Pacorus II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Pacorus II
Coin of Pacorus II (cropped), Seleucia mint.jpg
Coin of Pacorus II, minted at Seleucia in 92/3.
King of Atropatene
PredecessorVonones II
King of the Parthian Empire
PredecessorVologases II
SuccessorOsroes I
Vologases III
HouseArsacid dynasty
FatherVonones II
MotherGreek concubine

Pacorus II (Persian: پاکور دوم‎, flourished 1st century & first half of second century) was king of the Parthian Empire from 78 to 105.


Pacorus II was the son of Vonones II and a Greek concubine, thus making him of mixed Iranian and Greek ancestry. Pacorus II was born and raised during his father’s kingship of Atropatene. He was the namesake of Pacorus I (d. 38 BC).

Rule in Atropatene[edit]

When Pacorus II's father died in 51, his brother Vologases I succeeded his father as Parthian King. Vologases I gave Pacorus II their paternal dominion, the Kingdom of Atropatene, which he ruled from 51 until 78. Little is known of his reign, except that, in 72, a group of Alans invaded his kingdom and forced him to flee into the mountains. The Alans, after having gained a lot of booty by plundering Atropatene and neighboring countries such as Armenia, quickly withdrew back to their steppes in the North Caucasus. Pacorus shortly returned to Atropatene.

After the death of Vologases I, Pacorus II revolted against his nephew Vologases II (ca. 78–80) who was his father’s successor. After Pacorus II defeated Vologases II, he had him deposed.

Rule in Persia[edit]

According to the Roman Historian Cassius Dio, Pacorus II sold the kingdom of Osroene to Abgar VII, and according to Ammianus Marcellinus he enlarged the Parthian capital Ctesiphon and built its walls. He also had close contact with the Dacian ruler Decebalus, and was in 86 even given a Greek slave named Callidromus as a gift by Decebalus. In 101, Pacorus II sent an embassy to the Han Dynasty of China, the latter which recorded Parthia as the Anxi kingdom.[1]

On his numerous coins he always calls himself "Arsaces Pacorus". This mention of his proper name, together with the royal name Arsaces, shows that his kingdom was disputed by rivals. Three of them we know from coins; in addition to Vologases II, they included Artabanus IV, ca. 80–90 and Vologases III, from about 105. Pacorus II died about 105; he was succeeded by his brother Osroes I, who maintained the rivalry with king Vologases III based in East Parthia.


By an unknown wife Pacorus II had three sons: Axidares (Ashkhadar), and Parthamasiris (Partamasir), who served as Kings of Armenia, and Meredates, who served as King of Characene in the mid-second century.


  1. ^ Crespigny, 239.


  • Bivar, H.D.H (1968). "The Political History of Iran under the Arsacids: Continuation of conflict with Rome over Armenia". In William Bayne Fisher; Ilya Gershevitch; Ehsan Yarshater; R. N. Frye; J. A. Boyle; Peter Jackson; Laurence Lockhart; Peter Avery; Gavin Hambly; Charles Melville (eds.). The Cambridge History of Iran. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-20092-X.
  • Toumanoff, Cyril (1986). "Arsacids". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. II, Fasc. 5. Cyril Toumanoff. pp. 525–546.
  • Schippmann, K. (1987). "AZERBAIJAN iii. Pre-Islamic History". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. III, Fasc. 2. pp. 221–224.
  • Crespigny, Rafe de. (2007). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220 AD). Leiden: Koninklijke Brill. ISBN 90-04-15605-4.
  • Cassius Dio, lxviii, 17.
  • Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae, xxiii, 6, 23.

External links[edit]

Pacorus II
Preceded by
Vologases II
Great King (Shah) of Parthia
Succeeded by
Osroes I and Vologases III