The Gracchi Marius and Sulla eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 234 pages of information about The Gracchi Marius and Sulla.

[Sidenote:  Dorylaus reinforces Archelaus.] Mithridates, when he heard of the defeat of Archelaus, sent Dorylaus with 8,000 men to Euboea, where he joined the remnant of the army of Archelaus, and crossing to the mainland met Sulla at Orchomenus.  Sulla was in Phthiotis, to confront L. Valerius Flaccus who had come to supersede him, but he returned as soon as he heard that Dorylaus had landed.  Orchomenus is just north of the Cephissus where it runs into Lake Copais, and a stream called Melas, rising on the east of Orchomenus, joined the Cephissus near its mouth, the neighbouring ground being a marsh. [Sidenote:  Battle of Orchomenus.  Disposition of Archelaus’ army.] Archelaus did not want to fight, but Dorylaus hinted at treachery and had, no doubt, been ordered by Mithridates to avenge Chaeroneia.  Near Mount Tilphossium, however, to the south of Lake Copais, he was worsted by Sulla in a skirmish, and thinking better of the advice of Archelaus tried to prolong the war.  Archelaus, indeed, seems to have commanded in the battle, for Mithridates was shrewd enough to know when he had a good general.  He drew up his army in four lines, the scythed chariots in front, behind them the Macedonian phalanx, then his auxiliaries, including Italian deserters, and, lastly, his light-armed troops.  On each flank he posted his cavalry. [Sidenote:  Sulla’s arrangements.] Sulla, who was weak in cavalry, dug two ditches guarded by forts, one on each flank, so as to keep off the enemy’s horse.  Then he drew up his infantry in three lines, leaving gaps in them for the light troops and cavalry to come through from the rear when needed.  To the second line stakes were given, with orders to plant them so as to form a palisade; and the first line, when the chariots charged, retired behind the palisade, while the light troops advanced through the gaps and hurled missiles at the horses and drivers.  The chariots turned and threw the phalanx into confusion, and when Archelaus ordered up his cavalry, Sulla sent round his to take them in the rear.  At one time, however, the contest was doubtful, and the Romans wavered, till they were put to shame by their general, who, seizing a standard and advancing towards the foe, cried out, ’When those at home ask where it was you abandoned your leader, say, it was at Orchomenus.’  This great victory, in which Sulla showed generalship of a high order, ended the first Mithridatic war.  The date is not quite certain.  Probably it happened in 86.

[Sidenote:  Sulla winters in Thessaly.] After the battle Sulla wintered in Thessaly, where he built a fleet, being tired of waiting for Lucullus. [Sidenote:  He confers with Archelaus at Delium.] At Delium he met Archelaus and each urged the other to turn traitor, Archelaus promising that Mithridates would aid Sulla against Cinna; Sulla advising Archelaus to dethrone Mithridates.  It was a curious way of showing the respect which they entertained for each other’s ability; but Sulla was too scornful of Asiatic aid,

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The Gracchi Marius and Sulla from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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