Chapter 11

The Kingdom of Galatia

The Scordisci of the Balkans seem to have played the game of diplomacy well during the first century BC, keeping themselves clear of any involvement for or against any of the Roman or Dacian warriors who were active in the region, or carefully submitting to one of them when there was no alternative. This worked until 16 BC, when their participation in the First Pannonian War brought final defeat and annexation. In Asia Minor, the same canny behaviour by the Galatians is evident, in a more dangerous situation, and ultimately with a good deal more success, even though it also ended in annexation, but, whereas the Scordisci effectively disappeared after their conquest by Rome, the Galatians of Asia had an afterlife as a Roman province. First, however, they went through the grinder of the Roman civil wars, and the capricious attentions of a series of unscrupulous, greedy, and brutal Roman politicians.

The arrival of direct Roman control in the province of Asia in 133, formed out of a large part of the former Attalid kingdom, brought a new and greater political power to Galatia’s western border. At the same time, to the north was the growing power of the kingdom of Pontos, which from 120 was under the rule of the highly capable – and highly ambitious – King Mithradates VI. For the next seventy years, after the Roman acceptance of the legacy of Asia, the Galatians’ international relations lay in deciding how to exist between these two powers. The new crises forced another decisive change in the Galatian governing system, the emergence of a Galatian kingdom.

Needless to say, the sources for this period concentrate overwhelmingly on the two greater states rather than on the Galatians, and it is therefore difficult, as usual, to adopt a viewpoint which centres on the subject of this book, so that the result has to be highly impressionistic at times. One of the major issues was that Rome had taken over only part of the Attalid inheritance, and the rest of their territory had disintegrated into minor states. Mithradates of Pontos saw this as an opportunity for extending his control over them (rather as the Scordisci had done in the Balkans), and Galatia was either in the way of his ambitions or was simply one of his victims.

Mithradates, in 108, moved to annex part of Paphlagonia. By arrangement Nikomedes III of Bithynia took the other part. This would have removed a solid block of territory which partly separated Pontos from Galatia. Mithradates had been forbidden to do this by the Romans, but he ignored their prohibition, and followed it up by moving further south into Galatia, which he dominated.1 (Nikomedes set up a local king, his son, in his part of the annexed country.) This was a Pontic advance which took advantage of Roman preoccupations with events elsewhere, in particular with the crisis in Africa, the war in the Balkans, which lasted perhaps until 106, and with the wandering threat of the Teutones and Cimbri, which was not scotched until 101. He must have hoped that the passage of time would let the Romans ignore his advances, but he also claimed it was part of his inheritance; the Romans did not believe him, taking it as an obfuscatory ploy. Mithradates presumably considered it reasonable, but it seems that later he withdrew the claim once more.

Southeast of Galatia was Kappadokia, where Mithradates’ sister Laodike had been married to King Ariarathes VI.2 In 116 or thereabouts Mithradates procured the murder of Ariarathes by a disaffected Kappadokian noble, Gordios. Laodike, his widow, therefore acted as regent for Ariarathes VII, who was apparently too young to rule himself.

Mithradates and Gordios were associated later, and it is usually assumed that Gordios acted with Mithradates’ encouragement, if not his actual instigation, in committing the murder. With Laodike as regent for Ariarathes VII, Mithradates had some influence in Kappadokia,3 or at least he had a friend on his southern border. In 103, however, Nikomedes III invaded Kappadokia, in which enterprise he had the assistance of Laodike; the boy Ariarathes VII was dethroned, but then Mithradates retaliated and drove out both the Bithynians and Laodike. Ariarathes VII was returned, but then Mithradates tried to get him to accept the return of Gordios. This Ariarathes refused, and he was then murdered at Mithradates’ instigation. This extinguished the ancient Kappadokian royal line; Mithradates renamed his eight-year-old son as Ariarathes, and installed him as king (Ariarathes VIII).4

These coups and murders were spread over a period of almost two decades. The net result in Asia Minor was that Mithradates controlled in various ways Pontos, Galatia, and Kappadokia; outside, another result was that their continual disputes eventually came to the attention of the Senate in Rome, which was free from major distractions after the defeat of the wandering tribes in 102 and 101. The Senate ordered all the disputing rulers out of the kingdoms they occupied, and Mithradates and Nikomedes were to relinquish their control over Paphlagonia and Kappadokia. These places were declared free, though the Kappadokians used their freedom, to Roman surprise, to insist on having a king, choosing a man called Ariobarzanes, a prominent Kappadokian noble.5 The earlier dynasty had, after all, become so incompetent and stained by treachery that any collateral living representative of the family had to be rejected. The only other candidate was Gordios, who soon conspired to get the Armenian King Tigranes (Mithradates’ son-in-law) to drive out Ariobarzanes. The plotters were unlucky in that a Roman propraetor of unusual capacity and steeliness, P. Cornelius Sulla (the future dictator), was in the area. He was diverted from his allotted task and instructed by the Senate to restore Ariobarzanes, which he did with dispatch.6

In all these plots and murders Galatia is not mentioned. Mithradates’ occupation of Paphlagonia had been at once followed by his occupation of Galatia, and his repeated interference in Kappadokia suggests that he was in control of Galatia all the way through until 95 BC. (But Nikomedes III, in invading Kappadokia, had probably sent his army through Galatia.) That control was probably less than onerous, and there is no record that he interfered in any way with the government of the country, though he certainly became familiar with how it worked. It seems from later events that the ruling class in Galatia – that is, the tetrarchs and the judges – continued to be wealthy and to maintain local control; Mithradates, in fact, is usually assumed to have been only selective in the parts of Galatia he chose to control, but this is only an assumption, for there is no clear evidence either way.7 Galatians were recruited into Mithradates’ armies,8 though he did not do much fighting in the first part of his reign, preferring intrigue and assassination as his imperialistic methods. Some selected Galatians were recruited as officers and then entrusted with relatively important commands.

The political condition of Galatia has been described as a protectorate of Mithradates,9 but from the few details we know about the country at this time it looks much more likely that the Galatians were eventually fairly well integrated into Mithradates’ kingdom, which had also been his aim in seizing control of his part of Paphlagonia. The failure of his bid to control Kappadokia was largely due to the existence of the monarchy, which stood in his way, and around which the loyalties of the Kappadokians could coalesce, a factor which the Kappadokians clearly understood when they insisted on choosing a new king rather than presumably being divided into a series of independent city-states or chieftainships. Without their own focus of loyalty, they would have been as vulnerable to Mithradates’ control as Galatia had been. Neither the Paphlagonians nor the Galatians had such a central political figure, and this was one of the elements which made it relatively easy for Mithradates to impose his own control. One of the results of the intrusion of Sulla into Kappadokia and Paphlagonia in 95 seems to have been that Mithradates’ control of Galatia was reduced, though he had no doubt numerous ties of obligation with the tetrarchs and the chiefs. At any rate when in 86 he commanded the Galatian tetrarchs to meet him at Pergamon, most of them came.

This condition did protect Galatia from the attentions of the rapacious Roman tax gatherers, whose activities in the Asian province became steadily more offensive and notorious. Galatia itself was hardly wealthy enough to attract such tax men, and perhaps its powerful local lords could resist the tax men’s importunities. Its main usefulness to Mithradates, as later to the Romans, was its human population. It was a continual source of slaves throughout the Roman period, and so no doubt earlier,10 though not to the extent of wholesale rural depopulation which took place in Bithynia, or to the destruction of its military manpower – the chiefs and the aristocracy were not subject to enslavement and sale. But it is to be noted that those who sold ‘Galatians’ (usually, it seems, of Phrygian descent and with Phrygian names) were the Galatian lords, just as in Bithynia it was the king. No doubt a legal process was devised to permit a Galatian aristocrat to sell his own people, or they may have undertaken cavalry raids against their Galatian neighbours – we do not know enough about Galatian internal affairs to decide, and these are only speculations.

The instructions of the Senate and the actions of Sulla compelled Mithradates to withdraw from Kappadokia in 95. This left Galatia without a powerful protector, and in the next ten years, both Mithradates and the Romans used its military potential for their own benefit. This was the result of the activities of Sulla, but the Roman intervention in Kappadokia in 95 had at last fully involved Rome and the Senate in the affairs of central Anatolia for the first time since the wars of the 160s.

Mithradates had been successfully blocked by Sulla, but he was also stimulated to develop his military and naval strength, which, according to one source, amounted to 200,000 men, and to another to 300,000 soldiers – figures as usual to be treated with the utmost scepticism.11 These were troops recruited from Bithynia, Kappadokia, Paphlagonia, the Bosporan kingdom, from the Galatians, and from the available mercenaries. An increase in the minting of coins for the kingdom which took place was possibly to pay for these men, most of whom will have been mercenaries. It is worth recalling that Mithradates was a very wealthy ruler.12 The recruits were probably not raw soldiers. Roman control of Asia was based on the use of local Asian forces under Roman command in any military emergency; after 129 and until the 80s there were no Roman forces in Asia.

By his military preparations, Mithradates clearly assumed that the removal of Kappadokia and Galatia from his control was the diplomatic precursor for a Roman attack on his weakened kingdom. He may well have been simply planning for defence, and his abandonment perhaps of his parts of Kappadokia, and probably of Galatia, were intended to remove any obvious pretext for a Roman attack on him. In the event, he resolved to take the initiative himself when the opportunity arose with the outbreak of civil war in Italy (the ‘Social’ War) in 91. The war must have seemed to many observers to represent a terminal collapse of the fragile Roman political system.

He moved against Kappadokia and against Bithynia. Ariobarzanes was driven out of Kappadokia, and Mithradates’ son, Ariarathes VIII, was installed there once more.13 In Bithynia, however, Nikomedes IV survived both an assassination attempt and a pretender’s invasion, both of which were organized by Mithradates.14 Perhaps to Mithradates’ surprise, the Roman reply seemed to indicate a resolve to act decisively: Ariobarzanes was restored, and Nikomedes was given support.15 This was done by armies which the Roman officials recruited from the Anatolian populations: ‘Bithynia, Kappadokia, Paphlagonia, and the Galatians’ provided the troops, perhaps readily enough since Mithradates was an even greater menace to his neighbours than he was to Rome; three of the contributing territories were those which Mithradates had recently ruled and had then been freed by Roman pressure. Both sides in the coming war therefore had armies recruited from the same countries – it was, in a way, an Asia Minor civil war.

The recruits were organized as three armies, each said (no doubt with some exaggeration) to be about 40,000 strong; Nikomedes also commanded an equivalent army, and used it to invade Pontos.16 He was not opposed, and after looting his way over the western part of the kingdom he withdrew back to Bithynia. Mithradates now had his clear excuse for war.17 It was later claimed that Nikomedes had been urged on by the Roman officials, and that he agreed when they pressed him for the repayment of debts he had contracted with them; the loot, by implication, went largely to the Romans. They were now all faced by Mithradates’ newly recruited force of ‘250,000’ troops.18

Mithradates had a clear grievance with Rome and its officials. He had not contested their latest restorations of territories at his expense, but he had still been subjected to Roman intrigues which were designed to make him take the first hostile steps, thereby permitting Rome to claim that its territories, their people, and their allies were being attacked. The threat that this was his intention was certainly the later and repeated Roman justification for the war, and the Romans were all the more insistent on it as the disasters to their forces multiplied. It was a known Roman method, and Mithradates was canny enough – he had used the method himself – to avoid falling into the trap. The war therefore began with Nikomedes’ extensive invasion of Pontos, which was not resisted, and which produced for Nikomedes, and supposedly for the Roman officials, large quantities of loot. Behind Nikomedes were the three locally-recruited Roman armies in theoretical support, stationed outside Pontic territory, but available if Nikomedes needed help. When Mithradates’ army did not retaliate, it was all too obvious that the war had been begun by Nikomedes, and the Roman forces had no obvious excuse to intervene.

Of the three armies under Roman command, one, under Q. Oppius, had moved into Kappadokia, a second, under M. Aquillius, who had been instrumental in restoring the kings, was in Bithynia, clearly intended to act as the first support for Nikomedes, and the third, under the governor of Asia, C. Cassius, had advanced ‘along the boundary of Bithynia and Galatia’.19 All three were thus outside Pontos, but so close to Mithradates’ borders that they were clearly threatening to invade. In keeping with the employment of local forces, these were to be the supporters of the main attack, but not the spearheads. Presumably the idea was that they were to move in to assist if Nikomedes was defeated, or even if he became involved in fighting, or perhaps to separate the competitors, on a pretence of neutrality. But his withdrawal without having fought anybody sabotaged the plot. Mithradates now, after Nikomedes’ ravaging and withdrawal, advanced to seek revenge for the attack, presumably clad in the armour of righteousness, not having been the first to begin the fighting for a change. This all was fairly nonsensical, of course, given his propensity for assassination and the subversion of his neighbours – Nikomedes’ invasion was actually a response to Mithradates subversion of Bithynia earlier. His huge army and fleet were fully prepared, but he was clearly acting in an equivalent way to the Romans and using their methods.

The Romans not only miscalculated Mithradates’ political response, but the effectiveness of his military response as well. He advanced against Nikomedes, who was in Paphlagonia, inland from Sinope, in territory theoretically neutral, though claimed by Mithradates. The Bithynians were rapidly defeated, and at once the whole Roman position collapsed. Nikomedes went to join Cassius. Mithradates’ victorious army met and defeated Aquillius, who fled – his army was no doubt disintegrating – first to Pergamon, then to Rhodes. Cassius withdrew first into Phrygia, then south to Apameia. Oppius pulled out westwards from Kappadokia as far as Laodikeia-ad-Lykon, only seventy kilometres, or two days’ march, from Apameia. This looks rather like an attempt to combine their forces, but Mithradates chased Cassius away (to Rhodes, again). Oppius, however, installed his army in Laodikeia-ad-Lykon, and then resisted for a time, until Mithradates persuaded the Laodikeians to hand him over, on a promise of no harm to the city. He had carefully released all his prisoners so far – all local men, of course – and had established a reputation for generosity, so the Laodikeians were confident enough to trust his promises.20

Many other places either welcomed Mithradates or surrendered to his forces, and this may have included Galatia after the withdrawal of Oppius’ army. Others, particularly in the south – Lykia, Karia, Pamphylia, all regions with reputations for independence – resisted and were in contact by sea with Roman naval forces in the region. So far Mithradates had been conciliatory, even generous, in his relations with the cities he captured. It was also in this spirit of capturing the allegiance of the cities by policy that he ordered the murder of the Romans who were in Asia, said to be 80,000 (or 150,000) in number – both figures probably well exaggerated by Roman sources in order to justify their later permanent enmity towards the king. This enabled him to confiscate their wealth, simultaneously filling his war chest and relieving the cities of Asia of the oppressive presence of the Roman tax gatherers; one victim was Aquillius, captured and then killed.21

Mithradates’ armies invaded and overran Macedonia and Greece, but the Romans had been able to overcome their internal difficulties sufficiently to send an army to fight him. The policy of murdering Romans and Italians ultimately failed, partly because Rome’s determination to gain revenge for the murders was steeled even in the time of its own Civil War, but also because the apparent early success of the murder policy seems to have persuaded Mithradates to use the same policy and method elsewhere. Once his military fortunes began to decline, with the siege and capture of Athens by L. Cornelius Sulla (who took over Cassius’ post as governor of Asia), Mithradates’ supporters, who had been only opportunistic in their acceptance of his rule, became antagonistic. He saw his position crumbling. Sulla conquered Athens in 86 after a long siege, and then defeated two successive Mithradatic relief armies in Greece, at Chaironeia and at Orchomenos. And it seems to have been at this point that Mithradates’ temper gave way.

At Pergamon he summoned the collective aristocracy of Galatia to meet him. The news of his armies’ disasters in Greece had forced him to recruit a new army, and one of the main sources of recruitment was Galatia. He already had some Galatians in his army in Greece, but Oppius had had Galatians in his forces earlier. It may be that the news of defeats in Greece had firmed up the pro-Romans in their loyalties, and this made those favouring Mithradates less vocal. Probably finding new recruits had suddenly become more difficult. The chiefs will have been in charge of the process, and maybe it was this prospect which soured the Galatian relationship with the king. It seemed likely also that the Galatians, who had been under less than full Pontic control since 95, were undergoing a long-term change of political attitudes. The country had been relatively controlled, so it seems, under Pontic protection before 95 for two decades, and before that for several decades under Pergamene control or influence. Then renewed independence, brought about by Sulla on the Pontic withdrawal, had been followed by a renewed subjection to Pontos when Mithradates became successful in 89/88; this may have fed further Galatian discontent as the preceding independence was snatched away. And it was Rome which had brought that independence to Galatia in the person of Sulla, who was currently defeating Mithradates’ armies.

Mithradates evidently understood this reaction, and moved to forestall it. The summons to the Galatian tetrarchs and chiefs, sixty in number, was the first move in a new campaign to re-establish his much fuller control on Galatia. But his method was a disaster, both for him and for the Galatians. At a banquet he had those who were attending killed. Those who did not attend were sought out and murdered, as were their wives and children. Appian notes that he made no distinction between his ‘friends’ and ‘those who are not his subjects’, a sign of the division amongst the Galatians. It is not altogether clear if Appian’s words refer only to Galatians or perhaps to others who were not Galatians, but were caught up in his campaign of murder, but it does seem to mean that parts of Galatia were not under his control, and yet the lords had obeyed his summons and had been killed.22

The Galatian society of lords and peasants, living close together, with very few towns, but perhaps with no great gradient of wealth or lifestyle, made for a symbiotic social relationship between the classes. This is not to be idealized, but by removing at a stroke the tetrarchs and other lords of the country, Mithradates was also removing the main social glue of the country. (One wonders if he knew of the collapse which had followed a similar slaughter by Vulso’s army in 189.) Mithradates’ action damaged the whole Galatian society, and destroyed its political and economic organization and cohesion. The peasantry, for example, suddenly found that their judges and their sources of economic organization had both disappeared. It is also very likely that Mithradates understood what the consequences of his actions would be before he undertook it.

The main point and result of all such campaigns of killing, however, is that no matter how thorough the murderer aims to be, he always misses some of his victims – in this case three men in particular. Either they had not been at Pergamon or they had escaped from the massacre. They were hunted, and a new governor, Eumachos, was appointed as Mithradates’ satrap in Galatia. This would seriously tighten his grip on the region, and was another stimulus to Galatian resistance. The removal of the tetrarchs and chiefs was clearly designed not just to disrupt the social organization of the country, but to open the way for Eumachos to plant Pontic control firmly in the place of the tetrarchs, acting as an all-powerful governor. Eumachos was probably therefore accompanied in his appointment as satrap by an army of occupation, and a flock of Pontic officials. So we may assume that, to the earlier increasing discontent, the loss of independence after a brief and tantalizing period of freedom, and the murder of the aristocracy, we may add agents hunting for the escaped Galatian lords and a new and more rigorous governmental and perhaps taxation control under a single governor; all this can be added to the roster of annoyances. It is a classic cases of the mishandling of a sensitive province. There is thus quite enough in all this to provoke a rebellion.

And that is what Mithradates got, a Galatian rebellion. The memory of the Galatians’ partial success in rebelling against the Attalid domination seventy years ago may not have faded very much. Three men had escaped and they roused their fellow Galatians – though one must doubt that only three were involved, or had survived. The number of tetrarchs and chiefs attending the fatal banquet is said to be sixty, which seemed rather low compared with earlier similar numbers (up to 183). It is unlikely that all the chiefs attended at Mithradates’ summons, and certainly there were enough men of officer material to organize an army afterwards. They recruited that army, and quickly drove Eumachos out, along with his presumed officials and any garrisons he had installed.23 The Galatians from now on were at permanent enmity towards Mithradates, and that meant they were loyal to Rome (since there was no alternative source of power strong enough to protect them). Their territory was repeatedly traversed by Roman armies in the wars against Mithradates and Tigranes which followed during the next two decades, apparently without resentment at their presence. So the Galatians, having had Mithradates as their protector against Roman exploitation from 120 to 95, now from 86 had Rome as their protector against Mithradates. The alliance with Rome was permanent – after all, any such relationship with Mithradates was now out of the question on both sides, since neither could any longer trust the other, not to mention the clear and decisive supremacy of Roman power once Mithradates had been beaten and driven back to Pontos; it was a permanent alliance because Rome now were so clearly predominant, and had the power to insist on compliance.

The internal results inside Galatia were also decisive. The three chief men who had survived, became the senior political figures of the states. As it happens, three men who are known by name dominated affairs in the period after 86, and it is tempting to assume that these were the three survivors, but there is no proof. What is clear is that the massacre of the tetrarchs destroyed the previous political and social system in Galatia, which must have been effectively a fairly wide oligarchy, with the tetrarchs, four to a state, and so twelve altogether, at the social peak, and these tetrarchs will have necessarily been present at Pergamon. It did not eliminate the arrangement of the three states, but the individual states became politically much less significant.

What new arrangements developed after the massacre and the removal of Mithradates’ people are not known. On the analogy of the emergency after 189, single prominent men took charge in each of the states. We know of three of these men, Deiotaros of the Tolistobogii, Brigotaros of the Trokmoi, and Kastor of the Tektosages. As earlier, the absence of the murdered tetrarchs, and of their heirs, enabled single men such as these to establish their own power, and presumably to permit the emergence of other new chiefs and tetrarchs. The fact that this happened suggests that Galatian society had already changed sufficiently to be able to accept a monarchic system in place of the old tetrarchs. The past experience of the emergence of men like Ortiagon must have been in many minds as this was happening.

The emergence of this small group of powerful rulers was assisted at first, of course, by the murder of their rivals and colleagues, but the continuing warfare between Romans and others was probably just as instrumental in maintaining their local power, though their positions were hardly secure in the first years after the defeat of Mithradates.

It was the international emergency affecting all Asia Minor which allowed these men to consolidate their positions, and the practice of Roman commanders of using them to mobilize support within Galatia. There is no sign that other tetrarchs existed, and the title became fixed on the three individual rulers. Over the next generation, by a mixture of intermarriage and murder, one man emerged as the Galatian monarch, though he kept the title tetrarch. This was Deiotaros.

Any attempt to maintain the peace between Rome and Mithradates was doomed by their continuing mutual suspicion, and by the maverick behaviour of Roman officers. Aquillius was conveniently dead and so could easily be blamed for the Roman conduct before the war, and for the war itself, but this did not entirely rein in his successors; also the continuing wars in Italy clearly loosened the Senate’s control over these men.

In 85, returning to Pontos after making a peace treaty with Sulla, Mithradates had to mobilize his forces to put down a rebellion. Rome was instantly suspicious, and L. Licinius Murena, in command of an army stationed in Kappadokia, launched an attack into Pontos. He may have marched through Galatia to reach Pontos, though he seems to have aimed at the eastern part of the kingdom, which he could reach without going through Galatia.24 A second attack, in which Murena crossed the Halys River, and so was moving through Galatia, persuaded Mithradates to appeal to the Senate, whence came a messenger from Sulla with oral instructions for Murena to desist, though Mithradates was not informed, and it was reported that Murena and the messenger conferred secretly after the message had been delivered. (Sulla had not provided a written version of the peace agreement he and Mithradates had made, and now he was using secret oral messages; no wonder Mithradates was suspicious.) Murena, whatever orders he had received, pushed on with a new attack, but in this advance he was met and defeated by Mithradates’ army. Surprisingly, Sulla, in power in Rome, now refused to support Murena, even though Mithradates had gone on to annex parts of Kappadokia. This was turning to his own advantage the orality of his proceedings. He sent a new envoy to make peace between the kings of Pontos and Kappadokia, successfully.25

Mithradates had been accused of holding on to parts of Kappadokia in violation of the peace treaty he had agreed with Sulla, and this was part of Murena’s pretext for his war. It may even have been true, for as part of the peace agreed between Mithradates and Ariobarzanes in 82, the former took over some other parts of the Kappadokian territory; this was part of the betrothal agreement of his infant daughter with Ariobarzanes.26 However, he withdrew later from that territory, perhaps impressed by the presence in the south of Anatolia of an army of four legions under P. Servilius Vatia, the governor of Cilicia, who was campaigning in the Taurus Mountain region. This was the largest Roman army (apart from the armies of local levies under Aquillius, Cassius, and Oppius) which had yet campaigned in Asia Minor, and was a sign of Roman earnestness in dominating the region. Vatia, however, also campaigned in Phrygia Paroreois, perhaps as a warning to Mithradates to keep the peace. At least he seems to have kept clear of Galatia in his campaigning.27

L. Licinius Lucullus was appointed to the province of Asia and then to Cilicia as well in 74. These were in reality commands against Cilicians and others, particularly Pisidians, who threatened Roman territory and its friends, not a command with control of Cilicia itself, yet. Lucullus had succeeded to it on the death of the previous proconsul, Cn. Octavius, Vatia’s successor, and was given the task of the ‘war against Mithradates’, even though Sulla’s peace agreement still stood. This was the result of a complex political intrigue at Rome, in which it was casuistically argued that the war with Mithradates had not actually ended with the peace of 82/81, but still continued, thus giving Lucullus the opportunity for wealth and glory. The contriver of the intrigue, his colleague, M. Aurelius Cotta, secured Bithynia as his province, which King Nikomedes IV of Bithynia, who died in 74, had left to Rome in his will. The prospect of acquiring wealth in organizing the new province attracted Cotta as much as the war attracted Lucullus, and Rome speedily took possession.28 But Mithradates acted first, before the Roman commanders (coming out from Rome) could move. He invaded Bithynia, but, going further, he moved on towards the province of Asia, where he had reason to think he would be welcomed,29 but he was held up at Kyzikos, which he had to besiege. On the way a revolution in Herakleia Pontike produced the murder of Romans in the city, a clear warning of what might happen in the Asian cities.30 The resistance of Kyzikos, however, held up the whole of Mithradates’ campaign, for it became clear that only when his forces were actually present would the cities of Asia openly join him, and not all of them then. Hence the war revolved around the result of the siege.

Lucullus organized a relief expedition with care, knowing that the siege meant that Mithradates was prevented from moving on. He marched his force of five legions from Kappadokia (where he had been planning an invasion of Pontos, as Murena had), but took his time, partly because he had to arrange for the defence of Kappadokia and Galatia first. No doubt he recruited auxiliaries from the local population, but he certainly conscripted 30,000 Galatians to help transport food and other supplies towards Kyzikos to feed his own army, which was destined to besiege the besiegers. Mithradates had brought such a huge army with him to the siege (which, of course, he had not expected) that the critical point of the campaign had become logistics, food for the troops in particular. The army which could feed itself the longest would win.31 Lucullus’ measures were successful. Mithradates, after several defeats and after being trapped in the counter-siege, broke out and returned to Pontos, having lost much of his army. This time he found that the enemy followed him, supplied by the Galatian logistics system, defeated his forces, and gained control of the whole Pontic kingdom; Mithradates took refuge with his son-in-law Tigranes of Armenia.

So far so good, but Lucullus then became entangled in a new war against Tigranes, until in 67 his command was transferred to Cn. Pompeius Magnus (Pompey), who eventually finished off the war. Mithradates briefly returned to Pontos, having worn out his welcome with Tigranes, but was driven out again in Pompey’s campaign; Tigranes lasted another decade and died in his bed. Mithradates took refuge in his subsidiary kingdom of Bosporos where he ruled for another three years, planning a riposte by invading Italy through the Balkans (aiming to persuade several Keltic states, including the Scordisci, to join him, or so the Romans believed),32 but eventually he committed suicide in 63, assisted in the act by one of his Galatian officers, Bituitus.33

These wars swirled about Galatia, though the country itself is seldom referred to. It may be assumed that Galatian help was available to all these Roman commanders, given Galatian attitudes towards Mithradates, though in what form is not known. 30,000 porters with Lucullus in 72 is about the one concrete detail we know; they were no doubt detailed to the task by their chiefs, and by the new single tetrarchs. On the other hand, the known predilection of Galatia for Rome must have been the excuse for the deposed Mithradatic governor Eumachos in that same year to launch an attack on Pisidia and Cilicia, which he may well have reached by a march through Galatia. This was the second attempt by Mithradates to distract Lucullus by attacking his base, in this case in the east. The first had been an expedition commanded by Diophantos at the same time as the invasion of Bithynia; he had been sent into Kappadokia.34 Eumachos’ campaign went further, but was stopped by a force commanded by Deiotaros, the tetrarch of the Tolistobogii, who had survived Mithradates’ massacres.35 It would therefore seem that Lucullus was relying on the Galatians, not only is porters, but more certainly to keep Pontic forces out of Kappadokia and other regions of eastern and central Anatolia. There are occasional other items which indicate the recruitment of Galatians, such as the force of Galatian cavalry with Lucullus in 69 – but they turned aside to loot some treasure, where they had been close to capturing Mithradates.36 The use of Galatian territory by the Romans is highlighted by the fact that when Pompey finally caught up with Lucullus in 67 to take over the command, the Roman army was camped at the town of Posdala in the Trokmoi country.37

Pompey quickly finished off the war with Mithradates, and then organized Pontos and Bithynia as Roman provinces, and so took the glory for the achievement, even though the earlier commanders, from Sulla to Lucullus, had actually done most of the hard work. The inland area of Anatolia, south of Pontos, and north of the Taurus – that is, principally Kappadokia and Galatia – were rearranged as several states which were Roman allies but were under their own rulers – client kingdoms. Ariobarzanes returned once more to his kingdom and received extensions of territory; the Paphlagonians were organized into two small kingdoms; Galatia was recognized as a trio of states, each with its own single tetrarch.38

The three tribes had in fact been emerging as quasi-monarchies for the previous twenty years, following Mithradates’ massacres. During the wars Galatian help had been useful to the Roman commanders and was provided whenever it was asked for, and two of the Galatian tetrarchs had proved themselves fully capable as rulers already: Deiotaros of the Tolistobogii had taken the lead in defeating Eumachos in 72 when he emerged to campaign in the Taurus and Pisidia. He was recognized as a king, though not of the Galatians, but his title was attached to his rule of some other sections of Anatolia; to the Tolistobogii he remained as tetrarch. Brogitaros was tetrarch of the Trokmoi, and was also later given the royal title, though his exact contribution to the war effort is not known. He was assigned also a great fortress which Mithradates had built; it was somewhere east of the Trokmoi lands at Mithradateion, which therefore represented an extension of Brogitaros’ Galatian lands, and was perhaps the reason for his royal title. These two men were linked by the marriage of Brogitaros with Deiotaros’ sister. Later Deiotaros’ nephew Kastor was installed as the Tectosages’ ruler, and his father (Deiotaros’ brother-inlaw) may well have been his predecessor as tetrarch of the Tectosages.

The new tetrarchs had power and wealth. Their power made them vulnerable to rivals (which included the other tetrarchs) and their wealth involved them in Roman politics. In Galatia Dioetaros is known to have built himself castles, one at Blukion, which was his palace, another at Peion, which was his ‘treasury’.39 These two have been examined with an archaeological eye. They proved to have been earlier buildings which Deiotaros expanded, strengthened, and modernized. Since they already existed it is reasonable to assume that one at least, and perhaps both, were the castles of earlier tetrarchs of the second century BC.40 They are certainly sites which were carefully chosen and defensible places, which suggests that the period of their original building was less than peaceful. This is hardly surprising, given the Galatian political system.

The recognition of these places as Tetrarchic castles (if that is what they were) has suggested that there would be other such places. With four tetrarchs per state, the hunt was on for the others; that there would be a set of four in each state can be tentatively identified.41 The problem is, of course, that the office of tetrarch was not necessarily hereditary, and in that case the death of one tetrarch might result in a man from a different part of the state emerging as the new man. We know, in fact, of only two inheritances of influence – the son of Ortiagon is known by name, though whether he was a tetrarch is not known, and the father of Deiotaros, Sinorix, may have been one. In such circumstances identifying places as Tetrarchic seats is not a productive exercise.

These men acted as did other contemporary kings, disputing with each other, intriguing to transfer territories to themselves, looking for advantage. Brogitaros, for example, for a time secured control of Pessinos from Deiotaros by intriguing at Rome, but Deiotaros (the Tolistobogii usually had the privileges at Pessinos) drove him out.42 The essence of the problem was the susceptibility of political Romans to corruption; inevitably the kings used their subjects’ tax contributions to attempt to bolster their own positions.

These new arrangements were incorporated in the Lex Julia in 59, and supplemented by a Lex Pompeia a little later, though they were actually in place from 67/66; the bitter disputes in Roman politics had delayed the legalization of Pompey’s measures until Caesar drove them through as a plebiscite during his consulship. Yet they were hardly set in stone, and the territories of Deiotaros in particular were expanded and shifted repeatedly over the next twenty years. Even so the Galatian territories always remained at the heart of these kings’ lands. Deiotaros was wary enough to organize his army on the Roman fashion and lend it to Roman governors at need – for example, to Cicero in Cilicia in 51,43 and to Cn. Domitius against Mithradates’ son Pharnakes in 4744 (though they suffered a total defeat).

The recurring civil warfare amongst the Roman warlords caught up the Galatians as usual, but their leaders’ political instincts failed them in choosing sides, for they regularly found themselves supporting the defeated, though in truth their geographical position in the east scarcely allowed them any choice at all; but their relatively small military contributions may have been the least they could provide, so attempting to limit their responsibility, just in case. If so, this was good politics, for the Romans based in the east all lost. Deiotaros was with Pompey with 600 horse at Pharsalos in 48, and then commanding 5000 cavalry with Brutus and Cassius at Philippi in 42, and then there were more Galatian cavalry with Antony at Actium in 31.45 Brogitaros had died before these difficult decisions had been necessary, but Deiotaros survived until 40 BC or so, dying at a great age – he had first been politically active in about 90 BC.

He had been as ruthless as any Hellenistic king (or Roman emperor), murdering sons and daughters when they seemed to threaten him. Partly as a result of the various marriages he came to rule all three of the Galatian tribes, the first time they had been united under a single ruler. When he died the central monarchy was inherited by his nephew Kastor, and then by Amyntas, one of his officials, who was appointed king by M. Antonius in 37, and held the post under Augustus, as well as other lands and areas, until his death fighting in Pisidia in 25.

At that point Augustus was compelled to make a new decision on the status of the whole area. Perhaps Amyntas had no obvious successor, and certainly Deiotaros’ family were no longer considered, though his descendants were active in the area during the next two centuries. But Galatia (like the Scordisci in the Balkans) had now become a much more important strategic location, when the Parthian frontier was in Armenia. Amyntas’ territories were annexed and converted into a Roman province. (This, however, was not the end of the juggling of territories, and the province of Galatia at times included Pamphylia and Kappadokia, which was annexed when its last king died in AD 17.) Deiotaros’ army was eventually converted into a Roman Legion, legio XXII Deiotariana. The kingdom of Galatia, as you may call it, had lasted about forty years.

Like the conquest of the Scordisci in 15 BC, the annexing of Amyntas’ kingdom in 25 BC marked the end of any independence for the Galatians of Asia, though it cannot have been much of a surprise to them. It was, in fact, one more political upheaval to add to those over the past two centuries, during which the country had gone from a free land to dependence on a series of ‘protectors’, or more accurately oppressors, to a triple kingdom, then a single kingdom at the disposal of a series of Roman warlords, and now a Roman province under a Roman governor. Henceforth they remained as part of the Roman Empire, which they had been happy to join after their treatment at the hands of their earlier protector in 86. As speakers of a Keltic language their descendants can be found in the area into the sixth century AD, but only as a minor, even exotic, group of people in the rural half of central Anatolia, a distinctly curious home for a Keltic people.

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