432 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
Having succeeded thus by insurrection in undoing the existing order, the Megistanes
proceeded to elect to the throne a certain ORODES, of whom little is known except that he
was one of the Arsacidae. We may conjecture that he was a descendant of Orodes, fourteenth
monarch of the line.
At any rate, about the year A. D. 12, he was called home from exile, and given the crown.
Almost immediately, however, he displayed such qualities of cruelty and vice as sickened
the nobles with their own work. A company of them accordingly inveigled the king into a
hunting excursion, and availed themselves of the opportunity to put him to death. An
embassy was at once dispatched to Rome, to call home VONONES, eldest son of Phraates IV.
The prince complied with the requisition, returned from his long absence, and accepted the
crown. But it was soon found that his residence in Rome had unfitted him for the Parthian
throne. He came back essentially a Roman, and in a short time the alienation between him
and his makers was complete. Vonones was permitted to reign for about three years; but in
A. D. 16, or possibly the following year, the nobles again went into insurrection, deposed
Vonones, and elected a certain ARTABANUS, who at this time was viceroy of Media
Atropatene, to the throne of the Empire. By a strange vicissitude, Vonones escaped into
Armenia, and was made king of that country.
The action of the Armenians, in accepting the refugee Arsacid for their king, could but
arouse the animosity of Artabanus, and he at once undertook to prevent the recognition of
Vonones by Rome. In this he was successful to the extent of obliging Vonones to fly to the
Roman governor of Syria for protection. It became necessary for Tiberius, who had now
succeeded Augustus in the Imperial rank at Rome, to send the brave and talented Germanicus
to the East, to regulate the Armenian succession. The latter, on arriving at Artaxata, the
capital of Armenia, cut the complication by raising a European nobleman, named Zeno, to
the throne, with the title of Artaxias. On the whole, this action was pleasing to the
Parthian king, who in the next place requested Germanicus to banish Vononesinto foreign
parts. This request was complied with; but Vonones, attempting to defeat the arrangement
by flight, was pursued, overtaken, and slain.
In A. D. 19 Germanicus died, and Lucius Vitellius was appointed to succeed him in the
government of Western Asia. It was believed by Artabanus that Tiberius was in his dotage,
and that Vitellius was not the equal of his predecessor. The Parthian, therefore, imagined
that he might once more with safety attempt the restoration of his influence and authority
in Armenia. Tiberius, when informed of the purposes of the king, sought by an intrigue to
stir up a rebellion among the Parthian nobles, and in order to encourage such a movement,
sent the young Phraates, a brother of Vonones, to the Mesopotamian border. The prince
reached Asia, but the change in his manner of life brought on a disease of which he
Meanwhile, Artabanus had destroyed one or two of the leading conspirators against himself.
Being relieved of present apprehension by the death of Phraates, he sent the Roman Emperor
an audacious letter, in which that personage was openly charged with all the crimes,
vices, and corruptions in the catalogue of human sin. In retaliation for this insult
Tiberius ordered Vitellius to interfere again in the affairs of Parthia, and in
particular, to maintain his ascendancy in Armenia. In that country a desultory war
occurred in the years A. D. 35 and 36. At one time it appeared that the armies of Parthia
and Rome would be brought to decisive battle, but Vitellius succeeded in inciting an
insurrection before which Artabanus fled into Hyrcania.
In the meantime. Prince Tiridates, son perhaps of Rhodaspes, at Rome, was sent into Asia
as the candidate of Tiberius for the vacant throne. The prince entered Mesopotamia, and
was well received by the Greek cities. He was even crowned in Seleucia, and entered upon
his duties as King of Kings. But the movement was delusive and farcical. The nobles,
native and to the manner born, could have no sympathy with a sovereign who had