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The Romans: conquest by testament?

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The Romans: conquest by testament?

Postby Carolus Raeticus » Sun May 01, 2011 8:48 am


I am just reading the "Breviarium" by Eutropias as my first ancient author. Eutropius repeatedly mentions that some king or other bequeaths his kingdom to the Romans:

Eutropius wrote:
  • Book IV, Ch. 18: Eodem tempore Attalus, rex Asiae, frater Eumenis, mortuus est heredemque populum Romanum reliquit. Ita imperio Romano per testamentum Asia accessit.
  • Book VI, Ch. 6: Anno urbis conditae sexcentesimo septuagesimo sexto L. Licinio Lucullo et M. Aurelio Cotta consulibus mortuus est Nicomedes, rex Bithyniae, et per testamentum populum Romanum fecit heredem.
  • Book VI, Ch. 11: Quo tempore Libya quoque Romano imperio per testamentum Appionis, qui rex eius fuerat, accessit, in qua inclutae urbes erant Berenice, Ptolemais, Cyrene.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would give his kingdom to another people, even if he didn't have any direct descendant. Is anything known about these "testaments"? Might they be some sort of fraud on the Romans' side? If they were real, why would anyone do such a thing?


Carolus Raeticus
Sperate miseri, cavete felices.
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Re: The Romans: conquest by testament?

Postby jtm » Fri May 06, 2011 1:30 pm

Yeah, Attalus III. I don't know of any suggestion that there was any kind of fraud by Rome--such as pressure to bequeath it to Rome. They say he had no interest in politics and that he was trying to avoid the political chaos that might erupt after his death, since he had no heirs. Chaos erupted anyway. Aristonicus, who said he was Attalus III's half-brother (but an illegitimate son), led an uprising, which was soon ended. It caused a bit of chaos in Rome as well--what to do with the income.

The case of Nicomedes IV was more complicated, since by that time Rome was deeply involved in the region.
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