Second Campaign of Lucullus against Mithridates--Crosses a Mountain Range--A Panic in the Camp of Mithridates--Mithridates takes Refuge with Tigranes--Iucullus regulates the Pontic Cities--Demands the Surrender of Mithridates from Tigranes--Marches against Tigranes--Besieges Tigranocerta Battle of Tigranocerta--Total Defeat of Tigranes Capture of Tigranocerta
When spring came Lucullus marched over the mountains against Mithridates, who had stationed advanced posts to hinder his approach, and to start signal fires whenever anything important should happen. He appointed a member of the royal family, named Phnix, commander of this advance guard. When Lucullus drew near, Phnix gave the fire-signal to Mithridates and then deserted to Lucullus with his forces. Lucullus now passed over the mountains without difficulty and came down to Cabira, but was beaten by Mithridates in a cavalry engagement and retreated again to the mountain. Pomponius, his master of horse, was wounded and taken prisoner and brought to the presence of Mithridates. The king asked him what favor he (Pomponius) could render him for sparing his life. Pomponius replied, "A great one if you make peace with Lucullus, but if you continue his enemy I will not even consider your question." The barbarians wanted to put him to death, but the king said that he would not do violence to bravery overtaken by misfortune. He drew out his forces for battle several days in succession, but Lucullus would not come down and fight; so he looked about for some way to come at him by ascending the mountain. At this juncture a Scythian, named Olcaba, who had deserted to Lucullus sometime before and had saved the lives of many in the recent cavalry fight, and for that reason was deemed worthy to share Lucullus' table, his confidence, and his secrets, came to his tent while he was taking his noonday rest and tried to force his way in. He was wearing a short dagger in his belt as was his custom. When he was prevented from entering he became angry and said that there was a pressing necessity that the general should be aroused. The servants replied that there was nothing more useful to Lucullus than his safety. Thereupon the Scythian mounted his horse and 634 went immediately to Mithridates, either because he had plotted against Lucullus and now thought that he was suspected, or because he considered himself insulted and was angry on that account. He exposed to Mithridates another Scythian, named Sobdacus, who was about to desert to Lucullus. Sobdacus was accordingly arrested.
Lucullus hesitated about going down directly to the plain since the enemy was so much superior in horse, nor could he discover any way around, but he found a hunter in a cave who was familiar with the mountain paths. With him for a guide he made a circuitous descent by rugged paths over Mithridates' head. He avoided the plain on account of the cavalry, and came down and chose a place for his camp where he had a mountain stream on his front. As he was short of supplies he sent to Cappadocia for corn, and in the meantime had frequent skirmishes with the enemy. Once when the royal forces were put to flight Mithridates came running to them from his camp and, with reproachful words, rallied them to such good purpose that the Romans became terrified in turn and fled up the mountain side with such swiftness that they did not know for a long time that the hostile force had desisted from the pursuit, but each one thought that the fleeing comrade behind him was an enemy, so great was the panic that had overtaken them. Mithridates sent bulletins everywhere announcing this victory. He then sent a detachment composed of the bravest of his horse to intercept the convoy that was bringing supplies from Cappadocia to Lucullus, hoping to bring upon him the same scarcity of provisions from which he had himself suffered at Cyzicus.
It was his great object to cut off Lucullus' supplies, which were drawn from Cappadocia alone, but when his cavalry came upon the advance guard of the convoy in a narrow defile, they did not wait till their enemies had reached the open country. Consequently their horses were useless in the narrow space, where the Romans hastily put themselves in line of battle across the road. Aided, as foot-soldiers would naturally be, by the difficulties of the ground, they killed some of the king's troops, drove others over precipices, and scattered the rest in flight. A few of them arrived at their camp by night, and said that they were the only survivors, so that rumor magnified the calamity which was indeed sufficiently great. Mithridates heard of this affair before Lucullus did, and he expected that Lucullus would take advantage of so great a slaughter of his horsemen to attack him forthwith. Accordingly he fell into a panic and contemplated flight, and at once communicated his purpose to his friends in his tent. They did not wait for the signal to be given, but while it was still night each one sent his own baggage out of the camp, which made a great crush of pack animals around the gates. When the soldiers perceived the commotion, and saw what the baggage-carriers were doing, they imagined every sort of absurdity. Filled with terror, mingled with anger that the signal had not been given to them also, they demolished and ran over their own fortification and scattered in every direction over the plain, helter-skelter, without orders from the commanding general or any other officer. When Mithridates heard the disorderly rush he dashed out of his tent among them and attempted to say something, but nobody would listen to him. He was caught in the crowd and knocked from his horse, but remounted and was borne to the mountains with a few followers.
When Lucullus heard of the success of his provision train and observed the enemy's flight, he sent out a large force of cavalry in pursuit of the fugitives. Those who were still collecting baggage in the camp he surrounded with his infantry, whom he ordered for the time to abstain from plunder, but to kill indiscriminately. But the soldiers, seeing vessels of gold and of silver in abundance and much costly clothing, disregarded the order. Those who overtook Mithridates himself cut open the pack saddle of a mule that was loaded with gold, which fell out, and while they were busy with it they allowed him to escape to Comona. From thence he fled to Tigranes with 2000 horse-men. Tigranes did not admit him to his presence, but ordered that royal entertainment be provided for him on his estates. Mithridates, in utter despair of his kingdom, sent the eunuch Bacchus to his palace to put his sisters, wives, and concubines to death as he could. These, with wonderful devotion, destroyed themselves with daggers, 635 poison, and ropes. When the garrison commanders of 636 Mithridates saw these things they went over to Lucullus in crowds, all but a few. Lucullus marched among the others and regulated them. He also sent his fleet among the cities on the Pontic coast and captured Amastris, Heraclea, and some others.
Sinope continued to resist him vigorously, and the inhabitants fought him on the water not without success, but when they were besieged they burned their heavier ships, embarked on the lighter ones, and went away. Lucullus at once made it a free city, being moved thereto by the following dream. It is said that Autolycus, the companion of Hercules in his expedition against the Amazons, was driven by a tempest into Sinope and made himself master of the place, and that his consecrated statue gave oracles to the Sinopeans. As they were hastening their flight they could not embark it on shipboard, but wrapped it up with linen cloths and ropes. Nobody told Lucullus of this beforehand and he knew nothing about it, but he dreamed that he saw Autolycus calling him, and the following day, when some men passed him carrying the image wrapped up, he ordered them to take off the covering and then he saw what he thought he had seen in the night. This was the kind of dream he had. After Sinope Lucullus restored to their homes the citizens of Amisus, who had fled by sea in like manner, because he learned that they had been settled there by Athens when she held the empire of the sea; that they had had a democratic form of government at first, and afterward had been subject for a long time to the kings of Persia; that their democracy had been restored to them by decree of Alexander; and that they had finally been compelled to serve the kings of Pontus. Lucullus sympathized with them, and in emulation of the favor shown to the Attic race by Alexander he gave the city its freedom and recalled the citizens with all haste. Thus did Lucullus desolate and repeople both Sinope and Amisus. He entered into friendly relations with Machares, the son of Mithridates and ruler of the Bosporus, who sent him a crown of gold. He demanded the surrender of Mithridates from Tigranes. Then he went back to the province of Asia. When the instalment of tribute imposed by Sulla became due he levied upon one-fourth of the harvest, and imposed a house-tax and a slave-tax. He offered a triumphal sacrifice to the gods for the successful termination of the war.
After the sacrifices had been performed he marched 638 with two legions and 500 horse against Tigranes, who had refused to surrender Mithridates to him. He crossed the Euphrates, but he required the barbarians, through whose territory he passed, to furnish only necessary supplies since they did not want to fight, or to expose themselves to suffering by taking sides in the quarrel between Lucullus and Tigranes. No one told Tigranes that Lucullus was advancing, for the first man who brought this news he hanged, considering him a disturber of the good order of the cities. When he learned that it was true, he sent Mithrobarzanes forward with 2000 horse to hinder Lucullus' march. He intrusted to Mancus the defence of Tigranocerta, which city, as I have already said, the king had built in this region in honor of himself, and to which he had summoned the principal inhabitants of the country under penalty of confiscation of all of their goods that they did not transfer to it. He surrounded it with walls fifty cubits high and wide enough to contain stables for horses. In the suburbs he built a palace and laid out large parks, enclosures for wild animals, and fish-ponds. He also erected a strong tower near by. All these he put in charge of Mancus, and then he went through the country to collect an army. Lucullus, at his first encounter with Mithrobarzanes, defeated him and put him to flight. Sextilius shut up Mancus in Tigranocerta, plundered the palace outside the walls, drew a ditch around the city and tower, moved machines against them, and undermined the wall.
While Sextilius was doing this Tigranes brought together some 250,000 foot and 50,000 horse. He sent about 6000 of the latter to Tigranocerta, who broke through the Roman line to the tower, and seized and brought away the king's concubines. With the rest of his army Tigranes marched against Lucullus. Mithridates, who was now for the first time admitted to his presence, advised him not to come to close quarters with the Romans, but to circle around them with his horse only, to devastate the country, and reduce them by famine if possible, in the same way that he had been served by Lucullus at Cyzicus, where he lost his army without fighting. Tigranes derided such generalship and advanced and made preparations for battle. When he saw how small the Roman force was, he said jestingly, "If they are here as ambassadors they are too many; if as enemies, altogether too few." Lucullus saw a hill favorably situated in the rear of Tigranes. He pushed his horse forward from his own front to worry the enemy and draw them upon himself, retiring as they came up, so that the barbarians should break their own ranks in the pursuit. Then he sent his own infantry around to the hill and took possession of it unobserved. When he saw the enemy pursuing as though they had won the fight, and scattered in all directions, with their entire baggage-train lying at the foot of the hill, he exclaimed, "Soldiers, we are victorious," and dashed first upon their baggage-carriers. These immediately fled in confusion and ran against their own infantry, and the infantry against the cavalry. Presently the rout was complete. Those who had been drawn a long distance in pursuit of the Roman horse, the latter turned upon and destroyed. The baggage-train came into collision with others tumultuously. They were all packed together in such a crowd that nobody could see clearly from what quarter their discomfiture proceeded. There was a great slaughter. Nobody stopped to plunder, for Lucullus had forbidden it with threats of punishment, so that they passed by bracelets and necklaces on the road, and continued killing for a distance of 120 stades until nightfall. Then they betook themselves to plunder with the permission of Lucullus.
When Mancus beheld this defeat from Tigranocerta he disarmed all of his Greek mercenaries because he suspected them. They, in fear of arrest, walked abroad or rested only in a body, and with clubs in their hands. Mancus set upon them with his armed barbarians. They wound their clothing around their left arms, to serve as shields, and fought their assailants courageously, killed some, and shared their arms with each other. When they were sufficiently provided with weapons they seized some of the towers, called to the Romans outside, and admitted them when they came up. In this way was Tigranocerta taken, and the immense wealth, appertaining to a newly built and nobly peopled city, plundered.