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15.

But if you diligently consider what the power of Mithridates was, and what his exploits were, and what sort or a man he was himself; you will in truth prefer this king to all the kings with whom the Roman people has ever waged war;—a man whom Lucius Sulla,—not a very inexperienced general, to say the least of it—at the head of a numerous and powerful army, after a severe battle, allowed to depart having made peace with him, though he had overrun all Asia with war: whom Lucius Murena, my client's father, after having warred against him with the greatest vigour and vigilance, left greatly checked indeed, but not overwhelmed: a king, who, having taken several years to perfect his system and to strengthen his warlike resources, became so powerful and enterprising that he thought himself able to unite the Atlantic to the Black Sea, and to combine the forces of Sertorius with his own. [33] And when two consuls had been sent to that war, with the view of one pursuing Mithridates, and the other protecting Bithynia, the disasters which befell one of them by land and sea greatly increased the power and reputation of the king. But the exploits of Lucius Lucullus were such that it is impossible to mention any war which was more important, or in which greater abilities and valour were displayed. For when the violence of the entire war had broken against the walls of Cyzicus, and as Mithridates thought that he should find that city the door of Asia, and that if that were once broken down and forced, the whole province would be open to him, everything was so managed by Lucullus that the city of our most faithful allies was defended, and all the forces of the king were wasted away by the length of the siege, what more need I say? Do you think that that naval battle at Tenedos, when the enemy's fleet were hastening on with rapid course and under most eager admirals towards Italy, full of hope and courage, was a trifling engagement—an insignificant contest? I will say nothing of battles; I pass over the sieges of towns. Being at length expelled from his kingdom, still his wisdom and his influence were so great that combining his forces with those of the king of Armenia, he reappeared with new armies and new resources of every kind.


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