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Marcus Junianus Justinus
Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus.
translated, with notes, by the Rev. John Selby Watson.
London: Henry G. Bohn, York Street, Convent Garden (1853).

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Book XL

The Syrians choose Tigranes, king of Armenia, to be their king, I.—A great earthquake in Syria; Syria made a Roman province, II.


1 2

1 AFTER the kings and kingdom of Syria had been exhausted by unintermitting wars, occasioned by the mutual animosities of brothers, and by sons succeeding to the quarrels of their fathers, the people began to look for relief from foreign parts, and to think of choosing a king from among the sovereigns of other nations. Some therefore advised that they should take Mithridates of Pontus, others Ptolemy of Egypt, but it being considered that Mithridates was engaged in war with the Romans, and that Ptolemy had always been an enemy to Syria, the thoughts of all were directed to Tigranes king of Armenia, who, in addition to the strength of his own kingdom, was supported by an alliance with Parthia, and by a matrimonial connection with Mithridates. Tigranes, accordingly, being invited to the throne of Syria, enjoyed a most tranquil reign over it for eighteen years, without having occasion to go to war either to attack others or to defend himself.

2 But Syria, though unmolested by enemies, was laid waste by an earthquake, in which a hundred and seventy thousand people, and several cities, were destroyed; a portent which the soothsayers declared “to presage a change in things.”

After Tigranes was conquered by Lucullus, Antiochus, the son of Cyzicenus, was made king of Syria by his authority. But what Lucullus gave, Pompey soon after took away; telling him, when he made application for the crown, that “he would not give Syria, even if willing to accept him, and much less if unwilling, a king, who for eighteen years, during which Tigranes had governed Syria, had lain hid in a corner of Cilicia, and now, when Tigranes was conquered by the Romans, asked for the reward of other men’s labours. Accordingly, as he had not taken the throne from Tigranes while he held it, so he would not give Antiochus what he himself had yielded to Tigranes, and what he would not know how to defend, lest he should again expose Syria to the depredations of the Jews and Arabians.” He in consequence reduced Syria to the condition of a province, and the whole east, through the dissensions of kings of the same blood, fell by degrees under the power of the Romans.


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The English translation of Justin's Epitome was entered by David Camden (2003) from Watson's 1853 edition. This text is in the public domain and may be copied and distributed for private and educational use, provided this original notice is kept intact. Any commercial use of this text, including print-publication and inclusion in subscription-based archives, is prohibited.

The Latin text and French translation, along with the secondary material written in French, are copyright © Marie-Pierre Arnaud-Lindet 2003, and are NOT in the public domain.

This material may only be used for private and educational use and provided that its copyright status is properly cited. Any modification, remote loading, publication, reproduction on another site, diffusion on the internet, or commercial use of these texts is strictly prohibited without the prior agreement of the author.

FORUM ROMANUM