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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 43

Orders Issued from Ephesus for a General Massacre

But the king was not content with this savage mockery, which alone suffices to erase its author's name from the roll of true nobility. From Ephesus king Mithradates issued orders to all the governors and cities dependent on him to put to death on one and the same day all Italians residing within their bounds, whether free or slaves, without distinction of sex or age, and on no account, under severe penalties, to aid any of the proscribed to escape; to cast forth the corpses of the slain as a prey to the birds; to confiscate their property and to hand over one half of it to the murderers, and the other half to the king.

The horrible orders were--excepting in a few districts, such as the island of Cos--punctually executed, and eighty, or according to other accounts one hundred and fifty, thousand--if not innocent, at least defenceless--men, women, and children were slaughtered in cold blood in one day in Asia Minor; a fearful execution, in which the good opportunity of getting rid of debts and the Asiatic servile willingness to perform any executioner's office at the bidding of the sultan had at least as much part as the comparatively noble feeling of revenge.

In a political point of view this measure was not only without any rational object--for its financial purpose might have been attained without this bloody edict, and the natives of Asia Minor were not to be driven into warlike zeal even by the consciousness of the most blood-stained guilt--but even opposed to the king's designs, for on the one hand it compelled the Roman senate, so far as it was still capable of energy at all, to an energetic prosecution of the war, and on the other hand it struck at not the Romans merely, but the king's natural allies as well, the non-Roman Italians. This Ephesian massacre was altogether a mere meaningless act of brutally blind revenge, which obtains a false semblance of grandeur simply through the colossal proportions in which the character of sultanic rule was here displayed.

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