431 PARTHIAN-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.
prisoners. This demand had now become habitual with the Romans in all their dealings with
Parthia. In the present case Phraates received his son with gladness, but refused to give
up the standards or to set the Roman prisoners at liberty.
The reader of history knows full well the story of the final conflict between Octavianus
and Antonius. Hereafter, in the history of Rome, we shall record at length the
vicissitudes of the long struggle which culminated at Actium. Hereby the peaceable
accession of Octavianus to the Imperial throne was made easy and inevitable. Antonius,
following the seductions of Cleopatra, fled once more to Egypt, and there, after
additional defeat and humiliation, stabbed himself and died in the presence of the woman
for whom he had lost the world.
By these events Parthia was again liberated for a season from the fear of. Roman invasion.
But Augustus--for by this title Octavianus is henceforth known-was little disposed,
peaceable as were his general intentions, to permit the affairs of the East to remain in
their present indeterminate state. After spending the first ten years of his reign in
regulating and establishing the Imperial Government, after the pattern given by Julius,
the Emperor found himself ready to settle finally the issue between himself and the
Parthian king. Accordingly, in. B. C. 20, he went in person into Asia, and, partly by
menace and partly by diplomacy, induced Phraates to surrender the Crassian standards.
However humiliating the act may have been to the King of Kings, he nevertheless yielded to
the inevitable and gave up the trophies which signified so much to the half-barbaric pride
of himself and his subjects. The Roman prisoners who still survived were permitted to
return to Europe and an amicable relation was established between the emperors of the East
and the West.
It can not be doubted that at this time it was definitely agreed that henceforth the river
Euphrates should be observed by both Powers as the true inter-imperial boundary. Such
agreement was in harmony with the well-known theory of Augustus that the Roman Empire had
now expanded to its natural limit, beyond which neither sound policy nor military ambition
could safely carry it. To this the Parthian king, troubled with dissensions in his own
dominion, was glad to assent, and thus a condition of stability and peace was reached in
the closing years of the Ancient Era.
Henceforth for a long time amity existed between Ctesiphon and Rome. Phraates selected the
City of the Tiber as a place for the residence and education of his four sons. These were
Vonones, Seraspadanes, Rhodaspes, and Phraates.
Once and again, however-and that with respect to the troublesome kingdom of Armenia-did
hostilities break out between the two Empires. The question at issue was the old one as to
the relative and preponderating influence of Rome or Parthia with the Armenian king.
Augustus found it necessary to send his son Caius Caesar to the East with an army. The
Roman prince came to the Euphrates and was about to begin an invasion, when the, Parthian
monarch, taking counsel of his fears, yielded to the inevitable, and a new treaty was made
by himself and the young Caesar on an island in the Euphrates. The settlement was
definitive. The supremacy of Rome in Armenian affairs Was acknowledged, and henceforth
Parthia abstained from aggression in this direction. Soon after the treaty was concluded,
Caius Caesar, going into Armenia, and being obliged to besiege a town, was slain by a
missile from the walls. But events went forward to their logical conclusion. Armenia
passed under the protectorate of Rome, and all beyond was left to the undisputed sway of
the Parthian kings.
Meanwhile the reign of Phraates IV, fifteenth of the Arsacidae, had ended with his life,
in the year B. C. 2. The crown descended to his son PHRAATACES, offspring of an Italian
slave-girl, whom Augustus had sent as a present to his friend, the late king of Parthia.
To him rather than to any of the elder sons long resident in Rome, the throne passed
without dispute. But it was not long until the Parthian nobles, hating the mother of their
new sovereign and despising the race to which she belonged, rose against Phraataces drove
him from power, and took his life.