Battle of the Abas
The Battle of the Abas was fought in 65 BC between the forces of the Roman Republic under Pompey Magnus and those of the Albanian King Oroeses during the course of the Third Mithridatic War. The battle took place on a flat plain by the River Abas, after the Roman forces had only crossed over it from the other bank, with much dense forest nearby. Pompey's victory neutralised the threat of the Albanians rejoining with their old ally Mithridates in his attempts to rekindle his lost war with Rome; the battle is noteworthy for Pompey's concealment of his infantry behind a screen of cavalry, which would twenty years be used against him at the Battle of Pharsalus. The near perfect double envelopment Pompey is reported to have here achieved serves to showcase the high quality of his generalship during the Eastern campaigns. Having defeated Mithridates and Tigranes of Armenia, Pompey turned to neutralising Mithridates' remaining allies to the north, in Caucasian Albania and Iberia. In December 66 BC, the Albanian king, Oroeses had pre-emptively attacked the Roman forces but been defeated and forced to submit.
In pursuit of Mithridates, who had fled to Colchis, Pompey marched into the Caucasus the following year and defeated the Iberians under their king Artoces at the Battle of Pelorus and continued on into Colchis. However, Mithridates fled further before him, to Panticapaeum in Crimea, Pompey ceased his pursuit at the mouth of the River Phasis, sending on a portion of his fleet under Servilius to keep up the search, but turning himself and his army back south into Armenia. From Armenia, Pompey was forced to again march north in order to deal for a second time with Oroeses, who had revolted at the first opportunity. In the summer of 65 BC therefore, the Romans crossed again into Albania; the obstacle of the fast-flowing River Cyrus was surmounted by having the horses and pack animals cross upstream of the main army, in order to "break the violence of the current with their bodies", as Dio says, so that the bulk of Pompey's force could ford the shallows further downstream, without being swept off their feet.
With the Romans advancing through Albania, Oroeses nonetheless refused to give battle, Pompey had to continue the march deeper into enemy territory, looking for a decisive engagement. The march was made during excessive heat and with little carried water, so upon reaching the River Cambyses, the thirsty Romans drank excessively of the cold waters, however, due to their chill, caused many to fall ill. In consequence, Pompey had ten thousand animal skin flasks supplied and filled with drinking water for the march. Still without resistance, Pompey continued to the Abas, crossed it. Having forded the Abas, word came that Oroeses and his men were nearby and, according to Appian, planning to ambush the Romans by converging on them from the nearby forest. Hoping to encourage the Albanians to indeed offer a pitched battle and emerge from the surrounding woodland, Pompey was anxious not to reveal his superiority in numbers, so concealed much of his infantry behind a screen of cavalry. Viewing the scene from the front, therefore thinking the Roman force consisted solely of cavalry and the rest were elsewhere, Oroeses took the bait, duly attacked.
Pompey had placed his cavalry in a thin screen ahead of his hidden infantry, when the Albanians charged out of the woods the Roman horsemen soon turned to an affected flight, in order to draw the enemy on. The Albanians pursued, the Roman cavalry passed through the concealed lines of infantry, which suddenly rose and revealed itself before the oncoming host; the charging Albanians drove on and the Romans purposively extended their line before them, bending it inwards like a bow. The enemy, drawn on further, soon found itself completely encircled; the retreating cavalry, having passed behind the infantry split into two and wheeled about, one going left the other right, rode along the edges of the battlefield before turning in again and smashing into the enemy rear from behind. A large part of the Albanian force was thus assailed on all sides and caught by Pompey in a perfect encirclemt as complete, achieved in a similar way, as that effected by Hannibal at the Battle of Cannae; the manoeuvre complete, it remained, as Dio says, to "cut down those caught inside the circle", this the Romans proceeded to do.
Plutarch writes that this attack of the Albanians was led by a brother of Oroeses named Cosis who, when the fighting was thus raging at close quarters, "rushed upon Pompey himself and smote him with a javelin on the fold of his breastplate." Pompey however, duly engaging in personal combat with the royal brother, soon gained the victory by running Cosis through with his sword and leaving him dead on the field. Those Albanians who had managed to escape the encirclement, or who had not charged full ahead, now sought to melt back into the surrounding trees and flee including in their number Oroeses himself, who survived, but Pompey sent men to strategically fire parts of the forest and many fleeing Albanian warriors were forced back out into the open to be slaughtered, the flames catching others. After the fires had raged for some time, most of the surviving Albanians emerged to surrender. Both Plutarch and Appian record rumours that a number of Amazons were among the captured at the end of this battle, having crossed down from the mountains to fight with the men of Albania.
The women taken prisoner were seen to bear wounds suffered in the fighting alongside the men. Plutarch says no woman was found among the d
Maurus Servius Honoratus
Maurus Servius Honoratus was a late fourth-century and early fifth-century grammarian, with the contemporary reputation of being the most learned man of his generation in Italy. These works, In tria Virgilii Opera Expositio, constituted the first incunable to be printed at Florence, by Bernardo Cennini, 1471. In the Saturnalia of Macrobius, Servius appears as one of the interlocutors; the commentary on Virgil has survived in two distinct manuscript traditions. The first is a comparatively short commentary, attributed to Servius in the superscription in the manuscripts and by other internal evidence. A second class of manuscripts, all deriving from the 10th and 11th centuries, embed the same text in a much expanded commentary; the copious additions are in contrast to the style of the original. "The added matter is undoubtedly ancient, dating from a time but little removed from that of Servius, is founded to a large extent on historical and antiquarian literature, now lost. The writer is anonymous and a Christian", although not if, as is suggested, he is Aelius Donatus.
A third class of manuscripts, written for the most part in Italy, gives the core text with interpolated scholia, which demonstrate the continued usefulness of the Virgilii Opera Expositio. The authentic commentary of Maurus Servius Honoratus is in effect the only complete extant edition of a classic author written before the collapse of the Empire in the West, it is constructed much on the principle of a modern edition, is founded on an extensive Virgilian critical literature, much of, known only from the fragments and facts preserved in this commentary. The notices of Virgil's text, though or never authoritative in face of the existing manuscripts, which go back to, or beyond, the time of Servius, yet supply valuable information concerning the ancient recensions and textual criticism of Virgil. In the grammatical interpretation of his author's language, Servius does not rise above the stiff and overwrought subtleties of his time. Servius set his face against the prevalent allegorical methods of exposition of text.
For the antiquarian and the historian, the abiding value of his work lies in his preservation of facts in Roman history, religion and language, which but for him might have perished. Not a little of the laborious erudition of Varro and other ancient scholars has survived in his pages. Besides the Virgilian commentary, other works of Servius are extant: a collection of notes on the grammar of Aelius Donatus; the edition of Georg Thilo and Hermann Hagen, remains the only edition of the whole of Servius' work. In development is the Harvard Servius. Latin Wikisource has original text related to this article: Maurus Servius Honoratus Commentary on the Aeneid of Vergil at the Perseus Project in Latin. Commentary on the Eclogues of Vergil at the Perseus Project in Latin. De Centum Metris at Intratext.com De Centum Metris at Forum Romanorum Servii grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii carmina commentarii, Georius Thilo, Hermannus Hagen, 3 voll. Lipsiae in aedibus B. G. Teubneri, 1881-1902: vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3 part 1, vol. 3 part 2