Roman Republic 6a 74-63BC Pompey against Mithridates in the EAST Crassus & Cicero in ROME. Countries of Asia Minor. 3 rd MITHRIDATIC WAR (74 - 63BC). Meanwhile Mithridates VI of Pontus was causing Rome trouble again .
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Meanwhile Mithridates VI of Pontus was causing Rome trouble again.
Rome was preoccupied with Pompey in Spain (74-72) & Crassus against Spartacus (73-71)
Mithridates attacked neighbour kingdom of Bithynia after its king (Nicomedes) willed it to Rome
He saw Rome “moving in next door” , especially as Bithynia controlled entry to the Black Sea and all that trade
Cotta, one of the consuls of 74BC controlled Bithynia, but was defeated by Mithridates.
Bithynia was fractured onto a number of petty states & was still struggling after Sulla’s punishing 83BC settlement
Lucullus, the other consul, was more successful taking control of Pontus over next 3 years
He also upset the Roman tax collectors (equites) by stopping their rip-offs
He chased Mithridates into Armenia but couldn’t capture him as his troops struck in 67BC
They’d had enough
Mithridates slipped back into Pontus, retook his kingdom,
undoing much of Lucullus good work.
In Rome Lucullus was blamed for slowing war down, so command went to Pompey 66BC
Tribune Manilius proposed the Lex Manilia to let popular, rich, successful Pompey have this command, while still holding the command against the pirates. Not fair, but successful Lucullus was not popular with his soldiers or colleagues.
Pompey had an easy victory much bigger army than Lucullus had
Mithridates fled to the Caucasus region but, betrayed by one of his sons, killed himself (63BC).
Pompey now at the peek of his power, supported by populares, Caesar & Cicero.
He’d used the tribunes power (which he’d restored) to get prime military commands,
optimate commanders like Lucullus had failed to gain significant victories, and lost prestige in the senate.
Pompey capitalised on his victory in the East & got his 3rd Triumph.
By increasing Rome’s influence there (and collecting more clients, fame, & wealth.
He allowed king of Armenia (who’d helped Mithridates) to keep his kingdom
He DIDN’T keep a promise of land for help to the king of Parthia – later a SERIOUS ERROR.
Settled a civil war on Palestine, defeating Petra
Changed borders in Anatolia to try to preserve peace (Roman controlled a strip of land along the coast).
Crete and Cyprus became Roman outposts near Asia
Made kings of smaller kingdoms in the east his “clients” – loyal to him by bribes.
These became a buffer against Parthia (Persia, Iran)– the real threat in the region.
His Asian successs had increased Rome’s Provincial Tax 70% (from 200–340 million sesterces.)
Pompey totally overshadowed Crassus after their 70BC consulship.
Pompey support group was Populares: Crassus tried to win support from the equite (business class),
and to undermine Pompey
Unsuccessfully proposed citizenship to men living in cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy)
in exchange for their clientship –failed as many were already Pompey’s clients.
Unsuccessfully tried to gain influence among Pompey’s clients in Spain
Sent Piso to Spain but they killed him
Unsuccessfully tried to secure Egypt as a Roman province
by fanning an inheritance dispute among the Ptolemys. It would have helped him win support from the equites, and upped his profile compared to Pompey BUT the optimates of the senate – who disliked both, blocked the move.
Did win some support from young Caesar (who probably recognised future threat from Pompey).
Caesar’s year as Aedile (65BC) was bankrolled by Crassus, and he won much pleb support with “bread & circuses”.
Caesar was unexpectedly elected Pontifex Maximus (the most important reglious role in Rome) in 63BC thanks to Crassus’ bribes
When Caesar tried to leave Rome for Spain province as Pro-praetor, Crassus paid off his creditors.
Marcus Tullius Cicero 106BC-42BC
born in Marius’ birthplace, Arpinum (a Novus homo), of a wealthy Plebian family.
he was very well educated and became a famous, much respected thinker & lawyer
due to talents in Oratory he studied in Greece, he was a well known Greek scholar .
Had fought in the war against Spartacus
Developed into a traditionalist, while trying to stay on good terms with populare & optimate
We know a lot about him from the many letters and other writings he kept
Still regarded as one of the greatest political and legal minds ever
Became quaestor (and a senator) at age 30, and assisted the governor of Sicily
In 70BC he gained great celebrity by successfully prosecuting Verres, another governor of Siciiy, for corruption.
Became aedile in 69 & Praetor in 66,
in the senate he supported Pompey’s special command against the Pirates (lex Gabinia)