419 PARTHIA-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.
axe. These, as to their metallic parts, were of bronze. War was waged in the style of
savages. Many usages which have been eliminated in civilized warfare prevailed. Arrows
were poisoned with the venom of serpents or the diseased discharges of animal bodies. The
enemy might be destroyed in any manner fatal to human life. Not only should the foe be
slain, but his body might be cooked and eaten, as if it were the product of the chase. Nor
did the cannibalism of the barbarians stop with devouring the fallen foe. Friends and
kinsmen might be eaten if only the rules of the Scythian constitution should be observed.
The young and middle-aged were not for food; but with the failure of the bodily powers in
advanced life, the father or uncle of the polyandrian family was taken, killed by his
household, and eaten with gratitude. Nor does it appear that the victims under such
circumstances regarded their fate as a hardship. It was the usage of the nation. The
hardship came in the form of disease which sometimes prevented the law from having its
course in the final disposition of the body.
It was against such a race as this that Artabanus II was called to contend. Nor was he
slow to accept the challenge which came roaring out of the country of the Jaxartes. Soon
after his accession to the throne he made successful warfare first upon those tribes that
had already broken into his dominions. Bactria was expurgated of her savage contents, and
the king then led his army victoriously into the enemy's country. The nation of the
Tochari was turned back by battle, and the cohort of barbarism felt a sudden jar in its
progress, at which the tribes were star- tied and stood still. But while Artabanus was
thus carrying on successful warfare with the hostile races beyond his own borders, he was
wounded in battle, and died from the injury. The event, while not at once decisive as to
the general issue of the war, ended the campaign, and the Parthians receded from the
barbarian countries. As for the crown, it was at once transferred to MITHRIDATES II, son
and successor of the late king.
The volume of barbarism, like a stream of water, on meeting an obstacle turns to right or
left, and makes its way into a devious channel. It appears that the war of Artabanus in
the country north of the Oxus had had some such physical effect on the savage races. At
least the new king found less difficulty than might have been anticipated in staying the
further progress of the nomads. The beast of barbarism reared, plunged, and took another
course. Mithridates II had little trouble in re-establishing his northern frontier. The
Scythic tribes were turned to the east, as if to make a detour around the Empire. The
historical forces had been strong enough to deflect the cosmic forces, and to discharge
the river of savagery far to the east in Afghanistan and Upper India. Bactria was wholly
recovered by the king, and it was evident that the barbarians, finding a vent in another
direction, would trouble him no further.
It was equally manifest that the kingdom of the Seleucidae would not again send out an
army to interfere with the natural course of events in the countries beyond the Euphrates.
This condition of affairs invited the ambitious and capable Mithridates to enlarge his
borders by war. Of the surrounding countries Armenia was at this time the most inviting.
Thus far only a part-the smaller and less important part-of the country had been brought
under the sway of the Parthian kings. Armenia Magna, as the country between the Euphrates
and the Araxes was called by the Romans, still retained its independence. More properly,
it had been included as a part of the kingdom of Syria, and had not been wrested therefrom
by the Parthians. The country was of ancient renown. It had been an object of contention
and conquest among the great conquerors. Alexander had taken it. Seleucus had received it.
With the decline of the Syrian monarchy, Armenia attained a quasi independence. A branch
of the House of Arsaces was recognized in authority over the Armenians. There had
evidently begun an uncertain war between the country and Parthia. The Prince Tigranes was,
in his youth, a hostage at the Parthian court. Now, at length, the time had arrived when a
great contention was to determine whether Armenia should