403 PARTHIA-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.
campaign which he had made with so much apparent success became, historically considered,
a campaign and nothing more. The countries which he had conquered regained their
independence with the withdrawal of the Egyptian army, and South-western Asia resumed her
But the lesson of the expedition was not lost on Tiridates. He could but observe with what
ease the countries through which Ptolemy had passed had been subdued. The wings of his own
ambition fluttered at the prospect. Why should not a Parthian king make successful warfare
in the neighboring countries? He accordingly organized an army, marched into Hyrcania,
overran the district, and added it to his own dominion. This was an act of direct
aggression on the kingdom of Syria. Hyrcania was a satrapy of that Power, and Seleucus
Callinicusmust either yield ignobly to the aggression, or else fight for the recovery of
the province. Thus were prepared the antecedents of a conflict between the Parthians on
the one side and the Graeco-Asiatic kings on the other, which was destined to be
transmitted to the Romans, and by them perpetuated for several centuries.
For the moment, however, Callinicus was unable to attempt the punishment of his enemy. The
king of Syria had a brother, Antiochus Hierax,who troubled his dominions in the West and
paralyzed the powers of the kingdom. But at length an accommodation was reached between
the two brothers, and Callinicus found himself ready for his eastward expedition. It
appears that by this time the Parthian cavalry had diffused a wholesome fear of itself
throughout South-western Asia. At all events the Syrian king deemed it prudent to approach
the enemy with the sup- port of an ally. He accordingly drew the king of Bactria into a
league with himself against Parthia-a thing most unnatural and most dangerous to the
Callinicus then advanced to the conflict, which Tiridates was not well able to enter.
Courage was not wanting, but an adequate force to contend with the combined armies of
Syria and Bactria. The Parthian king found it necessary to recede before the enemy, and to
fall back into Scythia, beyond the Oxus. Parthia was penetrated by the foe, and it
appeared superficially that the independence of the country was at an end. At this
juncture, however, Theodotus died, and the crown descended to his son, more patriotic than
his father. Tiridates succeeded in detaching the new king of Bactria from the unnatural
league, and brought him into alliance with him- self, The situation was so changed by this
event that Tiridates was able to meet Callinicus in the field. A decisive battle was
fought, in which the Syrian army was routed and driven from the country.
This success was perhaps the critical event in the early history of the Parthian Kingdom.
It was regarded by the people as the definitive achievement of independence. The day of
the battle became the day of the nation, and was commemorated after the manner which
peoples in all ages have adopted in preserving and transmitting the story of their
liberty. Nor was the effect of the victory to be disregarded as it respected the other
countries of Asia. The final delivery of Parthia by successful battle from the dominion of
the Greek Kingdom of Syria was an example to the other Asiatic States. It showed that the
successors of Alexander, in so far from being invincible, might be repelled by valor and
constrained by overthrow to confine themselves to the borders of the Western seas.
Henceforth the discerning eye might discover the unmistakable symptoms of the coming of a
native Asiatic Empire in the place of the vast dominion established by the son of Philip.
The critical events to which we have just referred happened about the year 237 B.C. The
purposes of Callinicus after his defeat and expulsion may not be well discovered; but the
difficulties in his own dominions were so great as to confine his attention henceforth to
his home affairs. Hierax was again an insurgent, and with him the king had to decide the
issue by force. Parthia, delivered from apprehension, was left to pursue her own course,
and Tiridates employed the remainder of his reign, full twenty years in duration, in
consolidating and establishing the kingdom. By this time the Parthians had departed