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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 23

Apprehensions of Rome

But as the first Mithradatic war had arisen without any of the partie properly desiring it, so now there grew out of the opposition of interests mutual suspicion, and out of this suspicion mutual preparations for defence; and these, by their very gravity, ultimately led to an open breach. That distrust of her own readiness to fight and preparation for fighting, which had for long governed the policy of Rome--a distrust, which the want of standing armies and the far from exemplary character of the collegiate rule render sufficiently intelligible--made it, as it were, an axiom of her policy to pursue every war not merely to the vanquishing, but to the annihilation of her opponent; in this point of view the Romans were from the outset as little content with the peace of Sulla, as they had formerly been with the terms which Scipio Africanus had granted to the Carthaginians.

The apprehension often expressed that a second attack by the Pontic king was imminent, was in some measure justified by the singular resemblance between the present circumstances and those which existed twelve years before. Once more a dangerous civil war coincided with serious armaments of Mithradates; once more the Thracians overran Macedonia, and piratical fleets covered the Mediterranean; emissaries were coming and going--as formerly between Mithradates and the Italians-- so now between the Roman emigrants in Spain and those at the court of Sinope. As early as the beginning of 677 it was declared in the senate that the king was only waiting for the opportunity of falling upon Roman Asia during the Italian civil war; the Roman armies in Asia and Cilicia were reinforced to meet possible emergencies.

Apprehensions of Mithradates - Bithynia Roman - Cyrene a Roman Province - Outbreak of the Mithradatic War

Mithradates on his part followed with growing apprehension the development of the Roman policy. He could not but feel that a war between the Romans and Tigranes, however much the feeble senate might dread it, was in the long run almost inevitable, and that he would not be able to avoid taking part in it. His attempt to obtain from the Roman senate the documentary record of the terms of peace, which was still wanting, had fallen amidst the disturbances attending the revolution of Lepidus and remained without result; Mithradates found in this an indication of the impending renewal of the conflict.

The expedition against the pirates, which indirectly concerned also the kings of the east whose allies they were, seemed the preliminary to such a war. Still more suspicious were the claims which Rome held in suspense over Egypt and Cyprus: it is significant that the king of Pontus betrothed his two daughters Mithradatis and Nyssa to the two Ptolemies, to whom the senate continued to refuse recognition. The emigrants urged him to strike: the position of Sertorius in Spain, as to which Mithradates despatched envoys under convenient pretexts to the headquarters of Pompeius to obtain information, and which was about this very time really imposing, opened up to the king the prospect of fighting not, as in the first Roman war, against both the Roman parties, but in concert with the one against the other.

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