I tell the tale that I heard told.
Mithridates, he died old.
From A.E. Housman "Terence, this is stupid stuff"
Mithridates - A Thorn in Rome's SideDuring the Republic, Roman generals Sulla and Marius wanted the honor of disposing of the greatest challenge to Roman supremacy since Hannibal Barca (147-c. 183 B.C.), the fearsome African leader who led his elephants across the Alps and into Italy in the Second Punic War. This new threat was the long-lived Mithridates VI of Pontus (132-63 B.C.) who had been a thorn in Rome's side for 40 years. The rivalry of the two Roman generals led to loss of blood at home.
Despite stellar political careers, great military competence, and Marius and Sulla's personal confidence in their own ability to check the Eastern despot, it was neither Sulla nor Marius who put an end to the Mithridatic problem. Instead, it was Pompey who earned his honorific, magnus 'the Great', in the process.
Pontus - Home of Mithridates[See middle Asia Minor Map.] The mountainous district of Pontus lay on the eastern side of the Black Sea, beyond the province of Asia and Bithynia, north of Galatia and Cappadocia, west of Armenia, and south of Colchis (Medea's home). In the Third Punic War, Mithridates' ancestor helped Rome. This was Pontic king Mithridates V Euergetes (r. c.150–120 B.C.), who claimed descent from the Persian King Darius the Great. Rome gave him Phrygia Maior in gratitude. [See Eastern Roman Empire Map for the location of Phrygia.] By the time Rome had annexed Pergamum to create the province of Asia (129 B.C.), Pontus was ruled from its capital in Sinope, which is near the northern tip of Paphlagonia on the Asia Minor Map (section Md).
Mithridates - Youth and PoisonIn 120 B.C., while still a child, Mithridates VI became king of the area of Asia Minor known as Pontus. Mithridates VI's mother may have assassinated her husband, the fifth Mithridates in order to take power, since she served as regent and ruled in her 12-year-old son's stead. Afraid his mother would try to kill him, too, Mithridates went into hiding. During this time, Mithridates started ingesting small doses of various poisons in order to develop an immunity. When Mithridates returned (c. 115-111), at about the age of 17, he took command, imprisoned his mother, and, possibly, ordered her execution. He then started to extend his dominion.
After he acquired Greek towns in Colchis and what's now the Crimea, Mithridates established a strong fleet to hold his territories. As usual, conquest meant wealth and power. Mithridates wanted to increase his Greek holdings for the resources they offered: revenue, officers, and mercenary soldiers.
Next: Mithridates Expands His Empire...