What is commonly called the kingdom of Pontos flourished for over two hundred years in the coastal regions of the Black Sea. At its peak in the early first century BC, it included much of the southern, eastern, and northern littoral, becoming one of the most important Hellenistic dynasties not founded by a successor of Alexander the Great. It also posed one of the greatest challenges to Roman imperial expansion in the east. Not until 63 BC, after many violent clashes, was Rome able to subjugate the kingdom and its last charismatic ruler Mithridates VI.
This book provides the first general history, in English, of this important kingdom from its mythic origins in Greek literature (e.g., Jason and the Golden Fleece) to its entanglements with the late Roman Republic. Duane Roller presents its rulers and their complex relationships with the powers of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East, most notably Rome. In addition, he includes detailed discussions of Pontos' cultural achievements—a rich blend of Greek and Persian influences — as well as its political and military successes, especially under Mithridates VI, who proved to be as formidable a foe to Rome as Hannibal. Previous histories of Pontos have focused almost exclusively on the career of its last ruler. Setting that famous reign in its wide historical context, Empire of the Black Sea is an engaging and definitive account of a powerful yet little-known ancient dynasty.
Duane W. Roller is Professor Emeritus of Classics at The Ohio State University and the author of numerous books, including Cleopatra: A Biography, Cleopatra's Daughter: And Other Royal Women of the Augustan Era, and Ancient Geography.
Part 1: Pontos to 120 BC
2: The Founder
3: The Kingdom Becomes an Independent State
4: The Arrival of the Romans
5: The Collapse of Pergamon
Part 2: The Last Generation of the Kingdom
6: The Rise of Mithridates VI
7: The Early Expansion of the Kingdom of Mithridates VI
8: The Gathering Storm
9: The Eruption of Hostilities
10: The Aftermath of the First War
11. Lucullus and Mithridates VI
12. The Royal Court
13: The End of the Mithridatic Kingdom
List of Passages Cited