The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

854

ARSACES.

was of uncertain origin. He seems however to have been of the Scythian race, and to have come from the neighbourhood of the Ochus, as Strabo says (/. c.), that he was accompanied in his under­taking by the Parni Daae, who had migrated from the great race of the Scythian Daae, dwelling above the Palus Ma.eotis, and who had settled near the Ochus. But from whatever country the Parthians may have come, they are represented by almost all ancient writers as Scythians. (Curt, vi. 2; Justin, xli. 1 ; Plut, Crass. 24 ; Isidor. O-rig. ix. 2.) Arsaces, who was a man of approved valour, and was accustomed to live by robbery and plunder, invaded Parthia with his band of robbers, defeated Andragoras, the governor of the country, and obtained the royal power. This is the account given by Justin (/. c.}7 which is in itself natural and probable, but different from the common one which is taken from Arrian. According to Arrian (ap. Pliot. Cod. 58), there were two brothers, Ar­saces and Tiridates, the descendants of Arsaces, the son of Phriapitus. Pherecles, the satrap of Parthia in the reign of Antiochus II., attempted to violate Tiridates, but was slain by him and his brother Arsaces, who induced the Parthians in consequence to revolt from the Syrians. The ac­count of Arrian in Syncellus (p. 284) is again different from the preceding one preserved by Photius; but it is impossible to determine which has given us the account of Arrian most faithfully. According to Syncellus, Arrian stated that the two brothers Arsaces and Tiridates, who were descended from Artaxerxes, the king of' the Per­sians, were satraps of Bactria at the same time as the Macedonian Agathocles governed Persia (by which he means Parthia) as Eparch. Agathocles had an unnatural passion for Tiridates, and was slain by the two brothers. Arsaces then became king, reigned two years, and was succeeded by his brother Tiridates, who reigned 37 years.

The time, at which the revolt of Arsaces took place, is also uncertain. Appian (Syr. 65) places it at the death of Antioclms II., and others in the reign of his successor, Seleucus Callimcuis. Ac­cording to the statement of Arrian quoted above, the revolt commenced in the reign of Antiochus II., which is in accordance with the date given by Eu-sebius, who fixes it at b. c. 250, and which is also supported by other authorities. (Clinton, F. H. vol. iii. sub anno 250.) Justin (xli. 4, 5), who is followed in the main by Ammianus Marcellinus (xxiii. 6), ascribes to Arsaces I. many events, which probably belong to his successor. Accord­ing to his account Arsaces first conquered Hyrcania, and then prepared to make war upon the Bactrian and Syrian kings. He concluded, however, a peace with Theodotus, king of Bactria, and defeat­ed Seleucus Callinicus, the successor of Antiochus II. in a great battle, the anniversary of which was ever after observed by the Parthians, as the com­mencement of their liberty. According to Posi-donius (ap. Atlien. iv. p. 153, a.), Seleucus was taken prisoner in a second expedition which he made against the Parthians, and detained in cap­tivity by Arsaces for many years. After these events Arsaces devoted himself to the internal organization of his kingdom, built a city, called Dara, on the mountain Zapaortenon, and died in a mature old age. This account is directly opposed to the one given by Arrian, already referred to (ap. Sunceil. I. c'.)5 according to which Arsaces was

ARSACES.

killed after a reign of two years and was succeeded by his brother. Arrian has evidently confounded Arsaces I. and II., when he says that the former was succeeded by his son. This statement we must refer to Arsaces II.

arsaces II., tiridates, reigned, as we have already seen, 37 years, and is probably the king who defeated Seleucus.

arsaces III., artabanus I., the son of the preceding, had to resist Antiochus III. (the Great), who invaded his dominions about b. c. 212. Antiochus at first met with some success, but was unable to subdue his country, and at length made peace with him, and recognized him as king. (Polyb. x. 27—31 ; Justin, xli. 5.) The reverse of the annexed coin represents a Par-

thian seated, and bears the inscription MEFAAOT AP2AKOY.*

arsaces IV., priapatius, son of the pre­ceding, reigned 15 years, and left three sons, Phraates, Mitliridates, and Artabanus. (Justin, xli. 5, xlii. 2.)

arsaces V., phraates I., subdued the Mardi,

and, though he had many sons, left the kingdom to his brother Mitliridates. (Justin. xli. 5.) The reverse of the annexed coin has the inscription BASIAEHN MEFAAOY AP2AKOT

Eckhel, with more probability, assigns this coin to Arsaces VI., who may have taken the title of " king of kings," on account of his numerous vic­tories.

arsaces VI,, mithridates I., son of Ar­saces IV., whom Orosius (v. 4) rightly calls the sixth from Arsaces I., a man of distinguished bravery, greatly extended the Parthian empire. He conquered Eucratides, the king of Bactria, and deprived him of many of his provinces. He is said even to have penetrated into India and to have sub­dued all the people between the Hydaspes and the Indus. He conquered the Medes and Elymaeans, who had revolted from the Syrians, and his em­pire extended at least from the Hindu Caucasus to the Euphrates. Demetrius Nicator, king of Syria, marched against Mithridates; he was at first suc­cessful, but was afterwards taken prisoner in b. c. 138. Mithridates, however, treated him with re-

* The number of coins, belonging to the Arsa-cidae, is very large, but it is impossible to deter­mine with certainty to which individual each belongs. A few are given as specimens, and are placed under the kings to which they are assigned in the catalogue of the British Museum.

Pages
About | First

353

354

355
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.