Lucullus

Lucullus

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Lucullus'
Start a new discussion about 'Lucullus'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
For his grandfather and namesake, see Lucius Licinius Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus
This article is on the Consul of 151 BC. For the descendent see Lucullus, and for others of this name see Licinia .Lucius Licinius Lucullus was a novus homo who became Consul in 151 BC. He was imprisoned by the Tribunes for attempting to enforce a troop levy too harshly...

.


Lucius Licinius Lucullus (c. 117 BC–57/56 BC), was an optimate politician of the late Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

, closely connected with Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

 Felix. In the culmination of over twenty years of almost continuous military and government service, he became the main conqueror of the eastern kingdoms in the course of the Third Mithridatic War
Third Mithridatic War
The Third Mithridatic War was the last and longest of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and his allies and the Roman Republic...

, exhibiting extraordinary generalship abilities in diverse situations, most famously during the siege of Cyzicus
Cyzicus
Cyzicus was an ancient town of Mysia in Anatolia in the current Balıkesir Province of Turkey. It was located on the shoreward side of the present Kapıdağ Peninsula , a tombolo which is said to have originally been an island in the Sea of Marmara only to be connected to the mainland in historic...

, 73-2 BC, and at the Battle of Tigranocerta
Battle of Tigranocerta
The Battle of Tigranocerta was fought on October 6, 69 BC between the forces of the Roman Republic and the army of the Kingdom of Armenia led by King Tigranes the Great. The Roman force was led by Consul Lucius Licinius Lucullus, and Tigranes was defeated...

 in Armenian Arzanene, 69 BC. His command style received unusually favourable attention from ancient military experts, and his campaigns appear to have been studied as exemplary of skillful generalship. His rival Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 half-jokingly called him "Xerxes
Xerxes
Xerxes is a male name. Most notably, it may refer to Xerxes I of Persia . It may also refer to:-People:*Xerxes II of Persia, reigned 424 BCE*Xerxes of Armenia, Armenian king, assassinated around 212 BCE...

 in a toga."

Lucullus returned to Rome from the east with so much captured booty that the whole could not be fully accounted, and poured enormous sums into private building, husbandry and even aquaculture
Aquaculture
Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the...

 projects which shocked and amazed his contemporaries by their magnitude. He also patronized the arts and sciences lavishly, transforming his hereditary estate in the highlands of Tusculum
Tusculum
Tusculum is a ruined Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy.-Location:Tusculum is one of the largest Roman cities in Alban Hills. The ruins of Tusculum are located on Tuscolo hill—more specifically on the northern edge of the outer crater ring of the Alban volcano...

 into a hotel-and-library complex for scholars and philosophers. He built the horti Lucullani on the Pincian Hill
Pincian Hill
The Pincian Hill is a hill in the northeast quadrant of the historical center of Rome. The hill lies to the north of the Quirinal, overlooking the Campus Martius...

 in Rome, the famous gardens of Lucullus
Gardens of Lucullus
The Gardens of Lucullus were the setting for an ancient patrician villa on the Pincian Hill on the edge of Rome; they were laid out by Lucius Licinius Lucullus about 60 BCE...

, and in general became a cultural revolutionary in the deployment of imperial wealth. He died during the winter of 57-56 BC. and was buried at the family estate near Tusculum.

The sources


Lucullus was one of the great men of Roman history, included in the biographical collections of leading generals and politicians, originating in the biographical compendium of famous Romans published by his contemporary Marcus Terentius Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro
Marcus Terentius Varro was an ancient Roman scholar and writer. He is sometimes called Varro Reatinus to distinguish him from his younger contemporary Varro Atacinus.-Biography:...

. Two biographies of Lucullus survive today, Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

's Lucullus in the famous series of Parallel Lives
Parallel Lives
Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, commonly called Parallel Lives or Plutarch's Lives, is a series of biographies of famous men, arranged in tandem to illuminate their common moral virtues or failings, written in the late 1st century...

, in which Lucullus is paired with the Athenian aristocratic politician and Strategos
Strategos
Strategos, plural strategoi, is used in Greek to mean "general". In the Hellenistic and Byzantine Empires the term was also used to describe a military governor...

Cimon, and # 74 in the slender Latin Liber de viris illustribus, of late and unknown authorship, the main sources for which appear to go back to Varro and his most significant successor in the genre, Gaius Julius Hyginus
Gaius Julius Hyginus
Gaius Julius Hyginus was a Latin author, a pupil of the famous Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor, and a freedman of Caesar Augustus. He was by Augustus elected superintendent of the Palatine library according to Suetonius' De Grammaticis, 20...

.

Family and early career


Lucullus was a member of the prominent gens Licinia, and of the family, or stirps of the Luculli, which may have been descended from the ancient nobility of Tusculum. He was grandson of Lucius Licinius Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus
This article is on the Consul of 151 BC. For the descendent see Lucullus, and for others of this name see Licinia .Lucius Licinius Lucullus was a novus homo who became Consul in 151 BC. He was imprisoned by the Tribunes for attempting to enforce a troop levy too harshly...

 (Consul
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

 c.151), and son of Lucius Lucullus (Praetor
Praetor
Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army, usually in the field, or the named commander before mustering the army; and an elected magistratus assigned varied duties...

 c.104), who was convicted for embezzlement in 102/1 from his Sicilian command of 103-2.

The family of his mother Caecilia Metella
Caecilia Metella Calva
Caecilia Metella Calva was daughter of Lucius Caecilius Metellus Calvus, Consul in 142 BC, and sister of Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus and Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus.She was married to Lucius Licinius Lucullus, Praetor in 104 BC...

 (born c.137 BC) was one of the most powerful of the plebeian
Plebs
The plebs was the general body of free land-owning Roman citizens in Ancient Rome. They were distinct from the higher order of the patricians. A member of the plebs was known as a plebeian...

 nobilitas, and was at the height of its success and influence in the last quarter of the 2nd century BC when Lucullus was born. She was the youngest child of Lucius Caecilius Metellus Calvus
Lucius Caecilius Metellus Calvus
Lucius Caecilius Metellus Calvus was a Roman statesman. He was a son of Quintus Caecilius Metellus and brother of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus...

 (Consul 142 and Censor 115-14), and half-sister of two of the most important members of the Optimates
Optimates
The optimates were the traditionalist majority of the late Roman Republic. They wished to limit the power of the popular assemblies and the Tribunes of the Plebs, and to extend the power of the Senate, which was viewed as more dedicated to the interests of the aristocrats who held the reins of power...

 of the their time, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus was the leader of the conservative faction of the Roman Senate and a bitter enemy of Gaius Marius....

 (Cons. 109, Censor 102), and Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus
Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus
Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus was a son of Lucius Caecilius Metellus Calvus. He was a Consul in 119 BC, a Censor in 115 BC and then Pontifex Maximus. He had eliminated from the Senate 32 of its members and fought Saturninus, thus contributing to the return to Rome, in 99 BC, of his brother...

 (Cons. 119 and Pontifex Maximus
Pontifex Maximus
The Pontifex Maximus was the high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post...

), who was the father of Sulla's third wife Caecilia Metella
Caecilia Metella
Caecilia Metella was the name of all women in the Caecilius Metellus family, since feminine names were taken from the father's gens and cognomen declined in the female form.The name may refer to the following people:* Caecilia Metella Dalmatica...

.

His first known military service was as tribune of soldiers serving in Sulla's army in Campania
Campania
Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km² makes it the most densely populated region in the country...

 during the bellum Italicum (90-89 BC), when he is said to have distinguished himself for daring and intelligence.

The longest Quaestura, 88-80 B.C.


Lucullus was elected Quaestor
Quaestor
A Quaestor was a type of public official in the "Cursus honorum" system who supervised financial affairs. In the Roman Republic a quaestor was an elected official whereas, with the autocratic government of the Roman Empire, quaestors were simply appointed....

 in winter 89-88 at the same elections in which Sulla was returned as Consul with his friend Quintus Pompeius Rufus
Quintus Pompeius
Quintus Pompeius was the name of various Romans from the gens Pompeius, who were of plebeian status. They lived during the Roman Republic and Roman Empire.-Consul of 141 BC:...

, whose son was married to Sulla's eldest daughter, Cornelia
Cornelia Sulla
Cornelia was one of the few Roman women mentioned in Roman Republican sources. She was the eldest daughter of Dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla and his first wife, an Ilia or Julia....

.
Lucullus was probably the Quaestor mentioned as the sole officer in Sulla's army who could stomach accompanying the Consul when he marched on Rome.

In autumn of the same year Sulla sent Lucullus ahead of him to Greece to take over the command of the Mithridatic War in his name.

The naval venture, 86-85


As the Roman siege of Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 was drawing towards a successful conclusion, Sulla's strategic attention began to focus more widely on subsequent operations against the main Pontic forces, and combating Mithradates' control of the sea lanes. He sent Lucullus to collect such a fleet as may be possible from Rome's allies along the eastern Mediterranean seaboard, first to the important but currently disturbed states of Cyrene and Ptolemaic
Ptolemaic dynasty
The Ptolemaic dynasty, was a Macedonian Greek royal family which ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC...

 Egypt.
Lucullus set out from the Piraeus
Piraeus
Piraeus is a city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens Urban Area, 12 km southwest from its city center , and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf....

 in mid winter 87-6 BC with three Greek yachts (myoparones) and three light Rhodian biremes, hoping to evade the prevailing sea power of the Pontic fleets and their piratic allies by speed and taking advantage of the worst sailing conditions. He initially made Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, and is said to have won over the cities to the Roman side. From there he crossed to Cyrene
Cyrene, Libya
Cyrene was an ancient Greek colony and then a Roman city in present-day Shahhat, Libya, the oldest and most important of the five Greek cities in the region. It gave eastern Libya the classical name Cyrenaica that it has retained to modern times.Cyrene lies in a lush valley in the Jebel Akhdar...

 where the famous Hellenic colony in Africa was in dire condition following a vicious and exhausting civil war of nearly seven years' duration. Lucullus' arrival seems to have put a belated end to this terrible conflict, as the first official Roman presence there since the departure of the proconsul Caius Claudius Pulcher, who presided over its initial administrative incorporation into the Roman empire in 94 BC.

After Lucullus had defeated the Mithridatic admiral Neoptolemus
Neoptolemus (Pontic general)
Neoptolemus was a distinguished general of King Mithridates VI of Pontus. He was the brother of Archelaus another general of Mithridates VI and the paternal uncle of Archelaus’ sons: Archelaus and Diogenes....

 in the Battle of Tenedos
Battle of Tenedos
The Battle of Tenedos was fought in 86 BC between the fleets of Rome and Pontus. The Romans were led by Lucius Licinius Lucullus, and they were victorious....

, he helped Sulla cross the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 to Asia. After a peace had been agreed, Lucullus stayed in Asia and collected the financial penalty Sulla imposed upon the province for its revolt. Lucullus, however, tried to lessen the burden that these impositions created.

Return to Rome and the west, 80-74 B.C.


Lucullus returned in 80 BC and was elected curule aedile for 79, along with his brother Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus
Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus
Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus , younger brother of the more famous Lucius Licinius Lucullus, was a supporter of Lucius Cornelius Sulla and consul of ancient Rome in 73 BC. As proconsul of Macedonia in 72 BC, he defeated the Bessi in Thrace and advanced to the Danube and the west coast of the...

, and gave splendid games.

The most obscure part of Lucullus' public career is the year he spent as Praetor
Praetor
Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army, usually in the field, or the named commander before mustering the army; and an elected magistratus assigned varied duties...

 in Rome, followed by his command of Roman Africa
North Africa during the Classical Period
The history of North Africa during the period of Classical Antiquity can be divided roughly into the History of Egypt in the east and the history of Ancient Libya in the west. The Roman Republic established the province of Africa in 146 BC after the defeat of Carthage...

, which probably lasted the usual two-year span for this province in the post-Sullan period. Plutarch's biography entirely ignores this period, 78 BC
78 BC
Year 78 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lepidus and Catulus...

 to 75 BC
75 BC
Year 75 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Octavius and Cotta...

, jumping from Sulla's death to Lucullus' consulate. However Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 briefly mentions his praetorship followed by the African command, while the surviving Latin biography, far briefer but more even as biography than Plutarch, comments that he "ruled Africa with the highest degree of justice". This command is significant in showing Lucullus performing the regular, less glamorous, administrative duties of a public career in the customary sequence and, given his renown as a Philhellene, for the regard he showed for subject peoples who were not Greek.

In these respects his early career demonstrates a generous and just nature, but also his political traditionalism in contrast to contemporaries such as Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 and Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

, the former of whom was always eager to avoid administrative responsibilities of any sort in the provinces, while Pompey rejected every aspect of a normal career, seeking great military commands at every opportunity which suited him, while refusing to undertake normal duties in peaceful provinces.



Two other notable transactions took place in 76 or 75 BC following Lucullus' return from Africa, his marriage to Claudia the youngest daughter of Appius Claudius Pulcher
Appius Claudius Pulcher (praetor 88 BC)
Appius Claudius Pulcher was a Roman politician of the 1st century BC.His father is uncertain — Gaius Claudius Pulcher or most likely Appius, Consul in 143 BC. The son was a supporter of Lucius Cornelius Sulla and served as praetor in 88 BC. He was exiled in that year by Gaius Marius while Sulla...

, and his purchase of the Marian hill top villa at Cape Misenum from Sulla's wretchedly avaricious eldest daughter Cornelia.

Consulship


Sulla dedicated his memoirs to Lucullus, and upon his death made him guardian of his son Faustus
Faustus (I) Cornelius Sulla
Faustus Cornelius Sulla was a Roman senator. Faustus was the only surviving son of the Dictator of Rome Lucius Cornelius Sulla and his third wife Caecilia Metella, and thus a member of one of the most ancient patrician families, the Cornelii...

, preferring Lucullus over Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

. Shortly after this, in 74, he became consul (along with Marcus Aurelius Cotta
Marcus Aurelius Cotta (consul 74 BC)
Marcus Aurelius Cotta was a Roman politician and general who was consul in 74 BC and was one of the early Roman commanders who fought in the Third Mithridatic War.-Biography:...

, Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

's uncle), and defended Sulla's constitution from the efforts of Lucius Quinctius.

Initially, he drew Cisalpine Gaul
Cisalpine Gaul
Cisalpine Gaul, in Latin: Gallia Cisalpina or Citerior, also called Gallia Togata, was a Roman province until 41 BC when it was merged into Roman Italy.It bore the name Gallia, because the great body of its inhabitants, after the expulsion of the Etruscans, consisted of Gauls or Celts...

 in the lots at the start of his consulship as his proconsul
Proconsul
A proconsul was a governor of a province in the Roman Republic appointed for one year by the senate. In modern usage, the title has been used for a person from one country ruling another country or bluntly interfering in another country's internal affairs.-Ancient Rome:In the Roman Republic, a...

ar command after his year as consul was done, but he got himself appointed governor of Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

 after its governor died, so as to also receive the command against Mithridates VI
Mithridates VI of Pontus
Mithridates VI or Mithradates VI Mithradates , from Old Persian Mithradatha, "gift of Mithra"; 134 BC – 63 BC, also known as Mithradates the Great and Eupator Dionysius, was king of Pontus and Armenia Minor in northern Anatolia from about 120 BC to 63 BC...

 in the Third Mithridatic War
Third Mithridatic War
The Third Mithridatic War was the last and longest of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and his allies and the Roman Republic...

.

The Eastern Wars, 73-67 B.C.


On arrival, Lucullus set out from his province to relieve the besieged Cotta in Bithynia
Bithynia
Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine .-Description:...

. He harried the army of Mithridates and killed many of his soldiers. He then turned to the sea and raised a fleet amongst the Greek cities of Asia. With this fleet he defeated the enemy's fleet off Ilium
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

 and then off Lemnos
Lemnos
Lemnos is an island of Greece in the northern part of the Aegean Sea. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Lemnos peripheral unit, which is part of the North Aegean Periphery. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Myrina...

. Turning back to the land, he drove Mithridates back into Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

. He was wary of drawing into a direct engagement with Mithridates, due to the latter's superior cavalry. But after several small battles, Lucullus finally defeated him at the Battle of Cabira
Battle of Cabira
The Battle of Cabira was fought in 72 or 71 BC between the forces of the Roman Republic under Consul Lucius Licinius Lucullus and those of the Kingdom of Pontus under Mithridates the Great. It was a decisive Roman victory.-Background:...

. He did not pursue Mithridates immediately, but instead he finished conquering the kingdom of Pontus and setting the affairs of Asia into order. His attempts to reform the rapacious Roman administration in Asia made him increasingly unpopular among the powerful publicani back in Rome.

Mithridates had fled to Armenia and in 70 BC Lucullus sent an envoy to demand he be handed over. So abrupt was the demand to the Armenian ruler Tigranes II
Tigranes the Great
Tigranes the Great was emperor of Armenia under whom the country became, for a short time, the strongest state east of the Roman Republic. He was a member of the Artaxiad Royal House...

 that is possible to wonder whether Lucullus was deliberately provoking war. Keaveney thinks this unlikely and merely demonstrates how Lucullus, a philhellene, had no empathy towards the sensibilities of non-Greeks. In 69 BC
69 BC
Year 69 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Hortalus and Metellus...

 he then led a campaign into Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 against Tigranes. He began a siege of the new Armenian imperial capital of Tigranocerta in the Arzenene district. Tigranes returned from mopping up a Seleucid
Seleucid dynasty
The Seleucid dynasty or the Seleucidae was a Greek Macedonian royal family, founded by Seleucus I Nicator , which ruled the Seleucid Kingdom centered in the Near East and regions of the Asian part of the earlier Achaemenid Persian Empire during the Hellenistic period.-History:Seleucus was an...

 rebellion in Syria with an experienced army which Lucullus nonetheless annihilated at the battle of Tigranocerta
Battle of Tigranocerta
The Battle of Tigranocerta was fought on October 6, 69 BC between the forces of the Roman Republic and the army of the Kingdom of Armenia led by King Tigranes the Great. The Roman force was led by Consul Lucius Licinius Lucullus, and Tigranes was defeated...

. This battle was fought on the same (pre-Julian) calendar date as the Roman disaster at Arausio 36 years earlier, the day before the Nones of October according to the reckoning of the time (or October 6), which is Julian October 16, 69 BC. Tigranes retired to the northern regions of his kingdom to gather another army and defend his hereditary capital of Artaxata, while Lucullus moved off south-eastwards to the kingdom of the Kurds (Korduene) on the frontiers of the Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

n and Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

n empires. During the winter of 69-68 BC both sides opened negotiations with the Parthian king, Arsakes XVI, who was presently defending himself against a major onslaught from his rival Frahates III coming from Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

 and the far east.

In the summer of 68 BC
68 BC
Year 68 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Metellus/Vatia and Rex...

 Lucullus marched against Tigranes and crossed the Ante-Taurus range heading for the old Armenian capital Artaxata. Once again Tigranes was provoked to attack and in a major battle at the Arsanias River, Lucullus once again routed the Armenian army. But he had left this campaign too late in the year and when the wintry season came on early in the Armenian Tablelands, frustrated by the rough terrain of Northern Armenia and seeing the worsening morale of his troops, Lucullus moved back south. In the late autumn and early winter the Romans captured the city of Nisibis, the main Armenian fortress city in Northern Mesopotamia, which was held by a brother of Tigranes.

During the winter of 68-67 BC at Nisibis, his authority over his army was more seriously undermined by the efforts of his young brother-in-law Publius Clodius Pulcher
Publius Clodius Pulcher
Publius Clodius Pulcher was a Roman politician known for his popularist tactics...

, apparently acting in the interests and pay of Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

, who was eager to succeed Lucullus in the eastern command. The long campaigning and hardships that Lucullus' troops had endured for years, combined with a perceived lack of reward in the form of plunder, became gradually insubordinate. Encouraged by Clodius Pulcher, this led to successive outbreaks of mutiny amongst the legions in 68-67 BC. Despite his continuous success in battle, Lucullus had still not captured either one of the monarchs. In 66 BC with the majority of Lucullus' troops now openly refusing to obey his commands, but agreeing to defend Roman positions from attack, the senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 sent Pompey to take over Lucullus' command at which point Lucullus returned to Rome.

Final years, 66-57 BC



The opposition to him continued on his return. In his absence Pompey had shamefully usurped control over Sulla's children, contrary to the father's testament, and now in Pompeius' absence the latter's intimate and hereditary political ally Gaius Memmius co-ordinated the opposition to Lucullus' just claim to a triumph
Roman triumph
The Roman triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the military achievement of an army commander who had won great military successes, or originally and traditionally, one who had successfully completed a foreign war. In Republican...

. Memmius delivered at least four speeches de triumpho Luculli Asiatico, and the antagonism towards Lucullus aroused by the Pompeians proved so effective that the enabling law (lex curiata
Lex curiata de imperio
In the constitution of ancient Rome, the lex curiata de imperio was the law confirming the rights of higher magistrates to hold power, or imperium...

) required to hold a triumph was delayed for three years. In this period Lucullus was forced to reside outside the pomerium, which curtailed his involvement in day to day politics centred on the Forum.
Instead of returning fully to political life (although, as a friend of Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

, he did act in some issues,) he mostly retired to extravagant leisure, or, in Plutarch's words,:
He used the vast treasure he amassed during his wars in the East to live a life of luxury. He had splendid gardens outside the city of Rome
Gardens of Lucullus
The Gardens of Lucullus were the setting for an ancient patrician villa on the Pincian Hill on the edge of Rome; they were laid out by Lucius Licinius Lucullus about 60 BCE...

, as well as villas around Tusculum
Tusculum
Tusculum is a ruined Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy.-Location:Tusculum is one of the largest Roman cities in Alban Hills. The ruins of Tusculum are located on Tuscolo hill—more specifically on the northern edge of the outer crater ring of the Alban volcano...

 and Neapolis. The one near Neapolis included fish ponds and man-made extensions into the sea, and was only one of many elite senators' villas around the Bay of Naples. Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 is said by Pliny to have referred often to Lucullus as "Xerxes
Xerxes I of Persia
Xerxes I of Persia , Ḫšayāršā, ), also known as Xerxes the Great, was the fifth king of kings of the Achaemenid Empire.-Youth and rise to power:...

 in a toga
Toga
The toga, a distinctive garment of Ancient Rome, was a cloth of perhaps 20 ft in length which was wrapped around the body and was generally worn over a tunic. The toga was made of wool, and the tunic under it often was made of linen. After the 2nd century BC, the toga was a garment worn...

".

He finally triumphed in 63 BC thanks in small part to the political maneuveuring of both Cato
Cato the Younger
Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis , commonly known as Cato the Younger to distinguish him from his great-grandfather , was a politician and statesman in the late Roman Republic, and a follower of the Stoic philosophy...

 and Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

. His triumph was remembered mostly due to him covering the Circus Flaminius
Circus Flaminius
The Circus Flaminius was a large, circular area of land in Rome that contained a small race-track reserved for mysterious games, and various other buildings and monuments. It was located in the southern end of the Campus Martius, near the Tiber River. It was ‘built,’ or sectioned off, by Flaminius...

 with the arms of the Enemies he had faced during the campaign.

Gastronome


So famous did Lucullus become for his banqueting that the word lucullan now means lavish, luxurious and gourmet. One cultivar of the vegetable known as Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) is named "Lucullus" in his honor.

Once, Cicero and Pompey succeeded in inviting themselves to dinner with Lucullus, but, curious to see what sort of meal Lucullus ate when alone, forbade him to send word ahead to his slaves to prepare a meal for guests. However, Lucullus outsmarted them. He ordered that his slaves serve him in the Apollo Room, and as his slaves had been schooled ahead of time as to precisely what to make for each of the different dining rooms, Cicero and Pompey ate the most luxurious of all meals.

Another tale runs that one of his slaves, upon hearing that he would have no guests for dinner, served only one course. Lucullus reprimanded the slave saying, "What, did not you know, then, that today Lucullus dines with Lucullus?" He was also responsible for bringing the sweet cherry and the apricot
Apricot
The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation.- Description :...

 to Rome.

Lucullus and higher learning


Lucullus was extremely well educated in Latin and Greek, and showed a keen interest in literature and philosophy from earliest adulthood. He established life-long friendships with the Greek poet Archias of (Syrian) Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, who migrated to Rome around 102 BC, and with one of the leading Academic philosophers of the time, Antiochus of Ascalon
Antiochus of Ascalon
Antiochus , of Ascalon, , was an Academic philosopher. He was a pupil of Philo of Larissa at the Academy, but he diverged from the Academic skepticism of Philo and his predecessors...

.

During his long delay in the royal palace at Alexandria in the summer of 86 BC Lucullus witnessed the beginning of the major schism in the Platonic Academy
Platonic Academy
The Academy was founded by Plato in ca. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years before founding his own school, the Lyceum. The Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC...

 in the 1st century, the so-called Sosos Affair. His friend and companion Antiochus of Ascalon
Antiochus of Ascalon
Antiochus , of Ascalon, , was an Academic philosopher. He was a pupil of Philo of Larissa at the Academy, but he diverged from the Academic skepticism of Philo and his predecessors...

 received, evidently from the Great Library, a copy of a work by the scholarch
Scholarch
A scholarch is the head of a school. The term was especially used for the heads of schools of philosophy in ancient Athens, such as the Platonic Academy, whose first scholarch was Plato himself...

 of the Academy, Philo of Larissa
Philo of Larissa
Philo of Larissa, was a Greek philosopher. He was a pupil of Clitomachus, whom he succeeded as head of the Academy. During the Mithradatic wars which would see the destruction of the Academy, he travelled to Rome where Cicero heard him lecture. None of his writings survive...

, so radical in its sceptical stance that Antiochos was sufficiently disturbed to doubt the attribution of authorship to his old teacher. But more recent pupils of Philo, chiefly Herakleitos of Tyre, were able to assure him of the book's authenticity. Antiochos and Herakleitos dissected it at length in Lucullus' presence, and in the ensuing weeks while the Roman party continued to await the arrival of the king from the south, Antiochos composed a vigorous polemic against Philo entitled Sosos, which marked his definitive break with Philo's so-called "Sceptical Academy", and the beginning of the separate, more conservative, school eventually called the Old Academy.

Decline and death


Lucullus is reported by Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

 to have lost his mind at the end and went intermittently mad as he aged. Lucullus' brother Marcus oversaw his funeral.

Marriages

  • Clodia Luculli whom he married as her first husband, but divorced c.66 on his return to Rome after friction in Asia with her brother.
  • Servilia Caepionis Minor
    Servilia the younger
    Servilia was the younger full sister of Servilia Caepionis and second wife of Lucullus. Lucullus married her on his return from the Third Mithridatic War, after divorcing his first wife Clodia. Servilia bore him a son, but like her sister, she was faithless to her husband. Lucullus, after putting...

    , the younger sister of Servilia Caepionis
    Servilia Caepionis
    Servilia Caepionis was the mistress of Julius Caesar, mother of one of Caesar's assassins, Brutus, mother-in-law of another Caesar assassin, Cassius, and half-sister of Cato the Younger.-Life:...

    , also notorious for her loose morals, but mother of Lucullus's only son.


Plutarch writes:

Ancient sources

  • Plutarch
    Plutarch
    Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

    , Lucullus, also the lives of Kimon, Sulla, Pompeius, Cicero, Cato
  • Ziegler, Konrat (ed.) Plutarchi Vitae Parallelae, Vol.I, Fasc.1 (Teubner, Leipzig, 4th edition, 1969), I: ΘΗΣΕΥΣ ΚΑΙ ΡΩΜΥΛΟΣ, II: ΣΟΛΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΠΟΠΛΙΚΟΛΑΣ, III: ΘΕΜΙΣΤΟΚΛΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΚΑΜΙΛΛΟΣ, IV: ΑΡΙΣΤΕΙΔΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΚΑΤΩΝ, V: ΚΙΜΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΛΕΥΚΟΛΛΟΣ.
  • Liber de viris illustribus, 74
  • Cassius Dio Roman History, book XXXVI
  • Appian Roman History, book XII: Mithridateios
  • Cicero Lucullus, also known as Academica Prior, book II
  • Cicero pro Archia poeta 5-6, 11, 21, 26, 31
  • Cicero de imperio Cn. Pompei 5, 10, 20-26
  • Cicero pro L. Murena 20, 33-34, 37, 69
  • Cicero pro A. Cluentio Habito 137
  • Cicero ad Atticum, I 1.3, 14.5, 16.15, XIII 6
  • Julius Frontinus Stratagems, II 1.14, 2.4 (Tigranocerta), II 5.30 (Pontic assassination attempt 72 BC), II 7.8 (Macedonian cavalry during Cabira campaign), III 13.6 (swimming messenger at siege of Cyzicus)
  • Paulus Orosius bk.VI
  • Eutropius bk.VI
  • Annaeus Florus
  • Malcovati, Henrica (ed.) Oratorum Romanorum Fragmenta, Liberae Rei Publicae (Corpus Scriptorum Latinorum Paravianum, Torino, 1953; 4th edition, 1976), 307-9 (Orator #90)

  • Memnon, history of Herakleia Pontike, 9th century epitome in the ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΗΚΗ of Photius of Byzantium (codex 224)

- ed. René Henry Photius Bibliotheque, vol.IV: Codices 223-229 (Budé, Paris, 1965), 48-99: Greek with French translation

- ed. Karl Müller
Karl Wilhelm Ludwig Müller
Karl Wilhelm Ludwig Müller is best known for his still-useful Didot editions of fragmentary Greek authors, especially the monumental five-volume Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum , which is not yet completely superseded by the series Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker begun by Felix...

 FHG (Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum), vol.III, 525ff.: Greek with Latin translation

- ed. Felix Jacoby FGrH 434 (Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, commenced 1923): Greek text, critical commentary in German
  • Phlegon of Tralles, fragments

- ed. Müller FHG, III, 602ff.

- ed. Jacoby FGrH 257

- English translation and commentary by William Hansen, Phlegon of Tralles' Book of Marvels (University of Exeter Press, 1996)
  • Inscriptions.

- ILS 60 (Latin career elogium from Arretium)

- SIG3 743, AE 1974, 603 (both Greek from Hypata, as quaestor in late 88)

- SIG3 745 (Greek from Rhodes, when pro quaestore, 84/3)

- Ins.Délos 1620 (Latin statue base titulus from Delos when pro quaestore, 85/80)

- BE 1970, p. 426 (two Greek tituli when imperator, 72/66, from Andros and Klaros)

Modern works


Major studies.
  • Eckhardt, Kurt: "Die armenischen Feldzüge des Lukullus",

pt.I Introduction. Klio, 9 (1909), 400-412

pt.II Das Kriegsjahr 69. Klio, 10 (1910), 72-115

pt.III Das Kriegsjahr 68. Klio, 10 (1910), 192-231
  • Gelzer, Matthias: "L. Licinius Lucullus cos.74", in Real-Encyclopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, vol.13 (1926), s. v. Licinius (104), cols. 376-414.
  • Baker, George Philip: Sulla the Fortunate: Roman General and Dictator (J Murray, London, 1927; reprint by Cooper Square Press, 2001) reprint ISBN 0-8154-1147-2
  • Van Ooteghem, J: Lucius Licinius Lucullus (Brussels, 1959)
  • Glucker, J: Antiochus and the Late Academy (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1978), P.510
  • Keaveney, Arthur: Lucullus. A Life (London/New York: Routledge, 1992). ISBN 0-415-03219-9.
  • Tröster, Manuel: Themes, Character, and Politics in Plutarch's Life of Lucullus. The Construction of a Roman Aristocrat (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2008).
  • Villoresi, Mario: Lucullo (Firenze, 1939).


Shorter articles.
  • Badian, Ernst: s. v. Lucullus (2), p. 624 in The Oxford Classical Dictionary (ed.2, 1970)
  • Bennett, W H: "The date of the death of Lucullus", Classical Review, 22 (1972), 314
  • Jones, C P: "Plutarch Lucullus 42, 3-4", Hermes, 110 (1982), 254-56
  • Tatum, W J: "Lucullus and Clodius at Nisibis (Plutarch, Lucullus 33-34)", Athenaeum, 79 (1991)
  • Hillman, Thomas P: "When did Lucullus retire?", Historia, 42 (1993), 211-228
  • Dix, T. Keith: "The Library of Lucullus", Athenaeum, 88 (2000), 441-464

External links