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

Section III.

Lucullus Declares War Against Tigranes. The Latter Loses Two Battles.

Tigranes, to whom Lucullus had sent an ambassador, though of no great
power in the beginning of his reign, had enlarged it so much by a series of
successes, of which there are few examples, that he was commonly surnamed the
"king of kings." After having overthrown and almost ruined the family of the
kings, successors of Seleucus the Great; after having very often humbled the
pride of the Parthians, transported whole cities of Greeks into Media,
conquered all Syria and Palestine, and given laws to the Arabians, called
Scaenites; he reigned with an authority respected by all the princes of Asia.
The people paid him honors, after the manner of the East, even to adoration.
His pride was inflamed and supported by the immense riches he possessed, by
the excessive and the continual praise of his flatterers, and by a prosperity
that had never known any interruption. ^782

[Footnote 782: A. M. 3934. Ant. J. C. 70. Plut. in Lucul. pp. 504-512. Memn.
c. 48-57. Appian. in Mithrid. pp. 228-232.]

Appius Clodius was introduced to an audience of this prince, who appeared
with all the splendor he could display in order to give the ambassador a
higher idea of the royal dignity; who on his side, uniting the haughtiness of
his disposition with that which particularly characterized his republic,
perfectly supported the dignity of a Roman ambassador.

After having explained in a few words the subject of complaints which the
Romans had against Mithridates, and that prince's breach of faith in violating
the peace, without so much as attempting to give any reason or color for it,
he told Tigranes, that he came to demand his being delivered up to him, as due
by every sort of title to the triumph of Lucullus: that he did not expect that
he, as a friend to the Romans, which he had been till then, would make any
difficulty in giving up Mithridates; and, that in case of his refusal, he was
instructed to declare war against him.

That prince, who had never been contradicted, and who knew no other law
nor rule but his will and pleasure, was extremely offended at this Roman
freedom. But he was much more so with the letter of Lucullus when it was
delivered to him. The title of king only, which it gave him, did not satisfy
him. He had assumed that of "king of kings," of which he was very fond, and
had carried his pride in that respect so far as to cause himself to be served
by crowned heads. He never appeared in public without having four kings
attending him; two on foot, on each side of his horse, when he went aboard; at
table, in his chamber, in short, everywhere, he had always some of them to do
the lowest offices for him; but especially when he gave audience to
ambassadors, for at that time, to give strangers a great idea of his glory and
power, he made them all stand in two ranks, one on each side of his throne,
where they appeared in the habit and posture of common slaves. A pride so
full of absurdity offends all the world; one more refined shocks less, though
much the same in its nature.

It is not surprising that a prince of this character should bear the
manner in which Clodius spoke to him with impatience. It was the first free
and sincere speech he had heard, during the five-and-twenty years he had
governed his subjects, or rather tyrannized over them with excessive
insolence. He answered, that Mithridates was the father of Cleopatra his
wife; that the union between them was of too strict a nature to admit of his
delivering him up for the triumph of Lucullus; and that if the Romans were
unjust enough to make war against him, he knew how to defend himself, and to
make them repent it. To express his resentment by his answer, he directed it
only to Lucullus, without adding the usual title of Imperator, or any others
commonly given to the Roman generals.

Lucullus, when Clodius reported his commission, and that war had been
declared against Tigranes, returned with the utmost diligence into Pontus to
commence it. The enterprise seemed rash, and the terrible power of the king
astonished all those who relied less upon the valor of the troops and the
conduct of the general, than upon a multitude of soldiers. After having made
himself master of Sinope, he gave that place its liberty, as he did also to
Amisus, and made them both free and independent cities. Cotta did not treat
Heraclea, which he took after a long siege of treachery, in the same manner.
He enriched himself out of its spoils, treated the inhabitants with excessive
cruelty, and burned almost the whole city. On his return to Rome, he was at
first well received by the senate, and honored with the surname of Ponticus,
on account of taking that place; but soon after, when the Heracleans had laid
their complaints before the senate, and represented, in a manner capable of
moving the hardest hearts, the miseries which Cotta's avarice and cruelty had
inflicted on them, the senate contented themselves with depriving him of the
latus clavus, which was the robe worn by the senators; a slight punishment for
the crying excesses proved upon him. ^783

[Footnote 783: Memn. c. li.-lxi.]

Lucullus left Sornatius, one of his generals, in Pontus, with six
thousand men, and marched with the rest, which amounted only to twelve
thousand foot, and three hundred horse, through Cappadocia to the Euphrates.
He passed that river in the midst of winter, and afterwards the Tigris, and
came before Tigranocerta, which was at some small distance, to attack Tigranes
in his capital, where he had lately arrived from Syria. Nobody dared to speak
to that prince of Lucullus and his march, after his cruel treatment of the
person who brought him the first news of it, whom he put to death in reward
for so important a service. He listened to nothing but the discourses of
flatterers, who told him that Lucullus must be a great captain, if he only
dared wait for him at Ephesus, and did not betake himself to flight and
abandon Asia, when he saw the many thousands of which his army was composed.
So true it is, says Plutarch, that as all constitutions are not capable of
bearing much wine, all minds are not suited to bearing great fortunes without
loss of reason and infatuation.

Tigranes at first had not designed so much as to see or speak to
Mithridates, though his father-in-law, but treated him with the utmost
contempt and arrogance, kept him at a distance, and placed a guard over him as
a prisoner of state, in marshy unwholesome places. But after the embassy of
Clodius, he had ordered him to be brought to court with all possible honors
and marks of respect. In a private conversation which they had together
without witnesses, they freed themselves of their mutual suspicions, to the
great misfortune of their friends, upon whom they cast all the blame. ^784

[Footnote 784: A. M. 3935. Ant. J. C. 69.]

Among those unfortunate persons was Metrodorus, of the city of Scepsis, a
man of extraordinary merit, who had so much influence with the king, that he
was called the king's father. That prince had sent him on an embassy to
Tigranes, to desire aid against the Romans. When he had explained the
occasion of his journey, Tigranes asked him, "What would you advise me to do
in regard to your master's demands?" Upon which Metrodorus replied, with an
ill-timed sincerity: "As an ambassador, I advise you to do what Mithridates
demands of you; but as your counsel, not to do it." This was a criminal
prevarication, and a kind of treason. It cost him his life, when Mithridates
had been apprised of it by Tigranes.

Lucullus continually advanced against that prince, and was already in a
manner at the gates of his palace, without his either knowing or believing any
thing of the matter; so much was he blinded by his presumption.
Mithrobarzanes, one of his favorites, ventured to carry him that news. The
reward he had for it was to be charged with a commission to go immediately
with some troops, and bring Lucullus prisoner; as if the question had been
only to arrest one of the king's subjects. The favorite, with the greatest
part of the troops given him, lost their lives in endeavoring to execute that
dangerous commission. This ill success opened the eyes of Tigranes, and made
him recover from his infatuation. Mithridates had been sent back into Pontus
with ten thousand horse, to raise troops there, and to return and join
Tigranes, in case Lucullus entered Armenia. For himself, he had chosen to
continue at Tigranocerta, in order to give the necessary orders for raising
troops throughout his dominions. After this check, he began to be afraid of
Lucullus, quitted Tigranocerta, retired to mount Taurus, and gave orders for
all his troops to repair thither to him.

Lucullus marched directly to Tigranocerta, took up his quarters around
the place, and formed the siege of it. This city was full of all sorts of
riches; the inhabitants of all orders and conditions having emulated each
other in contributing to its embellishment and magnificence, in order to make
their court to the king: for this reason, Lucullus pressed the siege with the
utmost vigor; believing that Tigranes would never suffer it to be taken, and
that he would come on in a transport of fury to offer him battle, and oblige
him to raise the siege. And he was not mistaken in this conjecture.
Mithridates sent every day couriers to Tigranes, and wrote him letters, to
advise him in the strongest terms not to hazard a battle, and only to make use
of his cavalry in cutting off provisions from Lucullus. Taxiles himself was
sent by him with the same instructions, who, staying with him in his camp,
earnestly entreated him, every day, not to attack the Roman armies, as they
were excellently disciplined, veteran soldiers, and almost invincible.

At first he hearkened patiently to this advice. But when his troops,
consisting of a great number of different nations, were assembled, not only
the king's feasts, but his councils, resounded with nothing but vain
bravadoes, full of insolence, pride, and barbarian menaces. Taxiles was in
danger of losing his life for having ventured to oppose the advice of those
who were for a battle; and Mithridates himself was openly accused of opposing
it only out of envy, to deprive his son-in-law of the glory of so great a

In this conceit Tigranes determined to wait no longer, lest Mithridates
should arrive and share with him in the honor of the victory. He therefore
marched with all his forces, telling his friends, that he was only sorry on
one account, and that was, his having to do with Lucullus alone, and not with
all the Roman generals together. He measured his hopes of success by the
number of his troops. He had about twenty thousand archers and slingers,
fifty-five thousand horse, seventeen thousand of which were heavy-armed
cavalry, one hundred and fifty thousand foot, divided into companies and
battalions, besides workmen to clear the roads, build bridges, cleanse and
turn the course of rivers, with other laborers necessary in armies, to the
number of thirty-five thousand, who, drawn up in order of battle behind the
combatants, made the army appear still more numerous and augmented its force
and his confidence.

When he had passed mount Taurus, and all his troops appeared together in
the plains, the sight alone of his army was sufficient to strike terror into
the most daring enemy. Lucullus, always intrepid, divided his troops. He left
Murena with six thousand foot before the place, and with all the rest of his
infantry, consisting of twenty-four cohorts, which together did not amount to
more than ten or twelve thousand men, all his horse, and about one thousand
archers and slingers, marched against Tigranes, and encamped on the plain,
with a large river in his front.

This handful of men made Tigranes laugh, and supplied his flatterers with
great matter for pleasantry. Some openly jested upon them; others, by way of
diversion, drew lots for the spoils; and of all the generals of Tigranes, and
the kings in his army, there was not one who did not entreat him to give the
charge of that affair to him alone, and content himself with being only a
spectator of the action. Tigranes himself, to appear agreeable, and a fine
rallier, used an expression which has been much admired; "If they come as
ambassadors, they are a great many; but if as enemies, very few." Thus the
first day passed in jesting and raillery.

The next morning, at sunrise, Lucullus made his army march out of their
entrenchments. That of the barbarians was on the other side of the river
towards the east; and the river ran in such a manner, that a little below it
turned off to the left towards the west, where it might be easily forded.
Lucullus, in leading his army to this ford, inclined also to the left, towards
the lower part of the river, hastening his march. Tigranes, who saw him,
believed he fled; and calling for Taxiles, said to him with a contemptuous
laugh, "Do you see those invincible Roman legions? You see they can run
away." Taxiles replied, "I wish your majesty's good fortune may this day do a
miracle in your favor; but the arms and march of those legions do not argue
people running away."

Taxiles was still speaking, when he saw the eagles of the first legions
move on a sudden to the right-about, by the command of Lucullus, followed by
all the cohorts, in order to pass the river. Tigranes, recovering then with
difficulty, like one that had been long drunk, cried out two or three times,
"How! are those people coming to us?" They came on so fast, that his numerous
troops did not post themselves, nor draw up in battle, without great disorder
and confusion. Tigranes placed himself in the centre; gave the left wing to
the king of the Adiabenians, and the right to the king of the Medes. The
greatest part of the heavy-armed horse covered the front of the right wing.

As Lucullus was preparing to pass the river, some of his general officers
advised him not to engage upon that day, it being one of those unfortunate
days which the Romans called black days; for it was the same upon which the
army of Cepio ^785 had been defeated in the battle with the Cimbri. Lucullus
made them his answer, which afterwards became so famous; "I will make this a
happy day for the Romans." It was the sixth of October, the day before the
nones of October.

[Footnote 785: The Greek text says, the army of Scipio, which Monsieur de Thou
has justly corrected in the margin of his Plutarch, the army of Cepio.]

After having made that reply, and exhorted them not to be discouraged, he
passed the river, and marched foremost against the enemy. He was armed with a
steel cuirass, made in the form of scales, which glittered surprisingly under
his coat of arms bordered all around with a fringe. He carried his naked
sword in his hand, to intimate to his troops that it was necessary to join an
enemy immediately, accustomed to fight only at a distance with their arrows,
and to deprive them, by the swiftness and impetuosity of the attack, of the
space required for the use of them.

Perceiving that the heavy-armed cavalry, upon whom the enemy very much
relied, were drawn up at the foot of a little hill, the summit of which was
flat and level, and the declivity of not more than five hundred paces, not
much broken nor very difficult, he saw at first view what use he had to make
of it. He commanded his Thracian and Galatian horse to charge that body of
the enemy's cavalry in flank, with orders only to turn aside their lances with
their swords. For the principal, or rather whole force of those heavy-armed
horse, consisted in their lances, which, when they had not room to use, they
could do nothing either against the enemy or for themselves; their arms being
so heavy, stiff and cumbersome that they could not turn themselves, and were
almost immovable.

While his cavalry marched to execute his orders, he took two cohorts of
foot and went to gain the eminence. The infantry followed courageously,
excited by the example of their general, whom they saw marching foremost on
foot, and ascending the hill. When he was at the top he showed himself from
the highest part of it; and seeing from thence the whole order of the enemy's
battle, he cried out, "The victory is ours, fellow-soldiers, the victory is
ours!" At the same time, with his two cohorts he advanced against that
heavy-armed cavalry, and ordered his troops not to make use of their pikes,
but join those horse, sword in hand, and strike upon their legs and thighs,
which were the only unarmed parts about them. But his soldiers had not so
much trouble with them. That cavalry did not wait their coming on, but
shamefully took to flight; and howling as they fled, fell with their heavy
unwieldly horses into the ranks of their foot, without joining battle at all,
or so much as making a single thrust with their lances. The slaughter did not
commence until they began to fly, or rather to attempt to fly; for they could
not do so, being prevented by their own battalions, whose ranks were so close
and deep, that they could not break their way through them. Tigranes, that
king so lofty and brave in words, had taken to flight at the commencement,
with a few followers; and seeing his son, the companion of his fortune, he
took off his diadem, weeping, and giving it him, exhorted him to save himself
as well as he could, by another route. That young prince was afraid to put
the diadem upon his head, which would have been a dangerous ornament at such a
time, and gave it into the hands of one of the most faithful of his servants,
who was taken a moment after, and carried to Lucullus.

It is said, that in this defeat more than one hundred thousand of the
enemy's foot perished, and that very few of their horse escaped. On the side
of the Romans, only five were killed and one hundred wounded. They had never
engaged in a pitched battle so great a number of enemies with so few troops;
for the victors did not amount to the twentieth part of the vanquished. The
greatest and most able Roman generals, who had seen most wars and battles,
gave Lucullus particular praises, for having defeated two of the greatest and
most powerful kings in the world, by two entirely different methods, delay and
expedition; for, by protracting and spinning out the war he exhausted
Mithridates when he was strongest, and most formidable; and ruined Tigranes by
making haste, and not giving him time to look about him. It has been remarked
that few captains have known how, like him, to make slowness active, and haste

It was this latter conduct that prevented Mithridates from being present
in the battle. He imagined Lucullus would use the same precaution and
protraction against Tigranes, as he had done against himself. So that he
marched but slowly, and by small day's journeys, to join Tigranes. But having
met some Armenians on the way, who fled with the utmost terror and
consternation, he suspected what had happened; and afterwards meeting a much
greater number, was fully informed of the defeat, and went in search of
Tigranes. He found him at length, abandoned by all the world, and in a very
deplorable condition. Far from returning his ungenerous treatment, and
insulting Tigranes in his misfortunes as he had done him, he quitted his
horse, lamented their common disgraces, gave him the guard that attended, and
the officers that served him, consoled, encouraged him, and revived his hopes:
so that Mithridates, upon this occasion, showed himself not entirely void of
humanity. Both applied themselves to raising new troops on all sides.

In the mean time a furious sedition arose at Tigranocerta; the Greeks
having mutinied against the barbarians, and determined at all events to
deliver the city to Lucullus. That sedition was at the highest when he
arrived there. He took advantage of the occasion, ordered the assault to be
given, took the city, and after having seized all the king's treasures,
abandoned it to be plundered by the soldiers; who, besides other riches, found
in it eight thousand talents of coined silver. Besides this plunder, he gave
each soldier eight hundred drachmas, which, with all the booty they had taken,
did not suffice to satisfy their insatiable avidity.

As this city had been peopled by colonies which had been carried away by
force from Cappadocia, Cilicia, and other places, Lucullus permitted them all
to return into their native countries. They received that permission with
extreme joy, and quitted it in so great a number, that from one of the
greatest cities in the world, Tigranocerta became in an instant almost a
desert. ^786

[Footnote 786: Strab. l. xi. p. 532, et l. xii. p. 539.]

If Lucullus had pursued Tigranes after his victory, without giving him
time to raise new troops, he would either have taken, or driven him out of the
country, and the war must have been terminated. His having failed to do so
was very much censured, both in the army and at Rome, and he was accused, not
of negligence, but of having intended by such conduct to make himself
necessary, and to retain the command longer in his own hands. This was one of
the reasons that prejudiced the generality against him, and induced them to
think of giving him a successor, as we shall see in the sequel. ^787

[Footnote 787: Dion. Cas. l. xxxv. p. 1.]

After the great victory he had gained over Tigranes, several nations came
to make their submissions to him. He received also an embassy from the king
of the Parthians, who demanded the amity and alliance of the Romans. Lucullus
received this proposal favorably, and sent also ambassadors to him, who, being
arrived at the Parthian court, discovered that the king, uncertain which side
to take, wavered between the Romans and Tigranes, and had secretly demanded
Mesopotamia of the latter, as the price of the aid he offered him. Lucullus,
informed of this secret intrigue, resolved to leave Mithridates and Tigranes,
and turn his arms against the king of the Parthians; flattered with the
grateful thought, that nothing could be more glorious for him, than to have
entirely reduced, in one expedition, the three most powerful princes under the
sun. But the opposition this proposal met with from the troops, obliged him
to renounce his enterprise against the Parthians, and to confine himself to
pursuing Tigranes.

During this delay, Mithridates and Tigranes had been indefatigable in
raising new troops. They had sent to implore aid of the neighboring nations,
and especially of the Parthians, who were the nearest, and, at the same time,
in the best condition to assist them in the present emergency of their
affairs. Mithridates wrote a letter to their king, which Sallust has
preserved, and is to be found among his fragments. I shall insert & part of
it in this place.

Letter Of Mithridates To Arsaces ^788 King Of The Parthians.

[Footnote 788: Arsaces was a name common to all the kings of Parthia.]

"All those who, in a state of prosperity, are invited to enter as
confederates into a war, ought first to consider, whether peace be their own
option; and next, whether what is demanded of them is consistent with justice,
their interest, safety, and glory. You might enjoy perpetual peace and
tranquility, were not the enemy always intent upon seizing occasions of war,
and entirely void of faith. In reducing the Romans, you cannot but acquire
exalted glory. It may seem inconsistent in me, to propose to you either an
alliance with Tigranes, or, powerful as you are, that you should join a prince
in my unfortunate condition. But I dare advance, that those two motives, your
resentment against Tigranes upon account of his late war with you, and the
disadvantageous situation of my affairs, to judge rightly of them, far from
opposing my demand, ought to support it. For, as to Tigranes, as he knows he
has given you just cause of complaint, he will accept without difficulty
whatever conditions you shall think fit to impose upon him; and for me, I can
say, that fortune, by having deprived me of almost all I possessed, has
enabled me to give others good counsels; and, which is much to be desired of
persons in prosperity, I can, even from my own misfortunes, supply you with
examples, and induce you to take better measures than I have done. For, do
not deceive yourself, it is with all the nations, states, and kingdoms of the
earth, the Romans are at war; and two motives, as ancient as powerful, put
their arms into their hands; the unbounded ambition of extending their
conquests, and the insatiable thirst of riches." ^789 Mithridates afterwards
enumerates at large the princes and kings they had reduced one after the
other, and often by one another. He repeats also his first successes against
the Romans, and his late misfortunes. He then proceeds, "Examine now, I
beseech you, when we are finally ruined, whether you will be in a condition to
resist the Romans, or can believe, that they will confine their conquests to
my country? I know that you are powerful in men, in arms, and treasure; it is
therefore we desire to strengthen ourselves by your alliance; they, to grow
rich by your spoils. For the rest, it is the intent of Tigranes, to avoid
drawing the war into his country, that I shall march with all my troops, which
are certainly well disciplined, to carry our arms far from home, and attack
the enemy in person in their own country. We cannot therefore either conquer
or be conquered, without your being in danger. Do you not know, that the
Romans, when they found themselves stopped by the ocean on the west, turned
their arms this way? That to look back to their foundation and origin,
whatever they have they have from violence; homes, wives, lands, and
dominions. A vile herd of every kind of vagabonds, without country, without
forefathers, they established themselves for the misfortune of the human race.
Neither divine nor human laws restrain them from betraying and destroying
their allies and friends, remote nations or neighbors, the weak or the
powerful. They hold all enemies that are not their slaves; and especially
whatever bears the name of king: for few nations affect a free and independent
government; the generality prefer just and equitable masters. They suspect
us, because we are said to emulate their power, and may in time avenge their
oppressions. But for you, who have Seleucia, the greatest of cities, and
Persia, the richest and most powerful kingdoms, what can you expect from them,
but deceit at present and war hereafter? The Romans are at war with all
nations; but especially with those from whom the richest spoils are to be
expected. They are become great by enterprises and deceit, and making one war
lead to another. By this means they will either destroy all others, or be
destroyed themselves. It will not be difficult to ruin them, if you on the
side of Mesopotamia, and we on that of Armenia, surround their army, without
provisions or auxiliaries. The prosperity of their arms has subsisted
hitherto solely by our fault, who have not been so prudent as to understand
this common enemy, and to unite ourselves against him. It will be for your
immortal glory to have supported two great kings, and to have conquered and
destroyed those robbers of the world. This is what I earnestly advise and
exhort you to do; that you may choose rather to share with us by a salutary
alliance, in conquering the common enemy, than to suffer the Roman empire to
extend itself universally by our ruin." ^790

[Footnote 789: Omnes, qui secundis rebus suis ad belli societatem orantur,
considerare debent, liceatne tum pacem agere: dein quod quaeritur, satisne
pium, tutum, gloriosum, an indecorum sit. Tibi perpetua pace frui liceret
nisi hostes opportuni et scelestissimi. Egregia fama, si Romanos oppresseris,
futura est. Neque petere audeam societatem, et frustra mala mea cum tuis
bonis miscere sperem. Atqui ea, quae te morari posse videntur, ira in
Tigranem recentis belli, et meae res parum prosperae, si vera aestimare voles,
maxime hortabuntur. Ille enim, obnoxius, qualem tu voles societatem accipiet;
mihi fortuna, multis rebus ereptis, usum dedit bene suadendi, et quod
florentibus optabile est, ego non validissimus praebeo exemplum, quo rectius
tua componas. Namque Romanis cum nationibus, populis, regibus cunctis, una et
ea vetus causa bellandi est, cupido profunda imperii et divitiarum.]

[Footnote 790: Nune, quaeso, considera, nobis oppressis, utrum firmiorem te ad
resistendum, an finem belli futurum putes? Scio equidem tibi magnas opes
virorum, armorum, et auriesse; et ea re nobis ad societatem, ab illis ad
praedam peteris. Caeterum consilium est Tigranis, regno integro, meis
militibus belli prudentibus, procul ab domo, parvo labore, per nostra corpora
bellum conficere; quando neque vincere neque vinci sine periculo tuo possimus.
An ignoras Romanos, postquam ad occidentem pergentibus finem oceanus fecit,
arma huc convertisse? Neque quiequam a principio nisi raptum habere, domum,
conjuges, agros, imperium? Convenas, olim sine patria, sine parentibus, peste
conditos orbis terrarum; quibus non humana ulla neque divina obstant, quin
socios, amicos, procul juxtaque sitos, inopes, potentesque trahant,
excidantque; omniaque non serva, et maxime regna, hostilia ducant. Namque,
pauci libertatem, pars magna justos dominos volunt. Nos suspecti sumus
aemuli, et in tempore vindices affuturi. Tu vero, cui Seleucia maxima urbium,
regnumque Persidis inclytis divitiis est, quid ab illis, nisi dolum in
praesens, et postea bellum expectas? Romani in omnes arma habent, acerrima in
eos quibus spolia maxima sunt. Audendo et fallendo, et bella ex bellis
serendo, magni facti. Per hune morem extinguent omnia, aut occident; quod
difficile non est, si tu Mesopotamia, nos Armenia circumgredimur exercitum
sine frumento, sine auxiliis. Fortuna autem nostris vitiis adhuc incolumnis.
Teque illa fama sequetur, auxilio profectum magnis regibus latrones gentium
oppressisse. Quod uti facias moneo, hortorque, neu malis pernicie nostra unum
imperium prolatare quam societate victor fieri.]

It does not appear that this letter had the effect upon Phraates and
which Mithridates might have hoped from it; so that the two kings contented
themselves with their own troops.

One of the means made use of by Tigranes to assemble a new army, was to
recall Megadates from Syria, who had governed it fourteen years in his name;
he sent orders to him to join him with all the troops in that country. ^791
Syria being thereby entirely ungarrisoned, Antiochus Asiaticus, son of
Antiochus Eupator, to whom it of right appertained, as lawful heir of the
house of Seleucus, took possession of some part of the country, and reigned
there peaceably during four years. ^792

[Footnote 791: Appian. in Syr. pp. 118, 119.]

[Footnote 792: Justin. l. xl. c. 2.]

The army of Tigranes and Mithridates was at last formed. It consisted of
seventy thousand chosen men, whom Mithridates had exercised well in the Roman
discipline. It was about midsummer before he took the field. The two kings
took particular care, in all the motions they made, to choose an advantageous
ground for their camp, and to fortify it well, to prevent Lucullus from
attacking them in it; nor could all the stratagems he used engage them to come
to a battle. Their design was to reduce him gradually; to harass his troops
on their marches, in order to weaken them; to intercept his convoys, and
oblige him to quit the country for want of provisions. Lucullus was not being
able, by all the arts he could use, to bring them into the open field,
employed a new means which succeeded. Tigranes had left at Artaxata, the
capital of Armenia before the foundation of Tigranocerta, his wives and
children, and almost all his treasures. Lucullus marched that way with all his
troops, rightly foreseeing that Tigranes would not remain quiet when he saw
the danger to which his capital was exposed. The prince accordingly decamped
immediately, followed Lucullus to disconcert his design, and by four great
marches, having got before him, posted himself behind the river Arsamia or
Arsania, which Lucullus was obliged to pass in his way to Artaxata, and
resolved to dispute the passage with him. The Romans passed the river without
being prevented by the presence or efforts of the enemy. A great battle
ensued in which the Romans again obtained a complete victory. There were
three kings in the Armenian army, of whom Mithridates behaved the worst; for,
not being able to look the Roman legions in the face, as soon as they charged,
he was one of the first who fled, which threw the whole army into such a
consternation, that it entirely lost courage, and was the principal cause of
the loss of the battle. ^793

[Footnote 793: A. M. 3936. Ant. J. C. 68. Plut. in Lucul. pp. 513-515.]

Lucullus, after this victory, determined to continue his march to
Artaxata, which was the certain means to put an end to the war; but as that
city was still several days' journey from thence towards the north, and winter
approached with its train of snows and storms, the soldiers, already fatigued
by a very arduous campaign, refused to follow him into that country, where the
cold was too severe for them. ^794 He was obliged to lead them into a warmer
climate, by returning the way he came. He therefore repassed Mount Taurus,
and entered Mesopotamia, where he took the city of Nisibis, a place of
considerable strength, and put his troops in winter-quarters. ^795

[Footnote 794: Noster exercitus, etsi urbem ex Tigranis regno ceperat, et
praeliis usu erat secundis, tamen nimis longinquitate locorum, ac desiderio
suorum commovebatur. - Cic. pro. Lege. Mer. n. 23.]

[Footnote 795: Dion. Cass. l. xxxvii. pp. 3-7.]

It was there the spirit of mutiny began to show itself openly in the army
of Lucullus. That general's severity, and the insolent liberty of the Roman
soldiers, and still more the malignant practices of Clodius, had given
occasion for this revolt. Clodius, so well known for the invectives of
Cicero, his enemy, is hardly better treated by historians. They represent him
as a man abandoned to all kinds of vices, and infamous for his debaucheries,
which he carried so far as to commit incest with his own sister, the wife of
Lucullus; to these he added unbounded audacity, and uncommon cunning in the
contrivance of seditions; in a word, he was one of those dangerous persons
born to disturb and ruin every thing by the unhappy union in himself of the
most wicked inclinations with the talent necessary for putting them in
execution. He gave a proof of this upon the occasion we are now speaking of.
Discontented with Lucullus, he secretly spread reports against him to render
him odious. He affected to lament extremely the fatigues of the soldiers, and
to enter into their interests. He told them every day, that they were very
unfortunate in being obliged to serve so long under a severe and avaricious
general, in a remote climate, without lands or rewards, while their
fellow-soldiers, whose conquests were very moderate in comparison with theirs,
had enriched themselves with Pompey. Discourses of this kind, attended with
obliging and popular behavior, which he knew how to assume occasionally
without the appearance of affectation, made such an impression upon the
soldiers, that it was no longer in the power of Lucullus to govern them.

Mithridates, in the mean time, had re-entered Pontus with four thousand
of his own, and four thousand troops given him by Tigranes. Several
inhabitants of the country joined him again, as well out of hatred to the
Romans, who had treated them with great rigor, as the remains of affection for
their king, reduced from the most splendid fortune and exalted greatness, to
the mournful condition in which they saw him; for the misfortunes of princes
naturally excite compassion; and there is generally a profound respect in the
hearts of the people for the name and person of kings. ^796 Mithridates,
encouraged and strengthened by these new aids, and the troops which several
neighboring states and princes sent him, resumed courage, and saw himself more
than ever in a condition to make head against the Romans. So that, not
contented with being re-established in his dominions, which a moment before he
did not so much as hope ever to see again, he had the boldness to attack the
Roman troops, so often victorious, beat a body of them commanded by Fabius,
and after having put them to the rout, pressed Friarius and Sornatius, two
other lieutenants of Lucullus in that country, with great vigor. ^797

[Footnote 796: Mithridates et suam manum jam confirmaverat, et eorum qui se ex
ejus regno collegerent, et magnis adventitiis multorum regium et nationum
copiis juvabatur. Hoe jam fere sic fieri solere accepimus; ut regum afflictae
fortunae facile multorum opes alliciant ad misericordiam, maximeque corum qui
aut reges sunt, aut vivant in regno; quod regale iis nomen magnum et sanctum
esse videatur. - Cic. pro Lege. Manil. n. 24.]

[Footnote 797: Itaque tantum victus efficere potuit, quantum incolumis nunquam
est ausus optare. Nam cum se in regnum recepisset suum, non fuit eo
contentus, quod ei praeter spent acciderat, ut eam, postea quam pulsuserat,
terram unquam attingeret; sed in exercitum vestrum clarum atque victorem
impetum fecit. - Cic. pro Lege. Man. n. 25.]

Lucullus at length engaged his soldiers to quit their winter-quarters,
and to go to their aid. But they arrived too late. Friarius had imprudently
ventured a battle, in which Mithridates had defeated him, and killed seven
thousand men, among whom were one hundred and fifty centurions, and
twenty-four tribunes, which made this one of the greatest losses the Romans
had sustained in a great while. ^798 The army would have been entirely
defeated, but for a wound which Mithridates received, which exceedingly
alarmed his troops, and gave the enemy time to escape. Lucullus, upon his
arrival, found the dead bodies upon the field of battle, but did not give
orders for their interment, which still more exasperated his soldiers against
him. The spirit of revolt rose so high, that without any regard for his
character as a general, they looked upon him no longer but with insolence and
contempt: and though he went from tent to tent, and almost from man to man, to
conjure them to march against Mithridates and Tigranes, he could never prevail
upon them to quit the place where they were. They answered him
contemptuously, that as he had no thoughts but of enriching himself only out
of the spoils of the enemy, he might march alone, and fight them if he thought
fit. ^799

[Footnote 798: Quae calamitas tanta fuit, ut eam ad aures L. Luculli, non ex
praelio nuntius. sed ex sermone rumor affarret. - Cic. pro Lege. Man. n. 25.]

[Footnote 799: A. M. 3937. Ant. J. C. 67.]


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