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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

ensuing war.

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

the Empire.

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