After his victory against Marcus Aurelius Cotta at Chalcedon, Mithridates besieged the Roman-allied town of Cyzicus. The town held out long enough for the consulLucius Licinius Lucullus to arrive with another Roman army and establish a counter-siege. Mithridates attempted to convince the Cyzicans that the Roman army was his own reserves, but Lucullus was able to convince them otherwise by secretly sending a messenger into the city.
With the onset of winter, Mithridates's forces faced starvation. The king fled by sea while his army made its way along the coast to the port of Lampsacus. Along the way, they were attacked and destroyed near Cabira along the Rhyndacus River.