Mithridates, Or Mithradates, a king of Pon-tus, the sixth of the name, surnamed Eupator and the Great, born about 132 B. C, died in 63. He ascended the throne in 120. He subdued the barbarians between the Euxine and the Caspian, extended his conquests among the tribes beyond the Caucasus, rendered the Tau-ric Chersonese tributary, and on the death of Parisades, king of Bosporus, annexed that country to his dominions. lie next expelled the kings of Cappadocia and Bithynia, dependent allies of Rome, from their dominions, but the Romans promptly restored them. IS'i-comedes the Bithynian was not content with recovering his kingdom, but invaded the dominions of Mithridates, who, failing to obtain redress from Rome, immediately commenced hostilities against her generals and allies. In 88 he again expelled the Cappadocian and Bithynian sovereigns, defeated the Roman armies that attempted to support them, made himself master of Phrygia and Galatia, overran the whole Roman province of Asia, and ordered its Roman citizens to be massacred to the number, it is said, of 80,000. When these things were known at Rome, Sulla was appointed to command the armies sent against Mithridates, who transferred the seat of war to Greece, where his general Archelaus suffered two great defeats at Chseronea and Or-chomenus in 80, while the king was himself defeated in Asia by Fimbria, and was compelled to abandon his conquests there, to pay an indemnity of 2,000 talents, and to surrender all his ships to the Romans (84). The events of what is called the second Mithridatic war are not of much interest; the death of Nico-medes III., king of Bithynia, in 74, was the signal for the outbreak of the third.
That monarch had bequeathed his dominions to the Roman people, and Bithynia was pronounced by the senate a Roman province. Mithridates attempted to place a pretended son of the deceased king on the throne. Entering Bithynia at the head of an army of over 120,000 foot and 16,000 horse, he vanquished the consul Cotta at Chalcedon, and then proceeded to lay-siege to Cyzicus; but he was compelled by Lucullus to retreat with great loss into Pon-tus. After completely defeating another vast army, Lucullus drove Mithridates from his kingdom. A mutiny of the Roman legions, however, enabled him to recover Pontus. In 60 Lucullus was superseded by Pompey, and the war was resumed. Mithridates was surprised and totally defeated, and with a handful of troops retreated north to Panticapamm (now Kertch, in the Crimea), the capital of Bosporus. Here he was safe from the Romans; but while he was planning schemes of aggression against Rome, his son Pharnaces rebelled, and was proclaimed king by the soldiers and citizens. Mithridates, on learning this, took refuge in a strong tower, where he sought to end his life by poison; but this proving ineffectual, he ordered one of his Gallic mercenaries to despatck him with his sword.
It is said that to avoid being poisoned, which he was apprehensive of, he had accustomed himself to the use of antidotes to such a degree that the most baneful drugs had little effect on him. His son sent his body to Amisus as a peace offering to Pompey; but the Roman general caused it to be interred with regal honors in the sepulchre of the Pontic kings at Sinope. Mithri-dates had a powerful memory, was well acquainted with Greek literature, and understood more than 20 languages which were spoken in his dominions.