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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces one of
The Parallel Lives


published in Vol. II
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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(Vol. II) Plutarch, The Parallel Lives

 p471  The Life of Lucullus

1 1 In the case of Lucullus, his grandfather was a man of consular rank, and his uncle on his mother's side was Metellus, surnamed Numidicus. But as for his parents, his father was convicted of peculation, and his mother, Caecilia, had the bad name of a dissolute woman. Lucullus himself, while he was still a mere youth, before he had entered public life or stood for any office, made it his first business to impeach his father's accuser, Servilius the Augur, whom he found wronging the commonwealth. 2 The Romans thought this a brilliant stroke, and the case was in everybody's mouth, like a great deed of prowess. Indeed, they thought the business of impeachment, on general principles and without special provocation, no ignoble thing, but were very desirous to see their young men fastening themselves on malefactors like high-bred whelps on wild beasts. However, the case stirred up great animosity, so that sundry persons were actually wounded and slain, and Servilius was acquitted.

3 Lucullus was trained to speak fluently both Latin and Greek, so that Sulla, in writing his own memoirs, dedicated them to him, as a man who would set in order and duly arrange the history of the times better than himself. For the style of Lucullus was not only businesslike and ready; the same  p473 was true of many another man's in the Forum. There,

"Like smitten tunny, through the billowy sea it dashed,"

although outside the Forum it was

"Withered, inelegant, and dead."

4 But Lucullus, from his youth up, was devoted to the genial and so‑called "liberal" culture then in vogue, wherein the Beauti­ful was sought. And when he came to be well on in years, he suffered his mind to find complete leisure and repose, as it were after many struggles, in philosophy, encouraging the contemplative side of his nature, and giving timely halt and check, after his difference with Pompey, to the play of his ambition. 5 Now, as to his love of literature, this also is reported, in addition to what has already been said: when he was a young man, proceeding from jest to earnest in a conversation with Hortensius, the orator, and Sisenna, the historian, he agreed, on their suggestion of a poem and a history, both in Greek and Latin, that he would treat the Marsic war in whichever of these forms the lot should prescribe. And it would seem that the lot prescribed a Greek history, for there is extant a Greek history of the Marsic war.

6 Of his affection for his brother Marcus there are many proofs, but the Romans dwell most upon the first. Although, namely, he was older than his brother, he was unwilling to hold office alone, but waited until his brother was of the proper age, and thus gained the favour of the people  p475 to such an extent that, although in absence from the city, he was elected aedile along with his brother.

2 1 Though he was but a young man in the Marsic war,​1 he gave many proofs of courage and understanding. It was, however, more owing to constancy and mildness that Sulla attached him to himself and employed him from first to last on business of the highest importance. Such, for instance, was the management of the mint. 2 Most of the money used in Peloponnesus during the Mithridatic war was coined by him, and was called Lucullean after him. It remained current for a long time, since the wants of the soldiery during the war gave it rapid circulation. Afterwards, at Athens, Sulla found himself master on land, but cut off from supplies by sea, owing to the superior naval force of the enemy. He therefore despatched Lucullus to Egypt and Libya,​2 with orders to fetch ships from there. 3 Winter was then at its worst, but he sailed forth with three Greek brigantines and as many small Rhodian galleys, exposing himself not only to the high sea, but to numerous hostile ships which were cruising about everywhere in full mastery of it. However, he put in at Crete and won it over to his side. He also made Cyrené, and finding it in confusion in consequence of successive tyrannies and wars, he restored it to order, and fixed its constitution, reminding the city of a certain oracular utterance which the great Plato had once vouchsafed to them. 4 They asked him, it would seem, to write laws for them, and to mould their people into some form of sound government, whereupon he said that it was hard to be a lawgiver for the Cyreneans when they  p477 were having such good fortune. In fact, nothing is more ungovernable than a man reputed to be prosperous; and, on the other hand, nothing is more receptive of authority than a man who is humbled by misfortune. This was what made the Cyreneans at that time so submissive to Lucullus as their lawgiver.

5 From thence he set sail for Egypt, but was attacked by pirates, and lost most of his vessels. He himself, however, escaped in safety, and entered the port of Alexandria in splendid style. The entire Egyptian fleet came to meet him, as it was wont to do when a king put into port, in resplendent array, and the youthful Ptolemy, besides showing him other astonishing marks of kindness, gave him lodging and sustenance in the royal palace, whither no foreign commander had ever been brought before. 6 The allowance which the king made for his expenses was not the same as others had received, but four times as much, and yet he accepted nothing beyond what was actually necessary, and took no gift, although he was offered the worth of eighty talents.​a It is also said that he neither went up to Memphis, nor sought out any other of the famous wonders of Egypt; this he held to be the privilege of a leisurely and luxurious sight-seer, not of one who, like himself, had left his commander-in‑chief encamped under the open sky alongside the battlements of the enemy.

3 1 Ptolemy abandoned his alliance with Rome, out of fear for the outcome of the war, but furnished Lucullus with ships to convoy him as far as Cyprus, embraced him graciously at parting, and offered him a costly emerald set in gold. At first Lucullus  p479 declined to accept it, but when the king showed him that the engraving on it was a likeness of himself, he was afraid to reject it, lest he be thought to have sailed away at utter enmity with the king, and so have some plot laid against him on the voyage. 2 As he sailed along, he collected a multitude of ships from the maritime cities, omitting all those engaged in piracy, and came at last to Cyprus. Learning there that the enemy lay at anchor off the headlands and were watching for his coming, he hauled all his vessels up on land, and wrote letters to the cities requesting winter quarters and provisions, as though he would await the fine season there. 3 Then, when the wind served, he suddenly launched his ships and put out to sea, and by sailing in the day time with his sails reefed and low, but in the night time under full canvas, he came safely to Rhodes. The Rhodians furnished him with more ships, and he induced the people of Cos and Cnidus to forsake the royal cause and join him in an expedition against Samos. Without any aid he also drove the royal forces out of Chios,​3 and set the Colophonians free from their tyrant, Epigonus, whom he arrested.

4 It happened about this time that Mithridates abandoned Pergamum and shut himself up in Pitané. Since Fimbria held him in close siege there by land, he looked to make his escape by sea, and collected and summoned his fleets from every quarter for this purpose, renouncing all engagements in the field with a man so bold and victorious as Fimbria. 5 This design Fimbria perceived, and being without any fleet of his own, sent to Lucullus, beseeching him to come with his, and assist in capturing the  p481 most hostile and warlike of kings, that the great prize which they had sought with so many toils and struggles might not escape the Romans, now that Mithridates was in their grip and fast in the meshes of their net. If he should be captured, Fimbria said, no one would get more of the glory than the man who stood in the way of his flight and seized him as he was running off. 6 "Driven from the land by me, and excluded from the sea by you, he will crown us both with success, and the much heralded exploits of Sulla at Orchomenus and Chaeroneia will cease to interest the Romans." And there was nothing absurd in the proposition. It is clear to everyone that if Lucullus, who was close at hand, had then listened to Fimbria, brought his ships thither, and closed up the harbour with his fleet, the war would have been at an end, and the world freed from infinite mischief. 7 But, whether he ranked the honourable treatment of Sulla above every consideration of private or public advantage, or whether he regarded Fimbria as a wretch whose ambition for command had recently led him to murder a man who was his friend and superior officer, or whether it was by some mysterious dispensation of fortune that he chose to spare Mithridates, and so reserved him for his own antagonist, — for whatever reason, he would not listen to the proposal, but suffered Mithridates to sail off and mock at Fimbria's forces, 8 while he himself, to begin with, defeated the king's ships which showed themselves off Lectum in the Troad. And again, catching sight of Neoptolemus lying in wait for him at Tenedos with a still larger armament,  p483 he sailed out against him in advance of the rest, on board of a Rhodian galley which was commanded by Damagoras, a man well disposed to the Romans, and of the largest experience as a sea-fighter. 9 Neoptolemus dashed out to meet him, and ordered his steersman to ram the enemy. Damagoras, however, fearing the weight of the royal ship and her rugged bronze armour, did not venture to engage head on, but put swiftly about and ordered his men to back water, thus receiving his enemy astern, where his vessel was depressed. The blow was harmless, since it fell upon the submerged parts of the ship. 10 At this point, his friends coming up, Lucullus gave orders to turn the ship about, and, after performing many praiseworthy feats, put the enemy to flight and gave close chase to Neoptolemus.

4 1 From thence he joined Sulla at the Chersonesus, where he was about to cross the strait into Asia;​4 he rendered his passage safe, and assisted in transporting his troops. After peace had been made, Mithridates sailed away into the Euxine, and Sulla laid a contribution of twenty thousand talents upon Asia. Lucullus was commissioned to collect this money and re-coin it, and the cities of Asia felt it to be no slight assuagement of Sulla's severity when Lucullus showed himself not only honest and just, but even mild in the performance of a task so oppressive and disagreeable. 2 The Mitylenaeans too, who had revolted outright, he wished to be reasonable, and to submit to a moderate penalty for having espoused the cause of Marius. But when he saw that they were possessed by an  p485 evil spirit, he sailed against them, conquered them in battle, and shut them up within their walls. After instituting a siege of their city, he sailed away in open day to Elaea, but returned by stealth, and lay quietly in ambush near the city. 3 When the Mitylenaeans sallied forth in disorder and with the confident expectation of plundering his deserted camp, he fell upon them, took a great number of them alive, and slew five hundred of those who offered resistance. He also carried off six thousand slaves, besides countless other booty.

4 But in the boundless and manifold evils which Sulla and Marius were bringing upon the people of Italy at that time, he had no share whatever, for, as some kindly fortune would have it, he was detained at his business in Asia.​5 However, Sulla accorded no less favour to Lucullus than to his other friends. His memoirs, as I have said, Sulla dedicated to Lucullus in token of affection, and in his will appointed him guardian of his son, thereby passing Pompey by. And this seems to have been the first ground for estrangement and jealousy between these two men; both were young, and burning for distinction.

5 1 Shortly after the death of Sulla, Lucullus was made consul along with Marcus Cotta, about the hundred and seventy-sixth Olympiad.​6 Many were now trying to stir up anew the Mithridatic war, which Marcus said had not come to an end, but merely to a pause. Therefore when the province of Cisalpine Gaul was allotted to Lucullus, he was displeased, since it offered no opportunity for great exploits. 2 But what most of all embittered him was  p487 the reputation which Pompey was winning in Spain. If the war in Spain should happen to come to an end, Pompey was more likely than anyone else to be at once chosen general against Mithridates. Therefore when Pompey wrote home requesting money, and declaring that if they did not send it, he would abandon Spain and Sertorius and bring his forces back to Italy, Lucullus moved heaven and earth to have the money sent, and to prevent Pompey from coming back, on any pretext whatsoever, while he was consul. 3 He knew that all Rome would be in Pompey's hands if he were there with so large an army. For the man who at that time controlled the course of political affairs by virtue of doing and saying everything to court the favour of the people, Cethegus, hated Lucullus, who loathed his manner of life, full as it was of disgraceful amours and wanton trespasses. Against this man Lucullus waged open war. 4 But Lucius Quintus, another popular leader, who opposed the institutions of Sulla and sought to confound the established order of things, he turned from his purpose by much private remonstrance and public admonition, and allayed his ambition, thus treating in as wise and wholesome a manner as was possible the beginnings of a great distemper.

6 1 At this time there came tidings of the death of Octavius, the governor of Cilicia. There were many eager applicants for the province, and they paid court to Cethegus as the man best able to further their designs. Of Cilicia itself Lucullus made little account, but in the belief that, if he should get this province, which was near Cappadocia, no one else would be sent to conduct the war against  p489 Mithridates, he strained every nerve to keep the province from being assigned to another. 2 Finally, contrary to his natural bent, he was driven by the necessities of the case to adopt a course which was neither dignified nor praiseworthy, it is true, but conducive to his end.

There was a certain woman then in Rome, Praecia by name, whose fame for beauty and wit filled the city. In other respects she was no whit better than an ordinary courtesan, but she used her associates and companions to further the political ambitions of her friends, and so added to her other charms the reputation of being a true comrade, and one who could bring things to pass. She thus acquired the greatest influence. 3 And when Cethegus also, then at the zenith of his fame and in control of the city, joined her train and became her lover, political power passed entirely into her hands. No public measure passed unless Cethegus favoured it, and Cethegus did nothing except with Praecia's approval. This woman, then, Lucullus won over by gifts and flatteries, and it was doubtless a great boon for a woman so forward and ostentatious to be seen sharing the ambitions of Lucullus. Straightway he had Cethegus singing his praises and suing for Cilicia in his behalf. 4 But as soon as he had obtained this province, there was no further need of his soliciting the aid of Praecia, or of Cethegus, for that matter, but all were unanimous and prompt in putting into his hands the Mithridatic war, assured that no one else could better bring it to a triumphant close. Pompey was still engaged in his war with Sertorius, Metellus had now retired from active service by reason of his age, and these were the only  p491 men who could be regarded as rivals of Lucullus in any dispute about this command. 5 Cotta, however, his colleague in the consul­ship, after fervent entreaties to the Senate, was sent with some ships to guard the Propontis, and to protect Bithynia.

7 1 With a legion which he had raised himself in Italy, Lucullus crossed into Asia,​7 and there assumed command of the rest of the Roman forces. All these had long been spoiled by habits of luxury and greed, and the Fimbrians, as they were called, had become unmanageable, through long lack of discipline. 2 These were the men who, in collusion with Fimbrius,º had slain Flaccus, their consul and general, and had delivered Fimbriusº himself over to Sulla. They were self-willed and lawless, but good fighters, hardy, and experienced in war. However, in a short time Lucullus pruned off their insolent boldness, and reformed the rest. Then for the first time, as it would seem, they made the acquaintance of a genuine commander and leader, whereas before this they had always been cajoled into doing their duty, like crowds at the hustings.

3 On the enemy's side, matters stood as follows. Mithridates, boastful and pompous at the outset, like most of the Sophists, had first opposed the Romans with forces which were really unsubstantial, though brilliant and ostentatious to look upon. With these he had made a ridiculous fiasco and learned a salutary lesson. When therefore, he thought to go to war the second time, he organized his forces into a genuinely effective armament. 4 He did away with Barbarous hordes from every clime, and all their discordant and threatening cries; he provided no  p493 more armour inlaid with gold and set with precious stones, for he saw that these made rich booty for the victors, but gave no strength whatever to their wearers; instead, he had swords forged in the Roman fashion, and heavy shields welded; he collected horses that were well trained rather than richly caparisoned, and a hundred and twenty thousand footmen drilled in the Roman phalanx formation, and sixteen thousand horsemen, not counting the scythe-bearing, four-horse chariots, which were a hundred in number: 5 and further, he put in readiness ships which were not tricked out with gilded canopies, or baths for concubines, and luxurious apartments for women, but which were rather loaded down with armour and missiles and munitions of war. Then he burst into Bithynia, and not only did the cities there receive him again with gladness, but all Asia suffered a relapse into its former distempered condition, afflicted, as it was, past bearing by Roman money-lenders and tax-gatherers. 6 These were afterwards driven off by Lucullus, — harpies that they were, snatching the people's food; but then he merely tried, by admonishing them, to make them more moderate in their demands, and laboured to stop the uprisings of the towns, hardly one of which was in a quiet state.

8 1 While Lucullus was thus occupied, Cotta, thinking that his own golden opportunity had come, was getting ready to give battle to Mithridates. And when tidings came from many sources that Lucullus was coming up, and was already encamped in Phrygia, thinking that a triumph was all but in his grasp, and desiring that Lucullus have no share in it, he hastened to engage the king. 2 But  p495 he was defeated by sea and land, lost sixty vessels, crews and all, and four thousand foot-soldiers, while he himself was shut up in Chalcedon and besieged there, looking for relief at the hands of Lucullus.

3 Now there were some who urged Lucullus to ignore Cotta and march on the kingdom of Mithridates, assured of capturing it in its defenceless condition. This was the reasoning of the soldiers especially, who were indignant that Cotta, by his evil counsels, should not only be the undoing of himself and his army, but also block their own way to a victory which they could have won without a battle. 4 But Lucullus, in a harangue which he made them, said that he would rather save one Roman from the enemy than take all that enemy's possessions. And when Archelaüs, who had held command for Mithridates in Boeotia, and then had abandoned his cause, and was now in the Roman army, stoutly maintained that if Lucullus were once seen in Pontus, he would master everything at once, Lucullus declared that he was at least as courageous as the hunter; he would not give the wild beasts the slip and stalk their empty lairs. 5 With these words, he led his army against Mithridates, having thirty thousand foot-soldiers, and twenty-five hundred horsemen. But when he had come within sight of the enemy and seen with amazement their multitude, he desired to refrain from battle and draw out the time. But Marius, whom Sertorius had sent to Mithridates from Spain with an army, came out to meet him, and challenged him to combat, and so he put his forces in array to fight the issue out. 6 But presently, as they were on the point of joining  p497 battle, with no apparent change of weather, but all on a sudden, the sky burst asunder, and a huge, flame-like body was seen to fall between the two armies. In shape, it was most like a wine-jar, and in colour, like molten silver. Both sides were astonished at the sight, and separated. 7 This marvel, as they say, occurred in Phrygia, at a place called Otryae.

But Lucullus, feeling sure that no human provision or wealth could maintain, for any length of time, and in the face of an enemy, so many thousands of men as Mithridates had, ordered one of the captives to be brought to him, and asked him first, how many men shared his mess, and then, how much food he had left in his tent. 8 When the man had answered these questions, he ordered him to be removed, and questioned a second and a third in like manner. Then, comparing the amount of food provided with the number of men to be fed, he concluded that within three or four days the enemy's provisions would fail them. All the more, therefore, did he trust to time, and collected into his camp a great abundance of provisions, that so, himself in the midst of plenty, he might watch for his enemy's distress.

9 1 But in the meantime, Mithridates planned a blow at Cyzicus, which had suffered terribly in the battle near Chalcedon, having lost three thousand men and ten ships. Accordingly, wishing to evade the notice of Lucullus, he set out immediately after the evening meal, taking advantage of a dark and rainy night, and succeeded in planting his forces over against the city, on the slopes of the mountain range  p499 of Adrasteia, by day-break. 2 Lucullus got wind of his departure and pursued him, but was well satisfied not to fall upon the enemy while his own troops were in disorder from their march, and stationed his army near the village called Thracia, in a spot best suited to command the roads and regions from which, and over which, the army of Mithridates must get its necessary supplies. Seeing clearly, therefore, what the issue must be, he did not conceal it from his soldiers, but as soon as they had completed the labour of fortifying their camp, called them together, and boastfully told them that within a few days he would give them their victory, and that without any bloodshed.

3 Mithridates was besieging Cyzicus both by land and sea, having encompassed it with ten camps on the land side, and having blockaded with his ships by sea the narrow strait which parts the city from the mainland. Although the citizens viewed their peril with a high courage, and were resolved to sustain every hardship for the sake of the Romans, still, they knew not where Lucullus was, and were disturbed because they heard nothing of him. 4 And yet his camp was in plain sight, only they were deceived by their enemies. These pointed the Romans out to them, lying encamped on the heights, and said: "Do you see those forces? It is an army of Armenians and Medes which Tigranes has sent to assist Mithridates." They were therefore terrified to see such hosts encompassing them, and had no hopes that any way of succour remained, even if Lucullus should come.

5 However, in the first place, Demonax was sent in to them by Archelaüs, and told them that Lucullus  p501 was arrived. They disbelieved him, and thought he had invented his story merely to mitigate their anxieties, but then a boy came to them, who had escaped from his captivity with the enemy. On their asking him where he thought Lucullus was, he laughed at them, supposing them to be jesting. But when he saw that they were in earnest, he pointed out the Roman camp to them, and their courage was revived. 6 Again, Lucullus drew out on shore the largest of the sizable craft which plied the lake Dascylitis, carried it across to the sea on a waggon, and embarked upon it as many soldiers as it would hold, who crossed by night unobserved, and got safely into the city.

10 1 It would seem also that Heaven, in admiration of their bravery, emboldened the men of Cyzicus by many manifest signs, and especially by the following. The festival of Persephone was at hand, and the people, in lack of a black heifer for the sacrifice, fashioned one of dough, and brought it to the altar. Now the sacred heifer reared for the goddess was pasturing, like the other herds of the Cyzicenes, on the opposite side of the strait, but on that day she left her herd, swam over alone to the city, and presented herself for the sacrifice. 2 And again, the goddess appeared in a dream to Aristagoras, the town-clerk, saying: "Lo, here am I, and I bring the Libyan fifer against the Pontic trumpeter. Bid the citizens therefore be of good cheer." While the Cyzicenes were lost in wonder at the saying, at day-break the sea began to toss under a boisterous wind, and the siege-engines of the king along the walls, the wonder­ful works of Niconides the Thessalian, by  p503 their creaking and cracking showed clearly what was about to happen; 3 then a south wind burst forth with incredible fury, shattered the other engines in a short space of time, and threw down with a great shock the wooden tower a hundred cubits high. It is related, too, that the goddess Athena appeared to many of the inhabitants of Ilium in their sleep, dripping with sweat, showing part of her peplus torn away, and saying that she was just come from assisting the Cyzicenes. And the people of Ilium used to show a stelé which had on it certain decrees and inscriptions relating to this matter.

11 1 Mithridates, as long as his generals deceived him into ignorance of the famine in his army, was vexed that the Cyzicenes should success­fully withstand his siege. But his eager ambition quickly ebbed away when he perceived the straits in which his soldiers were involved, and their actual cannibalism. For Lucullus was not carrying on the war in any theatrical way, nor for mere display, but, as the saying is, was "kicking in the belly," and devising every means for cutting off food. 2 Accordingly, while Lucullus was laying siege to some outpost or other, Mithridates eagerly took advantage of the opportunity, and sent away into Bithynia almost all his horsemen, together with the beasts of burden, and those of his foot-soldiers who were disabled. On learning of this, Lucullus returned to his camp while it was still night, and early in the morning, in spite of a storm, took ten cohorts of infantry and his cavalry, and started in pursuit, although snow was falling and his hardships were extreme. Many of his soldiers were overcome with the cold and had to be left behind, but with the rest he overtook the  p505 enemy at the river Rhyndacus 3 and inflicted such a defeat upon them that the very women came forth from Apollonia and carried off their baggage and stripped their slain. Six thousand horses and fifteen thousand men were captured, besides an untold number of beasts of burden. All these followed in the train of Lucullus as he marched back past the camp of the enemy. 4 Sallust says, to my amazement, that camels were then seen by the Romans for the first time. He must have thought that the soldiers of Scipio who conquered Antiochus before this, and those who had lately fought Archelaüs at Orchomenus and Chaeroneia, were unacquainted with the camel.

5 Mithridates was now resolved upon the speediest possible flight, but with a view to drawing Lucullus away, and holding him back from pursuit, he dispatched his admiral, Aristonicus, to the Grecian sea. Aristonicus was just on the point of sailing when he was betrayed into the hands of Lucullus, together with ten thousand pieces of gold which he was carrying for the corruption of some portion of the Roman army. Upon this, Mithridates fled to the sea, and his generals of infantry began to lead the army away. 6 But Lucullus fell upon them at the river Granicus, captured a vast number of them, and slew twenty thousand. It is said that out of the whole horde of camp-followers and fighting men, not much less than three hundred thousand perished in the campaign.

12 1 Lucullus, in the first place, entered Cyzicus in triumph, and enjoyed the pleasant welcome which  p507 was his due; then he proceeded to the Hellespont, and began to equip a fleet. On visiting the Troad, he pitched his tent in the sacred precinct of Aphrodite, and in the night, after he had fallen asleep, he thought he saw the goddess standing over him and saying:—

"Why dost thou sleep, great lion? the fawns are near for thy taking."

2 Rising up from sleep and calling his friends, he narrated to them his vision, while it was yet night. And lo, there came certain men from Ilium, with tidings that thirteen of the king's galleys had been seen off the harbour of the Achaeans, making for Lemnos. Accordingly, Lucullus put to sea at once, captured these, slew their commander, Isodorus, and then sailed in pursuit of the other captains, whom these were seeking to join. 3 They chanced to be lying at anchor close to shore, and drawing their vessels all up on land, they fought from their decks, and sorely galled the crews of Lucullus. These had no chance to sail round their enemies, nor to make onset upon them, since their own ships were afloat, while those of their enemies were planted upon the land and securely fixed. 4 However, Lucullus at last succeeded in disembarking the best of his soldiers where the island afforded some sort of access. These fell upon the enemy from the rear, slew some of them, and forced the rest to cut their stern cables and fly from the shore, their vessels thus falling foul of one another, and receiving the impact of the ships of Lucullus. 5 Many of the enemy perished, of course, and among the captives there was brought in Marius, the general sent from  p509 Sertorius. He had but one eye, and the soldiers had received strict orders from Lucullus, as soon as they set sail, to kill no one-eyed man. Lucullus wished Marius to die under the most shameful insults.

13 1 These things done, Lucullus hastened in pursuit of Mithridates himself. For he expected to find him still in Bithynia under the watch and war of Voconius, whom he had dispatched with a fleet to Nicomedeia that he might intercept the king's flight. 2 But Voconius was behindhand, owing to his initiation into, and celebration of, the mysteries in Samothrace, and Mithridates put to sea with his armament, eager to reach Pontus before Lucullus turned and set upon him. He was overtaken, however, by a great storm, which destroyed some of his vessels and disabled others. The whole coast for many days was covered with the wrecks dashed upon it by the billows. 3 As for the king himself, the merchantman on which he was sailing was too large to be readily beached when the sea ran so high and the waves were so baffling, nor would it answer to its helm, and it was now too heavy and full of water to gain an offing; accordingly, he abandoned it for a light brigantine belonging to some pirates, and, entrusting his person to their hands, contrary to expectation and after great hazard, got safely to Heracleia in Pontus. 4 And so it happened that the boastful speech of Lucullus to the Senate brought no divine retribution down upon him. When, namely, that body was ready to vote three thousand talents to provide a fleet for this war, Lucullus blocked the measure by writing a letter, in which he made the haughty boast that  p511 without any such costly array, but only with the ships of the allies, he would drive Mithridates from the sea. And this success he gained with the assistance of Heaven. For it is said that it was owing to the wrath of Artemis of Priapus that the tempest fell upon the men of Pontus, who had plundered her shrine and pulled down her image.

14 1 Though many now advised Lucullus to suspend the war, he paid no heed to them, but threw his army into the king's country by way of Bithynia and Galatia.​8 At first he lacked the necessary supplies, so that thirty thousand Galatians followed in his train, each carrying a bushel of grain upon his shoulders; but as he advanced and mastered everything, he found himself in the midst of such plenty that an ox sold in his camp for a drachma, and a man-slave for four, while other booty had no value at all. Some abandoned it, and some destroyed it. There was no sale for anything to anybody when all had such abundance.

2 But when Lucullus merely wasted and ravaged the country with cavalry incursions, which penetrated the Themiscyra and the plains of the river Thermodon, his soldiers found fault with him because he brought all the cities over to him by peaceable measures; he had not taken a single one by storm, they said, nor given them a chance to enrich themselves by plunder. 3 "Nay," they said, "at this very moment we are leaving Amisus, a rich and prosperous city, which it would be no great matter to take, if its siege were pressed, and are following our general into the desert of the Tibareni and the Chaldaeans  p513 to fight with Mithridates." But these grievances, not dreaming that they would bring the soldiers to such acts of madness as they afterwards performed, Lucullus overlooked and ignored. 4 He was, however, more ready to defend himself against those who denounced his slowness in lingering there a long while, subduing worthless little villages and cities, and allowing Mithridates to recruit himself. "That," he said, "is the very thing I want, and I am sitting here to get it. I want the man to become power­ful again, and to get together a force with which it is worth our while to fight, in order that he may stand his ground, and not fly when we approach. 5 Do you not see that he has a vast and trackless desert behind him? The Caucasus, too, is near, with its many hills and dells, which are sufficient to hide away in safety ten thousand kings who decline to fight. And it is only a few days' journey from Cabira into Armenia and over Armenia there sits enthroned Tigranes, King of Kings, with forces which enable him to cut the Parthians off from Asia, transplant Greek cities into Media, sway Syria and Palestine, put to death the successors of Seleucus, and carry off their wives and daughters into captivity. 6 This king is a kinsman of Mithridates, his son-in‑law. He will not be content to receive him as a suppliant, but will make war against us. If we strive, therefore, to eject Mithridates from his kingdom, we shall run the risk of drawing Tigranes down upon us. He has long wanted an excuse for coming against us, and could not get a better one than that of being compelled to aid a man who is his kinsman and a king. Why, then, should we bring this to pass,  p515 and teach Mithridates, when he does not know it, with what allies he must carry on war against us? Why help to drive him, against his wish and as a last resource, into the arms of Tigranes, instead of giving him time to equip himself from his own resources and get fresh courage? Then we shall fight with Colchians and Tibareni and Cappadocians, whom we have often overcome, rather than with Medes and Armenians."

15 1 Influenced by such considerations as these, Lucullus lingered about Amisus, without pushing the siege vigorously. When winter was over, he left Murena in charge of the siege, and marched against Mithridates,​9 who had taken his stand at Cabira, and intended to await the Roman onset there. A force of forty thousand footmen had been collected by him, and four thousand horsemen; on the latter he placed his chief reliance. 2 Crossing the river Lycus and advancing into the plain, he offered the Romans battle. A cavalry fight ensued, and the Romans took to flight. Pomponius, a man of some note, having been wounded, was taken prisoner and led into the presence of Mithridates, suffering greatly from his wounds. When the king asked him if he would become his friend provided he spared his life, Pomponius answered: "Yes, indeed, if you come to terms with the Romans; otherwise I must remain your enemy." Mithridates was struck with admiration for him, and did him no harm.

3 Lucullus was now afraid of the plains, since the enemy was superior in cavalry, and yet hesitated to go forward into the hill country, which was remote, woody, and impassable. But it chanced that certain  p517 Greeks, who had taken refuge in a sort of cave, were captured, and the elder of them, Artemidorus, promised to serve Lucullus as a guide, and set him in a place which was safe for his camp, and which had a fortress overlooking Cabira. 4 Lucullus put confidence in this promise, and as soon as it was night, lit his camp fires and set out. He passed safely through the narrow defiles and took possession of the desired place, and at daybreak was seen above the enemy, stationing his men in positions which gave him access to the enemy if he wished to fight, and safety from their assaults if he wished to keep quiet.

5 Now neither commander had any intention of hazarding an engagement at once. But we are told that while some of the king's men were chasing a stag, the Romans cut them off and confronted them, whereupon a skirmish followed, with fresh accessions continually to either side. At last, the king's men were victorious. Then the Romans in their camp, beholding the flight of their comrades, were in distress, and ran in throngs to Lucullus, begging him to lead them, and demanding the signal for battle. 6 But he, wishing them to learn how important, in a dangerous struggle with the enemy, the visible presence of a prudent general is, bade them keep quiet. Then he went down into the plain by himself, and confronting the foremost of the fugitives, bade them stop, and turn back with him. 7 They obeyed, and the rest also wheeled about and formed in battle array, and a short time routed the enemy and drove them to their camp. When he came back, however, Lucullus inflicted the customary disgrace upon the fugitives. He bade them dig a twelve-foot  p519 ditch, working in ungirt blouses, while the rest of the soldiers stood by and watched them.

16 1 In the camp of Mithridates there was a Dandarian prince named Olthacus (the Dandarians are a tribe of barbarians dwelling about Lake Maeotis), a man conspicuous as a soldier for qualities of strength and boldness, of a most excellent judgment, and withal affable in address and of insinuating manners. This man was always in emulous rivalry for the precedence with a fellow prince of his tribe, and so was led to undertake a great exploit for Mithridates, namely, the murder of Lucullus. 2 The king approved of his design, and purposely inflicted upon him sundry marks of disgrace, whereupon, pretending to be enraged, he galloped off to Lucullus, who gladly welcomed him, since there was much talk of him in the camp. After a short probation, Lucullus was so pleased with his shrewdness and zeal, that he made him a table companion, and at last a member of his council.

3 Now when the Dandarian thought his opportunity had come, he ordered his slaves to lead his horse outside the camp, while he himself, at mid-day, when the soldiers were lying around enjoying their rest, went to the general's tent. He thought no one would deny entrance to a man who was an intimate of the general, and said he brought him certain messages of great importance. 4 And he would have entered without let or hindrance, had not sleep, the destroyer of many generals, saved Lucullus. For it chanced that he was asleep, and Menedemus, one of his chamberlains, who stood at the tent-door, told Olthacus that he had come at an inopportune time, since Lucullus had just betaken himself to rest after  p521 his long watching and many hardships. 5 Olthacus did not retire at the bidding of Menedemus, but declared that even in spite of him he would go in, since he wished to confer with the general on urgent business of great importance. Then Menedemus got angry, declared that nothing was more urgent than the preservation of Lucullus, and pushed the man away with both hands. 6 Then Olthacus, in fear, left the camp, took horse, and rode off to the camp of Mithridates, without effecting his purpose. So true is it that in active life, as well as in sickness, it is the critical moment which gives the scales their saving or their fatal inclination.

17 1 After this, Sornatius was sent with ten cohorts to get supplies of grain. Being pursued by Menander, one of the generals of Mithridates, he faced about, joined battle, and routed the enemy with great slaughter. And again, when Adrian was sent out with a force to procure an abundance of grain for the soldiers, Mithridates did not look on idly, but dispatched Menemachus and Myron, at the head of a large body of cavalry and footmen. 2 All these, it is said, except two, were cut to pieces by the Romans. Mithridates tried to conceal the extent of the disaster, pretending that it was a slight matter, and due to the inexperience of his generals. But when Adrian marched pompously past his camp, convoying many waggons laden with grain and booty, a great despair fell upon the king, and confusion and helpless fear upon his soldiers. 3 They decided, therefore, to remain where they were no longer. But when the king's servants tried to send away their own baggage first, and to hinder the rest from going, the soldiers at once got angry, pushed and forced  p523 their way to the exits of the camp, and there plundered the baggage and slew the men in charge of it. There it was that Dorylaüs, the general, with nothing else about him but his purple robe, lost his life for that, and Hermaeus, the priest, was trampled to death at the gates.

4 Mithridates himself, with no attendant or groom to assist him, fled away from the camp in the midst of the throng, not even provided with one of the royal horses; but at last the eunuch Ptolemaeus, who was mounted, spied him as he was borne along in the torrent of the rout, leaped down from his horse, and gave it to the king. 5 Presently the Romans, who were forcing the pursuit, were hard upon him, and it was for no lack of speed that they did not take him. Indeed, they were very near doing so, but greed, and petty soldier's avarice, snatched from them the quarry which they had so long pursued in many struggles and great dangers, and robbed Lucullus of the victor's prize. 6 For the horse which carried the king was just within reach of his pursuers, when one of the mules which carried the royal gold came between him and them, either of his own accord, or because the king purposely sent him into the path of pursuit. The soldiers fell to plundering and collecting the gold, fought with one another over it, and so were left behind in the chase. 7 Nor was this the only fruit of their greed which Lucullus reaped. He had given orders that Callistratus, who was in charge of the king's private papers, should be brought alive to him, but his conductors, finding that he had five hundred pieces of gold in his girdle, slew him.  p525 However, Lucullus allowed such soldiers as these to plunder the enemy's camp.

18 1 In capturing Cabira and most of the other strongholds, he found great treasures, and many prisons, in which many Greeks and many kinsfolk of the king were confined. As they had long been given up for dead, it was not so much a rescue as it was a resurrection and a sort of second birth, for which they were indebted to the favour of Lucullus. 2 Nyssa, a sister of Mithridates, was also captured; and her capture was her salvation. But the sisters and wives of the king who were thought to be at farthest remove from danger and quietly hidden away in Pharnacia, perished piti­fully, since Mithridates paused long enough in his flight to send Bacchides, a eunuch, to compass their death. Among many other women, there were two sisters of the king, Roxana and Statira, about forty years old and unmarried; and two of his wives, of Ionian families, Berenicé from Chios, and Monimé, a Milesian. 3 The latter was most talked of among the Greeks, to the effect that though the king tempted her virtue and sent her fifteen thousand pieces of gold, she resisted his advances, until he entered into a marriage contract with her, sent her a diadem, and greeted her with the title of Queen. But her marriage had been an unhappy one, and she bewailed that beauty which had procured her a master instead of a husband, and a guard of Barbarians instead of home and family, dwelling as she did far, far away from Greece, where the blessings for which she had hoped existed only in her dreams, while she was bereft of the real blessings to which she had been wonted.

 p527  4 And now Bacchides came and ordered them all to die, in whatever manner each might deem easiest and most painless. Monimé snatched the diadem from her head, fastened it round her neck, and hanged herself. But her halter quickly broke in two. "O cursed bauble," she cried, "couldst thou not serve me even in this office?" Then she spat upon it, hurled it from her, and offered her throat to Bacchides. 5 But Berenicé, taking a cup of poison, shared it with her mother, who stood at her side and begged for some. Together they drank it off, and the force of the poison sufficed for the weaker body, but it did not carry off Berenicé, who had not drunk enough. As she was long in dying, and Bacchides was in a hurry, she was strangled. 4 It is said also that of the unmarried sisters, one drank off her poison with many abusive imprecations on her brother; but that Statira did so without uttering a single reproach­ful or ungenerous word. She rather commended her brother because, when his own life was at hazard, he had not neglected them, but had taken measures to have them die in freedom and under no insults. Of course these things gave pain to Lucullus, who was naturally of a gentle and humane disposition.

19 1 Lucullus pushed on in pursuit as far as Talaura, whence, four days before, Mithridates had succeeded in escaping to Tigranes, in Armenia; then he turned aside. After subduing the Chaldaeans and the Tibareni, he occupied Lesser Armenia, reducing its fortresses and cities, and then sent Appius to Tigranes with a demand for Mithridates. 2 He himself, however, came to Amisus, which was still holding out against the siege. Its success in  p529 this was due to Callimachus, its commander, who, by his acquaintance with mechanical contrivances and his power to employ every resource which the siege of a city demands, had given the Romans the greatest annoyance. For this he afterwards paid the penalty. But at this time, he was simply out-generalled by Lucullus, who made a sudden attack at just that time of day when Callimachus was accustomed to draw his soldiers off from the ramparts and give them a rest. When the Romans had got possession of a small part of the wall, Callimachus abandoned the city, first setting fire to it with his own hands, either because he begrudged the visitors their booty, or because his own escape was thus facilitated. 3 For no one paid any attention to those who were sailing away, but when the flames increased mightily and enveloped the walls, the soldiers made ready to plunder the houses. Lucullus, out of pity for the perishing city, tried to bring aid from outside against the fire, and gave orders to extinguish the flames, but no one paid any heed to his commands. The soldiers all clamoured for the booty, and shouted, and clashed their shields and spears together, until he was forced to let them have their way, hoping that he could at least save the city itself from the flames. But the soldiers did just the opposite. 4 Ransacking everything by torch-light and carrying lights about everywhere, they destroyed most of the houses themselves. When Lucullus entered the city at daybreak, he burst into tears, and said to his friends that he had often already deemed Sulla happy, and on that day more than ever he admired the man's good fortune, in that when he wished to save Athens, he had the power to do so. 5 "But upon  p531 me," he said, "who have been so eager to imitate his example, Heaven has devolved the reputation of Mummius."

However, as far as circumstances allowed, he endeavoured to restore the city. The fire, indeed, had been quenched by showers which fell providentially just as the city was captured, and most of what the soldiers had destroyed he rebuilt himself before his departure. He also received into the city those of the Amisenes who had fled, and settled there any other Greeks who so desired, and added to the city's domain a tract of a hundred and twenty stadia. 6 The city was a colony of Athens, founded in that period when her power was at its height and she controlled the sea. And this was the reason why many who wished to excuse the tyranny of Aristion​10 at Athens sailed to Amisus, settled there, and became citizens. In flying from evils at home, they got the benefit of greater evils abroad. But those of them who survived were well clothed by Lucullus, and sent back home, with a present of two hundred drachmas apiece. 7 Tyrannio the grammarian was also taken prisoner at this time. Murena asked to have him as his own prize, and on getting him, formally gave him his liberty, therein making an illiberal use of the gift which he had received. For Lucullus did not think it meet that a man so esteemed for his learning should first become a slave, and then be set at liberty. To give him a nominal liberty was to rob him of the liberty to which he was born. But this was not the only case in which Murena was found to be far inferior to his commander in nobility of conduct.

 p533  20 1 Lucullus now turned his attention to the cities in Asia,​11 in order that, while he was at leisure from military enterprises, he might do something for the furtherance of justice and law. Through long lack of these, unspeakable and incredible misfortunes were rife in the province. Its people were plundered and reduced to slavery by the tax-gatherers and money-lenders. Families were forced to sell their comely sons and virgin daughters, and cities their votive offerings, pictures, and sacred statues. 2 At last men had to surrender to their creditors and serve them as slaves, but what preceded this was far worse, — tortures of rope, barrier, and horse; standing under the open sky in the blazing sun of summer, and in winter, being thrust into mud or ice. Slavery seemed, by comparison, to be disburdenment and peace. 3 Such were the evils which Lucullus found in the cities, and in a short time he freed the oppressed from all of them.

In the first place, he ordered that the monthly rate of interest should be reckoned at one per cent., and no more; in the second place, he cut off all interest that exceeded the principal; third, and most important of all, he ordained that the lender should receive not more than the fourth part of his debtor's income, and any lender who added interest to principal was deprived of the whole.​b 4 Thus, in less than four years' time, the debts were all paid, and the properties restored to their owners unencumbered. This public debt had its origin in the twenty thousand talents which Sulla had laid upon Asia as a contribution, and twice this amount had been paid back to the money-lenders. Yet now, by  p535 reckoning usurious interest, they had brought the total debt up to a hundred and twenty thousand talents. 5 These men, accordingly, considered themselves outraged, and raised a clamour against Lucullus at Rome. They also bribed some of the tribunes to proceed against him, being men of great influence, who had got many of the active politicians into their debt. Lucullus, however, was not only beloved by the peoples whom he had benefited, nay, other provinces also longed to have him set over them, and felicitated those whose good fortune it was to have such a governor.

21 1 Appius Clodius, who had been sent to Tigranes (Clodius was a brother of her who was then the wife of Lucullus), was at first conducted by the royal guides through the upper country by a route needlessly circuitous and long. But when a freedman of his, who was a Syrian, told him of the direct route, he left the long one which was being trickily imposed upon him, bade his Barbarian guides a long farewell, and within a few days crossed the Euphrates and came to Antioch by Daphne.​12 2 Then, being ordered to await Tigranes there (the king was still engaged in subduing some cities of Phoenicia), he gained over many of the princes who paid but a hollow obedience to the Armenian. One of these was Zarbienus, king of Gordyene. He also promised many of the enslaved cities, when they sent to confer with him secretly, the assistance of Lucullus, although for the present he bade them keep quiet.

3 Now the sway of the Armenians was intolerably  p537 grievous to the Greeks. Above all else, the spirit of the king himself had become pompous and haughty in the midst of his great prosperity. All the things which men most covet and admire, he not only had in his possession, but actually thought that they existed for his sake. 4 For though he had started on his career with small and insignificant expectations, he had subdued many nations, humbled the Parthian power as no man before him had done, and filled Mesopotamia with Greeks whom he removed in great numbers from Cilicia and from Cappadocia, and settled anew. He also removed from their wonted haunts the nomadic Arabians, and brought them to an adjacent settlement, that he might employ them in trade and commerce. 5 Many were the kings who waited upon him, and four, whom he always had about him like attendants or body-guards, would run on foot by their master's side when he rode out, clad in short blouses, and when he sat transacting business, would stand by with their arms crossed. This attitude was thought to be the plainest confession of servitude, as if they had sold their freedom and offered their persons to their master disposed for suffering rather than for service.

6 Appius, however, was not frightened or astonished at all this pomp and show, but as soon as he obtained an audience, told the king plainly that he was come to take back Mithridates, as an ornament due to the triumph of Lucullus, or else to declare war against Tigranes. Although Tigranes made every effort to listen to this speech with a cheerful countenance and a forced smile, he could not hide from the bystanders his discomfiture at the bold words of the young man. It must have been five and twenty  p539 years since he had listened to a free speech. That was the length of his reign, or rather, of his wanton tyranny. 7 However, he replied to Appius that he would not surrender Mithridates, and that if the Romans began war, he would defend himself. He was vexed with Lucullus for addressing him in his letter with the title of King only, and not King of Kings, and accordingly, in his reply, would not address Lucullus as Imperator. But he sent splendid gifts to Appius, and when he would not take them, added more besides. Appius finally accepted a single bowl from among them, not wishing his rejection of the king's offers to seem prompted by any personal enmity, but sent back the rest, and marched off with all speed to join the Imperator.

22 1 Up to this time Tigranes had not deigned to see Mithridates, nor speak to him, though the man was allied to him by marriage, and had been expelled from such a great kingdom. Instead, he had kept him at the farthest remove possible, in disgrace and contumely, and had suffered him to be held a sort of prisoner in marshy and sickly regions. Now, however, he summoned him to his palace with marks of esteem and friendship. 2 There, in secret conference, they strove to allay their mutual suspicions at the expense of their friends, by laying the blame upon them. One of these was Metrodorus of Scepsis, a man of agreeable speech and wide learning, who enjoyed the friendship of Mithridates in such a high degree that he was called the king's father. 3 This man, as it seems, had once been sent as an ambassador from Mithridates to Tigranes, with a request for aid against the Romans. On this  p541 occasion Tigranes asked him: "But what is your own advice to me, Metrodorus, in this matter?" Whereupon Metrodorus, either with an eye to the interests of Tigranes, or because he did not wish Mithridates to be saved, said that as an ambassador he urged consent, but as an adviser he forbade it. Tigranes disclosed this to Mithridates, not supposing, when he told him, that he would punish Metrodorus past all healing. 4 But Metrodorus was at once put out of the way.c Then Tigranes repented of what he had done, although he was not entirely to blame for the death of Metrodorus. He merely gave an impulse, as it were, to the hatred which Mithridates already had for the man. For had long been secretly hostile to him, as was seen from his private papers when they were captured, in which there were directions that Metrodorus, as well as others, be put to death. Accordingly, Tigranes gave the body of Metrodorus a splendid burial, sparing no expense upon the man when dead, although he had betrayed him when alive.

5 Amphicrates, the rhetorician, also lost his life at the court of Tigranes, if, for the sake of Athens, we may make some mention of him too. It is said that when he was exiled from his native city, he went to Seleucia on the Tigris, and that when the citizens asked him to give lectures there, he treated their invitation with contempt, arrogantly remarking that a stewpan could not hold a dolphin. Removing hence, he attached himself to Cleopatra, the daughter of Mithridates and wife of Tigranes, but speedily fell into disfavour, and, being excluded from intercourse with Greeks, starved himself to death. He also received honourable burial at the hands of  p543 Cleopatra, and his body lies at Sapha, as a place in those parts is called.

23 1 Lucullus, after filling Asia full of law and order, and full of peace, did not neglect the things which minister to pleasure and win favour, but during his stay at Ephesus gratified the cities with processions and triumphal festivals and contests of athletes and gladiators. And the cities, in response, celebrated festivals which they called Lucullea, to do honour to the man, and bestowed upon him what is sweeter than honour, their genuine good-will. 2 But when Appius came, and it was plain that war must be waged against Tigranes, he went back into Pontus, put himself at the head of his soldiers, and laid siege to Sinopé, or rather, to the Cilicians who were occupying that city for the king. These slew many of the Sinopians, fired the city, and set out to fly by night. 3 But Lucullus saw what was going on, made his way into the city, and slew eight thousand of the Cilicians who were still there. Then he restored to the citizens their private property, and ministered to the needs of the city, more especially on account of the following vision. He thought in his sleep that a form stood by his side and said: "Go forward a little, Lucullus; for Autolycus is come, and wishes to meet you." 4 On rising from sleep, he was unable to conjecture what the vision meant; but he took the city on that day, and as he pursued the Cilicians who were sailing away, he saw a statue lying on the beach, which the Cilicians had not succeeded in getting on board with them. It was the work of Sthenis, and one of his masterpieces. Well then, some one told Lucullus that it was the statue of Autolycus, the founder of Sinopé.

 p545  5 Now Autolycus is said to have been one of those who made an expedition with Heracles from Thessaly against the Amazons, a son of Deïmachus. On his voyage of return, in company with Demoleon and Phlogius, he lost his ship, which was wrecked at the place called Pedalium, in the Chersonesus; but he himself escaped, with his arms and his companions, and coming to Sinopé, took the city away from the Syrians. 6 These Syrians who were in possession of the city were descended, as it is said, from Syrus, the son of Apollo, and Sinopé, the daughter of Asopis.

On hearing this, Lucullus called to mind the advice of Sulla, in his memoirs, which was to think nothing so trustworthy and sure as that which is signified by dreams.

7 Being informed now that Mithridates and Tigranes were on the point of entering Lycaonia and Cilicia, with the purpose of invading Asia before war was actually declared, he was amazed that the Armenian, if he cherished the design of attacking the Romans, had not made use of Mithridates for this war when he was at the zenith of his power, nor joined forces with him when he was strong, but had allowed him to be crushed and ruined, and now began a war which offered only faint hopes of success, prostrating himself to the level of those who were unable to stand erect.

24 1 But when Machares also, the son of Mithridates, who held the Bosporus, sent Lucullus a crown valued at a thousand pieces of gold, begging to be included in the list of Rome's friends and allies, Lucullus decided at once that the first war was finished. He therefore left Sornatius there  p547 as guardian of Pontus, with six thousand soldiers, 2 while he himself, with twelve thousand footmen and less than three thousand horse, set out for the second war.​13 He seemed to be making a reckless attack, and one which admitted of no saving calculation, upon warlike nations, countless thousands of horsemen, and a boundless region surrounded by deep rivers and mountains covered with perpetual snow. 3 His soldiers, therefore, who were none too well disciplined in any case, followed him reluctantly and rebelliously, while the popular tribunes at Rome raised an outcry against him, and accused him of seeking one war after another, although the city had no need of them, that he might be in perpetual command and never lay down his arms or cease enriching himself from the public dangers. 4 And, in time, these men accomplished their purpose. But Lucullus advanced by forced marches to the Euphrates. Here he found the stream swollen and turbid from the winter storms, and was vexed to think of the delay and trouble which it would cost him to collect boats and build rafts. But at evening the stream began to subside, went on diminishing through the night, and at daybreak the river was running between lofty banks. 5 The natives, observing that sundry small islands in the channel had become visible, and that the current near them was quiet, made obeisance to Lucullus, saying that this had seldom happened before, and that the river had voluntarily made itself tame and gentle for Lucullus, and offered him an easy and speedy passage.

 p549  6 Accordingly, he took advantage of his opportunity and put his troops across, and a favourable sign accompanied his crossing. Heifers pasture there which are sacred to Persia Artemis, a goddess whom the Barbarians on the further side of the Euphrates hold in the highest honour. These heifers are used only for sacrifice, and at other times are left to roam about the country at large, with brands upon them in the shape of the torch of the goddess. Nor is it a slight or easy matter to catch any of them when they are wanted. 7 One of these heifers, after the army had crossed the Euphrates, came to a certain rock which is deemed sacred to the goddess, and stood upon it, and lowering its head without any compulsion from the usual rope, offered itself to Lucullus for sacrifice. 8 He also sacrificed a bull to the Euphrates, in acknowledgment of his safe passage. Then, after encamping there during that day, on the next and the succeeding days he advanced through Sophené. He wrought no harm to the inhabitants, who came to meet him and received his army gladly. Nay, when his soldiers wanted to take a certain fortress which was thought to contain much wealth, "Yonder lies the fortress which we must rather bring low," said he, pointing to the Taurus in the distance; "these nearer things are reserved for the victors." Then he went on by forced marches, crossed the Tigris, and entered Armenia.

25 1 Since the first messenger who told Tigranes that Lucullus was coming had his head cut off for his pains, no one else would tell him anything, and so he sat in ignorance while the fires of war were already blazing around him, giving ear only to those  p551 who flattered him and said that Lucullus would be a great general if he ventured to withstand Tigranes at Ephesus, and did not fly incontinently from Asia at the mere sight of so many myriads of men. 2 Which only proves that it is not every man who can bear much unmixed wine, nor is it any ordinary understanding that does not lose its reckoning in the midst of great prosperity. The first of his friends who ventured to tell him the truth was Mithrobarzanes, and he, too, got no very excellent reward for his boldness of speech. He was sent at once against Lucullus with three thousand horsemen and a large force of infantry, under orders to bring the general alive, but to trample his men under foot.

3 Now, part of the army of Lucullus was already preparing to go into camp, and the rest was still coming up, when his scouts told him that the Barbarian was advancing to the attack. Fearing lest the enemy attack his men when they were separated and in disorder, and so throw them into confusion, he himself fell to arranging the encampment, and Sextilius, the legate, was sent at the head of sixteen hundred horsemen and about as many light and heavy infantry, 4 with orders to get near the enemy and wait there until he learned that the main body was safely encamped. Well then, this was what Sextilius wished to do, but he was forced into an engagement by Mithrobarzanes, who boldly charged upon him. A battle ensued, in which Mithrobarzanes fell fighting, and the rest of his forces took to flight and were cut to pieces, all except a few.

5 Upon this, Tigranes abandoned Tigranocerta, that great city which he had built, withdrew to the  p553 Taurus, and there began collecting his forces from every quarter. Lucullus, however, gave him no time for preparation, but sent out Murena to harass and cut off the forces gathering to join Tigranes, and Sextilius again to hold in check a large body of Arabs which was drawing near the king. 6 At one and the same time Sextilius fell upon the Arabs as they were going into camp, and slew most of them; and Murena, following hard upon Tigranes, seized his opportunity and attacked the king as he was passing through a rough and narrow defile with his army in long column. Tigranes himself fled, abandoning all his baggage, many of the Armenians were slain, and more were captured.

26 1 Thus success­ful in his campaign, Lucullus struck camp and proceeded to Tigranocerta, which city he invested and began to besiege. There were in the city many Greeks who had been transplanted, like others, from Cilicia, and many Barbarians who had suffered the same fate as the Greeks, — Adiabeni, Assyrians, Gordyeni and Cappadocians, whose native cities Tigranes had demolished, and brought their inhabitants to dwell there under compulsion. 2 The city was also full of wealth and votive offerings, since every private person and every prince vied with the king in contributing to its increase and adornment. Therefore Lucullus pressed the siege of the city with vigour, in the belief that Tigranes would not endure it, but contrary to his better judgment and in anger would descend into the plains to offer battle; and his belief was justified. 3 Mithridates, indeed, both by messengers and letters, strongly urged the king not to join battle, but to cut off the enemy's supplies  p555 with his cavalry; Taxiles also, who came from Mithridates and joined the forces of Tigranes, earnestly begged the king to remain on the defensive and avoid the invincible arms of the Romans. And at first Tigranes gave considerate hearing to this advice. 4 But when the Armenians and Gordyeni joined him with all their hosts, and the kings of the Medes and Adiabeni came up with all their hosts, and many Arabs arrived from the sea of Babylonia, and many Albanians from the Caspian sea, together with Iberians who were neighbours to the Albanians; and when not a few of the peoples about the river Araxes, who are not subject to kings, had been induced by favours and gifts to come and join him; and when the banquets of the king, and his councils as well, were full of hopes and boldness and barbaric threats, — then Taxiles ran the risk of being put to death when he opposed the plan of fighting, and Mithridates was thought to be diverting the king from a great success out of mere envy. 5 Wherefore Tigranes would not even wait for him, lest he share in the glory, but advanced with all his army, bitterly lamenting to his friends, as it is said, that he was going to contend with Lucullus alone, not with all the Roman generals put together.

And his boldness was not altogether that of a mad man, nor without good reason, when he saw so many nations and kings in his following, with phalanxes of heavy infantry and myriads of horsemen. 6 For he was in command of twenty thousand bowmen and slingers, and fifty-five thousand horsemen, of whom seventeen thousand were clad in mail, as Lucullus said in his letter to the Senate; also of one hundred and fifty thousand heavy infantry,  p557 some of whom were drawn up in cohorts, and some in phalanxes; also of road-makers, bridge-builders, clearers of rivers, foresters, and ministers to the other needs of an army, to the number of thirty-five thousand. These latter, being drawn up in array behind the fighting men, increased the apparent strength of the army.

27 1 When Tigranes had crossed the Taurus, deployed with all his forces, and looked down upon the Roman army investing Tigranocerta, the throng of Barbarians in the city greeted his appearance with shouts and din, and standing on the walls, threateningly pointed out the Armenians to the Romans. 2 When Lucullus held a council of war, some of his officers advised him to give up the siege and lead his army against Tigranes; others urged him not to leave so many enemies in his rear, and not to remit the siege. Whereupon, remarking that each counsel by itself was bad, but both together were good, he divided his army. Murena, with six thousand footmen, he left behind in charge of the siege; while he himself, with twenty-four cohorts, comprising no more than ten thousand heavy infantry, and all the horsemen, slingers, and archers, to the number of about a thousand, set out against the enemy.

3 When he had encamped along the river in a great plain, he appeared utterly insignificant to Tigranes, and supplied the king's flatterers with ground for amusement. Some mocked at the Romans, and others, in pleasantry, cast lots for their spoil, while each of the generals and kings came forward and begged that the task of conquering them might be entrusted to himself alone, and that the  p559 king would sit by as a spectator. 4 Then Tigranes, not wishing to be left behind entirely in this play of wit and scoffing, uttered that famous saying: "If they are come as ambassadors, they are too many; if as soldiers, too few."​d And for the while they continued their sarcasms and jests. But at daybreak Lucullus led out his forces under arms. Now, the Barbarian army lay to the east of the river. But as the stream takes a turn to the west at the point where it was easiest to ford, and as Lucullus led his troops to the attack in that direction first, and with speed, he seemed to Tigranes to be retreating. 5 So he called Taxiles and said, with a laugh, "Don't you see that the invincible Roman hoplites are taking to flight?" "O King," said Taxiles, "I could wish that some marvellous thing might fall to your good fortune; but when these men are merely on a march, they do not put on shining raiment, nor have they shields polished and their helmets uncovered, as now that they have stripped the leathern coverings from their armour. Nay, this splendour means that they are going to fight, and are now advancing upon their enemies." 6 While Taxiles was yet speaking, the first eagle came in sight, as Lucullus wheeled towards the river, and the cohorts were seen forming in maniples with a view to crossing. Then at last, as though coming out of a drunken stupor, Tigranes cried out two or three times, "Are the men coming against us?" And so, with much tumult and confusion, his multitude formed in battle array, the king himself occupying the centre, and assigning the left wing to the king of the Adiabeni, the right to the king of the Medes. In front of this wing also  p561 the greater part of the mail-clad horsemen were drawn up.

7 As Lucullus was about to cross the river, some of his officers advised him to beware of the day, which was one of the unlucky days — the Romans call them "black days". For on that day Caepio and his army perished in a battle with the Cimbri.​14 But Lucullus answered with these memorable words: "Verily, I will make this day, too, a lucky one for the Romans." Now the day was the sixth of October.

28 1 Saying this, and bidding his men be of good courage, he crossed the river, and led the way in person against the enemy. He wore a steel breastplate of glittering scales, and a tasselled cloak, and at once let his sword flash forth from its scabbard, indicating that they must forthwith come to close quarters with men who fought with long range missiles, and eliminate, by the rapidity of their onset, the space in which archery would be effective. 2 But when he saw that the mail-clad horsemen, on whom the greatest reliance was placed, were stationed at the foot of a considerable hill which was crowned by a broad and level space, and that the approach to this was a matter of only four stadia, and neither rough nor steep, he ordered his Thracian and Gallic horsemen to attack the enemy in the flank, and to parry their long spears with their own short swords. 3 (Now the sole resource of the mail-clad horsemen is their long spear, and they  p563 have none other whatsoever, either in defending themselves or attacking their enemies, owing to the weight and rigidity of their armour; in this they are, as it were, immured.) Then he himself, with two cohorts, hastened eagerly towards the hill, his soldiers following with all their might, because they saw him ahead of them in armour, enduring all the fatigue of a foot-soldier, and pressing his way along. Arrived at the top, and standing in the most conspicuous spot, he cried with a loud voice, "The day is ours, the day is ours, my fellow soldiers!" 4 With these words, he led his men against the mail-clad horsemen, ordering them not to hurl their javelins yet, but taking each his own man, to smite the enemy's legs and thighs, which are the only parts of these mail-clad horsemen left exposed. However, there was no need of this mode of fighting, for the enemy did not await the Romans, but, with loud cries and in most disgraceful flight, they hurled themselves and their horses, with all their weight, upon the ranks of their own infantry, before it had so much as begun to fight, and so all those tens of thousands were defeated without the infliction of a wound or the sight of blood. 5 But the great slaughter began at once when they fled, or rather tried to fly, for they were prevented from really doing so by the closeness and depth of their own ranks. Tigranes rode away at the very outset with a few attendants, and took to flight. Seeing his son also in the same plight, he took off the diadem from his head and, in tears, gave it to him, bidding him save himself as best he could by another route. 6 The young man, however, did not venture to assume the diadem, but gave it to his most trusted slave for safe keeping.  p565 This slave happened to be captured, and was brought to Lucullus, and thus even the diadem of Tigranes became a part of the booty. It is said that more than a hundred thousand of the enemy's infantry perished, while of the cavalry only a few, all told, made their escape. Of the Romans, on the other hand, only a hundred were wounded, and only five killed.

7 Antiochus the philosopher makes mention of this battle in his treatise "Concerning Gods," and says that the sun never looked down on such another. And Strabo, another philosopher, in his "Historical Commentaries,"​e says that the Romans themselves were ashamed, and laughed one another to scorn for requiring arms against such slaves. Livy also has remarked that the Romans were never in such inferior numbers when they faced an enemy; for the victors were hardly even a twentieth part of the vanquished, but less than this. 8 The Roman generals who were most capable and most experienced in war, praised Lucullus especially for this, that he out-generalled two kings who were most distinguished and power­ful by two most opposite tactics, speed and slowness. For he used up Mithridates, at the height of his power, by long delays; but crushed Tigranes by the speed of his operations, being one of the few generals of all time to use delay for greater achievement, and boldness for greater safety.

29 1 This was the reason why Mithridates made no haste to be at the battle. He thought Lucullus would carry on the war with his wonted caution and indirectness, and so marched slowly to join Tigranes. At first he met a few Armenians hurrying back over the road in panic fear, and conjectured what had  p567 happened; then presently, when he had learned of the defeat from more unarmed and wounded fugitives whom he met, he sought to find Tigranes. 2 And though he found him destitute of all things and humiliated, he did not return his insolent behaviour, but got down from his horse and wept with him over their common sufferings. Then he gave him his own royal equipage, and tried to fill him with courage for the future. And so these kings began again to assemble fresh forces.

But in the city of Tigranocerta, the Greeks had risen up against the Barbarians and were ready to hand the city over to Lucullus; so he assaulted and took it. 3 The royal treasures in the city he took into his own charge, but the city itself he turned over to his soldiers for plunder, and it contained eight thousand talents in money, together with the usual valuables. Besides this, he gave to each man eight hundred drachmas from the general spoils. 4 On learning that many dramatic artists had been captured in the city, whom Tigranes had collected there from all quarters for the formal dedication of the theatre which he had built, Lucullus employed them for the contests and spectacles with which he celebrated his victories. The Greeks he sent to their native cities, giving them also the means wherewith to make the journey, and likewise the Barbarians who had been compelled to settle there. Thus it came to pass that the dissolution of one city was the restoration of many others, by reason of their recovering their own inhabitants, and they all loved Lucullus as their benefactor and founder.

5 And whatever else he did also prospered, in a way worthy of the man, who was ambitious of the  p569 praise that is consequent upon righteousness and humanity, rather than of that which follows military successes. For the latter, the army also was in no slight degree, but fortune in the highest degree, responsible; but the former were the manifestations of a gentle and disciplined spirit, and in the exercise of these qualities Lucullus now, without appeal to arms, subdued the Barbarians. The kings of the Arabs came to him, with proffers of their possessions, and the Sopheni joined his cause. 6 The Gordyeni were so affected by his kindness that they were ready to abandon their cities and follow him with their wives and children, in voluntary service. The reason for this was as follows. Zarbienus, the king of the Gordyeni, as has been said,​15 secretly stipulated with Lucullus, through Appius, for an alliance, being oppressed by the tyranny of Tigranes. He was informed against, however, and put to death, and his wife and children perished with him, before the Romans entered Armenia. 7 Lucullus was not unmindful of all this, but on entering the country of the Gordyeni, appointed funeral rites in honour of Zarbienus, and after adorning a pyre with royal raiment and gold and with the spoils taken from Tigranes, set fire to it with his own hand, and joined the friends and kindred of the man in pouring libationsº upon it, calling him a comrade of his and an ally of the Romans. 8 He also ordered that a monument be erected to his memory at great cost; for many treasures were found in the palace of Zarbienus, including gold and silver, and three million bushels of grain were stored up there, so that the soldiers were plenti­fully supplied, and Lucullus was admired  p571 for not taking a single drachma from the public treasury, but making the war pay for itself.

30 1 Here he received an embassy from the king of the Parthians also, inviting him into friendly alliance. This was agreeable to Lucullus, and in his turn he sent ambassadors to the Parthian, but they discovered that he was playing a double game, and secretly asking for Mesopotamia as reward for an alliance with Tigranes. 2 Accordingly, when Lucullus was apprised of this, he determined to ignore Tigranes and Mithridates as exhausted antagonists, and to make trial of the Parthian power by marching against them, thinking it a glorious thing, in a single impetuous onset of war, to throw, like an athlete, three kings in succession, and to make his way, unvanquished and victorious, through three of the greatest empires under the sun.

3 Accordingly he sent orders to Sornatius and his fellow commanders in Pontus to bring the army there to him, as he intended to proceed eastward from Gordyené. These officers had already found their soldiers unmanageable and disobedient, but now they discovered that they were utterly beyond control, being unable to move them by any manner of persuasion or compulsion. Nay, they roundly swore that they would not even stay where they were, but would go off and leave Pontus undefended. 4 When news of this was brought to Lucullus, it demoralised his soldiers there also. Their wealth and luxurious life had already made them averse to military service and desirous of leisure, and when they heard of the bold words of their comrades in Pontus, they called them brave men, and said  p573 their example must be followed in Gordyené, for their many achievements entitled them to respite from toil and freedom from danger.

31 1 Such speeches, and even worse than these, coming to the ears of Lucullus, he gave up his expedition against the Parthians, and marched once more against Tigranes,​16 it being now the height of summer. And yet, after crossing the Taurus, he was discouraged to find the plains still covered with unripe grain, so much later are the seasons there, owing to the coolness of the atmosphere. 2 However, he descended from the mountains, routed the Armenians who twice or thrice ventured to attack him, and then plundered their villages without fear, and, by taking away the grain which had been stored up for Tigranes, reduced his enemy to the straits which he had been fearing for himself. Then he challenged them to battle by encompassing their camp with a moat, and by ravaging their territory before their eyes; but this did not move them, so often had they been defeated. He therefore broke camp and marched against Artaxata, the royal residence of Tigranes, where were his wives and young children, thinking that Tigranes would not give these up without fighting.

3 It is said that Hannibal the Carthaginian, after Antiochus had been conquered by the Romans, left him and went to Artaxas the Armenian, to whom he gave many excellent suggestions and instructions. For instance, observing that a section of the country which had the greatest natural advantages and attractions was lying idle and neglected, he drew up a plan for a city there, and then brought Artaxas  p575 to the place and showed him its possibilities, and urged him to undertake the building. 4 The king was delighted, and begged Hannibal to superintend the work himself, whereupon a very great and beauti­ful city arose there, which was named after the king, and proclaimed the capital of Armenia.

When Lucullus marched against this city, Tigranes could not suffer it quietly, but put himself at the head of his forces, and on the fourth day encamped over against the Romans, keeping the river Arsania between himself and them, which they must of necessity cross on their way to Artaxata. 5 Thereupon Lucullus sacrificed to the gods, in full assurance that the victory was already his, and then crossed the river with twelve cohorts in the van, and the rest disposed so as to prevent the enemy from closing in upon his flanks. For large bodies of horsemen and picked soldiers confronted him, and these were covered by Mardian mounted archers and Iberian lancers, on whom Tigranes relied beyond any other mercenaries, deeming them the most warlike. 6 However, they did not shine in action, but after a slight skirmish with the Roman cavalry, gave way before the advancing infantry, scattered to right and left in flight, and drew after them the cavalry in pursuit. On the dispersion of these troops, Tigranes rode out at the head of his cavalry, and when Lucullus saw their splendour and their numbers he was afraid. 7 He therefore recalled his cavalry from their pursuit of the flying enemy, and taking the lead of his troops in person, set upon the Atropateni, who were stationed opposite him with the magnates of the king's following, and before coming to close quarters, sent them off in panic flight. Of three  p577 kings who together confronted the Romans, Mithridates of Pontus seems to have fled most disgracefully, for he could not endure even their shouting. 8 The pursuit was long and lasted through the whole night, and the Romans were worn out, not only with killing their enemies, but also with taking prisoners and getting all sorts of booty. Livy says that in the former battle a greater number of the enemy, but in this more men of high station were slain and taken prisoners.

32 1 Elated and emboldened by this victory, Lucullus purposed to advance further into the interior and subdue the Barbarian realm utterly. But, contrary to what might have been expected at the time of the autumnal equinox, severe winter weather was encountered, which generally covered the ground with snow, and even when the sky was clear produced hoar frost and ice, owing to which the horses could not well drink of the rivers, so excessive was the cold, nor could they easily cross them, since the ice broke, and cut the horses' sinews with its jagged edges. 2 Most of the country was thickly shaded, full of narrow defiles, and marshy, so that it kept the soldiers continually wet; they were covered with snow while they marched, and spent the night uncomfortably in damp places. Accordingly, they had not followed Lucullus for many days after the battle when they began to object. At first they sent their tribunes to him with entreaties to desist, then they held more tumultuous assemblies, and shouted in their tents at night, which seems to have been characteristic of a mutinous army. 3 And yet Lucullus plied them with entreaties, calling upon them to possess their souls in patience until they had  p579 taken and destroyed the Armenian Carthage, the work of their most hated foe, meaning Hannibal. But since he could not persuade them, he led them back, and crossing the Taurus by another pass, descended into the country called Mygdonia, which is fertile and open to the sun, and contains a large and populous city, called Nisibis by the Barbarians, Antioch in Mygdonia by the Greeks. 4 The nominal defender of this city, by virtue of his rank, was Gouras, a brother of Tigranes; but its actual defender, by virtue of his experience and skill as an engineer, was Callimachus, the man who gave Lucullus most trouble at Amisus also. But Lucullus established his camp before it, laid siege to it in every way, and in a short time took the city by storm. 5 To Gouras, who surrendered himself into his hands, he gave kind treatment; but to Callimachus, who promised to reveal secret stores of great treasure, he would not hearken. Instead, he ordered him to be brought in chains, that he might be punished for destroying Amisus by fire, and thereby robbing Lucullus of the object of his ambition, which was to show kindness to the Greeks.

33 1 Up to this point, one might say that fortune had followed Lucullus and fought on his side; but from now on, as though a favouring breeze had failed him, he had to force every issue, and met with obstacles everywhere. He still displayed the bravery and patience of a good leader, but his undertakings brought him no new fame or favour; indeed, so ill-starred and devious was his course, that he came near losing that which he had already won. 2 And he himself was not least to blame for this. He was not disposed to court the favour of the common  p581 soldier, and thought that everything that was done to please one's command only dishonoured and undermined one's authority. Worst of all, not even with men of power and of equal rank with himself could he readily co-operate; he despised them all, and thought them of no account as compared with himself. 3 These bad qualities Lucullus is said to have had, but no more than these. He was tall and handsome, a power­ful speaker, and equally able in the forum and the field.

Well, then, Sallust says that his soldiers were ill-disposed towards him at the very beginning of the war, before Cyzicus, and again before Amisus, because they were compelled to spend two successive winters in camp. 4 The winters that followed also vexed them. They spent them either in the enemy's country, or among the allies, encamped under open sky. Not once did Lucullus take his army into a city that was Greek and friendly. In their disaffection, they received the greatest support from the popular leaders at Rome. These envied Lucullus and denounced him for protracting the war through love of power and love of wealth. They said he all but had in his own sole power Cilicia, Asia, Bithynia, Paphlagonia, Galatia, Pontus, Armenia, and the regions extending to the Phasis, and that now he had actually plundered the palaces of Tigranes, as if he had been sent, not to subdue the kings, but to strip them. 5 These were the words, they say, of Lucius Quintus, one of the praetors, to whom most of all the people listened when they passed a vote to send men who should succeed Lucullus in the command of his province. They voted also that many of the soldiers under him should be released from military service.

 p583  34 1 To these factors in the case, so unfavourable in themselves, there was added another, which most of all vitiated the undertakings of Lucullus. This was Publius Clodius, a man of wanton violence, and full of all arrogance and boldness. He was a brother of the wife of Lucullus, a woman of the most dissolute ways, whom he was actually accused of debauching. 2 At this time he was in service with Lucullus, and did not get all the honour which he thought his due. He thought a foremost place his due, and when many were preferred before him because of his evil character, he worked secretly upon the soldiers who had been commanded by Fimbria, and tried to incite them against Lucullus, disseminating among them speeches well adapted to men who were neither unwilling nor unaccustomed to have their favour courted. These were the men whom Fimbria had once persuaded to kill the consul Flaccus, and choose himself for their general. 3 They therefore gladly listened to Clodius also, and called him the soldier's friend. For he pretended to be incensed in their behalf, if there was to be no end of their countless wars and toils, but they were rather to wear out their lives in fighting with every nation and wandering over every land, receiving no suitable reward for such service, but convoying the waggons and camels of Lucullus laden with golden beakers set with precious stones, 4 while the soldiers of Pompey, citizens now, were snugly ensconced with wives and children in the possession of fertile lands and prosperous cities, — not for having driven Mithridates and Tigranes into uninhabitable deserts, nor for having demolished the royal palaces of Asia, but for having fought with wretched exiles in Spain and  p585 runaway slaves in Italy. "Why, then," he would cry, "if our campaigns are never to come to an end, do we not reserve what is left of our bodies, and our lives, for a general in whose eyes the wealth of his soldiers is his fairest honour?"

5 For such reasons as these the army of Lucullus was demoralised, and refused to follow him either against Tigranes, or against Mithridates, who had come back into Pontus from Armenia, and was trying to restore his power there. They made the winter their excuse for lingering in Gordyené, expecting every moment that Pompey, or some other commander, would be sent out to succeed Lucullus.

35 1 But when tidings came that Mithridates had defeated Fabius,​17 and was on the march against Sornatius and Triarius, they were struck with shame and followed Lucullus. But Triarius, who was ambitious to snatch the victory, which he thought assured, before Lucullus, who was near, should come up, was defeated in a great battle. It is said that over seven thousand Romans fell, among whom were a hundred and fifty centurions, and twenty-four tribunes; and their camp was captured by Mithridates. 2 But Lucullus, coming up a few days afterward, hid Triarius from the search of his infuriated soldiers. Then, since Mithridates was unwilling to give fight but lay waiting for Tigranes, who was coming down with a large force, he determined to anticipate the junction of their armies, and march back to meet Tigranes in battle. 3 But while he was on the way thither, the Fimbrian soldiers mutinied and left their ranks, declaring that they were discharged from  p587 service by decree of the people, and that Lucullus no longer had the right to command them, since the provinces had been assigned to others. Accordingly, there was no expedient, however much beneath his dignity, to which Lucullus did not force himself to resort, — entreating the soldiers man by man, going about from tent to tent in humility and tears, and actually taking some of the men by the hand in supplication. 4 But they rejected his advances, and threw their empty purses down before him, bidding him to fight the enemy alone, since he alone knew how to get rich from them. However, at the request of the other soldiers, the Fimbrians were constrained to agree to remain during the summer; but if, in the meantime, no enemy should come down to fight them, they were to be dismissed. Lucullus was obliged to content himself with these terms, or else to be deserted and give up the country to the Barbarians. 5 He therefore simply held his soldiers together, without forcing them any more, or leading them out to battle. Their remaining with him was all he could expect, and he looked on helplessly while Tigranes ravaged Cappadocia and might have resumed his insolent ways, — a monarch whom he had reported by letter to the Senate as completely subdued. Besides, the commissioners were now with him, who had been sent out to regulate the affairs of Pontus, on the supposition that it was a secure Roman possession. 6 And lo, when they came, they saw that Lucullus was not even his own master, but was mocked and insulted by his soldiers. These went so far in their outrageous treatment of their general, that, at the close of the summer, they donned their  p589 armour, drew their swords, and challenged to battle an enemy who was nowhere near, but had already withdrawn. Then they shouted their war cries, brandished their weapons in the air, and departed from the camp, calling men to witness that the time had expired during which they had agreed to remain with Lucullus.

7 The rest of the soldiers Pompey summoned by letter, for he had already been appointed to conduct the war against Mithridates and Tigranes,​18 because he won the favour of the people and flattered their leaders. But the Senate and the nobility considered Lucullus a wronged man. He had been superseded, they said, not in a war, but in a triumph, and had been forced to relinquish and turn over to others, not his campaign, but the prizes of victory in his campaign.

36 1 But to those who were on the spot, what happened there seemed still greater matter for wrath and indignation. For Lucullus was not allowed to bestow reward and or punishments for what had been done in the war, nor would Pompey even suffer any one to visit him, or to pay any heed to the edicts and regulations which he made in concert with the ten commissioners, but prevented it by issuing counter-edicts, and by the terror which his presence with a larger force inspired. 2 Nevertheless, their friends decided to bring the two men together, and so they met in a certain village of Galatia. They greeted one another amicably, and each congratulated the other on his victories. Lucullus was the elder man, but Pompey's prestige was the greater, because he had conducted more campaigns, and celebrated  p591 two triumphs. Fasces wreathed with laurel were carried before both commanders in token of their victories, 3 and since Pompey had made a long march through waterless and arid regions, the laurel which wreathed his fasces was withered. When the lictors of Lucullus noticed this, they considerately gave Pompey's lictors some of their own laurel, which was fresh and green. This circumstance was interpreted as a good omen by the friends of Pompey; for, in fact, the exploits of Lucullus did adorn the command of Pompey. 4 However, their conference resulted in no equitable agreement, but they left it still more estranged from one another. Pompey also annulled the ordinances of Lucullus, and took away all but sixteen hundred of his soldiers. These he left to share his triumph, but even these did not follow him very cheerfully. 5 To such a marvellous degree was Lucullus either unqualified or unfortunate as regards the first and highest of all requisites in a leader. Had this power of gaining the affection of his soldiers been added to his other gifts, which were so many and so great, — courage, diligence, wisdom, and justice, — the Roman empire would not have been bounded by the Euphrates, 6 but by the outer confines of Asia, and the Hyrcanian sea; for all the other nations had already been subdued by Tigranes, and in the time of Lucullus the Parthian power was not so great as it proved to be in the time of Crassus, nor was it so well united, nay rather, owing to intestine and neighbouring wars, it had not even strength enough to repel the wanton attacks of the Armenians.

Now my own opinion is that the harm Lucullus did his country through his influence upon others, was greater than the good he did her himself. 7 For his  p593 trophies in Armenia, standing on the borders of Parthia, and Tigranocerta, and Nisibis, and the vast wealth brought to Rome from these cities, and the display in his triumph of the captured diadem of Tigranes, incited Crassus to his attack upon Asia; he thought that the Barbarians were spoil and booty, and nothing else. It was not long, however, before he encountered the Parthian arrows, and proved that Lucullus had won his victories, not through the folly and cowardice of his enemies, but through his own daring and ability. This, however, is later history.

37 1 Now when Lucullus had returned to Rome, he found, in the first place, that his brother Marcus was under prosecution by Gaius Memmius for his acts as quaestor under the administration of Sulla. Marcus, indeed, was acquitted, but Memmius then turned his attack upon Lucullus, and strove to excite the people against him. He charged him with diverting much property to his own uses, and with needlessly protracting the war, and finally persuaded the people not to grant him a triumph. 2 Lucullus strove mightily against this decision, and the foremost and most influential men mingled with the tribes, and by much entreaty and exertion at last persuaded the people to allow him to celebrate a triumph;​19 not, however, like some, a triumph which was startling and tumultuous from the length of the procession and the multitude of objects displayed. Instead, he decorated the circus of Flaminius with the arms of the enemy, which were very numerous, and with the royal engines of war; and this was a great spectacle in itself, and far from contemptible.  p595 3 But in the procession, a few of the mail-clad horsemen and ten of the scythe-bearing chariots moved along, together with sixty of the king's friends and generals. A hundred and ten bronze-beaked ships of war were also carried along,​f a golden statue of Mithridates himself, six feet in height, a wonder­ful shield adorned with precious stones, twenty litters of silver vessels, and thirty-two litters of gold beakers, armour, and money. 4 All this was carried by men. Then there were eight mules which bore golden couches, fifty-six bearing ingots of silver, and a hundred and seven more bearing something less than two million seven hundred thousand pieces of silver coin.​g There were also tablets with records of the sums of money already paid by Lucius to Pompey for the war against the pirates, and to the keepers of the public treasury, as well as of the fact that each of his soldiers had received nine hundred and fifty drachmas. To crown all, Lucullus gave a magnificent feast to the city, and to the surrounding villages called Vici.

38 1 After his divorce from Clodia, who was a licentious and base woman, he married Servilia, a sister of Cato, but this, too, was an unfortunate marriage. For it lacked none of the evils which Clodia had brought in her train except one, namely, the scandal about her brothers. In all other respects Servilia was equally vile and abandoned, and yet Lucullus forced himself to tolerate her, out of regard for Cato. At last, however, he put her away.

2 The Senate had conceived wondrous hopes that in him it would find an opposer of the tyranny of Pompey and a champion of the aristocracy, with all  p597 the advantage of great glory and influence; but he quitted and abandoned public affairs, either because he saw that they were already beyond proper control and diseased, or, as some say, because he had his fill of glory, and felt that the unfortunate issue of his many struggles and toils entitled him to fall back upon a life of ease and luxury. 3 Some commend him for making such a change, and thereby escaping the unhappy lot of Marius, who, after his Cimbrian victories and the large and fair successes which were so famous, was unwilling to relax his efforts and enjoy the honours won, but with an insatiate desire for glory and power, old man that he was, fought with young men in the conduct of the state, and so drove headlong into terrible deeds, and sufferings still more terrible still. Cicero, say these, would have had a better old age if he had taken in sail after the affair of Catiline, and Scipio, too, if he had given himself pause after adding Numantia to Carthage; 4 for a political cycle, too, has a sort of natural termination, and political no less than athletic contests are absurd, after the full vigour of life has departed. Crassus and Pompey, on the other hand, ridiculed Lucullus for giving himself up to pleasure and extravagance, as if a luxurious life were not even more unsuitable to men of his years than political and military activities.

39 1 And it is true that in the life of Lucullus, as in an ancient comedy, one reads in the first part of political measures and military commands, and in the latter part of drinking bouts, and banquets, and what might pass for revel-routs, and torch-races, and all manner of frivolity. 2 For I must count as frivolity his costly edifices, his ambulatories  p599 and baths, and still more his paintings and statues (not to speak of his devotion to these arts), which he collected at enormous outlays, pouring out into such channels the vast and splendid wealth which he accumulated from his campaigns. Even now, when luxury has increased so much, the gardens of Lucullus are counted among the most costly of the imperial gardens. 3 As for his works on the sea-shore and in the vicinity of Neapolis, where he suspended hills over vast tunnels, girdled his residences with zones of sea and with streams for the breeding of fish, and built dwellings in the sea, — when Tubero the Stoic saw them, he called him Xerxes in a toga. 4 He had also country establishments near Tusculum, with observatories, and extensive open banqueting halls and cloisters. Pompey once visited these, and chided Lucullus because he had arranged his country seat in the best possible way for summer, but had made it uninhabitable in winter. Whereupon Lucullus burst out laughing and said: "Do you suppose, then, that I have less sense than cranes and storks, and do not change residences according to the seasons?" 5 A praetor was once making ambitious plans for a public spectacle, and asked of him some purple cloaks for the adornment of a chorus. Lucullus replied that he would investigate, and if he had any, would give them to him. The next day he asked the praetor how many he wanted, and on his replying that a hundred would suffice, bade him take twice that number. The poet Flaccus​20 alluded to this when  p601 he said that he did not regard a house as wealthy in which the treasures that were overlooked and unobserved were not more than those which met the eye.

40 1 The daily repasts of Lucullus were such as the newly rich affect. Not only with his dyed coverlets, and beakers set with precious stones, and choruses and dramatic recitations, but also with his arrays of all sorts of meats and daintily prepared dishes, did he make himself the envy of the vulgar. 2 A saying of Pompey's, when he was ill, was certainly very popular. His physicians had prescribed a thrush for him to eat, and his servants said that a thrush could not be found anywhere in the summer season except where Lucullus kept them fattening. Pompey, however, would not suffer them to get one from there, but bade them prepare something else that was easily to be had, remarking as he did so to his physician, "What! must a Pompey have died if a Lucullus were not luxurious?" 3 And Cato, who was a friend of his, and a relation by marriage, was nevertheless much offended by his life and habits. Once when a youthful senator had delivered a tedious and lengthy discourse, all out of season, on frugality and temperance, Cato rose and said; "Stop there! you get wealth like Crassus, you live like Lucullus, but you talk like Cato." Some, however, while they say that these words were actually uttered, do not say that they were spoken by Cato.

41 1 Moreover, that Lucullus took not only pleasure but pride in this way of living, is clear from the anecdotes recorded of him. It is said, for instance, that he entertained for many successive days some Greeks who had come up to Rome, and that they, with genuinely Greek scruples, were at last ashamed to accept his invitation, on the ground  p603 that he was incurring so much expense every day on their account; 2 whereupon Lucullus said to them with a smile, "Some of this expense, my Grecian friends, is indeed on your account; most of it, however, is on account of Lucullus." And once, when he was dining alone, and a modest repast of one course had been prepared for him, he was angry, and summoned the servant who had the matter in charge. The servant said that he did not suppose, since there were no guests, that he wanted anything very costly. "What sayest thou?" said the master, "dost thou not know that to‑day Lucullus dines with Lucullus?" 3 While this matter was much talked of in the city, as was natural, Cicero and Pompey came up to him as he was idling in the forum. Cicero was one of his most intimate friends, and although the matter of the command of the army had led to some coolness between him and Pompey, still they were accustomed to frequent and friendly intercourse and conversation with one another. 4 Accordingly, Cicero saluted him, and asked how he was disposed towards receiving a petition. "Most excellently well," said Lucullus, and invited them to make their petition. "We desire," said Cicero, "to dine with you to‑day just as you would have dined by yourself." Lucullus demurred to this, and begged the privilege of selecting a later day, but they refused to allow it, nor would they suffer him to confer with his servants, that he might not order any thing more provided than what was provided for himself. 5 Thus much, however, and no more, they did allow him at his request, namely, to tell one of his servants in their presence that he would dine that day in the Apollo. Now this was the name of one of his costly apartments,  p605 and he thus outwitted the men without their knowing it. For each of his dining-rooms, as it seems, had a fixed allowance for the dinner served there, as well as its own special apparatus and equipment, so that his slaves, on hearing where he wished to dine, knew just how much the dinner was to cost, and what were to be its decorations and arrangements. Now the usual cost of a dinner in the Apollo was fifty thousand drachmas, and that was the sum laid out on the present occasion. 6 Pompey was amazed at the speed with which the banquet was prepared, notwithstanding it had cost so much. In these ways, then, Lucullus used his wealth wantonly, as though it were in very truth a Barbarian prisoner-of‑war.

42 1 But what he did in the establishment of a library deserves warm praise. He got togetherº many books, and they were well written, and his use of them was more honourable to him than his acquisition of them. His libraries were thrown open to all, and the cloisters surrounding them, and the study-rooms, were accessible without restriction to the Greeks, who constantly repaired thither as to an hostelry of the Muses, and spent the day with one another, in glad escape from their other occupations. 2 Lucullus himself also often spent his leisure hours there with them, walking about in the cloisters with their scholars, and he would assist their statesmen in whatever they desired. And in general his house was a home and prytaneium for the Greeks who came to Rome. He was fond of all philosophy, and well-disposed and friendly towards every school, but from the first he cherished a particular and zealous love for the Academy, 3 not  p607 the New Academy, so‑called, although that school at the time had a vigorous representative of the doctrines of Carneades in Philo, but the Old Academy, which at that time was headed by a persuasive man and power­ful speaker in the person of Antiochus of Ascalon. This man Lucullus hastened to make his friend and companion, and arrayed him against the disciples of Philo, of whom Cicero also was one. 4 Indeed, Cicero wrote a noble treatise on the doctrines of this sect, in which he has put the argument in support of "apprehension" into the mouth of Lucullus, and carried the opposing argument himself. The book is entitled "Lucullus."21

Lucullus and Cicero were, as I have said, ardent friends, and members of the same political party, for Lucullus had not withdrawn himself entirely from political life, 5 although he lost no time in leaving to Crassus and Cato the ambitious struggle for the chief place and the greatest power, since he saw that it involved both peril and ignominy. For those who looked with suspicion upon the power of Pompey, made Crassus and Cato the champions of the senatorial party when Lucullus declined the leader­ship. But Lucullus would still go to the forum in support of his friends, and also to the Senate, whenever there was need of combating some ambitious scheme of Pompey's. 6 Thus, the dispositions which Pompey made after his conquest of the kings, Lucullus made null and void, and his proposal for a generous distribution of lands to his soldiers, Lucullus, with the co-operation of Cato, prevented from being granted. Pompey therefore  p609 took refuge in an alliance, or rather a conspiracy, with Crassus and Caesar, and by filling the city with his armed soldiery and expelling from the forum the partisans of Cato and Lucullus, got his measures ratified.

7 As these proceedings were resented by the nobles, the partisans of Pompey produced a certain Vettius, whom, as they declared, they had caught plotting against the life of Pompey. So the man was examined in the Senate, where he accused sundry persons, but before the people he named Lucullus as the man who had engaged him to kill Pompey. 8 However, no one believed his story, nay, it was at once clear that the fellow had been put forward by the partisans of Pompey to make false and malicious charges, and the fraud was made all the plainer when, a few days afterwards, his dead body was cast out of the prison. It was said, indeed, that he had died a natural death, but he bore the marks of throttling and violence, and the opinion was that he had been taken off by the very men who had engaged his services.

43 1 Of course this induced Lucullus to withdraw even more from public life. And when Cicero was banished from the city, and Cato was sent out to Cyprus, he retired altogether. Even before his death, it is said that his understanding was affected and gradually faded away. But Cornelius Nepos says that Lucullus lost his mind not from old age, nor yet from disease, but that he was disabled by drugs administered to him by one of his freedmen, Callisthenes; 2 that the drugs were given him by Callisthenes in order to win more of his love, in the belief that they had such a power, but they drove him from his senses and overwhelmed his reason,  p611 so that even while he was still alive, his brother managed his property. However, when he died,​22 the people grieved just as much as if his death had come at the culmination of his military and political services, and flocked together, and tried to compel the young nobles who had carried the body into the forum to bury it in the Campus Martius, where Sulla also had been buried. 3 But no one had expected this, and preparations for it were not easy, and so his brother, by prayers and supplications, succeeded in persuading them to suffer to take place on the estate at Tusculum, where preparations for it had been made. Nor did he himself long survive Lucullus, but, as in age and reputation he came a little behind him, so did he also in the time of his death, having been a most affectionate brother.

The Editor's Notes:

1 90‑89 B.C.

2 87‑86 B.C.

3 85 B.C.

4 84 B.C.

5 84‑80 B.C.

6 74 B.C.

7 74 B.C. Cf. Cimon, i.5.

8 73 B.C.

9 72 B.C.

10 Tyrant of Athens when the city was besieged by Sulla, 87 B.C.

11 71‑70 B.C.

12 The great Antioch on the river Orontes. Daphne was the name of a grove near the city consecrated to Apollo.

13 69 B.C.

14 B.C. 105. Cf. Camillus, xix.7.

15 xxi.2.

16 68 B.C.

17 67 B.C.

18 66 B.C.

19 66 B.C.

20 Epist. I.6.45 f.

21 Academicorum Priorum, Liber Secundus, qui inscribitur Lucullus.

22 About 57 B.C.

Thayer's Notes:

a In 2004, a talent would be about $20,000 or £14,000; so this was roughly equivalent to one and a half million dollars U. S.

b A bit further on, Plutarch will say that other provinces wished they were so lucky as to have Lucullus for governor. The state of Illinois in which I live should be so lucky as well, as indeed most if not all the United States, in which all three of the usurious practices enumerated here are currently (2004) legal, at least with respect to credit cards:

The measure taken by Lucullus that Plutarch judges "most important of all", that "the lender should receive not more than the fourth part of his debtor's income", on the surface looks like pure socialism: Plutarch's heart is in the right place, but it is hardly the lender's fault that the debtor overspends and borrows too much — Or at least that would be the case if the inhabitants had gone off on spending sprees like many modern Americans: but what happened here is that Sulla levied extortionary taxes on the province, people couldn't afford to live, they borrowed to make do, and then the banks came in and made a killing off the whole affair, relying on their leverage with the government to keep things that way (20.4). This too is going on in the modern world, with government eating up people's substance in taxes that in Antiquity would have been considered extortionate, and we fall back on credit to survive. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

c But see Strabo, XIII.1.55.

d For a hostile modern Armenian viewpoint, see Kurkjian's History of Armenia, p80.

e A lost work of the author we now know as a geographer: see the Loeb editor's Introduction to the Geography, p. xxviii ff. and the passages and notes cited there.

f Hmm; carrying whole ships thru the streets. Tobias Smollett, the celebrated 18c novelist with a talent for curmudgeonliness, will use this passage to disparage the Roman navy: it's an entertaining read, if disingenuous.

Bernadotte Perrin's translation, above, is not at fault, being perfectly accurate: Plutarch's Greek, as we have it, reads μακραὶ δὲ χαλέμβολοι νῆες ἑκατὸν καὶ δέκα ἅμα παρεκομίσθαν. Yet it is immediately obvious that Plutarch cannot be taken literally: the length of your average trireme was 30 meters or more; now just imagine the turning radius required to negotiate one thru the narrow streets of Rome. We will prefer to believe Appian, who in describing Lucullus' triumph, writes (Mith. 116) ἁμάξας δὲ ὅπλων ἀπείρους τὸ πλῆθος, καὶ νεῶν ἔμβολα: "also an infinite number of wagons carrying arms and beaks of ships". In sum, Dr. Smollett knew better.

g Nearly three million coins on a hundred mules! I got curious and did the arithmetic.

The number of coins given in Plutarch's source was probably 25,000 coins per mule, since this round number multiplied by 107 mules is 2,675,000. The weight standard for silver denarii in the 1c B.C. was around 4 grams, so we get another nice round number: 100 kilograms per mule. According to an article on the Burma Campaign by 1st Lt. Don L. Thrapp, Q.M.C., in The Quartermaster Review, May-June 1946 (and many other online sources, but The Mules of Mars at the U. S. Army Quartermaster Museum at Fort Lee is very detailed, entertaining, and has an attractive classical title), a mule can carry about a third its weight, thus "a mule payload should not go much over 200 pounds". Our 100 kilograms is 220 pounds, pretty much a perfect match. (Note, however, the off-the‑cuff estimate in a defense of James Wilkinson by his great-grandson, Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. I, No. 2, p116; also the actual weight of 350 pounds carried by mules in James Josiah Webb's Adventures in the Santa Fé Trade, 1844‑1847, p255, which is presumably more authoritative since the writer was in the business of transporting commercial goods in freight quantities: but the mules of 1846 may have been bigger, and possibly the pounds referred to there may not have been British weight).

The uncertainties are the coin denominations — smaller coins would mean happier mules — and whether mules are substantially larger or stronger today than in Antiquity, bearing in mind though that the public relations professionals that orchestrated the triumph would surely weigh down fewer mules to make them look like they were carrying more, just as in the theater it's always better to play to a smaller house, standing room only.

Best conclusion: Plutarch's figures are very likely accurate, and surely come from some official record, especially since he then goes on to mention related records.

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