Battle of Histria

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Battle of Histria
Scythia Minor map.jpg
A map of Scythia Minor showing the ancient Greek polis of Histria, in reference to other polises, where the battle took place.
Location Near the Greek polis of Histria
Result Bastarnae victory
Belligerents

Bastarnae

Scythians
Roman Republic
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Bastarnae king, possibly Burebista Gaius Antonius Hybrida
Strength
unknown number of cavalry large infantry and cavalry force
Casualties and losses
unknown entire infantry unit

The Battle of Histria, c. 62–61 B.C., was fought between the Bastarnae peoples of Scythia Minor and the Roman Consul (63 B.C.) Gaius Antonius Hybrida. The Bastarnae emerged victorious in the battle after having successfully committed a surprise attack against Hybrida and his troops; Hybrida escaped alongside his cavalry forces leaving behind the infantry to be massacred by the Bastarnian-Scythian attackers.

In the late 2nd Century B.C., the Pontic king Mithridates VI Eupator began a campaign of expansion around the Black Sea and into the interior of Asia Minor in modern-day Turkey. His campaigns led to the subjugation of the Bosporan Kingdom, Scythia Minor including the Black Sea Greek polises of Histria and Tomis, as well as the provinces of Bithynia, Cappadocia and much of Asia Minor. These campaigns led to conflict with the Roman Republic, the outcome of which was the return of Bithynia and Cappadocia to their respective rulers. The Roman Republic then urged the king of Bithynia to invade Pontus with the intent of seizing loot to return to Rome. Mithridates in retaliation conquered Bithynia and Cappadocia once again and began massacring the Roman and Italic populations of Asia Minor with the assistance of the Greeks in what is referred to as the Asiatic Vespers. This led to two further wars between the Roman Republic and Pontus which ended with the death of Mithridates VI, the end of revolts in Greece, Macedonia, and Asia Minor among others, and the subjugation of Armenia.

During this period, Gaius Antonius Hybrida was sent alongside Sulla to Macedonia to assist in the First Mithridatic War in around 87 B.C. After the end of the First Mithridatic War, while Sulla returned to Rome, Hybrida stayed in Macedonia levying contributions for himself. He was later recalled to Rome. First to face criminal charges in 76 B.C. resulting in his expulsion from the Senate, and then again in 63 B.C. to be elected to the position of Roman Consul and to fight the campaign against Catiline. From here he returned to Macedonia where he began incurring into the territory of Lower and Upper Moesia. He was to be attacked and defeated twice during this time, first by the Dardanians in an unknown location and then second near Histria by a coalition of Bastarnian and Scythian peoples, who may have been under the command of the Dacian king Burebista.

Burebista himself took command of the Bastarnae, Scythian, Dacian and Getae peoples sometime between 82 B.C. and 60 B.C. His rule led to a vast expansion of the Dacian kingdom, as far north as the Bug River at Olbia, south into Thrace, east along the Black Sea and west into Moesia and Pannonia. During the civil war between Pompey and Caesar, Pompey sought the assistance of Burebista, however, the Battle of Pharsalus ended any chance of an alliance between the two. Caesar himself had plans to lead a campaign against Dacia, however, both Caesar and Burebista were assassinated in 44 B.C. and Dacia itself broke apart into several smaller pieces soon after. The Dacians later enjoyed a resurgence in 85–86 A.D. under the rule of Decebalus, but, were again eventually defeated in 106 A.D. by Emperor Trajan who then turned a large portion Dacia into a province of Rome; Roman Dacia.

Background[edit]

Mithridates VI Eupator[edit]

Extent of the Pontic Kingdom under Mithridates VI Eupator. Before the reign of Mithridates (Darkest purple), after his conquests (purple), after his conquests in the Mithridatic Wars (pink).

Mithridates VI Eupator, or Mithridates VI of Pontus, came to rule over the Pontic kingdom in 113 B.C. at the age of 11, when his father was assassinated.[1] The Pontic kingdom is roughly located in the north-eastern quadrant of modern-day Turkey bordering against the Black Sea.[2] Mithridates VI began his career of military expansion first to the east, in modern-day Georgia, and soon after followed the coast of the Black Sea to the north.[3] Around 108 B.C. the Bosporan Kingdom was also peacefully incorporated into Mithridates VI growing Pontic Kingdom when Pairisades V handed its control to Mithridates VI.[4] By 100 B.C the Scythians had been subdued by Mithridates, here he recruited Scythian cavalry which he employed into his later campaigns to the south.[3] Mithridates' influence extended onto the north of the Black Sea and included the cities of Odessos, Nesebar, Histria (Istros), Tomis, Kallatis and Byzantion.[5]

Having subjugated Scythia, Mithridates turned his attention to the south and began conquering the neighbouring lands of Bithynia and Cappadocia while the Romans were embroiled in the Social War (91–88 BC), Rome attempted to force Mithridates into releasing the territory back to their respective kings urging the king of Bithynia to retaliate by invading Pontus and seizing loot to give to Rome.[1][3] By 90 B.C., however, Mithridates had successfully defeated the king before attacking Pergamon and killing a Roman envoy. During 89–88 B.C. Mithridates further expanded his territory by peacefully incorporating many Greek city-states within Asia Minor into his kingdom and Greece itself sought his assistance in freeing itself from Roman rule.[1][3] In 88 B.C., Mithridates had the Romans and Italic peoples residing in his kingdom and those that were within Asia Minor and Greece, including at Ephesus, Pergamon, Adramyttium, Caunus, Tralles and others, massacred in what is now called the "Asiatic Vespers".[1][2]

The Roman response to this was immediate and Mithridates was defeated in 85 B.C. by Sulla and pushed out of Greece the following year in the First Mithridatic War.[1][2] Kohn challenges this assertion slightly, suggesting that a Roman General, Fimbria, had defeated Mithridates in 84 B.C. while Sulla and his army defeated the Greeks, who had allied themselves with Mithridates, in 85 B.C.[6] A few years later a Roman General Murena invaded Mithridate's land, sparking the Second Mithridatic War, in the Kizil Irmak River area. Mithridates emerged victorious in this encounter around 82 B.C.[6] During the 70s B.C. Mithridates came to further blows with Rome now against the Roman General Lucullus who forced Mithridates out of Pontus.[1] Mithridates was now forced to flee to Armenia where he sought refuge with his son-in-law, King Tigranes I "the Great" of Armenia, who after refusing to surrender to the Romans was also be invaded by Lucullus and his army. Tigranocerta fell to the Romans during this campaign after a battle in the autumn of 69 B.C., the following year Lucullus attempted to continue the subjugation of Armenia, however, his army was unprepared for the mountainous region and climate. A second battle occurred at Artaxata in 68 B.C. where Mithridates was again be defeated. Despite this Lucullus and his army was forced to retreat to the Euphrates Valley. In 66 B.C., Lucullus was recalled to Rome and Pompey took over the command. Armenia was subdued the same year.[6] Finally in 64-63 B.C., Pompey pushed Mithridates into the Crimean peninsula where he committed suicide ending the Third Mithridatic War.[1][7]

Gaius Antonius Hybrida[edit]

In 87 B.C., Gaius (or Caius) Antonius Hybrida accompanied Sulla during his campaign to Greece as a military tribune.[8] Sulla himself had left Rome, after ending an uprising in Rome, to face the Mithridatic Greek armies commanded by Archelus and Aristion in Greece and laid siege to Athens.[9] Following this campaign, while Sulla returned to Rome, Hybrida remained behind with a small cavalry contingent to levy contributions from the province of Achaea. Several years later, in 76 B.C., Caesar had Hybrida prosecuted for his offence, the latter, however, failed to appear and the charges were dropped until in 70 B.C. Hybrida was ousted from the Senate for his crimes.[8] In 64 B.C, Hybrida was nominated for the position of consul alongside Lucius Sergius Catilina and Cicero.[10][11] Cicero and Hybrida were eventually elected to hold the positions of consul for the following year. Cicero made a move to make a deal with Hybrida; Hybrida was to be given the governorship-elect of the province of Macedonia, which was supposed to have been Cicero's at the end of the consulship, in exchange for granting Cicero sole power to rule over the Roman Republic.[12] Towards the end of 63 B.C., Hybrida went into Etruria with the intention of assisting the praetor Quintus Metellus Celer in capturing Catiline and his men, however, during this campaign Hybrida handed over command of the army to his Lieutenant, Marcus Petreius. Hybrida claimed to have been suffering from illness though this may be a fabrication on his part.[8] His Lieutenant, now in command, met Catiline, and approximately 3,000 of his men, in battle emerging victorious having destroyed Catiline's army and killed Catiline.[11] Having adhered to the agreement with Cicero and the Senate, Hybrida was given control of Macedonia where he then began pillaging the province and robbing the provincials. From here Hybrida also started incurring upon barbarian lands in Lower and Upper Moesia.[13]

Battle[edit]

The battle of Histria took place c. 62-61 B.C., between the Bastarnae and Scythians and the Roman Consul (63 B.C.) Gaius Antonius Hybrida near the ancient town of Histria.[13][14] Dio writes about the battle in his work, "Dio's Roman History", stating that Hybrida had "inflicted many injuries" against his subjects during his tenure as Governor of Macedonia. Hybrida's incursions were into Upper and Lower Moesia.[13] Dio writes of one specific event in Book XXXVIII where Hybrida and his men forcefully took the possessions of the "Dardanians and their neighbours" before retreating away in anticipation of a retaliatory attack from them. Hybrida took the opportunity to flee by pretending to retire his cavalry with his men. This maneuver ultimately failed, however, as Hybrida and his men were surrounded by enemy infantry and forced out of the land losing all of the possessions that they had stolen.[13][15]

Hybrida later tried a similar tactic while in Moesia at Histria but was again defeated, this time by the Bastarnian Scythians, before again fleeing from the site of the battle.[13][16] The Romans had been under the impression that with Mithridates defeat that the region had been conquered, however, while Hybrida and his men marched to occupy the city of Histria a large cavalry force of Bastarnae attacked them. Hybrida and his cavalry force detached from the main column and retreated away from the site, leaving the Roman infantry to be massacred.[17]

Aftermath[edit]

Dacian king Burebista[edit]

Various accounts draw different starting dates for the reign of Burebista; Jordanes, in his work "the origin and deeds of the goths" writes that Burebista was the king of the goths during the time of Sulla, without an explicit date,[18] Sulla himself was appointed dictator by the Senate either towards the end of 82 B.C. or at the start of 81 B.C.[19] Grumeza, and Hitchins suggest that Burebista's rule began around 82 B.C.[20][21] Jones and Ereira suggest that Burebista came to reign over the Dacians around 70 B.C,[22] while Bunson, Middleton, and Schmitts suggest that Burebista's reign started around 60 B.C.[23][24][25]

Burebista's rule is marked by the unity of the Dacian and Getae peoples and campaigns of expansion throughout the Danube.[26][27] His campaign of expansion led to the destruction of the Boii, at the time led by Critasiros, and the Taurisci, residing in the approximate regions of modern-day Czech Republic and Slovakia.[23][26][28] Further, Burebista led campaigns against the Celts living in Thrace and Illyria, which were likely the Scordisci, raided throughout Thrace and into Roman Macedonia, and subjugated the Greek polis', including which included Histria, Tomis, Apollonia, Odessos and Dionysopolis amongst others, along the Black Sea.[26][27][28] To the north Burebista's campaigns led to the capture and control of the Greek merchant city of Olbia/Olbiopolis thus extending the border of the Dacian kingdom to the western bank of the Bug River.[29] In Pannonia, the Dacians took over the fortified cities of Zemplin and Židovar and attacked the Celtic tribes that had expanded their lands towards the Black Sea. The Anarati, Pannoni, and Eravisci were also brought under the rule of the Dacians. Despite these conquests, the Breuci and Sagestani tribes remained defiant and closed off access to the Adriatic from the Dacians.[29]

In 48 B.C., Pompey sought the assistance of Burebista in his war against Caesar, however, the Battle of Pharsalus ended any chance of an alliance between the two.[23][30] After the war with Pompey, Caesar intended to lead a campaign against Burebista and the Dacians, part of a larger campaign planned to go through to Parthia. This plan did not come to fruition as in 44 B.C., both Caesar and Burebista were assassinated.[23][26] After Burebista's death, a revolt led to the disintegration of the Dacian kingdom into four parts, and, by the time of Augustus, into five parts.[28]

Dacia subjugated[edit]

In the time between Tiberius' and Domitian's reigns as Emperor, the activity of the Dacians was minimal. The Dacians had divided into smaller tribes with Burebista's death and posed no substantial threat to the Roman Empire. This once again changed around 85–86 A.D. with the ascension of Decebalus to the throne when Dacia was once again considered to be a threat to Rome.[31] Decebalus, like Burebista, successfully united the Dacians and earned a reputation as a leader and military commander. His rule saw a new wave of raiding into Moesia, Illyria and Macedonia by the Dacians. This raids were of such intensity and scale that Domitian sent the praetorian prefect Fuscus and a large force to combat the Dacians. Decebalus attempted to draw a peace treaty with Domitian, but, the overconfident Emperor rejected the offer. In the end, Decebalus set up an ambush which saw Fuscus and his forces massacred.[32] This reign of superiority for the Dacians, however, came to an end when Trajan became emperor in 98 A.D. Trajan waged two wars against the Dacians, the first in 101–102 A.D. which resulted in a peace between Dacia and Rome, but that was not respected by the Dacians and this then culminated in the second war of 105–106 A.D. The second war ultimately ended in the permanent defeat of the Dacians, the death of Decebalus and a large portion of Dacia being turned into a Roman province.[28]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Phang, Sara; Spence, Iain; Kelly, Douglas; Londey, Peter (2016). Conflict in Ancient Greece and Rome: The Definitive Political, Social, and Military Encyclopaedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 377–378. ISBN 1-61069-020-6. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Yenne, Bill (2012). Julius Caesar: Lessons in Leadership from the Great Conqueror. Macmillan. p. 17. ISBN 1-137-01329-X. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Phang, Sara; Spence, Iain; Kelly, Douglas; Londey, Peter (2016). Conflict in Ancient Greece and Rome: The Definitive Political, Social, and Military Encyclopaedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 1062. ISBN 1-61069-020-6. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Phang, Sara; Spence, Iain; Kelly, Douglas; Londey, Peter (2016). Conflict in Ancient Greece and Rome: The Definitive Political, Social, and Military Encyclopaedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 157. ISBN 1-61069-020-6. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  5. ^ McGing, Brian (2009). Mithridates VI Eupator: Victim or Aggressor? (PDF). p. 207. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Kohn, George (2013). Dictionary of Wars. Routledge. ISBN 1-135-95501-8. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Tucker, Spencer (2009). A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. ABC-CLIO. p. 115. ISBN 1-85109-672-8. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c Biographical Dictionary, Volume 3. Longman. 1843. p. 98. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  9. ^ Tucker, Spencer (2009). A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. ABC-CLIO. p. 113. ISBN 1-85109-672-8. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  10. ^ Dunstan, William (2010). Ancient Rome. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. p. 163. ISBN 0-7425-6834-2. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Fields, Nic (2010). Warlords of Republican Rome: Caesar Against Pompey. Casemate Publishers. p. 75. ISBN 1-935149-06-7. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  12. ^ Kamm, Antony (2006). Julius Caesar: A Life. Routledge. p. 42. ISBN 1-134-22033-2. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Biographical Dictionary, Volume 3. Longman. 1843. pp. 98–99. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  14. ^ Woolf, Greg (2012). Rome: An Empire's Story. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-997217-6. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  15. ^ Dio, Cassius (n.d.). Roman History. pp. 216–217. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  16. ^ Dio, Cassius (n.d.). Roman History. p. 217. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  17. ^ Mac Gonagle, Brendan (2015). "Celto-Scythians and Celticization in Ukraine and the North Pontic Region". Journal of Celtic Studies in Eastern Europe and Asia-Minor. 
  18. ^ Jordanes (1915). The Gothic History of Jordanes. Princeton University Press. pp. 69–70. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  19. ^ Davies, Mark; Swain, Hilary (22 June 2010). Aspects of Roman history, 82 BC-AD 14: a source-based approach. Taylor & Francis. pp. 33–. ISBN 978-0-415-49693-3. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  20. ^ Grumeza, Ion (2009). Dacia Land of Transylvania, Cornerstone of Ancient Eastern Europe. Lanham: Hamilton Books. p. 8. ISBN 0-7618-4466-X. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  21. ^ Hitchins, Keith (2014). A Concise History of Romania. Cambridge University Press. p. 7. ISBN 0-521-87238-3. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  22. ^ Jones, Terry; Ereira, Alan (2009). Terry Jones' Barbarians. Random House. p. 10. ISBN 1-4090-7042-5. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  23. ^ a b c d Bunson, Matthew (2014). Encyclopaedia of the Roman Empire. Infobase Publishing. p. 83. ISBN 1-4381-1027-8. Retrieved 18 August 2016. 
  24. ^ Middleton, John (2015). World Monarchies and Dynasties. Routledge. p. 223. ISBN 1-317-45158-9. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  25. ^ Schmits, Michael (2005). The Dacian Threat, 101–106 AD. Armidale, NSW: Caeros Publishing. pp. 9–10. ISBN 0-9758445-0-4. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  26. ^ a b c d Phang, Sara; Spence, Iain; Kelly, Douglas; Londey, Peter (2016). Conflict in Ancient Greece and Rome: The Definitive Political, Social, and Military Encyclopaedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 745. ISBN 1-61069-020-6. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  27. ^ a b Koch, John (n.d.). Celtic culture: a historical encyclopaedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 550. ISBN 1-85109-440-7. Retrieved 18 August 2016. 
  28. ^ a b c d Mugnai, Bruno (2016). History&Uniforms 006GB. Soldiershop Publishing. ISBN 88-9327-078-1. Retrieved 24 August 2016. 
  29. ^ a b Grumeza, Ion (2009). Dacia Land of Transylvania, Cornerstone of Ancient Eastern Europe. Lanham: Hamilton Books. p. 33. ISBN 0-7618-4466-X. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  30. ^ Grumeza, Ion (2009). Dacia Land of Transylvania, Cornerstone of Ancient Eastern Europe. Lanham: Hamilton Books. p. 34. ISBN 0-7618-4466-X. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  31. ^ Schmits, Michael (2005). The Dacian Threat, 101–106 AD. Armidale, NSW: Caeros Publishing. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0-9758445-0-4. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  32. ^ Schmits, Michael (2005). The Dacian Threat, 101–106 AD. Armidale, NSW: Caeros Publishing. p. 11. ISBN 0-9758445-0-4. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 

References[edit]

  • Biographical Dictionary, Volume 3. Longman. 1843. 
  • Bunson, Matthew (2014). Encyclopaedia of the Roman Empire. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 1-4381-1027-8. 
  • Davies, Mark; Swain, Hilary (2010). Aspects of Roman History 82BC 14 AD: A Source-based Approach. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-203-85665-1. 
  • Dio, Cassius (n.d.). Roman History. 
  • Dunstan, William (2010). Ancient Rome. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 0-7425-6834-2. 
  • Hitchins, Keith (2014). A Concise History of Romania. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-87238-3. 
  • Jones, Terry; Ereira, Alan (2009). Terry Jones' Barbarians. Random House. ISBN 1-4090-7042-5. 
  • Jordanes (1915). The Gothonic History of Jordanes. Princeton University Press. 
  • Kamm, Antony (2006). Julius Caesar: A Life. Routledge. ISBN 1-134-22033-2. 
  • Kohn, George (2013). Dictionary of Wars. Routledge. ISBN 1-135-95501-8. 
  • Mac Gonagle, Brendan (2015). "Celto-Scythians and Celticization in Ukraine and the North Pontic Region". Journal of Celtic Studies in Eastern Europe and Asia-Minor. 
  • McGing, Brian (2009). Mithridates VI Eupator: Victim or Aggressor?. 
  • Middleton, John (2015). World Monarchies and Dynasties. Routledge. ISBN 1-317-45158-9. 
  • Mugnai, Bruno (2016). History&Uniforms 006GB. Soldiershop Publishing. ISBN 88-9327-078-1. 
  • Phang, Sara; Spence, Iain; Kelly, Douglas; Londey, Peter (2016). Conflict in Ancient Greece and Rome: The Definitive Political, Social, and Military Encyclopaedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-440-7. 
  • Schmits, Michael (2005). The Dacian Threat, 101–106 AD. Armidale, NSW: Caeros Publishing. ISBN 0-9758445-0-4. 
  • Tucker, Spencer (2009). A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-672-8. 
  • Woolf, Greg (2012). Rome: An Empire's Story. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-997217-6. 
  • Yenne, Bill (2012). Julius Caesar: Lessons in Leadership from the Great Conqueror. Macmillan. ISBN 1-137-01329-X.