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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