Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Black Sea FOUNDATION OF THE HELLENIC WORLD
Αναζήτηση με το γράμμα AΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα BΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα CΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα DΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα EΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα FΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα GΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα HΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα IΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα JΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα KΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα LΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα MΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα NΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα OΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα PΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα QΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα RΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα SΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα TΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα UΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα VΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα WΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα XΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα YΑναζήτηση με το γράμμα Z


Author(s) : Podossinov Alexander (12/10/2007)

For citation: Podossinov Alexander, "Panticapaeum/Bosporus", 2007,
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Black Sea
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=10731>

Panticapaeum/Bosporus (10/30/2008 v.1) Παντικάπαιον/Βόσπορος (6/23/2011 v.1) 



Appian. Mithridat. 107-111 about the death of the king of Pontus Mithridates VI Eupator in Pantikapaion (= Panticapaeum)

[107] King (Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontus) had completed his circuit of the Euxine and occupied Panticapaeum, a European market town at the outlet of that sea…

[108] When he had recovered from his illness and his army was collected (it consisted of sixty picked cohorts of 6,000 men each and a great multitude of other troops, besides ships and strongholds that had been captured by his generals while he was sick) he sent a part of it across the strait to Phanagoria, another trading place at the mouth of the sea, in order to possess himself of the passage on either side while Pompey was still in Syria. Castor of Phanagoria, who had once been maltreated by Trypho, the king's eunuch, fell upon the latter as he was entering the town, killed him, and summoned the citizens to revolt. Although the citadel was already held by Artaphernes and other sons of Mithridates, the inhabitants piled wood around it and set it on fire, in consequence of which Artaphernes, Darius, Xerxes, and Oxathres, sons, and Eupatra, a daughter, of Mithridates, in fear of the fire, surrendered themselves and were led into captivity. Of these Artaphernes alone was about forty years of age; the others were handsome children. Cleopatra, another daughter, resisted. Her father, in admiration of her courageous spirit, sent a number of row-boats and rescued her. All the neighbouring castles that had been lately occupied by Mithridates now revolted from him in emulation of the Phanagoreans, namely, Chersonesus, Theodosia, Nymphaeum, and others around the Euxine which were well situated for purposes of war. Mithridates, observing these frequent defections, and having suspicions of the army itself, lest it should fail him because the service was compulsory and the taxes very heavy, and because soldiers always lack confidence in unlucky commanders, sent some of his daughters in charge of eunuchs to be married to the Scythian princes, asking them at the same time to send him reinforcements as quickly as possible. Five hundred soldiers accompanied them from his own army. Soon after they left the presence of Mithridates they killed the eunuchs who were leading them (for they always hated these persons, who were all-powerful with Mithridates) and conducted the young women to Pompey.

[109] Although bereft of so many children and castles and of his whole kingdom, and in no way fit for war, and although he could not expect any aid from the Scythians, still no inferior position, none corresponding to his present misfortunes, even then found a place in his mind. He proposed to turn his course to the Gauls, whose friendship he had cultivated a long time for this purpose, and with them to invade Italy, hoping that many of the Italians themselves would join him on account of their hatred of the Romans… Filled with these ideas he was for hastening to the Gauls, but his soldiers, though the very bold enterprise might be attractive, were deterred chiefly by its magnitude, and by the long distance of the expedition in foreign territory, against men whom they could not overcome even in their own country. They thought also that Mithridates, in utter despair, wanted to end his life in a valiant and kingly way rather than in idleness. So they tolerated him and remained silent, for there was nothing mean or contemptible about him even in his misfortunes.

[110] While affairs were in this plight Pharnaces, the son whom he was most fond of and whom he had often designated as his successor, either alarmed about the expedition and the kingdom (for he still had hopes of pardon from the Romans, but reckoned that he should lose everything completely if his father should invade Italy), or spurred by other motives, formed a conspiracy against his father.

His fellow conspirators were captured and put to the torture, but Menophanes persuaded the king that it would not be seemly, just as he was starting on his expedition, to put to death the son who had been until then the dearest to him. People were liable to such turns, he said, in time of war, and when they came to an end things quieted down again. In this way Mithridates was persuaded to pardon his son, but the latter, still fearing his father's anger, and knowing that the army shrank from the expedition, went by night to the leading Roman deserters who were encamped very near the king, and by representing to them in its true light, and as they well knew it, the danger of their advancing against Italy, and by making them many promises if they would refuse to go, induced them to desert from his father.

After Pharnaces had persuaded them, he sent emissaries the same night to other camps near by and won them over. Early in the morning the first deserters raised a shout, and those next to them repeated it, and so on. Even the naval force joined in the cry, not all of them having been advised beforehand perhaps, but eager for a change, despising failure, and always ready to attach themselves to a new hope. Others, who were ignorant of the conspiracy, thought that all had been corrupted, and that if they remained alone they would be scorned by the majority, and so from fear and necessity rather than inclination joined in the shouting. Mithridates, being awakened by the noise, sent messengers out to inquire what the shouters wanted. The latter made no concealment, but said, "We want your son to be king; we want a young man instead of an old one who is ruled by eunuchs, the slayer of so many of his sons, his generals, and his friends."

[111] When [Mithridates] heard this he went out to reason with them. A part of his own guard then ran to join the deserters, but the latter refused to admit them unless they would do some irreparable deed as a proof of their fidelity, pointing at the same time to Mithridates. So they hastened to kill his horse, for he himself had fled, and at the same time saluted Pharnaces as king, as though the rebels were already victorious, and one of them brought a broad papyrus leaf from a temple and crowned him with it in place of a diadem. The king saw these things from a high portico, and he sent messenger after messenger to Pharnaces asking permission to fly in safety. When none of his messengers returned, fearing lest he should be delivered up to the Romans, he praised the bodyguards and friends who had been faithful to him and sent them to the new king, but the army killed some of them under a misapprehension as they were approaching. Mithridates then took out some poison that he always carried next to his sword, and mixed it. There two of his daughters, who were still girls growing up together, named Mithridates and Nyssa, who had been betrothed to the kings of Egypt and of Cyprus, asked him to let them have some of the poison first, and insisted strenuously and prevented him from drinking it until they had taken some and swallowed it. The drug took effect on them at once; but upon Mithridates, although he walked around rapidly to hasten its action, it had no effect, because he had accustomed himself to other drugs by continually trying them as a means of protection against poisoners. These are still called the Mithridatic drugs. Seeing a certain Bituitus there, an officer of the Gauls, he said to him, "I have profited much from your right arm against my enemies. I shall profit from it most of all if you will kill me, and save from the danger of being led in a Roman triumph one who has been an autocrat so many years, and the ruler of so great a kingdom, but who is now unable to die by poison because, like a fool, he has fortified himself against the poison of others. Although I have kept watch and ward against all the poisons that one takes with his food, I have not provided against that domestic poison, always the most dangerous to kings, the treachery of army, children, and friends." Bituitus, thus appealed rendered the king the service that he desired.


Entry's identity

press image to open photo library