This proceeding was, no doubt, not like that of a colleague; but formal right was wholly on the side of Pompeius, and Metellus was most evidently in the wrong when, utterly ignoring the convention of the cities with Pompeius, he continued to treat them as hostile. In vain Octavius protested; in vain, as he had himself come without troops, he summoned from Achaia Lucius Sisenna, the lieutenant of Pompeius stationed there; Metellus, not troubling himself about either Octavius or Sisenna, besieged Eleutherna and took Lappa by storm, where Octavius in person was taken prisoner and ignominiously dismissed, while the Cretans who were taken with him were consigned to the executioner. Accordingly formal conflicts took place between the troops of Sisenna, at whose head Octavius placed himself after that leader's death, and those of Metellus; even when the former had been commanded to return to Achaia, Octavius continued the war in concert with the Cretan Aristion, and Hierapytna, where both made a stand, was only subdued by Metellus after the most obstinate resistance.

In reality the zealous Optimate Metellus had thus begun formal civil war at his own hand against the generalissimo of the democracy. It shows the indescribable disorganization in the Roman state, that these incidents led to nothing farther than a bitter correspondence between the two generals, who a couple of years afterwards were sitting once more peacefully and even "amicably" side by side in the senate.

Pompeius Takes The Supreme Command Against Mithradates

Pompeius during these events remained in Cilicia; preparing for the next year, as it seemed, a campaign against the Cretans or rather against Metellus, in reality waiting for the signal which should call him to interfere in the utterly confused affairs of the mainland of Asia Minor. The portion of the Lucullan army that was still left after the losses which it had suffered and the departure of the Fimbrian legions remained inactive on the upper Halys in the country of the Trocmi bordering on the Pontic territory. Lucullus still held provisionally the chief command, as his nominated successor Glabrio continued to linger in the west of Asia Minor. The three legions commanded by Quintus Marcius Rex lay equally inactive in Cilicia. The Pontic territory was again wholly in the power of king Mithradates, who made the individuals and communities that had joined the Romans, such as the town of Eupatoria, pay for their revolt with cruel severity. The kings of the east did not proceed to any serious offensive movement against the Romans, either because it formed no part of their plan, or--as was asserted-- because the landing of Pompeius in Cilicia induced Mithradates and Tigranes to desist from advancing farther. The Manilian law realized the secretly-cherished hopes of Pompeius more rapidly than he probably himself anticipated; Glabrio and Rex were recalled and the governorships of Pontus-Bithynia and Cilicia with the troops stationed there, as well as the management of the Pontic-Armenian war along with authority to make war, peace, and alliance with the dynasts of the east at his own discretion, were transferred to Pompeius. Amidst the prospect of honours and spoils so ample Pompeius was glad to forgo the chastising of an ill-humoured Optimate who enviously guarded his scanty laurels; he abandoned the expedition against Crete and the farther pursuit of the corsairs, and destined his fleet also to support the attack which he projected on the kings of Pontus and Armenia. Yet amidst this land-war he by no means wholly lost sight of piracy, which was perpetually raising its head afresh. Before he left Asia (691) he caused the necessary ships to be fitted out there against the corsairs; on his proposal in the following year a similar measure was resolved on for Italy, and the sum needed for the purpose was granted by the senate. They continued to protect the coasts with guards of cavalry and small squadrons, and though as the expeditions to be mentioned afterwards against Cyprus in 696 and Egypt in 699 show, piracy was not thoroughly mastered, it yet after the expedition of Pompeius amidst all the vicissitudes and political crises of Rome could never again so raise its head and so totally dislodge the Romans from the sea, as it had done under the government of the mouldering oligarchy.

War Preparations Of Pompeius Alliance With The Parthians Variance Between Mithradates And Tigranes

The few months which still remained before the commencement of the campaign in Asia Minor, were employed by the new commander- in-chief with strenuous activity in diplomatic and military preparations. Envoys were sent to Mithradates, rather to reconnoitre than to attempt a serious mediation. There was a hope at the Pontic court that Phraates king of the Parthians would be induced by the recent considerable successes which the allies had achieved over Rome to enter into the Pontic-Armenian alliance. To counteract this, Roman envoys proceeded to the court of Ctesiphon; and the internal troubles, which distracted the Armenian ruling house, came to their aid. A son of the great-king Tigranes, bearing the same name had rebelled against his father, either because he was unwilling to wait for the death of the old man, or because his father's suspicion, which had already cost several of his brothers their lives, led him to discern his only chance of safety in open insurrection. Vanquished by his father, he had taken refuge with a number of Armenians of rank at the court of the Arsacid, and intrigued against his father there. It was partly due to his exertions, that Phraates preferred to take the reward which was offered to him by both sides for his accession--the secured possession of Mesopotamia--from the hand of the Romans, renewed with Pompeius the agreement concluded with Lucullus respecting the boundary of the Euphrates,(4) and even consented to operate in concert with the Romans against Armenia. But the younger Tigranes occasioned still greater mischief than that which arose out of his promoting the alliance between the Romans and the Parthians, for his insurrection produced a variance between the kings Tigranes and Mithradates themselves.

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

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