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The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy

The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Mithradates should be a household name alongside his fellow rebels Hannibal, Cleopatra, Spartacus, and Attila. This detailed, juicy, entertaining, yet painstaking work of superb scholarship should finally give Mithradates the recognition he deserves."--Margaret George, author of Helen of Troy: A Novel

"Meticulous in its research, exciting in its narration, ambitious in its conception, The Poison King re-creates an era when much of the Mediterranean world rebelled against Rome. At the center of it all is the fascinating and frightening king who rallied the resistance: Mithradates. Mayor has written a terrific book."--Barry Strauss, author of The Spartacus War

"A fascination with the byways of ancient science, a wonderful eye for the telling detail, and a relish for floating theories that is almost buccaneering: these have always been the trademarks of Adrienne Mayor. Now, with this stirring biography of the toxicologist's favorite tyrant, she parades her gift for narrative as well. Thanks to Mayor, Mithradates has emerged from the shadows at last as one of Rome's most potent and remarkable enemies."--Tom Holland, author of Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic

"'He died old'--so A. E. Housman refers to the subject of Adrienne Mayor's latest enthralling book, Mithradates VI, king of Pontus. Pursuing her interest in deadly chemical and biological substances, she focuses here on the life and times of the hammer of the mighty Romans in the last century of the Republic, the hellenized oriental ruler finally nailed by Pompey the Great. Ruthless, aggressive, charming, manipulative, callous--was Mithradates a textbook sociopath? Read this exhilarating and penetrating biography to find out."--Paul Cartledge, author of Alexander the Great

"Adrienne Mayor's The Poison King is an intriguing and highly readable new biography of one of the most controversial figures of antiquity, Mithradates--ruthless Hellenistic king, genocidaire, terrorist, alchemist, implacable enemy of Rome. It is an important contribution to our understanding of the desperate measures some rulers were prepared to take to resist Rome's iron-fisted pursuit of empire."--R. Bruce Hitchner, Tufts University

Review:

"Like the paradoxical toxins and antidotes he sought to control, Mithradates was a double-edged sword: he corroded the predatory Roman Republic and defended Rome’s intended prey." --- History Today

Review:

"Things haven't improved all that much in 2,100 years, but they haven't gotten much worse, either. If you're still in a position to read "The Poison King," that means you're alive and well,here on this perplexing, horrifying and beautiful Earth." --- Carolyn See, The Washington Post

Review:

"Nonetheless, Mayer-Schonberger deserves to be applauded and ,Delete deserves to be read for making us aware of the timelessness of what we create and for getting us to consider what endless accumulation might portend." ---Paul Duguid, Times Literary Supplement

Synopsis:

"Meticulous in its research, exciting in its narration, ambitious in its conception, "The Poison King" re-creates an era when much of the Mediterranean world rebelled against Rome. At the center of it all is the fascinating and frightening king who rallied the resistance: Mithradates. Mayor has written a terrific book."--Barry Strauss, author of "The Spartacus War"

"Adrienne Mayor's "The Poison King" is an intriguing and highly readable new biography of one of the most controversial figures of antiquity, Mithradates--ruthless Hellenistic king, genocidaire, terrorist, alchemist, implacable enemy of Rome. It is an important contribution to our understanding of the desperate measures some rulers were prepared to take to resist Rome's iron-fisted pursuit of empire."--R. Bruce Hitchner, Tufts University

Synopsis:

Machiavelli praised his military genius. European royalty sought out his secret elixir against poison. His life inspired Mozart's first opera, while for centuries poets and playwrights recited bloody, romantic tales of his victories, defeats, intrigues, concubines, and mysterious death. But until now no modern historian has recounted the full story of Mithradates, the ruthless king and visionary rebel who challenged the power of Rome in the first century BC. In this richly illustrated book--the first biography of Mithradates in fifty years--Adrienne Mayor combines a storyteller's gifts with the most recent archaeological and scientific discoveries to tell the tale of Mithradates as it has never been told before.

The Poison King describes a life brimming with spectacle and excitement. Claiming Alexander the Great and Darius of Persia as ancestors, Mithradates inherited a wealthy Black Sea kingdom at age fourteen after his mother poisoned his father. He fled into exile and returned in triumph to become a ruler of superb intelligence and fierce ambition. Hailed as a savior by his followers and feared as a second Hannibal by his enemies, he envisioned a grand Eastern empire to rival Rome. After massacring eighty thousand Roman citizens in 88 BC, he seized Greece and modern-day Turkey. Fighting some of the most spectacular battles in ancient history, he dragged Rome into a long round of wars and threatened to invade Italy itself. His uncanny ability to elude capture and surge back after devastating losses unnerved the Romans, while his mastery of poisons allowed him to foil assassination attempts and eliminate rivals.

The Poison King is a gripping account of one of Rome's most relentless but least understood foes.

About the Author

Adrienne Mayor is the author of "Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World" (Overlook) and "The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times" (Princeton). She is a research scholar in classics and history of science at Stanford University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Dramatis Personae xv

Time Line xix

Acknowledgments xxi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Kill Them All, and Let the Gods Sort Them Out 13

Chapter 2: A Savior Is Born in a Castle by the Sea 27

Chapter 3: Education of a Young Hero 43

Chapter 4: The Lost Boys 73

Chapter 5: Return of the King 96

Chapter 6: Storm Clouds 123

Chapter 7: Victory 147

Chapter 8: Terror 169

Chapter 9: Battle for Greece 188

Chapter 10: Killers’ Kiss 214

Chapter 11: Living Like a King 236

Chapter 12: Falling Star 262

Chapter 13: Renegade Kings 288

Chapter 14: End Game 315

Chapter 15: In the Tower 347

Appendix One 371

Appendix Two 377

Notes 381

Bibliography 421

Index 435

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691126838
Subtitle:
The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Mayor, Adrienne
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Mediterranean Region History, Military.
Subject:
Mithridates
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Ancient - General
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Archaeology and Ancient History
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
History of Science and Medicine, Philosophy of Science
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Copyright:
Publication Date:
October 2009
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
10 color plates. 75 halftones. 9 maps.
Pages:
472
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 32 oz

Related Subjects

» Biography » Historical
» History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Ancient Rome
» History and Social Science » World History » Ancient History
» History and Social Science » World History » Ancient Near East
» History and Social Science » World History » Classical

The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 472 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691126838 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Like the paradoxical toxins and antidotes he sought to control, Mithradates was a double-edged sword: he corroded the predatory Roman Republic and defended Rome’s intended prey." ---
"Review" by , "Things haven't improved all that much in 2,100 years, but they haven't gotten much worse, either. If you're still in a position to read "The Poison King," that means you're alive and well,here on this perplexing, horrifying and beautiful Earth." ---
"Review" by , "Nonetheless, Mayer-Schonberger deserves to be applauded and ,Delete deserves to be read for making us aware of the timelessness of what we create and for getting us to consider what endless accumulation might portend." ---
"Synopsis" by , "Meticulous in its research, exciting in its narration, ambitious in its conception, "The Poison King" re-creates an era when much of the Mediterranean world rebelled against Rome. At the center of it all is the fascinating and frightening king who rallied the resistance: Mithradates. Mayor has written a terrific book."--Barry Strauss, author of "The Spartacus War"

"Adrienne Mayor's "The Poison King" is an intriguing and highly readable new biography of one of the most controversial figures of antiquity, Mithradates--ruthless Hellenistic king, genocidaire, terrorist, alchemist, implacable enemy of Rome. It is an important contribution to our understanding of the desperate measures some rulers were prepared to take to resist Rome's iron-fisted pursuit of empire."--R. Bruce Hitchner, Tufts University

"Synopsis" by , Machiavelli praised his military genius. European royalty sought out his secret elixir against poison. His life inspired Mozart's first opera, while for centuries poets and playwrights recited bloody, romantic tales of his victories, defeats, intrigues, concubines, and mysterious death. But until now no modern historian has recounted the full story of Mithradates, the ruthless king and visionary rebel who challenged the power of Rome in the first century BC. In this richly illustrated book--the first biography of Mithradates in fifty years--Adrienne Mayor combines a storyteller's gifts with the most recent archaeological and scientific discoveries to tell the tale of Mithradates as it has never been told before.

The Poison King describes a life brimming with spectacle and excitement. Claiming Alexander the Great and Darius of Persia as ancestors, Mithradates inherited a wealthy Black Sea kingdom at age fourteen after his mother poisoned his father. He fled into exile and returned in triumph to become a ruler of superb intelligence and fierce ambition. Hailed as a savior by his followers and feared as a second Hannibal by his enemies, he envisioned a grand Eastern empire to rival Rome. After massacring eighty thousand Roman citizens in 88 BC, he seized Greece and modern-day Turkey. Fighting some of the most spectacular battles in ancient history, he dragged Rome into a long round of wars and threatened to invade Italy itself. His uncanny ability to elude capture and surge back after devastating losses unnerved the Romans, while his mastery of poisons allowed him to foil assassination attempts and eliminate rivals.

The Poison King is a gripping account of one of Rome's most relentless but least understood foes.

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