426 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
and the General was urged to avail himself of the opportunity. He accordingly went forth
into the plain, where a conference was held between him and the Surena. Terms of peace
were discussed and agreed upon; but the Parthian insisted that the stipulations should be
reduced to writing, and to this end the Romans present were induced to mount Parthian
horses and to ride off towards the Surena's tent. Scarcely, however, had they started,
when Crassus and his friends, suspecting treachery, reined up the horses, and refused to
proceed. The difficulty grew hot, and one of the Parthians was cut down with the sword.
Weapons were drawn, and all of the Romans, including Crassus, were slain on the spot.
Thus, far off on the Mesopotamian plain, was the rich Triumvir, who, with Pompey the Great
and Julius Caesar, had recently divided the world as a family inheritance, done to death
on the treacherous sword of a Parthian warrior.
When the Roman soldiers in Carrhae learned the fate of their general, they were in
despair. Most of them surrendered to the Parthians. Some escaped. Altogether ten thousand
were taken prisoners. These were transferred into the heart of the Parthian Empire,
colonized and absorbed by intermarriage. Of the whole Roman army, numbering forty
thousand, only about one-fourth succeeded in reaching places of safety. The disaster was
overwhelming-wanting nothing to complete its magnitude or horror.
The immediate result of this, the first war of the Romans with the Asiatic Empire, was to
restore to. the latter all the provinces which she had possessed on the side of
Mesopotamia. The Euphrates again became the western boundary. As for Armenia, that State
also passed to the Parthian dominion. It will be remembered that Crassus, to the hour of
his death, expected the Armenian king, Artavasdes, to come to his assistance; but that
monarch had decided to accept a position subordinate to the King of Kings. At the very
time that the Surena was bringing down the Roman eagles on the Upper Euphrates, Orodes
himself was making an expedition into Armenia. This it was that determined the friendship
of the king of that country. It was expedient for him to become friendly. In order to
cement the ties thus formed, the Parthian king took for his son Pacorus, the daughter of
the Armenian monarch, in marriage. Nor may we pass from the event without noting the
manners of the age. While the festival was on at the Armenian capital-while Orodes and
Artavasdes were witnessing the performance of one of the tragedies of Euripides-the news
came of the overthrow and death of Crassus and the destruction of his army. As usual, in
such cases, the head of the Roman Proconsul was brought along to confirm the intelligence.
It happened that in the play the Greek actor had to represent a similar slaughter by the
display of a mock-head on his thyrsus. By one of the happy inspirations of barbarism, he
substituted the real head of Crassus! Doubtless the sensation in the royal boxes was
In another direction, the drama was continued in the desert. The Surena, at enmity with
Seleucia for her half-treachery to the Parthian cause, marched thither, to bring the
citizens to a renewal of loyalty. He chose to spread the report in this direction that
Crassus was not killed, but was a prisoner in the hands of the conqueror. To give
verisimilitude to his fiction, he selected a Roman, like Crassus in personal appearance,
clad him in the proconsular insignia, mounted him on a horse, compelled him to play his
part, and sent after him into Seleucia a troop of mockers and abandoned women. Going into
Seleucia himself, the Surena divulged to the Senate the horrid immoralities which he had
discovered in the literature of the Roman camp-a revelation sufficiently disgusting to the
people who were unable to recognize in themselves a society fully as abominable and more
perfidious in its manners than that of the Romans.
By this time, however, the Surena had reached the limit of his career. His success in the
field had been so great as to make him, according to the judgment of Orodes, a person
dangerous to the Empire. The great captain was accordingly seized and put to death. The
command of the army was transferred to Osaces, who was presently sent to the Syrian
frontier, to assist