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A TPP Exclusive
PLUTARCH'S LIFE OF POMPEY
Translated by A. H. Clough
Edited by Ulysses K. Vestal
Part II - The Eastern Campaigns [24 -42]
24. The power of the pirates first commenced in Cilicia, having in truth but a precarious and obscure beginning, but gained lifeand boldness afterwards in the wars of Mithridates, where they hired themselves out, and took employment in the king's service. Afterwards, while the Romans were embroiled in their civil wars, being engaged against one another even before the very gates of Rome, the seas lay waste and unguarded, and by degrees enticed and drew them on not only to seize upon and spoil the merchants and ships upon the seas, but also to lay waste the islands and sea port towns. So that now there embarked with these pirates men of wealth and noble birth and superior abilities, as if it had been a natural occupation to gain distinction in. They had divers arsenals, or piratic harbors, as likewise watch towers and beacons, all along the sea-coast. The fleets were here received that were well manned with the finest mariners, and well served with the expertest pilots, and composed of swift sailing and light-built vessels adapted for their special purpose. Nor was it merely their being thus formidable that excited indignation; they were even more odious for their ostentation than they were feared fortheir force. Their ships had gilded masts at their stems; the sails woven of purple, and the oars plated with silver, as iftheir delight were to glory in their iniquity. There was nothing but music and dancing, banqueting and revels, all along the shore. Officers in command were taken prisoners, and cities put under contribution, to the reproach and dishonor ofthe Roman supremacy. There were of these corsairs above one thousand sail, and they had taken no less than four hundred cities, committing sacrilege upon the temples of the gods, and enriching themselves with the spoils of many never violated before, such as were those of Claros, Didyma, and Samothrace; and the temple of the Earth in Hermione, and that of Aesculapius in Epidaurus, those of Neptune at the Isthmus, at Taenarus, and at Calauria; those of Apollo at Actium and Leucas, and those of Juno, in Samos, at Argos, and at Lacinium. They themselves offered strange sacrifices upon Mount Olympus,and performed certain secret rites or religious mysteries, among which those of Mithras have been preserved to our own time, having received their previous institution from them. But besides these insolencies by sea, they were also injurious to the Romans by land; for they would often go inland up the roads, plundering and destroying their villages andcountry-houses. And once they seized upon two Roman praetors, Sextilius and Bellinus, in their purple-edged robes, and carried them off together with their officers and lictors. The daughter also of Antonius, a man that had had the honor of a triumph, taking a journey into the country, was seized, and redeemed upon payment of a large ransom. But it was most abusive of all, that when any of the captives declared himself to be a Roman and told his name, they affected to be surprised,and feigning fear, smote their thighs and fell down at his feet, humbly beseeching him to be gracious and forgive them. The captive seeing them so humble and suppliant, believed themto be in earnest; and some of them now would proceed to putRoman shoes on his feet, and to dress him in a Roman gown, toprevent, they said, his being mistaken another time. After all this pageantry, when they had thus deluded and mocked him long enough, at last putting out a ship's ladder, when they were in the midst of the sea, they told him he was free to go, and wished him a pleasant journey; and if he resisted, they themselves threw him overboard, and drowned him.
25. This piratic power having got the dominion and control of all the Mediterranean, there was left no place for navigation or commerce. And this it was which most of all made the Romans,finding themselves to be extremely straitened in their markets,and considering that if it should continue, there would be a dearth and famine in the land, determine at last to send out Pompey to recover the seas from the pirates. Gabinius, one of Pompey's friends, preferred a law, whereby there was granted to him, not only the government of the seas as admiral, but in direct words, sole and irresponsible sovereignty over all men. For the decree gave him absolute power and authority in all the seas within the pillars of Hercules, and in the adjacent mainland for the space of four hundred furlongs from the sea. Now there were but few regions in the Roman empire out of that compass; and the greatest of the nations and most powerful of the kings were included in the limit. Moreover by this decree he had a power of selecting fifteen lieutenants out of the senate, and of assigning to each his province in charge; then he might take likewise out of the treasury and out of the hands of the revenue-farmers what moneys he pleased; as also two hundred sail of ships, with a power to press and levy what soldiers and seamen he thought fit. When this law was read,the common people approved of it exceedingly, but the chief menand most important among the senators looked upon it as an exorbitant power, even beyond the reach of envy, but well deserving their fears. Therefore concluding with themselves that such unlimited authority was dangerous, they agreed unanimously to oppose the bill, and all went against it, except Caesar, who gave his vote for the law, not to gratify Pompey, but the people, whose favor he had courted underhand from the beginning, and hoped to compass for himself. The rest inveighed bitterly against Pompey, insomuch that one of the consuls told him, that if he was ambitious of the place of Romulus, he would scarce avoid his end, but he was in danger ofbeing torn in pieces by the multitude for his speech. Yet when Catulus stood up to speak against the law, the people inreverence to him were silent and attentive. And when, after saying much in the most honorable terms in favor of Pompey, he proceeded to advise the people in kindness to spare him, andnot to expose a man of his value to such a succession of dangers and wars, "For," said he, "where could you find another Pompey, or whom would you have in case you should chance to lose him?" they all cried out with one voice, "Yourself." And so Catulus, finding all his rhetoric ineffectual, desisted. Then Roscius attempted to speak, but could obtain no hearing, and made signs with his fingers, intimating, "Not him alone," but that there might be a second Pompey or colleague in authority with him. Upon this, it is said, the multitude being extremely incensed, made such a loud outcry, that a crow flying over the market-place at that instant was struck, and dropped down among the crowd, whence it would appear that the cause of birds falling down to the ground, is not any rupture or division of the air causing a vacuum, but purely the actual stroke of the voice, which when carried up in a great mass and with violence, raises a sort of tempest and billow, as it were,in the air.
26. The assembly broke up for that day; and when the day was come,on which the bill was to pass by suffrage into a decree, Pompey went privately into the country; but hearing that it was passed and confirmed, he resumed again into the city by night, to avoid the envy that might be occasioned by the concourse of people that would meet and congratulate him. The next morning he came abroad and sacrificed to the gods, and having audience at an open assembly, so handled the matter that they enlarged his power, giving him many things besides what was already granted, and almost doubling the preparation appointed in the former decree. Five hundred ships were manned for him, and an army raised of one hundred and twenty thousand foot, and five thousand horse. Twenty-four senators that had been generals of armies were appointed to serve as lieutenants under him, and to these were added two quaestors. Now it happened within thistime that the prices of provisions were much reduced, which gave an occasion to the joyful people of saying, that the very name of Pompey had ended the war. However, Pompey in pursuance of his charge divided all the seas, and the whole Mediterranean into thirteen parts, allotting a squadron to each, under thecommand of his officers; and having thus dispersed his power into all quarters, and encompassed the pirates everywhere, they began to fall into his hands by whole shoals, which he seized and brought into his harbors. As for those that withdrew themselves betimes, or otherwise escaped his general chase, they all made to Cilicia, where they hid themselves as in their hive. Against them Pompey now proceeded in person with sixty of his best ships, not however until he had first scoured and cleared all the seas near Rome, the Tyrrhenian, and the African, and all the waters of Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily, all which he performed in the space of forty days, by his own indefatigable industry and the zeal of his lieutenants.
27. Pompey met with some interruption in Rome, through the malice and envy of Piso, the consul, who had given some check to his proceedings, by withholding his stores and discharging his seamen; whereupon he sent his fleet round to Brundusium, himself going the nearest way by land through Tuscany to Rome which was no sooner known by the people, than they all flocked out to meet him upon the way, as if they had not sent him out but few days before. What chiefly excited their joy, was the unexpectedly rapid change in the markets, which abounded now with the greatest plenty, so that Piso was in great danger to have been deprived of his consulship, Gabinius having a law ready prepared for that purpose. But Pompey forbade it, behaving himself as in that, so in all things else, with great moderation, and when he had made sure of all that he wanted or desired, he departed for Brundusium, whence he set sail in pursuit of the pirates. And though he was straitened in time, and his hasty voyage forced him to sail by several cities without touching, yet he would not pass by the city of Athens unsaluted; but landing there, after he had sacrificed to the gods, and made an address to the people, as he was returning out of the city, he read at the gates two epigrams, each in a single line, written in his own praise; one within the gate: --
Thy humbler thoughts make thee a god the more;
the other without: --
Adieu we bid, who welcome bade before.
Now because Pompey had shown himself merciful to some of these pirates that were yet roving in bodies about the seas, having upon their supplication ordered a seizure of their ships and persons only, without any further process or severity, therefore the rest of their comrades in hopes of mercy too, made their escape from his other commanders, and surrendered themselves with their wives and children into his protection. He continued to pardon all that came in, and the rather because by them he might make discovery of those who fled from his justice, as conscious that their crimes were beyond an act ofindemnity.
28. The most numerous and important part of these conveyed their families and treasures, with all their peoplethat were unfit for war, into castles and strong forts aboutMount Taurus; but they themselves having well manned their galleys, embarked for Coracesium in Cilicia, where they received Pompey and gave him battle. Here they had a finaloverthrow, and retired to the land, where they were besieged. At last, having dispatched their heralds to him with a submission, they delivered up to his mercy themselves, theirtowns, islands, and strong-holds, all which they had so fortified that they were almost impregnable, and scarcely even accessible.
Thus was this war ended, and the whole power of the pirates at sea dissolved everywhere in the space of three months, wherein, besides a great number of other vessels, he took ninety men-of-war with brazen beaks and likewise prisoners of war tothe number of no less than twenty thousand. As regarded the disposal of these prisoners, he never so much as entertained the thought of putting them to death; and yet it might be no less dangerous on the other hand to disperse them, as they might reunite and make head again, being numerous, poor, and warlike. Therefore wisely weighing with himself, that man by nature is not a wild or unsocial creature, neither was he born so, but makes himself what he naturally is not, by vicious habit; and that again on the other side, he is civilized and grows gentle by a change of place, occupation, and manner of life, as beasts themselves that are wild by nature, become tame and tractable by housing and gentler usage, upon this consideration he determined to transplant these pirates from sea to land, and give them a taste of an honest and innocent course of life, by living in towns, and tilling the ground. Some therefore were admitted into the small and half-peopled towns of the Cilicians, who for an enlargement of their territories, were willing to receive them. Others he planted in the city of the Solians, which had been lately laid waste by Tigranes, king of Armenia, and which he now restored. But the largest number were settled in Dyme, the town of Achaea, at that time extremely depopulated, and possessing an abundance of good land.
29. However, these proceedings could not escape the envy and censure of his enemies; and the course he took against Metellus in Crete was disapproved of even by the chiefest of his friends. For Metellus, a relative of Pompey's former colleague in Spain, had been sent praetor into Crete, before this province of the seas was assigned to Pompey. Now Crete was the second source of pirates next to Cilicia, and Metellus having shut up a number of them in their strong-holds there, was engaged in reducing and extirpating them. Those that were yet remaining and besieged sent their supplications to Pompey, and invited him into the island as a part of his province, alleging it to fall, every part of it, within the distance from the sea specified in his commission, and so within the precincts of his charge. Pompey receiving the submission, sent letters to Metellus, commanding him to leave off the war; and others in like manner to the cities, in which he charged them not to yield any obedience to the commands of Metellus. And after these, he sent Lucius Octavius, one of his lieutenants, to act as general, who entering the besieged fortifications, and fighting in defense of the pirates, rendered Pompey not odiousonly, but even ridiculous too; that he should lend his name as a guard to a nest of thieves, that knew neither god nor law, and make his reputation serve as a sanctuary to them, only out of pure envy and emulation to Metellus. For neither was Achilles thought to act the part of a man, but rather of a mere boy, mad after glory, when by signs he forbade the rest of the Greeks to strike at Hector: --
"for fear some other hand should give the blow, and he Lose the first honor of the victory."
Whereas Pompey even sought to preserve the common enemies ofthe world, only that he might deprive a Roman praetor, after all his labors, of the honor of a triumph. Metellus however was not daunted, but prosecuted the war against the pirates, expelled them from their strongholds and punished them; and dismissed Octavius with the insults and reproaches of the whole camp.
30. When the news came to Rome that the war with the pirates was at an end, and that Pompey was unoccupied, diverting himself in visits to the cities for want of employment, one Manlius, a tribune of the people, preferred a law that Pompey should have all the forces of Lucullus, and the provinces under his government, together with Bithynia, which was under the commandof Glabrio; and that he should forthwith conduct the war against the two kings, Mithridates and Tigranes, retaining still the same naval forces and the sovereignty of the seas as before. But this was nothing less than to constitute one absolute monarch of all the Roman empire. For the provinces which seemed to be exempt from his commission by the former decree, such as were Phrygia, Lycaonia, Galatia, Cappadocia, Cilicia, the upper Colchis, and Armenia, were all added in by this latter law, together with all the troops and forces with which Lucullus had defeated Mithridates and Tigranes. And though Lucullus was thus simply robbed of the glory of his achievements in having a successor assigned him, rather to the honor of his triumph, than the danger of the war; yet this was of less moment in the eyes of the aristocratical party, though they could not but admit the injustice and ingratitude to Lucullus. But their great grievance was, that the power of Pompey should be converted into a manifest tyranny; and they therefore exhorted and encouraged one another privately to bend all their forces in opposition to this law, and not tamely to cast away their liberty; yet when the day came on which it was to pass into a decree, their hearts failed them for fear of the people, and all were silent except Catulus, who boldly inveighed against the law and its proposer, and when he found that he could do nothing with the people, turned to the senate, crying out and bidding them seek out some mountain as their forefathers had done, and fly to the rocks where they might preserve their liberty. The law passed into a decree, as it is said, by the suffrages of all the tribes. And Pompey in his absence was made lord of almost all that power, which Sulla only obtained by force of arms, after a conquest of the very city itself. When Pompey had advice by letters of the decree,it is said that in the presence of his friends, who came to give him joy of his honor, he seemed displeased, frowning and smiting his thigh, and exclaimed as one overburdened, and weary of government, "Alas, what a series of labors upon labors! If I am never to end my service as a soldier, nor to escape from this invidious greatness, and live at home in the country with my wife, I had better have been an unknown man." But all thiswas looked upon as mere trifling, neither indeed could the best of his friends call it anything else, well knowing that his enmity with Lucullus, setting a flame just now to his natural passion for glory and empire, made him feel more than usually gratified.
31. As indeed appeared not long afterwards by his actions, which clearly unmasked him; for in the first place, he sent out his proclamations into all quarters, commanding the soldiers to join him, and summoned all the tributary kings and princes within his charge; and in short, as soon as he had entered upon his province, he left nothing unaltered that had been done and established by Lucullus. To some he remitted their penalties,and deprived others of their rewards, and acted in all respectsas if with the express design that the admirers of Lucullusmight know that all his authority was at an end. Lucullusexpostulated by friends, and it was thought fitting that there should be a meeting betwixt them; and accordingly they met inthe country of Galatia. As they were both great and successfulgenerals, their officers bore their rods before them allwreathed with branches of laurel; Lucullus came through acountry full of green trees and shady woods, but Pompey's marchwas through a cold and barren district. Therefore the lictorsof Lucullus, perceiving that Pompey's laurels were withered anddry, helped him to some of their own, and adorned and crownedhis rods with fresh laurels. This was thought ominous, andlooked as if Pompey came to take away the reward and honor ofLucullus's victories. Lucullus had the priority in the order of consulships, and also in age; but Pompey's two triumphs madehim the greater man. Their first addresses in this interview were dignified and friendly, each magnifying the other'sactions, and offering congratulations upon his success. Butwhen they came to the matter of their conference or treaty,they could agree on no fair or equitable terms of any kind, buteven came to harsh words against each other, Pompey upbraidingLucullus with avarice, and Lucullus retorting ambition uponPompey, so that their friends could hardly part them.Lucullus, remaining in Galatia, made a distribution of thelands within his conquests, and gave presents to whom hepleased; and Pompey encamping not far distant from him, sentout his prohibitions, forbidding the execution of any of theorders of Lucullus, and commanded away all his soldiers, exceptsixteen hundred, whom he thought likely to be unserviceable tohimself, being disorderly and mutinous, and whom he knew to behostile to Lucullus; and to these acts he added satiricalspeeches, detracting openly from the glory of his actions, andgiving out, that the battles of Lucullus had been but with themere stage-shows and idle pictures of royal pomp, whereas thereal war against a genuine army, disciplined by defeat, wasreserved to him, Mithridates having now begun to be in earnest,and having betaken himself to his shields, swords, and horses.Lucullus, on the other side, to be even with him, replied, thatPompey came to fight with the mere image and shadow of war, itbeing his usual practice, like a lazy bird of prey, to comeupon the carcass, when others had slain the dead, and to tearin pieces the relics of a war. Thus he had appropriated tohimself the victories over Sertorius, over Lepidus, and overthe insurgents under Spartacus; whereas this last had beenachieved by Crassus, that obtained by Catulus, and the firstwon by Metellus. And therefore it was no great wonder, thatthe glory of the Pontic and Armenian war should be usurped by aman who had condescended to any artifices to work himself into the honor of a triumph over a few runaway slaves.
32. After this Lucullus went away, and Pompey having placed his whole navy in guard upon the seas between Phoenicia and Bosporus, himself marched against Mithridates, who had a phalanx of thirty thousand foot, with two thousand horse, yet dared not bid him battle. He had encamped upon a strong mountain where it would have been hard to attack him, but abandoned it in no long time, as destitute of water. No sooner was he gone but Pompey occupied it, and observing the plants that were thriving there, together with the hollows which he found in several places, conjectured that such a plot could not be without springs, and therefore ordered his men to sink wells in every corner. After which there was, in a little time, great plenty of water throughout all the camp, insomuch that he wondered how it was possible for Mithridates to be ignorant of this, during all that time of his encampment there. After this Pompey followed him to his next camp, and there drawing lines round about him, shut him in. But he, after having endured a siege of forty-five days, made his escape secretly, and fled away with all the best part of his army, having first put to death all the sick and unserviceable. Not long after Pompey overtook him again near the banks of the river Euphrates, and encamped close by him; but fearing lest he should pass over the river and give him the slip there too, he drew up his army to attack him at midnight. And at that very time Mithridates, it is said, saw a vision in his dream foreshowing what should come to pass. For he seemed to be under sail in the Euxine Sea with a prosperous gale, and just in view of Bosporus, discoursing pleasantly with the ship's company, as one overjoyed for his past danger and present security, when on a sudden he found himself deserted of all, and floating upon a broken plank of the ship at the mercy of the sea. While he was thus laboring under these passions and phantasms, his friends came and awoke him with the news of the approach of Pompey, who was now indeed so near at hand, that the fight must be for the camp itself, and the commanders accordingly drew up the forces in battle array. Pompey perceiving how ready they were and well prepared for defense, began to doubt with himself whether he should put it to the hazard of a fight in the dark, judging it more prudent to encompass them only at present, lest they should fly, and to give them battle with the advantage of numbers the next day. But his oldest officers were of another opinion, and by entreaties and encouragements obtained permission that they might charge them immediately. Neither was the night so very dark, but that, though the moon was going down, it yet gave light enough to discern a body. And indeed this was one especial disadvantage to the king's army. For the Romans coming upon them with the moon on their backs, the moon, being very low, and just upon setting, cast the shadows a long way before their bodies, reaching almost to the enemy, whose eyes were thus so much deceived that not exactly discerning the distance, but imagining them to be near at hand, they threw their darts at the shadows, without the least execution. The Romans therefore perceiving this, ran in upon them with a great shout; but the barbarians, all in a panic, unable to endure the charge, turned and fled, and were put to great slaughter, above ten thousand being slain; the camp also was taken. As for Mithridates himself, he at the beginning of the onset, with a body of eight hundred horse charged through the Roman army, and made his escape. But before long all the rest dispersed, some one way, some another, and he was left only with three persons, among whom was his concubine, Hypsicratia, a girl always of a manly and daring spirit, and the king called her on that account Hypsicrates. She being attired and mounted like a Persian horseman, accompanied the king in all his flight, never weary even in the longest journey, nor ever failing to attend the king in person, and look after his horse too, until they came to Inora, a castle of the king's, well stored with gold and treasure. From thence Mithridates took his richest apparel, and gave it among those that had resorted to him in their flight; and to every one of his friends he gave a deadly poison, that they might not fall into the power of the enemy against their wills. From thence he designed to have gone to Tigranes in Armenia, but being prohibited by Tigranes, who put out a proclamation with a reward of one hundred talents to anyone that should apprehend him, he passed by the head-waters ofthe river Euphrates, and fled through the country of Colchis.
33. Pompey in the meantime made an invasion into Armenia, upon the invitation of young Tigranes, who was now in rebellion against his father, and gave Pompey a meeting about the river Araxes,which rises near the head of Euphrates, but turning its course and bending towards the east, falls into the Caspian Sea. They two, therefore, marched together through the country, taking in all the cities by the way, and receiving their submission. But king Tigranes, having lately suffered much in the war with Lucullus, and understanding that Pompey was of a kind and gentle disposition, admitted Roman troops into his royal palaces, and taking along with him his friends and relations, went in person to surrender himself into the hands of Pompey. He came as far as the trenches on horseback, but there he was met by two of Pompey's lictors, who commanded him to alight and walk on foot, for no man ever was seen on horseback within a Roman camp. Tigranes submitted to this immediately, and not only so, but loosing his sword, delivered up that too; and last of all, as soon as he appeared before Pompey, he pulled off his royal turban, and attempted to have laid it at his feet. Nay, worst of all, even he himself had fallen prostrate as an humble suppliant at his knees, had not Pompey prevented it, taking him by the hand and placing him near him, Tigranes himself on one side of him and his son upon the other. Pompey now told him that the rest of his losses were chargeable upon Lucullus, by whom he had been dispossessed of Syria, Phoenicia, Cilicia, Galatia, and Sophene; but all that he had preserved to himself entire till that time he should peaceably enjoy, paying the sum of six thousand talents as a fine or penalty for injuries done to the Romans, and that his son should have the kingdom of Sophene. Tigranes himself was well pleased with these conditions of peace, and when the Romans saluted him king, seemed to be overjoyed, and promised to every common soldier half a mina of silver, to every centurion ten minas, and to every tribune a talent; but the son was displeased, insomuch that when he was invited to supper, he replied, that he did not stand in need of Pompey for that sort of honor, for he would find out some other Roman to sup with. Upon this he was put into close arrest, and reserved for the triumph. Not long after this Phraates, king of Parthia, sent to Pompey, and demanded to have young Tigranes, as his son-in-law, given up to him, and that the river Euphrates should be the boundary of the empires. Pompey replied, that for Tigranes, he belonged more to his own natural father than his father-in-law, and for the boundaries, he would take care that they should be according to right and justice.
34. So Pompey, leaving Armenia in the custody of Afranius, went himself in chase of Mithridates; to do which he was forced of necessity to march through several nations inhabiting about Mount Caucasus. Of these the Albanians and Iberians were the two chiefest. The Iberians stretch out as far as the Moschian mountains and the Pontus; the Albanians lie more eastwardly,and towards the Caspian Sea. These Albanians at first permitted Pompey, upon his request, to pass through the country; but when winter had stolen upon the Romans while they were still in the country, and they were busy celebrating the festival of Saturn, they mustered a body of no less than forty thousand fighting men, and set upon them, having passed over the river Cyrnus, which rising from the mountains of Iberia, and receiving the river Araxes in its course from Armenia, discharges itself by twelve mouths into the Caspian. Or, according to others, the Araxes does not fall into it, but they flow near one another, and so discharge themselves as neighbors into the same sea. It was in the power of Pompey to have obstructed the enemy's passage over the river, but he suffered them to pass over quietly; and then leading on his forces and giving battle, he routed them, and slew great numbers of them in the field. The king sent ambassadors with his submission,and Pompey upon his supplication pardoned the offense, and making a treaty with him, he marched directly against the Iberians, a nation no less in number than the other, but muchmore warlike, and extremely desirous of gratifying Mithridates, and driving out Pompey. These Iberians were never subject to the Medes or Persians, and they happened likewise to escape the dominion of the Macedonians, because Alexander was so quick in his march through Hyrcania. But these also Pompey subdued in agreat battle, where there were slain nine thousand upon the spot, and more than ten thousand taken prisoners. From thence he entered into the country of Colchis, where Servilius met him by the river Phasis, bringing the fleet with which he was guarding the Pontus.
35. The pursuit of Mithridates, who had thrown himself among the tribes inhabiting Bosporus and the shores of the Maeotian Sea, presented great difficulties. News was also brought to Pompey that the Albanians had again revolted. This made him turn back, out of anger and determination not to be beaten by them, and with difficulty and great danger he passed back over the Cyrnus, which the barbarous people had fortified a great waydown the banks with palisadoes. And after this, having a tedious march to make through a waterless and difficult country, he ordered ten thousand skins to be filled with water, and so advanced towards the enemy; whom he found drawn up in order of battle near the river Abas, to the number of sixty thousand horse, and twelve thousand foot, ill armed generally, and most of them covered only with the skins of wild beasts. Their general was Cosis, the king's brother, who as soon as the battle was begun, singled out Pompey, and rushing in upon him, darted his javelin into the joints of his breastplate. Pompey, in return, struck him through the body with his lance, and slew him. It is related that in this battle there were Amazons fighting as auxiliaries with the barbarians, and that they came down from the mountains by the river Thermodon. For that after the battle, when the Romans were taking the spoil and plunder of the field, they met with several targets and buskins of the Amazons; but no woman's body was found among the dead. They inhabit the parts of Mount Caucasus that reach down to the Hyrcanian Sea, not immediately bordering upon the Albanians, for the Gelae and the Leges lie between; and they keep company with these people yearly, for two months only, near the river Thermodon; after which they retire to their own habitations, and live alone all the rest of the year.
36. After this engagement, Pompey was eager to advance with his forces upon the Hyrcanian and Caspian Sea, but was forced to retreat at a distance of three days' march from it, by the number of venomous serpents, and so he retreated into Armenia the Less. While he was there, kings of the Elymaeans and Medes sent ambassadors to him, to whom he gave friendly answer by letter; and he sent against the king of Parthia, who had made incursions upon Gordyene, and despoiled the subjects of Tigranes, an army under the command of Afranius, who put him to rout, and followed him in chase as far as the district of Arbela.
Of the concubines of king Mithridates that were brought before Pompey, he took none to himself, but sent them all away to their parents and relations. Most of them were either the daughters or wives of princes and great commanders. Stratonice, however, who had the greatest power and influence with him, and to whom he had committed the custody of his best and richest fortress, had been, it seems, the daughter of a musician, an old man, and of no great fortune, and happening tosing one night before Mithridates at a banquet, she struck his fancy so, that immediately he took her with him, and sent away the old man much dissatisfied, the king having not so much as said one kind word to himself. But when he rose in the morning, and saw tables in his house richly covered with gold and silver plate, a great retinue of servants, eunuchs, and pages, bringing him rich garments, and a horse standing before the door richly caparisoned, in all respects as was usual with the king's favorites, he looked upon it all as a piece of mockery, and thinking himself trifled with, attempted to make off and run away. But the servants laying hold upon him, and informing him really that the king had bestowed on him the house and furniture of a rich man lately deceased, and that these were but the first-fruits or earnests of greater riches and possessions that were to come, he was persuaded at last with much difficulty to believe them. And so putting on his purple robes, and mounting his horse, he rode through the city, crying out, "All this is mine;" and to those that laughed at him, he said, there was no such wonder in this, but it was a wonder rather that he did not throw stones at all he met, he was so transported with joy. Such was the parentage and blood of Stratonice. She now delivered up this castle into the hands of Pompey, and offered him many presents of great value, of which he accepted only such as he thought might serve to adorn the temples of the gods, and add to the splendor of his triumph; the rest he left to Stratonice's disposal, bidding her please herself in the enjoyment of them.
And in the same manner he dealt with the presents offered him by the king of Iberia, who sent him a bedstead, table, and a chair of state, all of gold, desiring him to accept of them; but he delivered them all into the custody of the public treasurers, for the use of the Commonwealth.
37. In another castle called Caenum, Pompey found and read with pleasure several secret writings of Mithridates, containing much that threw light on his character. For there were memoirs by which it appeared that besides others, he had made away with his son Ariarathes by poison, as also with Alcaeus the Sardian, for having robbed him of the first honors in a horse-race. There were several judgments upon the interpretation of dreams, which either he himself or some of his mistresses had had; and besides these, there was a series of wanton letters to and from his concubine Monime. Theophanes tells us that there was found also an address by Rutilius, in which he attempted to exasperate him to the laughter of all the Romans in Asia, though most men justly conjecture this to be a malicious invention of Theophanes, who probably hated Rutilius because he was a man in nothing like himself; or perhaps it might be to gratify Pompey, whose father is described by Rutilius in his history, as the vilest man alive.
38. From thence Pompey came to the city of Amisus, where his passion for glory put him into a position which might be called a punishment on himself. For whereas he had often sharply reproached Lucullus, in that while the enemy was still living, he had taken upon him to issue decrees, and distribute rewards and honors, as conquerors usually do only when the war is brought to an end, yet now was he himself, while Mithridates was paramount in the kingdom of Bosporus, and at the head of a powerful army, as if all were ended, just doing the same thing, regulating the provinces, and distributing rewards, many great commanders and princes having flocked to him, together with no less than twelve barbarian kings; insomuch that to gratify these other kings, when he wrote to the king of Parthia, hewould not condescend, as others used to do, in the superscription of his letter, to give him his title of king of kings. Moreover, he had a great desire and emulation to occupy Syria, and to march through Arabia to the Red Sea, that he might thus extend his conquests every way to the great ocean that encompasses the habitable earth; as in Africa he was the first Roman that advanced his victories to the ocean; and again in Spain he made the Atlantic Sea the limit of the empire; and then thirdly, in his late pursuit of the Albanians, he had wanted but little of reaching the Hyrcanian Sea. Accordingly he raised his camp, designing to bring the Red Sea within the circuit of his expedition, especially as he saw how difficult it was to hunt after Mithridates with an army, and that he would prove a worse enemy flying than fighting.
39. But yet he declared, that he would leave a sharper enemy behind him than himself, namely, famine; and therefore he appointed a guard of ships to lie in wait for the merchants that sailed to Bosporus, death being the penalty for any who should attempt to carry provisions thither. Then he set forward with the greatest part of his army, and in his march casually fell in with several dead bodies still uninterred, of those soldiers who were slain with Triarius in his unfortunate engagement with Mithridates; these he buried splendidly and honorably. The neglect of whom, it is thought,caused, as much as anything, the hatred that was felt against Lucullus, and alienated the affections of the soldiers from him. Pompey having now by his forces under the command of Afranius, subdued the Arabians about the mountain Amanus,himself entered Syria, and finding it destitute of any naturaland lawful prince, reduced it into the form of a province, as apossession of the people of Rome. He conquered also Judaea,and took its king, Aristobulus, captive. Some cities he built anew, and to others he gave their liberty, chastising their tyrants. Most part of the time that he spent there was employed in the administration of justice in deciding controversies of kings and States; and where he himself could not be present in person, he gave commissions to his friends, and sent them. Thus when there arose a difference between the Armenians and Parthians about some territory, and the judgment was referred to him, he gave a power by commission to three judges and arbiters to hear and determine the controversy. For the reputation of his power was great; nor was the fame of his justice and clemency inferior to that of his power, and served indeed as a veil for a multitude of faults committed by his friends and familiars. For although it was not in his nature to check or chastise wrongdoers, yet he himself always treated those that had to do with him in such a manner, that they submitted to endure with patience the acts of covetousness and oppression done by others.
40. Among these friends of his, there was one Demetrius who had the greatest influence with him of all; he was a freed slave, a youth of good understanding, but somewhat too insolent in his good fortune, of whom there goes this story. Cato, the philosopher, being as yet a very young man, but of great repute and a noble mind, took a journey of pleasure to Antioch, at a time when Pompey was not there, having a great desire to see the city. He, as his custom was, walked on foot, and his friends accompanied him on horseback; and seeing before the gates of the city a multitude dressed in white, the young men on one side of the road, and the boys on the other, he was somewhat offended at it, imagining that it was officiously done in honor of him, which was more than he had any wish for. However, he desired his companions to alight and walk with him; but when they drew near, the master of the ceremonies in this procession came out with a garland and a rod in his hand, and met them, inquiring, where they had left Demetrius, and when he would come? Upon which Cato's companions burst out into laughter, but Cato said only, "Alas, poor city!" and passed by without any other answer.
However, Pompey rendered Demetrius less odious to others by enduring his presumption and impertinence to himself. For it is reported how that Pompey, when he had invited his friends to an entertainment, would be very ceremonious in waiting, till they all came and were placed, while Demetrius would be already stretched upon the couch as if he cared for no one, with his dress over his ears, hanging down from his head. Before his return into Italy, hehad purchased the pleasantest country-seat about Rome, with the finest walks and places for exercise, and there were sumptuous gardens, called by the name of Demetrius, while Pompey his master, up to his third triumph, was contented with an ordinary and simple habitation. Afterwards, it is true, when he had erected his famous and stately theater for the people of Rome, he built as a sort of appendix to it, a house for himself, much more splendid than his former, and yet no object even this to excite men's envy, since he who came to be master of it after Pompey could not but express wonder and inquire where Pompey the Great used to sup. Such is the story told us.
41. The king of the Arabs near Petra, who had hitherto despised thepower of the Romans, now began to be in great alarm at it, and sent letters to him promising to be at his commands, and to do whatever he should see fit to order. However, Pompey having a desire to confirm and keep him in the same mind, marched forwards for Petra, an expedition not altogether irreprehensible in the opinion of many who thought it a mere running away from their proper duty, the pursuit of Mithridates, Rome's ancient and inveterate enemy, who was now rekindling the war once more, and making preparations, it was reported, to lead his army through Scythia and Paeonia, into Italy. Pompey, on the other side, judging it easier to destroy his forces in battle, than to seize his person in flight, resolved not to tire himself out in a vain pursuit, but rather to spend his leisure upon another enemy, as a sort of digression in the meanwhile. But fortune resolved the doubt. For when he was now not far from Petra, and had pitched his tents and encamped for that day, as he was talking exercise with his horse outside the camp, couriers came riding up from Pontus, bringing good news, as was known at once by the heads of their javelins, which it is the custom to carry crowned with branches of laurel. The soldiers, as soon as they saw them, flocked immediately to Pompey, who notwithstanding was minded to finish his exercise, but when they began to be clamorous and importunate, he alighted from his horse, and taking the letters went before them into the camp. Now there being no tribunal erected there, not even that military substitute for one which they make by cutting up thick turfs of earth and piling them one upon another, they, through eagerness and impatience, heaped up a pile of pack-saddles, and Pompey standing upon that, told them the news of Mithridates's death, how that he had himself put an end to his life upon the revolt of his son Pharnaces, and that Pharnaces had taken all things there into his hands and possession, which he did, his letters said, in right of himself and the Romans.
42. Upon this news, the whole army expressing their joy, as was to be expected, fell to sacrificing to the gods, and feasting, as if in the person of Mithridates alone there had died many thousands of their enemies. Pompey by this event having brought this war to its completion, with much more ease than was expected, departed forthwith out of Arabia, and passing rapidly through the intermediate provinces, he came at length to the city Amisus. There he received many presents brought from Pharnaces, with several dead bodies of the royal blood, and the corpse of Mithridates himself, which was not easy to be known by the face, for the physicians that embalmed him had not dried up his brain, but those who were curious to see him knew him by the scars there. Pompey himself would not endure to see him, but to deprecate the divine jealousy, sent it away to the city of Sinope. He admired the richness of his robes, no less than the size and splendor of his armor. His sword belt, however, which had cost four hundred talents, was stolen by Publius, and sold to Ariarathes; his tiara also, a piece of admirable workmanship, Gaius, the roster brother of Mithridates, gave secretly to Faustus, the son of Sulla, at his request. All which Pompey was ignorant of, but afterwards, when Pharnaces came to understand it, he severely punished those that embezzled them. Pompey now having ordered all things, and established that province, took his journey homewards in greater pomp and with more festivity. For when he came to Mitylene, he gave the city their freedom upon the intercession of Theophanes, and was present at the contest, there periodically held, of the poets,who took at that time no other theme or subject than the actions of Pompey. He was extremely pleased with the theater itself, and had a model of it taken, intending to erect one in Rome on the same design, but larger and more magnificent. When he came to Rhodes, he attended the lectures of all the philosophers there, and gave to every one of them a talent. Posidonius has published the disputation which he held before him against Hermagoras the rhetorician, upon the subject of Invention in general. At Athens, also, he showed similar, munificence to the philosophers, and gave fifty talents towards the repairing and beautifying the city. So that now by all these acts he well hoped to return into Italy in the greatest splendor and glory possible to man, and find his family as desirous to see him, as he felt himself to come home to them. But that supernatural agency, whose province and charge it is always to mix some ingredient of evil with the greatest and most glorious goods of fortune, had for some time back beenbusy in his household, preparing him a sad welcome. For Mucia during his absence had dishonored his bed. While he was abroad at a distance, he had refused all credence to the report; but when he drew nearer to Italy, where his thoughts were more at leisure to give consideration to the charge, he sent her a bill of divorce; but neither then in writing, nor afterwards by word of mouth, did he ever give a reason why he discharged her; the cause of it is mentioned in Cicero's epistles.
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