Lucullus

Lucullus (Lucius Licinius Lucullus Ponticus)lōkŭlˈəs, c.110 B.C.–56 B.C., Roman general. He served in the Social War under Sulla, who made him his favorite. He fought in the East (87 B.C.–85 B.C.), always loyal to Sulla, who made him curule aedile (79 B.C.) and praetor (78 B.C.). Lucullus was made consul (74 B.C.) and obtained for his proconsulship the province of Cilicia. With his colleague, Caius Aurelius Cotta, he went to the East to attack Mithradates VI, who was advancing steadily through Asia Minor. Mithradates defeated Cotta, but Lucullus camped behind the Pontic king, drew him out, and annihilated his army. Mithradates withdrew into Pontus but the following year (72 B.C.) was forced by Lucullus into Armenia, where he took refuge with King Tigranes. Lucullus then applied himself to the establishment of order in Asia, provoking great unpopularity in Rome by reforming the provincial finances. Pompey had always been Lucullus' enemy, and now his party joined with the capitalists in urging the recall of Lucullus. They also sent out emissaries to stir up discontent in Lucullus' army, which had never been devoted to him. In 69 B.C., Lucullus invaded Armenia and took the capital, Tigranocerta. This was the climax of his career, for mutiny then became an almost daily occurrence in his army. In 66 B.C. he was recalled, and Pompey replaced him. Lucullus retired to Rome. He kept out of state affairs and spent huge sums sponsoring public shows and improving his estates. The term Lucullan derives from his extravagant standard of living.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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