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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


V. The Establishment of the Military Monarchy

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 II - Rule of the Sullan Restoration


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Page 15

Asiatic Relations - Tigranes and the New Great-Kingdom of Armenia

The affairs of the mainland of Asia Minor were connected by various relations with this maritime war. The variance which existed between Rome and the kings of Pontus and Armenia did not abate, but increased more and more. On the one hand Tigranes, kingof Armenia, pursued his aggressive conquests in the most reckless manner. The Parthians, whose state was at this period torn by internal dissensions and enfeebled, were by constant hostilities driven farther and farther back into the interior of Asia.

Of the countries between Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Iran, the kingdoms of Corduene (northern Kurdistan), and Media Atropatene (Azerbijan), were converted from Parthian into Armenian fiefs, and the kingdom of Nineveh (Mosul), or Adiabene, was likewise compelled, at least temporarily, to become a dependency of Armenia. In Mesopotamia, too, particularly in and around Nisibis, the Armenian rule was established; but the southern half, which was in great part desert, seems not to have passed into the firm possession of the new great- king, and Seleucia, on the Tigris, in particular, appears not to have become subject to him.

The kingdom of Edessa or Osrhoene he handed over to a tribe of wandering Arabs, which he transplanted from southern Mesopotamia and settled in this region, with the view of commanding by its means the passage of the Euphrates and the great route of traffic.(7)

7. The foundation of the kingdom of Edessa is placed by native chronicles in 620 (Cf. IV. I. The Parthian Empire), but it was not till some time after its rise that it passed into the hands of the Arabic dynasty bearing the names of Abgarus and Mannus, which we afterwards find there. This dynasty is obviously connected with the settlement of many Arabs by Tigranes the Great in the region of Edessa, Callirrhoe, Carrhae (Plin. H. N. v. 20, 85; ax, 86; vi. 28, 142); respecting which Plutarch also (Luc. 21) states that Tigranes, changing the habits of the tent-Arabs, settled them nearer to his kingdom in order by their means to possess himself of the trade. We may presumably take this to mean that the Bedouins, who were accustomed to open routes for traffic through their territory and to levy on these routes fixed transit-dues (Strabo, xvi. 748), were to serve the great-king as a sort of toll-supervisors, and to levy tolls for him and themselves at the passage of the Euphrates. These "Osrhoenian Arabs" (-Orei Arabes-), as Pliny calls them, must also be the Arabs on Mount Amanus, whom Afranius subdued (Plut. Pomp. 39).

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