[Aristion at Athens.] A citizen of Athens, named Aristion, whose mother was an Egyptian slave, and who was the son or adopted son of one Athenion, had been sent by the Athenians as ambassador to Mithridates. He had been a schoolmaster and teacher of rhetoric, and professed the philosophy of Epicurus. He gained the ear of Mithridates, and sent home flaming accounts of the king's power, and of his intention of restoring the democracy at Athens. The Athenians sent some ships of war to bring him home from Euboea, with a present of a silver-footed litter; and in this, clothed in purple, and with a fine ring on his finger, which he had got probably from his friend Mithridates, he came back to Athens with much parade. [Revolt of Athens from Rome.] In a set speech he dilated on the king's splendid successes, and advised the people to declare themselves independent and elect him their general. They did so, and he very soon massacred his opponents and made himself despot. Thus Athens and the Piraeus passed into the hands of Mithridates. The spirit of disaffection to Rome spread rapidly. [Revolt of the Achaeans, Laconians, and Boeotians.] When Archelaus appeared in Greece, the Achaeans, Laconians, and Boeotians, with the exception of Thespiae, joined him, while the Pontic fleet seized Euboea and Demetrias, a town at the head of the gulf of Pagasae.

Sura was sent by the Roman governor of Macedonia to make head against the invaders. He won a naval battle and captured Sciathus, where all the spoils of the enemy were stored. [Conflicts between the Romans and the forces of Mithridates in Boeotia.] Then he marched into Boeotia, and, after a three days' engagement with the combined forces of Archelaus and Aristion, pushed Archelaus back to the coast. The war, perhaps, might have been ended here; but at this moment Lucullus came to announce the approach of Sulla, and to warn Sura that the war had been entrusted to him. So Sura retired to Macedonia. [Sulla lands in Epirus, 87 B.C., and marches on Athens.] Sulla had left Brundusium in 87, and, landing on the coast of Epirus, gathered what supplies he could from Aetolia and Thessaly, and marched straight for Athens. It was soon seen that the foundations of the empire of Mithridates were based on sand. The Boeotians at once submitted, including Thebes, which had joined the king. [Sidenote: Siege of the Piraeus and Athens.] Sulla then began two sieges, that of the Piraeus where Archelaus was, and that of Athens defended by Aristion. Archelaus had before shown himself an intrepid soldier, and he baffled all Sulla's efforts with equal ingenuity and courage. After an unsuccessful attempt to storm the walls, Sulla retired to Eleusis and Megara, thus keeping up his communications with Thebes and the Peloponnese, and set to work constructing catapults and other engines, and preparing an earthwork from which he meant to attack the wall with them. For these purposes he cut down the trees of the Academia and the Lyceum. He was kept informed of intended sallies by two slaves inside the town, who threw out leaden balls with words cut on them. But as fast as the earthwork rose Archelaus built towers on the walls opposite to it, and thence harassed the besiegers. [Battle at the Piraeus. Archelaus nearly taken.] He was also reinforced by Mithridates, and then came out and fought a battle which was for some time doubtful; but he was forced to retire at length with the loss of 2,000 men. He himself remained till the last. The gates were shut and he had to be drawn up by a rope over the wall.

[Sulla's difficulties.] The affairs of Sulla, however, were in no flourishing condition. He had come to Greece with only 30,000 men, with no fleet, and little money. He was forced to plunder the shrines of Epidaurus, Olympia, and Delphi. His messenger to Delphi came back saying that he had heard the sound of a lute in the temple, and dared not commit the sacrilege. But Sulla sent him back, saying that he was sure the sound was a note of welcome, and that the god meant him to have the treasure. He promised to pay it back some day, and he kept his word, for he confiscated half the land of Thebes and applied the proceeds to reimbursing the sacred funds. In his worst straits he was always ready with some such mockery. [Sulla sends Lucullus to Egypt.] Winter was now at hand, and Sulla despatched Lucullus to Egypt to get ships. The refusal of the King of Egypt shows what was now thought of the Roman power. Sulla then formed a camp at Eleusis and continued the siege, and so shook the great tower of Archelaus by a simultaneous discharge of twelve leaden balls from his catapults that it had to be drawn back. [Blockade of Athens.] By means of the two slaves he was also able to frustrate the attempts of Archelaus to throw supplies into Athens, which was now suffering from hunger, for Sulla had surrounded it with forts and turned the siege into a blockade. Mithridates now sent his son into Macedonia with an army, before which the small Roman force there had to retire. After this success the prince marched towards Athens, but died on the way. [Desperate defence of the Piraeus.] At the Piraeus scenes occurred which were afterwards repeated at the siege of Jerusalem. Archelaus undermined the earthwork and Sulla made another determined attempt to take the wall by storm. He battered down part of it, fired the props of his mine and so brought down more, and sent troops by relays to escalade the breach. But Archelaus, like the Plataeans in the Peloponnesian war, built an inner crescent-shaped wall, from which he took the assailants in front and on both flanks when they tried to advance. [Sulla turns the siege into a blockade.] At last, wearied by this dogged resistance, Sulla turned the siege of the Piraeus also into a blockade, which meant simply that he hindered Archelaus from helping Athens, for he could not prevent the influx of supplies from the sea.

[Athens taken March 1, B.C. 86.] Athens meanwhile was in dreadful straits. Wheat was selling at nearly 3_l. 10_s. a gallon, and the inhabitants were feeding on old leather bottles, shoes, and the bodies of the dead. A deputation came out, but Sulla sent them back because they began an harangue on the deeds of their ancestors, put into their mouths, no doubt, by the rhetorician Aristion. Sulla told them they were the scum of nations, not descended from the old Athenians at all, and that instead of listening to their rhetoric he meant to punish their rebellion. On the night of March 1, 86 B.C., he broke into the town amid the blare of trumpets and the shouts of his troops. He told his men to give no quarter, and the blood, it was said, ran down through the gates into the suburbs. [Aristion slain.] Aristion fled to the Acropolis. Hunger forced him in the end to capitulate, and he was killed. Sulla meanwhile had forced on the siege of Piraeus still more vigorously. He got past the crescent wall, only to find other walls similarly constructed behind it; but he gradually drove Archelaus into Munychia, or the peninsular part of Piraeus, and as he had no ships he could do nothing more. [Archelaus sails from Piraeus, and joins Taxiles, sent by Mithridates with reinforcements.] Either before or after the capture of the Acropolis Archelaus sailed away, in obedience to a summons from Taxiles, a new general whom Mithridates had sent with an army of 100,000 foot, 10,000 horse, and ninety scythed chariots into Greece. With these forces and the troops previously sent with his master's son he formed a junction at Thermopylae, marched into Phocis down the valley of the Cephissus, attempted but failed to take Elateia, and came up with Sulla near Chaeroneia. [Sulla forms a junction with Hortensius.] Sulla had marched into Boeotia and joined Hortensius, who had a brought some troops from Thessaly. But he is said by Appian to have had not a third of the enemy's numbers, while Plutarch affirms that he had only 15,000 foot and 1,500 horse.

[Position of the two armies.] Sulla was on the west bank of the Cephissus, on an eminence named Philoboeotus, and Archelaus on the other side of the river not far off. Sulla's soldiers were alarmed by the numbers and splendour of the enemy, for the brass and steel of their armour 'kindled the air with an awful flame like that of lightning.' [Manoeuvres of Sulla and Archelaus.] Archelaus, marching down the valley of the Cephissus, tried to seize a strong position called the Acropolis of the Parapotamii, situated on the Assus, which joined the Cephissus to the south of both armies. But Sulla, who had wearied out his men by drudgery in dyke-making, and made them eager for a fight, crossed the Cephissus, seized the position first, and then, crossing the Assus, took up his position under Mount Edylium. Here he encamped opposite Archelaus, who, having also crossed the Assus, was now at a place called Assia, which was nearer Lake Copais. Thence Archelaus made an attempt on Chaeroneia; but Sulla was again beforehand with him, and garrisoned the place with one legion. South of Chaeroneia was a hill called Thurium. This Archelaus seized. Sulla then brought the rest of his troops across the Cephissus, to form a junction with the legion in Chaeroneia and dislodge the enemy from Thurium. He left Murena on the north of the Cephissus to keep the enemy in check at Assia. Archelaus, however, also brought his main army across the Cephissus after Sulla. Murena followed him, and Sulla drew up his army with his cavalry on each wing, himself commanding the right and Murena the left. The armies were now opposite each other, Sulla to the south, then Archelaus, then the Cephissus.

[Battle of Chaeroneia.] Sulla sent some troops round Thurium to the hills behind Chaeroneia, and in the enemy's rear. The enemy ran down in confusion from Thurium, where they were met by Murena with Sulla's left wing, and were either destroyed or driven back upon the centre of the line of Archelaus, which they threw into disorder. Sulla on the right advanced so quickly as to prevent the scythed chariots from getting any impetus, by which they were rendered useless, for the soldiers easily eluded them when driven at a slow pace, and as soon as they had passed killed the horses and drivers. Archelaus now extended his right wing in order to surround Murena. Hortensius, whom Sulla had posted on some hills to the left of his left wing on purpose to defeat this manoeuvre, immediately pressed forward to attack this body on its left flank. But Archelaus drove him back with some cavalry, and nearly surrounded Hortensius.

Sulla hastened to his aid, and Archelaus, seeing him coming, instantly counter-marched and attacked Sulla's right in his absence, while Taxiles assailed Murena on the left. But Sulla hastened back, too, after leaving Hortensius to support Murena, and, when he appeared, the right wing drove back Archelaus to the Cephissus. Murena was equally triumphant on the left wing, and the barbarians fled pell-mell to the Cephissus, only 10,000 of them reaching Chalcis in Euboea. [Sulla's falsehood about the battle.] Appian says the Romans lost only thirteen men, while Plutarch, on the authority of Sulla's Memoirs, says that they lost four. This is absurd. Sulla seems to have told some startling lies in his Memoirs, perhaps to prove that he had been the favourite of fortune, which was a mania of his.

[Dorylaus reinforces Archelaus.] Mithridates, when he heard of the defeat of Archelaus, sent Dorylaus with 8,000 men to Euboea, where he joined the remnant of the army of Archelaus, and crossing to the mainland met Sulla at Orchomenus. Sulla was in Phthiotis, to confront L. Valerius Flaccus who had come to supersede him, but he returned as soon as he heard that Dorylaus had landed. Orchomenus is just north of the Cephissus where it runs into Lake Copais, and a stream called Melas, rising on the east of Orchomenus, joined the Cephissus near its mouth, the neighbouring ground being a marsh. [Battle of Orchomenus. Disposition of Archelaus' army.] Archelaus did not want to fight, but Dorylaus hinted at treachery and had, no doubt, been ordered by Mithridates to avenge Chaeroneia. Near Mount Tilphossium, however, to the south of Lake Copais, he was worsted by Sulla in a skirmish, and thinking better of the advice of Archelaus tried to prolong the war. Archelaus, indeed, seems to have commanded in the battle, for Mithridates was shrewd enough to know when he had a good general. He drew up his army in four lines, the scythed chariots in front, behind them the Macedonian phalanx, then his auxiliaries, including Italian deserters, and, lastly, his light-armed troops. On each flank he posted his cavalry. [Sulla's arrangements.] Sulla, who was weak in cavalry, dug two ditches guarded by forts, one on each flank, so as to keep off the enemy's horse. Then he drew up his infantry in three lines, leaving gaps in them for the light troops and cavalry to come through from the rear when needed. To the second line stakes were given, with orders to plant them so as to form a palisade; and the first line, when the chariots charged, retired behind the palisade, while the light troops advanced through the gaps and hurled missiles at the horses and drivers. The chariots turned and threw the phalanx into confusion, and when Archelaus ordered up his cavalry, Sulla sent round his to take them in the rear. At one time, however, the contest was doubtful, and the Romans wavered, till they were put to shame by their general, who, seizing a standard and advancing towards the foe, cried out, 'When those at home ask where it was you abandoned your leader, say, it was at Orchomenus.' This great victory, in which Sulla showed generalship of a high order, ended the first Mithridatic war. The date is not quite certain. Probably it happened in 86.

[Sulla winters in Thessaly.] After the battle Sulla wintered in Thessaly, where he built a fleet, being tired of waiting for Lucullus. [He confers with Archelaus at Delium.] At Delium he met Archelaus and each urged the other to turn traitor, Archelaus promising that Mithridates would aid Sulla against Cinna; Sulla advising Archelaus to dethrone Mithridates. It was a curious way of showing the respect which they entertained for each other's ability; but Sulla was too scornful of Asiatic aid, and Archelaus too loyal to listen to such suggestions. However, when Archelaus fell ill afterwards, Sulla was so attentive to him, besides giving him land in Euboea and styling him friend of the Roman people, that it was suspected that Archelaus had been playing into his hands all along. It was a most unlikely suspicion; for nothing was more natural than that now, when Sulla was making terms with Mithridates and going to meet Fimbria, he should wish to make Archelaus his friend. For after all he had resolved to forget the Asiatic massacre and not push Mithridates to desperation. [Terms offered by Sulla to Mithridates.] The terms agreed upon were these: Mithridates was to surrender Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, Bithynia, Asia, and the islands, eighty ships of war, all prisoners and deserters; he was to give pay and provisions to Sulla's men, and provide a war indemnity of 3,000 talents (732,000_l.); to restore to their homes the refugees from Macedonia, and those whom, as will be related hereafter, he had carried off from Chios; and to hand over more of his ships of war to such states as Rhodes in alliance with Rome. Mithridates was then to be recognised as the ally of Rome. He chafed at the terms, the proposal of which indeed brought out the long-headed intrepidity of Sulla's character in the strongest light. Walking, as it were, on the razor-edge of two precipices, he never faltered once. The Romans could not charge him with not having carried into effect the original purpose of the war - the restoration of Nicomedes and Ariobarzanes - nor could Mithridates fail in the end to listen to the voice of Archelaus. When he at first rejected the terms, Sulla advanced towards Asia, plundering some of the barbarous tribes on the frontiers of Macedonia, and reducing that province to order. But Mithridates did not hesitate long. [Tyranny and difficulties of Mithridates.] He, too, was in a difficult position. The inhabitants of Asia Minor soon found that in yielding to him they had exchanged whips for scorpions. He suspected that the defeat of Archelaus at Chaeroneia would excite rebellion, and he seized as many of the Galatian chiefs as he could, and slew them with their wives and children. The consequence was that the surviving chiefs expelled the man whom he had sent as satrap. He suspected the Chians also, and made them give up their arms and the children of their chief men as hostages. Then he made a requisition on them for 2,000 talents (488,000_l.), and because they could not raise the money, or because the tyrant pretended that there was a deficiency, the citizens were shipped off to the east of the Black Sea, and the island was occupied by colonists. The man who had managed the affair of Chios was sent to play the same game at Ephesus. But the people were on their guard, slew him, and raised the standard of rebellion. Tralles, Hypaepa, Metropolis, Sardis, Smyrna, and other towns followed their example. Mithridates tried to buoy up his sinking cause, attracting debtors by the remission of debts, resident aliens by the gift of the citizenship of the towns which they inhabited, and slaves by the promise of freedom - devices of a desperate man. A plot was laid against his life which was betrayed, and in his fury he launched out into yet more savage excesses. He sent a set of men to collect depositions, and they slew indiscriminately those who were denounced, 1600, it is said, in all.

[Fimbria mutinies against and murders Flaccus.] These events must have occurred in the winter of 86-85 B.C., when Flaccus was on his march from the Adriatic coast through Macedonia and Thrace for Asia. Flaccus had quarrelled with his lieutenant Fimbria, and superseded him. The latter, when Flaccus had crossed from Byzantium to Chalcedon, induced the troops, who hated their general, to mutiny. Flaccus returned in haste; but, learning what had happened, fled back to Chalcedon and thence to Nicomedia. Here Fimbria, finding him hidden in a well, murdered him, and threw his head into the sea. [He defeats the son of Mithridates and pursues the king.] Then, attacking the king's son, he defeated him at the river Rhyndacus, and pursued the king himself to Pergamus and Pitane, where he would have taken him but that he crossed over to Mitylene, while Fimbria had no ships and was thus baulked of his prey. Another event had happened to aggravate his irritation. [Lucullus off the coast of Asia Minor. Overtures of Fimbria to him.] Lucullus, sent by Sulla to collect a fleet, had, as has been related (p. 153), failed in Egypt. But he had procured ships from Syria and Rhodes, induced Cos and Cnidus to revolt, and driven out the Pontic partisans from Chios and Colophon. He was now in the neighbourhood, when Mithridates was at Pitane. [Mithridates meets Sulla and thy come to terms.] But, he turned a deaf ear to Fimbria's request for aid, and after defeating Neoptolemus, the king's admiral, met Sulla in the Thracian Chersonese, and conveyed him across to Dardanus, in the Troad, where Mithridates came to meet him. Each had one feeling in common - dread lest the other should make terms with Fimbria; and the bargain was soon struck in spite of Sulla's soldiers, who were thus after all baulked of the long-looked-for Asiatic campaign and their desire to take revenge for the great massacre. But Sulla, as we have seen (p. 153), got some money to quiet them; and they were in his power in Asia almost as much as he had been in theirs at Rome. He at once led them against Fimbria, who was near Thyatira, in Lydia. [Fimbria's men desert to Sulla. Fimbria commits suicide.] He summoned that leader to hand over his army, and the soldiers began to desert to him. Fimbria tried to force them to swear obedience to him, and slew the first who refused. Then he sent a slave to assassinate Sulla; and the discovery of this attempt so maddened Sulla's soldiers that Fimbria dared not trust even Sulla's promised safe-conduct and slew himself. [Sulla's measures.] Sulla incorporated his troops with his own army, and proceeded to regulate the affairs of Asia. Those towns which had remained faithful to Rome or had sided with him were liberally rewarded. All slaves who refused to return to their masters were slain. The towns that resisted were punished and their walls destroyed. The ringleaders in the massacre were put to death. The taxpayers were forced to pay at once the previous five years' arrears and a fine of 20,000 talents (4,880,000_l.), and Lucullus was left to collect it. In order to raise this sum the unhappy Asiatics were obliged to mortgage their public buildings to the Italian money-lenders; but Sulla got the whole of it, and scarcely was he gone when pirates, hounded on by Mithridates, came, like flocks of vultures, to devour what the eagles had left.

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