Page 0436

436 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

for this action may be found in the youth of the princes and in the military experience of

the king-elect. It might be supposed that by this time the Parthians had learned by

experience the unwisdom of intermeddling with the affairs of Armenia. It may be confessed,

however, that the last compact with the Romans was of a kind to encourage the belief that

Arsacid princes should henceforth wear the Armenian crown. Tiridates had been accepted in

that relation, and reigned to the end of his life, at the close of the first century.

Pacorus, at that time king of Parthia, had raised his son Exedares to the vacancy,

assuming either that Rome would offer no objection, or else that he should be able by arms

to enforce his will and authority.

For the time it appeared that the former supposition was realized, and that Exedares would

be permitted to reign in peace. The Roman Emperor Trajan was at this time hotly engaged in

his war with the Dacians on the Danube. This work occupied his attention until the year

114 A. D., when Dacia was subdued. Trajan now found time to turn his attention to the

affairs of the East. A great expedition was accordingly organized and sent into Asia, to

impress upon the Parthians the truth of their forgotten lesson. As the army advanced,

Chosroes sought to stay the coming storm by sending out an embassy, which met the Romans

at Athens. The Parthian proposed that Exedares should abdicate the Armenian throne, and

that his brother, Parthamasiris, should be chosen for the place under the auspices and

with the consent of Rome. The proposition might well have satisfied the Roman Emperor, but

the latter had determined to reestablish his authority in the East on a new basis,

disregarding all antecedents, and aiming only at a permanent and undisturbed supremacy.

The Parthian ambassadors were accordingly sent back to their master, and the expedition

was carried into Asia.

Nevertheless Parthamasiris went to the Roman camp, presented himself to the Emperor, and

laid down his crown before him. Trajan, however, instead of replacing it on his head,

retained the prince, and presently informed him that Armenia was destined henceforth to be

a Roman province. As for Parthamasiris, he was permitted to leave the camp, but was

pursued by a band of Roman horsemen, who, doubtless with the privity and instigation of

the Emperor himself, recaptured him and put him to death. Chosroes was either unable or

unwilling to hazard interference with the purposes of the murderer of his nephew. Armenia

was yielded up, and a Roman governor was appointed to exercise authority over the country

in place of the Arsacid prince.

With a high hand and outstretched arm Trajan proceeded to overawe all the neighboring

nations and to instill the fear of his name. At least two of the Western provinces of

Parthia were torn away and added to the Roman dominion. Everything was settled according

to the Emperor's will, and he then repaired to Antioch, where he established his head-

quarters for the winter. Scarcely, however, had he planted himself in the city when it was

shaken into ruins by one of the most disastrous earthquakes recorded in ancient history.

The Emperor himself barely escaped from the falling building in which he had taken his

residence. All the Syrian cities suffered injury, greater or less, from the disturbance.

The Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean sea were tossed and heaved by the shock, and some

of the Greek towns were thrown down.

It appears that Trajan, while in the East, in the preceding year, namely, in A. D. 115,

had made up his mind to attack Parthia itself. His plans in this particular were matured

in the following spring. A Roman fleet was sent on wagons across the desert to the Tigris,

where the vessels were reconstructed and launched. It was determined to make Media

Adiabene the point of attack. Against this country the expedition was now directed, and

Chosroes found himself unable to defend his province. He was obliged, by the internal

condition of the Empire, to hold aloof from the contest and see one of the most important

countries under his authority overrun by the Romans.

The passion of Trajan was now thoroughly aroused. From his conquest of