Sulla declared a Public Enemy--Flaccus and Fimllria--Fimbria destroys Ilium--Mithridates sues for Peace--Sulla's Answer--Terms of the Treaty offered by Sulla--Mithridates delays and Sulla marches to Asia--A Personal Conference--What Sulla said to Mithridates--Mithridates accepts the Terms
The next day Sulla decorated the tribune, Basillus, and gave rewards for valor to others. He ravaged Boeotia which was continually changing from one side to the other, and then moved to Thessaly and went into winter quarters, and waited for Lucullus and his fleet. As he had no tidings of Lucullus he began to build ships for himself. At this juncture Cornelius Cinna and Gaius Marius, his rivals at home, caused him to be declared an enemy of the Roman people, destroyed his houses in the city and the country, and murdered his friends. This, however, did not weaken him in the least, since he had a zealous and devoted army. Cinna sent Flaccus, whom he had caused to be chosen as his colleague in the consulship, to Asia with two legions to take charge of that province and of the Mithridatic war in place of Sulla, who was now declared a public enemy. As Flaccus was inexperienced in the art of war, a man of senatorial rank named Fimbria, who was skilled in military affairs, accompanied him as a volunteer. As they were sailing from Brundusium many of their ships were destroyed by a tempest, and some that had gone in advance were burned by a new army that had been sent forward by Mithridates. Moreover, Flaccus was a rascal, and, being severe in punishments and greedy of gain, was hated by the whole army. Accordingly, a part of them who had been sent ahead into Thessaly went over to Sulla, but Fimbria kept the rest of them from deserting, because they considered him more humane and a better general than Flaccus.
Once while he was at an inn he had a dispute with the qustor about their lodgings. Flaccus, who acted as arbiter between them, showed little consideration for Fimbria, and the latter was vexed and threatened to go back to Rome. Accordingly Flaccus appointed a successor to perform the duties which he then had charge of. Fimbria watched his opportunity, and when Flaccus had sailed for Chalcedon he first took the fasces away from Thermus, whom Flaccus had left as his prtor, as though the army had conferred the command upon himself, and when Flaccus returned soon afterward and was angry with him, Fimbria compelled him to fly. Flaccus took refuge in a certain house and in the night-time climbed over the wall and fled first to Chalcedon and afterward to Nicomedia, and closed the gates of the city. Fimbria overcame the place, found him concealed in a well, and killed him, although he was a Roman consul and the commanding officer of this war, and Fimbria himself was only a private citizen who had 608 gone with him as an invited friend. Fimbria cut off his head and flung it into the sea, and left the remainder of his body unburied. Then he appointed himself commander of the army and fought several successful battles with the son of Mithridates. He drove the king himself into Pergamus. The latter escaped from Pergamus to Pitane. Fimbria followed him and began to enclose the place with a ditch. Then the king fled to Mitylene on a ship.
Fimbria traversed the province of Asia, punished the Cappadocian faction, and devasted the territory of the towns that did not open their gates to him. The inhabitants of Ilium, who were besieged by Fimbria, appealed to Sulla for aid. The latter said that he would come, and told them to say to Fimbria meanwhile that they had intrusted themselves to Sulla. Fimbria, when he heard this, congratulated them on being already friends of the Roman people, and ordered them to admit him within their walls because he also was a Roman. He spoke in an ironical way also of the relationship existing between Ilium and Rome. When he was admitted he made an indiscriminate slaughter and burned the whole town. Those who had been in communication with Sulla he tortured in various ways. He spared neither the sacred objects nor the persons who had fled to the temple of Athena, but burned them with the temple itself. He demolished the walls, and the next day made a search to see whether anything of the place was left standing. So much worse was the city now treated by one of its relations than it had been by Agamemnon, that not a house, not a temple, not a statue was left. Some say that the image of Athena, called the Palladium, which was supposed to have fallen from heaven, was then found unbroken, the falling walls having formed an arch over it; and this may be true unless Diomedes and Ulysses carried it away from Ilium during the Trojan war. Thus was Ilium destroyed by Fimbria at the close of the 173d Olympiad. Some people think that 1050 years had intervened between this calamity and that which it suffered at the hands of Agamnemnon.
When Mithridates heard of his defeat at Orchomenus he reflected on the immense number of men he had sent into Greece from the beginning, and the continual and swift disaster that had overtaken them. Accordingly, he sent word to Archelaus to make peace on the best terms possible. The latter had an interview with Sulla in which he said, "King Mithridates was your father's friend, O Sulla. He became involved in this war through the rapacity of other Roman generals. He will avail himself of your virtuous character to make peace, if you will grant him fair terms." As Sulla had no ships; as his enemies at Rome had sent him no money, nor anything else, but had declared him an outlaw; as he had already spent the money which he had taken from the Pythian, Olympian, and Epidauric temples, in return for which he had assigned to them half of the territory of Thebes on account of its frequent defections; and because he was in a hurry to lead his army fresh and unimpaired against the hostile faction at home, he assented to the proposal, and said," If injustice was done to Mithridates, O Archelaus, he ought to have sent an embassy to show how he was wronged, instead of which he put himself in the wrong by overrunning such a vast territory belonging to others, killing such a vast number of people, seizing the public and sacred funds of cities, and confiscating the private property of those whom he destroyed. He has been just as perfidious to his own friends as to us, many of whom he has put to death, including the tetrarchs whom he had brought together at a banquet, and their wives and children, although they had committed no hostile act. Toward us he was moved by an inborn enmity rather than by any necessity for war, visiting every possible calamity upon the Italians throughout Asia, torturing and murdering all of our race, together with their wives, children, and servants. Such hatred did this man bear toward Italy, who now pretends friendship for my father!--a friendship which ye did not call to mind until I had destroyed 160,000 of your troops.
"Instead of treating for peace we ought to be absolutely implacable toward him, but for your sake I will undertake to obtain his pardon from Rome if he actually repents. But if he is playing the hypocrite again, I advise you, Archelaus, to look out for yourself. Consider how matters stand at present between you and him. Bear in mind how he has treated his other friends and how we treated Eumenes and Masinissa." While he was yet speaking, Archelaus rejected the offer with indignation, saying that he would never betray one who had put an army under his command. "I hope," he said, "to come to an agreement with you if you offer moderate terms." After a short interval Sulla said, "If Mithridates will deliver to us the entire fleet in your possession; if he will surrender our generals and ambassadors and all prisoners, deserters, and runaway slaves, and send back to their homes the people of Chios and all others whom he has dragged off to Pontus; if he will remove his garrison from all places except those that he held before the outbreak of hostilities; if he will pay the cost of the war incurred on his account, and remain content with his ancestral dominions,--I shall hope to persuade the Romans not to remember the injuries he has done them." Such were the terms which he offered. Archelaus at once withdrew his garrison from all the places he held and referred the other conditions to the king. In order to make use of his leisure in the meantime, Sulla marched against the Eneti, the Dardani, and the Sinti, tribes on the border of Macedonia, who were continually invading that country, and devasted their territory. In this way he exercised his soldiers and enriched them at the same time.
The ambassadors of Mithridates returned with ratifications of all the terms except those relating to Paphlagonia, and they added that Mithridates could obtain better conditions, "if he should negotiate with your other general, Fimbria." Sulla was indignant that he should be brought into such comparison and said that he would bring Fimbria to punishment, and would go himself to Asia and see whether Mithridates wanted peace or war. Having spoken thus he marched through Thrace to Cypsella after having sent Lucullus forward to Abydus, for Lucullus had arrived at last, having run the risk of capture by pirates several times. He had collected a sort of a fleet composed of ships from Cyprus, Phoenicia, Rhodes, and Pamphylia, and had ravaged much of the enemy's coast, and had skirmished with the ships of Mithridates on the way. Then Sulla advanced from Cypsella and Mithridates from Pergamus, and 610 they met in a conference. Each went with a small force to a plain in sight of the two armies. Mithridates began by discoursing of his own and his father's friendship and alliance with the Romans. Then he accused the Roman ambassadors, committeemen, and generals of doing him injuries by putting Ariobarzanes on the throne of Cappadocia, depriving him of Phrygia, and allowing Nicomedes to wrong him. "And all this," he said, "they did for money, taking it from me and from them by turns; for there is nothing of which most of you are so liable to accusation, 0 Romans, as the love of lucre. When war had broken out through the acts of your generals all that I did was in self-defence, and was the result of necessity rather than of intention."
When Mithridates had ceased speaking Sulla replied: "Although you called us here," he said, "for a different purpose, namely, to accept our terms of peace, I shall not refuse to speak briefly of those matters. I restored Ariobarzanes to the throne of Cappadocia by decree of the Senate when I was governor in Cilicia, and you obeyed the decree. You ought to have opposed it and given your reasons then, or forever after held your peace. Manius gave Phrygia to you for a bribe, which was a crime on the part of both of you. By the very fact of your getting it by bribery you confess that you had no right to it. Manius was tried at Rome for other acts that he had done for money and the Senate annulled them all. For this reason they decided, not that Phyrgia, which had been given to you wrongfully, should be made tributary to Rome, but should be free. If we who had taken it by war did not think best to govern it, by what right could you hold it? Nicomedes charges that you sent against him an assassin named Alexander, and then Socrates Chrestus, a rival claimant of the kingdom, and that it was to avenge these wrongs that he invaded your territory. However, if he wronged you, you ought to have sent an embassy to Rome and waited for an answer. But although you took swift vengeance on Nicomedes, why did you attack Ariobarzanes, who had not harmed you? When you drove him out of his kingdom you imposed upon the Romans, who were there, the necessity of putting him back. By preventing them from doing so you brought on the war. You had meditated war a long time, because you hoped to rule the whole world if you could conquer the Romans, and the reasons you tell of were mere pretexts to cover your real intent. The proof of this is that you, although not yet at war with any nation, sought the alliance of the Thracians, Sarmatians, and Scythians, sought aid from the neighboring kings, built a navy, and enlisted pilots and helmsmen.
"The time you chose convicts you of treachery most of all. When you heard that Italy had revolted from us you seized the occasion when we were occupied to fall upon Ariobarzanes, Nicomedes, Galatia, and Paphlagonia, and finally upon our Asiatic province. When you had taken them you committed all sorts of outrages on the cities, appointing slaves and debtors to rule over some of them, and freeing slaves and cancelling debts in others. In the Greek cities you destroyed 1600 men on one false accusation. You brought the tetrarchs of Galatia together at a banquet and slew them. You butchered or drowned all residents of Italian blood in one day, including mothers and babes, not sparing even those who had fled to the temples. What cruelty, what impiety, what boundless hate did you exhibit toward us! After you had confiscated the property of all your victims you crossed over to Europe with great armies, although we had forbidden the invasion of Europe to all the kings of Asia. You overran our province of Macedonia and deprived the Greeks of their freedom. Nor did you begin to repent and tell Archelaus to intercede for you, until I had recovered Macedonia and delivered Greece from your grasp, and destroyed 160,000 of your soldiers, and taken your camps with all their belongings. I am astonished that you should now seek to justify the acts for which you asked pardon through Archelaus. If you feared me at a distance, do you think that I have come into your neighborhood to have a debate with you? The time for that passed by when you took up arms against us, and we vigorously repelled your assaults and repelled them to the end." While Sulla was still speaking with vehemence the king yielded to his fears and consented to the terms that had been offered through Archelaus. He delivered up the ships and everything else that had been required, and went back to his paternal kingdom of Pontus as his sole possession. And thus the first war between Mithridates and the Romans came to an end.