Phraates II

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Phraates II of Parthia
"King of kings of Iran"
PhraatesIICoinHistoryofIran.jpg
Coin of Phraates II.
Reign 138–127 BC
Predecessor Mithridates I of Parthia
Successor Artabanus II of Parthia
Dynasty Arsacid dynasty
Father Mithridates I
Mother Ri-'nu
Born Unknown
Died 127 BC
Religion Zoroastrianism

Phraates II (Persian: فرهاد دوم‎), was king of the Parthian Empire from 138 BC to 128 BC. He is mostly known to reconquer Babylon. He was the son of Mithridates I (171–128 BC). Because he was still very young when he came to the throne, his mother Ri-'nu ruled on his behalf at first.

War with the Seleucids[edit]

In 130 BC the Parthian empire was attacked from the east and the west. Antiochus VII Sidetes (138–129 BC), ruler of the Seleucid Empire attacked in the west to reconquer territory lost earlier. After three battles he reclaimed Babylonia and Media. After this he offered a peace, by which he would regain Mesopotamia and large parts of Iran. The Parthian realm would be restricted to its core territories and would pay a heavy tribute. Phraates II could not accept these high demands, so he refused the offer. In the following winter (129 BC), Antiochus VII quartered himself and his army in Ecbatana, where he completely alienated the local people from himself because he forced the local people to pay for the upkeep of his soldiers and because, it seems, the soldiers assaulted the locals.[1] Thus when Phraates II attacked the Seleucid army in its winter quarters, the local people supported him. Antiochus VII was defeated and killed or committed suicide, ending Seleucid rule east of the Euphrates.[2]

Phraates II succeeded in capturing Seleucus, the son of the king. He allowed Antiochus VII a royal funeral and returned the body to Syria in a silver coffin.[3] Phraates II also had Demetrius II Nicator, who had been held by the Parthians as a hostage for several years, to become king of the Seleucid realm for the second time. Through this the Parthian king hoped to gain more influence in Syria. Phraates II even married one of the king's daughters, whose name is not recorded.

War in the East & death[edit]

Syria, which was now the Seleucid rump state, lacked military power and Phraates II apparently planned to invade it. But on the eastern front, the nomadic Saka and Tochari destroyed the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, penetrated to the borders of the realm, and threatened the Parthians kingdom. The king had to rush to the eastern front, installing Himeros as governor of Babylon, who quickly became a tyrant. Phraates II marched east, his army including a large force of captured Seleucid soldiers from the army of the late Antiochus VII Sidetes. These ultimately refused to fight for the Parthian king, and he was defeated and killed in battle.

His uncle, Artabanus I succeeded him as King.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Justin, 38.10.10
  2. ^ Kay Ehling, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der späten Seleukiden (164-63 v. Chr.), Stuttgart 2008, p. 204 ISBN 978-3-515-09035-3
  3. ^ Justin. 39.1.6

References[edit]

  • Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History 42.1.


Phraates II
Died: 127 BC
Preceded by
Mithridates I
King of Parthia
138–127 BC
Succeeded by
Artabanus II