Page 0437

437 PARTHIA-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.

Adiabene he marched against Ctesiphon, and took the city. He traversed Mesopotamia, and

captured Babylon without fighting a battle. Seleucia revolted, and, following her

immemorial preference, fell willingly into the hands of the conqueror. The Parthian king

retired from his capital cities, and went far into the interior, drawing after him the

Roman army. It appears that not even the discerning mind of Trajan was able to apprehend

the danger to which he exposed himself in his lengthening march to the East. When he had

advanced to a great distance in that direction without being able to bring the enemy to

battle, he was suddenly startled with the intelligence that the provinces and cities

behind him were rising against the Romans. City gates were shut on every hand. The

soldiers began to suffer. The Parthians rallied and returned in the wake of the retreat.

Not without serious losses, vexations, and humiliations did the Roman army finally succeed

in reaching a place of safety. The Parthians recovered everything except Adiabene, Upper

Mesopotamia, and Armenia. Trajan himself scarcely survived his repulse. He died in 117

A. D., and was succeeded in the Imperial authority by Hadrian.

Each party in the conflict, thus ever renewed on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire,

had now learned a lesson from the other. Hadrian was not slow to perceive that the

vaulting ambition of Trajan had over-reached itself and fallen on the other side. He

immediately changed the policy of the Empire with respect to Parthia, choosing the method

of conciliation and concession. Upper Mesopotamia and Adiabene were restored to Chosroes.

The daughter of that monarch, whom Trajan had captured and sent to Rome, was returned in

honor to her father. In the year A. D. 122 the two emperors met on the disputed border and

personally adjusted the affairs between them. The Parthian king lived to about 130 A. D.,

when the throne passed to VOLAGASES II. But the relations of the latter to the Arsacid

line are uncertain. Most authors have made the descent regular from father to son, but in

this instance the testimony of the coins and the accepted

narratives of the Greek and Roman historians are in conflict; for which reason the place

by descent of the second Volagases in the diagram of the Arsacidae has been indicated by

the line of doubt.

The new reign was one of peace. The agreement between Hadrian and Chosroes was on the

whole well kept. It seems, moreover, that at this time the feudatories were less

troublesome--less disposed to advance their own claims to independence -than they had been

during the preceding half century. In only one instance was the peace of the Empire under

Volagases II seriously broken. At this time a certain Pharasmanes, king of the Iberians,

had become in his own esteem an important personage in Western Asia. Himself a feudatory

of Rome, he dared to treat Hadrian and his authority with contempt. Towards Volagases he

held a similar insolent attitude. At length he instigated the barbarous nation of the

Alani to pass the Caucasus and plunder Cappadocia and Atropatene. The first of these

States belonged to Rome; the other, to Parthia. Volagases found cause to complain to

Hadrian of the conduct of his vassal. The Roman governor Arrian soon drove the Alani out

of Cappadocia, but neglected to expel them from Atropatene. The Parthian king for his

part-being no warrior -was constrained at length to purchase the retirement of the

barbarians with much gold.

Volagases reigned until A. D. 149. Hadrian had died eleven years previously. The latter

was succeeded in the Imperial dignity by Titus Aurelius, first of the Antonines. Soon

after his accession, a passing gust of ill feeling was created between the two Empires by

the attempt of the Parthian king to recover the golden throne of his ancestors which

Trajan had captured in Ctesiphon and sent home to Rome. It was claimed by the Parthians

that the amicable relations now existing between the East and the West warranted and

demanded the surrender of the trophy. But neither Hadrian nor his successor was willing to

give it up.

As for the Parthian succession, that fell to VOLAGASES III, son of the late king. He was

destined to the longest reign which