CHAPTER IV. THE JUGURTHINE WAR.
[Attalus of Pergamus.] Attalus III., the last of that supple dynasty which had managed to thrive on the jealous and often treacherous patronage of Rome, left his dominions at his death to the Republic. He had begun his reign by massacring all his father's friends and their families, and ended it as an amateur gardener and dilettante modeller in wax; so perhaps the malice of insanity had something to do with the bequest, if indeed it was not a forgery. Aristonicus, a natural son of a previous king, Eumenes II., set it at naught and aspired to the throne.
[Aristonicus usurps the kingdom of Pergamus.] Attalus died in 133, the year of the tribunate of Tiberius Gracchus, when Scipio was besieging Numantia, and the first slave revolt was raging in Sicily. The Romans had their hands full, and Aristonicus might have so established himself as to give them trouble, had not some of the Asiatic cities headed by Ephesus, and aided by the kings of Cappadocia and Bithynia, opposed him. He seized Leucae (the modern Lefke) and was expelled by the Ephesians. But when the Senate found time to send commissioners, he was already in possession of Thyatira, Apollonia, Myndus, Colophon, and Samos. Blossius, the friend of Gracchus, had come to him, and the civil strife at Rome must have raised his hopes. [Conduct of Crassus, illustrating Roman rule in the province.] But in the year 131 P. Licinius Crassus Mucianus, the father-in-law of Caius Gracchus, was consul, and was sent to Asia. He was Pontifex Maximus, rich, high-born, eloquent, and of great legal knowledge; and from his intimacy with the Gracchi and Scipio he must have been an unusually favourable specimen of the aristocrat of the day. And this is what he did in Asia. He was going to besiege Leucae, and having seen two pieces of timber at Elaea, sent for the larger of them to make a battering ram. The builder, who was the chief magistrate of the town, sent him the smaller piece as being the most suitable, and Crassus had him stripped and scourged. Next year he was surprised by the enemy near Leucae. Apparently he could have got off if he had not been laden with his collections in Asia, to procure which he had intrigued to prevent his colleague Flaccus getting that province. Unable to escape, he provoked his captor to kill him by thrusting a stick into his eye. His death was a striking comment on the Senate's government. Cruelty and culture, personal bravery and. incompetence - such an alloy was now the best metal which its most respectable representatives could supply.
[End of Aristonicus and settlement of the kingdom.] Aristonicus was now the more formidable because he had roused the slaves, among whom the spirit of revolt, in sympathy with the rest of their kind throughout the Roman world, was then working. But in the year 130 M. Perperna surprised him, and carried him to Rome. Blossius committed suicide. The pretender was strangled in prison. Part of his territory was given to the kings who had helped the consul, one of whom was the father of the great Mithridates. Phrygia was the share assigned to him; but the Senate took it back from his successor, saying that the consul Aquillius had been bribed to give it. The consul may have been base or the Senate mean, or, what is more probable, the baseness of the one was used as a welcome plea by the other's meanness. The European part was added to the province of Macedonia. The Lycian confederacy received Telmissus. The rest was formed into a province, which was called Asia - the name being at once an incentive to and a nucleus for future annexation. Such a nucleus they already possessed in the province of Africa, and there also war was kindled by the ambition of a bastard.