Page 0429


of a bow-shot, they were assailed by the slingers of Labienus, and a shower of singing

stones rained upon them, knocking them dead from their horses. The battle raged furiously,

but at length the Parthians gave way. Pacorus himself was slain. The Romans succeeded in

securing the bridge across the Euphrates, and the retreat was cut off. The Parthian army

was scattered in all directions. The authority of Orodes in the West and South- west was

completely and finally obliterated. All the Western provinces were recovered by the

Romans. The Euphrates once again became the boundary between the two Empires; but from

either side the hostile powers glared at each other, neither satisfied with the issue.

We may now turn for a moment to note the condition of affairs at the capital of the

Empire. Orodes had grown old. His reconciliation with Pacorus, who at one time had been in

rebellion against him, was complete. Perhaps the aged monarch felt a Parthian pride in the

military successes of his son in the West. The death of the latter, therefore, fell

heavily upon the king. He became half-insane on account of the loss of his son. True, he

had thirty other sons, children of various wives and concubines, but none of them might

well take the place of the warrior prince who had perished in battle. The king, however,

felt it expedient to determine the succession before his death. He accordingly designated

Phraates as his successor, and the choice was ratified by the Megistanes. Orodes then

abdicated the throne in favor of his son. The latter, jealous for good reason of some of

his half brothers who were born of a princess, conspired with his mother, who was a common

concubine, and had the princes whom he feared put to death. The aged father hereupon

rebuked his son, and was himself murdered for his interference. Thus, in B. C. 37, came

PHRAATES IV to the throne of Parthia. Like other royal murderers, he was obliged to go

forward in the bloody path which he had chosen. One after another, his half brothers and

other relatives were assassinated. In the next place his jealousy fell upon the nobles, of

whom many were slain, and others fled. A body of them, headed by a certain Monaeses, made

their way to Antonius, and represented to him the condition of affairs in Parthia.

Monaeses besought the Roman to enter the country and support a counter-revolution in his

favor, promising in return to accept the crown at the hands of Antonius, and to hold it as

a subject of the Roman Republic.

The bait was tempting. Antonius had sufficient cause for making war on the Parthians. Time

and again they had entered and ravaged the Roman provinces in Syria and Asia Minor.

Ambition also led him on. He accordingly gathered his forces on the Euphratine frontier,

and made preparations for an invasion. Phraates, informed of these movements, took the

alarm, and sent for Monaeses to be restored 'to honor. Antonius permitted him to depart,

but sent with him an embassy, demanding of the Parthian king the restoration of the Roman

standards taken from Crassus, and the liberation of all prisoners who still survived.

These demands were not complied with, and Antonius continued his preparations for war. His

aggregate forces amounted to a hundred and thirteen. thousand men. The army was made up