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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 40

The Roman governing college at any rate--timid, indolent, ill informed, and above all beset by perpetual financial embarrassments--could never be expected, without direct compulsion, to take the initiative in an expedition so vast and costly. About the year 682 the legitimate representatives of the Seleucid dynasty, Antiochus called the Asiatic and his brother, moved by the favourable turn of the Pontic war, had gone to Rome to procure a Roman intervention in Syria, and at the same time a recognition of their hereditary claims on Egypt. If the latter demand might not be granted, there could not, at any rate, be found a more favourable moment or occasion for beginning the war which had long been necessary against Tigranes. But the senate, while it recognized the princes doubtless as the legitimate kings of Syria, could not make up its mind to decree the armed intervention.

If the favourable opportunity was to be employed, and Armenia was to be dealt with in earnest, Lucullus had to begin the war, without any proper orders from the senate, at his own hand and his own risk; he found himself, just like Sulla, placed under the necessity of executing what he did in the most manifest interest of the existing government, not with its sanction, but in spite of it. His resolution was facilitated by the relations of Rome towards Armenia, for long wavering in uncertainty between peace and war, which screened in some measure the arbitrariness of his proceedings, and failed not to suggest formal grounds for war.

The state of matters in Cappadocia and Syria afforded pretexts enough; and already in the pursuit of the king of Pontus Roman troops had violated the territory of the great-king. As, however, the commission of Lucullus related to the conduct of the war against Mithradates and he wished to connect what he did with that commission, he preferred to send one of his officers, Appius Claudius, to the great-king at Antioch to demand the surrender of Mithradates, which in fact could not but lead to war.

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