416 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
hoping that as soon as Demetrius was free he would reclaim the Syrian throne. The captive
was himself not innocent of such a dream, but he sought to consummate his hopes without
the connivance of his brother- in-law. He accordingly made one or two unsuccessful efforts
to escape, but was in each instance pursued, retaken, and brought back to captivity.
Meanwhile feelings of correlative antagonism were cherished by the Syrian king against the
Parthians. He too bided his time. For the present Antiochus Sidetes was engaged in a war
with the Jews. That rebellious people, under the leadership of the High Priest Simon,
attempted to maintain the independence which had been conceded by Demetrius before his
overthrow and captivity. In course of time the Jews, under the command of John Hyrcanus,
who had succeeded his father Simon, were reduced to submission, and Antiochus found
himself free to make war on the Parthians. He organized a powerful army, and set out in
the direction of Babylonia. The king of Syria was still able, notwithstanding the losses
of territory which his predecessors had met, to bring into the field a force greatly
superior to that with which Phraates was able to confront him. The latter, however, came
forth as far as Mesopotamia, and time and again joined battle with his antagonist. But in
each engagement the victory remained with the Syrians, and the Parthian king was obliged
to recede toward the central parts of his Empire.
The successes of the Syrians in the field were, in the next place, increased by the
chronic disaffection of the Greek cities. The latter, together with many of the provinces
on the side of Babylonia, rose and went over to Antiochus. It was the same old story of
exchanging masters under the expediency of the hour. For the time, the western horizon
seemed to bear nothing but thunder-clouds and tempest for Phraates; but he was undaunted,
and set himself against further disaster. The time had now come for making the most of the
captive Demetrius. The Parthian king set him at liberty, and he sped away like an arrow in
the direction of Syria. It seems, however, that Antiochus did not learn of the flight of
the dangerous bird, and so he pressed on, gaining additional advantages until winter set
in, and the Syrian army was distributed into the cities for quarters.
The forces of the invasion were thus scattered over a wide extent of country; but the
situation seemed one of security, and no uneasiness was felt by the king. On the side of
Parthia, however, the case was viewed with a keener eye. The Parthian soldiers were able
for winter service, being inured to the climate. The case, moreover, was well-nigh
desperate and Phraates determined to make the most of the opportunity. At first the
different detachments of the Syrian army were well received in the cities to which they
were sent; but military occupation is always a weariness of the flesh. The soldiers ate
and drank and caroused, after the manner of their kind, until the citizens became heartily
sick of having gone over to Antiochus.
As the winter wore on Phraates, learning of the universal discontent, sent trusted agents
into all the cities where the Syrians were quartered, and contrived a great conspiracy. It
was arranged that on a given day each city should rise against the soldiers and destroy
them, while at the same time Phraates himself should make a rush for the headquarters of
the Syrian army and overwhelm his enemy in battle. The plot was carried into execution. At
the given time the citizens sprang to arms, surrounded the quarters of the soldiers, and
slew and massacred until scarcely a Syrian was left to tell the story. The rumor of the
insurrection flew to Antiochus, and he led forth his central division to the rescue, only
to be met by Phraates in the field. In this struggle also the issue was against the
Syrians. The Parthian cavalry swept everything before it, and Antiochus himself was slain.
Almost the entire force, enormous as it was, was- destroyed. According to Diodorus
Siculus, three hundred thousand, of the Syrians perished.
At all events the expedition was brought to utter ruin. Not a vestige of the invading
force was left in the field. The triumph of Phraates was complete in every particular. He
succeeded in capturing the son