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Parthian Empire (247 B.C.-224 AD)

Under the Achaemenids, a satrapy named Parthava was annexed to the empire during Cyrus the Great’s campaign south and east of the Caspian Sea. The Parthians were among the first to revolt against the Seleucids and were led by two brothers, Arsaces and Tiridates.

Arsaces was proclaimed the first king, and his name became the honorific title used by all subsequent Parthian kings, who were generally known as the Arsacids.

Mithridates I is considered the founder of the Parthian empire. He is believed to have established his capital in Nysa, near modem Ashkhabad, the present-day capital of Turkmenistan. The reign of Mithridates Il was the most glorious chapter of the Parthian Empire. Under him, Parthian conquests stretched from Armenia to India. Mithridates II moved his capital from Ashkhabad to Hecatompylos (modern Damghan in Iran), almost in the center of Parthav. Trade between East and West thrived, and Iran provided the most convenient route that later came to be known as the Silk Road.

The Parthians were great fighters and wonderful horsemen. Their famous maneuver that became legendary as the “Parthian shot” was to pretend to gallop away from an enemy as if in retreat, and then turn in the saddles and shoot arrows at their pursuers, often defeating them by this ruse.
The Parthians had no strict hierarchy or strong centralized power. Although mainly followers of the Zoroastrian religion, they contributed to the dissemination of Buddhism in China, where a Parthian prince spread the word of Buddha near the middle of the 2nd century AD. The Parthians spoke a language similar to that of the Achaemanids, used the Pahlavi script, and established an administrative system based on Achaemenid precedents. Talented architects invented the “eivan”, a feature later characteristic of Iranian Islamic architecture. 
Following Mithridates’s death, the empire fell into a state of chaos, with a short interlude only during the reign of Orodes II. Constantly menaced by the Roman Empire, the Parthians acted as a barrier to the eastern nomad hordes. Weakened by the internal dissention and exterior enemies, the Parthians were unable to resist a new power, the Sassanids. Still they managed to rule for almost five centuries, and it was one of the most fascinating periods of Persian history.

 

Refrence(s):

- Rahim Poor, Ali (2002). The Traveler’s guide to Iran. Iran. Tehran & Isfahan. Rasaneh Kaj & Naghshe Hasti. p. 34

- Beheshti, Oksana (2003). Travel guide to Isfahan, Kashan and more. Iran. Tehran. Rozaneh publication. P. 12-21

- Myths, Hypotheses and Facts. Available From:

http://www.imninalu.net/IndusValley.htm

 

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