Next day they sent an embassy asking mercy for the freeborn, and offering
ten thousand slaves. As it would have been inhuman to slay the prisoners,
and very difficult to keep them under guard, the conquerors rejected
the offer, preferring that they should perish by the just doom of
war. The signal for massacre was therefore given to the soldiers,
who had mounted the walls by scaling ladders. The destruction of Uspe
struck terror into the rest of the people, who thought safety impossible
when they saw how armies and ramparts, heights and difficult positions,
rivers and cities, alike yielded to their foe. And so Zorsines, having
long considered whether he should still have regard to the fallen
fortunes of Mithridates or to the kingdom of his fathers, and having
at last preferred his country’s interests, gave hostages and prostrated
himself before the emperor’s image, to the great glory of the Roman
army, which all men knew to have come after a bloodless victory within
three days’ march of the river Tanais. In their return however fortune
was not equally favourable; some of their vessels, as they were sailing
back, were driven on the shores of the Tauri and cut off by the barbarians,
who slew the commander of a cohort and several centurions.

Meanwhile Mithridates, finding arms an unavailing resource, considered
on whose mercy he was to throw himself. He feared his brother Cotys,
who had once been a traitor, then become his open enemy. No Roman
was on the spot of authority sufficient to make his promises highly
valued. So he turned to Eunones, who had no personal animosity against
him, and had been lately strengthened by his alliance with us. Adapting
his dress and expression of countenance as much as possible to his
present condition, he entered the palace, and throwing himself at
the feet of Eunones he exclaimed, “Mithridates, whom the Romans have
sought so many years by land and sea, stands before you by his own
choice. Deal as you please with the descendant of the great Achaemenes,
the only glory of which enemies have not robbed me.”

The great name of Mithridates, his reverse, his prayer, full of dignity,
deeply affected Eunones. He raised the suppliant, and commended him
for having chosen the nation of the Adorsi and his own good faith
in suing for mercy. He sent at the same time envoys to Caesar with
a letter to this effect, that friendship between emperors of Rome
and sovereigns of powerful peoples was primarily based on a similarity
of fortune, and that between himself and Claudius there was the tie
of a common victory. Wars had glorious endings, whenever matters were
settled by an amnesty. The conquered Zorsines had on this principle
been deprived of nothing. For Mithridates, as he deserved heavier
punishment, he asked neither power nor dominions, only that he might
not be led in triumph, and pay the penalty of death.

Claudius, though merciful to foreign princes, was yet in doubt whether
it were better to receive the captive with a promise of safety or
to claim his surrender by the sword. To this last he was urged by
resentment at his wrongs, and by thirst for vengeance. On the other
hand it was argued that it would be undertaking a war in a country
without roads, on a harbourless sea, against warlike kings and wandering
tribes, on a barren soil; that a weary disgust would come of tardy
movements, and perils of precipitancy; that the glory of victory would
be small, while much disgrace would ensue on defeat. Why should not
the emperor seize the offer and spare the exile, whose punishment
would be the greater, the longer he lived in poverty?

Moved by these considerations, Claudius wrote to Eunones that Mithridates
had certainly merited an extreme and exemplary penalty, which he was
not wanting in power to inflict, but it had been the principle of
his ancestors to show as much forbearance to a suppliant as they showed
persistence against a foe. As for triumphs, they were won over nations
and kings hitherto unconquered.

After this, Mithridates was given up and brought to Rome by Junius
Cilo, the procurator of Pontus. There in the emperor’s presence he
was said to have spoken too proudly for his position, and words uttered
by him to the following effect became the popular talk: “I have not
been sent, but have come back to you; if you do not believe me, let
me go and pursue me.” He stood too with fearless countenance when
he was exposed to the people’s gaze near the Rostra, under military
guard. To Cilo and Aquila were voted, respectively, the consular and
praetorian decorations.
The Annals by Tacitus