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The Poison King: Mithradates the Great

Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium

Hear the fascinating story of Mithradates of Pontus—scourge of Rome and master of poisons—from Adrienne Mayor, author of the new book The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy.

Mithradates was one of the most colorful kings of antiquity. Hailed as a savior, feared as the Eastern Hannibal, this scientific genius and cold-blooded poisoner fascinated ancient historians and medieval chroniclers. Machivelli and Leonardo da Vinci studied his tactics; his last hours inspired Mozart's first opera. European royalty long relied on his famous elixir against poisons.

Mayor draws on the latest scientific and archaeological discoveries to reveal a fascinating portrait of a visionary rebel.

Coin with a portrait of Mithridates of Pontos

About Adrienne Mayor
Currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University, Adrienne Mayor is a classical folklorist and historian of science and ancient war. Her research on pre-scientific myths and oral traditions has been featured on NPR and the BBC and in The New York Times and National Geographic; the History Channel's Ancient Monster Hunters is based on her book The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times. Mayor's 2003 book Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World broke ground by revealing the ancient roots of biochemical warfare. Her newest book, The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy, is a finalist for a 2009 National Book Award in nonfiction.

A gifted storyteller, Mayor has been praised for her ability to craft stories that are as "juicy and entertaining" as they are scholarly and rigorous.

How to Get Here
The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.

Adrienne Mayor

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