Page 0405

405 PARTHIA.-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.

mountains, he entered Media, recovered the capital, restored the Syrian authority, and

then moved forward against Parthia itself. In doing so, he had to traverse the Iranian

desert, a region almost wholly without water. Upon this circumstance Artabanus relied to

keep his enemy at bay. He kept detachments of cavalry in the desert in front of the Syrian

army, with orders to fill up or poison the wells upon which Antiochus must depend for

water. But the progress of the latter could not be Stayed. Hyrcania was entered and its

cities taken. The Parthians now confronted the enemy, but were unable to check his course.

They adopted the expedient, however, of keeping out of his way until the Syrian king,

wearied with campaigning against a foe whom he could riot strike down, consented to peace.

It is thought that Artabanus agreed to cooperate with the Syrian monarch in a war with

Bactria. That country, the reader will remember, had also become independent. Euthydemus,

the king, had shown himself able to defend the country. Nor did he shrink from the

invasion of his dominions by Antiochus. It is probable that Artabanus was secretly in

sympathy with the Bactrian king in the struggle that ensued with Antiochus. At any rate,

Euthydemus was able to uphold the fortunes of his country until the Syrian king, seeing

the impossibility of restoring the Eastern Empire by war, withdrew from the country,

leaving both Parthia and Bactria to follow their own course of development. It would seem

that Antiochus scarcely regarded himself as a victor in his Eastern wars, for the

conditions of peace which he conceded to those who had opposed him were such as follow a

drawn battle rather than a conquest.

It would appear, however, that Parthia was considerably weakened by the struggle through

which she had passed. The history of the kingdom becomes for many years obscure. The

remainder of the reign of Artabanus was of little importance in a national sense. At least

the ancient historians have passed over the closing years of the third century B. C., as

though they were marked by no stirring event from the side of Parthia. In Bactria the

case was somewhat different. We may infer that this kingdom was not so severely punished

in the war with Syria as was Parthia. At any rate, the remaining years of Euthydemus, and

of his son and successor Demetrius, were marked in Bactrian history as a period of

advancement and prosperity. Historically considered, the forces were at this time

balancing between the two kingdoms as to which should finally take the lead in the

restoration of the Asiatic Empire under native princes.

We may, therefore, say no more in this connection than that the subsequent reign of his

son, named PRIAPATIUS, otherwise Arsaces IV, was more obscure than that of his

predecessor. The single fact remains that he occupied the throne from B. C. 196 to 181.

The epoch was in one sense important, for it was at this time that the period in history

assigned to the successors of Alexander the Great comes to a close. In the year 196 B. C.

the Roman Proconsul, Titus Quinctius Flaminius, made his appearance at the Isthmian games,

at Corinth, and proclaimed the protectorate of the Western Republic over Greece. It was

the end of Hellenic independence, and the beginning of the end of all those divisions of

political power which had been established in the East by the Macedonians. Since it was

from the latter that Parthia had most to fear, and since these were now to be completely

overwhelmed by Rome, we ' may note the time as the crisis from which the Parthian Empire

and ascendancy were to begin. It thus happened that in the obscurity of the reign of

Priapatius the antecedents were preparing a great dominion for his successors.

We may here make a brief pause and digression for the purpose of noting the condition of

affairs in the extreme eastern part of the former dominions of Alexander the Great. If the

Macedonian governors had not been able to hold their authority over the Asiatics in the

meridian of Parthia and Bactria, what shall we say of their inability in the Indus valley?

There lay the great region of the Punjaub, cut off from all dictation of the West and from

all support by the Europeans. The will of the Conqueror had indeed been sufficient to hold

the countries of Afghanistan and