Mithridates VI of Pontus
He is often considered the greatest ruler of the Kingdom of Pontus. Mithridates VI was a prince of Persian and Greek ancestry, Mithridates was born in the Pontic city of Sinope, and was raised in the Kingdom of Pontus. He was the first son among the children born to Laodice VI and his father, Mithridates V, was a prince and the son of the former Pontic monarchs Pharnaces I of Pontus and his wife-cousin Nysa. His mother, Laodice VI, was a Seleucid princess and the daughter of the Seleucid monarchs Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Mithridates V was assassinated in about 120 BC in Sinope, poisoned by unknown persons at a lavish banquet which he held. He left the kingdom to the joint rule of Mithridates mother, Laodice VI, neither Mithridates nor his younger brother were of age, and their mother retained all power as regent for the time being. Laodice VI’s regency over Pontus was from 120 BC to 116 BC, during his mother’s regency, he escaped from his mothers plots against him, and went into hiding. Mithridates emerged from hiding, returning to Pontus between 116 BC and 113 BC and was hailed as king and he removed his mother and brother from the throne, imprisoning both, becoming the sole ruler of Pontus.
Laodice VI died in prison, ostensibly of natural causes, Mithridates Chrestus may have died in prison also, or may have been tried for treason and executed. Mithridates first married his younger sister Laodice, aged 16 and his goal was to preserve the purity of their bloodline, solidify his claim to the throne, to co-rule over Pontus, and to ensure the succession to his legitimate children. Mithridates entertained ambitions of making his state the dominant power in the Black Sea and he first subjugated Colchis, a region east of the Black Sea, and prior to 164 BC, an independent kingdom. He clashed for supremacy on the Pontic steppe with the Scythian King Palacus, the young king turned his attention to Anatolia, where Roman power was on the rise. He contrived to partition Paphlagonia and Galatia with King Nicomedes III of Bithynia and it soon became clear to Mithridates that Nicomedes was steering his country into an anti-Pontic alliance with the expanding Roman Republic. When Mithridates fell out with Nicomedes over control of Cappadocia, and defeated him in a series of battles, the next ruler of Bithynia, Nicomedes IV of Bithynia, was a figurehead manipulated by the Romans.
Mithridates plotted to overthrow him, but his attempts failed and Nicomedes IV, instigated by his Roman advisors, Rome itself was involved in the Social War, a civil war with its Italian allies. Thus, in all of Roman Asia Province there were two legions present in Macedonia. These legions combined with Nicomedes IVs army to invade Mithridates kingdom of Pontus in 89 BC, however, won a decisive victory, scattering the Roman-led forces. His victorious forces were welcomed throughout Anatolia, the following year,88 BC, Mithridates orchestrated a massacre of Roman and Italian settlers remaining in several Anatolian cities, essentially wiping out the Roman presence in the region. This episode is known as the Asiatic Vespers, the Kingdom of Pontus comprised a mixed population in its Ionian Greek and Anatolian cities
To the southwest was Armenia and to the southeast Atropatene. The name of the country in the language of the native population, Aghuank is the Armenian and the most historically referenced name for Caucasian Albania. Armenian authors mention that the derived from the word ału meaning amiable in Armenian. The term Aghuank is polysemous and is used in Armenian sources to denote the region between the Kur and Araxes rivers as part of Armenia. In the latter case it is used in the form Armenian Aghuank or Hay-Aghuank. In pre-Islamic times, Caucasian Albania/Arran was a concept than that of post-Islamic Arran. Ancient Arran covered all eastern Transcaucasia, which included most of the territory of modern-day Azerbaijan Republic, however, in post-Islamic times the geographic notion of Arran reduced to the territory between the rivers of Kura and Araks. Ancient Caucasian Albania lay on the part of the Greater Caucasus mountains. It was bounded by Caucasian Iberia to the west, by Sarmatia to the north, by the Caspian Sea to the east and these boundaries, were probably never static - At times the territory of Caucasian Albania included land to the west of the river Kura.
The districts of Albania were, The kingdoms capital during antquity was Qabala, classical sources are unanimous in making the Kura River the frontier between Armenia and Albania after the conquest of the territories on the right bank of Kura by Armenians in the 2nd century BC. The original territory of Albania was approximately 23,000 km², after 387 AD the territory of Caucasian Albania, sometimes referred to by scholars as Greater Albania, grew to about 45,000 km². In a medieval chronicle Ajayib-ad-Dunia, written in the 13th century by an author, Arran is said to have been 30 farsakhs in width. All the right bank of the Kura River until it joined with the Aras was attributed to Arran, the boundaries of Arran have shifted throughout history, sometimes encompassing the entire territory of the present day Republic of Azerbaijan, and at other times only parts of the South Caucasus. In some instances Arran was a part of Armenia, medieval Islamic geographers gave descriptions of Arran in general, and of its towns, which included Barda and Ganja, along with others.
Small remnants of this group continue to exist independently, and are known as the Udi people and this alphabet was used to write down the Udi language, which was probably the main language of the Caucasian Albanians. Koryun, a pupil of Mesrob Mashtots, in his book The Life of Mashtots, wrote about how his tutor created the alphabet, Then there came and visited them an elderly man, the alphabet was titled, Ałuanicʿ girn ē. In 2001 Aleksidze identified its script as Caucasian Albanian, and the text as an early dating to perhaps before the 6th century. Many of the letters discovered in it were not in the Albanian alphabet listed in the 15th-century Armenian manuscript, Muslim geographers Al-Muqaddasi, Ibn-Hawqal and Estakhri recorded that a language which they called Arranian was still spoken in the capital Barda and the rest of Arran in the 10th century
A consul was the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic, and the consulship was considered the highest level of the cursus honorum. Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term, the consuls alternated in holding imperium each month, and a consuls imperium extended over Rome and the provinces. Originally, consuls were called praetors, referring to their duties as the military commanders. By at least 300 BC the title of Consul was being used, in Greek, the title was originally rendered as στρατηγός ὕπατος, strategos hypatos, and simply as ὕπατος. The consul was believed by the Romans to date back to the establishment of the Republic in 509 BC. These remained in place until the office was abolished in 367/366 BC, consuls had extensive powers in peacetime, and in wartime often held the highest military command. Additional religious duties included certain rites which, as a sign of their formal importance, consuls read auguries, an essential step before leading armies into the field.
Two consuls were elected each year, serving together, each with power over the others actions. It is thought that only patricians were eligible for the consulship. Consuls were elected by the Comitia Centuriata, which had a bias in its voting structure which only increased over the years from its foundation. If a consul died during his term or was removed from office, a consul elected to start the year - called a consul ordinarius - held more prestige than a suffect consul, partly because the year would be named for ordinary consuls. The first plebeian consul, Lucius Sextius, was elected the following year and it is possible that only the chronology has been distorted, but it seems that one of the first consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus, came from a plebeian family. Another possible explanation is that during the 5th century social struggles, during times of war, the primary qualification for consul was military skill and reputation, but at all times the selection was politically charged. With the passage of time, the became the normal endpoint of the cursus honorum.
When Lucius Cornelius Sulla regulated the cursus by law, the age of election to consul became. Beginning in the late Republic, after finishing a year, a former consul would usually serve a lucrative term as a proconsul. The most commonly chosen province for the proconsulship was Cisalpine Gaul, throughout the early years of the Principate although the consuls were still formally elected by the Comitia Centuriata, they were in fact nominated by the princeps. It was a post that would be occupied by a man halfway through his career, in his early thirties for a patrician, emperors frequently appointed themselves, or their protégés or relatives, even without regard to the age requirements
Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of deity Saturn, held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and expanded with festivities through to 23 December. The poet Catullus called it the best of days, the revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable. The Greek equivalent was the Kronia, although probably the best-known Roman holiday, Saturnalia as a whole is not described from beginning to end in any single ancient source. Modern understanding of the festival is pieced together from several accounts dealing with various aspects, the Saturnalia was the dramatic setting of the multivolume work of that name by Macrobius, a Latin writer from late antiquity who is the major source for information about the holiday. The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun, on 23 December. The statue of Saturn at his main temple normally had its feet bound in wool, the official rituals were carried out according to Greek rite.
The sacrifice was officiated by a priest, whose head was uncovered, in Roman rite, priests sacrificed capite velato, the day was supposed to be a holiday from all forms of work. Schools were closed, and exercise regimens were suspended, courts were not in session, so no justice was administered, and no declaration of war could be made. After the public rituals, observances continued at home, on 18 and 19 December, which were holidays from public business, families conducted domestic rituals. They bathed early, and those with means sacrificed a suckling pig, the phrase io Saturnalia was the characteristic shout or salutation of the festival, originally commencing after the public banquet on the single day of 17 December. The interjection io is pronounced either with two syllables or as a single syllable and it was a strongly emotive ritual exclamation or invocation, used for instance in announcing triumph or celebrating Bacchus, but to punctuate a joke. Saturnalia is the best-known of several festivals in the Greco-Roman world characterized by role reversals, slaves were treated to a banquet of the kind usually enjoyed by their masters.
Ancient sources differ on the circumstances, some suggest that master and slave dined together, while others indicate that the slaves feasted first, the practice might have varied over time, and in any case slaves would still have prepared the meal. Saturnalian license permitted slaves to disrespect their masters without the threat of a punishment and it was a time for free speech, the Augustan poet Horace calls it December liberty. In two satires set during the Saturnalia, Horace has a slave offer sharp criticism to his master, everyone knew, that the leveling of the social hierarchy was temporary and had limits, no social norms were ultimately threatened, because the holiday would end. The toga, the garment of the male Roman citizen, was set aside in favor of the Greek synthesis. Romans of citizen status normally went about bare-headed, but for the Saturnalia donned the pilleus, who ordinarily were not entitled to wear the pilleus, wore it as well, so that everyone was pilleated without distinction.
Female entertainers were certainly present at some otherwise all-male gatherings, role-playing was implicit in the Saturnalias status reversals, and there are hints of mask-wearing or guising
It is a typical Italian medieval city, and it attracts many tourists, especially in the summer. From the 5th century the city was a bishopric, and during the Lombardic kingdom it was a city and had several privileges. In 1254 the taking of Ghibelline Pistoia by Guelph Florence, was among the origins of the division of the Florentine Guelphs into Black and White factions. Pistoia remained a Florentine holding except for a period in the 14th century, when Castruccio Castracani captured it for Lucca. During the 14th century Ormanno Tedici was one of the Lords of the city, dante mentioned in his Divina Commedia the free town of Pistoia as the home town of Vanni Fucci, who is encountered in Inferno tangled up in a knot of snakes while cursing God. In 1786 a famous Jansenist episcopal synod was convened in Pistoia, according to one theory, Pistoia lent its name to the pistol, which started to be manufactured in Pistoia during the 16th century. But today, it is notable for the extensive plant nurseries spreading around it.
Consequently, Pistoia is famous for its markets, as is the nearby Pescia. Although not visited as much as cities in Tuscany, mostly due to the citys industrial environs, Pistoia presents a well-preserved. The original Cathedral of San Zeno burned down in 1108, but was rebuilt during the 12th century, the façade has a prominent Romanesque style, while the interior received heavy Baroque additions which were removed during the 1960s. Its outstanding feature is the Altar of St James, an exemplar of the silversmiths craft begun in 1287 and its various sections contain 628 figures, the total weighing nearly a ton. The Romanesque belfry, standing at some 67 metres, was erected over an ancient Lombard tower, in the square is the 14th-century Baptistry, in Gothic style, with white and green striped marble revetment characteristic of the Tuscan Gothic. The Palazzo dei Vescovi, is characterized by a Gothic loggiato on the first floor and it is known from 1091, initially as a fortified noble residence.
In the 12th century it received a more decorated appearance, with mullioned windows and frescoes, in the 14th century, the Chapel of St. Nicholas was decorated with stories of the namesake saint and other martyrs. The Tower of Catilina is from the High Middle Ages, basilica of Our Lady of Humility, finished by Giorgio Vasari with a 59-metre high cupola. The original project was by Giuliano da Sangallo, but works were begun in 1495 by Ventura Vitoni, the dome was commissioned by Cosimo I de Medici to Vasari, the lantern completed in 1568 and the church consecrated in 1582. In the apse is a painting by Bernardino del Signoraccio, santissima Annunziata, baroque church famous for its Chiostro dei Morti. Damaged during World War II bombardments, it is now used as an exhibition center, San Giovanni Battista al Tempio, owned for a while by the Knights Templar and by the Hospitaller Knights
Not to be confused with Romans named Catulus, see Catulus. Gaius Valerius Catullus was a Latin poet of the late Roman Republic who wrote in the style of poetry. His surviving works are still read widely, and continue to influence poetry, Catullus poems were widely appreciated by other poets. He greatly influenced poets such as Ovid and Virgil, after his rediscovery in the late Middle Ages, Catullus again found admirers. His explicit writing style has shocked many readers, Catullus work was never canonical in schools, although his body of work is still frequently read from secondary school to graduate programs across the world. Gaius Valerius Catullus was born to an equestrian family of Verona. The social prominence of the Catullus family allowed the father of Gaius Valerius to entertain Julius Caesar when he was the Promagistrate of both Gallic provinces. Catullus was raised primarily by his mother, who exposed him to poetry, in a poem, Catullus describes his happy homecoming to the family villa at Sirmio, on Lake Garda, near Verona, he owned a villa near the resort of Tibur.
Catullus appears to have spent most of his adult years in Rome. He appears to have been acquainted with the poet Marcus Furius Bibaculus, a number of prominent contemporaries appear in his poetry, including Cicero and Pompey. In his poems Catullus describes several stages of their relationship, initial euphoria, doubts and his wrenching feelings of loss. Clodia had several partners, “From the poems one can adduce no fewer than five lovers in addition to Catullus, Gellius, Rufus. Yet, a sensitive and passionate Catullus could not relinquish his flame for Clodia, regardless of her obvious indifference to his desire for a deep, in his poems, Catullus wavers between devout, sweltering love and bitter, scornful insults that he directs at her blatant infidelity. His passion for her is unrelenting— yet it is unclear when exactly the couple split up for good, Catulluss poems about the relationship display striking depth and psychological insight. He spent the provincial command year summer 57 to summer 56 BC in Bithynia on the staff of the commander Gaius Memmius, while in the East, he traveled to the Troad to perform rites at his brothers tomb, an event recorded in a moving poem.
There survives no ancient biography of Catullus, his life has to be pieced together from scattered references to him in ancient authors. Thus it is uncertain when he was born and when he died, st. Jerome says that he died in his 30th year, and was born in 87 BC. But the poems include references to events of 55 and 54 BC, other authors suggest 52 or 51 BC as the year of the poets death
Cato the Younger
A noted orator, he is remembered for his stubbornness and tenacity, as well as his immunity to bribes, his moral integrity, and his famous distaste for the ubiquitous corruption of the period. Cato was born in 95 BC in Rome, the son of Marcus Porcius Cato, drusus was murdered when Cato was 4 years old. Catos stubbornness began in his early years, his teacher, reports a very obedient and questioning child, although slow in being persuaded of things and sometimes very difficult to retrain. In a playful mood, he asked the support for his cause. All of them nodded and smiled except Cato, who stared at the guest suspiciously, silo demanded an answer from him and, seeing no response, took Cato and hung him by the feet out of the window. Even then, Cato would not say anything, Plutarch recounts a few other stories as well. One night, as children were playing a game in a side room of a house during a social event, they were having a mock trial with judges. One of the children, supposedly a good-natured and pleasant child, was convicted by the accusers and was being carried out of the room when he cried out desperately for Cato.
Cato became very angry at the children and, saying nothing, grabbed the child away from the guards. When Sulla asked them whom they would have, they all cried Cato, Sullas daughter Cornelia Sulla was married to the boys uncle Mamercus Aemilius Lepidus Livianus. Sarpedons answer was thus, They fear him, my child, Cato replied to this, Give me a sword, that I might free my country from slavery. After this, Sarpedon was careful not to leave the boy unattended around the capital, after receiving his inheritance, Cato moved from his uncles house and began to study Stoic philosophy and politics. He began to live in a very modest way, as his great-grandfather Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder had famously done, Cato subjected himself to violent exercise, and learned to endure cold and rain with a minimum of clothes. He ate only what was necessary and drank the cheapest wine on the market and this was entirely for philosophical reasons, his inheritance would have permitted him to live comfortably. He remained in private life for a time, rarely seen in public.
But when he did appear in the forum, his speeches, Cato was first engaged to Aemilia Lepida, a patrician woman, but she was married instead to Quintus Caecilius Metellus Scipio, to whom she had been betrothed. Incensed, Cato threatened to sue for her hand, but his friends mollified him, Cato was married to a woman called Atilia. By her, he had a son, Marcus Porcius Cato, and a daughter, Cato divorced Atilia for unseemly behavior
Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman philosopher, lawyer, political theorist and constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy family of the Roman equestrian order. According to Michael Grant, the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature, Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary distinguishing himself as a translator and philosopher. Though he was an orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement. During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars, following Julius Caesars death, Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches. His severed hands and head were then, as a revenge of Mark Antony. Petrarchs rediscovery of Ciceros letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs, according to Polish historian Tadeusz Zieliński, the Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, and only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity.
Cicero was born in 106 BC in Arpinum, a hill town 100 kilometers southeast of Rome and his father was a well-to-do member of the equestrian order and possessed good connections in Rome. However, being a semi-invalid, he could not enter public life, although little is known about Ciceros mother, Helvia, it was common for the wives of important Roman citizens to be responsible for the management of the household. Ciceros brother Quintus wrote in a letter that she was a thrifty housewife, Ciceros cognomen, or personal surname, comes from the Latin for chickpea, cicer. Plutarch explains that the name was given to one of Ciceros ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea. However, it is likely that Ciceros ancestors prospered through the cultivation. Romans often chose down-to-earth personal surnames, the family names of Fabius and Piso come from the Latin names of beans, lentils. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this name when he entered politics. During this period in Roman history, cultured meant being able to speak both Latin and Greek, Cicero used his knowledge of Greek to translate many of the theoretical concepts of Greek philosophy into Latin, thus translating Greek philosophical works for a larger audience.
It was precisely his broad education that tied him to the traditional Roman elite, according to Plutarch, Cicero was an extremely talented student, whose learning attracted attention from all over Rome, affording him the opportunity to study Roman law under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. Ciceros fellow students were Gaius Marius Minor, Servius Sulpicius Rufus, the latter two became Ciceros friends for life, and Pomponius would become, in Ciceros own words, as a second brother, with both maintaining a lifelong correspondence. Cicero wanted to pursue a career in politics along the steps of the Cursus honorum
He is known for several acquittals in court, including one for the charge of adultery with a Vestal Virgin. Catiline was born in 108 BC to one of the oldest patrician families in Rome, although his family was of consular heritage, they were declining in both social and financial fortunes. Virgil gave the family an ancestor, who had come with Aeneas to Italy, presumably because they were notably ancient, the last Sergius to be consul had been Gnaeus Sergius Fidenas Coxo in 380 BC. Later, these factors would dramatically shape Catilines ambitions and goals as he would desire above all else to restore the heritage of his family along with its financial power. An able commander, Catiline had a military career. He served in the Social War with Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Cicero, during the regime of Gaius Marius, Lucius Cornelius Cinna and Gnaeus Papirius Carbo, Catiline played no major role, but he remained politically secure. He supported Lucius Cornelius Sulla in the war of 84–81 BC. Catiline is accused of murdering his first wife and son so that he could marry the wealthy and beautiful Aurelia Orestilla, daughter of the Consul of 71 BC, in the early 70s BC he served abroad, possibly with Publius Servilius Vatia in Cilicia.
He was praetor in 68 BC, and for the two years was the propraetorian governor for Africa. He was finally brought to trial in 65 BC, where he received the support of distinguished men. Even one of the consuls for 65 BC, Lucius Manlius Torquatus, Cicero contemplated defending Catiline in court. The first Catilinarian conspiracy was a plot to murder the consuls of 65 BC, historians consider it unlikely that Catiline would have been involved in the First Catilinarian Conspiracy or, that the conspiracy existed at all. During 64 BC, Catiline was officially accepted as a candidate in the election for 63 BC. He ran alongside Gaius Antonius Hybrida, who some suspect may have been a fellow conspirator, Catiline was defeated by Cicero and Antonius Hybrida in the consular election, largely because the Roman aristocracy feared Catiline and his economic plan. The Optimates were particularly repulsed because he promoted the plight of the urban plebs along with his policy of tabulae novae. He was brought to that same year, but this time it was for his role in the Sullan proscriptions.
At the insistence of Cato the Younger, who was quaestor, other allegations claimed that he murdered several other notable men. Despite this, Catiline was acquitted again, though some surmise that it was through the influence of Caesar, Catiline chose to stand for the consulship again in the following year
Tigranes the Great
Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great was King of Armenia under whom the country became, for a short time, the strongest state east of the Roman Republic. He was a member of the Artaxiad Royal House, Tigranes had been a hostage until the age of 45 at the court of King Mithridates II of Parthia after the Armenian defeat in 105 BC. Other sources give the date as much earlier, at around 112–111 BC, after the death of King Tigranes I in 95 BC, Tigranes bought his freedom, according to Strabo, by handing over seventy valleys in Atropatene to the Parthians. When he came to power, the foundation upon which Tigranes was to build his Empire was already in place, a legacy of the founder of the Artaxiad Dynasty, Artaxias I and this did not suit Tigranes, who wanted to create a centralist empire. He thus proceeded by consolidating his power within Armenia before embarking on his campaign and he deposed Artanes, the last king of Armenian Sophene and a descendant of Zariadres. During the First Mithridatic War, Tigranes supported Mithridates VI of Pontus and he rapidly built up his power and established an alliance with Mithridates VI, marrying his daughter Cleopatra.
Tigranes agreed to extend his influence in the East, while Mithridates set to conquer Roman land in Asia Minor, by creating a stronger Hellenistic state, Mithridates was to contend with the well-established Roman foothold in Europe. The slaughter of 80,000 people in the province of Asia Minor was known as the Asiatic Vespers, the two kings attempts to control Cappadocia and the massacres resulted in guaranteed Roman intervention. The senate decided that Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who was one of the consuls. Magadates was appointed as his governor in Antioch, the southern border of his domain reached as far as Ptolemais. Many of the inhabitants of conquered cities were sent to his new metropolis of Tigranocerta, at its height, his empire extended from the Pontic Alps to Mesopotamia, and from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. A series of victories led him to assume the Achaemenid title of King of Kings and he was called Tigranes the Great by many Western historians and writers, such as Plutarch.
The King of Kings never appeared in public without having four kings attending him, referring to his success in the east, said that he made the Republic of Rome tremble before the prowess of his arms. Tigranes coin consist of tetradrachms and copper coins having on the obverse his portrait wearing a decorated Armenian tiara with ear-flaps, the reverse has a completely original design. There are the seated Tyche of Antioch and the river god Orontes at her feet, Mithridates had found refuge in Armenian land after confronting Rome, considering the fact that Tigranes was his ally and relative. The King of Kings eventually came into contact with Rome. The Roman commander, demanded the expulsion of Mithridates from Armenia – to comply with such a demand would be, in effect, to accept the status of vassal to Rome and this Tigranes refused. Charles Rollin, in his Ancient History, Lucullus reaction was an attack that was so precipitate that he took Tigranes by surprise, according to Roman historians Mithrobazanes, one of Tigranes generals, told Tigranes of the Roman approach