Arsaces II of Parthia

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Arsaces II of Parthia
"King of Parthia"
Pdc 24587.jpg
Coin of Arsaces II.
Reign 211–185 BC
Predecessor Arsaces I of Parthia
Successor Phriapatius of Parthia
Born Unknown
Died 185 BC
Dynasty Arsacid dynasty
Father Tiridates
Religion Zoroastrianism

Arsaces II, also Artabanus I (Persian: ارشک يکم‎), of the Arsacid dynasty was King of Parthia between 211 BC and 185 BC.[1][2] Greek 'Arsaces' appears as 'Artabanus' in Latin sources, and both forms appear in history books.


Due to a confusion of names, the line of succession is equally unclear. Artabanus's uncle, Arsaces I, had founded the dynasty around 247 BC. Arsaces I may then have been directly succeeded by his brother Tiridates I, who however - like all other Arsacid dynasts - also adopted the name Arsaces upon his coronation. Subject then to which genealogy is followed (neither is epigraphically assured), Artabanus (a.k.a. Arsaces II) succeeded either his uncle Arsaces I or his father Tiridates I (a.k.a. Arsaces II).

In 209 BC, the Seleucid King Antiochus III recaptured Parthia, which had been previously seized from the Seleucids by Arsaces I and the Parni around 247 BC. Arsaces II sued for peace following his defeat on the battlefield at Mount Labus. Prior to this, Antiochus had already occupied the Parthian capital at Hecatompylos, pushing forward to Tagae near Damghan. Following the defeat of Arsaces II at Mount Labus, Antiochus turned westwards into Hyrcania where he occupied Tambrax. Syrinx was then taken by siege.

In the terms of the peace, Arsaces accepted feudatory status[3] and from then onwards ruled Parthia and Hyrcani as a vassal state of the Seleucids. Antiochus in turn withdrew his troops westwards, where he would subsequently be embroiled in wars with Rome and so would leave the fledgling Parthian kingdom to its own devices.

Arsaces II was succeeded by his son (or cousin) Phriapatius in 185 BC.



  • Richard Nelson Frye, The History of Ancient Iran, 1984.
  • Bivar, A.D.H. (1993), "The Political History of Iran under the Arsacids", in Fischer, W.B.; Gershevitch, Ilya, Cambridge History of Iran, 3.1, London: Cambridge UP, pp. 31, 51-67
  • Józef Wolski, 'Arsace II et la Généalogie des Premiers Arsacides', Historia XI (1962), 138-145.
Arsaces II of Parthia
Born: Unknown Died: 185 BC
Preceded by
Arsaces I or Tiridates I Arsaces
King of Parthia
211–185 BC
(Seleucid vassal 209–185 BC)
Succeeded by