Phraates I of Parthia, ruler of the Parthian Empire from ca. He subdued the Amardians, mountaineers occupying eastern portion of the Elburz range and he died relatively young, and appointed as his successor not one of his sons, but his brother Mithridates I. The exact date of his ascension is the subject of some confusion and he may have succeeded his father Phriapatius on the throne. However, recent evidence from Nisa suggests that a great-grandson of Arsaces I reigned briefly after Priapatius death in 170, in this reconstruction, this previously unknown Arsaces IV reigned ca. 170-168 BC and was succeeded by Phraates I. The reduction of these fierce mountaineers is likely to have occupied him for years, since their country was exceedingly strong. Syria might scarcely have recovered sufficient military strength to enter upon a new struggle, especially with a remote, therefore, he allowed reduction of the Amardians, probably conceiving that their transfer under Arsacid dominance would neither increase Parthian power nor diminish his own.
As Phraates faced no resistance from the Seleucids, when he conquered the Amardians and this was the tract lying immediately to the West of the Caspian Gates, which was traditionally reckoned to Media, forming a distinct district known as Media Rhagiana. It was naturally a very fertile region, being watered by mountain streams originating in Elburz range. Since remote antiquity its capital city was Rhages, situated near the extremity of the strip, probably at the spot now called Kaleh Erij. A full conquest is doubtful, but at a minimum he established lodgment in its eastern extremity, Parthian aggression was checked as long as Rhages remained in Seleucid possession, and Rhagiana along with rest of Media, and the other provinces were safe. While the loss of it to Parthia practically represented the loss of all Rhagiana, which hadnt any other natural protection. Holding this stronghold he imposed a menace to neighboring Rhages, which could scarcely endure against enemy encamped at its doors and we are not informed, however, of any results which followed on the occupation of Charax during the lifetime of Phraates.
As his reign was a one, it is probable that he died before there was time for his second important conquest to have any further consequences. Phraates had sufficient warning of his decease to make preparations with respect to a successor. Though he had sons, some of whom were of sufficient age to have ascended the throne, he left his crown to his brother. We shall see, as the proceeds, how Mithridates justified his choice. It appears that Phraates have borne special affection toward Mithridates and it must have been huge satisfaction to him that he was instantly able by his last act to consult for the good of his country, and to gratify his sentiment on which, evidently, he prided himself
Vonones I of Parthia ruled the Parthian Empire from about 8 to 12 AD. He was the eldest son of Phraates IV of Parthia and was sent to Rome as a hostage in the 20s BC as surety for a treaty his father made with Augustus. After the assassination of Orodes III in about 6 AD, the Parthians applied to Augustus for a new King from the house of Arsaces. Augustus sent them Vonones I, but he could not maintain himself as King, he had been educated as a Roman, another member of the Arsacid house, Artabanus III, who was living among the Dahan nomads in the east of Parthia, was invited to the throne. In a civil war he defeated and expelled Vonones I, the coins of Vonones I date from 8 to 12 AD and bear the inscription King Vonones, conqueror of Artabanus commemorating a temporary victory over his rival. Those of Artabanus II begin in the year 10, in about the year 12 Vonones I fled into Armenia and became King there. Artabanus II demanded his deposition, and as Augustus did not wish to begin a war with the Parthians he moved Vonones I into Syria, he was moved to Cilicia, and when he tried to escape in about 19 AD, he was killed by his guards.
This article incorporates text from a now in the public domain, Hugh. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, xviii,2,4, Annals, ii,4,58,68
Seleucus received Babylonia and, from there, expanded his dominions to include much of Alexanders near eastern territories. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant and what is now Kuwait and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan. The Seleucid Empire was a center of Hellenistic culture that maintained the preeminence of Greek customs where a Greek political elite dominated. The Greek population of the cities who formed the dominant elite were reinforced by immigration from Greece, Seleucid expansion into Anatolia and Greece was abruptly halted after decisive defeats at the hands of the Roman army. Their attempts to defeat their old enemy Ptolemaic Egypt were frustrated by Roman demands, contemporary sources, such as a loyalist degree from Ilium, in Greek language define the Seleucid state both as an empire and as a kingdom. Similarly, Seleucid rulers were described as kings in Babylonia and he refers to either Alexander Balas or Alexander II Zabinas as a ruler. Alexander, who conquered the Persian Empire under its last Achaemenid dynast, Darius III, died young in 323 BC.
Alexanders generals jostled for supremacy over parts of his empire, Ptolemy, a former general and the satrap of Egypt, was the first to challenge the new system, this led to the demise of Perdiccas. Ptolemys revolt led to a new subdivision of the empire with the Partition of Triparadisus in 320 BC, who had been Commander-in-Chief of the Companion cavalry and appointed first or court chiliarch received Babylonia and, from that point, continued to expand his dominions ruthlessly. Seleucus established himself in Babylon in 312 BC, the used as the foundation date of the Seleucid Empire. The whole region from Phrygia to the Indus was subject to Seleucus, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus in consequence of a marriage contract, and received in return five hundred elephants. Following his and Lysimachus victory over Antigonus Monophthalmus at the decisive Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC, Seleucus took control over eastern Anatolia, in the latter area, he founded a new capital at Antioch on the Orontes, a city he named after his father.
An alternative capital was established at Seleucia on the Tigris, north of Babylon, Seleucuss empire reached its greatest extent following his defeat of his erstwhile ally, Lysimachus, at Corupedion in 281 BC, after which Seleucus expanded his control to encompass western Anatolia. He hoped further to take control of Lysimachuss lands in Europe – primarily Thrace and even Macedonia itself, even before Seleucus death, it was difficult to assert control over the vast eastern domains of the Seleucids. Seleucus invaded the Punjab region of India in 305 BC, confronting Chandragupta Maurya and it is said that Chandragupta fielded an army of 600,000 men and 9,000 war elephants. Archaeologically, concrete indications of Mauryan rule, such as the inscriptions of the Edicts of Ashoka, are known as far as Kandahar in southern Afghanistan and it is generally thought that Chandragupta married Seleucuss daughter, or a Macedonian princess, a gift from Seleucus to formalize an alliance. In a return gesture, Chandragupta sent 500 war elephants, an asset which would play a decisive role at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC.
In addition to this treaty, Seleucus dispatched an ambassador, Megasthenes, to Chandragupta, Megasthenes wrote detailed descriptions of India and Chandraguptas reign, which have been partly preserved to us through Diodorus Siculus
Arsaces I of Parthia
Arsaces I was the founder of the Arsacid dynasty of Parthia, and after whom all 30+ monarchs of the Arsacid empire officially named themselves. A celebrated descent from antiquity begins with Arsaces, Arsaces or Ashk has given name to the city of Ashkabad. The dates of Arsaces birth and death are unknown, as is his real name, most scholars now believe that Arsaces was a chief of the Parni, a Dahae tribe who conquered Parthia shortly before Diodotus’ revolt. It should be noted, that there is no agreement among classical sources regarding his origins, in contrast, the circumstances of Arsaces ascent to power are relatively well known. Around 250 BC, the governor of the Seleucid province of Parthia, proclaimed his independence from the Seleucid monarchs, at about the same time, Arsaces was elected leader of the Parni, an eastern Iranian tribe. With the Parni, Arsaces seized Astauene, i. e. northern Parthia, Andragoras was killed during his attempts to recover it, which left the Parni in control over the rest of Parthia as well.
A recovery expedition by the Seleucids under Seleucus II did not succeed, and Arsaces, the line of succession is unclear, since his successors adopted the name Arsaces as well, making it difficult to distinguish them from the founder of the dynasty. From legend and secondary accounts, it seems that—at least from 246 BC onwards—Arsaces brother Tiridates I either ruled in Arsaces name or co-ruled with him. Then, after 211 BC, when another Arsaces is seen on coinage, either the brother ruled as Arsaces II, other combinations, e. g. that Tiridates killed his brother, have been suggested. Arsaces issued coins from silver drachmas to copper dikhakloi, all issues bear some similarity in style to the Seleucid pieces of the same time, although the headdress on the Parthian coinage is notably different. The commonest inscription is ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑΤΟΡΟΣ, translating as Arsaces the Autocrat, however there are many variations on this
Phraates III of Parthia succeeded his father Sanatruces and ruled the Parthian Empire from 70 to 57 BC. Naturally, Phraates declined to assist Mithradates VI of Pontus and Tigranes against the Romans, instead, he supported his son-in-law, the younger Tigranes, when he rebelled against his father, and invaded Armenia in 65 BC in alliance with Pompey, who abandoned Mesopotamia to the Parthians. About 57 BC Phraates was murdered by his two sons, Orodes II and Mithridates III, Phraates This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain, Hugh, ed. Phraates. Dio Cassius, Plutarch, Livy Media
Sanatruces of Parthia
King Sanatruces of Parthia ruled the Parthian Empire from c. 93/2 BC to 88/87 BC during his first reign and c.77 to 70 BC during his second reign and he was a member of the Arsacid house, who proclaimed himself king in Susiana and attempted to usurp the throne of Mithridates II. Ultimately, Gotarzes I forced him to flee to the Central Asian steppe, king of Parthia, was restored to his country in his eightieth year by the Sacauracian Scyths, assumed the throne and held it seven years. He died c.70 BC and was succeeded by his son Phraates III, another Sanatruces, the son of Mithridates IV is mentioned as an ephemeral Parthian king in 115 AD by John Malalas, in his Chronographia. This article incorporates text from a now in the public domain, Hugh. Lucian, Macrobii,15, Phlegon of Tralles, The Olympiads, preserved in Photius, Bibliotheca,97
Vardanes II of Parthia was the son of Vologases I and briefly ruler of part of the Parthian Empire. Nothing more about him is known and this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain, Hugh, ed. Vardanes
Mithridates II of Parthia
Mithridates II was king of Parthian Empire from 121 to 91 BC. He was already known as the Great in antiquity and he is the first Parthian ruler to call himself King of Kings on his coinage and thereby attach himself to the Achaemenids. He referred to himself on his coinage with the Greek titles Epiphanes, Mithridates II is counted as the greatest of the Parthian kings, under whom the empire reached its greatest extent. Traditionally, it is believed that Mithridates II was the son of his predecessor Artabanus II, new cuneiform and numismatic evidence suggests that Mithridates II was the youngest son of Phriapatius and succeeded Artabanus young son, Arsaces X. At the time of his succession, the Parthian Empire was reeling from military pressures in the West and East, several embarrassing defeats at the hands of eastern nomads had sapped the strength and prestige of the kingdom. However, Mithridates proved himself to be a king and was soon able to reincorporate Babylonia into the kingdom. As a sign of victory he had the coinage of Hyspaosines overstruck, the whole of Mesopotamia was taken in a rush and he reached Dura-Europus in 113 BC.
Mithridates II attacked Armenia, ruled by Artavasdes I and took hostage the Armenian kings son and this was the first time that the Parthians actively interfered in Armenian politics. In the east of the Empire, the situation seemed unsalvagable, invading nomads had destroyed the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and greatly threatened the eastern borders of the empire. However, Mithridates was able to fend off the attacking nomads and he was able to make Sistan, which had come under the direct control of the nomads, a vassal at the very least. In 121 BC the Chinese under Emperor Wu of Han had defeated the Xiongnu in the east and were expanding westwards in force, in Ferghana the Chinese sphere of influence encountered that of the Parthians. A Chinese delegation to the Parthian court is attested for the year 120 BC, in the following year the Silk Road was opened. The Armenian King Tigranes I died in 95 BC and Mithridates put the Armenian heir Tigranes II, soon after this Mithridates II attacked Adiabene and Osrhoene and conquered these city states, bringing the western border of the Parthian realm to the Euphrates.
Here the Parthians encountered the Romans for the first time, in 96 BC Mithridates sent a certain Orobazos as an envoy to Sulla. Negotiation followed in which Sulla apparently gained the hand and Orobazos made himself. The actual result of the negotiations is not known, but it can be assumed that the border was set at the Euphrates, by the late 90s BC, Mithridates seems to have faced internal political issues. In 93/2 BC Mithridates nephew, rebelled in Susiana and he proclaimed himself king and held the region until 88/87 BC, at which point Mithridates son, Gotarzes I, forced him to flee to the Central Asian steppe. Sinatruces returned to the Parthian throne in 77/76 BC with the aid of Sakae mercenaries, Mithridates did not outlive the usurper and died in 91 BC
Gotarzes I was the ruler of parts of the Parthian Empire from ca.91 BC to 87 BC. He was the grandson of Phriapatius and came to power during the troubled times around the end of the reign of Mithridates II, numismatic evidence suggest that he began his reign in control of the northern and eastern lands of the Parthian Empire. He seems to have regained the lands from the usurper, Sanatruces, by 88/87 BC and forced him to flee to the Central Asian steppe. This article incorporates text from a now in the public domain, Hugh. Für Kunde des Morgenlands, xv,63
Vardanes I of Parthia was a Prince of Iranian and Greek ancestry. He ruled the Parthian Empire as King from about 40 until 45 CE and he succeeded his father Artabanus III, but had to continually fight against his brother Gotarzes II, a rival claimant to the throne. His coins show that he was in possession of the throne from about 40 to 45. In 43, he forced the city of Seleucia to submit to the Parthians again after a rebellion of seven years. Ctesiphon, the residence of the kings on the bank of the Tigris, opposite to Seleucia, naturally profited by this war and he prepared for a war against the Roman Empire, with the aim of reconquering Armenia, but ultimately decided against facing the Roman legions. In a new war with Gotarzes II, he gained a success against the eastern nomads. According to Tacitus, Vardanes I was expelled temporarily from the throne by Gotarzes II, once he resumed power, he led a victorious campaign against the Dahae army of Gotarzes II, as far as the Sindes River. Vardanes I is praised by Tacitus as a young and highly gifted ruler of great energy, in about 47 he was assassinated while hunting and Gotarzes II became King again.
Vardanes I is mentioned in Life of Apollonius of Tyana as a benefactor to Apollonius of Tyana, but he said he would be very grateful, if he could give a welcome to Apollonius and send him on wherever he wished to go. And he had gold to the guide, so that in case he found Apollonius in want thereof, he might give it him. – Book II,17 Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, xx,3,4 Tacitus, Annals, xi,9,10 Life of Apollonius Tyana, II,17 Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae, xxiii,6,23 J. Vardanes