Ancient Greek History

Learn About Mithridates VI of Pontus on Ancient Greece

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Mithridates VI from Pontus in Ancient Greece is one of those historical figures of Ancient Greece that isn’t talked about as much assume of the others. However, he did have an important part of history and is worth learning about. Before Pontus became part of Ancient Greece, it was actually a part of Persia. However, Mithridates VI was actually of Greek origin. Here’s more information about him:

About Mithridates of Pontus

Mithridates was born 135 BC in Sinope in the Kingdom of Pontus. He was of royal Persian and Greek ancestry. Being the first son of Laodice VI and Mithridates V of Pontus his natural leadership skills began early in childhood.
After the assassination of his father, Mithridates V, his mother rose to power and plotted against him. Thus, Mithridates went into hiding and grew to manhood in enviable physical strength and stature.

During Mithridates’ exile, Laodice and his brother controlled the throne of Pontus. Mithradates removed and imprisoned them. At this point in his life, he became sole ruler of Pontus.  To preserve the purity of his bloodline, he married his younger sister Laodice, age 16. Mithridartes also believed this marriage ensured a royal lineage of children to the throne.

Mithridates, Military Strategist

As with many rulers of ancient times, Mithridates became ambitious about raising the level of Pontus to a more dominant status. His keen sense of the power of the Roman Empire activated his attention on Anatolia where Roman power was increasing.

Much of the reign of Mithridates is highlighted by events that occurred between the kings of other empires seeking to expand their empirical regions, such as the Scythian King Palacus and King Nicomedes III of Bithynia. Although, Mitridates and Nioomedes consorted to partition Galatia and Paphlagonia to mutual advantage.

Evenutally Mithridates realized Nicomedes III was directing Bithynia negatively against Pontus. The two clashed over supremacy of Cappadocia and this led to the Mithridactic Wars.

Mithridactic Wars

When the next ruler of Bithynia, Nicomedes IV, aligned with the Roman Empire, Mithridates plotted to overthrown the Bithynian king. Roman legions in Macedonia combined with the Bithynian army to invade the Kingdom of Pontus in 89 B.C.

Mithridatres response to this was to massacre Italian and Roman settlers in the Anatolian region. Mithridates’ massacre caused the deaths of 80,000 settlers. This event is recorded in history as the Asiatic Vespers. Through the demonstration of his extraordinary military prowess, Mithridates proved to be an ambitious warrior capable of expanding the Kingdom of Pontus.

The Roman Empire eventually annexed Bithynia. The First Mithridatic War was fought between 88 BC and 84 BC. Through a series of alliances with neighboring kingdoms, Mithridates sought to quell the powerful Roman invasions.

As a result of resentment from his friends, they plotted to assassinate Mithridates during the Mithridactic Wars. Pompey defeated Mithradates around 66 B.C. Reeling from his defeat, he poisoned himself, taking his wives and children with him to his and their deaths.

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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