Caucasian Albania is a modern exonym for an ancient country in the eastern Caucasus, on the territory of present-day republic of Azerbaijan and southern Dagestan. Its endonym is unknown; the name Albania is derived from Latin Albanía. The prefix "Caucasian" is used purely to avoid confusion with modern Albania of the Balkans, which has no known geographical or historical connections to Caucasian Albania. Little is known of the region's prehistory, including the origins of Caucasian Albania as a geographical and/or ethnolinguistic concept. In the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD, the area south of the Greater Caucasus and north of the Lesser Caucasus was divided between Caucasian Albania in the east, Caucasian Iberia in the center, Kolchis in the west, Armenia in the southwest and Atropatene to the southeast. After the rise of the Parthian Empire the kings of Caucasian Albania were replaced with an Arsacid family and would be succeeded by another Iranian royal family in the 5th century AD, the Mihranids.
Aghuank is the Armenian name for Caucasian Albania. Armenian authors mention; the term Aghuank is polysemous and is used in Armenian sources to denote the region between the Kur and Araxes rivers as part of Armenia. In the latter case it is sometimes used in the form "Armenian Aghuank" or "Hay-Aghuank"; the Armenian historian of the region, Movses Kaghankatvatsi, who left the only more or less complete historical account about the region, explains the name Aghvank as a derivation from the word ału, which, he said, was the nickname of Caucasian Albania's first governor Arran and referred to his lenient personality. Movses Kaghankatvatsi and other ancient sources explain Arran or Arhan as the name of the legendary founder of Caucasian Albania or of the Iranian tribe known as Alans, who in some versions was a son of Noah's son Yafet. James Darmesteter, translator of the Avesta, compared Arran with Airyana Vaego which he considered to have been in the Araxes-Ararat region, although modern theories tend to place this in the east of Iran.
The Parthian name for the region was Ardhan. The Arabic was ar-Rān. In Georgian, it was known as რანი Rani. In Ancient Greek, it was Ἀλβανία Albanía, its endonym is unknown. In pre-Islamic times, Caucasian Albania/Arran was a wider concept than that of post-Islamic Arran. Ancient Arran covered all eastern Transcaucasia, which included most of the territory of modern-day Azerbaijan Republic and part of the territory of Dagestan. However, in post-Islamic times the geographic notion of Arran reduced to the territory between the rivers of Kura and Araks. Ancient Caucasian Albania lay on the south-eastern part of the Greater Caucasus mountains, it was bounded by Caucasian Iberia to the west, by Sarmatia to the north, by the Caspian Sea to the east, by the provinces of Artsakh and Utik in Armenia to the west along the river Kura. These boundaries, were never static - At times the territory of Caucasian Albania included land to the west of the river Kura. Albania or Arran in Islamic times was a triangle of land, lowland in the east and mountainous in the west, formed by the junction of the Kura and Aras rivers, Mil plain and parts of the Mughan plain, in the pre-Islamic times, corresponded to the territory of modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan.
The districts of Albania were: The kingdom's capital during antiquity was Qabala. Classical sources are unanimous in making the Kura River the frontier between Armenia and Albania after the conquest of the territories on the right bank of Kura by Armenians in the 2nd century BC; the original territory of Albania was 23,000 km². After 387 AD the territory of Caucasian Albania, sometimes referred to by scholars as "Greater Albania," grew to about 45,000 km². In the 5th century the capital was transferred to Partav in Utik', reported to have been built in the mid-5th century by the King Vache II of Albania, but according to M. L. Chaumont, it existed earlier as an Armenian city. In a medieval chronicle "Ajayib-ad-Dunia", written in the 13th century by an unknown author, Arran is said to have been 30 farsakhs in width, 40 farsakhs in length. All the right bank of the Kura River until it joined with the Aras was attributed to Arran; the boundaries of Arran have shifted throughout history, sometimes encompassing the entire territory of the present day Republic of Azerbaijan, at other times only parts of the South Caucasus.
In some instances Arran was a part of Armenia. Medieval Islamic geographers gave descriptions of Arran in general, of its towns, which included Barda and Ganja, along with others. At least some of the Caucasian Albanians spoke Lezgic languages close to those found in modern Daghestan. After the Caucasian Albanians were Christianized in the 4th century, parts of the population was assimilated by the Armenians and Georgians, while the eastern parts of Caucasian Albania were Islamized and absorbed by Iranian and subsequently Turkic peoples. Small remnants of this group continue to exist independently, are known as the Udi people; the pre-Islamic population of Caucasian Albania might have played a role in the ethnogenesis of a number of modern ethnicities, including the Azerb
Mithridates I of Parthia
Mithridates I known as Mithridates I the Great, was king of the Parthian Empire from 171 BC to 132 BC. During his reign, Parthia was transformed from a small kingdom into a major political power in the Ancient East as a result of his conquests, he was the first Parthian king to assume the ancient Achaemenid title of King of Kings. Due to his accomplishments, he has been compared to Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Mithridates I died in 132 BC, was succeeded by his son Phraates II. Mithridates is the Greek form of the Iranian theophoric name of Mihrdāt, meaning "gift of Mithra"; the Old Persian version is Miθradāta, whilst the Modern Persian version is Mehrdād. Mithridates was the son of Phriapatius, the great-nephew of the first Arsacid king, Arsaces I. Mithridates had several brothers, including Artabanus and his older brother Phraates I, who succeeded their father in 176 BC as the Parthian king; the Parthian custom was for the ruler to pass the throne down to his son. However, this was not the case with Mithridates, appointed heir by Phraates I due to his remarkable competence.
Phraates I died in 171 BC, thus Mithridates succeeded him. He first turned his sights on the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, weakened as a result of its wars against the neighboring Sogdians and Indians; this proved beneficial for Mithridates, who undertook his first campaign against the Greco-Bactrian ruler Eucratides I, whom he defeated and seized Bactria from, most sometime in the 150s BC. Turning his sights on the Seleucid realm, Mithridates invaded Media and occupied Ecbatana in 148 or 147 BC; this victory was followed by the Parthian conquest of Babylonia in Mesopotamia, where Mithridates had coins minted at Seleucia in 141 BC and held an official investiture ceremony. There Mithridates appears to have introduced a parade of the New Year festival in Babylon, by which the ancient Mesopotamian god Marduk was led along parade way from the Esagila temple by holding the hands of the goddess Ishtar. Mithridates shortly afterwards retired to Hyrcania, whilst his forces subdued the kingdoms of Elymais and Characene and occupied Susa.
By this time, Parthian authority extended as far east as the Indus River. Whereas Hecatompylos had served as the first Parthian capital, Mithridates established royal residences at Seleucia, Ecbatana and his newly founded city, where the tombs of the Arsacid kings were built and maintained. Ecbatana became the main summertime residence for the Arsacid royalty. Mithridates may have made Ctesiphon the new capital of his enlarged empire; the Seleucids were unable to retaliate as general Diodotus Tryphon led a rebellion at the capital Antioch in 142 BC. However, a opportunity for counter-invasion arose for the Seleucids in c. 140 BC when Mithridates was forced to leave for the east to contain an invasion by the Saka. The Seleucid ruler Demetrius II Nicator was at first successful in his efforts to reconquer Mesopotamia, the Seleucids were defeated and Demetrius himself was captured by Parthian forces and taken to Hyrcania. There Mithridates treated his captive with great hospitality. Mithridates punished the Parthian vassal kingdom of Elymais for aiding the Seleucids–he invaded the region once more and captured two of their major cities.
Furthermore, around this period he allowed the Kings of Persis to have more autonomy, most in an effort to maintain healthy relations with them as the Parthian Empire was under constant conflict with the Saka and the Mesenians. He was the first Parthian monarch to have an influence on the affairs of Persis; the coinage under the Persis king Vadfradad II shows influence from the coins minted under Mithridates. Mithridates died in c. 132 BC, was succeeded by his son Phraates II. Since the early 2nd-century BC, the Arsacids had begun adding obvious signals in their dynastic ideology, which emphasized their association with the heritage of the ancient Achaemenid Empire. Examples of these signs included a fictitious claim that the first Arsacid king, Arsaces I was a descendant of the Achaemenid king of kings, Artaxerxes II. Achaemenid titles were assumed by the Arsacids, including the title of "king of kings" by Mithridates I. However, the title was infrequently by the latter, it was first under his nephew and namesake Mithridates II, from c.
109/8 BC onwards. The early Arsacids had worn a soft cap, known as the bashlyk, worn by Achaemenid satraps; the earliest coins of Mithridates I show him wearing the soft cap as well, however coins from the part of his reign show him for the first time wearing the royal Hellenistic diadem. He thus embraces the image of a Hellenistic monarch, yet chooses to appear bearded in the traditional Iranian custom. A sculpted head broken off from a larger statue from Mithradatkert, depicting a bearded man with noticeably Iranian facial characteristics, may be a portrait of Mithridates, who had laid foundations to the city. Mithridates I titled himself Philhellene on his coins, a political act done in order to establish friendly relations with his newly conquered Greek subjects; the other titles that Mithridates used in his coinage was "of Arsaces", changed into "of King Arsaces", "of the Great King Arsaces." The name of the first Arsacid ruler Arsaces I had become a royal honorific among the Arsa
Artabanus V of Parthia
Artabanus IV known as Ardavan IV, incorrectly known in older scholarship as Artabanus V, was the last ruler of Parthian Empire from c. 213 to 224. He was the younger son of Vologases V, who died in 208. In c. 208, Vologases VI succeeded his father Vologases V as king of the Parthian Empire. His rule was unquestioned for a few years; the dynastic struggle between the two brothers most started in c. 213. Artabanus conquered much of the empire, including Media and Susa. Vologases VI seems to have only managed to keep Seleucia; the Roman emperor Caracalla sought to take advantage of the conflict between the two brothers. He tried to find a pretext to invade the Parthian Empire by requesting Vologases to send two refugees—a philosopher named Antiochus and a certain Tiridates, either an Armenian prince or a uncle of Vologases; the to the surprise of the Romans, Vologases had the two men sent to Caracalla in 215, thus denying him his pretext. Caracalla's choice of contacting Vologases instead of Artabanus shows that the Romans still saw him as the dominant king.
Caracalla thus chose to preoccupy himself with a invasion of Armenia. He appointed a freedman named Theocritus as the leader of the invasion, which ended in a disaster. Caracalla once again sought to start a war with the Parthians. In another attempt to gain a pretext, he requested Artabanus to marry his daughter, which he declined, it is disputed. Caracalla's choice to contact Artabanus shows that the latter was now considered the dominant king over Vologases, who would rule a small principality centered around Seleucia until 221/2. Artabanus soon clashed with Caracalla, whose forces he managed to contain at Nisibis in 217. Peace was made between the two empires the following year, with the Arsacids keeping most of Mesopotamia. However, Artabanus V still had to deal with his brother Vologases, who continued to mint coins and challenge him; the Sasanian family had meanwhile risen to prominence in their native Pars, had now under prince Ardashir I begun to conquer the neighboring regions and more far territories, such as Kirman.
At first, Ardashir I's activities did not alarm Artabanus, until when the Arsacid king chose to confront him. According to al-Tabari, whose work was based off Sasanian sources, Ardashir I and Artabanus agreed to meet in Hormozdgan at the end of the month of Mihr. Nonetheless, Ardashir I went to the place before due time to occupy a advantageous spot on the plain. There he dug out a ditch to defend his forces, he took over a spring at the place. Ardashir I's forces numbered 10,000 cavalry, with some of them wearing flexible chain armor akin to that of the Romans. Artabanus led a greater number of soldiers, however, were less disposed, due to wearing the inconvenient lamellar armor. Ardashir I's son and heir, Shapur I, as portrayed in the Sasanian rock reliefs took part in the battle; the battle was fought on 28 April 224, with Artabanus being defeated and killed, marking the end of the Arsacid era and the start of 427-years of Sasanian rule. The chief secretary of Artabanus, Dad-windad, was afterwards executed by Ardashir I.
Thenceforth, Ardashir I assumed the title of shahanshah and started the conquest of an area which would be called Iranshahr. He celebrated his victory in a relief sculptured at his previous capital, Ardashir-Khwarrah in his homeland, Pars. On the relief, Ardashir I is portrayed as riding on a horse whilst ousting Artabanus, mounted. Ardashir I's son Shapur I on horseback, is portrayed as impaling Dad-windad with his lance. Vologases was driven out of Mesopotamia by Ardashir I's forces soon after 228. Al-Tabari, Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir. Ehsan Yar-Shater, ed; the History of Al-Ṭabarī. 40 vols. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Chaumont, M. L.. "Balāš VI". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. III, Fasc. 6. Pp. 574–580. Daryaee, Touraj. Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. I. B. Tauris. Pp. 1–240. ISBN 0857716662. Rajabzadeh, Hashem. "Dabīr". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. VI, Fasc. 5. Pp. 534–539. Schippmann, K.. "Artabanus". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. II, Fasc. 6. Pp. 647–650. Schippmann, K.. "Arsacids ii.
The Arsacid dynasty". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. II, Fasc. 5. Pp. 525–536. Shahbazi, A. Shapur. "Hormozdgān". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. XII, Fasc. 5. Pp. 469–470. Shahbazi, A. Shapur. "SASANIAN DYNASTY". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition. Shahbazi, A. Shapur. "Šāpur I". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Shahbazi, A. Shapur. "BESṬĀM O BENDŌY". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IV, Fasc. 2. Pp. 180–182. Retrieved 13 August 2013. Shahbazi, A. Shapur. "Bahrām VI Čōbīn". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. III, Fasc. 5. London et al. pp. 514–522. Wiesehöfer, Joseph. "Ardašīr I i. History". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. II, Fasc. 4. Pp. 371–376
Artabanus I of Parthia
Artabanus I, incorrectly known in older scholarship as Artabanus II, was king of the Parthian Empire, ruling from c. 127 to 124/3 BC. Artabanus is the Latin form of itself from the Middle Iranian Ardawān; the Modern Persian version is Ardavān. The son of Phriapatius, Artabanus I succeeded his nephew Phraates II in 127 BC. Determining the dates of Phripatius' reign, Artabanus I must have been old at his accession. Artabanus I refrained from using the title of "king of kings" in his coinage, instead used the title of "great king". Like the rest of the Parthian kings, he used the title of Arsaces on his coinage, the name of the first Parthian ruler Arsaces I, which had become a royal honorific among the Parthian monarchs out of admiration for his achievements. Furthermore, he used the title of Philhellene, introduced during the reign of Mithridates I as a political act in order to establish friendly relations with their Greek subjects; the earlier Parthian kings were depicted in Hellenistic clothing on the observe of their coins.
Like his two predecessors, Artabanus I is wearing a Hellenistic diadem, whilst his long beard represents the traditional Iranian/Near Eastern custom. Artabanus I's reign was a period of decline in the Parthian Empire, his predecessor, Phraates II had died fighting the invading nomads in the east of the empire. Artabanus I was forced to fight the nomads—the Saka and Yuezhi, was compelled to pay them tribute. Hyspaosines, who had created the principality of Characene in southern Mesopotamia, took advantage of the Parthian difficulties in the east by proclaiming his independence from Parthian suzerainty, he went on to seize Babylon, by 125/4 BC, he controlled parts of Mesopotamia as indicated by coin mints of him. Artabanus I chose to remain in the east to deal with the nomads, whom he considered more of a danger. In 124/3 BC, just like Phraates II, Artabanus I died during a battle against the Yuezhi in the east, he died to a wound in the arm. He was succeeded by his son Mithridates II, who not only dealt with the nomads pressuring the eastern Parthian borders, but expanded Parthian authority in the west, transforming the Parthian Empire into a superpower.
Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus. Shayegan, M. Rahim. Arsacids and Sasanians: Political Ideology in Post-Hellenistic and Late Antique Persia. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 1–539. ISBN 9780521766418. Schippmann, K.. "Artabanus". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. II, Fasc. 6. Pp. 647–650. Schippmann, K.. "Arsacids ii. The Arsacid dynasty". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. II, Fasc. 5. Pp. 525–536. Curtis, Vesta Sarkhosh, "The Iranian Revival in the Parthian Period", in Curtis, Vesta Sarkhosh and Sarah Stewart, The Age of the Parthians: The Ideas of Iran, 2, London & New York: I. B. Tauris & Co Ltd. in association with the London Middle East Institute at SOAS and the British Museum, pp. 7–25, ISBN 978-1-84511-406-0. Frye, Richard Nelson; the History of Ancient Iran. C. H. Beck. Pp. 1–411. ISBN 9783406093975. Kia, Mehrdad; the Persian Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1610693912. Daryaee, Touraj; the Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.
Pp. 1–432. ISBN 0-19-987575-8
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
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. Another member of the Arsacid house, Artabanus III, 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 became King there. Artabanus II demanded his deposition, as Augustus did not wish to begin a war with the Parthians he moved Vonones I into Syria, where he was kept in custody, though in a kingly style, he was moved to Cilicia, when he tried to escape in about 19 AD, he was killed by his guards.
Hon. Ana. 5, 9. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, xviii, 2, 4. Tacitus, Annals, ii, 4, 58, 68
Caracalla, formally known as Antoninus, ruled as Roman emperor from 198 to 217 AD. He was a member of the elder son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna. Co-ruler with his father from 198, he continued to rule with his brother Geta, emperor from 209, after their father's death in 211, he had his brother killed that year, reigned afterwards as sole ruler of the Roman Empire. Caracalla's reign featured domestic instability and external invasions by the Germanic peoples. Caracalla's reign became notable for the Antonine Constitution known as the Edict of Caracalla, which granted Roman citizenship to nearly all free men throughout the Roman Empire; the edict gave all the enfranchised men Caracalla's adopted praenomen and nomen: "Marcus Aurelius". Domestically, Caracalla became known for the construction of the Baths of Caracalla, which became the second-largest baths in Rome. In 216, Caracalla began a campaign against the Parthian Empire, he did not see this campaign through to completion due to his assassination by a disaffected soldier in 217.
Macrinus succeeded him as emperor three days later. The ancient sources portray Caracalla as a tyrant and as a cruel leader, an image that has survived into modernity. Dio Cassius and Herodian present Caracalla as a soldier first and as an emperor second. In the 12th century, Geoffrey of Monmouth started the legend of Caracalla's role as the king of Britain. In the 18th century, the works of French painters revived images of Caracalla due to apparent parallels between Caracalla's tyranny and that ascribed to Louis XVI of France. Modern works continue to portray Caracalla as a psychopathic and evil ruler, painting him as one of the most tyrannical of all Roman emperors. Caracalla was born Lucius Septimius Bassianus, he was renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus at the age of seven as part of his father's attempt at union with the families of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. According to the 4th century historian Aurelius Victor in his Epitome de Caesaribus, he became known by the agnomen "Caracalla" after a Gallic hooded tunic that he habitually wore and made fashionable.
He may have begun wearing it during his campaigns on the Danube. Dio referred to him as Tarautas, after a famously diminutive and violent gladiator of the time. Caracalla was born in Lugdunum, Gaul, on 4 April 188 to Julia Domna, he had a younger brother, who would rule as co-emperor alongside him. Caracalla's father appointed full emperor from the year 198 onwards, his brother Geta was granted the same title around 209 or 210. In 202 Caracalla was forced to marry the daughter of Gaius Fulvius Plautianus, Fulvia Plautilla, a woman whom he hated, though for what reason is unknown. By 205 Caracalla had succeeded in having Plautianus executed for treason, though he had fabricated the evidence of the plot himself, it was that he banished his wife, whose killing might have been carried out under Caracalla's orders. Caracalla's father, Septimius Severus, died on 4 February 211 at Eboracum while on campaign in Caledonia, north of Roman Britannia. Caracalla and his brother, jointly inherited the throne upon their father's death.
Caracalla and Geta ended the campaign in Caledonia after concluding a peace with the Caledonians that returned the border of Roman Britain to the line demarcated by Hadrian's Wall. During the journey back to Rome with their father's ashes and his brother continuously argued with one another, making relations between them hostile. Caracalla and Geta considered dividing the empire in half along the Bosphorus to make their co-rule less hostile. Caracalla was to rule in the west and Geta was to rule in the east, they were persuaded not to do this by their mother. On 26 December 211, at a reconciliation meeting arranged by their mother, Caracalla had Geta assassinated by members of the Praetorian Guard loyal to himself, Geta dying in his mother's arms. Caracalla persecuted and executed most of Geta's supporters and ordered a damnatio memoriae pronounced by the Senate against his brother's memory. Geta's image was removed from all paintings, coins were melted down, statues were destroyed, his name was struck from papyrus records, it became a capital offence to speak or write Geta's name.
In the aftermath of the damnatio memoriae, an estimated 20,000 people were massacred. Those killed were Geta's inner circle of guards and advisers and other military staff under his employ. In 213, about a year after Geta's death, Caracalla left Rome never to return, he went north to the German frontier to deal with the Alamanni, a confederation of Germanic tribes who had broken through the limes in Raetia. During the campaign of 213–214, Caracalla defeated some of the Germanic tribes while settling other difficulties through diplomacy, though with whom these treaties were made remains unknown. While there, Caracalla strengthened the frontier fortifications of Raetia and Germania Superior, collectively known as the Agri Decumates, so that it was able to withstand any further barbarian invasions for another twenty years. Historian Edward Gibbon compares Caracalla to emperors such as Hadrian who spent their careers campaigning in the provinces and to tyrants such as Nero and Domitian whose entire reigns were confined to Rome and whose actions only impacted upon the senatoria