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439 PARTHIA-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.

as to become a precedent of political action. More than all, the vice of race had

prevented the emergence of the people into the higher forms of civilization. Neither

literature nor art had appeared with its regenerating influence to renew, vivify, and

enlighten the nation. It would seem that the spirit of Volagases himself was humbled or

broken. After the destruction of his capital, he reigned for fully a quarter of a century,

but gave little sign of those ambitions which had fired the energies of his youth. Only in

a single instance did there appear a likelihood of the renewal of war with the Roman

Empire. Cassius, great in the recollection of his Asiatic campaign, became an insurgent in

Syria, where he was in command, had in the year A. D. 174 proclaimed himself Emperor in

that country. Between him and Volagases hostilities were imminent, when the Roman army out

of Europe arrived in Syria, and the revolt of Cassius was put down with a strong hand. The

Roman Emperor, always inclined to peace, readily accepted the overtures which were now

made by the Parthian king, and the long existing amicable relations between the two Powers

were fully restored.

With the death of Marcus Aurelius, in the year A. D. 180, the Roman throne went to his son

Commodus, infamous in the annals of the Empire. Volagases survived his contemporary for

eleven years, dying in the year 191, and bequeathing his crown to his son VOLAGASES IV.

Commodus was murdered, and the Imperial throne was presently claimed by several

competitors. In the East, Pescennius Niger set up his banner and claimed the diadem. In

the West, Severus was acknowledged at Rome. Other claimants arose in the persons of

Albinus and Julianus. When Niger perceived that he Must take by the sword the crown to

which he aspired, he sought the aid of the Parthian king. The latter was wary of the pro-

posed alliance. One of his dependents, however, the satrap of Hatra, joined his fortunes

with the Roman pretender, and