Page:Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) - Volume 3.djvu/495

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POMPEIUS. 483

ever possessed. The plan of his campaign, however, was characterised by great military skill, and fully justified the confidence which the Roman people reposed in him. One of his first measures was to secure the friendship and alliance of the Parthian king, Phraates III., a step by which he not only deprived Mithridates of all hopes of the co-operation of that monarch, but likewise cut him off from all assistance from the Armenian king Tigranes, who was now obliged to look to the safety of his own dominions. Pompey next stationed his fleet in different squadrons around the coasts of Asia Minor, in order to deprive Mithridates of all communication from the sea, and he then proceeded in person at the head of his land forces against the king. Thus thrown back upon his own resources, Mithridates sued for peace, but as Pompey would hear of nothing but unqualified submission, the negotiation was broken off. The king was still at the head of an army of 30,000 foot and 2000 horse, but he knew too well the strength of a Roman army to venture an engagement with these forces, and accordingly withdrew gradually to the frontiers of Armenia. For a long time he succeeded in avoiding a battle, but he was at length surprised by Pompey in Lesser Armenia, as he was marching through a narrow pass, and was obliged to fight. The battle was soon decided; the king lost the greater number of his troops, and escaped with only a few horsemen to the fortress of Synorium, on the borders of the Greater Armenia. Here he collected again a considerable force; but as Tigranes refused to admit him into his dominions, because he suspected him of fomenting the intrigues of his son against him, Mithridates had no alternative but to take refuge in his own distant dominions in the Cimmerian Bosporus. To reach them he had to march through Colchis, and to fight his way through the wild and barbarous tribes that occupied the country between the Caucasus and the Euxine. He, however, succeeded eventually in his arduous attempt, and reached the Bosporus in safety in the course of next year. Pompey abandoned at present all thoughts of following the fugitive king, and resolved at once to attack the king of Armenia, who was now the more formidable of the two monarchs. But before commencing his march he founded the city of Nicopolis in Lesser Armenia as a memorial of his victory over Mithridates.

On entering Armenia Pompey met with no opposition. He was joined by the young Tigranes, who had revolted against his father, and all the cities submitted to them on their approach. When the Romans drew near to Artaxata, the king, deserted by his army and his court, had no alternative but submission, and accordingly went out to meet Pompey, and threw himself before him as a suppliant. Pompey received him with kindness, acknowledged him as king of Armenia, and demanded only the payment of 6000 talents. His foreign possessions, however, in Syria, Phoenicia, Cilicia, Galatia, and Cappadocia, which had been conquered by Lucullus, were to belong to the Romans. To his son Tigranes Sophene and Gordyene were given as an independent kingdom; but as the young prince was discontented with this arrangement, and even ventured to utter threats, Pompey had him arrested, and kept him in chains to grace his triumph.

After thus settling the affairs of Armenia, Pompey left L. Afranius with a part of his forces in the country between the Euphrates and the Araxes, and proceeded himself with the rest of his army towards the north in pursuit of Mithridates. But the season was already so far advanced that he could not advance further with them than the river Cyrus (the Kur), in the neighbourhood of which he resolved to take up his quarters for the winter. The legions were distributed through the country in three separate divisions; and Oroeses, king of Albania, on the borders of whose kingdom the Romans were encamped, thought this a favourable opportunity for crushing the invaders. He accordingly crossed the Cyrus at the head of a large army about the middle of December, but was easily defeated by Pompey, and compelled to sue for peace, which was granted him on condition of his giving the Romans a passage through his territories.

In b. c. 65 Pompey commenced his march northwards in pursuit of Mithridates, but he had first to fight against the Iberians, a warlike people, who lay between the Albanians on the east and the Colchians on the west. Having repulsed these barbarians, and compelled them to sue for peace, Pompey then advanced as far as the river Phasis (Faz), which flows into the Euxine, and here he met with his legate Servilius, the commander of his fleet in the Euxine. From him Pompey obtained more certain information respecting the movements of Mithridates, and also learnt the wild and inaccessible nature of the country through which he would have to march in order to reach the king. The experience he had had himself of the warlike character of the inhabitants confirmed the report of his legate; and he therefore prudently resolved to give up the pursuit of Mithridates, and not to involve himself in a war with the fierce tribes of the Caucasus, from which he could obtain little honour, and his troops must inevitably suffer much injury. Accordingly, he did not cross the Phasis, but retraced his steps southwards. By the middle of the summer he again reached the banks of the Cyrus, which he crossed, and then proceeded to the Araxes, where the Albanians, who had again risen in arms against him, were stationed in great force. These he again defeated without any difficulty, and received a second time the submission of the king. He now hastened to leave this savage district, and to march to the rich and fertile country of Syria, which would be an easy prey, and from thence he meditated advancing as far south as the Persian Gulph, and carrying his victorious standards to countries hitherto unvisited by Roman arms. But it was too late this year to march so far south, and he accordingly led his troops into winter-quarters at Amisus, a town of Pontus, on the Euxine. He was now regarded as the master of the Eastern world; and during the winter he received ambassadors from the kings of Elymais, Media, and various other countries, who were anxious to solicit his favour. The ruin of Mithridates seemed so certain that his favourite wife or concubine, Stratonice, surrendered to the Roman general one of the strongest fortresses of the king, which had been entrusted to her care, together with valuable treasures and private documents. Pompey now reduced Pontus to the form of a Roman province, without waiting for any commissioners from the senate; and he ordered his