Parthian History

Parthia's legacy was rather similar to its mother nation, the Seleucid Empire; it had an impact on many events around its general area in its general time, but has not left much of a legacy. However, even if not famous, there is still a lot of interesting history in the Parthians that we must study.

The Parthian Empire had their origins when King Arsaces seceded from the Seleucid Empire in 250 B.C. The region that seceded was parts of modern-day Iraq, Iran, Turkey and many other lands. However, before they were an empire, they were still their own people; they had developed advanced tactics on the backs of horses, such as the infamous 'Parthian shot', in which a rider would launch an arrow from his bow while riding his horse "an impressive feat."

Half a century later, the Parthians were absorbed back into the Seleucid Empire, but pushed back against the Seleucids, resisting the takeover. The continuing disintegration of Seleucid power made it rather easy to hold their own lands, and they also pushed further into Seleucid territory.

In 53 B.C., the Roman Crassus invaded Parthia, after the Seleucids had crumbled in on themselves. However, the Parthians defeated him at the battle of Carrhae. For both sides, though, that was only one of few decisive victories. The speed and agility of the Parthians countered the Roman rank-and-file, but the Parthians could rarely hold territory with their tactics. So, all the battles were essentially made neutral for the next few centuries. It prevented Rome from spreading toward the east even more.

While the Romans were engulfed with the Pompey-Caesar Civil War, the Parthians looked towards the Indus valley. They expanded into the region, conquering most of the resistance in their way, and made it their own.

After 110 A.D., the Romans began to finally find the strength to push back against the Parthians, forcing them to flee from many of their strongholds. For the next many years, there was warring between the now-fractured leaders of the Parthian Empire against the Roman Empire. Even being pushed against by the very powerful Romans, the Parthians managed to regain some of their territories that Rome had attacked, and even gain a few new ones.

Circa 195 A.D., the Romans finally destroyed the Parthian lines when they tried to take advantage of another Roman internal power struggle. The Romans grew rich off the Parthian spoils, but the Parthians themselves were entirely without hope. The once-loyal kings began to rebel, and brought the collapse of the Parthian Empire.