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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 22

Non-Intervention in Asia Minor and Syria

Less justifiable was the failure of the senate to interfere directly in the affairs of Asia Minor and Syria. The Roman government did not indeed recognize the Armenian conqueror as king of Cappadocia and Syria; but it did nothing to drive him back, although the war, which under pressure of necessity it began in 676 against the pirates in Cilicia, naturally suggested its interference more especially in Syria. In fact, by tolerating the loss of Cappadocia and Syria without declaring war, the government abandoned not merely those committed to its protection, but the most important foundations of its own powerful position.

It adopted a hazardous course, when it sacrificed the outworks of its dominion in the Greek settlements and kingdoms on the Euphrates and Tigris; but, when it allowed the Asiatics to establish themselves on the Mediterranean which was the political basis of its empire, this was not a proof of love of peace, but a confession that the oligarchy had been rendered by the Sullan restoration more oligarchical doubtless, but neither wiser nor more energetic, and it was for Rome's place as a power in the world the beginning of the end.

On the other side, too, there was no desire for war. Tigranes had no reason to wish it, when Rome even without war abandoned to him all its allies. Mithradates, who was no mere sultan and had enjoyed opportunity enough, amidst good and bad fortune, of gaining experience regarding friends and foes, knew very well that in a second Roman war he would very probably stand quite as much alone as in the first, and that he could follow no more prudent course than to keep quiet and to strengthen his kingdom in the interior. That he was in earnest with his peaceful declarations, he had sufficiently proved in the conference with Murena.(9)

9. Cf. IV. IX. Fresh Difficulties with Mithradates

He continued to avoid everything which would compel the Roman government to abandon its passive attitude.

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