Cassius was at that time pre-eminent for legal learning. The profession
of the soldier is forgotten in a quiet period, and peace reduces the
enterprising and indolent to an equality. But Cassius, as far as it
was possible without war, revived ancient discipline, kept exercising
the legions, in short, used as much diligence and precaution as if
an enemy were threatening him. This conduct he counted worthy of his
ancestors and of the Cassian family which had won renown even in those

He then summoned those at whose suggestion a king had been sought
from Rome, and having encamped at Zeugma where the river was most
easily fordable and awaited the arrival of the chief men of Parthia
and of Acbarus, king of the Arabs, he reminded Meherdates that the
impulsive enthusiasm of barbarians soon flags from delay or even changes
into treachery, and that therefore he should urge on his enterprise.
The advice was disregarded through the perfidy Acbarus, by whom the
foolish young prince, who thought that the highest position merely
meant self-indulgence, was detained for several days in the town of
Edessa. Although a certain Carenes pressed them to come and promised
easy success if they hastened their arrival, they did not make for
Mesopotamia, which was close to them, but, by a long detour, for Armenia,
then ill-suited to their movements, as winter was beginning.

As they approached the plains, wearied with the snows and mountains,
they were joined by the forces of Carenes, and having crossed the
river Tigris they traversed the country of the Adiabeni, whose king
Izates had avowedly embraced the alliance of Meherdates, though secretly
and in better faith he inclined to Gotarzes. In their march they captured
the city of Ninos, the most ancient capital of Assyria, and a fortress,
historically famous, as the spot where the last battle between Darius
and Alexander the power of Persia fell. Gotarzes meantime was offering
vows to the local divinities on a mountain called Sambulos, with special
worship of Hercules, who at a stated time bids the priests in a dream
equip horses for the chase and place them near his temple. When the
horses have been laden with quivers full of arrows, they scour the
forest and at length return at night with empty quivers, panting violently.
Again the god in a vision of the night reveals to them the track along
which he roamed through the woods, and everywhere slaughtered beasts
are found.

Gotarzes, his army not being yet in sufficient force, made the river
Corma a line of defence, and though he was challenged to an engagement
by taunting messages, he contrived delays, shifted his positions and
sent emissaries to corrupt the enemy and bribe them to throw off their
allegiance. Izates of the Adiabeni and then Acbarus of the Arabs deserted
with their troops, with their countrymen’s characteristic fickleness,
confirming previous experience, that barbarians prefer to seek a king
from Rome than to keep him. Meherdates, stript of his powerful auxiliaries
and suspecting treachery in the rest, resolved, as his last resource,
to risk everything and try the issue of a battle. Nor did Gotarzes,
who was emboldened by the enemy’s diminished strength, refuse the
challenge. They fought with terrible courage and doubtful result,
till Carenes, who having beaten down all resistance had advanced too
far, was surprised by a fresh detachment in his rear. Then Meherdates
in despair yielded to promises from Parrhaces, one of his father’s
adherents, and was by his treachery delivered in chains to the conqueror.
Gotarzes taunted him with being no kinsman of his or of the Arsacids,
but a foreigner and a Roman, and having cut off his ears, bade him
live, a memorial of his own clemency, and a disgrace to us. After
this Gotarzes fell ill and died, and Vonones, who then ruled the Medes,
was summoned to the throne. He was memorable neither for his good
nor bad fortune; he completed a short and inglorious reign, and then
the empire of Parthia passed to his son Vologeses.

Mithridates of Bosporus, meanwhile, who had lost his power and was
a mere outcast, on learning that the Roman general, Didius, and the
main strength of his army had retired, and that Cotys, a young prince
without experience, was left in his new kingdom with a few cohorts
under Julius Aquila, a Roman knight, disdaining both, roused the neighbouring
tribes, and drew deserters to his standard. At last he collected an
army, drove out the king of the Dandaridae, and possessed himself
of his dominions. When this was known, and the invasion of Bosporus
was every moment expected, Aquila and Cotys, seeing that hostilities
had been also resumed by Zorsines, king of the Siraci, distrusted
their own strength, and themselves too sought the friendship of the
foreigner by sending envoys to Eunones, who was then chief of the
Adorsi. There was no difficulty about alliance, when they pointed
to the power of Rome in contrast with the rebel Mithridates. It was
accordingly stipulated that Eunones should engage the enemy with his
cavalry, and the Romans undertake the siege of towns.

Then the army advanced in regular formation, the Adorsi in the van
and the rear, while the centre was strengthened by the cohorts, and
native troops of Bosporus with Roman arms. Thus the enemy was defeated,
and they reached Soza, a town in Dandarica, which Mithridates had
abandoned, where it was thought expedient to leave a garrison, as
the temper of the people was uncertain. Next they marched on the Siraci,
and after crossing the river Panda besieged the city of Uspe, which
stood on high ground, and had the defence of wall and fosses; only
the walls, not being of stone, but of hurdles and wicker-work with
earth between, were too weak to resist an assault. Towers were raised
to a greater height as a means of annoying the besieged with brands
and darts. Had not night stopped the conflict, the siege would have
been begun and finished within one day.
The Annals by Tacitus