410 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
dominion of the country was asserted. Even before the beginning of the invasion the Median
tribes had become virtually independent. Indeed, the spirit of the people was a more
serious obstacle to the ambitions of Mithridates than was the Syrian army. The details of
the war with Media have not been preserved, but the general result was manifested in the
transfer of Media Magna to the Parthian king. Perhaps the condition of the country thus
subjugated was not greatly changed. It is believed that the same prince who had ruled
under the king of Syria was retained in office by Mithridates as his representative among
the subject people.
It was now evident that the king of Parthia was about to begin his career as Imperial
conqueror. Such premonitions are always alarming to the surrounding peoples. Whoever plays
the part of Alexander or Caesar has a hard struggle at the outset. It is only after a
period of victory, when the volume of conquest begins to roll on by its own momentum that
the conqueror rides majestically on the rising wave. In the present instance the
Hyrcanians took the alarm and set themselves against the Parthian king. The latter was now
ready for any emergency, and made haste to advance against the hostile nation. The
Hyrcanians sought to induce the Medes and the Mardian mountaineers to join them in the
war, but their efforts were unavailing. Hyrcania was thus exposed without support to the
wrath of Mithridates, who succeeded in reducing the province to submission. Thus in three
directions the Parthian monarch stretched his cords and strengthened his stakes.
Scarcely had these movements been accomplished when a revolt broke out in Elymai's. It is
believed that the prince or king of this country had already made him- self independent of
the Syrian monarchy before his war with Mithridates. The latter now, for the first time,
had opportunity to test his abilities as leader of an army in a truly foreign war. Thus
far he had contended with nations whose dominions bordered on Parthia. Now he was obliged
to lead his forces to a distance through a desert country, and meet the Elymaeans in
battle. But the event was auspicious to the Parthian, who overran Elymai's and added it to
his dominions. This successful campaign had thrown him between Persia and Babylonia. It
was not likely that a victorious monarch would fail to make the most of his advantageous
position. It appears that both the Persians and the Babylonians recognized the peril of
their situation, and, perceiving the weakness of the ties by which they were bound to
Antioch, deemed it prudent to cast in their lot with the conqueror. It thus happened that
an extensive region in the South- west, including the Babylonian plain and the whole
country eastward to the Carmanian desert, was added by a single campaign to what may now
be called the Parthian Empire.
A period of more than twenty years was occupied by Mithridates in these wars. During the
whole of this time the Syrian kings had been unable to disentangle them- selves from their
troubles in the West and give attention to the Eastern revolution. Nor had the king of
Bactria found opportunity or disposition to attempt the recovery of what had been lost by
conquest. The attention of Eucratidas had been constantly occupied with troubles and
revolts on the side of India. He was thus obliged to assent to the loss of his western
provinces to his rival. It would seem that the two kings, one pressing his way towards the
Indus and the other towards the Babylonian plain, had come to amity and common purposes.
But to a part of the Bactrian nation this concord with Parthia was distasteful. Prince
Heliocles, son of the Bactrian monarch, represented the discontent, and sought to recover
from Parthia the lost provinces. Believing that his father, the king, was in the way of
his ambitions, he secured his taking off by violence, and seized the crown for himself.
This he did with the evident purpose of going to war with Mithridates.
But the latter was on the alert. Perceiving the designs of his antagonist, the Parthian
king turned into Bactria, quickly overthrew Heliocles, subverted the kingdom as to all its
western provinces, and added them to his Empire. He then carried his victorious arms to
the east, forcing the Bactrian monarch to the mountains,