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The Rise of the Parthians


Revolt and Formation of the Parthian State

In 255 B.C., Diodotus, the satrap of Bactria, rebelled against Seleucid rule, establishing an Indo-Greek kingdom in Afghanistan. Concurrently, the northeastern region of Iran witnessed a distinct development as the Parni, a nomadic tribe of uncertain Indo-European origin, led by chieftain Arsaces, revolted and established the Parthian state. Initially, the Parni may have had Scythian roots, hailing from Central Asia and sharing a nomadic lifestyle.

Early Parthian Leadership

Arsaces, falling in battle around 248 B.C. Jewish Sects and Antiochus’s Oppression, lent his name to the ruling dynasty. His brother Tiridates, reigning for thirty-seven years, played a crucial role in consolidating the new kingdom. Initially ruling from the mountains of Turkmenistan, Tiridates later established a new capital named Asaak or Arsak and crowned himself king. Reflecting the

Jewish Sects and Antiochus’s Oppression


Emergence of Jewish Sects

At this juncture, the Jewish community divides into two major sects of the New Testament era: the Pharisees, representing the fundamentalist majority, and the Sadducees Roman Intervention and Antiochus IV’s Reign, embodying the liberal upper class. Jason, a Sadducee, secures the high priest’s position by surpassing his brother Onias III’s gift to Antiochus. Onias III, seen as pro-Ptolemaic, loses favor. Jason, once in power, attempts to win Antiochus’s favor further by renaming Jerusalem to Antiochia and constructing a gymnasium near the temple, which greatly offends devout Jews. Eventually, the disapproval leads to Jason’s exile, setting the stage for more upheaval.

Antiochus’s Actions and Egyptian Campaigns

Antiochus, concurrently, engages in battles in Egypt. His initial campaign (170) results in the complete conquest of Egypt. However,

Roman Intervention and Antiochus IV’s Reign


Antiochus’s Ambitions Unravel

Antiochus, having aligned with Philip solely for Egypt, sought to revive old Seleucid claims in Ionia and Thrace. To appease Rhodes, he ceded the Carian coastline. His eastern conquests, blinding his court to the state’s weaknesses, led to comparisons with Alexander. When he occupied a Thracian sliver, Rome, viewing it as a potential European invasion, declared war (192). Antiochus, pre-empting Rome The Rise of the Parthians, responded to an Aetolian League invitation, sending troops to Greece in the same year.

Roman Triumph and Seleucid Decline

Rome swiftly expelled Antiochus from Greece, securing a decisive victory at Magnesia (190). While Rome claimed no territory, Pergamun and Rhodes received Western Asia Minor. The Seleucid army’s destruction unraveled Antiochus’s life’s work, prompting Atropatene, Parthia, and Armenian states to reject Seleucid authori

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