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Lucullus Chapter 23: Siege of Sinope[70 BC]
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Lucullus, when he had reestablished law and a lasting peace in Asia, did not altogether forget pleasure and mirth, but, during his residence at Ephesus, gratified the cities with sports, festival triumphs, wrestling games and single combats of gladiators. And they, in requital, instituted others, called Lucullean games, in honor to him, thus manifesting their love to him, which was of more value to him than all the honor. But when Appius came to him, and told him he must prepare for war with Tigranes, he went again into Pontus, and, gathering together his army, besieged Sinope, or rather the Cilicians of the king's side who held it; who thereupon killed a number of the Sinopians, and set the city on fire, and by night endeavored to escape. Which when Lucullus perceived, he entered the city, and killed eight thousand of them who were still left behind; but restored to the inhabitants what was their own, and took special care for the welfare of the city. To which he was chiefly prompted by this vision. One seemed to come to him in his sleep, and say, "Go on a little further, Lucullus, for Autolycus is coming to see thee." When he arose, he could not imagine what the vision meant. The same day he took the city, and as he was pursuing the Cilicians, who were flying by sea, he saw a statue lying on the shore, which the Cilicians carried so far, but had not time to carry aboard. It was one of the masterpieces of Sthenis. And one told him, that it was the statue of Autolycus, the founder of the city. This Autolycus is reported to have been son to Deimachus, and one of those who, under Hercules, went on the expedition out of Thessaly against the Amazons; from whence in his return with Demoleon[Note 1] Phlogius, he lost his vessel on a point of the Chersonesus, called Pedalium. He himself, with his companions and their weapons, being saved, came to Sinope, and dispossessed the Syrians there. The Syrians held it, descended from Syrus, as is the story, the son of Apollo, and Sinope the daughter of Asopus. Which as soon as Lucullus heard, he remembered the admonition of Sulla, whose advice it is in his Memoirs, to treat nothing as so certain and so worthy of reliance as an intimation given in dreams. When it was now told him that Mithridates and Tigranes were just ready to transport their forces into Lycaonia and Cilicia, with the object of entering Asia before him, he wondered much why the Armenian, supposing him to entertain any real intention to fight with the Romans, did not assist Mithridates in his flourishing condition, and join forces when he was fit for service, instead of suffering him to be vanquished and broken in pieces, and now at last beginning the war, when his hopes were grown cold, and throwing himself down headlong with them, who were irrecoverably fallen already. |
Note 1: usually called Deileon.
Event: Siege of Sinope
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Triumph:The highest honour to a general: clad like Jupiter he drove in a chariot drawn by four white horses. Before him walked the prisoners taken in the war, and the spoils of the captured cities, and in later times pictures of the conquered territories were carried before the general's chariot. He was followed by his troops, who sung songs, often extempore effusions, in honour of their commander.