The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy – Adrienne Mayor
A sovereign born amidst myth and legend, prophesied during the time that a saviour, born under an Eastern luminary, destined to make war on the mightiest supreme dominion the world had known. No, not Jesus, he came later. First in that place was Mithradates, born in what we since know as Turkey, king of Pontus and Anatolia, and single in kind of the Roman Republic’s greatest in number formidable opponents – hailed alongside Spartacus and Hannibal being of the cl~s who one of the greatest threats to Rome’s subsisting. He claimed descent from Darius the Great of Persia and Alexander the Great of Macedonia and aimed at forging his concede empire in Anatolia and the Black Sea. He fought a line of wars against Rome, from 88 BC to 63 BC, now and then winning great victories, sometimes losing disastrously, no more than always returning again and again. Rome not at all did quite defeat Mithradates, and he died every old man, by his own possession.
He was also engrossed by that which we could call pharmacology and toxicology, endlessly experimenting with plants, poisons and venoms, to cause a universal antidote. Condemned criminals in Mithradates’ lands were executed by way of poison, with the king carefully observing and noting reactions, hurry, suffering. For centuries after his end of life, a mithridate was a semi-mythical redress against poisons, taken by kings and queens in every part history. One could still buy mithradates from physicians in London because late as 1786.
It’s a fascinating rehearsal, and I only wish I could belief that much of this book was in reality true. I would call this each imaginative biography rather than a historical biography – there are simply too many gaps plugged ~ means of speculation, too many holes in the records filled with ‘what ifs’, too much informed imaginative speculation. It’s a great peruse, a good story well-told, except reading this book it is self-same difficult to pull apart what is not merely supposed or fancied verifiable historical record from what the creator thinks seems plausible. Certainly the ultimate chapter is worthy of historical imagination!
I understand the frustrations of hand~ the biography of such a slight figure, when so little survives and much of what does was written ~ means of his enemies. But that isn’t an open invitation to just ‘fill in the blanks’. That uttered, Adrienne Mayor is quite honest from the beginning about the nature of this work and how much informed speculation went into it – and in a road, one could argue all history to a fixed extent is mere informed speculation, backed up ~ dint of. carefully chosen and marshalled evidence. Perhaps Mayor is precisely more open about it.
Therapists try that fruitful treatment can be the decision of untarnished maps.