Archelaus (general)
Archelaus was a leading military general of the King Mithridates VI of Pontus
Mithridates VI of Pontus
Mithridates VI or Mithradates VI Mithradates , from Old Persian Mithradatha, "gift of Mithra"; 134 BC – 63 BC, also known as Mithradates the Great and Eupator Dionysius, was king of Pontus and Armenia Minor in northern Anatolia from about 120 BC to 63 BC...

. Archelaus was the greatest general that had served under Mithridates VI and was also his favorite general.

Archelaus was a Cappadocian
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

  Greek nobleman
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

, possibly of Macedonian descent
Macedonia (Greece)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of Greece in Southern Europe. Macedonia is the largest and second most populous Greek region...

 from unknown parents. Perhaps his ancestors descended from those Greeks who arrived in Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 after the expedition of King Alexander the Great. He had a brother called Neoptolemus
Neoptolemus (Pontic general)
Neoptolemus was a distinguished general of King Mithridates VI of Pontus. He was the brother of Archelaus another general of Mithridates VI and the paternal uncle of Archelaus’ sons: Archelaus and Diogenes....

 and his family were active in the Pontic Court. As he was a friend of Mithridates VI, the Pontic King gave Archelaus a Court Title: Φιλος, which means in Greek Friend.

Along with Neoptolemus they both rose to prominence during the wars of Mithridates VI on the northern shores of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

. Archelaus was a prominent Pontic general during the First Mithridatic War
First Mithridatic War
The First Mithridatic War was a war challenging Rome's expanding Empire and rule over the Greek world. In this conflict, the Kingdom of Pontus and many Greek cities rebelling against Rome were led by Mithridates VI of Pontus against the Roman Republic and the Kingdom of Bithynia...

 89 BC-85 BC. In 88 BC as a part of the First Mithridatic War, Archelaus and his brother were involved in a military campaign with the Pontic army against King Nicomedes IV of Bithynia
Nicomedes IV of Bithynia
Nicomedes IV Philopator, was the king of Bithynia, from c. 94 BC to 74 BC. He was the first son and successor of the Monarchs Nicomedes III of Bithynia and Nysa and had a sister called Nysa....

. On the Amnias River
Gök River
The Gök River or Gökırmak is a tributary of the Kızılırmak in Turkey. Its source is in Kastamonu Province....

 the brothers had the command of the advance guard and won their first victory of the war. Neoptolemus then went on to defeat a Roman led army at Protopachium, probably without his brother. Archelaus was next involved in Mithridates VI’s successful military campaign in conquering most of the Roman Province of Asia. Archelaus had attacked a city called Magnesia ad Sipylum
Magnesia ad Sipylum
Magnesia ad Sipylum , was a city of Lydia, situated about 65 km northeast of Smyrna on the river Hermus at the foot of Mount Sipylus...

 or Magnesia on the Maeander
Magnesia on the Maeander
Magnesia or Magnesia on the Maeander was an ancient Greek city in Anatolia, considerable in size, at an important location commercially and strategically in the triangle of Priene, Ephesus and Tralles. The city was named Magnesia, after the Magnetes from Thessaly who settled the area along with...

. This attack failed and Archelaus was wounded in the fighting.

In the late summer or autumn of 88 BC or perhaps in 87 BC, Mithridates VI had given Archelaus the command of his large fleet and army to conquer Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

. Archelaus and the Pontic army were sent to Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, in response to the Athenians wanted to break free from Roman rule and wanted Mithridates VI to conquer them. On their way to Athens, Archelaus captured the Cyclades
The Cyclades is a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece; and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around the sacred island of Delos...

 Islands and the Greek island of Delos
The island of Delos , isolated in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades, near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece...

. When Archelaus and the Pontic army arrived in Athens, they occupied Piraeus
Piraeus is a city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens Urban Area, 12 km southwest from its city center , and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf....

. They occupied Athens after the Pontic army spent three days fighting with Quintus Bruttius Sura, the Roman Prefect of Macedonia
Macedonia (Roman province)
The Roman province of Macedonia was officially established in 146 BC, after the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus defeated Andriscus of Macedon, the last Ancient King of Macedon in 148 BC, and after the four client republics established by Rome in the region were dissolved...

 with his small detachment of Roman Soldiers. The presence of the Pontic army under the command of Archelaus encouraged citizens from Southern Greece to revolt against Roman rule. Archelaus and Bruttius Sura and their armies clashed over three days at Chaeronea in 86 BC
Battle of Chaeronea (86 BC)
For the earlier battle, see Battle of Chaeronea The Battle of Chaeronea was the victory of the Roman forces of Lucius Cornelius Sulla over King Mithridates VI of Pontus near Chaeronea, in Boeotia, in 86 BC during the First Mithridatic War. This battle is described in three ancient texts, although...

, where Archelaus was completely defeated. Archelaus and the Pontic army were besieged by Roman Dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

 and his five Roman legions. Archelaus and the Pontic army withdrew from Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

 and pulled back to Athens.

Mithridates VI had sent his son Arcathius
Arcathius was a Prince from the Kingdom of Pontus. He was a prince of Persian and Greek Macedonian ancestry. Arcathius was among the sons born to King Mithridates VI of Pontus and his sister-wife Laodice...

 and a much larger Pontic army to Greece to assist Archelaus. As Arcathius was advancing through Northern Greece, Archelaus made several failed attempts to get supplies into Athens. On March 1 86 BC, Sulla and his legions finally broke into Athens. By that time, Arcathius had died on his way to Athens. Archelaus’ ally the Athenian tyrant Aristion
Aristion was a philosopher and tyrant of Athens from 88 BC to 86 BC. Aristion joined forces with Mithridates against the Romans under Lucius Cornelius Sulla in the First Mithridatic war, but to no avail. On March 1, 86 BC, Athens was conquered by Sulla and Aristion was executed...

 had escaped into the Acropolis of Athens
Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens or Citadel of Athens is the best known acropolis in the world. Although there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as The Acropolis without qualification...

. Archelaus and his Athenian allies lost control of Piraeus and Athens; they were pushed back to the peninsula of Munichia
Munichia or Mounichia is the ancient Greek name for a steep hill in Piraeus, Athens, Greece known today as Kastella. This is a fashionable neighborhood in central Piraeus. On the top of the hill is a Greek Orthodox church named after the Prophet Elijah. The narrow streets around the church are...

. Archelaus took the Pontic army and joined the remaining forces in Thessaly Periphery, taking command at Thermopylae
Thermopylae is a location in Greece where a narrow coastal passage existed in antiquity. It derives its name from its hot sulphur springs. "Hot gates" is also "the place of hot springs and cavernous entrances to Hades"....


Sulla moved to Boeotia to face Archelaus. Archelaus escaped to Chalcis
Chalcis or Chalkida , the chief town of the island of Euboea in Greece, is situated on the strait of the Evripos at its narrowest point. The name is preserved from antiquity and is derived from the Greek χαλκός , though there is no trace of any mines in the area...

 where he received 80,000 reinforcements from Mithridates VI. As Sulla lacked a Roman fleet, Archelaus carried out raids around the Greek coast, even destroying some of Sulla’s transports carrying the advance guard of Sulla’s replacement. Eventually Sulla faced Archelaus at Orchomenus
Battle of Orchomenus
The Battle of Orchomenus was fought in 85 BC between Rome and the forces of Mithridates VI of Pontus. The Roman army was led by Lucius Cornelius Sulla, while Mithridates' army was led by Archelaus. The Roman force was victorious, and Archelaus later defected to Rome...

 in 86/85 BC. After a two-day battle, Archelaus was crushingly defeated by the Romans. After the defeat, he was forced to hide two days in the swamps of Lake Copais
Lake Copais
Lake Copais, Kopais, or Kopaida used to be in the centre of Boeotia, Greece, west of Thebes until the late 19th century. The area where it was located, though now a plain, is still known as Kopaida.- Drainage :...

, before once again managing to escape to Chalcis.

When Mithridates VI heard the news of the disastrous defeats, he ordered Archelaus to make peace with Sulla. On the conclusion of the peace conference between Mithridates VI and Sulla in late 86 BC, Archelaus suggested that Sulla recognise the status quo in Asia and in return Mithridates VI would ally with him against his enemies in Rome. Sulla responded to Archelaus by inviting him to surrender his fleet and become an ally of Rome.

The final terms of Sulla were that Mithridates VI should surrender part of the Pontic fleet and all conquered territory in Asia and pay an indemnity of 2,000 talents, in return for becoming a friend and ally of Rome. Archelaus remained with Sulla while these terms were sent to Mithridates VI. Archelaus was beginning to worry about his reputation in Pontus as he was getting closer to Sulla and accompanied him on a campaign against the Thracians
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

. Archelaus received from Sulla large estates in Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, including 6,600 acres of land in Boeotia, and was referred as a friend and ally of the Roman people. At some point he visited ome],] where he was honored by the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

. His Pontic fleet withdrew and left Greece. Archelaus was able to persuade Mithridates VI to meet Sulla. Mithridates VI met Sulla and agreed to the terms of Sulla, except for his surrender of his fleet and evacuation of Paphlagonia
Paphlagonia was an ancient area on the Black Sea coast of north central Anatolia, situated between Bithynia to the west and Pontus to the east, and separated from Phrygia by a prolongation to the east of the Bithynian Olympus...

. Sometime afterwards, Archelaus fell out of favor with Mithridates VI, who believed that Archelaus had made too many concessions to Sulla. Archelaus assisted the Romans in the Second Mithridatic War
Second Mithridatic War
The Second Mithridatic War was one of three wars fought between Pontus and the Roman Republic. The second Mithridatic war was fought between King Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman general Lucius Licinius Murena....

 and Lucius Licinius Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus , was an optimate politician of the late Roman Republic, closely connected with Sulla Felix...

 in the Third Mithridatic War
Third Mithridatic War
The Third Mithridatic War was the last and longest of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and his allies and the Roman Republic...


Archelaus had married an unnamed Greek woman, possibly a Pontic Princess, one of the daughters of Mithridates VI. His wife bore Archelaus two sons:
  • Archelaus
    Archelaus (high priest of Comana Cappadocia)
    Archelaus was a high priest of the temple-state of Comana, Cappadocia.-Family background:Archelaus was a Cappadocian Greek nobleman, possibly of Macedonian descent...

      – who became the High priest
    High priest
    The term "high priest" usually refers either to an individual who holds the office of ruler-priest, or to one who is the head of a religious caste.-Ancient Egypt:...

     of the temple-state of Comana, Cappadocia.
  • Diogenes - he had served in the army of Mithridates VI.


  • Appian
    Appian of Alexandria was a Roman historian of Greek ethnicity who flourished during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius.He was born ca. 95 in Alexandria. He tells us that, after having filled the chief offices in the province of Egypt, he went to Rome ca. 120, where he practised as...

    , Mithrid 30, 49, 56, 64
  • Plutarch
    Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

    , Sulla 11, 16-19, 20, 23; Lucullus, 8
  • Egyptian Royal Genealogy - Ptolemaic Dynasty, 2005 by Chris Bennett
  • A. Dodson & D. Hilton, Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, London: Thames & Hudson, 2004. MCL 932 Dod
  • A. Wagner
    Anthony Wagner
    Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, KCB, KCVO, FSA was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He served as Garter Principal King of Arms before retiring to the post of Clarenceux King of Arms...

    , Pedigree and Progress, Essays in the Genealogical Interpretation of History, London, Philmore, 1975. Rutgers Alex CS4.W33.
  • H. Temporini and W. Haase, Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt: Geschichte und Kultur Roms im spiegel der neueren Forschung, de Gruyter, 1977
  • D. Dueck, H. Lindsay and S. Pothecary, Strabo’s cultural geography: the making of a kolossourgia, Cambridge University Press, 2005
  • A. Mayor, The Poison King: the life and legend of Mithradates, Rome’s deadliest enemy, Princeton University Press, 2009
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.