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A Manual of Ancient History by A. H. L. Heeren

While Mithridates flies into the Crimea


24.

After these triumphs over so many enemies, Mithridates was the only one which now remained; and Pompey had here again the good fortune to conclude a struggle already near its end; for notwithstanding his late success, Mithridates had never been able completely to recover himself. His fall undoubtedly raised the power of Rome in Asia Minor to its highest pitch; but it brought her, at the same time, into contact with the Parthians.

Pompey obtains the conduct of the war against Mithridates with very extensive privileges, procured for him by the tribune Manilius (_lex Manilia_), notwithstanding the opposition of Catulus, 67. His victory by night, near the Euphrates, 66. Subjection of Tigranes, while Mithridates flies into the Crimea, 65, whence he endeavours to renew the war. Campaign of Pompey in the countries about the Caucasus, 65; he marches thence into Syria, 64. Mithridates kills himself in consequence of the defection of his son Phraates, 63. Settlement of Asiatic affairs by Pompey: besides the ancient province of Asia, the maritime countries of Bithynia, nearly all Paphlagonia and Pontus, are formed into a Roman province, under the name of Bithynia; while on the southern coast Cilicia and Pamphylia form another under the name of Cilicia; Phoenicia and Syria compose a third, under the name of Syria. On the other hand, Great Armenia is left to Tigranes; Cappadocia to Ariobarzanes; the Bosphorus to Pharnaces; Judaea

to Hyrcanus (see page 310); and some other small states are also given to petty princes, all of whom remain dependent on Rome. The tribes inhabiting Thrace during the Mithridatic war, were first defeated by Sylla, 85, and their power was afterwards nearly destroyed by the proconsuls of Macedonia: as by Appius, in 77; by Curio, who drove them to the Danube, 75-73; and especially by M. Lucullus, while his brother was engaged in Asia. Not only the security of Macedonia, but the daring plans of Mithridates rendered this necessary.

25. The fall of Mithridates raised the republic to the highest pitch of her power: there was no longer any foreign foe of whom she could be afraid. But her internal administration had undergone great changes during these wars. Sylla's aristocratic constitution was shaken by Pompey, in a most essential point, by the reestablishment of the power of the tribunes, which was done because neither he nor any leading men could obtain their ends without their assistance. It was by their means that Pompey had procured such unlimited power in his two late expeditions, that the existence of the republic was thereby endangered. It was, however, a fortunate circumstance for Rome, that Pompey's vanity was sufficiently gratified by his being at the head of affairs, where he avoided the appearance of an oppressor.

Reiterated attempts of the tribune Sicinius to annul the constitution of Sylla defeated by the senate, 76. But as early as 75 Opimius obtained that the tribunes should not be excluded from honourable offices, and that the judgments (_judicia_) should be restored to the knights (_equites_). The attempts of Licinius Macer, 72, to restore the tribunes to all their former powers, encountered but a short opposition; and their complete reestablishment was effected by Pompey and Crassus during their consulate, in 70.

26. This victory of the democratic faction, however, in consequence of the use made of it by some leading men, necessarily led the way to an oligarchy, which after the consulate of Pompey and Crassus became very oppressive. Catiline's conspiracy, which was not matured till after several attempts, would have broken up this confined aristocracy, and placed the helm of state in the hands of another and still more dangerous faction: a faction composed in part of needy profligates and criminals dreading the punishment of their crimes, and partly of ambitious nobles. It occasioned a short civil war; but procured Cicero a place in the administration. With what pleasure do we forgive the little weaknesses and failings of one so gifted with talents and great virtues! of one who first taught Rome, in so many ways, what it was to be great in the robe of peace!


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