The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world. Roman society under the Republic was a cultural mix of Latin and Greek elements, visible in the Roman Pantheon, its political organisation was influenced by the Greek city states of Magna Graecia, with collective and annual magistracies, overseen by a senate. The top magistrates were the two consuls, who had an extensive range of executive, judicial and religious powers. Whilst there were elections each year, the Republic was not a democracy, but an oligarchy, as a small number of large families monopolised the main magistracies. Roman institutions underwent considerable changes throughout the Republic to adapt to the difficulties it faced, such as the creation of promagistracies to rule its conquered provinces, or the composition of the senate.
Unlike the Pax Romana of the Roman Empire, the Republic was in a state of quasi-perpetual war throughout its existence. Its first enemies were its Latin and Etruscan neighbours as well as the Gauls, who sacked the city in 387 BC; the Republic nonetheless demonstrated extreme resilience and always managed to overcome its losses, however catastrophic. After the Gallic Sack, Rome indeed conquered the whole Italian peninsula in a century, which turned the Republic into a major power in the Mediterranean; the Republic's greatest enemy was doubtless Carthage, against. The Punic general Hannibal famously invaded Italy by crossing the Alps and inflicted on Rome two devastating defeats at the Lake Trasimene and Cannae, but the Republic once again recovered and won the war thanks to Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. With Carthage defeated, Rome became the dominant power of the ancient Mediterranean world, it embarked in a long series of difficult conquests, after having notably defeated Philip V and Perseus of Macedon, Antiochus III of the Seleucid Empire, the Lusitanian Viriathis, the Numidian Jugurtha, the great Pontic king Mithridates VI, the Gaul Vercingetorix, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
At home, the Republic experienced a long streak of social and political crises, which ended in several violent civil wars. At first, the Conflict of the Orders opposed the patricians, the closed oligarchic elite, to the far more numerous plebs, who achieved political equality in several steps during the 4th century BC; the vast conquests of the Republic disrupted its society, as the immense influx of slaves they brought enriched the aristocracy, but ruined the peasantry and urban workers. In order to solve this issue, several social reformers, known as the Populares, tried to pass agrarian laws, but the Gracchi brothers, Saturninus, or Clodius Pulcher were all murdered by their opponents, the Optimates, keepers of the traditional aristocratic order. Mass slavery caused three Servile Wars. In this context, the last decades of the Republic were marked by the rise of great generals, who exploited their military conquests and the factional situation in Rome to gain control of the political system.
Marius Sulla dominated in turn the Republic. These multiple tensions lead to a series of civil wars. Despite his victory and appointment as dictator for life, Caesar was murdered in 44 BC. Caesar's heir Octavian and lieutenant Mark Antony defeated Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC, but turned against each other; the final defeat of Mark Antony and his ally Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, the Senate's grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian as Augustus in 27 BC – which made him the first Roman emperor – thus ended the Republic. Since the foundation of Rome, its rulers had been monarchs, elected for life by the patrician noblemen who made up the Roman Senate; the last Roman king was Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. In the traditional histories, Tarquin was expelled in 509 because his son Sextus Tarquinius had raped the noblewoman Lucretia, who afterwards took her own life. Lucretia's father, her husband Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, Tarquin's nephew Lucius Junius Brutus mustered support from the Senate and army, forced Tarquin into exile in Etruria.
The Senate agreed to abolish kingship. Most of the king's former functions were transferred to two consuls, who were elected to office for a term of one year; each consul had the capacity to act as a check on his colleague, if necessary through the same power of veto that the kings had held. If a consul abused his powers in office, he could be prosecuted. Brutus and Collatinus became Republican Rome's first consuls. Despite Collatinus' role in the creation of the Republic, he belonged to the same family as the former king, was forced to abdicate his office and leave Rome, he was replaced as co-consul by Publius Valerius Publicola. Most modern scholarship describes these events as the quasi-mythological detailing of an aristocratic coup within Tarquin's own family, not a popular revolution, they fit a narrative of a personal vengeance against a tyrant leading to his overthrow, common among Greek cities and theorised by Aristotle
Brutus the Younger
Marcus Junius Brutus referred to as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic. After being adopted by his uncle he used the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, but returned to using his original name, he took a leading role in the assassination of Julius Caesar. Brutus was close to the leader of the Populares faction. However, Caesar's attempts to assume greater power for himself put him at greater odds with the Roman elite and members of the Senate. Brutus came to oppose Caesar and fought on the side of the Optimates faction, led by Pompey the Great, against Caesar's forces in Caesar's Civil War. Pompey was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, after which Brutus surrendered to Caesar, who granted him amnesty. However, the underlying political tensions that led to the war had not been resolved. Due to Caesar's monarchical behavior, several senators, calling themselves "Liberators", plotted to assassinate him, they recruited Brutus, who took a leading role in the assassination, carried out on March 15, 44 BC.
The Senate, at the request of the Consul Mark Antony, granted amnesty to the assassins. However, a populist uprising forced Brutus and his brother-in-law, fellow assassin Gaius Cassius Longinus, to leave the City of Rome. In 43 BC, Caesar's grandnephew, Consul Octavian, by also formally known as Gaius Julius Caesar after taking office passed a resolution declaring the conspirators, including Brutus, murderers; this led to the Liberators' civil war, pitting the erstwhile supporters of Caesar, under the Second Triumvirate, wishing both to gain power for themselves and avenge his death, against those who opposed him. Octavian combined his troops with those of Antony, together they decisively defeated the outnumbered armies of Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi in October 42 BC. After the battle, Brutus committed suicide. Marcus Junius Brutus Minor was the son of Servilia, his father was killed by Pompey the Great in dubious circumstances after he had taken part in the rebellion of Lepidus.
Some sources refer to the possibility of Caesar being his real father, despite Caesar's being only 15 years old when Brutus was born. Brutus' uncle, Quintus Servilius Caepio, adopted him in about 59 BC, Brutus was known for a time as Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus before he reverted to using his birth-name. Following Caesar's assassination in 44 BC, Brutus revived his adoptive name in order to illustrate his links to another famous tyrannicide, Gaius Servilius Ahala, from whom he was descended. Brutus held his uncle in high regard and his political career started when he became an assistant to Cato, during his governorship of Cyprus. During this time, he enriched himself by lending money at high rates of interest. Brutus was active in the province of Cilicia, in the year before Marcus Tullius Cicero was proconsul there, he returned to Rome a rich man. From his first appearance in the Senate, Brutus aligned with the Optimates against the First Triumvirate of Marcus Licinius Crassus, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, Gaius Julius Caesar.
When Caesar's Civil War broke out in 49 BC between Pompey and Caesar, Brutus followed his old enemy and the present leader of the Optimates, Pompey. When the Battle of Pharsalus began on August 9, Caesar ordered his officers to take Brutus prisoner if he gave himself up voluntarily, but to leave him alone and do him no harm if he persisted in fighting against capture. Caesar's concern, given that he and Brutus' mother Servilia had been lovers in their youth, was that Brutus might be his biological son. Indeed, he and Brutus enjoyed a close relationship at this time; when Brutus joined Pompey the Great to fight with Caesar and his soldiers, Caesar's main focus was Pompey, but he demanded Brutus be captured alive. After the defeat of the Optimates at the Battle of Pharsalus, Brutus surrendered and wrote to Caesar with apologies. Caesar forgave him. Caesar accepted him into his inner circle and made him governor of Gaul when he left for Africa in pursuit of Cato and Metellus Scipio. In 45 BC, Caesar nominated Brutus to serve as urban praetor for the following year.
In June 45 BC, Brutus divorced his wife and married his first cousin, Porcia Catonis, Cato's daughter. According to Cicero the marriage caused a semi-scandal as Brutus failed to state a valid reason for his divorce from Claudia other than he wished to marry Porcia; the marriage caused a rift between Brutus and his mother, resentful of the affection Brutus had for Porcia. Around this time many senators began to fear Caesar's growing power, following his appointment as dictator in perpetuity; the other senators persuaded Brutus to join the conspiracy against Caesar. Brutus decided to move against Caesar after Caesar's king-like behavior prompted him to take action, his wife was the only woman privy to the plot. The conspirators planned to carry out their plot on the Ides of March that same year. On that day, Caesar was delayed going to the Senate because his wife Calpurnia tried to convince him not to go; the conspirators feared. Brutus persisted, waiting for Caesar at the Senate, still chose to remain when a messenger brought him news that would otherwise have caused him to leave.
When Caesar did come to the Senate, he was distracted by Tillius Cimber, who presented Caesa
Marcus Antonius known in English as Mark Antony or Anthony, was a Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic from an oligarchy into the autocratic Roman Empire. Antony was a supporter of Julius Caesar, served as one of his generals during the conquest of Gaul and the Civil War. Antony was appointed administrator of Italy while Caesar eliminated political opponents in Greece, North Africa, Spain. After Caesar's death in 44 BC, Antony joined forces with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, another of Caesar's generals, Octavian, Caesar's great-nephew and adopted son, forming a three-man dictatorship known to historians as the Second Triumvirate; the Triumvirs defeated Caesar's murderers, the Liberatores, at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, divided the government of the Republic between themselves. Antony was assigned Rome's eastern provinces, including the client kingdom of Egypt ruled by Cleopatra VII Philopator, was given the command in Rome's war against Parthia.
Relations among the triumvirs were strained. Civil war between Antony and Octavian was averted in 40 BC, when Antony married Octavian's sister, Octavia. Despite this marriage, Antony carried on a love affair with Cleopatra, who bore him three children, further straining Antony's relations with Octavian. Lepidus was expelled from the association in 36 BC, in 33 BC disagreements between Antony and Octavian caused a split between the remaining Triumvirs, their ongoing hostility erupted into civil war in 31 BC, as the Roman Senate, at Octavian's direction, declared war on Cleopatra and proclaimed Antony a traitor. That year, Antony was defeated by Octavian's forces at the Battle of Actium. Antony and Cleopatra fled to Egypt. With Antony dead, Octavian became the undisputed master of the Roman world. In 27 BC, Octavian was granted the title of Augustus, marking the final stage in the transformation of the Roman Republic into an empire, with himself as the first Roman emperor. A member of the plebeian Antonia gens, Antony was born in Rome on 14 January 83 BC.
His father and namesake was Marcus Antonius Creticus, son of the noted orator by the same name, murdered during the Marian Terror of the winter of 87–86 BC. His mother was a distant cousin of Julius Caesar. Antony was an infant at the time of Lucius Cornelius Sulla's march on Rome in 82 BC. According to the Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero, Antony's father was incompetent and corrupt, was only given power because he was incapable of using or abusing it effectively. In 74 BC he was given military command to defeat the pirates of the Mediterranean, but he died in Crete in 71 BC without making any significant progress; the elder Antony's death left Antony and his brothers and Gaius, in the care of their mother, who married Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura, an eminent member of the old Patrician nobility. Lentulus, despite exploiting his political success for financial gain, was in debt due to the extravagance of his lifestyle, he was a major figure in the Second Catilinarian Conspiracy and was summarily executed on the orders of the Consul Cicero in 63 BC for his involvement.
Antony's early life was characterized by a lack of proper parental guidance. According to the historian Plutarch, he spent his teenage years wandering through Rome with his brothers and friends gambling and becoming involved in scandalous love affairs. Antony's contemporary and enemy, claimed he had a homosexual relationship with Gaius Scribonius Curio. There is little reliable information on his political activity as a young man, although it is known that he was an associate of Publius Clodius Pulcher and his street gang, he may have been involved in the Lupercal cult as he was referred to as a priest of this order in life. By age twenty, Antony had amassed an enormous debt. Hoping to escape his creditors, Antony fled to Greece in 58 BC, where he studied philosophy and rhetoric at Athens. In 57 BC, Antony joined the military staff of Aulus Gabinius, the Proconsul of Syria, as chief of the cavalry; this appointment marks the beginning of his military career. As Consul the previous year, Gabinius had consented to the exile of Cicero by Antony's mentor, Publius Clodius Pulcher.
Hyrcanus II, the Roman-supported Hasmonean High Priest of Judea, fled Jerusalem to Gabinius to seek protection against his rival and son-in-law Alexander. Years earlier in 63 BC, the Roman general Pompey had captured him and his father, King Aristobulus II, during his war against the remnant of the Seleucid Empire. Pompey had deposed Aristobulus and installed Hyrcanus as Rome's client ruler over Judea. Antony achieved his first military distinctions after securing important victories at Alexandrium and Machaerus. With the rebellion defeated by 56 BC, Gabinius restored Hyrcanus to his position as High Priest in Judea; the following year, in 55 BC, Gabinius intervened in the political affairs of Ptolemaic Egypt. Pharaoh Ptolemy XII Auletes had been deposed in a rebellion led by his daughter Berenice IV in 58 BC, forcing him to seek asylum in Rome. During Pompey's conquests years earlier, Ptolemy had received the support of Pompey, who named him an ally of Rome. Gabinius' invasion sought to restore Ptolemy to his throne.
This was done against the orders of the Senate but with the approval of Pompey Rome's leading politician, only after the deposed king provided a 10,000 talent bribe. The Greek historian Plutarch records it was Antony who convinced Gabinius to act. After defeating the frontier forces of the Egyptian kingdom, Gabinius's army proceeded to attack the palace guards but they surrendered before a battle commenced
Parthia is a historical region located in north-eastern Iran. It was conquered and subjugated by the empire of the Medes during the 7th century BC, was incorporated into the subsequent Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC, formed part of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire following the 4th-century-BC conquests of Alexander the Great; the region served as the political and cultural base of the Eastern-Iranian Parni people and Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire. The Sasanian Empire, the last state of pre-Islamic Persia held the region and maintained the Seven Parthian clans as part of their feudal aristocracy; the name "Parthia" is a continuation from Latin Parthia, from Old Persian Parthava, the Parthian language self-designator signifying "of the Parthians" who were an Iranian people. In context to its Hellenistic period, Parthia appears as Parthyaea. Parthia corresponds to a region in northeastern Iran, it was bordered by the Karakum desert in the north, included Kopet Dag mountain range and the Dasht-e-Kavir desert in the south.
It bordered Media on the west, Hyrcania on the north west, Margiana on the north east, Aria on the south east. During Arsacid times, Parthia was united with Hyrcania as one administrative unit, that region is therefore considered a part of Parthia proper; as the region inhabited by Parthians, Parthia first appears as a political entity in Achaemenid lists of governorates under their dominion. Prior to this, the people of the region seem to have been subjects of the Medes, 7th century BC Assyrian texts mention a country named Partakka or Partukka. A year after Cyrus the Great's defeat of the Median Astyages, Parthia became one of the first provinces to acknowledge Cyrus as their ruler, "and this allegiance secured Cyrus' eastern flanks and enabled him to conduct the first of his imperial campaigns – against Sardis." According to Greek sources, following the seizure of the Achaemenid throne by Darius I, the Parthians united with the Median king Phraortes to revolt against him. Hystaspes, the Achaemenid governor of the province, managed to suppress the revolt, which seems to have occurred around 522–521 BC.
The first indigenous Iranian mention of Parthia is in the Behistun inscription of Darius I, where Parthia is listed among the governorates in the vicinity of Drangiana. The inscription dates to c. 520 BC. The center of the administration "may have been at Hecatompylus"; the Parthians appear in Herodotus' list of peoples subject to the Achaemenids. This "has rightly caused disquiet to modern scholars."At the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC between the forces of Darius III and those of Alexander the Great, one such Parthian unit was commanded by Phrataphernes, at the time Achaemenid governor of Parthia. Following the defeat of Darius III, Phrataphernes surrendered his governorate to Alexander when the Macedonian arrived there in the summer of 330 BC. Phrataphernes was reappointed governor by Alexander. Following the death of Alexander, in the Partition of Babylon in 323 BC, Parthia became a Seleucid governorate under Nicanor. Phrataphernes, the former governor, became governor of Hyrcania. In 320 BC, at the Partition of Triparadisus, Parthia was reassigned to Philip, former governor of Sogdiana.
A few years the province was invaded by Peithon, governor of Media Magna, who attempted to make his brother Eudamus governor. Peithon and Eudamus were driven back, Parthia remained a governorate in its own right. In 316 BC, Stasander, a vassal of Seleucus I Nicator and governor of Bactria was appointed governor of Parthia. For the next 60 years, various Seleucids would be appointed governors of the province. In 247 BC, following the death of Antiochus II, Ptolemy III seized control of the Seleucid capital at Antioch, "so left the future of the Seleucid dynasty for a moment in question." Taking advantage of the uncertain political situation, the Seleucid governor of Parthia, proclaimed his independence and began minting his own coins. Meanwhile, "a man called Arsaces, of Scythian or Bactrian origin, elected leader of the Parni", an eastern-Iranian peoples from the Tajen/Tajend River valley, south-east of the Caspian Sea. Following the secession of Parthia from the Seleucid Empire and the resultant loss of Seleucid military support, Andragoras had difficulty in maintaining his borders, about 238 BC – under the command of "Arsaces and his brother Tiridates" – the Parni invaded Parthia and seized control of Astabene, the northern region of that territory, the administrative capital of, Kabuchan.
A short while the Parni seized the rest of Parthia from Andragoras, killing him in the process. Although an initial punitive expedition by the Seleucids under Seleucus II was not successful, the Seleucids under Antiochus III recaptured Arsacid controlled territory in 209 BC from Arsaces' successor, Arsaces II. Arsaces II sued for peace and accepted vassal status, it was not until Arsaces II's grandson Phraates I, that the Arsacids/Parni would again begin to assert their independence. From their base in Parthia, the Arsacid dynasts extended their dominion to include most of Greater Iran, they quickl
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was a Roman consul, statesman and architect. He was a close friend, son-in-law, lieutenant to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus and was responsible for the construction of some of the most notable buildings in the history of Rome and for important military victories, most notably at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC against the forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra; as a result of these victories, Octavianus became the first Roman Emperor, adopting the name of Augustus. Agrippa assisted Augustus in making Rome "a city of marble" and renovating aqueducts to give all Romans, from every social class, access to the highest quality public services, he was responsible for the creation of many baths and gardens, as well as the original Pantheon. Agrippa was husband to Julia the Elder, maternal grandfather to Caligula, maternal great-grandfather to the Emperor Nero. Agrippa was born between 64–62 BC, in an uncertain location, his father was called Lucius Vipsanius Agrippa. He had an elder brother whose name was Lucius Vipsanius Agrippa, a sister named Vipsania Polla.
His family was of humble and plebeian origins. They had not been prominent in Roman public life. According to some scholars, including Victor Gardthausen, R. E. A. Palmer and David Ridgway, Agrippa's family was from Pisa in Etruria. Agrippa was about the same age as Octavian, the two were educated together and became close friends. Despite Agrippa's association with the family of Julius Caesar, his elder brother chose another side in the civil wars of the 40s BC, fighting under Cato against Caesar in Africa; when Cato's forces were defeated, Agrippa's brother was taken prisoner but freed after Octavian interceded on his behalf. It is not known whether Agrippa fought against his brother in Africa, but he served in Caesar's campaign of 46–45 BC against Gnaeus Pompeius, which culminated in the Battle of Munda. Caesar regarded him enough to send him with Octavius in 45 BC to study in Apollonia with the Macedonian legions, while Caesar consolidated his power in Rome. In the fourth month of their stay in Apollonia the news of Julius Caesar's assassination in March 44 BC reached them.
Agrippa and another friend, Quintus Salvidienus Rufus, advised Octavius to march on Rome with the troops from Macedonia, but Octavius decided to sail to Italy with a small retinue. After his arrival, he learned. Octavius at this time took Caesar's name, but modern historians refer to him as "Octavian" during this period. After Octavian's return to Rome, he and his supporters realised. Agrippa helped Octavian to levy troops in Campania. Once Octavian had his legions, he made a pact with Mark Antony and Lepidus established in 43 BC as the Second Triumvirate. Octavian and his consular colleague Quintus Pedius arranged for Caesar's assassins to be prosecuted in their absence, Agrippa was entrusted with the case against Gaius Cassius Longinus, it may have been in the same year that Agrippa began his political career, holding the position of Tribune of the Plebs, which granted him entry to the Senate. In 42 BC, Agrippa fought alongside Octavian and Antony in the Battle of Philippi. After their return to Rome, he played a major role in Octavian's war against Lucius Antonius and Fulvia Antonia the brother and wife of Mark Antony, which began in 41 BC and ended in the capture of Perusia in 40 BC.
However, Salvidienus remained Octavian's main general at this time. After the Perusine war, Octavian departed for Gaul, leaving Agrippa as urban praetor in Rome with instructions to defend Italy against Sextus Pompeius, an opponent of the Triumvirate, now occupying Sicily. In July 40, while Agrippa was occupied with the Ludi Apollinares that were the praetor's responsibility, Sextus began a raid in southern Italy. Agrippa advanced on him. However, the Triumvirate proved unstable, in August 40 both Sextus and Antony invaded Italy. Agrippa's success in retaking Sipontum from Antony helped bring an end to the conflict. Agrippa was among the intermediaries through whom Octavian agreed once more upon peace. During the discussions Octavian learned that Salvidienus had offered to betray him to Antony, with the result that Salvidienus was prosecuted and either executed or committed suicide. Agrippa was now Octavian's leading general. In 39 or 38 BC, Octavian appointed Agrippa governor of Transalpine Gaul, where in 38 BC he put down a rising of the Aquitanians.
He fought the Germanic tribes, becoming the next Roman general to cross the Rhine after Julius Caesar. He was summoned back to Rome by Octavian to assume the consulship for 37 BC, he was well below the usual minimum age of 43, but Octavian had suffered a humiliating naval defeat against Sextus Pompey and needed his friend to oversee the preparations for further warfare. Agrippa refused the offer of a triumph for his exploits in Gaul – on the grounds, says Dio, that he thought it improper to celebrate during a time of trouble for Octavian. Since Sextus Pompeius had command of the sea on the coasts of Italy, Agrippa's first care was to provide a safe harbour for Octavian's ships, he accomplished this by cutting through the strips of land which separated the Lacus Lucrinus from the sea, thus forming an outer harbour, while joining the lake Avernus to the Lucrinus to serve as an inner harbor. The new harbor-complex was named Portus Julius in Octavian's honour. Agrippa was responsible for technological improvements, including larger ships and an improved form of grappling
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
Cato the Younger
Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis known as Cato the Younger to distinguish him from his great-grandfather, was a statesman in the late Roman Republic, a follower of the Stoic philosophy. A noted orator, he is remembered for his stubbornness and tenacity, as well as his immunity to bribes, his moral integrity, his famous distaste for the ubiquitous corruption of the period. Cato was born in the son of Marcus Porcius Cato and his wife, Livia, his parents died when he was young, he was cared for by his maternal uncle, Marcus Livius Drusus, who looked after Cato's sister Porcia, half-brother Quintus Servilius Caepio, two half-sisters Servilia Major, Servilia Minor. Cato was four when his uncle was assassinated in an event which helped to spark the Social War. Cato's stubbornness began in his early years. Sarpedon, his teacher, reports a obedient and questioning child, although slow in being persuaded of things and sometimes difficult to retrain. A story told by Plutarch tells of Quintus Poppaedius Silo, leader of the Marsi and involved in controversial business in the Roman Forum, who made a visit to his friend Marcus Livius and met the children of the house.
In a playful mood, he asked the children's support for his cause. All of them smiled except Cato, who stared at the guest suspiciously. Silo demanded an answer from him and, seeing no response, took Cato and hung him by the feet out of the window. Cato would not say anything. Plutarch recounts a few other stories as well. One night, as some children were playing a game in a side room of a house during a social event, they were having a mock trial with judges and accusers as well as a defendant. One of the children a good-natured and pleasant child, was convicted by the mock accusers and was being carried out of the room when he cried out for Cato. Cato became angry at the other children and, saying nothing, grabbed the child away from the "guards" and carried him away from the others. Plutarch tells a story about Cato's peers' immense respect for him at a young age, during the Roman ritual military game, called "Troy," in which all aristocratic teenagers participated as a sort of "coming of age" ceremony, involving a mock battle with wooden weapons performed on horseback.
When one of the adult organisers "appointed two leaders for them, the boys accepted one of them for his mother's sake, but would not tolerate the other, a nephew of Pompey, named Sextus, refused to rehearse under him or obey him. When Sulla asked them whom they would have, they all cried "Cato," and Sextus himself gave way and yielded the honour to a confessed superior." Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the Roman dictator, liked to talk with Cato and his brother Caepio, requested the child's presence when the boy defied his opinions and policies in public. Sulla's daughter Cornelia Sulla was married to the boys' uncle Mamercus Aemilius Lepidus Livianus. According to Plutarch, at one point during the height of the civil strife, as respected Roman nobles were being led to execution from Sulla's villa, aged about 14, asked his tutor why no one had yet killed the dictator. Sarpedon's answer was thus: "They fear him, my child, more than they hate him." Cato replied to this, "Give me a sword, that I might free my country from slavery."
After this, Sarpedon was careful not to leave the boy unattended around the capital, seeing how firm he was in his republican beliefs. After receiving his inheritance, Cato moved from his uncle's house and began to study Stoic philosophy and politics, he began to live in a modest way, as his great-grandfather Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder had famously done. Cato subjected himself to violent exercise, learned to endure cold and rain with a minimum of clothes, he drank the cheapest wine on the market. This was for philosophical reasons, he remained in private life for a long time seen in public. But when he did appear in the forum, his speeches and rhetorical skills were most admired. Cato was known to drink wine generously. Cato was first engaged to Aemilia Lepida, a patrician woman, but she was married instead to Quintus Caecilius Metellus Scipio, to whom she had been betrothed. Incensed, Cato threatened to sue for her hand, but his friends mollified him, Cato was contented to compose Archilochian iambics against Scipio in consolation.
Cato was married to a woman called Atilia. By her, he had a son, Marcus Porcius Cato, a daughter, who would become the second wife of Marcus Junius Brutus. Cato divorced Atilia for unseemly behavior. In 72 BC, Cato volunteered to fight in the war against Spartacus to support his brother Caepio, serving as a military tribune in the consular army of Lucius Gellius Poplicola. Gellius is remembered as an indifferent commander, but his army inflicted the greatest of any defeats on Spartacus before Crassus raised his six legions and defeated the slave uprising; as a military tribune, Cato was sent to Macedon in 67 BC at the age of 28 and given command of a legion. He led his men from the front, sharing their work and sleeping quarters, he was nonetheless loved by his legionaries. While Cato was in service in Macedon, he received the news that his beloved brother Caepio, from whom he was nearly inseparable, was dying in Thrace, he went to see him but was unable to arrive before his brother died. Cato was overwhelmed by grief, for once in his life, he spared no expense to org