Charles Rollin.

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

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ridates into a condition to possess himself also of his dominions in
time, thought proper to set up a certain young man (who seemed
very fit for acting such a part) as a third son of Ariarathes. He
engaged Laodice, whom he had espoused after the death of her first
husband, to acknowledge him as such, and sent her to Rome, to
assist and support by her presence the claim of this pretended sc^,
whom she carried thither along with her. The cause being brought
before the senate, both parties were condemned; and a decree passed,
ky which the Cappadocians were declared free. But they said they
could not be without a king. The senate permitted them to choose
whom, they thought fit. They elected Ariobarzanes, a nobleman
of their nation. Sylla, upon his quittin? the office of pnetor, was
charged with the commission of establishing him upon the throne.
That was the pretext assigned for this expedition; but the real
motive of it was, to check the enterprises of Mithridates, whose
power daily augmenting, ^ve umbrage to the Romans. Sylia
A. M.3914. executed his commission the following year; and

Aiit J. c. 90. after having defeated a great number of Cappado-
cians, and a much greater of Armenians, who came to their aid, he
expelled Gordius, with the pretended Ariarathes, and set Ariobar
zanes in his place.

Whilst Sylla was encamped upon the baiiks of the Euphrates, a
Parthian, named Orobasus, arrived at his camp, deputed ftom king
Arsaces,! ^ demand the aQiance and amity of the Romans. Sylla,
when he received him at his audience, caused three seats to be
placed in his tent, one for Ariobarzanes, who was present, another
for Orobasus, and that in the midst for himself. The Parthian king
afterwards, offended #t his deputy for having acquiesced in this
instance of Roman pride, caused him to be put to death. This is
the first time the Parthians had any intercourse with the Romans.

Mithridates did not dare at that time to oppose the establishment
of Ariobarzanes; but dissembling the mortification that conduct of
the Romans gave him, he resolved to take an opportunity of being
revenged upon them. In the mean while he engaged m cultivating
powerful alliances for the augmentation of his strength; and began
• Applaa In Miibrid 1T7, 178. t Tlila was Mitbrldatea U.



with Timnee, long of Armenia, a veiy powerful prince. Arme-
Dia* had at first appertained to the Persians; it came under the
Macedonians afterwards ; and upon the death of Alexander made
part of the kingdom of Syria. Under Antiochus the Great, two
of his generals, Artaxius and Zadriadres, with that prince's per-
mission, established themselves in ,this province, of which it is pro-
bable they were before governors. After the defeat of Antlochus..
they adhered to the Romans, who acknowledged them as kings.
They had divided Armenia into two parts. Tigraues, of whom we
now speak, was descended from Artaxius. He possessed himself
of all Armenia, subjected several neighbouring countries by his
arms, and thereby formed a very powerful kingdom. Mithridates
gave him his daughter Cleopatra in marriage, and engaged him to
enter so far into his projects against the Romans, that they agreed
Mithridates should have the cities and countries they should con-
quer for his share, and Tigranes the people, with all the effects ca-
pable of being carried away.

A. M. 3915. The first enterprise and act of hostility war

Ant J. c. 89. committed by Tigranes, who deprived Ariobarzanes
of Cappadocia, of which the Romans had put him into possession,
and re-estabhshed Ariarathes, the son of Mithridates, in it. Nico-
medes, king of Bithynia, happening to die about this time, his eldest
son, called also Nicomedes, ought naturally to have succeeded him,
and was accordingly proclaimed kin^. But Mithridates set up his
younger brother Socrates against him, who deprived him of the
throne by force of arms. The two dethroned kings went to Rome,
to implore aid of the senate, who decreed their re-establisliment,
and sent Manius Aquilius and M. Altinius to put that decree in

They were both reinstated. The Romans advised them to make
irruptions into the lands of Mithridates, promising them their sup-
port; but neither the one nor the other dared to attack so powerful
a prince so near home. At length, however, Nicomedes, urged
both by the ambassadors, to whom he had promised great sums for
his re-establishment, and by his creditors, Roman citizens settled
in Asia, who had lenj him very considerable sums for the same
purpose, could no longer resist their solicitations. He made incur
sions upon the lands of Mithridates, ravaged all the fiat country as
far as the city Amastris, and returned home iaden with booty, which
he applied in discharging part of his debts. •

Mithridates was not ignorant by whose advice Nicomedes had
committed this irruption. He might easily have repulsed him, tis
he had a great number of good troops on foot; but he did not take
the field. He was glad to throw the blame on the side of the Ro-
mans, and to have a just cause for declaring war against them. He
bcgaa by making remonstrances to their generals and ambassadoir.

* Smb. 1. sL p. 531, 933.


Pelopidas was at the head of thia embassy. He eomplained of the
various contraventions of the Romans to the treaty of alliance sub*
sistin^ between them and Mitnridates, and in particular of tne pro-
tection granted by them to Nicomedes, his declared enemy. The
ambassadors of the latter replied, and made complaints on their side
against Mithridates. The Romans, who were unwilling to declare
themselves openly at present, gave the man answer in loose and
general terms; that the Roman people had no intention that Mith-
ridates and Nicomedes should injure each other.

Mithridates, who was not satisfied with this answer, made his
troops march immediately into Cappadocia, expelled Ariobarzanet
again, and set liis son Ariarathes upon the throne, as he had done
before. At the same time, he sent his ambassador to the Roman
generals to make his apology, and to renew his complaints against
them. Pelopidas declared to them, that his master was contented
the Roman people should be umpire in the affair; and added, that
he had already &ent his ambassadors to Rome. He exhorted them
^ not to undertake any thing, till they had received the senate's orders,
nor engage rashly in a war that might be attended with fatal con
sequences. For the rest, he gave them to understand, that Mith-
ridates, in case justice were refused him, was m a condition to pro-
cure it for himself. The Romans, liighiy offended at so haughty a
declaration, made answer, that Mithridates was immediately to
withdraw his troops from Cappadocia, and not to continue to disturb
Nicomedes or Ariobarzanes. They ordered Pelopidas to quit tlie
camp that moment, and nol return, unless his master obeyed. The
other ambassadors were no better received at Rome.

The rupture was then inevitable, and the Roman generals did
not wait till the orders of the senate and people arrived; which waa
what Mithridates wished. The design he had long formed of de-
claring war against the Romans, had occasioned his having made
many alliances, and engaged many nations in his interest. Amongst
his troops were reckonea twenty-two nations, of as many different
languages, all which Mithridates himself spoke with facility. His
army consisted of ^250,000 foot and 40,000 horse, without mcludinff
130 armed chariots and a fleet of 400 ships.

Before he proceeded to action,''' he thought it necessary to prepare
his troops for it, and made them a long discourse to animate them
against the Romans.f He represented to them, ^' That the matter
now in hand was not to examine whether war or peace were to be
preferred ; that tlie Romans, by attacking the first, had left them
no room for deliberation: that their business was to fight and con-
quer: that he assured himself of success, if the troops persisted to

• Justin. I. xxxviii. c. 3—7.

r I have abridged this diacoune eztrpmely, which Jastin repeats at Ieiu(tb, as it stood
n Tmgus Pon.peius, (if whom he is only the epitouiiser. The discourse la a speclinea
pf that exceJleut taistorJau^s style, and ought to make ua very uuicli cefK Uw loss «riib •
f TOX.. TIIL 9


m mtrosT OF

»et with the mme yalour they had already shown upon so many
occasions, and very lately against the same enemies, whom they
had put to flight and cut to pieces in Bithynia and Cappadocia: that
there could not be a more nivourable opportunity than the present,
when the Marsi infested and ravaged the very heart of Italy; when
Rome was torn in pieces by civU wars, and an innumerable army of
the Cimbri from Grermanv overran all Italy: that the time was come
^or humbling those proud republicans, who were hostile to the royal
dignity, and had sworn to pull down all the thrones of the universe.
Then as to what remained,'" the war his soldiers were now entering
upon was highly different from that they had sustained with so much
valour in the horrid deserts and frozen regions of Scythia: that he
should lead them into the most fruitful and temperate country of the
world, abounding with hch and opulent cities, which seemed to offer
themselves an easy prey: that Asia, abandoned to be devoured by
;he insatiable avarice of the proconsuls, the inexorable cruelty of
tax-gatherers, and the flagrant injustice of corrupt judges, held the
name of Roman in abhorrence, and impatiently expected them as
her deUverers: that they followed him, not so much to a war, as to
assured victory and certain spoils." The army answered this dis-
course with universal shouts of joy, and reiterated protestations of
service and fidelity.

The Romans had formed three armies out of their troops in the
several parts of Asia Minor. The first was commanded by L.
Cassius, who had the government of the province of Pergamus; the
second, by Manius Aquilius; the third, by Q. Oppius, proconsul, in
his province of PamphyUa. Each of them had forty thousand men,
including the cavalry. Besides these troops, Nicomedes had fifty
thousand foot and six thousand horse. They began the war, as I
have already observed, without waiting for orders from Rome, and
carried it on with so much negligence and so Uttle judgment, that
they were all three defeated on different occasions, and their armies
ruined. Aquilius and Oppius themselves were taken prisoners, and
treated with all kinds of insults. Mithiidates, considering Aquilius
as the principal author of the war, treated him with the liighest
indignities. He made him pass in review before the troops, ami
presented him as a sight to the people, mounted on an ass, obliging
him to cry out with a loud voice, that he was Manius Aquilius. At
other times he obliged him to walk on foot with his hands fastened
by a chain to a horse, that drew him along. At last he caused

* " Nunc se diveream belli conditionem ingredi. Nam neque cobIo Asie ease terape*
ratiuB aliud, nee solo fertilius, nee urbiuin multitudine amoenius ; mairnaraque temporif
fiartem, non ut militiam, sed ut festum diem, acturos, belio dubium fhcili magis an uberi
— cantumque se avida ezpectat Asia, ut etiam vocibus vocet: aded iilis odium Roma-
norum incussit rapacitas proconsulum, seciio publicanorum, caldmnis litium.** Justin.

'• Sectio publicanorum'* in this passage properly signifies, the forcible sale of tlie

goods of thoM who for default of payment of taxes and imposts had their esutes and
Affects seized on and sold by the publicans. " Calumniie litium" are the unjust quirks
and chicanery, which served as pretexts for depriving the rich of their ettato, elthei
upon account of taxes, or ondor aome other colour.



molten lead to be poared down his throat, and put him to death witll
the most exquisite torments. The people of Mitylene had treache-
rously delivered him np to Mithridates at a time when he was sick,
and had retired to their city for the recovery of his health.

Mithridates,"" who was desirous of gaining the people's hearts by
his reputation for clemency, sent home all the Greeks he had taken
prisoners, and supplied them with provisions for their journey. That
mstance of his goodness and lenity opened the gates of all the cities
to him. The people came out to meet him every where with ac-
clamations of joy. They gave him excessive praises, called him the
preserver, the father of the people, the deliverer of Asia, and applied
to him all the other names by which Bacchus was denominated, to
which he had a just title, for he passed for the prince of his timef
who could drink most without being disordered; a quality he valued
himself upon, and thought much to his honour.

The fruits of these his first victories were, the conquest of all
fiithynia, from which Nicomedes was driven; of Phrygia and My-
sia, lately made Roman provinces ; of Lycia, Pamphylia, Paphla-
gonia, and several other countries.

Having found at Stratonice a young maid of exquisite beauty,
named Monima, he took her along with him in his train.

A.M. 3916. Mithridates,! considering that the Romans,

Aat. J. c. 88. and all the Italians in general, who were at that

time in Asia Minor upon different affairs, carried on secret intrigues
much to the prejudice of his interests, sent private orders &om
E|;hesus, where he then was, to the governors of the provinces,
and -nagistrates of the cities of Asia Minor, to massacre them all
upon a day fixed.} The women, children, and domestics, were in-
cluded in this proscription. To these orders was annexed a pro-
hibition to give ulterment to those who should be killed. Their
estates and effects were to be confiscated for the use of the kins'
and the murderers. A severe fine was laid upon such as should
conceal the living, or bury the dead ; and a reward appointed for
whoever discovered those who were hid. Liberty was given to
the slaves who killed their masters; and debtors forgiven half their
debts, for killing their creditors. The repetition only of this dread-
ful order is enough to make one shudder with horror. What then
must have been the desolation in all those provinces when it was

Sut in execution ! Fourscore thousand Romans or Italians were
utchered in consequence of it. Some make the slain amount to
almost twice that number.

Being informed that there was a great treasure at Cos,]] he sent
people thither to seize it. Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, had depo-

♦ Diod. In Excenit. ValRsu p 401. Athen. 1. v. p. 213. Cic. Oral, pm Place, n. 60.
t Plut. Sympos. 1. 1, p. 624. % Appiaii. p. 185. Cic. in Oral, pro lege Manil. n. 7.
^ U ono die tot^ \i\k, tni in civiiHfib.ia, urto iiuniio, atque unft liierarum rignifica-
lione. cives RornHnon tifcand^n trucidanfl.igqne <1<>riotairit. Cli'c.
i Appian. p, ld6. Joseph. Autiq. 1. xiv. c. 13.


n wnoKt cnt

sited it there, when she undertook the war in PhoDnlcia against
her son Lathyrus. Besides this treasure, they foond eight hundred
talents (ciffbt hundred tliousand crowns,) which the Jews iu Asia
Minor Lad deposited tliere when they saw the war ready to bre&k

All those who had found means to escape thif general slaughter
in Asia, had taken refuge in Rhodes,* whicli received them with
joy, and afiorded them a secure retreat. Mithridates laid siege to
tiiat city incfiectually, which he was mon obliged to raise, after
having been in danger of being taken himself in a sea-fight, wherein
he lost many of his ships.

When he had made himself master of Asia Minor ,t Mithridates
sent Archelaus, one of his generals, with an army of a hundred
and twenty thousand men into Greece. That general took Athens
and chose it for bis residence, giving all orders from thence in re-
gard to the war on that side. During his stay there, he engaged
most of the cities and states of Greece in the interests of his mas-
ter. Ue reduced Delos by force, wiiich had revolted from the
Athenians, and reinstated 'them in the possession of it. He sent
them the sacred treasure, kept in that island by Aristion, to whom
he gave two thousand men as a guard for the money. Aristion
was an Athenian philosopher, of the sect of Epicurus. He em-
ployed the two thousand men under his command to secure to him-
self the supreme authority at Athens, where he exercised a most*
cruel tyranny, putting many of the citizens to death, and sending
many to Mithridates, upon pretence that they were of the Roman

A. M. 3917. Such was the state of affairs when Sylla was

Am. J. c. 87. charged with the war against Mithridates. He

set out immediately for Greece, with five legions, and some cohorts

and cavalry. Mithridates was at that time at Pergamus, where he

' distributed riches, governments, and other rewards, to his friends.

Upon Sylla's arrival, all the cities opened their gates to him, ex-
cept Athens, which, subjected to the tyrant Aristion's yoke, was
obliged unwillingly to oppose him. The Roman general, having
entered Attica, divided his troops into two bodies, the one of which
he sent to besiege Aristion in the city of Athens, and with tiie
other lie marched in peison to the port Pineeus, which was a kind
•if second city, where Archelaus had shut himself up, relying upon
the strength of the place, the walls being almost sixty feet high,
and entirely of hewu stone. The work was indeed very strong,
and had been raised by tlie order of Pericles in the Peloponnesian
war, when, the hopes of victory depending solely upon this port, he
had fortified it to the utmost of iiis power.

The height of the walls did not amaze Sylla. He employed a]]

* Applmn. n. 188—188. Diod. In Ezcerpt p. 40E1
4p|iiaii. iu MUhrid. ^ i»-UI "^

tPtiit1iifl]rUa,p iaB-4tl



•OTts of engines in battering them, and made continual assaultt.
If he woula have waited a little, he might have taken the higher
city without striking a blow, which was reduced by famine to the
last extremity. But being in haste to return to Rome, and appre-
hending the changes that might happen there in his absence, he
spared neither danger, attacks, nor expense, in order to hasten the
conclusion of that war. Without enumerating the rest of the
warlike stores and equipage, twenty thousand mules were perpe-
tually employed in working the machines only. Wood happemng
to fall short, from the great consumption made of it in the ma-
chines, which were often either broken and spoiled by the vast
weight they carried, or burnt by the enemy, he did not spare the
sacred groves. He cut down the beautiful avenues of the Acade-
my and Lycieum, which were the finest walks in the suburbs, and
planted with the finest trees ; and caused the high walls that join-
ed the port to the city to be demolished, in order to make use of
the ruins in erecting his works, and carrjring on his approaches.

As he had occasion for abundance of money in this war, and en-
deavoured to attach the soldiers to his interests, and to animate them
by great rewards, he had recourse to the inviolable treasures of
the temples, and caused the finest and most precious ^ifls, conse-
crated at Epidaurus and Olympia, to be brought from thence. Ho
^vrote to the Amphictyons assembled at Delphi, " That they would
act wisely in sending him the treasures of the god, because tbey
would be more secure in his hands ; and that if he should be obliged
to make use of them, he would return the value after the war.**
At the same time he sent one of his friends, named Caphis,a native
of Phocis, to Delphi, to receive all those treasures by weight.

When Caphis arrived at Delphi, be was afraid, through reve-
rence for the god, to meddle with the consecrated gifts, and bewail-
ed with tears, in the presence of the Amphictyons, the necessity
imposed upon him. Upon which, some person there having said,
that he heard the soimd of Apollo's lyre from the inside of the sanc-
tuary, Capliis, whether he really believed it, or was willing to take
advantage of that occasion to strike Sylla with a religious awe,
wrote him an account of what had happened. Sylla, deriding his
simplicity, replied, " That he was surprised he should not compre-
hend, that singing was a sign of joy, and by no means of anger
and resentment ; and, therefore, he had nothing to do but to take
the treasures boldly, and be assured that the god saw him do so
with pleasure, and gave them to him himself."

Plutarch, on this occasion, notices the difference between the
ancient Roman generals, and those of the times we now speak of.
The former, whom merit alone had raised to office, and who had
no other views from their employments but the public good, knew
how to make the solders respect and obey them, without descend-
ing to use low and unworthy methods for that purpose. They
commanded troops that were steady, disciplined, ana weD inured

Digitized by VjOOQIC


to execute tlie orders of their eeDerals without reply or delay.
Truly kings* says Plutftrch,"^ in the grandeur and nobiuty of their
sentiments, but simple and modest private persons in their train
and equipage, they put the state to no other exj^nse in the dis-
charge of their offices tlian what was reasonable and necessary,
conceiving it more shameful in a captain to flatter his soldiers^ than
to fear his enemies. TLings were much changed in the times we
now speak of. The Roman generals, abandoned to insatiable ambi-
tion and luxury, were obliged to make themselves slaves to theh
soldiers, and to buy their services by ffifts proportioned to their
avidity, and oflen by the toleration and impunity of the greatest

Sylla, in consequence, was perpetually in extreme want of mo-
ney to satisfy his troops, and then more than ever for carrying on
the siege in which he had engaged, the success of wlucli seemed
to him of the highest importance, both with respect to his honour
and even his safety. He was desirous of depriving Mithridates of
the only city he had letl in Greece, and which, by preventing the
Romans from passing into Asia, would destroy all hopes or con-
quering that prince, and oblige Sylla to return shamefully into Ita-
ly, where he would have found more terrible enemies m Marius
and his faction. He was besides sensibly galled by the keen rail-
lery which Aristion vented every day against him and his wife Me

It is not easy to say whether the attack or defence were con-
ducted with most vigour; for both sides behaved with incredible
courage and resolution. The sallies were frequent, and attended
with almost battles hi form, in which the slaughter was great, and
the loss generally not very unequal. The besieged would not have
been in a condition to have made so vigorous a defence, if they
had not received several considerable reinforcements by sea.

What did them most damage was the secret treachery of two
Athenian slaves who were in the Piraeeus. Those slaves, whether
out of affection to the Roman interest, or desirous of providing for
their own safety in case the place was taken, wrote upon leaden
balls all that was going forward within, and threw them from
slings to the Romans. So that how prudent soever the measures
were which Archelaus took, who defended the PirsBeus, whilst
Aristion commanded in the city, none of them succeeded, tie re<
solved to make a general sally ; the traitors aiung a leaden ball
with this intelligence upon it : " To-morrow, at such an hour, the
foot will attack your works, and the horse your camp." Sylla laid
ambushes, and repulsed the besieged with loss. A convoy of pro-
visions was in the night to have been thrown into the city^ which
was in want of every thing. Upon advice of the same kind, the
convoy was mtercepted.


Notwithstanding all these disappomtmenU, the Athewos ds^
fended themselves like lions. They found means either to ham
most of the machines erected against the wall, or hy undermiiuiig
them to throw them down and hreak them to pieces.

The Romans, on their side, hehaved with no less vigour. By the
help of mines also they made a way to the bottom of ^e walls, un*
der which they hollowed the groimd ; and, having propped the
foundation with beams of wood, they afterwards set fire to the
props with a great quantity of pitch, sulphur, and tow. When
those beams were burnt, part of the wall fell down with a horrible
noise, and a large breach was opened, through which the Romani
advanced to the assault. The battle continued a great while with
equal ardour on both sides, but the Romans were at length obliged
to retire. The next day they renewed the attack. The bMieged

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