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SCIENCE, ART, LITERATURE, AND PRACTICAL MECHANICS,
POPULAR VIEW OF THE PRESENT STATE OF KNOWLEDGE.
NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS, A GENERAL ATLAS,
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MITHRIDATES, the name of seven kings of Pontus. See Pontus.
Mithridates VII., surnamed Eupator the Great, succeeded to the throne at the age of eleven years, about A. A. C. 123. The beginning of his reign was marked by ambition, cruelty, and artifice. He murdered his own mother, who had been left by his father coheiress of the kingdom; and he fortified his constitution by antidotes against the poison with which his enemies at court might attempt to destroy him. He early inured his body to hardship, and employed himself in the most manly exercises, often remaining whole months in the country, and making frozen snow and the earth the place of his repose. Ambitious aud cruel, he spared no pains to acquire power aud dominion. He murdered the two sons whom his sister Laodice had by Ariarathes kin? of Cappadocia, and placed one of hu own children, only eight years old, on the throne. These proceedings alarmed Nicomedes king of Bithynia, who had married Laodice the widow of Ariarathes. He suborned a youth to be king of Cappadocia, as the third son of Ariarathes; and Laodice was sent to Rome to impose upon the senate, and assure them that ber third son was now alive, and that his claim to the kingdom of Cappadocia was just. Mithndates, on his part, sent to Home Gordius the governor of his son; who solemnly declared before the Roman people, that the youth who ■at on the throne of Cappadocia was the third son aiv] lawful heir of Ariarathes, and that he was supported as such by Mithridates. The Roman senate, to settle the dispute, took Cappadocia from Mithridates, and Paphlagonia from Nicomedes. These two kingdoms, being thus separated from their original possessors, were pretested with their freedom and independence; hot the Cappadocians refused it, and received Ariobarzanes for king. Such were the first •eedt of enmity between Rome and the king of Foot us. Mithridates, to destroy their power in Asia, ordered all the Romans in his dominions to be massacred in one night; when no fewer than 150,000, according to Plutarch, or 80,000, is Appian mentions, were made the victims of tin cruelty. This called aloud for vengeance. Aquilius, and toon after Sylla, marched against Mithridates with a large army. The former was made prisoner; but Sylla obtained a victory over the king's generals; and another decisive et^a^rtneDl rendered him master of all Greece, Macedonia, Ionia, and Asia Minor. This ill fortune was aggravated by the loss of about 200,000 men, who were killed in the several engagements that had been fought; and MithriVol. XV.—Part 1.
dates, weakened by repeated ill success by sea and land, sued for peace; which he obtained on condition of defraying the expenses which die Romans had incurred by the war, and of remaining satisfied with his paternal possessions. But Mithridates not long after took the field with an army of 140,000 infantry and 16,000 horsemen, which consisted of his own forces and those of his son-in-law Tigranes king of Armenia. With such a numerous army he soon made himself master of the Roman proviuces in Asia; as the Romans, relying on his fidelity, had withdrawn the greatest part of their armies. But the news of his warlike preparations were no sooner heard than Lucullus marched into Asia, and blocked up the camp of Mithridates, who was then besieging C'yiicus. The Asiatic monarch escaped, and fled into the heart of his kingdom. Lucullus pursued him, and would have taken him prisoner after a battle, had not the avarice of his soldiers prevented. The appointment of Glabrio to the command instead of Lucullus, was favorable to Mithridates, who recovered the greatest part of his dominions. The sudden arrival of Pompey, however, soon put an end to his victories. A battle was fought near the Euphrates by moon-light, and a universal overthrow ensued. Mithridates, bold in his misfortunes, rushed through the thickest ranks of the enemy at the head of 800 horsemen, 500 of whom perished in the attempt to follow him. He fled to Tigranes, but that monarch now refused him an asylum. He however found a safe retreat among the Scythians; and though destitute of power, friends, ar.d resources, yet he still meditated the overthrow of the Roman empire. But his wild projects were rejected by his followers, and he sued lor peace. Pompey declared that, to obtain it, Mithridates must ask it in person. Scorning to trust to his enemy, he resolved to conquer or die; but his subjects refused to follow him, and revolting, made his son Pharnaces king, who. according to some, ordered him to be put to death. This unnatural treatment broke the heart of Mithridates; he obliged his wife to poison herself, and attempted to do the same. But the frequent antidotes he had taken in youth fortified his constitution against the poison; and, when this failed, he attempted to stab himself. The blow not proving mortal, a Gaul, at his own request, gave him the fatal stroke, about A. A. C. 64. Such was the miserable end of a man, who, according to Roman authors, proved a more powerful and indefatigable adversary to Rome than Pyrrhus, Perseus, Antiochus, or even Hannibal himself. Mithridates has been commended for his virtues, and censured for his vices. As