they should think most
gentle and inuncdiate, Monima, taking the diadem from her head,
tied it round her neck, and hung herself u^p by it. But that witath



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aot-being^ stroBg enough,, and l^reaking, she'cfiej out, ** Ah, Hitftl
trifle, you might at least do me this mournful office!" Then, throw-
ing it awav with indignation, she presented her throat to fiaccliidas.

As for Berenice, sqe took a cup of poison; and as she was going
to drink it, her moibQr, who was present, desired to sliare it with
her. They accordingly drank both together. The iialf of that
poisoi) suinced to carry off the mother, worn out and feeble with
age; but was not enough to surmount the strength and youth of
Barcnice. That princess struggled long with death in the most
violent agonies, till Bacchidas, tired witK waiting the effects of tho
poison, ordered her to be strangled.

Of the two sisters, Roxana is said to have swallowed poison,
venting a thousand reproaches and imprecations against Mithridates.
Statira, on the contrary, was pleased with her brother, and thanked
him, for that, being in so great danger for his own person, he had
not forgotten them, and had taken care to supply them with the
means of dying free, and of withdrawing from the indignities their
enemies might else have made them sufier.

Their deaths extremely afflicted LucuUus, who was of a gentle
and humane disposition. He continued his march in pursuit of
Mithridates; but having received advice that he was four days' jour
ney before him, and iiad taken the road to Armenia, to retire tu bi?
son-in-law Tififranes, be returned directly; and, after having sub
jected some oTthe nations, and taken some cities in the neighbour
hood, he sent Appius Clodius to Tigranes, wO demand Mitliridates
of him; and intiie mean time returned aofainst Amisus, which place

A. M 3034. was not yet taken. Callimachus, who commanded

Am. J. c. 70. in it, and was the most able engineer of his times,
bad alone prolonged the siege. When he saw that ne could hold
out no longer, he set fire to the city, and escaped in a ship that '
waited f^Dr him. Lucullus did his utmost to extinguish the flames,
but in vain; and to increase his concern, saw himseif obliged to
abandon the cit}'^ to be phmdered by the soldiers, from whom tho
place had as much to fear as from the flames themselves. His
troops were' insatiable for booty, and he not capable of restraining
tliem. A shower of rain, which then happened to fall, preserved a
great number of buildings; and Lucullus, before his departure,
caused those which had been burnt to be rebuilt. This city was
an ancient colony of the Athenians. Such of the Athenians, durmg
Aristion's being master of Athens, as desired to fly from his tyranny,
had retired thirher,and enjoyed there thesame rights and privileges"
with the natives.

Lucullus, when he lefl Amisus, directed his march towards the
cities of Asia, whom the avarice and cruelty of the usurers and
lax-gatherers held under the most dreadful oppression: insomuch
that those poor people were obliged to sell their children of both
sexes, and even set op to auction the paintings and statues conse-
erated to U&e gods. And, when these would not suffice to pay the



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duties^ ttjDBMj and faitofest of thfiir tmnvt tfaoy W6ra' giwo vp wM^
out mercy to their crcditon, and ofteo exposed to euch beriMtfoae
tortnree, that slavery, in comparieon ^ith their mieenes, seenied a
kind of redress and tranquilhty to them.

These immense deMs of the proTince arose from the fine of 90,000
talents*' which Sylla had imposed on it. They had already paid the
sum twice over: but those insatiable usurers, by heaping interest
npon interest, had run it up to 120,000 talents;! so that they stifl
owed triple the sums they bad already paid.

Tacitus| had reason to say, that usury was one of the most an-
cient evils of the Roman commonwealth, and the most frequent
cause of sedition; but at the time we now speak of, it was carried
to an excess not easy to be credited.

The interest of money amongst the Romans was paid every month,
and was one pet^ cent, ; hence it was called uaura ceniesima, or un-
ciarium foemu ; because in reckoning the twelve months, twelve
per cent, was paid: Unda is the twelfth part of a whole.

The} law of the twelve tables|| prohibited the raising interest to
above twelve per cent. This law was revived by the two tribunes
of the people, in the 396th year of Rome.

Ten years after,1[ interest was reduced to half that sum, in the
406th year of Rome; eemunciarivm fcemu.

At length, in the 411th year of Rome,''^ all interest was prohi*
bited by decree: J^efoenerari liceret.

All these decrees were inefiectnal. Avarice was always too
Etrong fof the Iaws;ff and whatever regulations were made to sup*
press it, either in the time of the repubUc or under the emperors, it
always found means to elude them. Nor has it paid moie regard
to the laws of the church, which has never entered into any com-
position on this point, and severely condemns all usury, even the
most moderate; because, God having forbidden any, she never be*
lieved she had a right to permit it in tlie least. It is remarkable,
that usury has always occasioned the ruin of the states where it has
been tolerated; and it was this disorder which contributed very
much to subvert the constitution of the Roman commonwealth, and
gave birth to the greatest calamities in all the provinces of that
empire.

Lucullus, at this time, exerted himself in procurmg for the pro-
vinces of Asia some relaxation; which he could only efiect by put-
ting a stop to the injustice and cruelty of the usurers and tax-
gaUierers. The latter, finding themselves deprived by Itiiculliis of

* About three milHom sterling. t About eighteen mllllonB sterHn?.

; Sand vf tiis urbi foencbre lualuin et sedttionum discordiaruiuque creberrima caim.
Tacit Annul. I. vi. c. 16.
<^ Tacit. Anual. I. vi. c. 16. LIt. I. vii. o. 16.
II Neqiiis unciario foenore ampllus ezmceto.
ir I-iT. 1. vli. n, 27. ♦♦ Ibid. n. 42.

ft Multis plebiacitia obviAm itum fraodlbuf* anm totfea lepreaMb miiM per anes nv



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Uie u i m i e i wi gsln they made, raised a great outeiy, aa if they had
been exeeesiveiy injured; and by the force of money animated many
oratura against him; particularly con tiding in having most of those
who governed the repubhc in their debt, which gave them a very
extensive and almost uabouuded iiiHuence. But Lucullus despised
tiheir clamours with a constancy the more admirable from its being
very uncommon.

SECT. Ill

Lucullus causes war to be declared wiili Tigranes, and luarciies against him. Vaniiy
and ridiculous Melt-sufficiency u£iiiat prince. He loses a great baitle. Lucullus tnkes
Tigrajif icerta, tlie ca|»iiai of Annenip . Ht gains a second victory over tlie joint forces
of Tigraiujs and MiUiridates. Mutiny and levoU io^e army of Lucullus.

A. M. 3934. Tigranes,* to whom Lucullus had sent an am-

Ant J. c. 70. baesador, though of no great power in the begin-
ning of his reign, had enlarged it so much by a series of successes*
of which there are few examples, that he was commonly surnamed
km^ of kings. After having overthrown and almost ruined the
family of the kings, successors of the great Seleucus; after having
very often humbled the pride of the Parthians, transported whole
cities of Greeks into Media, conquered all Syria and Palestine, and
given laws to the Arabians called Scenites; he reigned with an
authority respected by all the princes of Asia. The people paid
him honours after the manner of the East, even to adoration. His
priHe was' inflamed and supported by the immense riches he pos-
sessed, by the excessive and continual praises of his flatterers, and
by a prosperity tiiat had never known any interruption.

Appiits Clodhis was introduced to an audience of tiiis prince, who
appeared with all the splendour lie could display, in order to give
the ambassador a higher idea of the royal dignity; who, on his side,
uniting the haughtiness of his natural disposition with that which
particularly characterized his republic, perfectly supported the dig-
nity of a Roman ambassador.

After having explained, in a few words, the subjects of complaint,
which the Romans had against Mithridates, and that prince's breach
of faith in breaking the peace, without so much as attempting to

five any reason or colour for it, he told Tigranes, that he came to
emand his being delivered up to him, as due by every sort of title
to LucuUus's triumph; that he did not believe, as a friend to the
Romans, which he had been till then, that he would make any diffi-
culty in giving up Mithridates; and that, in case of iiis refusal, he
was instructed to declare war against him.

That prince, who had never been contradicted, and who knew
DO other law nor rule than his own will and pleasure, was extremely
offended at this Roman freedom. But he was much more so with

•PliiLiBLaciil.p.S0t~51S. MemiLCzlviit— IvU Appian. Id Blitlirid. p



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fi iiNrraw or

Lveaihn'8 letter, when it wu ilriivered to faini. Tbe tide of taBg
only, which it gave him, did not satisfy him. He bad assumed that
of king of kxng9y of which he was very fbnd^ and had earned His
pride in that respect so far, as to cause hin«e2f to be served by
erowne<l heads. He never appeared in public without having four
kings attending him; two on foot on each side of his horse, when
he went abroad; at table, in his chamber; in short, every where, be
had always some of them to do the lowest offices for him; but espe-
cially wlien he gave audience to ambassadors. For, at that time,
to give strangers a greater idea of his glory and 7)ower, he made
them all stand in two ranks, on each side of his throne, where they
appeared in the habit and posture of common slaves. A pride so
fuU of absurdity offends all the world. One more refined shocks
less, though much the same at bottom.

it is not surprising that a prince of this character should bear
with impatience the manner in which Clodius spoke to him. It was
the first free and sincere speech be had heard during the five-and-
twenty years he had governed his subjects, or rather tyrannized
over them with excessive insolence. He answered, that Mithri-
dfttes was the father of Cleopatra, his wife; that the imion between
them was of too strict a nature to admit his delivering him up for
the triumph of Lucullus; and that ifthe Romans were unjust enough
to make war against him, he knew how to defend himself, and to
make them repent it. To express his resentment, he directed his
answer only to Lucullus, without adding the usual title of Imperator,
or any other commonly given to the Roman generals.

Lucullus, when Clodius reported the res^ult of his commission,
and that war had been declared against Tigranes, returned with
the utmost diligence into Pontus to begin it. The enterprise
seemed rash, and th^ terrible power of the king astonished all
those who relied less upon the valour of the troops and the con-
duct of the general, than upon a multitude of soldiers. After hav-
ing made himself master of Sinope, he gave that place its liberty,
as he did also to Amisus, and made them both free and indepen-
dent cities. Cotta* did not treat Heraclaja, which he took after a
long siege by treacliery, in the same manner; He enriched himself
out of its spoils, treated the inhabitants with excessive cruelty,
and burnt almost the whole city. On his return to Rome, he was
at first well received by the senate, arid honoured with the sur-
name of Ponticus, upon account of taking that place. But soon
after, when the Heracleans had laid their complaints before the se-
nate, and represented in a manner capable of moving the hardest
hearts, the miseries Cotta's avarice and rruelty had made them
suffer, the senate contented themselves with depriving him of the
lahu ciavusy which was the robe worn by the senators; a punish-

c. n— UL



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m oa wne propofttmnd to tks flagrant exeesflea proved opon

LueuUus leil Soraatias, one of bis generals, in Pontus, Mdtb
6000 men, and marched with the rest, which amounted only to
12,000 foot and 3000^ liorse, through Cappadocia, to the Euphrates.
He passed that river in tiie midst of winter, and afterwards the Ti>
gris, and came before Tigranocerta, which was at some small dis*
tance, to attack Tigranes in his capital, where he had lately arrivee
from Syria. Nobody dared speak to that prince of LucuUus and
his march, after bis cruel treatment of the person who brought him
the first news of it, whom he put to death in reward for so import-
ant a service. He listened to nothing but the discourses of flatter-
ers, who^old him Lucullus must be a great captain if he only dared
wait for him at Ephesus, and did not betake himself to flight and
abandon Asia, when he should see the many thousands of whidi
his army was composed. So true it is, says Plutarch, that as all
constitutions, are not capable of bearing much wine, all minds are
not strong enough to bear great prosperity without loss of reason
and infatuation.

Tigranes at first had not designed so much as to see or speak to
Hithridatcs, though his father-rin^law, but treated him with the
atmost contempt aiid arrogance, kept him at a distance, and placed
A guard over him as a (Prisoner of state, in marshy unwholesome

A, M. 3935. places. But after Clodius's embassy, he had or-

Anu J. c. 69. dered him to ba brought to court with all 'possible
honours and marks of respect. In a private conversation which



Online LibraryCharles RollinThe ancient history of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians ..., Volume 8 → online text (page 10 of 39)