Urban Communities

Alongside of these secular and spiritual potentates stood the urban communities. These were partly associated into larger unions which rejoiced in a comparative independence, such as in particular the league of the twenty-three Lycian cities, which was well organized and constantly, for instance, kept aloof from participation in the disorders of piracy; whereas the numerous detached communities, even if they had self-government secured by charter, were in practice wholly dependent on the Roman governors.

Elevation Of Urban Life In Asia

The Romans failed not to see that with the task of representing Hellenism and protecting and extending the domain of Alexander in the east there devolved on them the primary duty of elevating the urban system; for, while cities are everywhere the pillars of civilization, the antagonism between Orientals and Occidentals was especially and most sharply embodied in the contrast between the Oriental, military-despotic, feudal hierarchy and the Helleno- Italic urban commonwealth prosecuting trade and commerce. Lucullus and Pompeius, however little they in other respects aimed at the reduction of things to one level in the east, and however much the latter was disposed in questions of detail to censure and alter the arrangements of his predecessor, were yet completely agreed in the principle of promoting as far as they could an urban life in Asia Minor and Syria. Cyzicus, on whose vigorous resistance the first violence of the last war had spent itself, received from Lucullus a considerable extension of its domain. The Pontic Heraclea, energetically as it had resisted the Romans, yet recovered its territory and its harbours; and the barbarous fury of Cotta against the unhappy city met with the sharpest censure in the senate. Lucullus had deeply and sincerely regretted that fate had refused him the happiness of rescuing Sinope and Amisus from devastation by the Pontic soldiery and his own: he did at least what he could to restore them, extended considerably their territories, peopled them afresh--partly with the old inhabitants, who at his invitation returned in troops to their beloved homes, partly with new settlers of Hellenic descent--and provided for the reconstruction of the buildings destroyed. Pompeius acted in the same spirit and on a greater scale. Already after the subjugation of the pirates he had, instead of following the example of his predecessors and crucifying his prisoners, whose number exceeded 20,000, settled them partly in the desolated cities of the Plain Cilicia, such as Mallus, Adana, Epiphaneia, and especially in Soli, which thenceforth bore the name of Pompeius' city (Pompeiupolis), partly at Dyme in Achaia, and even at Tarentum. This colonizing by means of pirates met with manifold censure,(22) as it seemed in some measure to set a premium on crime; in reality it was, politically and morally, well justified, for, as things then stood, piracy was something different from robbery and the prisoners might fairly be treated according to martial law.

New Towns Established

But Pompeius made it his business above all to promote urban life in the new Roman provinces. We have already observed how poorly provided with towns the Pontic empire was:(23) most districts of Cappadocia even a century after this had no towns, but merely mountain fortresses as a refuge for the agricultural population in war; the whole east of Asia Minor, apart from the sparse Greek colonies on the coasts, must have been at this time in a similar plight. The number of towns newly established by Pompeius in these provinces is, including the Cilician settlements, stated at thirty- nine, several of which attained great prosperity. The most notable of these townships in the former kingdom of Pontus were Nicopolis, the "city of victory," founded on the spot where Mithradates sustained the last decisive defeat(24)--the fairest memorial of a general rich in similar trophies; Megalopolis, named from Pompeius' surname, on the frontier of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia, the subsequent Sebasteia (now Siwas); Ziela, where the Romans fought the unfortunate battle,(25) a township which had arisen round the temple of Anaitis there and hitherto had belonged to its high- priest, and to which Pompeius now gave the form and privileges of a city; Diopolis, formerly Cabira, afterwards Neocaesarea (Niksar), likewise one of the battle-fields of the late war; Magnopolis or Pompeiupolis, the restored Eupatoria at the confluence of the Lycus and the Iris, originally built by Mithradates, but again destroyed by him on account of the defection of the city to the Romans;(26) Neapolis, formerly Phazemon, between Amasia and the Halys. Most of the towns thus established were formed not by bringing colonists from a distance, but by the suppression of villages and the collection of their inhabitants within the new ring-wall; only in Nicopolis Pompeius settled the invalids and veterans of his army, who preferred to establish a home for themselves there at once rather than afterwards in Italy. But at other places also there arose on the suggestion of the regent new centres of Hellenic civilization. In Paphlagonia a third Pompeiupolis marked the spot where the army of Mithradates in 666 achieved the great victory over the Bithynians.(27) In Cappadocia, which perhaps had suffered more than any other province by the war, the royal residence Mazaca (afterwards Caesarea, now Kaisarieh) and seven other townships were re-established by Pompeius and received urban institutions. In Cilicia and Coelesyria there were enumerated twenty towns laid out by Pompeius. In the districts ceded by the Jews, Gadara in the Decapolis rose from its ruins at the command of Pompeius, and the city of Seleucis was founded. By far the greatest portion of the domain-land at his disposal on the Asiatic continent must have been applied by Pompeius for his new settlements; whereas in Crete, about which Pompeius troubled himself little or not at all, the Roman domanial possessions seem to have continued tolerably extensive.

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

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