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