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Empire of the Black Sea: The Rise and Fall of the Mithridatic World

Duane W. Roller



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Oxford University Press
01 June 2020
History; Classical history & classical civilisation
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 a general history of this important kingdom from its mythic origins in Greek literature (e.g., Jason and the Golden Fleece) to its entanglements with the late republic of Rome. Roller discusses its rulers as well as the Romans and others who interacted with them and opposed them. He addresses social and cultural issues, including the attitude of the traditional Greek states and other eastern kingdoms, economic issues such as depopulation and land exhaustion, and--especially in the latter years of the dynasty--the changing and indeed endless internal problems in Rome itself that would come to drive or even overpower events in the field. Previous histories of this era are varied in their focus and quality. Needless to say, much of the interest has been directed to the final and most famous member of the dynasty, Mithridates VI (120-63 BC); this book explores the entire kingdom and its rich history. Empire of the Black Sea is an engaging and accessible history of a forgotten reign.
By:   Duane W. Roller
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9780190887841
ISBN 10:   0190887842
Pages:   288
Publication Date:   01 June 2020
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Duane W. Roller is Professor Emeritus of Classics at the Ohio State University, and the author of Cleopatra (OUP 2011), Cleopatra's Daughter (OUP 2018), and Eratosthenes' Geography (Princeton 2010), among others.

Reviews for Empire of the Black Sea: The Rise and Fall of the Mithridatic World

The kingdom of Pontos creatively integrated Persian and Greek political traditions and was Rome's last rival for domination of the eastern Mediterranean, but the last history of this remarkable state was published in 1879. Duane Roller's thoroughly researched and lucidly written book ably provides readers with a long-overdue, updated narrative. * Stanley M. Burstein, California State University, Los Angeles * Duane Roller has deployed his enormous experience in ancient history and geography to illuminate the fascinating life and extraordinary ambitions of Mithridates the Great. This book reveals the causes, events, and significance of a king who built a Black Sea empire to rival late Republican Rome. His bloody adventures ended in torment and suicide, but his memory lived on among Romans and their heirs, in art, history, and tragic drama. Throughout, amongst so much that is extraordinary, Roller offers a Mithridates who remains convincingly human. * David Braund, University of Exeter * With a lucid and captivating style, Duane Roller narrates the long career of Mithridates the Great, one of Rome's most stubborn antagonists, and recounts the larger dynastic and historical context of his reign. * Jeffrey Benecker, University of Wisconsin-Madison *

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