Tuesday, December 30, 2003

The Last King : Rome's Greatest Enemy

by Michael Curtis Ford

"To the Romans, the greatest enemy the Republic ever faced was not the Goths or Huns, nor even Hannibal, but rather a ferocious and brilliant king on the distant Black Sea: Mithridates Eupator VI of Pontus, known to history as Mithridates the Great.

At age eleven, Mithridates inherited a small mountain kingdom of wild tribesmen, which his wicked mother governed in his place. Sweeping to power at age twenty-one, he proved to be a military genius and quickly consolidated various fiefdoms under his command. Since Rome also had expansionist designs in this region, bloody conflict was inevitable.

Over forty years, Rome sent its greatest generals to contain Mithridates and gained tenuous control over his empire only after suffering a series of devastating defeats at the hands of this cunning and ruthless king. Each time Rome declared victory, Mithridates considered it merely a strategic retreat, and soon came roaring back with a more powerful army than before. "
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