Luigi Mayer was an Italian-German artist and one of the earliest and most important late 18th-century European painters of the Ottoman Empire. Mayer was a close friend of Sir Robert Ainslie, 1st Baronet, a British ambassador to Turkey between 1776 and 1792, the bulk of his paintings and drawings during this period were commissioned by Ainslie, he travelled extensively through the Ottoman Empire between 1776 and 1794, became well known for his sketches and paintings of panoramic landscapes of ancient sites from the Balkans to the Greek Islands and Egypt ancient monuments and the Nile. Many of the works were amassed in Ainslie's collection, presented to the British Museum, providing a valuable insight into the Middle East of that period. Views in Turkey in Europe and Asia, by Sir Robert Ainslie, was a multi-volume work based on Mayer's drawings. There were plates engraved by William Watts. Thomas Milton was involved. List of Orientalist artists Orientalism British Museum biography
Roman–Parthian War of 161–166
The Roman–Parthian War of 161–166 was fought between the Roman and Parthian Empires over Armenia and Upper Mesopotamia. It concluded in 166 after the Romans made successful campaigns into lower Mesopotamia and Media and sacked Ctesiphon, the Parthian capital. On his deathbed in the spring of 161, Emperor Antoninus Pius had spoken of nothing but the state and the foreign kings who had wronged him. One of those kings, Vologases IV of Parthia, made his move in late summer or early autumn 161. Vologases entered the Kingdom of Armenia, expelled its king and installed his own—Pacorus, an Arsacid like himself. At the time of the invasion, the governor of Syria was Lucius Attidius Cornelianus. Attidius had been retained as governor though his term ended in 161 to avoid giving the Parthians the chance to wrong-foot his replacement; the governor of Cappadocia, the front-line in all Armenian conflicts, was Marcus Sedatius Severianus, a Gaul with much experience in military matters. But living in the east had a deleterious effect on his character.
The confidence man Alexander of Abonutichus, a prophet who carried a snake named Glycon around with him, had enraptured Severianus, as he had many others. Father-in-law to the respected senator Publius Mummius Sisenna Rutilianus, then-proconsul of Asia, Abonutichus was friends with many members of the east Roman elite. Alexander convinced Severianus that he could defeat the Parthians and win glory for himself. Severianus led a legion into Armenia, but was trapped by the great Parthian general Chosrhoes at Elegia, a town just beyond the Cappadocian frontiers, high up past the headwaters of the Euphrates. Severianus made some attempt to fight Chosrhoes, but soon realized the futility of his campaign, committed suicide, his legion was massacred. The campaign had only lasted three days. There was threat of war on other frontiers as well—in Britain, in Raetia and Upper Germany, where the Chatti of the Taunus mountains had crossed over the limes. Marcus Aurelius, who had become emperor on Pius' death on 7 March 161, was unprepared.
Pius seems to have given him no military experience. Marcus made the necessary appointments: Marcus Statius Priscus, the governor of Britain, was sent to replace Severianus as governor of Cappadocia, was in turn replaced by Sextus Calpurnius Agricola. More bad news arrived: Attidius Cornelianus' army had been defeated in battle against the Parthians, retreated in disarray. Reinforcements were dispatched for the Parthian frontier. P. Julius Geminius Marcianus, an African senator commanding X Gemina at Vindobona, left for Cappadocia with vexillations from the Danubian legions. Three full legions were sent east: I Minervia from Bonn in Upper Germany, II Adiutrix from Aquincum, V Macedonica from Troesmis; the northern frontiers were strategically weakened. Attidius Cornelianus himself was replaced by Marcus' first cousin, he was young—his first consulship was in 161, so he was in his early thirties—and, as a mere patrician, lacked military experience. Marcus had chosen a reliable man rather than a talented one.
Marcus took a four-day public holiday at a resort town on the Etrurian coast. He was too anxious to relax. Writing to his former tutor Marcus Cornelius Fronto, he declared that he would not speak about his holiday. Fronto replied ironically: "What? Do I not know that you went to Alsium with the intention of devoting yourself to games and complete leisure for four whole days?" He encouraged Marcus to rest, calling on the example of his predecessors, going so far as to write up a fable about the gods' division of the day between morning and evening—Marcus had been spending most of his evenings on judicial matters instead of leisure. Marcus could not take Fronto's advice. "I have duties hanging over me that can hardly be begged off," he wrote back. Marcus put on Fronto's voice to chastise himself: "'Much good has my advice done you', you will say!" He had rested, would rest but "—this devotion to duty! Who knows better than you how demanding it is!"Fronto sent Marcus a selection of reading material, including Cicero's pro lege Manilia, in which the orator had argued in favor of Pompey taking supreme command in the Mithridatic War.
It was an apt reference, may have had some impact on the decision to send Lucius to the eastern front. "You will find in it many chapters aptly suited to your present counsels, concerning the choice of army commanders, the interests of allies, the protection of provinces, the discipline of the soldiers, the qualifications required for commanders in the field and elsewhere " To settle his unease over the course of the Parthian war, Fronto wrote Marcus a long and considered letter, full of historical references. In modern editions of Fronto's works, it is labeled De bello Parthico. There had been reverses in Rome's past, Fronto writes, at Allia, at Caudium, at Cannae, at Numantia and Carrhae. Over the winter of 161–62, as more bad news arrived—a rebellion was brewing in Syria—it was decided that Lucius should direct the Parthian war in person, he was stronger and healthier than Marcus, the argum
The biga is the two-horse chariot as used in ancient Rome for sport and ceremonies. Other animals may replace horses in art and for actual ceremonies; the term biga is used by modern scholars for the similar chariots of other Indo-European cultures the two-horse chariot of the ancient Greeks and Celts. The driver of a biga is a bigarius. Other Latin words that distinguish chariots by the number of animals yoked as a team are quadriga, a four-horse chariot used for racing and associated with the Roman triumph; the biga and quadriga are the most common types. Two-horse chariots are a common icon on Roman coins. In the iconography of religion and cosmology, the biga represents the moon, as the quadriga does the sun; the earliest reference to a chariot race in Western literature is an event in the funeral games of Patroclus in the Iliad. In Homeric warfare, elite warriors were transported to the battlefield in two-horse chariots, but fought on foot. Most Bronze Age chariots uncovered by archaeology.
The date at which chariot races were introduced at the Olympian Games is recorded by sources as 680 BC, when quadrigae competed. Races on horseback were added in 648. At Athens, two-horse chariot races were a part of athletic competitions from the 560s onward, but were still not a part of the Olympian Games. Bigae drawn by mules competed in the 70th Olympiad, but they were no longer part of the games after the 84th Olympiad. Not until 408 BC did bigae races begin to be featured at Olympia. In myth, the biga functions structurally to create a complementary pair or to link opposites; the chariot of Achilles in the Iliad was drawn by two immortal horses and a third, mortal. The team of Adrastos included the mortal Kairos. A yoke of two horses is associated with the Indo-European concept of the Heavenly Twins, one of whom is mortal, represented among the Greeks by Castor and Pollux, the Dioscuri, who were known for horsemanship. Horse- and chariot-races were part of the ludi, sacred games held during Roman religious festivals, from Archaic times.
A magistrate who presented games was entitled to ride in a biga. The sacral meaning of the races, though diminished over time, was preserved by iconography in the Circus Maximus, Rome's main racetrack. Inscriptions referring to the bigarius as young suggest that a racing driver had to gain experience with a two-horse team before graduating to a quadriga. A main source for the construction of racing bigae is a number of bronze figurines found throughout the Roman Empire, a detailed example of, held by the British Museum. Other sources are mosaics; these show a lightweight frame, to which a minimal shell of leather was lashed. The center of gravity was low, the wheels were small, around 65 cm in diameter in proportion to a body 60 cm wide and 55 cm deep, with a breastwork of about 70 cm in height; the wheels may have been rimmed with iron. The design facilitated speed and stability; the weight of the vehicle has been estimated at 25–30 kg, with a maximum manned weight of 100 kg. The biga is built with a single draught pole for a double yoke, while two poles are used for a quadriga.
The chariot for a two-horse racing team is not thought to differ otherwise from that drawn by a four-horse team, so the horses of a biga pulled 50 kg each, while those of the quadriga pulled 25 kg each. The models or statuettes of bigae were toys, or collector's items, they are comparable to the modern hobby of model trains. In his Etymologies, Isidore of Seville explains the cosmic symbolism of chariot racing, notes that while the quadriga, or four-horse chariot, represents the sun and its course through the four seasons, the biga represents the moon, "because it travels on a twin course with the sun, or because it is visible both by day and by night — for they yoke together one black horse and one white." Chariots appear in Roman art as allegories of the Sun and Moon in reliefs and mosaics, in contexts that are distinguishable from depictions of real-world charioteers in the circus. Luna in her biga drawn by horses or oxen was an element of Mithraic iconography in the context of the tauroctony.
In the mithraeum of S. Maria Capua Vetere, a wall painting that uniquely focuses on Luna alone shows one of the horses of the team as light in color, with the other a dark brown, it has been suggested that the duality of the horses drawing a biga can represent Plato's metaphor of the charioteer who must control a soul divided by genesis and apogenesis. Greek and Roman art depicts deities driving two-yoke chariots drawn by a number of animals. A biga of oxen was driven by Hecate, the chthonic aspect of the Triple Goddess in complement with the "horned" or crescent-crowned Diana and Luna, to whom the biga was sacred. Triptolemus is depicted on Roman coins as driving a serpent-drawn biga as he sows grain in response to Demeter's appeal to him to teach mankind the skill of agriculture, such as on an Alexandrine drachma, see. In his chapter on gemstones, Pliny records a ritualized use of the biga, saying those who seek the draconitis or draconitias, "snake stone", ride in a biga; the bigatus was a silver coin so called because it
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
The Italo-Turkish or Turco-Italian War was fought between the Kingdom of Italy and the Ottoman Empire from September 29, 1911, to October 18, 1912. As a result of this conflict, Italy captured the Ottoman Tripolitania Vilayet, of which the main sub-provinces were Fezzan and Tripoli itself; these territories together formed. During the conflict, Italian forces occupied the Dodecanese islands in the Aegean Sea. Italy had agreed to return the Dodecanese to the Ottoman Empire in the Treaty of Ouchy in 1912. However, the vagueness of the text allowed a provisional Italian administration of the islands, Turkey renounced all claims on these islands in Article 15 of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Although minor, the war was a significant precursor of the First World War as it sparked nationalism in the Balkan states. Seeing how the Italians had defeated the weakened Ottomans, the members of the Balkan League attacked the Ottoman Empire starting the First Balkan War before the war with Italy had ended; the Italo-Turkish War saw numerous technological changes, notably the airplane.
On October 23, 1911, an Italian pilot, Captain Carlo Piazza, flew over Turkish lines on the world's first aerial reconnaissance mission, on November 1, the first aerial bomb was dropped by Sottotenente Giulio Gavotti, on Turkish troops in Libya, from an early model of Etrich Taube aircraft. The Turks, lacking anti-aircraft weapons, were the first to shoot down an aeroplane by rifle fire; the claims of Italy over Libya dated back to Turkey's defeat by Russia in the war of 1877–1878 and subsequent discussions after the Congress of Berlin in 1878, in which France and Great Britain had agreed to the occupation of Tunisia and Cyprus both parts of the declining Ottoman Empire. When Italian diplomats hinted about possible opposition by their government, the French replied that Tripoli would have been a counterpart for Italy. Italy made a secret agreement with Great Britain in February 1887 by an exchange of notes, it provided that Italy would support Great Britain and its role in Egypt while the Italians would receive British support in Libya.
In 1902, Italy and France had signed a secret treaty which accorded freedom of intervention in Tripolitania and Morocco. The agreement negotiated by Italian foreign minister Giulio Prinetti and French ambassador Camille Barrère was an endpoint in the historical rivalry between the two nations for control of northern Africa. In 1902, Great Britain promised that "any alteration in the status of Libya would be in conformity with Italian interests." These measures were intended to loosen Italian commitment to the Triple Alliance, thereby weaken Germany, which France and Britain viewed as their main rival on the continent. Following the Anglo-Russian Convention and the establishment of the Triple Entente, Tsar Nicholas II and King Victor Emmanuel III made the 1909 Racconigi Bargain in which Russia acknowledged Italy's interest in Tripoli and Cyrenaica in return for Italian support for Russian control of the Bosphorus. However, the Italian government did little to realize the opportunity and knowledge of Libyan territory and resources remained scarce in the following years.
The removal of diplomatic obstacles coincided with increasing colonial fervor. In 1908, the Italian Colonial Office was upgraded to a Central Directorate of Colonial Affairs. Nationalist Enrico Corradini led the public call for action in Libya, joined by the nationalist newspaper L'Idea Nazionale in 1911, demanded an invasion; the Italian press began a large-scale lobbying campaign in favour of an invasion of Libya at the end of March 1911. It was fancifully depicted as rich in minerals, well-watered, defended by only 4,000 Ottoman troops; the population was described as hostile to the Ottoman Empire and friendly to the Italians: the future invasion was going to be little more than a "military walk", according to them. Italy's government remained committed into 1911 to the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire, a close friend of their German ally. Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti rejected nationalist calls for conflict over Ottoman Albania, seen as a possible colonial project, as late as the summer of 1911.
However, the Agadir Crisis, in which French military action in Morocco in April 1911 would lead to the establishment of a French protectorate, changed the political calculations. At this point, the Italian leadership decided that it could safely accede to public demands for a colonial project; the Triple Entente powers were supportive. British foreign secretary Edward Grey stated to the Italian ambassador on 28 July that they would support Italy and would not support the Turks. Meanwhile, the Russian government urged Italy to act in a "prompt and resolute manner." In contrast to their engagement with the Entente powers, Italy ignored its military allies in the Triple Alliance. Giolitti and foreign minister Antonino Paternò Castello agreed on 14 September to launch a military campaign "before the Austrian and German governments of it." At the time, Germany was attempting to mediate between Rome and Constantinople, while Austrian foreign minister Alois Lexa von Aehrenthal warned Italy that military action in Libya would threaten the integrity of the Ottoman Empire and create a crisis in the Eastern Question, thereby destabilizing the Balkan peninsula and the continent's balance of power.
Italy foresaw this result: Paternò Castello, in a July report to
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be mounted or which bears commemorative inscriptions; the main structure is decorated with carvings, sculpted reliefs, dedications. More elaborate triumphal arches may have multiple archways. Triumphal arches are one of the most influential and distinctive types of architecture associated with ancient Rome. Thought to have been invented by the Romans, the triumphal arch was used to commemorate victorious generals or significant public events such as the founding of new colonies, the construction of a road or bridge, the death of a member of the imperial family or the accession of a new emperor; the survival of great Roman triumphal arches such as the Arch of Titus inspired many post-Roman states and rulers, up to the present day, to erect their own arches in emulation of the Romans.
Arches in the Roman style have been built in many cities around the world, most notably the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Narva Triumphal Arch in Saint Petersburg, the Wellington Arch in London, the Arcul de Triumf in Bucharest and India Gate in Delhi. Triumphal arch is the name given to the arch above the entrance to the chancel of a medieval church where a rood can be placed; the development of the triumphal arch is associated with ancient Roman architecture. Roman aqueducts, bridges and domes employed arch principles and technology; the Romans borrowed the techniques of arch construction from their Etruscan neighbours. The Etruscans used elaborately decorated single bay arches as portals to their cities; the two key elements of the Roman triumphal arch – a round-topped arch and a square entablature – had long been in use as separate architectural elements in ancient Greece, but the Greeks preferred the use of entablatures in their temples, entirely confined their use of the arch to structures under external pressure, such as tombs and sewers.
The Roman triumphal arch combined a round arch and a square entablature in a single free-standing structure. What were supporting columns became purely decorative elements on the outer face of arch, while the entablature, liberated from its role as a building support, became the frame for the civic and religious messages that the arch builders wished to convey through the use of statuary and symbolic and decorative elements; the modern term "triumphal arch" derives from the notion that this form of architecture was connected to the award and commemoration of a triumph to successful Roman generals, by vote of the Roman senate. The earliest arches set up to commemorate a triumph were made in the time of the Roman Republic; these bore imagery that described and commemorated the victory and triumph. Lucius Steritinus is known to have erected two such fornices in 196 BC to commemorate his victories in Hispania. Another fornix was built on the Capitoline Hill by Scipio Africanus in 190 BC, Quintus Fabius Maximus Allobrogicus constructed one in the Roman Forum in 121 BC.
None of these structures has survived and little is known about their appearance. Roman triumphal practices changed at the start of the imperial period when the princeps Augustus decreed that triumphs and triumphal honours were to be confined to members of the Imperial family; the term fornix was replaced by arcus. While Republican fornices could be erected by a triumphator at his own discretion and expense, Imperial triumphal arches were sponsored by decree of the senate, or sometimes by wealthy holders of high office, to honour and promote emperors, their office and the values of empire. Arches were not built as entrances, but – unlike many modern triumphal arches – they were erected across roads and were intended to be passed through, not around. Types of Roman triumphal arches. By the fourth century AD there were 36 such arches in Rome, of which three have survived - the Arch of Titus, the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Arch of Constantine. Numerous arches were built elsewhere in the Roman Empire.
The single arch was the most common, but many triple arches were built, of which the Triumphal Arch of Orange is the earliest surviving example. From the 2nd century AD, many examples of the arcus quadrifrons – a square triumphal arch erected over a crossroads, with arched openings on all four sides – were built in North Africa. Arch-building in Rome and Italy diminished after the time of Trajan but remained widespread in the provinces during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Little is known about. Pliny the Elder, writing in the first century AD, was the only ancient author to discuss them, he wrote that they were intended to "elevate above the ordinary world" an image of an honoured person depicted in the form of a statue with a quadriga. However, the designs of Roman imperial triumphal arches – which became elaborate over time and evolved a regularised set of features – were intended to convey a number of messages to the spectator; the ornamentation of an arch was intended to serve as a constant visual reminder of the triumph and triumphator.
As such, it concentrated on factual imagery rather than allegory. The façade was ornamented with marble columns, the piers and atti
The Parthian Empire known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast a satrapy under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran; the empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han dynasty of China, became a center of trade and commerce. The Parthians adopted the art, religious beliefs, royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it saw a gradual revival of Iranian traditions.
The Arsacid rulers were titled the "King of Kings", as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire. The court did appoint a small number of satraps outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsacid power, the seat of central government shifted from Nisa to Ctesiphon along the Tigris, although several other sites served as capitals; the earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Scythians in the east. However, as Parthia expanded westward, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia, the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with each other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate clients; the Parthians soundly defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, in 40–39 BC, Parthian forces captured the whole of the Levant except Tyre from the Romans. However, Mark Antony led a counterattack against Parthia, although his successes were achieved in his absence, under the leadership of his lieutenant Ventidius.
Various Roman emperors or their appointed generals invaded Mesopotamia in the course of the ensuing Roman–Parthian Wars of the next few centuries. The Romans captured the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon on multiple occasions during these conflicts, but were never able to hold on to them. Frequent civil wars between Parthian contenders to the throne proved more dangerous to the Empire's stability than foreign invasion, Parthian power evaporated when Ardashir I, ruler of Istakhr in Persis, revolted against the Arsacids and killed their last ruler, Artabanus V, in 224 AD. Ardashir established the Sassanid Empire, which ruled Iran and much of the Near East until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century AD, although the Arsacid dynasty lived on through the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia, the Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, the Arsacid Dynasty of Caucasian Albania. Native Parthian sources, written in Parthian and other languages, are scarce when compared to Sassanid and earlier Achaemenid sources. Aside from scattered cuneiform tablets, fragmentary ostraca, rock inscriptions, drachma coins, the chance survival of some parchment documents, much of Parthian history is only known through external sources.
These include Greek and Roman histories, but Chinese histories, prompted by the Han Chinese desire to form alliances against the Xiongnu. Parthian artwork is viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture that are otherwise absent in textual sources. Before Arsaces I of Parthia founded the Arsacid Dynasty, he was chieftain of the Parni, an ancient Central-Asian tribe of Iranian peoples and one of several nomadic tribes within the confederation of the Dahae; the Parni most spoke an eastern Iranian language, in contrast to the northwestern Iranian language spoken at the time in Parthia. The latter was a northeastern province, first under the Achaemenid, the Seleucid empires. After conquering the region, the Parni adopted Parthian as the official court language, speaking it alongside Middle Persian, Greek, Babylonian and other languages in the multilingual territories they would conquer. Why the Arsacid court retroactively chose 247 BC as the first year of the Arsacid era is uncertain.
A. D. H. Bivar concludes that this was the year the Seleucids lost control of Parthia to Andragoras, the appointed satrap who rebelled against them. Hence, Arsaces I "backdated his regnal years" to the moment when Seleucid control over Parthia ceased. However, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis asserts that this was the year Arsaces was made chief of the Parni tribe. Homa Katouzian and Gene Ralph Garthwaite claim it was the year Arsaces conquered Parthia and expelled the Seleucid authorities, yet Curtis and Maria Brosius state that Andragoras was not overthrown by the Arsacids until 238 BC, it is unclear who succeeded Arsaces I. Bivar and Katouzian affirm that it was his brother Tiridates I of Parthia, who in turn was succeeded by his son Arsaces II of Parthia in 211 BC, yet Curtis and Brosius state that Arsaces II was the immediate successor of Arsaces I, with Curtis claiming the succession took place in 211 BC, Brosius in 217 BC. Bivar insists that 138 BC, the last regnal year of Mithridates I, is "the first established regnal date of Parthian history."
Due to these and other discrepancies