430 UNIVERSAL HISTORY THE ANCIENT WORLD.
of the legions, sixty thousand strong, of thirty thousand Asiatics who had joined his.
standard, often thousand Gallic horsemen, and a considerable force out of Armenia.
Artavasdes, king of the latter country, long balancing his interests between Parthia and
Rome, had at last assented to a league with Antonius, and. promised his support in the
This alliance enabled the Roman to enter the Parthian Empire by way of Armenia, and in
that direction the expedition was undertaken. Antonius, after traversing the friendly
districts, entered the hostile territory in Media Atropatene; and here the war began. The
Romans advanced to the capital and besieged the city. Several unsuccessful assaults were
made; but the place could not be taken. Winter came on, with the siege undetermined.
Meanwhile the Parthian army get upon the flank and rear, and captured or destroyed the
siege-train of the Romans. The soldiers became discouraged, and winter bellowed around
with hurricanes of sleet and snow. Antonius was obliged to fallback. He made an effort to
negotiate, but the enemy laughed at his calamity. Nevertheless, Antonius was not Crassus.
The Proconsul had no notion of losing his army or his life. Instead of retreating by the
expected route, he sought a more direct course through a mountain pass back to the river
Araxes, and by this way he managed to reach a place of safety. His losses, however, had
been very great. About forty thousand of his men had perished by battle or the severity of
the season. Parthia might well congratulate herself that the retreat of the Roman army
through the winter snows, for a distance of three hundred miles, was the beginning of the
end. Such, indeed, it might have been but for the treacherous condition of all political
dependence in the countries concerned.
For no sooner was Antony repelled than the Median governor of Atropatene quarreled with
the king about the division of the Roman spoils. Suspicion followed suspicion, and the
Mede concluded that for him the way of safety was in an appeal to Antonius. He accordingly
sent an embassy to Alexandria, whither the Roman had retired to spend the winter with
Cleopatra, and tendered to him an alliance offensive and defensive against Parthia.
Antonius readily accepted the overture. He had become angered at his ally, the king of
Armenia, who had abandoned him in the day of his peril, and was anxious to find a new
confederate on the border of the Parthian Empire.
Early in B. C. 34 the Roman general returned to the army in Armenia, and presently
succeeded in gaining possession of Artavasdes the king. His son and successor was defeated
in battle and obliged to fly to the Parthians. As for the king of the Medes, Antony
cemented the union between that personage and himself by marrying the daughter of the
prince to his son Alexander, offspring of his amours with Cleopatra of Egypt.
During this year nothing was done in the field. The attention of Antony had been drawn to
Europe by the threatening attitude of Octavianus. The long accumulating difficulties
between the two Roman leaders were rapidly coming to the arbitrament of the sword.
Antonius was obliged to return from Armenia into Asia Minor to counteract the movements of
his rival. Hereupon Pfaraates, in B. C. 33, renewed the war, and succeeded in making the
king of Media his prisoner. The Armenian monarch Artaxias recovered his throne. The Roman
garrisons were expelled from the countries which they had occupied within the limits of
By this time, however, the civil dissensions in Parthia were renewed, and an insurrection
against the king, headed by a certain Tiridates, was for the moment successful. Phraates
fled to the Scythians, solicited their aid, returned with an army, and quickly restored
himself to power. The usurper escaped to Octavianus, who was at that time in the East, and
took with him to that distinguished Roman the son of the Parthian king. When Phraates
demanded the restoration of his son and the giving up of the rebel Tiridates who had
conspired against him, Octavianus refused the latter request, but agreed to the former on
condition that the Parthian would surrender the standards taken from Crassus and liberate
the surviving Roman