EPITOME OF THE PHILIPPIC HISTORY
OF POMPEIUS TROGUS
(Marcus Junianus Justinus)
2nd or 3rd century CE
trans. John Selby Watson (1853)
Virtually nothing is known of JUSTIN (Marcus Junianus Justinus) except what he says of himself, mostly that he is the author of books. Justin abridged portions of a universal history in forty-four books written by Pompeius Trogus, preserving Trogus' Philippic History in a popular form that eventually supplanted the original. Trogus was considered one of the four Great Historians in classical antiquity, and unfortunately all that survives is Justin's summary and a few references in Pliny and the Historia Augusta. In Book 42, Justin and/or Trogus discuss the history of Armenia. Here, Justin records a second journey by Jason to Colchis, this time to conquer Armenia after gettinb back together with Medea (!)--a story unattested in any other ancient source. This second journey appears to derive from Strabo's observation that in Armenia there were shrines to Jason, as well as the traditional identification (dating back to Herodotus) that the Medes took their name from Medea's son, Medeus.
I. After the death of Mithridates, king, of the Parthians, Phraates his son was made king, who, having proceeded to make war upon Syria, in revenge for the attempts of Antiochius on the Parthian dominions. was recalled, by hostilities on the part of the Scythians, to defend his own country. For the Scythians having been induced, by the offer of pay, to assist the Parthians against Antiochus king of Syria, and not having arrived till the war was ended, were disappointed of the expected renumeration, and reproached with having brought their aid too late; and when, in discontent at having made so long a march in vain, they demanded that "either some recompence for their trouble, or another enemy to attack, should be assigned them," being offended at the haughty reply which they received, they began to ravage the country of the Parthians. Phraates, in consequence, marching against them, left a certain Himerus, who had gained his favours in the bloom of youth, to take care of his kingdom. But Himerus, unmindful both of his past life, and of the duty with which he was entrusted, miserably harassed the people of Babylon, and many other cities, with tyrannical cruelties. Phraates himself, meanwhile, took with him to the war a body of Greeks, who had been made prisoners in the war against Antiochus, and whom he had treated with great pride and severity. not reflecting that captivity had not lessened their hostile feelings, and that the indignity of the outrages which they had suffered must have exasperated them. As soon therefore as they saw the Persians giving ground, they went over to the enemy, and executed that revenge for their captivity, which they had long desired, by a sanguinary destruction of the Parthian army and of king Phraates himself.
II. In his stead Artabanus, his uncle, was made king The Scythians, content with their victory, and with having laid waste Parthia, returned home. Artabanus, making war upon the Thogarii, received a wound in the arm, of which he immediately died. He was succeeded by his son Mithridates, to whom his achievements procured the surname of Great; for, being fired with a desire to emulate the merit of his ancestors, he was enabled by the vast powers of his mind to surpass their renown. He carried on many wars, with great bravery, against his neighbours, and added many provinces to the Parthian kingdom. He fought successfully, too, several times, against the Scythians, and avenged the injuries received from them by his forefathers, At last he turned his arms against Ortoadistes, king of Armenia. But since we here make a transition to Armenia, we must look a little farther back into its origin; for it is not right that so great a kingdom should be passed in silence, since its territory, next to that of Parthia, is of greater extent than any other kingdom. Armenia, from Cappadocia to the Caspian Sea, stretches over a space of eleven hundred miles, and is seven hundred miles in breadth. It was founded by Armenius, the companion of Jason of Thessaly, whom King Pelias, wishing to procure his death from dread of his extraordinary ability which was dangerous to his throne, despatched on a prescribed expedition to Colchis, to bring home the fleece of the ram so celebrated throughout the world; hoping that the man would lose his life, either in the perils of so long a voyage, or in war with barbarians so remote. But Jason, having spread abroad the report of so glorious an enterprise, at which the chief of the youth from almost all the world came flocking to him, collected a band of heroes, who were called Argonauts. Having brought his troop back safe, and being again driven from Thessaly by the sons of Pelias, he set out on a second voyage for Colchis, accompanied by a numerous train of followers (who, at the fame of his valour, came daily from all parts to join him), by his wife Medea, whom, having previously divorced her, he had now received again from compassion for her exile, and by his step-son Medus, whom she had by Aegeus king of the Athenians; and he re-established his father-in-law Aeetes, who had been driven from his throne.
III. He then carried on great wars with the neighbouring nations; and of the cities which he took, he added part to the kingdom of his father-in-law, to make amends for the injury that he had done him in his former expedition, in which he had carried off his daughter Medea and put to death his son Aegialeus,and part he assigned to the people that he had brought with him; and he is said to have been the first of mankind, after Hercules and Bacchus (whom tradition declares to have been kings of the east), that subdued that quarter of the world. Over some of these nations he appointed Recas and Amphistratus, the charioteers of Castor and Pollux, to be their rulers. With the Albanians he formed an alliance, a people who are said to have followed Hercules out of Italy, from the Alban mount, when, after having killed Geryon, he was driving his herds through Italy, and who, remembering their Italian descent, saluted the soldiers of Pompey in the Mithridatic war as their brothers. Hence almost the whole east appointed divine honours, and erected temples, to Jason, as their founder; temples which Parmenio, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, caused many years after to be pulled down, that no name might be more venerated in the east than that of Alexander. After the death of Jason, Medus, emulous of his virtues, built a city named Medea in honour of his mother, and established the kingdom of the Medes after his own name, under whose do minion the empire of the east afterwards fell. On the Albanian's border the Amazons, whose queen Thalestris, as many authors relate, sought the couch of Alexander. Armenius, too, who was himself a Thessalian, and one of the captains of Jason, having re-assembled a body of men, who, after the death of Jason were wandering about, founded Armenia, from the mountains of which the river Tigris issues, at first with a very small stream, out after running some distance, is lost in the earth, and then, flowing five and twenty miles underground, rises up a great river in the province of Sophene; and thus it is received into the marshes of the Euphrates.
Source: Justin, Cornelius Nepos, and Eutropius: Literally Translated, trans. John Selby Watson (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853), 277-280.