Empire of the Black Sea: The Rise and Fall of the Mithridatic World

October 30, 2020
Empire of the Black Sea: The Rise and Fall of the Mithridatic World

What is commonly called the kingdom of Pontos flourished forover two hundred years in the coastal regions of the Black Sea. Atits peak in the early first century BC, it included much of thesouthern, eastern, and northern littoral, becoming one of the mostimportant Hellenistic dynasties not founded by a successor ofAlexander the Great. It also posed one of the greatest challengesto Roman imperial expansion in the east. Not until 63 BC, aftermany violent clashes, was Rome able to subjugate the kingdom andits last charismatic ruler Mithridates VI. This book provides ageneral history of this important kingdom from its mythic originsin Greek literature (e.g., Jason and the Golden Fleece) to itsentanglements with the late republic of Rome. Roller discusses itsrulers as well as the Romans and others who interacted with themand opposed them. He addresses social and cultural issues,including the attitude of the traditional Greek states and othereastern kingdoms, economic issues such as depopulation and landexhaustion, and—especially in the latter years of the dynasty—thechanging and indeed endless internal problems in Rome itself thatwould come to drive or even overpower events in the field. Previoushistories of this era are varied in their focus and quality.Needless to say, much of the interest has been directed to thefinal and most famous member of the dynasty, Mithridates VI (120-63BC); this book explores the entire kingdom and its rich history.Empire of the Black Sea is an engaging and accessiblehistory of a forgotten reign.