440 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
sent to him a body of troops. On the whole, however, the Parthian nations were disposed to
take advantage of the civil war in the West, and to expel the Romans from Mesopotamia.
They seized the places which had been occupied for generations by Roman garrisons, and
demanded that all Europeans should retire from the country.
Meanwhile, Severus triumphed over his enemies, and at once undertook to restore the
Imperial authority beyond the Euphrates. This work was accomplished with comparative ease.
Not only was Mesopotamia overrun, but Adiabene was entered and occupied. By the time this
work was accomplished, however, namely, in the summer of A. D. 195, a new complication had
arisen in Italy, and Severus was obliged to hurry to the West.
It was hoped by Volagases IV and his subjects that the retirement was final, and
hostilities were immediately renewed. Not only in Adiabene, but in Mesopotamia also, the
Roman garrisons were attacked and cither destroyed or expelled from the country. Syria was
entered and terrorized; but Severus had by this time restored order in the West, and
hastily returned to prosecute the Eastern war. The Parthians were hurled from Syria. In A.
D. 197 a Roman army was sent into Armenia, and the protectorate of the Empire over that
province was reestablished. The Parthian king had a personal conference with Severus, and
gave his sons into the hands of the Emperor as hostages.
It seems, however, that the Parthian king was no longer able to control the destinies of
his Empire. The Mesopotamian provinces and cities were hostile to the Romans, and Severus
had to send detachments of his army to bring them into subjection. One after another the
hostile parts were invaded and subdued. Ctesiphon, which had in the meantime been rebuilt
and reestablished as the capital, was the next object of attack. The Romans carried the
city by assault, and Volagases saved himself from capture by fleeing into the interior.
The city was plundered by the invaders, and a great part of the inhabitants put to the
sword. Again it appeared that the Parthian Empire was at the verge
of extinction; but the supplies of the Roman army failed, and it became necessary for the
Emperor to retire. In doing so he sought to take, en route, the city of Hatra. But in this
project he was unsuccessful. The Parthians rallied, and Severus found it expedient to
retire into Syria. In this case, however, the Parthians did not pursue. The damage done to
Volagases and his Empire had been so great that he did not dare to follow his retiring
antagonist. Severus remained in the East until the year A. D. 201, having in the interval
restored order in all the countries to the limits of the Roman Empire.
As for Volagases IV, his reign extended to the year 209, while that of Severus continued
for two years longer. It was the misfortune of the Parthian sovereign to leave a disputed
succession. His sons Artabanus and Volagases contended for the crown. It is believed that
both of these princes reigned as contemporaries in different parts of the Empire. But
VOLAGASES V was displaced about 216 A. D., and the sole dominion remained to ARTABANUS IV.
The latter was recognized as king by the Romans.
In the West, Caracalla succeeded his father Severus in the year 211. At that time civil
war existed in Parthia between the two brothers, who were contending for the crown. The
new Roman Emperor was ambitious, from the day of his accession, of winning fame by war,
and since the opportunity did not offer in the West, he turned his attention to Asia. Not
satisfied with having Osrhoene reduced to a Roman province, he sought to bring the ancient
and oft-disputed kingdom of Armenia into like relation with the Empire. He managed by
treachery to seize the Armenian king and his family, whereupon the subjects of the captive
monarch took up arms. Fighting with desperation, they succeeded in winning a victory over
the Roman lieutenant who was sent to subdue them.
Nevertheless, Caracalla continued his exactions and oppressions, and sought a quarrel
with the Parthian king. He him- self went to Antioch, and established there his capital.
Soon afterwards he opened with the Parthian monarch negotiations