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Based on what we have learned in class, write on the history of the Roman-Arsacid wars from the first century B.C. to the early years of the 3rd century A.D. INCLUDE dates, major battle fields (place names), and personalities. This is an essay question and MUST be written in a readable, correct style. The length must be around 1000 words (use Review and Word count in your word processor). The essay must be typed in Word and uploaded. No copied and pasted text from other sources is accepted. You may use, in order to support your arguments, some of your readings.M110B Iranian Civilization
History of the Arsacid Empire:
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3:15 pm
Lecture 8
The Arsacid-Roman Wars II
1. Antonius’ War : Phraates IV to Orodes III
Chronology
753 BC
509 BC
218 BC
200-50 BC
73-63 BC
74-66 BC
60-45 BC
45 BC
43-33 BC
27 BC
15 BC – 20 AD
14
58-63
64
66-74
79
98 -103
113-117
122
161-180
Foundation of Rome
The Roman Republic
The Second Punic Wars. Hannibal invades Rome
The expansion of the Roman territories: conquest of Gaul,
expansion and defeat in the east
The Third Mithridatic Wars in Asia Minor
The Roman invasion of Anatolia, defeat of Tigran
The first Triumvirate (Crassus, Pompey, Caesar)
Julius Caesars becomes the first dictator
The second Triumvirate (Lepidus, Antonius, Octavian)
Octavian becomes Augustus, the first emperor
Campaigns against Iberian and Germanic tribes
Death of Augustus
Peace with Parthia under Nero
Great fire of Rome
Jewish –Roman war
Eruption of Vesuvius, destruction of Pompeii and Herculanium
Trajan and his Dacian wars
Trajan’s wars against the Parthians
Construction of the Hadrian Wall
Marcus Aurelius
The outcome of Carrhae:

No territorial gain for both parties. But, Rome’ prestige was lost in the east.
The Euphrates remained the natural border.
Recognition of each other.
Parthian submission of Armenia that took sides with Roman forces.
Pacorus’ Offensive
48 B.C.: Defeat of Pompey in Pharsalos and ascent of Caesar as sole ruler.
44: Death of Caesar
42: Battle of Philippi between Antonius and Octavian against the Caesar murderers.
– After Philippi, the Triumvirs agreed to divide the Republic into three spheres of influence.
Octavian took over Western provinces,Antonius of the East, and Lepidus Hispania and Africa.
Spring 40: Offensive of Pacorus together with Labienus: Division of Arsacid troops, whose ranks
were joined by Roman garrisons sympathetic to the republic or Labienus, in two: (1) Pacorus
conquest of Syria and Palestine; (b) Labienus: conquest of Asia Minor, Lydia, Caria and Ionia,
which led to largest Parthian expansion.
– Roman Counter offensive launched by Antonius: Ventidus Bassus sent from Egypt; the latter was
able to defeat Labienus and made him captive.
38: Bassus, Roman governor of Syria, defeated the imperial prince Pacorus in Syria (Gindarus),
whereby Pacorus was killed. Total recovery of Asia Minor by Rome.
Antonius’ Wars against the Arsacid Empire
c. 40 B.C.: Succession and Rule of Phraates IV.
Campaign of 36-35 B.C.:
36: Campaign of Antonius against the Arsacid Empire, with some 100,000 men according to Plutarch,
under the pretext of Arsacid refusal to return Roman soldiers and standards lost during the war of
Carrhae. The Armenians under Artavasdes supported Antononius with 15,000 troops.
– Antonius campaigned in Media Atropatane, prepared the siege of Phraaspa (capital of Media
Atropatene), in the area of Lake Urmia.
– Meanwhile the Arsacid troops in the expectation of an attack from Mesopotamia, were able to destroy
the rearguard ofAntonius’s troops, that is, all the siege engines.
– The severe reverse of the Romans prompted the withdrawal of the Armenian allies.
– Antonius was forced to withdraw, being short of supply and war engines.
Campaign of 34 B.C.:
34: Another campaign was led against Armenia (with the ultimate intention of conquering Parthia?).
Change of alliance: king of Media Atropatane, Artavasdes became Antonius’s ally, who decided to campaign through Media
into Parthia.
– Attempt at alliance with king of Armenia, Artavasdes, including marriage between their offspring, which failed, and led to
the conquest of Armenia and its capital Artaxata by Antonius.
– Killing of Artavasdes, and captivity of Armenian royal family.
-Antonius makes his son Alexander king of Armenia, Media, and Parthia (from Euphtrates to India).
Campaign of 33 B.C.:
– Renewed campaign of Antonius as far as the river Araxes.
– Treaty with Artavasdes of Media, including marriage of Artavasdes’ daughter Iotape with Alexander, son of Antonius, in
exchange for Armenian territorial concessions to Media.
– Parthian backing of Artaxes who was aided upon the Armenian throne, but was defeated by Artavasdes of Media in
conjunction with Roman forces.
– Upon Roman troops being recalled (to prepare for the confrontation with Octavian), Parthians re-imposed their ally Artaxes
on the Armenian throne, and took possession of Media, whose rule sought refuge with Antonius.
31: Battle of Actium and triumph of Octavian.
Augustus (27 B.C.- 14 A.D.) and Phraates/Farhad IV (38-2 B.C.)
20: Roman invasion of Armenia ordered by Augustus, and led by Tiberius, under the pretext that
Armenians had requested a dynastic change directed against their ruler Artaxes (Parthian ally) Artaxes
was deposed and his brother Tigranes II, was placed on the throne by Rome.
The Parthian-Roman treaty of friendship, which was concluded by the Parthians out of the fear that they
may be involved in two wars (one with the eastern Scythians; and the other with Rome in Armenia) led
to the treaty of 20 B.C., which including the following terms:
– Return to Rome of the captured standards of Carrhae;
– Recognition of the Euphrates as border between Rome and Iran;
– Recognition of Roman suzerainty over Armenia;
– The Concept of divisio orbis established policy of the Roman Empire against Arsacid Iran.
– The notion of the divisio orbis was inaugurated by Augustus after the many frustrated attempts
militarily to overpower the Parthian empire.
The Roman standard: a banner or sign, symbol of
Roman legions and army, symbol of Rome and
Rome’s pride
Statue of August of Primaporta
Silver denarius struck under Augustus, with the portrait of Goddess Feronia and a kneeling Parthian
Triumphal arch of Augustus in Rome
Ara Pacis Augustae (Altar of Augustan Peace looking northeast), Rome, Italy, 13–9 BC.
Procession of the imperial family, detail of the south frieze of the Ara Pacis Augustae, Rome, Italy, 13–9 BC. Marble, 5’ 3” high.
Rule of Phraatakes/Farhadak and Queen Musa
Silver drachm of Phraatakes, with Musa, Ekbatana, 2 BC-AD 5.
Portrait of Thermusa or Queen Musa,
found at Susa, southwestern Iran
The Case of Armenian Succession
The juvenile children of Tigranes II (Roman vassal), namely, Tigranes III and Erato had succeeded to their father
in the year 6 A.D.
Following the unsuccessful attempt to instate the Roman candidate Artavades I, Augustus was forced to send in
his adoptive son Gaius Caesar in year 1 to Armenia.
This time, Artavasdes I was successfully reinstated on the Armenian throne.
The Age of Artabanus II/Ardavan and Tiberius
Accession of Artabanus II
In 10 : Accession of Artabanus II, chosen by an aristocratic assembly, following the ill-fated rule of
Phraatakes, which was put to an end by an aristocratic uprising in favor of one of Phraates IV’s sons living
in Roman exile, namely, Vonones (sent already by Augustus), who soon fell into disfavor with the elites.
In 35, Artabanus II made a second attempt to install his own son on the Armenian throne (the first time was
in the year 14).
Tiberius, successor to Augustus, reacted by a double foray:
by promoting, in concert with the Arsacid nobility, the succession of Phraates IV’s grandson,
Tiridates, who was leaving in Rome as a state host to the Parthian throne; and
by placing a certain Mithridates, an Iberian prince, on the Armenian throne.
Initial success of Vitellius, praetor of Syria, in realizing Tiberius’ plan.
In 37, new accord between the two empires along the same lines as the treaty of year 20.
M110B Iranian Civilization
History of the Arsacid Empire:
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3:15 pm
Lecture 9
Conflict over Armenia
Chronology
753 BC
509 BC
218 BC
200-50 BC
Foundation of Rome
The Roman Republic
The Second Punic Wars. Hannibal invades Rome
The expansion of the Roman territories: conquest of Gaul,
expansion and defeat in the east
73-63 BC
The Third Mithridatic Wars in Asia Minor
74-66 BC
The Roman invasion of Anatolia, defeat of Tigran
60-45 BC
The first Triumvirate (Crassus, Pompey, Caesar)
45 BC
Julius Caesars becomes the first dictator
43-33 BC
The second Triumvirate (Lepidus, Antonius, Octavian)
27 BC
Octavian becomes Augustus, the first emperor
15 BC – 20 AD Campaigns against Iberian and Germanic tribes
14
Death of Augustus
58-63
Peace with Parthia under Nero
64
Great fire of Rome
66-74
Jewish –Roman war
79
Eruption of Vesuvius, destruction of Pompeii and Herculanium
101-102/105-106 Trajan and his Dacian wars
113-117
Trajan’s wars against the Parthians
122
Construction of the Hadrian Wall
161-180
Marcus Aurelius
1. The Age of Artabanus II/Ardavan and Tiberius
Accession of Artabanus II
In 10 : Accession of Artabanus II, chosen by an aristocratic assembly, following the ill-fated rule of
Phraatakes, which was put to an end by an aristocratic uprising in favor of one of Phraates IV’s sons living
in Roman exile, namely, Vonones (sent already by Augustus), who soon fell into disfavor with the elites.
Once more Armenia.
In 35, Artabanus II made a second attempt to install his own son on the Armenian throne (the first time was
in the year 14).
Tiberius, successor to Augustus, reacted by a double foray:
by promoting, in concert with the Arsacid nobility, the succession of Phraates IV’s grandson,
Tiridates, who was leaving in Rome as a state host to the Parthian throne; and
by placing a certain Mithridates, an Iberian prince, on the Armenian throne.
Initial success of Vitellius, praetor of Syria, in realizing Tiberius’ plan.
In 37, new accord between the two empires along the same lines as the treaty of year 20.
2. The Age of Vologeses/Valash, the Armenian Question, and the rise of the Kushans in the east
Silver drachm of Vologeses I (51-78)
The Kushans first appeared in the
Hou Han-shu (Annals of the Later
Han), compiled by Fan Yeh (c. a.d.
446), based mainly on the report
submitted to the Chinese emperor
by General Pan Yung around A.D.
125.
According to the Annals, Kujula
Kadphises, the yabghu of
Kueishuang, attacked and
destroyed the other four yabghu
and made himself King of the
Yüehchih. He attacked An-hsi
(Parthia) and took the territory of
Kao-fu (Kabul).
The events pertinent to Vologeses Armenian policy:
52: King Tiridates of Armenia is assassinated by an usurper called Radamistus, who was not able to
find support in Rome, as Tiridates was ruler of Armenia by Roman grace.
53/54: Vologeses invaded Armenia and instated his own brother Tiridates.
54: Accession of Nero in Rome.
55-58: Rise of the Kushans in the east. Loss of Arsacid territories.
58: Corbullo invaded Parthian territories and reached Armenia to dethrone Tiridates.
62: Vologeses concluded a truce with the Kushans, in order to confront Rome; and
defeated the Roman army under Casennius Paetus in Rhandeia (western Armenia) forcing the
Roman army into capitulation.
The Roman defeat in Rhandeia resulted in the treaty of 63 between Rome and Parthia.
Tiridates presented himself in Rome, bringing with him not only his own sons but also those of Vologaesus, of
Pacorus, and of Monobazus. Their progress all the way from the Euphrates was like a triumphal procession.
Tiridates himself was at the height of his reputation by reason of his age, beauty, family, and intelligence; and his
whole retinue of servants together with all his royal paraphernalia accompanied him. Three thousand Parthian
horsemen and numerous Romans besides followed in his train. They were received by gaily decorated cities and
by peoples who shouted many compliments…
After this event Nero took him up to Rome and set the diadem upon his head. The entire city had been
decorated with lights and garlands, and great crowds of people were to be seen everywhere.
Tiridates rebuilt Artaxata and named it Neronia. But Vologaesus, though often summoned, refused to come
to Nero, and finally, when the latter’s invitations became burdensome to him, sent back a dispatch to this
effect: “It is far easier for you than for me to traverse so great a body of water. Therefore, if you will come to
Asia, we can then arrange where we shall be able to meet each other.” Such was the message which the
Parthian wrote at last.
Dio Cassius, Roman History, LXIII
Vologeses I founded an
emporium or hub, named
Vologesias, south of
Ctesiphon, in order to attract
commerce and trade routes
passing through central
Mesopotamia.
Roman chronology in the first century
Julio-Claudian family (27 B.C.- A.D. 68):
Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, Caligula, Nero
Flavian family (69-96):
Vespasian, Titus, Domitian
Nerva-Antonine family (96-192):
Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pious, Lucius Verus, Marcus Aurelius,
Commodus
Political events under the Flavians
– 70: Siege and destruction of Jerusalem
– 79: Volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, destruction of Pompeii
and Herculaneum
– Pacorus II began striking coins in Seleucia
– Vologeses I died in 79 or 80.
– Domitian had plans to invade Parthia, but was assassinated in 96.
Silver drachm of Pacorus II (78-105)
Pacorus reign (78-105): prelude to a new war with Rome
– Brother of Vologeses I.
– King of Atropatene (northwestern Iran).
– 72: A group of Alans from the Caucasus invaded Atropatene.
– 78: He began to strike coins and to eliminate other pretenders.
– According to Dio Cassius, Pacorus sold the Kingdom of Osroene to Abgar VII, raising Roman
discontent.
– According to Ammianus Marcellinus, Pacorus enlarged and rebuilt the walls of Ctesiphon, the
capital of the Arsacids in Mesopotamia.
– Diplomatic and commercial relations with China.
– Diplomatic relations with Decebalus, king of Dacia (Bulgaria-Romania).
M110B Iranian Civilization
History of the Arsacid Empire:
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3:15 pm
Lecture 10
Great Roman-Arsacid Wars III: Trajan’s War against Parthia
Chronology
753 BC
509 BC
218 BC
200-50 BC
Foundation of Rome
The Roman Republic
The Second Punic Wars. Hannibal invades Rome
The expansion of the Roman territories: conquest of Gaul,
expansion and defeat in the east
73-63 BC
The Third Mithridatic Wars in Asia Minor
74-66 BC
The Roman invasion of Anatolia, defeat of Tigran
60-45 BC
The first Triumvirate (Crassus, Pompey, Caesar)
45 BC
Julius Caesars becomes the first dictator
43-33 BC
The second Triumvirate (Lepidus, Antonius, Octavian)
27 BC
Octavian becomes Augustus, the first emperor
15 BC – 20 AD Campaigns against Iberian and Germanic tribes
14
Death of Augustus
58-63
Peace with Parthia under Nero
64
Great fire of Rome
66-74
Jewish –Roman war
79
Eruption of Vesuvius, destruction of Pompeii and Herculanium
101-102/105-106 Trajan and his Dacian wars
113-117
Trajan’s wars against the Parthians
122
Construction of the Hadrian Wall
161-180
Marcus Aurelius
Silver drachm of Pacorus II (78-105)
Pacorus reign (78-105): prelude to a new war with Rome
– Brother of Vologeses I.
– King of Atropatene (northwestern Iran).
– 72: A group of Alans from the Caucasus invaded Atropatene.
– 78: He began to strike coins and to eliminate other pretenders.
– According to Dio Cassius, Pacorus sold the Kingdom of Osroene to Abgar VII, raising Roman
discontent.
– According to Ammianus Marcellinus, Pacorus enlarged and rebuilt the walls of Ctesiphon, the
capital of the Arsacids in Mesopotamia.
– Diplomatic and commercial relations with China.
– Diplomatic relations with Decebalus, king of Dacia (Bulgaria-Romania).
The Trajan column, Rome
Completed c. 113 AD
The column commemorates Trajan’s Dacian
campaigns in 101-102 AD
H. 30 m (100 f.)
The length of the reliefs is 190 m (620 f)
Trajan’s eastern campaigns:
– 102/103: Exedares (= Axidares), son of Pacorus II of Parthia, was king of Armenia with Rome’s consent.
Following Pacorus II’s death and the accession of Osroes (Khosrow) as king of Parthia, Exedares was removed
by king Osroes of Parthia, and replaced by a certain Parthamasiris.
The dynastic change by Osroes without the consent of Rome was contrary to the treaty of 63. In reality,
however, the perceived instability of the Parthian Empire offered the prospects of an easy Parthian conquest to
Trajan.
– 114: Invasion of Parthia.
In Elegaea, Parthamasiris, with Parthian backing, sought Trajan in his encampment and requested he be made
king of Armenia by Roman grace; instead he was put to death, and Armenia declared a Roman province.
Trajan’s commemorative coin. Trajan denying the diadem to the king of Armenia, Parthamasiris
Roman advances
– 114: Roman Conquest of Armenia, later Edessa, and confirmation of king Abgarus VII as ruler of
Edessa by Trajan.
– 115: Conquest of Nisibis, Dura Europos, and Ctesiphon, the capital city of the Parthian empire.
– Creation of the province Assyria, and conquest of the Persian Gulf that Trajan undertook with 50
ships.
Parthian counteroffensive
116: In Media leading to Armenia and Adiabene;
– Re-conquest of Middle Euphrates and Osrhoene under Mithrdates, Osroes’ brother, and later
Sanatruces, son of Mithrdates; in Seleukia; all in concert with the great Jewish revolt in the Levant
(up to Egypt).
117: Withdrawal of Trajan over the Euphrates, and loss of all territorial gains.
Trajan’s Last Ephemeral Success:
Osroes’ son, Parthamaspates, initially in charge of the Parthian counter-attack under his
cousin’s command Sanatruces became later estranged from Osroes, for being forced to serve
under Sanatruces, a more experienced commander, and became disaffected from Osroes’
cause, while being enticed and seduced by Trajan’s promises.
Momentary Success of Trajan, who appointed Parthamaspates, son of Osroes as king of Parthia
in Ctesiphon, albeit the latter was lacking lasting political support among the Parthian
aristocracy, before he was eventually eliminated by his father.
Trajan. crowned Parthamaspates, king of. Parthia, by Roman grace, and stroke a coin for
propagandist purposes, with him placing his hand over the head of Parthamaspates, and the
figure of a supplicant in Parthian garb kneeling in front of him representing the Parthians in
general. The legend on this prestige coin reads rex Parthis datus.
Trajan placing the diadem of kingship (over Parthia) on Parthamaspates’ head.
M110B Iranian Civilization
History of the Arsacid Empire:
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3:15 pm
Lecture 11
Great Roman-Arsacid Wars IV: Wars of Septimus Severus, Carcalla, and Alexander Severus
Vologases V (191-206/7)
Septimius Severus
From Septimius Severus to the Artabanus IV
War of Septimius Severus against Parthia
194: Septimius Severus was able to defeat his rival Pescennius Niger and assume control over the whole
empire as sole ruler.
195–197: Parthian Wars of Septimius Severus:
195: first campaign leading to the conquest of Osrohene (former Parthian vassal kingdom with capital city
Edessa) and Nisibis in northern Mesopotamia already in 195; however, withdrawal from Mesopotamia due to
problems in Gallia;
197: Severus resumed his Arsacid campaign: seizure of Seleucia, Babylon, and plundering of Ctesiphon.
Retreat of Roman troops back to Syria and re-establishment of the status quo ante, although two new provinces
Osrohene and Mesopotamia were erected as provinces in northern Mesopotamia. Two Roman attempts at
capturing the Parthian city of Hatra failed.
An implicit peace should last until the death of Severus in 211 between the two empires.
Arch of Septimius Severus, Rome
Parthians on the
Triumphal Arch of
Septimius Severus, Rome
Parthians on the
Triumphal Arch of
Septimius Severus, Rome
Parthian city of Hatra in northern Mesopotamia
The Age of Artabanus IV/V (208-224)
206–207: Succession of Vologases VI in the Arsacid empire.
213: Rise of Artabanus IV, brother of Vologases VI, as rival king in Media, and Susa?
Division of the Arsacid empire between Vologases VI and Artabanus IV, which would lead to Roman
intervention in Arsacid affairs.
Silver coin of Artabanus IV / V (208-224)
Stele depicting Artabanus IV handin…
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