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Rome’s Ascendancy in the East


The Second Mithradatic War (83-81 B.C.)

The conflict unfolded as Roman general Lucius Licinius Murena initiated an invasion of Pontus, ultimately facing defeat. In 74 B.C., Nicomedes III of Bithynia bequeathed his kingdom to Rome, prompting Mithradates VI to invade Bithynia, marking the initial phase of the Third Mithradatic War (73-65).

Lucullus’ Campaign and Retreat

Lucius Licinius Lucullus, the Roman commander Tigranes the Great, expelled Mithradates and invaded Armenia, seizing Tigranocerta in 69 B.C. However, challenges in the mountains and harsh climate impeded further progress. After a significant victory at Artaxata, Lucullus faced a reluctant troop and retreated to the Euphrates valley. Mithradates regrouped in Pontus, and Lucullus was replaced by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, or Pompey the Great.

Pompey’s Swift Victories

Pompey’s military prowess contrasted with Lucullus, achieving swif

Tigranes the Great


Rise to Power

The Decline of the Seleucid Empire

Antiochus VII marked the end of the strong Seleucid rulers, leaving only Syria within the shrinking empire’s grasp. Successors struggled to retain control, facing breakaways like Tyre and Sidon seeking independence before Roman intervention. Damascus evolved into the Arab Ituraean kingdom Mithradates VI of Pontus. A significant influence during this period was Queen Cleopatra Theos, daughter of Egypt’s Ptolemy VI, legitimizing three Seleucid monarchs through marriage.

Constant Struggles for Succession

Following Cleopatra’s death in 121 B.C., succession disputes plagued the Seleucid Empire. Between 96 and 83 B.C., six contenders vied for the crown simultaneously, showcasing the empire’s internal strife.

Missed Opportunities for the Parthians

Despite contributing to the Seleucid downfall, the Parthians, hindered by Saka inv

Mithradates VI of Pontus


Clash with Rome

Roman Supremacy in the Mediterranean

After the Punic Wars, Rome emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean. The Roman province of Asia expanded through bequests and campaigns against Cilician pirates. Pergamun, under the last king Attalus III, bequeathed its kingdom to Rome, further solidifying Roman influence. By the end of the century, Roman protectorates included Egypt, Bithynia Rome’s Ascendancy in the East, Cappadocia, Galatia, and Paphlagonia. Mithradates VI of Pontus, however, viewed Rome as an obstacle to his ambitions.

Mithradates VI’s Early Reign

Mithradates VI inherited the Pontic throne at twelve in 120 B.C. Despite his young age, he proved a skilled organizer and expanded his kingdom by annexing Colchis (Georgia) and the Crimea in the last decade of the second century. Forming alliances with Parthia and Armenia, he married his daughter to Armenia’s Ki

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