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RA 4A: The Kingdom of Mithridates VI

Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontos was one of the last adversaries of Rome, and it is in this capacity he is portrayed both in the ancient, pro-Roman sources as well as in modern research. During his long reign (120-63 BC) he extended the kingdom to encompass also the northern coast of the Black Sea - effectively a mare Mithridaticum. A pogrom instigated by Mithridates in 88 BC in which, according to ancient sources, 80.000 Romans living in Asia Minor were killed, signalled the start of a revolt which spread to the Aegean and mainland Greece and made confrontation with Rome inevitable and irrevocable. Poised between East and West, Mithridates balanced his kingdom between the local Iranian aristocracy and the Greek communities by which he was eventually hailed as the New Dionysos, champion of the Greek cause against Rome.

Mithridates himself claimed descent from both the kings of Persia and from Alexander the Great, whom he imitated in his coin portraits. The central issue of this project will be how this cultural admixture materialised in Pontic society itself, in the public and the private sphere. What political, cultural, and ethnic factors facilitated the establishment of a major kingdom across the Black Sea? That the notion of a trans-Euxine kingdom was not a passing phenomenon is shown by its later revival by the Roman client king Polemon I at the end of the first century BC.

 

RA 4A.1 The Pontic Kingdom: Jakob M. Højte

RA 4A.2 Religion and cult of the Pontic Kingdom: Sergej Saprykin

RA 4A.3 The Mithridatic Wars: resistance or retaliation?: Jesper M. Madsen

 

Responsible: Jakob M. Højte

Main activity: International conference in 2007.


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