Eutropius, Short History 6

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] In the consulate of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Quintus Catulus,note after Sulla had composed the troubles of the state, new wars broke out; one in Spain, another in Pamphylia and Cilicia, a third in Macedonia, a fourth in Dalmatia.

Sertorius. who had taken the side of Marius, dreading the fate of others who had been cut off, excited the Spaniards to a war. The generals sent against him were Quintus Caecilius Metellus, the son of that Metellus who had subdued Jugurtha, and the praetor Lucius Domitius. Domitius was killed by Hirtuleius, Sertorius' general. Metellus contended against Sertorius with various success. At length, as Metellus was thought singly unequal to the war, Gnaeus Pompey was sent into Spain. Thus, two generals being opposed to him, Sertorius often fought with very uncertain fortune. At last, in the eighth year of the war, he was put to death by his own soldiers, and an end made of the war by Gnaeus Pompey, at that time but a young man, and Quintus Metellus Pius; and nearly the whole of Spain was brought under the dominion of the Roman people.

[2] Appius Claudius, on the expiration of his consulate was sent into Macedonia. He had some skirmishes with different tribes that inhabited the province of Rhodopa, and there fell ill and died. Cnaeus Scribonius Curio, on the termination of his consulship, was sent to succeed him.note He conquered the Dardanians, penetrated as far as the Danube, and obtained the honor of a triumph, putting an end to the war within three years.

[3] Publius Servilius, an energetic man, was sent, after his consulate, into Cilicia and Pamphilia. He reduced Cilicia, besieged and took the most eminent cities of Lycia, amongst them Phaselis, Olympus, and Corycus. The Isaurians he also attacked, and compelled to surrender, and, within three years, put an end to the war. He was the first of the Romans that marched over Mount Taurus. On his return, he was granted a triumph, and acquired the surname of Isauricus.

[4] Cnaeus Cosconius was sent into Illyricum as proconsul. He reduced a great part of Dalmatia, took Salonae, and, having made an end of the war, returned to Rome after an absence of two years.

[5] About the same time,note the consul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, the colleague of Catulus, attempted to kindle a civil war; but in one summer that commotion was suppressed. Thus there were several triumphs at the same time, that of Metellus for Spain, a second for Spain obtained by Pompey, one of Curio for Macedonia, and one of Servilius for Isauria.

[6] In the six hundred and seventy-sixth year from the building of the city,note in the consulate of Lucius Licinius Lucullus and Marcus Aurelius Cotta. Nicomedes, king of Bithynia, died, appointing by his will the Roman people his heir.

Mithridates, breaking the peace, again proceeded to invade Bithynia and Asia.note Both the consuls being sent out against him, met with various success. Cotta, being defeated by him in a battle near Chalcedon, was even forced into the town, and besieged there. But Mithridates, having marched from thence to Cyzicus, that, after capturing that city, he might overrun all Asia.

Lucullus, the other consul, met him; and, whilst Mithridates was detained at the siege of Cyzicus, besieged him in the rear, exhausted him with famine, defeated him in several battles, and at last pursued him to Byzantium, now called Constantinople. Lucullus also vanquished his commanders in a sea-fight. Thus, in a single winter and summer, almost a hundred thousand men on the king's side were cut off by Lucullus.

[7] In the six hundred and seventy-eighth year of Rome,note Marcus Licinius Lucullus, the cousin of that Lucullus who had carried on the war against Mithridates, obtained the province of Macedonia. A new war, too, suddenly sprung up in Italy; for eighty-four gladiators, led by Spartacus, Crixus, and Oenomaus, having broken out of a school at Capua, made their escape; and, wandering over Italy, kindled a war in it, not much less serious than that which Hannibal had raised; for, after defeating several generals and two consuls of the Romans, they collected an army of nearly sixty thousand men. They were, however, defeated in Apulia by the proconsul Marcus Licinius Crassus; and, after much calamity to Italy, the war was terminated in its third year.

[8] In the six hundred and eighty-first year from the founding of the city, in the consulate of Publius Cornelius Lentulus and Gnaeus Aufidius Orestes,note there were but two wars of any importance throughout the Roman Empire, the Mithridatic and the Macedonian. Of these the two Luculli, Lucius and Marcus, had the direction.

Lucius Lucullus, after the battle at Cyzicus, in which he had conquered Mithridates, and the sea-fight, in which he had overcome his generals, pursued him; and, recovering Paphlagonia and Bithynia, invaded his very kingdom. He took Sinope and Amisus, two most eminent cities of Pontus. In a second battle, near the city Cabira, where Mithridates had assembled a vast army from all parts of his kingdom, thirty thousand of the king's chosen troops were cut in pieces by five thousand of the Romans, and Mithridates was put to flight and his camp plundered. Armenia Minor, also, of which he had taken possession, was wrested from him. Mithridates was, however, received after his flight by Tigranes, the king of Armenia, who at that time reigned in great glory; for he had frequently defeated the Persians, and had made himself master of Mesopotamia, Syria, and part of Phoenicia.

[9] Lucullus, therefore, still pursuing his routed enemy, entered even the kingdom of Tigranes, who ruled over both the Armenias. Tigranocerta, the most noble city of Armenia, he succeeded in taking; the king himself, who advanced against him with six hundred thousand cuirassiers, and a hundred thousand archers and other troops, he so completely defeated with a force of only eighteen thousand, that he annihilated a great part of the Armenians.

Marching from thence to Nisibis, he took that city also, and made the king's brother prisoner. But as those whom Lucullus had left in Pontus with part of the army in order to defend the conquered countries belonging to the Romans, grew negligent and avaricious in their conduct, they gave Mithridates an opportunity of again making an irruption into Pontus, and thus the war was renewed. While Lucullus, after the reduction of Nisibis, was preparing for an expedition against the Persians, a successor was sent out to take his place.

[10] The other Lucullus, who had the management of affairs in Macedonia, was the first of the Romans that made war upon the Bessi, defeating them in a great battle on Mount Haemus; he reduced the town of Uscudama, which the Bessi inhabited, on the same day in which he attacked it; he also took Cabyle, and penetrated as far as the river Danube. He then besieged several cities lying above Pontus, where he destroyed Apollonia, Calatis, Parthenopolis, Tomi, Histros, and Burziaone, and, putting an end to the war, returned to Rome.

Both the Luculli however triumphed, but the Lucullus, who had fought against Mithridates, with the greater glory, because he had returned victorious over such powerful nations.

[11] After the Macedonian War was ended, but while that with Mithridates still continued (which, on the departure of Lucullus, that king had renewed, collecting all his forces for the purpose), the Cretan War arose, and Caecilius Metellus being sent to conduct it, secured the whole province, by a succession of great battles, within three years, and received the appellation of Creticus, and a triumph on account of the island.

About this time Libya also, by the will of Apion, the king of the country, was added to the Roman Empire; in it were the celebrated cities, Berenice, Ptolemais, and Cyrene.

[12] During these transactions, pirates infested all the seas, so that navigation, and that alone, was unsafe to the Romans, who were now victorious throughout the world. The war against these pirates, therefore, was committed to Gnaeus Pompey, who, with surprising success and celerity, finished it in the course of a few months.note

Soon after, the war against Mithridates and Tigranes was entrusted to him; in the conduct of which, he overcame Mithridates in Armenia Minor in a battle by night, and plundered his camp, killing at the same time forty thousand of his troops, while he lost only twenty of his own men, and two centurions. Mithridates fled with his wife and two attendants; and not long after, in consequence of his cruelty to his own family, he was reduced, through a sedition excited among his soldiers by his son Pharnaces, to the necessity of putting an end to his existence, and swallowed poison. Such was the end of Mithridates, a man of singular energy and ability; his death happened near the Bosphorus. He reigned sixty years, lived seventy-two, and maintained a war against the Romans for forty.

[13] Pompey next made war upon Tigranes, who surrendered himself, coming to Pompey's camp at sixteen miles distance from Artaxata; and, throwing himself at his feet, pla,ced in his hands his diadem, which Pompey returned to him, and treated him with great respect, but obliged him to give up part of his dominions and to pay a large sum of money: Syria, Phoenicia, and Sophene, were taken from him, and six thousand talents of silver, which he had to pay to the Roman people because he had raised a war against them without cause.

[14] Pompey soon after made war also upon the Albani; and defeated their king Orodes three times; at length, being prevailed upon by letters and presents, he granted him pardon and peace. He also defeated Artoces, king of Iberia, in battle, and reduced him to surrender. Armenia Minor he conferred upon Deiotarus, the king of Galatia, because he had acted as his ally in the Mithridatic War. To Attalus and Pylaemenes he restored Paphlagonia; and appointed Aristarchus king of the Colchians.

Shortly after he subdued the Itureans and Arabs; and, on entering Syria, rewarded Seleucia, a city near Antioch, with independence, because it had not admitted King Tigranes. To the inhabitants of Antioch he restored their hostages. On those of Daphne, being charmed with the beauty of the spot and the abundance of water, he bestowed a portion of land, in order that their grove might be enlarged.

Marching from thence to Judea, he took Jerusalem, the capital, in the third month; twelve thousand of the Jews being slain, and the rest allowed to surrender on terms. After these achievements, he returned into Asia, and put an end to this most tedious war.

[15] In the consulate of Marcus Tullius Cicero, the orator, and Caius Antonius, in the six hundred and eighty-ninth year from the foundation of the city,note Lucius Sergius Catiline, a man of very noble family, but of a most corrupt disposition, conspired to destroy his country, in conjunction with some other eminent but desperate characters. He was expelled from the city by Cicero; his accomplices were apprehended and strangled in prison; and he himself was defeated and killed in battle by Antonius, the other consul.

[16] In the six hundred and ninetieth year from the building of the city, in the consulate of Decimus Junius Silanus and Lucius Muraena,note Metellus triumphed on account of Crete, Pompey for the Piratic and Mithridatic Wars. No triumphal procession was ever equal to this; the sons of Mithridates, the son of Tigranes, and Aristobulus, king of the Jews, were led before his car; a vast sum of money, an immense mass of gold and silver, was carried in front. At this time there was no war of any importance throughout the world.

[17] In the six hundred and ninety-third year from the founding of the city, Caius Julius Caesar, who was afterwards emperor, was made consul with Lucius Bibulus;note and Gaul and Illyricum, with ten legions, were decreed to him. He first subdued the Helvetii, who are now called Sequani; and afterwards, by conquering in most formidable wars, proceeded as far as the British Ocean. In about nine years he subdued all that part of Gaul which lies between the Alps, the river Rhône, the Rhine, and the Ocean, and extends in circumference nearly three thousand two hundred miles.

He next made war upon the Britons, to whom not even the name of the Romans was known before his time; and having subdued them, and received hostages, sentenced them to pay a tribute. On Gaul, under the name of tribute, he imposed the yearly sum of forty thousand sesterces; and invading the Germans on the other side of the Rhine, defeated them in several most sanguinary engagements. Among so many successes, he met with three defeats, once in person among the Arverni,note and twice in Germany during his absence; for two of his lieutenant-generals, Titurius and Aurunculeius, were cut off by ambuscades.note

[18] About the same time, in the six hundred and ninety-seventh year from the foundation of the city, Marcus Licinius Crassus, the colleague of Gnaeus Pompey the Great in his second consulship,note was sent against the Parthians; and having engaged the enemy near Carrhae, contrary to the omens and auspices, was defeated by Surena, the general of king Orodes, and at last killed, together with his son, a most noble and excellent young man. The remains of the army were saved by Caius Cassius the quaestor, who, with singular courage, so ably retrieved the ruined fortune of the Romans, that, in his retreat over the Euphrates, he defeated the Persians in several battles.

[19] Soon after followed the Civil War, a war truly execrable and deplorable, in which, besides the havoc that occurred in the several battles, the fortune of the Roman people was changed. For Caesar, on returning victorious from Gaul, proceeded to demand another consulship, and in such a manner, that it was granted him without hesitation; yet opposition was made to it by Marcellus the consul, Bibulus, Pompey, and Cato, and he was in consequence ordered to disband his army and return to Rome; in revenge for which insult, he marched with his army from Ariminum, where he kept his forces assembled, against his country. The consuls, together with Pompey, the whole Senate, and all the nobility, fled from the city, and crossed over into Greece; and in Epirus, Macedonia, and Achaea, the Senate, under Pompey as their general, prepared war against Caesar.

[20] Caesar, having marched into the deserted city, made himself dictator. Soon after he set out for Spain, where he defeated the armies of Pompey, which were very powerful and brave, with their three generals, Lucius Afranius, Marcus Petreius, and Marcus Varro. Returning from thence, he went over into Greece. He took the field against Pompey, but in the first battle was defeated and put to flight; he escaped, however, because Pompey declined to pursue him, as the night was coming on; when Caesar remarked, that Pompey knew not how to conquer, and that that was the only day on which he himself might have been vanquished.

They next fought at Palaeopharsalus, in Thessaly, leading great forces into the field on both sides. The army of Pompey consisted of forty thousand foot, six hundred horse on the left wing, and five hundred on the right, besides auxiliary troops from the whole east, and all the nobility, senators without number, men of praetorian and consular rank, and some who had already been conquerors of powerful nations. Caesar had not quite thirty thousand infantry in his army, and but one thousand horse.

[21] Never before had a greater number of Roman forces assembled in one place, or under better generals, forces which would easily have subdued the whole world, had they been led against barbarians. They fought with great eagerness, but Pompey was at last overcome, and his camp plundered. Pompey himself, when put to flight, sought refuge at Alexandria, with the hope of receiving aid from the king of Egypt, to whom, on account of his youth, he had been appointed guardian by the Senate; he, however, regarding fortune rather than friendship, caused Pompey to be killed, and sent his head and ring to Caesar; at sight of which even Caesar is said to have shed tears, as he viewed the head of so great a man, once his own son-in law.

[22] Caesar soon after went to Alexandria. Ptolemy attempted to form a plot against his life also; for which reason war was made upon him, and, being defeated, he perished in the Nile, and his body was found covered with a golden coat of mail. Caesar, having made himself master of Alexandria, conferred the kingdom on Cleopatra, the sister of Ptolemy, with whom he himself had an illicit connexion. On his return from thence, Caesar defeated in battle Pharnaces, the son of Mithridates the Great, who had assisted Pompey in Thessaly, taken up arms in Pontus, and seized upon several provinces of the Roman people; and at last drove him to self-destruction.

[23] Returning from thence to Rome, he created himself a third time consul with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus,note who had been his master of the horse when dictator the year before. Next he went into Africa, where a great number of the nobility, in conjunction with Juba, king of Mauritania, had resumed hostilities. The Roman leaders were Publius Cornelius Scipio, of the most ancient family of Scipio Africanus (who had also been the father-in-law of the great Pompey), Marcus Petreius, Quintus Varus, Marcus Porcius Cato, and Lucius Cornelius Faustus, the son of Sulla the dictator. In a pitched battle fought against them, Caesar, after many struggles, was victorious. Cato, Scipio, Petreius, Juba, killed themselves; Faustus, Pompey's son-in-law, was slain by Caesar.

[24] On his return to Rome the year after, Caesar made himself a fourth time consul,note and immediately proceeded to Spain, where the sons of Pompey, Gnaeus, and Sextus, had again raised a formidable war. Many engagements took place, the last near the city of Munda, in which Caesar was so nearly defeated, that, upon his forces giving way, he felt inclined to kill himself, lest, after such great glory in war, he should fall, at the age of fifty-six, into the hands of young men. At length, having rallied his troops, he gained the victory; the elder son of Pompey was slain, the younger fled.

[25] The civil wars throughout the world being now terminated, Caesar returned to Rome, and began to conduct himself with too great arrogance, contrary to the usages of Roman liberty. As he disposed, therefore, at his own pleasure, of those honors, which were before conferred by the people and did not even rise up when the Senate approached him, an d exercised regal, or almost tyrannical power, in other respects, a conspiracy was formed against him by sixty or more Roman senators and knights. The chief among the conspirators were the two Bruti (of the family of that Brutus who had been made first consul of Rome, and who had expelled the kingsnote) Caius Cassius, and Servilius Casca. Caesar, in consequence, having entered the Senate House with the rest, on a certain day appointed for a meeting of the Senate, was stabbed with three and twenty wounds.