But the resolution taken by the king spread with the rapidity of lightning among those immediately around him; and, when the soldiers saw the confidants of the king packing in all haste, they too were seized with a panic. No one was willing to be the hindmost in decamping; all, high and low, ran pell-mell like startled deer; no authority, not even that of the king, was longer heeded; and the king himself was carried away amidst the wild tumult. Lucullus, perceiving the confusion, made his attack, and the Pontic troops allowed themselves to be massacred almost without offering resistance. Had the legions been able to maintain discipline and to restrain their eagerness for spoil, hardly a man would have escaped them, and the king himself would doubtless have been taken. With difficulty Mithradates escaped along with a few attendants through the mountains to Comana (not far from Tocat and the source of the Iris); from which, however, a Roman corps under Marcus Pompeius soon scared him off and pursued him, till, attended by not more than 2000 cavalry, he crossed the frontier of his kingdom at Talaura in Lesser Armenia. In the empire of the great-king he found a refuge, but nothing more (end of 682). Tigranes, it is true, ordered royal honours to be shown to his fugitive father-in-law; but he did not even invite him to his court, and detained him in the remote border-province to which he had come in a sort of decorous captivity.

Pontus Becomes Roman Sieges Of The Pontic Cities

The Roman troops overran all Pontus and Lesser Armenia, and as far as Trapezus the flat country submitted without resistance to the conqueror. The commanders of the royal treasure-houses also surrendered after more or less delay, and delivered up their stores of money. The king ordered that the women of the royal harem--his sisters, his numerous wives and concubines--as it was not possible to secure their flight, should all be put to death by one of his eunuchs at Pharnacea (Kerasunt). The towns alone offered obstinate resistance. It is true that the few in the interior-- Cabira, Amasia, Eupatoria--were soon in the power of the Romans; but the larger maritime towns, Amisus and Sinope in Pontus, Amastris in Paphlagonia, Tius and the Pontic Heraclea in Bithynia, defended themselves with desperation, partly animated by attachment to the king and to their free Hellenic constitution which he had protected, partly overawed by the bands of corsairs whom the king had called to his aid. Sinope and Heraclea even sent forth vessels against the Romans; and the squadron of Sinope seized a Roman flotilla which was bringing corn from the Tauric peninsula for the army of Lucullus. Heraclea did not succumb till after a two years' siege, when the Roman fleet had cut off the city from intercourse with the Greek towns on the Tauric peninsula and treason had broken out in the ranks of the garrison. When Amisus was reduced to extremities, the garrison set fire to the town, and under cover of the flames took to their ships. In Sinope, where the daring pirate-captain Seleucus and the royal eunuch Bacchides conducted the defence, the garrison plundered the houses before it withdrew, and set on fire the ships which it could not take along with it; it is said that, although the greater portion of the defenders were enabled to embark, 8000 corsairs were there put to death by Lucullus. These sieges of towns lasted for two whole years and more after the battle of Cabira (682-684); Lucullus prosecuted them in great part by means of his lieutenants, while he himself regulated the affairs of the province of Asia, which demanded and obtained a thorough reform.

Remarkable, in an historical point of view, as was that obstinate resistance of the Pontic mercantile towns to the victorious Romans, it was of little immediate use; the cause of Mithradates was none the less lost. The great-king had evidently, for the present at least, no intention at all of restoring him to his kingdom. The Roman emigrants in Asia had lost their best men by the destruction of the Aegean fleet; of the survivors not a few, such as the active leaders Lucius Magius and Lucius Fannius, had made their peace with Lucullus; and with the death of Sertorius, who perished in the year of the battle of Cabira, the last hope of the emigrants vanished. Mithradates' own power was totally shattered, and one after another his remaining supports gave way; his squadrons returning from Crete and Spain, to the number of seventy sail, were attacked and destroyed by Triarius at the island of Tenedos; even the governor of the Bosporan kingdom, the king's own son Machares, deserted him, and as independent prince of the Tauric Chersonese concluded on his own behalf peace and friendship with the Romans (684). The king himself, after a not too glorious resistance, was confined in a remote Armenian mountain-stronghold, a fugitive from his kingdom and almost a prisoner of his son-in-law. Although the bands of corsairs might still hold out in Crete, and such as had escaped from Amisus and Sinope might make their way along the hardly- accessible east coast of the Black Sea to the Sanigae and Lazi, the skilful conduct of the war by Lucullus and his judicious moderation, which did not disdain to remedy the just grievances of the provincials and to employ the repentant emigrants as officers in his army, had at a moderate sacrifice delivered Asia Minor from the enemy and annihilated the Pontic kingdom, so that it might be converted from a Roman client-state into a Roman province. A commission of the senate was expected, to settle in concert with the commander-in-chief the new provincial organization.

Beginning Of The Armenian War

But the relations with Armenia were not yet settled. Thata declaration of war by the Romans against Tigranes was in itself justified and even demanded, we have already shown. Lucullus, who looked at the state of affairs from a nearer point of view and with a higher spirit than the senatorial college in Rome, perceived clearly the necessity of confining Armenia to the other side of the Tigris and of re-establishing the lost dominion of Rome over the Mediterranean.

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

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