Eutropius, Short History 5

Eutropius (c.320-c.390?): Roman historian, author of a very popular Short History of the Roman Empire.

The translation of Eutropius' Short History offered here is by John Selby Watson and was published in 1886. The text was found at The notes were added by Jona Lendering.

[1] While the war was going on in Numidia against Jugurtha, the Roman consuls, Marcus Manlius and Quintus Caepio,note were defeated by the Cimbri, Teutones, Tigurini, and Ambrones, nations of Germany and Gaul, near the river Rhône; and, being reduced by a terrible slaughter, lost their very camp, as well as the greater part of their army. Great was the consternation at Rome, such as was scarcely experienced during the Punic wars in the time of Hannibal, from dread that the Gauls might again march to the city.

Marius, in consequence, after his victory over Jugurtha, was created consul the second time,note and the war against the Cimbri and Teutones was committed to his management. The consulship was also conferred on him a third and fourth time, in consequence of the war with the Cimbri being protracted; but in his fourth consulship he had for his colleague Quintus Lutatius Catulus.note He came to battle, accordingly, with the Cimbri, and in two engagements killed two hundred thousand of the enemy, and took eighty thousand prisoners, with their general Teutobodus; for which service he was elected consul a fifth time during his absence.note

[2] In the meantime the Cimbri and Teutones, whose force was still innumerable, passed over into Italy. Another battle was fought with them, by Caius Marius and Quintus Catulus, though with greater success on the part of Catulus, for in that battle, in which they both commanded, a hundred and forty thousand were either slain in the field or in the pursuit, and sixty thousand taken prisoners. Of the Roman soldiers in the two armies three hundred fell. Thirty-three standards were taken from the Cimbri; of which the army of Marius captured two, that of Catulus thirty-one. This was the end of the war: a triumph was decreed to both the consuls.

[3] In the consulship of Sextus Julius Caesar and Lucius Marcius Philippus, in the six hundred and fifty-ninth year from the building of the city,note when almost all other wars were at an end, the Piceni, Marsi, and Peligni, excited a most dangerous war in Italy; for after they had lived for many years in subjection to the Roman people, they now began to assert their claim to equal privileges.

This was a very destructive war. Publius Rutilius, one of the consuls,note Caepio, a nobleman in the flower of his age, and Porcius Cato, another consul,note were killed in it. The generals against the Romans on the part of the Piceni and Marsi were Titus Vettius, Hierius Asinius, Titus Herennius, and Aulus Cluentius. The Romans fought against them successfully under the conduct of Caius Marius, who had now been made consul for the sixth time,note also under Cnaeus Pompey, but particularly under Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who, among other signal exploits, so completely routed Cluentius, one of the enemy's generals, with his numerous forces, that he lost only one man of his own army.

The war, however, was protracted for four years, with great havoc; at length, in the fifth, it was terminated by Lucius Cornelius Sulla when consul, who had greatly distinguished himself on many occasions when praetor in the same war.

[4] In the six hundred and sixty-second year from the foundation of the city,note the First Civil War began at Rome; and in the same year also the Mithridatic War.note 

Marius, when in his sixthnote consulship, gave rise to the Civil War; for when Sulla. the consul, was sent to conduct the war against Mithridates, who had possessed himself of Asia and Achaea, and delayed his army for a short time in Campania, in order that the remains of the Social War, of which we have just spoken, and which had been carried on within the limits of Italy, might be extinguished, Marius showed himself ambitious to be appointed to the Mithridatic War. Sulla, being incensed at this conduct, marched to Rome with his army. There he fought with Marius and Sulpicius; he was the first to enter the city in arms; Sulpicius he killed; Marius he put to flight; and then, having appointed Cnaeus Octavius and Lucius Cornelius Cinna the consuls for the year ensuing,note set out for Asia.

[5] For Mithridates, who was king of Pontus, and possessed Armenia Minor and the entire circuit of the Pontic sea with the Bosphorus, first attempted to expel Nicomedes, an ally of the Romans, from Bithynia; sending word to the Senate, that he was going to make war upon him on account of the injuries which he had received. Answer was returned by the Senate to Mithridates, that if he did so he himself should feel the weight of a war from the Romans. Incensed at this reply, he immediately invaded Cappadocia, and expelled from thence Ariobarzanes the king, an ally of the Roman people. He next marched into Bithynia and Paphlagonia, driving out the kings, Pylaemenes and Nicomedes, who were also in alliance with the Romans. He then hastened to Ephesus, and sent letters into all parts of Asia, with directions that wherever any Roman citizens should be found, they should all be put to death the same day.

[6] In the meantime Athens also, a city of Achaea, was delivered up to Mithridates by Aristion an Athenian. For Mithridates had previously sent Archelaus, his general, into Achaea, with a hundred and twenty thousand horse and foot, by whom the rest of Greece was also occupied. Sulla besieged Archelaus at the Piraeus near Athens, and took the city itself. Engaging afterwards in battle with Archelaus, he gave him such a defeat, that out of a hundred and twenty thousand of the army of Archelaus scarce ten remained; while of that of Sulla only fourteen were killed.

Mithridates, on receiving intelligence of this battle, sent seventy thousand chosen troops out of Asia to Archelaus, with whom Sulla came again to an engagement. In the first battle twenty thousand of the enemy were slain, and Diogenes, the son of Archelaus;note in the second the entire forces of Mithridates were cut off.note Archelaus himself lay hid for three days, stript of his armor, in the marshes. On the news of this state of things, Mithridates sent orders to treat with Sulla concerning peace.

[7] In the meantime Sulla also reduced part of the Dardanians, Scordisci, Dalmatians, and Maedians, and granted terms of. alliance to the rest. But when ambassadors arrived from King Mithridates to treat about peace, Sulla replied that he would grant it on no other condition than that he should quit the countries on which he had seized, and withdraw into his own dominions. Afterwards, however, the two came to a conference, and peace was settled between them, in order that Sulla, who was in haste to proceed to the Civil War, might leave no danger in his rear;

for while Sulla was victorious over Mithridates in Achaea and Asia, Marius, who had been driven from the city, and Cornelius Cinna, one of the consuls, had recommenced hostilities in Italy, and entering Rome, put to death the noblest of the senators and others of consular rank, proscribed many, and pulling down the house of Sulla himself, forced his sons and wife to seek safety by flight; while all the rest of the Senate, hastily quitting the city, fled to Sulla in Greece, entreating him to come to the support of his country.

He accordingly crossed over into Italy, to conduct the Civil War against the consuls Norbanus and Scipio.note In the first battle he engaged with Norbanus not far from Capua, when he killed seven thousand of his men, and took six thousand prisoners, losing only a hundred and twenty-four of his own army. From thence he directed his efforts against Scipio, and before a battle was fought, or any blood shed, he received the surrender of his whole army.

[8] But on a change of consuls at Rome, and the election of Marius, the son of Marius, and Papirius Carbo to the consulate,note Sulla again came to battle with Marius the Younger, and killed fifteen thousand men, with the loss of only four hundred. Immediately afterwards also he entered the city. He then pursued Marius the Younger to Praeneste, besieged him there, and drove him even to self-destruction.

He afterwards fought a terrible battle with Lamponius and Carinas, the leaders of the Marian faction, near the Colline Gate. The number of the enemy in that battle against Sulla is said to have been seventy thousand; twelve thousand surrendered themselves to Sulla: the rest were cut off in the field, in the camp, or in the pursuit, by the insatiable resentment of the conqueror. Cnaeus Carbo also, the other consul, fled from Ariminum into Sicily, and was there slain by Gnaeus Pompey; to whom, although but a young man, being only one-and-twenty years of age, Sulla, perceiving his activity, had committed the management of his troops, so that he was accounted second only to Sulla himself.

[9] Carbo then, being killed, Pompey recovered Sicily. Crossing next over into Africa, he put to death Domitius, a leader on the side of Marius, and Hiarbas the king of Mauritania, who had given assistance to Domitius.

After these events, Sulla celebrated a triumph with great pomp for his success against Mithridates. Gnaeus Pompey also, while only in his twenty-fourth year, was allowed a triumph for his victories in Africa, a privilege which had been granted to no Roman before him. Such was the termination of two most lamentable wars, the Italian, also called the Social, and the Civil, which lasted for ten years, and occasioned the destruction of more than a hundred and fifty thousand men; twenty-four of consular rank, seven of praetorian, sixty of that of aedile, and nearly three hundred senators.