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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
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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 7

These traits, however, belong to the character, just as the crown of clouds belongs to the character of the highest mountain-peaks; the outlines of the figure appear in both cases only more coloured and fantastic, not disturbed or essentially altered. The armour, which fitted the gigantic frame of king Mithradates, excited the wonder of the Asiatics and still more that of the Italians. As a runner he overtook the swiftest deer; as a rider he broke in the wild steed, and was able by changing horses to accomplish 120 miles in a day; as a charioteer he drove with sixteen in hand, and gained in competition many a prize--it was dangerous, no doubt, in such sport to carry off victory from the king. In hunting on horseback, he hit the game at full gallop and never missed his aim.

He challenged competition at table also--he arranged banqueting matches and carried off in person the prizes proposed for the most substantial eater and the hardest drinker--and not less so in the pleasures of the harem, as was shown among other things by the licentious letters of his Greek mistresses, which were found among his papers. His intellectual wants he satisfied by the wildest superstition--the interpretation of dreams and the Greek mysteries occupied not a few of the king's hours-- and by a rude adoption of Greek civilization.

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