Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Shane Bjornlie

Reader 2

Heather Ferguson

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© 2015 Samuel O'Braitis


This paper is an examination of how much of a military and diplomatic threat Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontus truly posed to the Roman Republic during the Mithridatic Wars from 88-63 BC. This question was posed due to the seeming disconnect between how Mithridates is portrayed in primary sources compared to the results of his military encounters with the Romans. This examination was performed with the use of numerous primary sources from the time period as well as secondary, scholarly sources pertaining to the motivations and actions of both Mithridates and contemporary Roman personages. The conclusion arrived at was that Mithridates was portrayed by Roman historians as being far more imposing than he truly was, which is supported by his lack of military success against the armies of Rome in their encounters. The reasons for his are Mithridates being used as a means for political ascension within the Roman social sphere by characters such as Sulla, Lucullus, and Pompey. Thus this paper examines how propaganda and political ambition can result in exaggerations and incomplete information being presented in historical accounts.

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