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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 IX - Death of Crassus - Rupture between the Joint Rulers


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As to the impression which the defeat of the Romans produced in the east, unfortunately no adequate information has reached us; but it must have been deep and lasting. King Orodes was just celebrating the marriage of his son Pacorus with the sister of his new ally, Artavasdes the king of Armenia, when the announcement of the victory of his vizier arrived, and along with it, according to Oriental usage, the cut-off head of Crassus.

The tables were already removed; one of the wandering companies of actors from Asia Minor, numbers of which at that time existed and carried Greek poetry and the Greek drama far into the east, was just performing before the assembled court the -Bacchae- of Euripides. The actor playing the part of Agave, who in her Dionysiac frenzy has torn in pieces her son and returns from Cithaeron carrying his head on the thyrsus, exchanged this for the bloody head of Crassus, and to the infinite delight of his audience of half-Hellenized barbarians began afresh the well-known song:

--pheromin ex oreos
elika neotomon epi melathra
makarian theiran--.

It was, since the times of the Achaemenids, the first serious victory which the Orientals had achieved over the west; and there was a deep significance in the fact that, by way of celebrating this victory, the fairest product of the western world-- Greek tragedy--parodied itself through its degenerate representatives in that hideous burlesque. The civic spirit of Rome and the genius of Greece began simultaneously to accommodate themselves to the chains of sultanism.

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