Pharasmanes the Valiant
Pharasmanes II the Valiant (P’arsman; Georgian: ფარსმანი) was a king of Iberia, or Kartli (Georgia), contemporary of the Roman emperor Hadrian (r. 117–138). Professor Cyril Toumanoff suggests AD 116–132 as the years of Pharasmanes’ reign. He features in several Classical accounts and can be identified with P’arsman K’ueli, "the Valiant" or "the Good", of the medieval Georgian tradition.
The medieval Georgian annals report P’arsman K’ueli’s joint rule with P’arsman Avaz, diarchs (one source has the extra pair: Rok and Mihrdat), but several modern scholars consider the Iberian diarchy unlikely as it is not corroborated by the contemporary evidence. P’arsman is reported to have been the son of his predecessor, Amazasp I. He is said to have married Ghadana, daughter of the king of Armenia (who must have been Vologases I). According to the medieval Life of Kings, the traditional friendship of the two dyarchs soured at the instigation of the Iranian wife of Mihrdat. Toumanoff regards this information a back-projection of the historically recorded enmity of Pharasmanes I of Iberia and his brother Mithridates of Armenia. The chronicle then continues a story of an Armenian-Roman alliance and their invasion of the Iranian-backed Iberia in which P’arsman finds his death.
The contemporary Classical authors, with more solid historical background, focus on Pharasmanes’ uneasy relations with Rome. He refused in 129 to come and pay homage to the emperor Hadrian then touring the East, and prompted the Alans to attack the neighboring Roman provinces by giving them a passage through his realm, even though the emperor had sent him greater gifts — including an elephant — than to any other king of the East. In his pique, Hadrian dressed some 300 criminals in the gold-embroidered cloaks which were part of the return gift of Pharasmanes, and sent them into the arena. Eventually, the ancient sources report a highly honored visit paid by Pharasmanes of Iberia to Hadrian’s successor Antoninus Pius. According to Cassius Dio, he came to Rome as guest of Antoninus Pius, together with his wife, son, and noble retinue; he was especially honored, being allowed to sacrifice in the Capitol and to have his equestrian statue in the temple of Bellona; and the emperor increased the territory of his kingdom. This Pharasmanes, however, might have been Pharasmanes III, Pharasmanes II’s possible grandson.
- Toumanoff, Cyril. Chronology of the Early Kings of Iberia. Traditio 25 (1969), p. 17.
- Rapp, Stephen H. (2003), Studies In Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts And Eurasian Contexts, pp. 289-290. Peeters Publishers, ISBN 90-429-1318-5.
- Kavtaradze, Giorgi Leon (June 2000). "Caucasica II: The Georgian Chronicles and the Raison d'Ètre of the Iberian Kingdom", Orbis Terrarum: p. 218.
|King of Iberia