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His first campaign was served in Asia, on the staff of the praetor, M. Thermus; and being dispatched into Bithynia, 1 to bring thence a fleet, he loitered so long at the court of Nicomedes, as to give occasion to reports of lewd proceedings between him and that prince; which received additional credit from his hasty return to Bithynia, under the pretext of recovering a debt due to a freedman, his client. The rest of his service was more favourable to his reputation; and when Mitylene 2 was taken by storm, he was presented by Thermus with the civic crown. 3
1 Bithynia, in Asia Minor, was bounded on the south by Phrygia; on the west by the Bosphorus and Propontis; and on the north by the Euxine sea. Its boundaries towards the east are not clearly ascertained, Strabo, Pliny, and Ptolemy differing from each other on the subject.
2 Mitylene was a city in the island of Lesbos, famous for the study of philosophy and eloquence. According to Pliny, it remained a free city and in power one thousand five hundred years. It suffered much in the Peloponnesian war from the Athenians, and in the Mithridatic from the Romans, by whom it was taken and destroyed. But it soon rose again, having recovered its ancient liberty by the favour of Pompey; and was afterwards much embellished by Trajan, who added to it the splendour of his own name. This was the country of Pittacus, one of the seven wise men of Greece, as well as of Alcaeus and Sappho. The natives showed a particular taste for poetry, and had, as Plutarch informs us, stated times for the celebration of poetical contests.
3 The civic crown was made of oak-leaves, and given to him who had saved the life of a citizen. The person thus decorated wore it at public spectacles, and sat next the senators. When he entered, the audience rose up, as a mark of respect.
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