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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


IV. The Revolution

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter VIII - The East and King Mithradates


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Page 13


In these regions ruled king Mithradates, and that first of all in Cappadocia on the Black Sea or Pontus as it was called, a district in which, situated as it was at the northeastern extremity of Asia Minor towards Armenia and in constant contact with the latter, the Iranian nationality presumably preserved itself with less admixture than anywhere else in Asia Minor. Not even Hellenism had penetrated far into that region. With the exception of the coast where several originally Greek settlements subsisted--especially the important commercial marts Trapezus, Amisus, and above all Sinope, the birthplace and residence of Mithradates and the most flourishing city of the empire--the country was still in a very primitive condition.

Not that it had lain waste; on the contrary, as the region of Pontus is still one of the most fertile on the face of the earth, with its fields of grain alternating with forests of wild fruit trees, it was beyond doubt even in the time of Mithradates well cultivated and also comparatively populous. But there were hardly any towns properly so called; the country possessed nothing but strongholds, which served the peasants as places of refuge and the king as treasuries for the custody of the revenues which accrued to him; in the Lesser Armenia alone, in fact, there were counted seventy-five of these little royal forts. We do not find that Mithradates materially contributed to promote the growth of towns in his empire; and situated as he was,--in practical, though not perhaps on his own part quite conscious, reaction against Hellenism,--this is easily conceivable.

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