Events have been anticipated in order to relate the close of Cinna's career. But it is time now to say what Sulla had been doing, and who that Mithridates was whose name for so long had been formidable at Rome.

[Foreign events after the second slave war.] After the defeat of the northern hordes and the suppression of the second slave revolt, there was a war with the Celtiberi in Spain, in 97, in which Sertorius showed himself already an adroit and bold officer. [Sidenote: Sertorius in command against the Celtiberi.] He was in winter quarters at Castulo (Cazlona), and his men were so disorderly that the Spaniards were emboldened to attack them in the town; Sertorius escaped, rallied those soldiers who had also escaped, marched back, and after putting those in the town to the sword, dressed his troops in the dead men's clothes, and so obtained admission to another town which had helped the enemy. But the hero of the campaign was Titus Didius, afterwards Caesar's lieutenant in the Social War. He had some hard fighting and captured Termesus, the chief town of the Arevaci, and Colenda. - He earned his triumph by other means also. There was a town near Colenda, the inhabitants of which the Romans wished to destroy. Didius told them that he would give them the lands of Colenda, and they came to receive their allotments. As soon as they were within his lines, his soldiers set on them and slew them all.

[Africa.] In 96 B.C. Ptolemaus Apion bequeathed Cyrene - a narrow strip of terraced land on the north coast of Africa, situated between the Libyan deserts and the Mediterranean - to Rome. The Romans did not refuse the legacy; but they took no trouble to govern the country. The cities of Cyrene were declared to be free. In other words, while nominally subject to Rome, so that she might interfere when she pleased, they were left to govern themselves. Such government was no government; but it was in accordance with the deliberate policy of the senatorial party.

[Crimes and intrigues of Mithridates.] It was in the same year that Mithridates committed the first of the series of crimes which eventually brought him into collision with Rome. His sister had married the King of Cappadocia. Mithridates assassinated him. Nicomedes, King of Bithynia, seized Cappadocia and married the widowed sister of Mithridates. Having slain one brother-in-law, Mithridates expelled the other, and set on the throne his sister's son. But when his nephew refused to welcome home Gordius, the man who had murdered his father, Mithridates marched against and assassinated him. Then he set on the throne his own son, to whom he gave his nephew's name, and made Gordius his guardian. Him the Cappadocians expelled, and raised to the throne another nephew of Mithridates; but Mithridates instantly drove him from power. Nicomedes now appealed to the Senate, and produced, as he asserted, a third nephew of Mithridates as a claimant for the crown. To support his assertion he sent his wife to Rome to swear she had had three sons. Mithridates, as if in burlesque of the imposture, sent Gordius to swear that the youth on the throne was son of a Cappadocian king who had died more than thirty years before. The Senate decided as a lion might between two jackals quarrelling over a carcase. It took Cappadocia from Mithridates and Paphlagonia from Nicomedes, and declared both countries free. But the Cappadocians clamoured for a king, and so, in 93, the Senate appointed Ariobarzanes I. Mithridates then stirred up Tigranes, King of Armenia, to expel Ariobarzanes, who fled to Rome. Sulla was sent to restore him, and did so in 92, after defeating the Cappadocians under Gordius and the Armenians. [Sidenote: The Romans come in contact with the Parthians.] It was when he was on this mission that the Romans and Parthians confronted each other for the first time. The Parthians sent an embassy to ask for the alliance of Rome. Three chairs were set for Ariobarzanes, Sulla, and Orobazus; and Sulla, who was only propraetor, took the central seat. This incensed the Parthian king; and he revenged himself not on Sulla, but on the unfortunate Orobazus, whom he put to death. A Chaldean in the Parthian's suite, after studying Sulla's face, predicted great things for him; which pleased Sulla as much as it would have done Marius, for he believed in his luck just as his rival did in his seventh consulship. But when he came home he was impeached for taking bribes from Ariobarzanes, and no doubt he had made his trip which was so gratifying to his pride not less profitable also, and had had his appetite whetted for a second taste of eastern treasures. Mithridates, meanwhile, was brooding over his humiliation and meditating revenge. He went on a journey incognito through the Roman province of Asia and Bithynia, intending to attack both if he found himself strong enough. When he came back he found that his wife, who was also his sister, had been unfaithful to him, and he put her to death. He had now murdered a wife, a sister, a brother, and a nephew. He had also imprisoned his mother, and was equally merciless to his sons, his daughters, and his concubines. At his death, it is said, a paper was found in which he had foredoomed his most trusted servants, and he slew all the inmates of his harem in order to hinder them from falling into his enemies' hands.

[Early years of Mithridates.] His whole history is in fact one long record of sensuality, treachery, and murder. From his earliest years he had breathed, as it were, an atmosphere of assassination. His father had been assassinated when he was eleven years old. His guardians and even his own mother had then plotted to assassinate him. They placed him on a wild horse, and made him perform exercises with the javelin on it. When his precocious vigour defeated their hopes, they tried to poison him. But by studying antidotes he made his body poison-proof, or at least was reputed to have done so, and, flying from his enemies, lived for seven years through all the hardships of a wild and wandering life, in which he never slept under a roof, and hunted and fought with wild beasts, to emerge in manhood a very tiger himself for strength, and beauty of body, and ferocity of disposition, a tyrant who spared neither man in his ambition nor woman in his lust. [His physical vigour.] His stature was gigantic, his strength and activity such as took captive the imagination of the East. He could, it was believed, outrun the deer; out-eat and out-drink everyone at the banquet; strike down flying game unerringly; tame the wildest steed, and ride 120 miles in a day. Twenty-two nations obeyed him, and he could speak the dialect of each. A veneer of Greek refinement was spread thinly over the savage animalism of the man. [Sidenote: Pseudo-civilisation of his court.] He was a virtuoso, and had a wonderful collection of rings. He maintained Greek poets and historians, and offered prizes for singing. He had shrewdness enough to employ Greek generals, but not enough to keep him from being grossly superstitious.

[His kingdom and how it was acquired.] For twenty years (110-90 B.C.) he had been with never-resting activity extending his empire, before the Romans assailed him. He had inherited from his ancestors the kingdom of Pontus, or Cappadocia on the Pontus, which had been one of the two satrapies into which Cappadocia was divided at the time of the Macedonian conquest. Mithridates IV. had married a princess of the Greek race, the sister of Seleucus, King of Syria. His grandfather had conquered Sinope and Paphlagonia, as far as the Bithynian frontier. His father had helped the Romans in the third Punic War, had been styled the friend of Rome, and had been rewarded with the province of Phrygia nominally for his services against Aristonicus, the pretender to the kingdom of Attalus, but had been deprived of it afterwards when it was found out that really it had been put up for auction by Manius Aquillius, who was completing the subjugation of the adherents of the pretender. The boundaries of Pontus at his accession cannot be strictly defined. On the east it stretched towards the Caucasus and the sources of the Euphrates, Lesser Armenia being dependent on it. On the south and south-west its frontiers were Cappadocia and Galatia. On the west nominally Paphlagonia was the frontier, for the grandfather of Mithridates had been induced by the Romans to promise to evacuate his conquests. But Sinope was then, and continued to be, the capital of the Pontic kingdom, and both Paphlagonia and Galatia were virtually dependent. This was the territory to which Mithridates was heir, and which, true to the policy of his father and grandfather, he constantly strove by force or fraud to extend. [Mithridates extends his kingdom.] To the east of the Black Sea he conquered Colchis on the Phasis, and converted it into a satrapy. To the north he was hailed as the deliverer of the Greek towns on that coast and in the region now known as the Crimea, which from the constant exaction of tribute by barbarous tribes were, in the absence of any protectorate like that of Athens, falling into decay. By sea, and perhaps across the Caucasus by land, Mithridates sent his troops under the Greek generals Neoptolemus and Diophantus. Neoptolemus won a victory over the Tauric Scythians at Panticapaeum (Kertch), and the kingdom of Bosporus in the Crimea was ceded to his master by its grateful king. Diophantus marched westwards as far as the Tyras (Dneister), and in a great battle almost annihilated an army of the Roxolani, a nomadic people who roamed between the Borysthenes (Dneiper) and the Tanais (Don). By these conquests Mithridates acquired a tribute of 200 talents (48,000_l.), and 270,000 bushels of grain, and a rich recruiting ground for his armies. [His alliance with Tigranes.] On the east he annexed Lesser Armenia, and entered into the closest alliance with Tigranes, King of Greater Armenia, which had lately become a powerful kingdom, giving him his daughter Cleopatra in marriage. If the allies had any defined scheme of conquest, it was that Mithridates should occupy Asia Minor and the coast of the Black Sea, and Tigranes the interior and Syria. How the King intrigued and meddled in Cappadocia and Bithynia has been previously related; and when he had marched into Cappadocia it was at the head of 80,000 foot, 10,000 horse, and 600 scythed chariots.

Such was the history, the power, and the character of the great potentate who had yielded to the demands of Sulla, the propraetor, but who now awaited the attack of Sulla, the proconsul, with proud disdain. Much, indeed, had happened since the year 92 to justify such feelings. Hardly had Sulla reinstated Ariobarzanes when Tigranes drove him out again, and restored the son of Mithridates; while in Bithynia the younger son of Nicomedes, Socrates, appeared in arms against his elder brother, Nicomedes II., who on his father's death had been acknowledged as king by Rome. Socrates had soldiers from Pontus with him; but Mithridates, though his hand was plain in these disturbances, outwardly stood aloof; and the Senate, sending Manius Aquillius to restore the two kings, ordered Mithridates to aid him with troops if they were wanted. [Mithridates submits to Aquillius.] The king submitted as before, not, indeed, sending troops, but without resisting, and as a proof of his complacency put Socrates to death. This happened in the year 90, when Rome was pressed hardest by the Italians, and at first sight it seems astonishing that he should not have seized on so favourable a moment. But in those days news would travel from the west of Italy to Sinope but slowly and uncertainly, and Mithridates would have the fate of Antiochus in mind to warn him how the foes of the great republic fared, and the history of Pergamus to testify to the prosperity of those who remained its friends. Sulla's proud tone in 92 would not have lessened this impression; and, before he appealed to force, the crafty king hoped to make his position securer by fraud. Partly, therefore, from real awe, partly because he was not yet ready, he obeyed Aquillius as he had obeyed Sulla. But Aquillius, who had once put up Phrygia to auction, knew what pickings there were for a senator when war was afoot in Asia, and perhaps may have had the honester notion that, as Mithridates was sure to go to war soon, it was for the public as well as for his private interest to act boldly and strike the first blow. So he forced the reluctant Bithynian king to declare war, and to ravage with an army the country round Amastris while his fleet shut up the Bosporus. Still Mithridates did not stir; all that he did was to lodge a complaint with the Romans, and solicit their mediation or their permission to defend himself. [Aquillius forces on a war.] Aquillius replied that he must in no case make war on Nicomedes. It is easy to conceive how such an answer affected a man of the king's temper. He instantly sent his son with an army into Cappadocia. But once more he tried diplomacy. [Ultimatum of Mithridates.] Pelopidas, his envoy, came to Aquillius, and said that his master was willing to aid the Romans against the Italians if the Romans would forbid Nicomedes to attack him, their ally. If not, he wished the alliance to be formally dissolved. Or there was yet another alternative. Let the commissioners and himself appeal to the Senate to decide between them. The commissioners treated the message as an insult. Mithridates, they said, must not attack Nicomedes, and they intended to restore Ariobarzanes. Possibly the conduct of Aquillius was due to his having been heavily bribed by Nicomedes, who must have felt that when the Romans were gone he would be like a mouse awaiting the cat's spring; for it is difficult to imagine the foolhardiness which without some such tangible stimulus would at that moment have plunged him into war.

[War begun. Energy of Mithridates.] But when once the die was cast, Mithridates threw himself into the war with the energy of long-suppressed rage. He sent to court the alliance of Egypt and the Cretan league, to whom he represented himself as the champion of Greece against her tyrant. He tried to stir up revolts in Thrace and Macedonia. He arranged with Tigranes that an Armenian army should co-operate with him, leaving him the land it occupied, but carrying off the plunder. He gave the word, and a swarm of pirate ships swept the Mediterranean under his colours. He summoned an army of 250,000 foot, 40,000 horse, and 130 scythed chariots, a fleet of 300 decked vessels, and 100 other ships called 'Dicrota' with a double bank of oars. He formed and armed in Roman fashion a foreign contingent, in which many Romans and Italians enlisted; and he placed able Greek generals, Archelaus and Neoptolemus, over his troops. [Forces of Rome.] To meet this formidable array the Romans had a fleet off Byzantium, the army of Nicomedes, which was still between Sinope and Amastris, and three corps, each of 40,000 men, but composed for the most part of hastily organized Asiatics; one under Cassius between Bithynia and Galatia, another under Aquillius between Bithynia and Pontus, and a third under Oppius in Cappadocia. The war was decided almost in a single battle. [Victory of Mithridates over Nicomedes.] Neoptolemus and Archelaus routed the Bithynian army on the river Amnias, and captured the camp and military chest. It was a fierce and for some time a doubtful fight, and seems to have been decided by the scythed chariots, which spread terror in the Bithynian ranks. [Victory over Aquillius.] Nicomedes fled to Aquillius, who was defeated by Archelaus near Mount Scorobas, and fled with the king across the Sangarius to Pergamus, whence he attempted to reach Rhodes. Cassius retreated to Phrygia, and tried to discipline his raw levies. But, finding this impossible; he broke up the army and led the Roman troops with him to Apameia. The fleet in the Black Sea was surrendered by its commander.

[Mithridates' progress through Phrygia, Mysia and Asia.] Thus, triumphant by sea and land, Mithridates, after settling Bithynia, marched through Phrygia and Mysia into the Roman province Asia, and was hailed everywhere as a deliverer, for after his victories he had sent home all his Asiatic prisoners with presents. Then he sent messengers into Lycia and Pamphylia to seek the alliance of those countries. Oppius was in Laodicea, on the Lycus. The king offered the townsmen immunity if they surrendered him, and, when they did so, carried him about as a show. [Fate of Aquillius.] Aquillius was also given up by the Mytileneans and made to ride in chains on an ass, calling out who he was wherever he went. At Pergamus Mithridates slew him by pouring molten gold down his throat - a savage punishment, which, however, confirms the impression that it was Roman avarice which forced on the war. Magnesia on the Maeander, Ephesus, and Mitylene welcomed the king joyfully, and Stratoniceia, in Caria, was captured. He then attacked Magnesia near Mount Sipylus, prepared to invade Rhodes, and issued a hideous order for an exterminating massacre of every Roman and Italian in Asia on an appointed day. Punishments were proclaimed for anyone who should hide one of the proscribed or bury his body; rewards were promised for all who killed or denounced them. Slaves who slew their masters were to be freed. The murder of a creditor was to be taken as payment by a debtor of half his debt. [Massacre of Romans and Italians.] There were dreadful scenes on the fatal day - the thirtieth after the order was issued - in the Asiatic cities. In Pergamus the victims fled to the temple of Aesculapius, and were shot down as they clung to the statues. At Ephesus they were dragged out from the temple of Artemis and slain. At Adramyttium they swam out to sea, but were brought back and killed, and their children were drowned. At Cos alone was any mercy shown. There those who had taken refuge in the temple of Aesculapius were spared. The number of the slain was said to be 80,000 or even 120,000, which must have been, however, an incredible exaggeration. [Objects of the massacre.] By this fiendish crime Mithridates must, though he was mistaken, have felt that he cut himself off for ever from all reconciliation with Rome. But no doubt he acted on calculation. For not only did he get rid of men who might have recruited the Roman armies; not only did he gratify the long-hoarded hatred of the farmers and peasants of whom Roman publicans and Roman slave-masters had so long made a prey; not only did he oblige the debtors by wiping out their debts and even the very memory of them in their creditors' blood, but he might well count on putting his accomplices also beyond the pale of Roman mercy, and so linking them to his own fortunes. Moreover, vengeance seemed remote. For Sulla had just marched on Rome instead of to the east, and a civil war in Italy might make Mithridates permanently supreme in Asia. [Mithridates' settlement of his new acquisitions.] So he made Pergamus his capital, leaving Sinope to his son as vice-regent, while Cappadocia, Phrygia, and Bithynia were turned into satrapies. All arrears of taxes were remitted; and so wealthy had his spoils made him that exemption for five years to come was promised to the towns that had obeyed his orders.

[Reverses of Mithridates. He retires to Pergamus.] But the tide was already on the turn. In Paphlagonia there was still resistance. Archelaus was repulsed and wounded at Magnesia. Mithridates in person was forced to abandon the siege of Rhodes. His revenge was sated; he was tired of the hardships of a war which he meant his generals to conduct in future; and with a new wife he went back to Pergamus, to his rings, and his music, and debaucheries, at the very time that a shudder had gone through Italy at the tidings of the massacre, and when Sulla was on his way to avenge it.

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