Appian, The Wars on the Islands 2

Appian of Alexandria (c.95-c.165): one of the most underestimated of all Greek historians, author of a Roman History in twenty-four books.

Although only Appian's books on the Roman Civil Wars survive in their entirety, large parts of the other books, devoted to Rome's foreign wars, have also come down to us. The parts on the Third Punic War, the wars in Iberia, the Illyrian Wars, and the Mithridatic Wars are very important historical sources.

Because these texts have to be reconstructed from several medieval manuscripts, not all editions of Appian's account of Rome's foreign wars are numbered in the same way. On these pages, the separate units of a book are counted strictly chronologically.

The translation was made by Horace White; notes by Jona Lendering.


The conquest of Crete

[8] [From Constantine Porphyrogenitus, The Embassies] The island of Crete seemed to be favorably disposed towards Mithridates, king of Pontus, from the beginning, and it was said that they furnished him mercenaries when he was at war with the Romans.note It is believed also that they recommended to the favor of Mithridates the pirates who then infested the sea, and openly assisted them when they were pursued by Marcus Antonius.

When Antonius sent legates to them on this subject, they made light of the matter and gave him a disdainful answer. Antonius forthwith made war against them, and although he did not accomplish much, he gained the title of Creticus for his work. (He was the father of the Marc Antony who, at a later period, fought against Octavius Caesar at Actium.)

When the Romans declared war against the Cretans, on account of these things, the latter sent an embassy to Rome to treat for peace. The Romans ordered them to surrender Lasthenes, the author of the war against Antonius, and to deliver up all their pirate ships and all the Roman prisoners in their hands, together with 300 hostages, and to pay 4,000 talents of silver.

[9] [From Constantine Porphyrogenitus, The Embassies] As the Cretans would not accept these conditions, Metellusnote was chosen as the general against them. He gained a victory over Lasthenes at Cydonia. The latter fled to Cnossus, and Panares delivered over Cydonia to Metellus on condition of his own safety. While Metellus was besieging Cnossus, Lasthenes set fire to his own house there, which was full of money, and fled from the place.

Then the Cretans sent word to Pompey the Great, who was conducting the war against the pirates, and against Mithridates, that if he would come they would surrender themselves to him. As he was then busy with other things, he commanded Metellus to withdraw from the island, as it was not seemly to continue a war against those who offered to give themselves up, and he said that he would come to receive the surrender of the island later. Metellus paid no attention to this order, but pushed on the war until the island was subdued, making the same terms with Lasthenes as he had made with Panares.

[10] [From Constantine Porphyrogenitus, The Embassies] Metellus was awarded a triumph and the title of Creticus with more justice than Antonius, for he actually subjugated the island. note

The Bona Dea Scandal

[11] [From the Peiresc manuscript] The patrician Clodius, surnamed Pulcher, which means "handsome", was in love with Caesar's wife.note He arrayed himself in woman's clothes from head to foot, being still without a beard, and gained admission to Caesar's house as a woman in the night, at a time when the mysteries were celebrated, to which only women were admitted. Having lost his guide, and being detected by others by the sound of his voice, he was hustled out.

This page was created in 2005; last modified on 3 January 2016.