Why did Crassus fail in Parthia

The Parthian (/ pɑːr θ i ən /), also known as the Arsacid Empire (/ ɑːrs ə s ɪ d /), [9] was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran from 247 BC to 224 AD [10] The latter name comes from its founder, Arsaces me, [11] who led the Parni tribe to conquer the region of Parthia [12] in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy (province) under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I (r. C. 171–132 BC) expanded the empire considerably by conquering Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its peak, the Parthian stretched from the northern foothills of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to present-day Afghanistan and western Pakistan. The Empire on the Silk Road between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean and the Han Dynasty in China became a center of trade and commerce.

247 BC BC - AD 224
The Parthians in 94 BC at their greatest extent, during the reign of Mithridates II (r. 124-91 BC)
CapitalCtesiphon, [1] Ecbatana, Hecatompylos, Susa, Mithradatkirt, Asaak, Rhages
Common languagesGreek (official), [2] Parthian (official), [3] Aramaic (lingua franca) [2] [4]
governmentFeudal monarchy [6]
Arsaces I (first)
Artabanus IV (last)
legislative branchMegisthanes
Historic eraAntiquity
247 BC
AD 224
1 AD [7] [8]2,800,000 km 2 (1,100,000 km²)

The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal regalia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which included Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures. For the first half of its existence, the Arsakid dish inherited elements of Greek culture, although there was eventually a gradual revival of Iranian traditions. The Arsakid rulers were referred to as the "King of Kings", as a claim to be the heirs of the Achaemenid Empire; Indeed, they accepted many local kings as vassals, with the Achaemenids centrally, albeit largely autonomous, appointed satraps. The court appointed a small number of satraps, mostly outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsenal power, the seat of central government shifted from Nisa to Ctesiphon along the Tigris (south of modern Baghdad, Iraq), although several other locations also served as capitals.

The earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Seleucids in the west and the Scythians in the north. However, when Parthia expanded west, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia and eventually the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with each other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate customers. The Parthians destroyed 53 BC The army of Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae, and in the years 40 to 39 BC. Parthian forces conquered the entire Levant, with the exception of Tire, from the Romans. However, Mark Antony counterattacked the Parthians, although his successes were generally 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 subsequent Roman-Parthian wars over the next centuries. During these conflicts, the Romans conquered the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon several times, but were never able to hold onto them. Frequent civil wars between Parthian candidates for the throne turned out to be more dangerous for the stability of the empire than the foreign invasion, and Parthian power disappeared when Ardashir I, ruler of Istakhr in Persis, rose against the Arsacids and their last ruler Artabanus in AD 224 IV. Killed. Ardashir founded the Sasan Empire that ruled Iran and much of the Middle East until the Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD, although the Arsacid dynasty was followed by the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia, the Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, and the Arsacid -Dynasty of the Caucasus continued to live in Albania; all branches of the same name of the Parthian Arsacids.

Native Parthian sources written in Parthian, Greek and other languages ​​are rare compared to Sasanian and even earlier Achaemenid sources. Aside from scattered cuneiform tablets, fragmentary ostraca, rock inscriptions, drachma coins, and the chance survival of some parchment documents, much of Parthian history is known only through external sources. These mainly include Greek and Roman stories, but also Chinese stories that were sparked by the Han Chinese's desire to form alliances against the Xiongnu. [13] Parthian works of art are viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture otherwise absent from textual sources.


Origin and foundation

The Silver Drachma of Arsaces I ( r . C. 247-211 BC Chr.) With the Greek-language inscription ofΣΑΚΟΥ "of Arsaces"

Before Arsaces I founded the Arsacid Dynasty, he was chief of the Parni, an ancient Central Asian tribe of Iranian peoples and one of several nomadic tribes within the Dahae Confederation. [14] The Parni most likely spoke an Eastern Iranian language, as opposed to the northwest Iranian language that was spoken in Parthia at the time. [15] The latter was a northeastern province, first under the Achaemenid and then under the Seleucid empires. [16] After conquering the region, the Parni adopted Parthian as the official court language and spoke it alongside Middle Persian, Aramaic, Greek, Babylonian, Sogdian and other languages ​​in the multilingual areas they would conquer. [17]

Why the Arsacid court retrospectively 247 BC As first year of the Arsacid era selected is uncertain. ADH Bivar concludes that this was the year the Seleucids lost control of Parthia to Andragoras, the appointed satrap who rebelled against them. Therefore, Arsaces I "reset his reign to the moment" when the Seleucid control of Parthia ceased. [18] Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis, however, claims that this was simply the year Arsaces was made chief of the Parni tribe. [19] Homa Katouzian [20] and Gene Ralph Garthwaite [21] claim it was the years of Arsaces when the Seleucid authorities captured Parthia and expelled Curtis, however [19] and Maria Brosius [22] states that Andragoras was not overthrown by the Arsacids until 238 BC.

It is unclear who immediately succeeded Arsaces I. Bivar [23] and Katouzian [20] confirm that it was his brother Tiridates I of Parthia who, in turn, in 211 BC. Chr. Was succeeded by his son Arsaces II of Parthia. Curtis [24] and Brosius [25] however, state that Arsaces II was the immediate successor to Arsaces I, with Curtis claiming the successor was in 211 BC. And Brosius 217 BC Took place. Bivar insists that 138 B.C. BC, the last year of the reign of Mithridates I, "the first precisely determined date of reign in Parthian history". [26] Because of these and other discrepancies, Bivar outlines two distinct royal chronologies that historians have accepted. [27] A fictitious claim was made later from the 2nd century BC onwards. Set up by the Parthians, who represented them as descendants of the Achaemenid king of kings Artaxerxes II. Of Persia (ruled 404 - 358 BC). [28]

For a time, Arsaces consolidated his position in Parthia and Hyrcania by preventing the Seleucid invasion of the west by Ptolemy III. Euergetes ( reg . 246-222 BC Exploited in Egypt. This conflict with Ptolemy, the Third Syrian War (246–241 BC), made it possible for Diodotus I to rebel and form the Greco-Bactrian kingdom in Central Asia. [22] The latter's successor, Diodot II, formed an alliance with Arsaces against the Seleucids, but Arsaces was temporarily removed from the forces of Seleucus II Callinicus ( reg . 246-225 BC Chr.) Expelled from Parthia. [29] After spending some time in exile with the nomadic Apasiacae tribe, Arsaces counterattacked and retook Parthia. The successor of Seleucus II, Antiochus III. The great ( reg . 222-187 BC Could not take revenge immediately as his troops were busy putting down the Molon uprising in the media. [29]

Antiochus III. Started 210 or 209 BC A massive campaign to retake Parthia and Bactria. Despite a few victories, he was unsuccessful, but negotiated a peace settlement with Arsaces II. The latter received the title of king (Greek: basileus ) in return for his submission to Antiochus III. As his superior. [30] After increasing interventions by the Roman Republic and the defeat of the Seleucids in Magnesia in 190 BC, the Seleucids were able to Do not intervene further in Parthian affairs. [30] Priapatius ( r . C. 191-176 BC) get Arsaces II and Phraates I ( r . C. 176-171 BC) finally ascended the throne. Phraates I ruled Parthia without further Seleucid interference. [31]

Expansion and consolidation

Drachm from Mithridates I, showing him with a beard and a royal tiara on his head. Back: Heracles / Verethragna, holding a club in his left hand and a cup in his right hand; Greek inscription with the inscription ofΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ "the great king Arsaces the Philhellene"

It is reported that Phraates I extended Parthia's control past the gates of Alexander and occupied Apamea Ragiana. The locations of these are unknown. [32] However, the greatest expansion of power and territory of the Parthians took place during the reign of his brother and successor Mithridates I (rc 171-132 BC), [25] Compare the Katouzian with the founder Cyrus the Great (died 530 BC) of the Achaemenid Empire. [20]

Relations between Parthia and Greco-Bactria deteriorated after the death of Diodot II, when Mithridates' forces captured two eparchies of the latter kingdom, then under Eucratids I ( r . C. 170-145 BC Chr.). [33] Mithridates turned to the Seleucid Empire, penetrated the media and occupied Ecbatana in 148 or 147 BC. The region had been destabilized by the recent suppression of a Timarchus-led uprising by the Seleucids. [34] This victory was followed by the Parthian conquest of Babylonia in Mesopotamia, where Mithridates 141 BC. Minted coins in Seleucia and held an official furnishing ceremony. [35] While Mithridates withdrew to Hyrcania, his forces subjugated the kingdoms of Elymais and Characene and occupied Susa. [35] At this point the Parthian authority extended to the Indus. [36]

While Hecatompylos had served as the first Parthian capital, Mithridates established royal residences in Seleucia, Ecbatana, Ctesiphon and his newly founded city of Mithradatkert (Nisa, Turkmenistan), where the tombs of the Arsakid kings were erected and maintained. [37] Ecbatana became the main summer residence of the Arsacid kings. [38] Ctesiphon did not become the official capital until government Gotarzes I ( r . C. 90-80 BC). [39] According to Brosius, it became the site of the royal coronation ceremony and the representational city of the Arsacids. [40]

The Seleucids could not immediately return the favor when General Diodotus Tryphon in 142 BC. Led a rebellion in the capital Antioch. [41] Around 140 BC However, Demetrius II Nicator was able to start a counter-invasion against the Parthians in Mesopotamia. Despite early successes, the Seleucids were defeated and Demetrius himself was captured by Parthian forces and taken to Hyrcania. There Mithridates treated his prisoner with great hospitality; He even married his daughter, Rhodogune of Parthia, to Demetrius. [42]

Antiochus VII Sidetes ( reg . 138-129 BC Chr.), A brother of Demetrius, ascended the Seleucid throne and married his wife Cleopatra Thea. After defeating Diodotus Tryphon, Antiochus initiated a campaign in 130 BC to retake Mesopotamia, now under the rule of Phraates II ( r . C. 132-127 BC). The Parthian general Indates was defeated along the Great Zab, followed by a local uprising in which the Parthian governor of Babylonia was killed. Antiochus conquered Babylonia and occupied Susa, where he minted coins. [43] After the Parthians promoted his army to the media, they pushed for peace, which Antiochus would not accept unless the Arsacids ceded all lands to him except Parthia, paid great tribute and released Demetrius from captivity. Arsaces released Demetrius and sent him to Syria, but refused the other demands. [44] By the spring of 129 BC The Medes were in open revolt against Antiochus, whose army had exhausted the resources of the rural area in winter. In an attempt to put down the revolts, the main Parthian force invaded the region and killed Antiochus in 129 BC. At the battle of Ecbatana. His body was sent back to Syria in a silver coffin; his son Seleucus was made a Parthian hostage [45] and a daughter joined Phraates' harem. [46]