(mĬthrekdā´tēz) (Mithradates Eupator) , c.131 BC-63 BC, king of Pontus,
sometimes called Mithradates the Great. He extended his empire until, in addition
to Pontus, he held Cappadocia, Paphlagonia, and the Black Sea coast beyond the
Caucasus. The increasing importance of Rome in Asia Minor brought Mithradates
and the republic into open conflict. The First Mithradatic War (88 BC-84 BC) was
the result. Mithradates conquered the whole of Asia Minor (except for a few cities)
in 88 BC In 85 BC the Roman general Fimbria attacked him in Asia Minor, and he
was defeated simultaneously with the destruction of his army in Greece. In the
resultant treaty Mithradates paid an indemnity and gave up all but Pontus and a
few colonies. The Second Mithradatic War (83 BC-81 BC) was begun by Sulla's
lieutenant Lucius Murena, who desired glory. Murena was repelled by Mithradates
and was superseded by Aulus Gabinius, who made peace with the king of
Pontus. The Third Mithradatic War (74 BC-63 BC) began when Mithradates
resolved to prevent Rome from annexing Bithynia, which had been left to Rome by
a royal will. Lucullus was sent against Mithradates, who was finally forced to flee
to Armenia. In 68 BC the Romans invaded Armenia, but were forced to retreat.
Mithradates returned to Pontus, and Lucullus was replaced (66 BC) by Pompey .
Pompey soon drove Mithradates eastward, and the king fled to the Crimea, the
last of his provinces. He had a slave kill him. His fall is the subject of Racine's
Mithridate. Pharnaces II was his son and Tigranes, his son-in-law. The name is
also spelled Mithridates.