But Lucullus was much the greater in war. He was the first Roman to cross the Taurus with an army; he passed the Tigris and captured and burned the royal cities of Asia,—Tigranocerta Cabira, Sinop—, and Nisibis, before the eyes of their kings;
he made his own the regions to the north as far as the Phasis, to the east as far as Media, and to the south as far as the Red Sea, through the assistance of the Arabian kings; he annihilated the forces of the hostile kings, and failed only in the capture of their persons, since like wild beasts they fled away into deserts and trackless and impenetrable forests.
Strong proof of his superiority is seen in this, that the Persians, since they had suffered no great harm at the hands of Cimon, straightway arrayed themselves against the Greeks, and overwhelmed and destroyed that large force of theirs in Egypt;1
whereas, after Lucullus, Tigranes and Mithridates availed nothing: the latter, already weak and disabled by his first struggles, did not once dare to show Pompey his forces outside their camp, but fled away to the Bosporus, and there put an end to his life;
as for Tigranes, he hastened to throw himself, while unrobed and unarmed, at the feet of Pompey, and taking the diadem from off his head, laid it there upon the ground, flattering Pompey thus not with his own exploits, but with those for which Lucullus had celebrated a triumph. At any rate, he was as much delighted to get back the insignia of his royalty as though he had been robbed of them before. Greater therefore is the general, as is the athlete, who hands over his antagonist to his successor in a weaker plight.
Moreover, and still further, Cimon made his onsets when the power of the king had been broken, and the pride of the Persians humbled by great defeats and incessant routs at the hands of Themistocles, Pausanias, and Leotychides, and easily conquered the bodies of men whose spirits had been defeated beforehand and lay prone. But when Tigranes encountered Lucullus, he had known no defeat in many battles, and was in exultant mood.
In point of numbers also, those who were overpowered by Cimon are not worthy of comparison with those who united against Lucullus. Therefore, one who takes everything into consideration finds it hard to reach a decision. Heaven seems to have been kindly disposed to both, directing the one as to what he must perform, and the other as to what he must avoid. Both, therefore, may be said to have received the vote of the gods as noble and god-like natures.