Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Care to express an opinion on a current or past historical event?

Need to ask a question from our many visitors?

Just visit our Forum and leave your message.


Weekly Poll

The History Of Pontus
Book: Chapter I.
Author: Rollins, Charles
Date: 1731

Section I, Part I.

This book includes the space of sixty years, which is three more than the
reign of Mithridates, from the year of the world 3880 to the year 3943.

Mithridates Ascends The Throne Of Pontus. Library Of Athens Carried To Rome.

Mithridates, king of Pontus, whose history we are now beginning, and who
rendered himself so famous by the war he supported during almost thirty years
against the Romans, was surnamed Eupator. He was descended from a house which
had given a long succession of kings to the kingdom of Pontus. The first,
according to some historians, was Artabazus, one of the seven princes that
slew the Magi, and set the crown of Persia upon the head of Darius Hystaspes,
who rewarded him with the kingdom of Pontus. But, besides that we do not find
the name of Artabazus among those Persians, many reasons induce us to believe
that the prince of whom we speak was the son of Darius, the same who is called
Artabarzanes, who was competitor with Xerxes for the throne of Persia, and was
made king of Pontus either by his father or his brother, to console him for
the preference given to Xerxes. His posterity enjoyed that kingdom during
seventeen generations. Mithridates Eupator, of whom we shall treat in this
place, was the sixteenth from him.

He was but twelve years of age when he began to reign. ^733 His father,
before his death, had appointed him his successor, and had given him his
mother for guardian, who was to govern jointly with him. He began his reign
by putting his mother and brother to death; and the sequel answered but too
well to such a beginning of it. ^734 Nothing is said of the first years of his
reign, except that one of the Roman generals, whom he had corrupted with
money, having surrendered, and put him into possession of Phrygia, it was soon
after taken from him by the Romans, which gave rise to his enmity for them.

[Footnote 733: A. M. 3880. Ant. J. C. 124.]

[Footnote 734: Memnon. in Excerptis Photii. c. 32.]

[Footnote 735: Appian. in Mithrid. pp. 177, 178.]

Ariarathes, king of Cappadocia, being dead, Mithridates caused the two
sons he had left to be put to death, though their mother Laodice was his own
sister, and placed one of his own sons, at that time very young, upon the
throne, giving him the name of Ariarathes, and appointing Gordius his guardian
and regent. ^736 Nicomedes, king of Bithynia, who apprehended that this
increase of power would put Mithridates 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 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 son, whom she carried thither along with
her. The cause being brought before the senate, both parties were condemned,
and a decree passed, by which the Cappadocians were declared free. But they
said they would 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 quitting the office of praetor, was charged with the
commission of establishing him upon the throne. That was the pretext for this
expedition; but the real motive of it was, to check the enterprises of
Mithridates, whose power daily augmenting, gave umbrage to the Romans. Sylla
executed his commission the following year; and after having defeated a great
number of Cappadocians, and a much greater of Armenians, who came to their
aid, he expelled Gordius, with the pretended Ariarathes, and set Ariobarzanes
in his place. ^737

[Footnote 736: A. M. 3913. Ant. J. C. 91.]

[Footnote 737: A. M. 3914. Ant. J. C. 90.]

While Sylla was encamped on the banks of the Euphrates, a Persian, named
Orobasus, arrived at his camp from king Arsaces, ^738 to demand the alliance
and amity of the Romans. Sylla 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 middle for himself. The Parthian king, offended
at his deputy for having acquiesced in this instance of the Roman pride,
caused him to be put to death. This is the first time the Parthians had any
intercourse with the Romans.

[Footnote 738: This was Mithridates II.]

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 time he applied himself in cultivating good alliances for the
augmentation of his strength, and began with Tigranes, king of Armenia, a very
powerful prince. Armenia 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 Zadriades, with that prince's permission, established themselves
in this province, of which it is probable they were before governors. After
the defeat of Antiochus they adhered to the Romans, who acknowledged them as
kings. They had divided Armenia into two parts. Tigranes, of whom we now
speak, was descended from Artaxius. He possessed himself of all Armenia,
subjected several neighboring 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 project against the Romans, that they
agreed that Mithridates should have the cities and countries they should
conquer for his share, and Tigranes the people, with all the effects capable
of being carried away. ^739

[Footnote 739: Strab. l. 11. pp. 531, 532.]

The first enterprise and act of hostility was committed by Tigranes, who
deprived Ariobarzanes of Cappadocia, of which the Romans had put him into
possession, and re-established Ariarathes the son of Mithridates in it.
Nicomedes, king of Bithynia, happened to die about this time: his eldest son,
called also Nicomedes, ought naturally to have succeeded him, and was
accordingly proclaimed king; 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-establishment, and sent Manius Aquilius and M. Altinius to put that
decree in execution. ^740

[Footnote 740: A. M. 3915. Ant. J. C. 89.]

They were both reinstated. The Romans advised them to make irruptions
into the lands of Mithridates, promising them their support: but neither the
one nor the other dared to attack so powerful a prince so near home. At
length, however, Nicomedes, at the joint instances of the ambassadors, to whom
he had promised great sums for his reestablishment, and of his creditors,
Roman citizens settled in Asia, who had lent him very considerably for the
same object, could no longer resist their solicitations. He made incursions
upon the lands of Mithridates, ravaged all the low country as far as the city
Amastris, and returned home laden with booty, which he applied to discharging
part of his debts.

Mithridates was not ignorant by whose advice Nicomedes had committed this
irruption. He might easily have repulsed him, having a great number of good
troops on foot; but he did not take the field. He was glad to place the wrong
on the side of the Romans, and to have a just cause for declaring war against
them. He began by making remonstrances to their generals and ambassadors.
Pelopidas was at the head of this embassy. He complained of the various
contraventions of the Romans to the treaty of alliance subsisting between them
and Mithridates, and in particular, of the protection granted by them to
Nicomedes his declared enemy. The ambassadors of the latter replied with
complaints on their side of Mithridates. The Romans, who were unwilling to
declare themselves openly at present, gave them an answer in loose and general
terms; that the Roman people had no intention that Mithridates and Nicomedes
should injure each other.

Mithridates, who was not satisfied with this answer, caused his troops to
march immediately into Cappadocia, expelled Ariobarzanes again, and set his
son Ariarathes upon the throne, as he had done before. At the same time, he
sent his ambassadors to the Roman generals to make his apology, and to
complain of them again. Pelopidas declared to them, that his master was
contented that the Roman people should judge in the affair, and added, that he
had already sent 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 consequences. For the rest, he gave
them to understand, that Mithridates, in case justice were refused him, was in
a condition to obtain it himself. The Romans, highly offended at so haughty a
declaration, made answer, that Mithridates had orders immediately to withdraw
his troops from Cappadocia, and to cease to disturb Nicomedes or Ariobarzanes.
They ordered Pelopidas to quit the camp that moment, and not to 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 was what Mithridates had
desired. The design he had long formed of declaring war against the Romans
had occasioned his having made many alliances, and engaged many nations in his
interests. Twenty-two languages, of as many different people, were reckoned
among his troops; all which Mithridates himself spoke with facility. His army
consisted of two hundred and fifty thousand foot, and forty thousand horse;
without including one hundred and thirty armed chariots, and a fleet of four
hundred 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. ^741 He represented to them, "that there was no room for examining
whether war or peace were to be preferred; that the Romans, by attacking them
first, had spared them that inquiry; that their business was to fight and
conquer; that he assured himself of success, if the troops persisted to act
with the same valor they had already shown upon so many occasions, and 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 favorable opportunity
than the present, when the Marsi infested and ravaged the heart of Italy
itself; when Rome was torn in pieces by civil wars and an innumerable army of
the Cimbri from Germany overran all Italy; that the time was come for humbling
those proud republicans, who had the same view with regard to the royal
dignity, and had sworn to pull down all the thrones of the universe; that for
the rest, the war his soldiers were now entering upon, was highly different
from that they had sustained with so much valor 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 rich and opulent cities, which
seemed to offer themselves an easy prey: that Asia, abandoned to be devoured
by the insatiable avarice of the proconsuls, the inexorable cruelty of
taxfarmers, and the crying injustice of corrupt judges, held the name of Roman
in horror, and impatiently expected them as her deliverers: that they followed
him not so much to a was war as to assured victory and certain spoils." ^742
The army answered this discourse with universal shouts of joy, and reiterated
protestations of service and fidelity. ^743

[Footnote 741: I have greatly abridged this discourse, which Justin repeats at
length, as it stood in Trogus Pompeius, of whom he is only the epitomizer.
The discourse is a specimen of that excellent historian's style, and ought to
make us very much regret the loss of his writings.]

[Footnote 742: Nunc se diversum belli conditionem ingredi. Nem neque coelo
Asiae esse temperatius aliud, nec solo fertilius, nec urbium multitudine
amaenius; magnamque temporis partem, non ut militiam, sed ut festam diem,
acturos, bello dubium facili magis an uberi - tantumque se avida expectat
Asia, ut etiam vocibus vocet; adeo illis odium Romanorum incussit rapacitas
proconsulum, sectio publicanorum, calumniae litium. - Justin. - Sectio
publicanorum, "in this passage, properly signifies the forcible sale of the
goods of those, who, for default of payment of taxes and imposts, had their
estates and effects seized on and sold by the publicans." Calumniae litum,
"are the unjust quirks and chicanery which served as pretexts for depriving
the rich of their estates, either upon account of taxes, or under some other

[Footnote 743: Justin. l. 38, c. 3-7.]

The Romans had formed three armies out of their troops in the several
parts of Asia Minor. The first was commanded by Cassius, who had the
government of the province of Pergamus; the second by Manius Aquilius; the
third by Q. Oppius, proconsul in the province of Pamphylia. 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 orders from Rome, and had carried it on with
so much negligence, and so little conduct, 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.
Mithridates, considering Aquilius as the principal author of the war, treated
him with the highest indignities. He made him pass in review before the
troops, and 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 made him swallow molten lead, and
put him to death with the most excruciating torments. The people of Mittylene
had treacherously delivered him up 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, whom he had taken
prisoners, and supplied them with provisions for their journey. ^744 That
instance of his goodness and lenity opened the gates of all the cities to him.
The people came out to meet him everywhere with acclamations of joy. They gave
him excessive praises, called him the preserver, the father of the people, the
deliverer of Asia, with all the other names ascribed to Bacchus, to which he
had a just title, for he passed for the prince of his times, who could drink
most without being disordered; a quality he valued himself upon, and thought
much to his honor. ^745

[Footnote 744: Diod. in Excerpt. Vales. p. 401. Athen. l. v. p. 213. Cic.
Orat. pro Flacco, n. 60.]

[Footnote 745: Plut. Sympos. l. i. p. 624.]

The fruits of his first victories were the conquest of all Bithynia, from
which Nicomedes was driven; of Phrygia and Mysia, lately made Roman provinces;
of Lycia, Pamphylia, Paphlagonia, and several other countries.

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

Mithridates, considering that the Romans, 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 from Ephesus, where he then was, to the governors of the provinces, and
magistrates of the cities of Asia Minor, to massacre them all upon a certain
day. ^746 The women, children, and domestics were included in this
proscription. To these orders was annexed a prohibition to give interment to
those who should be killed. Their estates and effects were to be confiscated
for the use of the king 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 that were hid. Liberty was given to the slaves who
killed their masters; and debtors forgiven half their debts, for killing their
creditors. The recital only of this sanguinary order is enough to make one
tremble with horror. What then must have been the desolation in all these
provinces, when it was put in execution! Eighty thousand Romans and Italians
were butchered in consequence of it. Some make the slain amount to almost
twice that number. ^747

[Footnote 746: Is uno die, tota Asia, tot in civitatibus, uno nuntio, utque
una literarum significatione, cives Romanos necundos trucidandosque denotavit.
- Cic.]

[Footnote 747: A. M. 3916. Ant. J. C. 88. Appian. p. 185. Cic. in Orat. pro
Lege Manil. n. 7.]

Having been informed that there was a great treasure at Cos, he sent
people thither to seize it. Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, had deposited it
there, when she undertook the war in Phoenicia against her son Lathyrus.
Besides this treasure, they found eight hundred talents, which the Jews in
Asia Minor had deposited there, when they saw the war ready to break out. ^748

[Footnote 748: Appian. p. 186. Joseph. Antiq. l. xiv. c. 12.]

All those who had found means to escape this general slaughter in Asia,
had taken refuge at Rhodes, which received them with joy, and afforded them a
secure retreat. Mithridates laid siege to that city ineffectually, which he
was soon obliged to raise, after having been in danger of being taken himself
in a sea-fight, wherein he lost many of his ships. ^749

[Footnote 749: Appian. pp. 186-188. Diod. in Excerpt. p. 402.]

When he had made himself master of Asia Minor, Mithridates sent
Archelaus, one of his generals, with an army of one hundred and twenty
thousand men, into Greece. That general took Athens, and chose it for his
residence, giving all orders from thence in regard 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 master. He reduced Delos by force, which 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 employed the two thousand men under his command
to seize all 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 faction. ^750

[Footnote 750: Plut. in Sylla, pp. 458-461. Appian. in Mithrid. pp. 118-

Such was the state of affairs when Sylla was charged with the war against
Mithridates. He set out immediately for Greece with five legions, and some
cohorts and cavalry. Mithridates was at time at Pergamus, where he
distributed riches, governments, and other rewards to his friends. ^751

[Footnote 751: A. M. 3917. Ant. J. C. 87.]

Upon Sylla's arrival, all the cities opened their gates to him, except
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, one of which he sent to besiege Aristion in the
city of Athens, and with the other marched in person to the port of Piraeus,
which was a kind of 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 hewn stone. The work was indeed very strong, and had been raised
by the 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 his

The height of the walls did not amaze Sylla. He employed all sorts of
engines in battering it, and made continual assaults. If he had 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 apprehending 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 constantly employed in working the machines only.
Wood happening to fall short from the great consumption made of it in the
machines which were often either broken or spoiled by the vast weight they
carried, or burnt by the enemy, he did not spare the sacred groves. He cut
down the trees in the walks of the Academy and Lycaeum, which were the finest
and best planned in the suburbs, and caused the high walls that joined the
port to the city to be demolished, in order to make use of the ruins in
erecting his works and carrying on his approaches.

As he had occasion for great sums of money in this war, and desired 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 gifts consecrated at Epidaurus and Olympia, to be brought
from thence. He wrote to the Amphictyons assembled at Delphos, "that they
would act wisely in sending him the treasures of the god, because they would
be more secure in his hands; and 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 Delphos, to receive all those
treasures by weight.

When Caphis arrived at Delphos, he was afraid, out of reverence for the
god, to meddle with the gifts consecrated to him, and wept, in the presence of
the Amphictyons, the necessity imposed upon him. Upon which some person there
having said, that he heard the sound of Apollo's lyre from the inside of the
sanctuary, Caphis, whether he really believed it, or was for taking that
occasion to strike Sylla with a religious awe, wrote him an account of what
happened. Sylla, deriding his simplicity, replied, "that he was surprised he
should not comprehend, 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 it with pleasure,
and gave them to him himself."

Plutarch, on this occasion, observes upon 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 views from employments
but the public good, knew how to make the soldiers respect and obey them,
without descending to use low and unworthy methods for that purpose. They
commanded troops that were wise, disciplined, and well inured to execute the
orders of their generals without reply or delay. "Truly kings," says Plutarch,
"in the grandeur and nobility of their sentiments, but simple and modest
private persons in their train and equipage, they put the state to no other
expense in the discharge of their offices than what was reasonable and
necessary, conceiving it more shameful in a captain to flatter his soldiers
than to fear his enemies." Things were much changed in the times we now speak
of. The Roman generals, abandoned to insatiable ambition and luxury, were
obliged to make themselves slaves to their soldiers, and buy their services by
gifts proportioned to their avidity, and often by the toleration and impunity
of the greatest crimes.

Sylla, in consequence, was perpetually in extreme want of money to
satisfy his troops, and then more than ever, for carrying on the siege he had
engaged in; the success of which seemed to him of the highest importance, both
as to his honor and safety. He was for depriving Mithridates of the only city
he had left in Greece, and which by preventing the Romans from passing into
Asia, made all hopes of conquering that prince vain, and would oblige Sylla to
return shamefully into Italy, where he would have found more terrible enemies
in Marius and his faction. He was besides sensibly galled by the offensive
raillery in which Aristion indulged every day against himself and his wife

It is not easy to say whether the attack or defence was conducted with
most vigor; for both sides behaved with incredible courage and resolution. The
sorties were frequent, and attended with almost battles in 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 hurt them the most was the secret treachery of two Athenian slaves
that were in the Piraeus. Those slaves, whether out of affection to the Roman
party, or desirous of providing for their own safety, in case the place were
taken, wrote upon leaden balls all that passed within, and threw them with
slings to the Romans; so that whatever wise measures Archelaus took, who
defended the Piraeus, while Aristion commanded in the city, were rendered
useless. He resolved to make a general sally: the traitors threw 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 provisions was in the night to
have been thrown into the city, that was in want of every thing. Upon advice
of the same kind, the convoy was intercepted.

Notwithstanding all these disadvantages, the Athenians defended
themselves like lions. They found means either to burn most of the machines
erected against the walls, or by undermining them, to throw them down and
break them to pieces.

The Romans, on their side, behaved with no less vigor. By the help of
mines, also, they made a passage to the foot of the walls, under which they
excavated the ground, 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 burned, part of the wall fell down with a
horrible noise, and a large breach was opened, through which the Romans
advanced to the assault. The battle continued a great while with equal ardor
on both sides; but the Romans were at length obliged to retire. The next day
they renewed the attack. The besieged had built a new wall during the night
in the form of a crescent, in the place where the other had fallen: and the
Romans found it impossible to force it.

Sylla, discouraged by so obstinate a defence, resolved to attack the
Piraeus no longer, but confined himself to reduce the place by famine. The
city, on the other side, was at the last extremity. A bushel of barley had
been sold in it for a thousand drachmas. The inhabitants did not only eat the
grass and roots, which they found about the citadel, but the flesh of horses,
and the leather of shoes, which they boiled soft. In the midst of the public
misery, the tyrant passed his days and nights in debauch. The senators and
priests went to throw themselves at his feet, conjuring him to have pity on
the city, and to obtain a capitulation from Sylla; he dispersed them with
arrows, and in that manner drove them from his presence.

He did not demand a cessation of arms, nor send deputies to Sylla, till
reduced to the last extremity. As those deputies made no proposals, and asked
nothing of him to the purpose, but ran on in praising and extolling Theseus,
Eumolpus, and the exploits of the Athenians against the Medes, Sylla was tired
with their discourse, and interrupted them by saying, "You may go back again,
and keep your rhetorical flourishes to yourselves. For my part, I was not
sent to Athens to be informed of your ancient prowess but to chastise your
modern revolt."

During the audience, some spies having entered the city, overheard by
chance some old men talking of the quarter called Ceramicus, ^753 and blaming
the tyrant exceedingly for not guarding a certain part of the wall, that was
the only place by which the enemy might easily scale the walls. At their
return into the camp, they related what they had heard to Sylla. The parley
had been to no purpose. Sylla did not neglect the intelligence given him.
The next night he went in person to take a view of the place; and finding the
wall actually accessible, he ordered ladders to be raised against it, began
the attack there, and having made himself master of the wall, after a weak
resistance, entered the city. He would not suffer it to be set on fire, but
abandoned it to be plundered by the soldiers, who, in several houses, found
human flesh which had been dressed to be eaten. A dreadful slaughter ensued.
The next day all the slaves were sold by auction, and liberty was granted to
the citizens who had escaped the swords of the soldiers, who were a very small
number. He besieged the citadel the same day, where Aristion, and those who
had taken refuge there, were soon so much reduced by famine, that they were
forced to surrender. The tyrant, his guards, and all who had been in office
under him, were put to death.

[Footnote 753: The public place at Athens.]

Some few days after, Sylla made himself master of the Piraeus, and burned
all its fortifications, especially the arsenal, which had been built by Philo,
the celebrated architect, and was a wonderful fabric. Archelaus, by the help
of his fleet, had retired to Munichia, another port of Attica.

This year was fatal to the arms of Mithridates. Taxiles, one of his
generals, arrived in Greece from Thrace and Macedonia, with an army of one
hundred thousand foot, ten thousand horse, and ninety chariots armed with
scythes. Archelaus, that general's brother, was at that time in the port of
Munichia, and would neither remove from the sea, nor come to a battle with the
Romans; but he endeavored to protract the war, and cut off their provisions.
This was very wise conduct, for Sylla began to be in want of them; so that
famine obliged him to quit Attica, and to enter the fruitful plains of
Boeotia, where Hortensius joined him. Their troops being united, they took
possession of a fertile eminence in the midst of the plains of Elatea, at the
foot of which ran a rivulet. When they had formed their camp, the enemy could
immediately discover their small number, which amounted to only fifteen
thousand foot, and fifteen hundred horse. This introduced the generals of
Archelaus to press him in the warmest manner to proceed to action. They did
not obtain his consent without great difficulty. They immediately began to
move, and covered the whole plain with horses, chariots, and their innumerable
troops: for when the two brothers were joined, their army was very formidable.
The noise and cries of so many thousand men preparing for battle, and the pomp
and magnificence of their array, were equally terrible. The brightness of
their armor, magnificently adorned with gold and silver, and the lively colors
of the Median and Scythian coats of arms, mingled with the glitter of brass
and steel, reflected a kind of rays, which, while they dazzled the sight,
filled the soul with terror. ^754

[Footnote 754: Plut. in Sylla. pp. 461-466. Appian. 196-203. A. M. 3918,
Ant. J. C. 86.]

Back to Main menu

A project by History World International

World History Center