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BATTLE OF ORCHOMENUS

135

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horse, seized a standard, and ran to the front. “If any one asks you where you deserted your general,” he shouted to the recoiling battalions, "say that it was at Orchomenus." The taunt recalled them to their duty, the line was re-formed, the reinforcements brought up, and in the pitched battle which followed the whole Pontic army was hurled into the lake and annihilated. “Even two hundred years after that day," writes Plutarch, “bows, helms, broken mail, and swords are still continually discovered in the mud, where the fen was once choked with the bodies of the barbarians." The whole horde perished: only their general Archelaus escaped, as he had done in the previous year at Chaeronea.

Mithradates was now much cowed in spirit. All his chosen mercenaries had been destroyed, his foothold in Europe was lost, and he saw the war about to be transferred to Asia. For Lucullus had at last collected a fleet, which gave Sulla that power of crossing the Ægean which he had not hitherto possessed. Moreover, Fimbria was already across the Hellespont, and though his army was small and raw compared with that of Sulla, it was already giving the king much trouble. Accordingly he sent to ask for peace, offering to abandon all that he had conquered in Europe if he were allowed to retain the province of Asia. He promised in addition to lend the Optimates a fleet, a great sum of money, and an auxiliary army for use against the Democrats in Italy. But Sulla was far too good a Roman to allow the empire to be shorn of its wealthiest province, and scorned to march against Cinna at the head of a barbarian force. He rejected the terms proposed to him, and offered the king merely the restoration of the boundaries that had existed before the war. He might keep his ancestral kingdom, but he must evacuate Asia, surrender his fleet, and pay a heavy war indemnity.

The Pontic monarch at first thought that these terms were harder than his adversaries had any right to ask. He declared that he would continue the war rather than accept them. Sulla then began to make active preparations for crossing the Ægean : at the same moment a great number of the states of Ionia, Lydia, and Caria revolted against Mithradates, whose rule had been rapidly becoming unbearable, as his temper grew worse and his financial demands more pressing. Moreover, Fimbria's army had pushed south and occupied Pergamus, after defeating the king's son in a pitched battle.

With a sudden descent from swollen pride to abject servility, very characteristic of an Oriental prince in his day of trouble, Mithradates sent to tender acceptance of the original terms that had been offered him. He evacuated as much of the Asiatic province as was still in his hands, gave up seventy war-galleys, and paid a fine of 3000 talents. He had a formal conference with Sulla at Dardanus in the Troad, where he promised everything that was asked of him, and bore with humility the haughty and trenchant harangue of his conqueror, who told him that he was fortunate to escape so easily as he was now doing, after his unprovoked attack on Rome in the day of her necessity, and his wanton massacre of the Italian residents in Asia during the first year of the war.

The honour of the Roman name being now fully vindicated, and the boundaries of the empire restored, Sulla was at last able to turn against the Democrats. He had first to deal with Fimbria, whose army had pushed southward and was now lying at Thyatira, in Lydia; but when he drew near, the soldiers of his adversary refused to bear arms against the saviour and champion of the Roman cause in the East. Their general, seeing his men melting away from him, made an attempt to get Sulla murdered at a conference, and when this miserable plot

SULLA RETURNS TO ITALY

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failed, fell upon his own sword. The submission of Fimbria's legions was a godsend to the Optimates, for Sulla was able to leave them behind to garrison Asia, so that the whole of his own veterans could be utilised for the approaching invasion of Italy.

Having completely pacified the East, and carried out in its entirety the programme which he had set before himself when he left Rome in B.C. 87, Sulla now turned his face homeward. He was aware that he had no light task before him : his military chest was full, for he had levied an enormous fine of 20,000 talents on the Asiatic cities which had joined in the massacre of B.C. 88. But his army was very small : he had no more than his original five legions, kept up with difficulty to their full strength, for Roman recruits were hard to find in the East. Even counting a few mercenary troops which he had levied, he had no more than 30,000 men—about the same number with which Hannibal had invaded Italy a hundred and thirty-five years before. They seemed but a handful, when it was borne in mind that Cinna could dispose of the resources of the whole peninsula, not to speak of those of the provinces of Gaul, Spain, and Africa. But Sulla had three causes for confidence-his own generalship (or, as he preferred to call it, his luck), the absolute fidelity of his legions, and the knowledge that comparatively few of those who were to be opposed to him were particularly zealous to fight for the Democratic cause. In military efficiency each of his men was worth two or three of the raw recruits with whom they would have to deal; and what soldier was likely to desert the general who had been giving him of late no less than sixteen denarii a day, just thirty-two times the normal pay of the Roman legionary?

Sulla gave his enemies fair warning of his intentions. Before he set sail he sent a despatch to Rome, in which

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he laid before the Senate a detailed account of his four successful years of campaigning in Greece and Asia. He then announced that he was approaching to chastise those who had been guilty of the massacres of the winter of B.C. 87-86, not to harm the Roman people. He should not meddle with the rights of the newly enfranchised Italian citizens, nor should he do any wilful damage to Italy. He was the enemy, not of the many, but of the few, and only those who had blood on their hands need fear him.

Such a declaration was well suited to frighten the Democratic government at Rome, for Cinna and his friends knew that they were no longer popular with the country at large. Their three years of rule had been a disastrous failure; it started with a bloody massacre which alienated every citizen of moderate mind. Then, when constructive measures were necessary, the famous Democratic programme had ended in a fiasco. Cinna had no genius in him, and the code of laws which he produced turned out to be no more than a rechauffée of the out-of-date expedients of Sulpicius and the Gracchi, which had already been tried and found wanting. The one startling novelty had been the dishonest debt-law of Valerius Flaccus, which (as we have already mentioned) permitted those who owed money to demand a receipt in full from their creditors when they had paid one-fourth of what they had borrowed. It may be guessed what was the effect of this law on the money-lending Equites, who had hitherto been staunch supporters of the Democratic cause.

Cinna and his friends, in short, had staked their success on their power to satisfy all Italy, and to provide a purer and a more efficient government than that of the old senatorial oligarchy. In this they had notoriously failed. So far from being a return to the Golden Age, the three

CINNA ARMS AGAINST SULLA

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years' domination of the Democratic party had been a time of massacre, bankruptcy, and discontent. The chiefs of the dominant faction had proved windbags, and dishonest windbags too. Of all the men who emerged as leaders in these troublous years, none showed the least sign of genius save the praetor Q. Sertorius; the rest were noisy rather than energetic, and bloodthirsty rather than resolute. Indeed, the only men who fought with zeal against Sulla were those who had compromised themselves in the massacre, and knew that they were beyond the hope of pardon.

Sulla's great advantage, then, was that he and his followers meant business, while the majority of those arrayed against him were lukewarm. But still the odds seemed so desperate, in point of mere numbers, that it was thought that his little army would be overwhelmed. Cinna had 100,000 men enrolled in B.C. 84, and in the next year it is said that his successors hurried double that number into the field. But few were eager for the fray. It seemed that they were to be sacrificed to save the necks of their leaders, not to defend Italy, for Sulla kept asserting that he came as a friend to every one but the fanatics who had murdered his friends, razed his house to the ground, and declared him a public enemy. Noting the slackness of the people and the army, the majority in the Senate, who felt themselves less compromised than their leaders, voted that an embassy should be sent to Sulla, to see if he could not be reconciled and brought home without a war. But when, amid many protestations of his moderation and good intentions, the proconsul answered that he must bring his army at his back to give him security, and that the guilty must be punished, it was evident that there was no way of avoiding the struggle.

Cinna meanwhile had been seized with the idea that the

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