Artabanus II, King of Parthia (b. - 38) MP

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Birthdate:
Death: Died
Occupation: Great King of Parthia
Managed by: Justin Swanström
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About Artabanus II, King of Parthia

Artabanus II of Parthia ruled the Parthian Empire from about AD 10 to 38. He was the son of a princess of the Arsacid Dynasty who lived in the East among the Dahan nomads. He was raised to the throne by those Parthian grandees who would not acknowledge Vonones I, whom the Roman Emperor Augustus had sent from Rome (where he lived as hostage) as successor of his father Phraates IV.

The war between the two pretenders was long and doubtful; on a coin Vonones mentions a victory over Artabanus. At last Artabanus defeated his rival completely and occupied the Parthian capital Ctesiphon. Vonones fled to Armenia, where he was acknowledged as king, under the protection of the Romans. But when Artabanus invaded Armenia, Vonones fled to Syria, and the emperor Tiberius thought it prudent to support him no longer. Tiberius' nephew and heir Germanicus, whom he sent to the East, concluded a treaty with Artabanus, in which he was recognized as king and friend of the Romans. Armenia was given in AD 18 to Zeno, the son of the king of Pontus.

Artabanus, like all Parthian princes, was much troubled by the opposition of the grandees. He is said to have been very cruel in consequence of his education among the Dahan barbarians. To strengthen his power he killed all the Arsacid princes whom he could reach. Rebellions of the subject nations may have occurred also. We learn that he intervened in the Greek city Seleucia on the Tigris in favour of the oligarchs, and that two Jewish brigands, Anilai and Asinai, maintained themselves for years in Neerda in the swamps of Babylonia, and were acknowledged as dynasts by Artabanus.

In 35 he tried anew to conquer Armenia, and to establish his son Arsaces as king there. A war with Rome seemed inevitable. But that party among the Parthian magnates which was hostile to Artabanus applied to Tiberius for a king of the race of Phraates. Tiberius sent Phraates's grandson, Tiridates III, and ordered Lucius Vitellius (the father of the emperor Vitellius) to restore the Roman authority in the East. By very dexterous military and diplomatic operations Vitellius succeeded completely. Artabanus was deserted by his followers and fled to the East. Tiridates, who was proclaimed king, could no longer maintain himself, because he appeared to be a vassal of the Romans; Artabanus returned from Hyrcania with a strong army of Scythian (Dahan) auxiliaries, and was again acknowledged by the Parthians. Tiridates left Seleucia and fled to Syria. But Artabanus was not strong enough for a war with Rome; he therefore concluded a treaty with Vitellius in 37, in which he gave up all further pretensions. A short time after-wards Artabanus was deposed again, and a certain Cinnamus was proclaimed king. Artabanus took refuge with his vassal, the king Izates of Adiabene; and Izates by negotiations and the promise of a complete pardon induced the Parthians to restore Artabanus once more to the throne. Shortly afterwards Artabanus died, and was succeeded by his son, Vardanes (not our ancestor), whose reign was still more turbulent than that of his father.

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