Parthian Arsacids

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Parthian Arsacids


a dynasty that ruled the Parthian Empire from 250 B. C. to A. D. 224.

The Parthian Arsacids traced their family back to the Persian king Artaxerxes II, and thus they considered themselves as a continuation of the Achaemenid dynasty. This genealogy, however, has not been historically confirmed. A folk tradition (noted by al-Biruni) links the Parthian Arsacids with the mythical hero Siyavush of Khorezm. Tradition holds that the progenitor of the Parthian Arsacids was Ar-saces, leader of the Parni tribe (one of the branches of the Dahae), which lived southeast of the Caspian Sea, on the territory of the present-day Turkmen SSR. The actual founder of the Parthian Empire was Tiridates I, and some scholars have identified him with Arsaces I.

The principal members of the Parthian Arsacid dynasty were Arsaces I (250–248/247 B. C.), Tiridates I (248/247-c. 211), Artabanus I (c. 211–191), Priapatius (c. 191–176), Phraates I (c. 175–170), Mithradates I (c. 170–138/137), Phraates II (138/137-c. 128), Artabanus II (c. 128–124/123), Mithradates II (c. 123–88/87), Phraates III (70/69–58/57), Orodes II (c. 57–37/36), Phraates IV (37/36–2), Phraates V (2 B. C-c. A. D . 4), Vonones I (7/8-c. 12), Artabanus III (c. 12-c. 38), Gotarzes II (c. 38-c. 51), Vologaeses I (51/52–79/80), Mithradates IV (128/129–147), Vologaeses III (148–192), Vologaeses IV (191–207/208), Vologaeses V (207/208–222/223), and Artabanus V (c. 209–224).

In the chronology of the Parthian Arsacid dynasty, a great deal is still subject to dispute. The table given above is compiled basically from the following works: N. C. Debevoise, A Political History of Parthia (Chicago, 1938); R. A. Parker and W. Dubberstein, Babylonian Chronology . . .(Providence, 1957).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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