The Poison King by Adrienne Mayor

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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.

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

 

About Adrienne Mayor

See more books from this 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 visiting scholar in classics and history of science at Stanford University.
 
Published September 28, 2009 by Princeton University Press. 472 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Poison King

Kansas City Public Library

As Mayor points out in The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy, nonfatal lightning strikes forecasted fame.

Jul 19 2010 | Read Full Review of The Poison King

truthdig

There is not one legitimate reason for anyone to not be in a proven peace-creating program, not one and the Transcendental Meditation program is such a program.

Jul 18 2006 | Read Full Review of The Poison King

truthdig

Te’o said he knew they were at the hotel because the group took photos in the hotel lobby.

Jan 19 2013 | Read Full Review of The Poison King

truthdig

He made extensive use of poisons for his political advantage—in lethal doses to his enemies ...» - does Mr Stothard really believe that Mithradates «Western» counterparts, the Roman emperors, were less willing to employ poisioning, or for that matter, massacres as a tool of statecraft ?

Jan 15 2010 | Read Full Review of The Poison King

truthdig

He made extensive use of poisons for his political advantage—in lethal doses to his enemies ...» - does Mr Stothard really believe that Mithradates «Western» counterparts, the Roman emperors, were less willing to employ poisioning, or for that matter, massacres as a tool of statecraft ?

Jan 15 2010 | Read Full Review of The Poison King

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