Cambridge Ecce Romani Latin for the New Millennium Wheelock Disce Allen & Greenough None of the above

Third Mithridatic War

73-63 BCE

Roman Republic/Bithynia vs. Kingdom of Pontus & Armenia
Lucius Licinius Lucullus & Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus vs. Mithridates VI the Great and Tigranes

Prior to this, the Roman Republic had engaged with Mithridates on two separate occasions. In the First Mithridatic War (88-84 BCE), Rome established its ability to expand its reach and its right to rule over the Greek world. The Second Mithridatic War (83-81 BCE) led to an uneasy treaty between Sulla and Mithridates, who was allowed to maintain control over the Kingdom of Pontus but was forced to hand over Asia Minor to the Romans.

When King Nicomedes IV of Bithynia bequeathed his kingdom to Rome, the stage was set for the Third Mithridatic War. When Mithridates moved to take the kingdom, the Senate sent Lucius Licinius Lucullus and Marcus Aurelius Cotta to deal with the threat. Lucullus was sent to Cilicia and Cotta to Bithynia. Though the former was meant to lead the land attack and the latter the sea attack, Mithridates thwarted these efforts and besieged Cotta at Chalcedon. After Lucullus had helped Cotta, Mithridates made his way to Heraclea Pontica. Cotta had to besiege the city for two years before sacking it in 71 BCE.

When Mithridates fled to the kingdom of Armenia and sought safety with his son-in-law Tigranes the Great, Lucullus pressured Tigranes into handing over Mithridates. When Tigranes refused, Lucullus besieged the city of Tigranocerta. In 69 BCE Tigranocerta fell and Lucullus drove Tigranes northward. At the Battle of Artaxata in 68 BCE, Lucullus once again won. However, during that winter, his troops began to rebel against him, and Pompey took his place.

When Pompey marched against Tigranes, Tigranes sued for peace and the Kingdom of Armenia became an allied client state. In 65 BCE, Mithridates VI was defeated once more. In 63 BCE, his son, Pharnaces II, led a rebellion against his father. Mithridates attempted death by poison; however, it failed due to his immunity to various poisons. He then killed himself with his own sword and thus ended the Mithridatic Wars.


Monmouth College