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Second Mithridatic War
Part of the Mithridatic Wars
Date83–81 BC
LocationAsia Minor
Result Pontic victory
(Mithridates left in possession of Pontus)
Roman Republic Mithridates VI of Pontus
Commanders and leaders
Lucius Licinius Murena Mithridates VI of Pontus

The Second Mithridatic War (83–81 BC) was one of three wars fought between Pontus and the Roman Republic. The second Mithridatic war was fought between King Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman general Lucius Licinius Murena.

At the conclusion of the First Mithridatic War, Sulla had come to a hasty agreement with Mithridates that allowed the latter to remain in control of his Kingdom of Pontus, but relinquishing his claim to Asia Minor and respecting pre-war borders. Murena, as Sulla's legate, was stationed in Asia as commander of the two legions formerly under the command of Gaius Flavius Fimbria.

Murena invaded Pontus on his own authority claiming that Mithridates was re-arming and posed a direct threat to Roman Asia Minor. After several inconclusive skirmishes, Mithridates inflicted a minor defeat on Murena and forced his withdrawal from Pontus. Peace was restored on the orders of Sulla.

This was followed by the Third Mithridatic War.


Ancient sources

  • FHG = Karl Müller (ed.) Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum
  • FGrH = Felix Jacoby (ed. & critical commentary), Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker (commenced 1923)
  • Granius Licinianus fragmenta

post-Hadrian annalist survives in retrieved fragments, from books XXVI, XXVIII, XXXIII, XXXV and XXXVI of his history, in 5th century uncials of African origin at the bottom of a ter scriptus manuscript palimpsest: see L. D. Reynolds (ed.) Texts and Transmission: A Survey of the Latin Classics (Oxford, 1983).
- ed. Michael Flemisch Grani Liciniani quae supersunt (G.B. Teubner, Stuttgart, 1904; reprint 1967)
- ed. N. Crinti (Leipzig, 1981)

  • Memnon of Herakleia Pontike epitome

9th century epitome in the ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΗΚΗ of Photius of Byzantium (codex 224)
- ed. René Henry Photius Bibliothèque Tome IV: Codices 223-229 (Association Guillaume Budé, Paris, 1965), pp. 48–99: Greek text with French translation
- ed. K. Müller FHG III, 525: Greek text with Latin translation
- ed. F. Jacoby FGrH no.434: Greek text, detailed commentary in German

  • Phlegon of Tralles fragmenta

- ed. K. Müller FHG III, 602ff.
- ed. F. Jacoby FGrH no.257
- English translations and commentary by William Hansen, Phlegon of Tralles' Book of Marvels (University of Exeter Press, 1996)

Modern works

RE = Real-Encyclopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, eds. Pauly, Wissowa, Kroll

Major studies.

  • Gelzer, Matthias: "L. Licinius Lucullus cos.74", RE vol.XIII (1926), s. v. Licinius no.104, colls.376-414.
  • Van Ooteghem, J: Lucius Licinius Lucullus, (Brussels, 1959)
  • Keaveney, Arthur: Lucullus. A Life. (London/New York: Routledge, 1992). ISBN 0-415-03219-9.

Shorter articles & summaries.

  • Scardigli, B: "Sertorio: Problemi cronologici", Athenaeum 49 (1971), 229-270
  • Glew, Dennis G: "Between the Wars: Mithridates Eupator and Rome, 85-73 B.C.", Chiron 11 (1981), 109-130

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