Taxiles (general)

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Taxiles (in Greek Tαξιλης; lived 1st century BC) was a general in the service of Mithridates VI of Pontus, and one of those in whom he reposed the highest confidence. He is first mentioned in 86 BC, when he was sent by Mithridates, with an army of not less than 110,000 men, to Europe, to make his way, through Thrace and Macedonia, to the assistance of Archelaus in Greece. This task he successfully accomplished, reduced Amphipolis, which had at first defied his arms, and having thus struck terror into the Macedonians, advanced without further opposition, through that country and Thessaly, into Phocis. Here he at first laid siege to Elateia, but was foiled in his attacks, and relinquished the enterprise, in order to form a junction with Archelaus in Boeotia. This object lie effected: but though the two generals now found themselves at the head of a formidable host, their combined forces were defeated in 86 BC by Sulla near Chaeronea, with great slaughter.[1]

From this time we hear no more of Taxiles till 74 BC, when he commanded (together with Hermocrates) the great army with which Mithridates invaded Paphlagonia and Bithynia, in the autumn of that year. During the subsequent operations at the siege of Cyzicus, he is mentioned as giving the king the most judicious advice.[2] After the defeat of the king and his retreat into his own territories, we again find Taxiles sharing with Diophantus the actual command of the army which Mithridates opposed to Lucullus near Cabira, 72 BC, where their skilful arrangements for a time held the balance of success doubtful, and reduced the Roman general to considerable straits for provisions. At length, however, the campaign was terminated by a total rout, in which the royal camp fell into the hands of the enemy.[3]

Taxiles accompanied Mithridates on his flight into Armenia, and we subsequently (69 BC) find him mentioned as present with Tigranes at the great battle of Tigranocerta, on which occasion he in vain endeavoured to restrain the overweening confidence of the Armenian monarch. This is the last time that his name occurs in history.[4]



  1. ^ Plutarch, Parallel Lives, "Sulla", 15-16, 19; Memnon, History of Heraclea, 3; Pausanias, Description of Greece, i. 20, ix. 40, x. 34
  2. ^ Appian, Roman History, "The Mithridatic Wars", 70, 72
  3. ^ Memnon, 4; Appian, 79-82; Plutarch, "Lucullus", 15, 17
  4. ^ Plutarch, "Lucullus", 27

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.