Talk:Parthian Empire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Featured article Parthian Empire is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 11, 2011.
May 25, 2010 Featured article candidate Promoted
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Military history (Rated FA-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions. Featured
Featured article FA This article has been rated as FA-Class on the quality assessment scale.
WikiProject Iran (Rated FA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Iran, an attempt to build a comprehensive and detailed guide to articles related to Iran on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please join the project where you can contribute to the discussions and help with our open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome (Rated FA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of the WikiProject for Classical Greece and Rome, a group of contributors who write Wikipedia's Classics articles. If you would like to join the WikiProject or learn how to contribute, please see our project page. If you need assistance from a classicist, please see our talk page.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Rome (Rated FA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Rome, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the city of Rome and ancient Roman history on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Armenia (Rated FA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon Parthian Empire is within the scope of WikiProject Armenia, an attempt to improve and better organize information in articles related or pertaining to Armenia and Armenians. If you would like to contribute or collaborate, you could edit the article attached to this page or visit the project page for further information.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Georgia (country) (Rated FA-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Georgia (country), a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Georgia and Georgians on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Caucasia (Rated FA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Caucasia, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Caucasia, Caucasian people and Caucasian languages on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the importance scale.
WikiProject Azerbaijan (Rated FA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of WikiProject Azerbaijan, which aims to improve Wikipedia's coverage of Azerbaijan-related topics. If you would like to participate, you can edit this article, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of objectives.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Iraq (Rated FA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Iraq, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Iraq on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Syria (Rated FA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Syria, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Syria on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Ancient Near East (Rated FA-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Ancient Near East, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Ancient Near East related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject European history (Rated FA-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject European history, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the history of Europe on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Former countries (Rated FA-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Former countries, a collaborative effort to improve Wikipedia's coverage of defunct states and territories (and their subdivisions). If you would like to participate, please join the project.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.

What in freaking hell is "Middle Iranian", the correct term is Middle Persian, please do not change facts to satisfy yourself.[edit]

Middle Iranian languages are languages which were in use roughly from 300 BC to 600 AD and it's a well established classification of stages in the development of Iranian languages in linguistics. Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, Khotanese, Khwarezmian and Bactrian are the attested middle Iranian languages. In the Parthian Empire, Middle Persian was roughly confined to the Areas of Fars, Kerman and possibly Yazd, Isfahan and Khurasan so use of Middle Iranian instead of Middle Persian is perfectly understandable here.حضرت محمود (talk) 08:04, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Merger Proposal[edit]

As far as I can tell, this Page and Parthia cover two almost identical subjects. Why keep them separate? I propose the two be merged.Rcduggan (talk) 19:56, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

They are like Persians and the Achaemenid Empire. Parthians were a tribe and the Parthian Empire was the Empire they made. The Parthia article focuss too much on the Parthian Empire and not enough on other Parthian related subjects (culture, history after and before the Empire)Ardeshire Babakan (talk) 18:53, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Dont merge. Parthian empire is when Iranian Parthians could build up their empire, BUT Parthia is about the land where they where staying (before forming the empire) which is near to caspian see, where as parthian empire was even much bigger than todays Iran. --Wayiran (talk) 18:36, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
There should be 2 articles here, 1. Parthia: about the culture/people, and 2. Parthian Empire: about the state Parthian/Arsacid Empire. That's the only thing reasonable as I can see.Gabagool (talk) 20:17, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

The rationale of Ardeshire Babakan and Gabagool is imminently sensible. I've accordingly rewritten Parthia to reflect culture/people, and this article can then discuss the empire, which I'll leave up to y'all to rename "Parthian empire" if you see fit. Parthian empire is the more common name, and there is thankfully no need to be coherent, otherwise it would conflict with a certain piece of Wikipedia stupidity that academia knows nothing about. -- Fullstop (talk) 21:18, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

I will add the merger template if it has a good reason.--Jupiter.solarsyst.comm.arm.milk.universe 01:39, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

controvercial edits[edit]

i would like to thank user:fullstop for his constructive criticism of my recent edits. one issue that was raised was that Andragoras was not Parthian. i realised that the text could be misleading in suggesting that he was parthian. so i changed it to clarify that he was just the satrap of parthia. As for the claim that Arsaces was not anti-Hellenistic, allow me to make a direct quote from source 5(the book "Parthia" page 47): "The Parthian kingdom was thoroughly anti-hellenistic." the source also says that because the seleucid empire was pre-occupied with its war with egypt the emperor did not attempt to reclaim parthia or bactria. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:15, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

You must be misreading something. The Arsacids cannot possible be asserted to have been anti-Hellenistic. Their coins said Basileos Basileon Arsakou Euergetou Dikaiou Epiphanous Philhellenos, which is Greek, and the last word in there means "Friend of the Greeks".
There is also no question of any claim of independence, as Arsaces did not claim independence from anyone. What he did was knock Andragoras' head off.
In any case, a 19th century source isn't exactly a reliable source, is it? -- Fullstop (talk) 01:45, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
1) He's not misreading anything. It's right there on Rawlison (page 47, in the condensed version). Regardless of one's thoughts on Rawlinson, it is universally accepted that the Parthians radically shifted into an anti-Hellenic stance. See Kuhrt and Sherwin White, 184; Millar, 253; Colledge, 97; Frumkin 152. 2) The Arsaces vs. Andragoras story is the more popular one (as it appears in Strabo), and my preferred one, but it's hardly proven. Justin has a different interpretation of events, and is quite clear about the Arsacid declaration of independence. 3) A 19th-century source is reliable when it is based on the exact same information as more modern sources. Today's historians have little available regarding sources that Rawlinson did not. And if anyone tells you that numismatic evidence has decisively proven *anything*, they are at best misinformed, at at worst disingenuous. -- David B. Wagner

To Wagner, regarding George Rawlinson's works, as monumental as they've been, are now considered seriously outdated. Improvement in archeological methods findings had even debunked many interpretations Rawlinson once took for granted, by Olmstead's time. George Rawlinson considered Parthians of Turanian stock, because of their nomadic and horseriding culture and "uncivilized culture". While it is true, later Arscaid Kings embraced Iranian religions and gradually stopped their support of hellenestic culture, they didn't however actively become Anti-Hellenes as you claim.LaPeliculaViviente talk 02:16, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was page moved. Keith D (talk) 18:21, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Arsacid EmpireParthian Empire — Most common name in the English language. Flamarande (talk) 18:45, 19 September 2009 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Support. "Parthian Empire" is more commonly used. john k (talk) 22:01, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. Ditto PHG Per Honor et Gloria 18:15, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. "Parthian Empire" is used by historians and school teachers. Flamarande (talk) 18:21, 20 September 2009 (UTC) PS: I proposed the move and I'm not sure if my vote counts at all.
  • Support as usage. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:30, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Don't care either way comment: Can we please just move it without the polling bureaucracy? Just do it for heaven's sake. -- Fullstop (talk) 20:56, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
I tried to move the article towards 'Parthian Empire' but it doesn't work (don't ask me why). An administrator has to do it. That's the reason why this has to follow the bureaucracy procedure. Flamarande (talk) 00:06, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Because Parthian Empire has been edited since the move.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:08, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
I've moved the article. john k (talk) 05:08, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, but you forgot the talkapge (damn this vandal]. "Damn him to Wiki-hell" :). Flamarande (talk) 15:26, 21 September 2009 (UTC)


Any additional comments: ==

Hy there, I stumbled upon this article as I wanted to take a look at the Parthian Empire (currently a redirect towards "here"). As far I could follow this article (whose original name was 'Parthian Empire' was moved [1] by a single user without any debate or discussion. Let me first clearly state that uncontroversial moves do not require any discussion whatsoever. However AFAIK Parthian Empire is the most common name for this historical nation in the English language. This point (most common English name) was raised (see talkpage). To cut things short I propose a move towards 'Parthian Empire' asap. Thanks Flamarande (talk) 18:45, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Fine by me, but there is also no harm in leaving it where it is. After all, 'Parthian empire' redirects here, and that phrase is also a boldface term in the first paragraph, so there is no disadvantage for the reader. -- Fullstop (talk) 19:40, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
IMHO 'Arsacid Empire' may stay as a redirect (to be honest it was the first time ever that I saw that name) but Parthian Empire is the name used by historians and school teachers. As such it should be used by the English Wiki. Flamarande (talk) 19:54, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, as I said in the section above this one, 'Parthian empire' is certainly the more common name (by far). If I'm reading the latter half (the sensible-half) of the "rationale" for the move correctly, the "trouble" with 'Parthian empire' is the confusion with "Parthia", which is of course not the same thing as 'Parthian empire'. That's a valid point, and I understand the need/desire for precision, but I don't really care either way. :) Just use {{DISPLAYTITLE:}}, and be done with it. Plenty of drama waiting elsewhere. :) -- Fullstop (talk) 21:05, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
ps: Edits such as these are just as inappropriate as Catman's were. Don't change era for the sake of it. -- Fullstop (talk) 21:25, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
The change made by Catman is as inappropriate as your prior change [2]. The original dating system used by this article is BC/AD. As the change towards BCE/CE was unilateral (unrequested, undebated, and not agreed upon) and per WP:ERA I intent to restore the original one. Flamarande (talk) 17:51, 20 September 2009 (UTC) PS: Your description: "erm, no. I wrote the article from scratch on 25 Jan. That is the "original dating system" now." fails to acknowledge the article and all contributions before the 25 Jan.
I don't give a rats ass, and neither should you. The era is stable, and your change is tantamount to era warring. Your interpretation of "original dating" is wikilawyering bullshit; the intent of WP:ERA is to stop era warring, which is exactly what you fail to do (both here and elswhere). So please cut it out. At least in article space (i.e. take your BC/AD axe-grinding to WP:ERA). -- Fullstop (talk) 20:15, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, but I do give a rat's ass when someone simply changes the dating system, loudly proclaims that he wrote the article from scratch, and simply disregards all previous contributors and their work. Flamarande (talk) 00:06, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

In fact, both of you are claiming ownership. Please stop. The edit in January is extensive, if a trifle baroque for my taste - and I grew up on Gibbon; but that is not what was meant by the original editor. What was meant was the first editor ever to do substantial work on the article. (Discussions like this is why that test is no longer as popular as it once was.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:41, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.
Too late, but I think this move was wrong. Since the names "Arsacid empire" and "parthian empire" do not make any difference in contents, we should use the correct name which is "Arsacid Empire". Xashaiar (talk) 22:13, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Actually, "Parthian Empire" and "Arsacid Empire" are synonymous, interchangeable terms according to Brosius 2006, p. 84, the very first citation I have recently placed in the article. "Arsacid" is simply a reference to the first reigning monarch and title assumed by every subsequent ruler of his dynasty, while "Parthian" obviously comes from the small geographic region by the Caspian Sea which the dynasty first controlled. Both terms are quite apt; choosing one over the other is in fact rather trivial. Like the difference between "Achaemenid Empire" and "Persian Empire", for instance.--Pericles of AthensTalk 18:13, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
But Parthian Empire is without any doubt whatsoever the common and standard title in the English language. Try a book-search under 'Arsacid Empire' in Amazon: 13 hits. A search under 'Parthian Empire' gives you 243 hits. IMHO this is an extremely clear indication. The same logic should be applied in the Persian Empire (the common and standard name) VS Achaemenid Empire (largely unknown). Flamarande (talk) 18:40, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Unknown??? The article is called Achaemenid Empire here at Wiki, but the redirect is "Persian Empire", which is perhaps used just as often. I've come across the exact phrase "Achaemenid Empire" in perhaps every single source that I've listed in the "Reference" section of this article (i.e. Parthian Empire). It is far from unknown, I assure you. In any case, I agree that an book search is rather indicative of how some academic and surely popular books will name certain things, in this case ancient empires. More important, however, is what the actual university-level scholars say, and they use the terms "Parthian" and "Arsacid" quite fluidly to mean the same thing. Cheers.--Pericles of AthensTalk 18:57, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
I wrote 'largely unknown' (meaning 'largely unknown to the average readers'). IMHO 'Persian Empire' is not "perhaps used as often". 'Persian Empire' is without any doubt whatsoever the common and standard title in the English language. Flamarande (talk) 19:10, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Also, saying "Achaemenid" instead of "Persian" might also help to disambiguate between the first Persian empire and a later one, the Sassanid Empire.--Pericles of AthensTalk 19:03, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
It might also confuse some average readers who never read, saw, or heard anything about the Achaemenid Empire but read, saw, or heard a lot about the Persian Empire "oppponent of the ancient Greeks and which was conquered by Alexander the Great. Flamarande (talk) 19:14, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
I suppose you may be right; after all, the average person walking out of the movie theater for 300 (film) certainly didn't hear the word "Achaemenid", but heard "Persian" a whole bunch, no doubt due to the easy link and reference to the modern-day ethnic group.--Pericles of AthensTalk 19:23, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
It isn't only that single film. It's the same with the History channel, National Geographic, BBC Prime, the majority of books, majority of films, etc. Let's face it, everybody knows that: "Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire". Flamarande (talk) 19:34, 18 April 2010 (UTC)


Overlapping with, and a regional successor of, the Seleucids and other Diadochi epigonoi, the Arsacids were – unlike the epigonoi – an indigenous Iranian dynasty, albeit a Hellenistic one whose monarchs identified themselves on their coins as philhellenes "friend of Greeks"

We are optimised for lay readers, not for specialists; what is wrong with saying what we mean: "successors of Alexander the Great"?

The Seleucids, of course, were descended from Apama; the real difference is that the Arsacids had mostly Iranians among their counsellors. And don't let's use Hellenistic for Hellenized - if that is the intended point - the English word has a perfectly good meaning and this is not it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:53, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Agreed on Hellenized. I think Diadochi is a term in wide enough use in the academic literature for it to be useful here. "Epigonoi" is rather more abstruse, and should probably be avoided. john k (talk) 05:06, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
If it had just been Diadochi/oi, it would have been no problem. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 05:34, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

This article needs serious expansion and copyedit work[edit]

Hi all, Pericles here.

I am somewhat shocked at how undeveloped this article is, considering its importance. Compare it to the articles on the Chinese Han Dynasty and Roman Empire—the other principle powers of the day—or even the subsequent Sassanid Empire; it is simply paltry in comparison.

As exclaimed on my talk page, I am currently in semi-retirement from Wiki. However, I would certainly spare some of my time to provide aid to anyone seeking to expand this article. By this I mean doing research into academic sources and providing much-needed citations throughout the article. Is anyone willing to tackle this problem with serious time and effort? If so, drop a note here or on my talk page and I would love to assist.

Although nothing beats a trip to the library, I do have access to JSTOR. By doing a quick search on "Parthia", the following articles come up:

  • Arthur Keaveney. "Roman Treaties with Parthia circa 95-circa 64 B.C.," The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 102, No. 2 (Summer, 1981), pp. 195-212
  • Kai Brodersen. "The Date of the Secession of Parthia from the Seleucid Kingdom," Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Vol. 35, No. 3 (3rd Qtr., 1986), pp. 378-381.
  • D.S. Potter. "The Inscriptions on the Bronze Herakles from Mesene: Vologeses IV's War with Rome and the Date of Tacitus' 'Annales'," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, Bd. 88, (1991), pp. 277-290.
  • Farhang Khademi Nadooshan, Seyed Sadrudin Moosavi and Frouzandeh Jafarzadeh Pour. "The Politics of Parthian Coinage in Media," Near Eastern Archaeology, Vol. 68, No. 3, Archaeology in Iran (Sep., 2005), pp. 123-127.
  • Arthur Keaveney. "The King and the War-Lords: Romano-Parthian Relations Circa 64-53 B.C.," The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 103, No. 4 (Winter, 1982), pp. 412-428.

And for a search on "Arsacid," these results:

  • Gilbert J. P. McEwan. "Arsacid Temple Records," Iraq, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Autumn, 1981), pp. 131-143.
  • Roger C. Blockley. "The Division of Armenia between the Romans and the Persians at the End of the Fourth Century A.D.," Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Vol. 36, No. 2 (2nd Qtr., 1987), pp. 222-234.
  • G. R. F. Assar. "Parthian Calendars at Babylon and Seleucia on the Tigris," Iran, Vol. 41, (2003), pp. 171-191.

Each of these articles has a rather specific, narrow focus; I am willing to utilize them but it would be better if someone could pick up general history books from a library.

Cheers, --Pericles of AthensTalk 17:20, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm disappointed that no one seems interested, but nonetheless I will trek to the library (i.e. Fenwick Library of George Mason University) today after work and take notes from The Persians: An Introduction (2006, Routledge) by Maria Brosius. Its scope covers Persian history from the Achaemenids, to the Arsacids, and the entire Sassanid period. I was hoping to find a decent book on Parthia alone, but this will have to do. I hope someone else would like to contribute as well!--Pericles of AthensTalk 19:08, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm also going to look at The Cambridge History of Iran (1983), specifically Volume 3, parts 1 and 2, which the library fortunately has--Pericles of AthensTalk 20:14, 10 March 2010 (UTC).
Hi Pericles, I would love to help but real life just became full of busywork of late. But just because no one's replying doesn't mean no one's reading your hard work on wiki. I myself find that there's hardly anything on Parthian history after 0AD. Gnip 8:01, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
That's ok, Gnip. I think I'm finally ready to rewrite this article, as I've gathered several useful sources. It should look very different in a couple of weeks. Cheers.--Pericles of AthensTalk 05:54, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Update! Much of the draft is now finished. The article is being fleshed out at the moment, but I still have a few sub-sections to write in their entirety. The history section is done, though. Enjoy!--Pericles of AthensTalk 16:57, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Who ever said that the Achaemenids ran a centralized Empire? They may have been more centralized than the Arsacids, but that's a very low standard. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:52, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Centralization versus Decentralization, dubious tag debate[edit]

Hi User:Pmanderson. You recently put a "dubious" tag on this statement in the introduction:

The Arsacids were titled the 'King of Kings', as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire. However, unlike the latter,[dubious ] the Parthian Empire was largely decentralized and relied on local semi-autonomous kings to govern large territories of the empire.

This is explained somewhat in the "Government and administration" section. I do believe the statement is correct, but more importantly, backed by Brosius (2006) and Garthwaite (2005). I shall start with Garthwaite (p. 67-68):

The very designations Seleucid or Parthian imply a kind of unity that probably never existed, and the discontinuity of their histories makes the Achaemenians seem highly centralized in comparison. Parthian rule, for example, seems to have been especially decentralized. While the Parthians neither achieved the degree of control over their empire nor unity through rulership that so marked the Achaemenians, the ideas of Achaemenian rulership and hegemony had not disappeared.

Garthwaite seems pretty clear here about the difference in Achaemenid versus Parthian governance from the center, but he does not go into the detail that Brosius does, a topic I feel needs to be covered in full (pp. 14-16):

Historians have found it difficult to explain a political system which, as an empire, was under the rule of a dynastic monarchy, but which at the same time was made up of regional kingdoms. This phenomenon has been seen as a lack of central power on the part of the dynasty and as evidence for the political independence of the regional kings. Referred to as 'client kingdoms' or 'semi-independent kingdoms', none of these terms provides an accurate description of such a system of government. Recently D. Potts suggested that the Parthian empire may not have been more 'than a very loosely knit agglomeration of provinces in which local rulers exercised considerable autonomy' (Potts 1999: 354), while Josef Wiesehöfer upholds more firmly to the idea of empire. He emphasises that its kings were 'masters of an ethnically, politically and culturally heterogeneous empire and had to cope with a multiplicity of political institutions and cultural and religious traditions' (Wiesehöfer 1996: 57). In essence, this is a fair assessment, though as a definition, it would also be applicable to the empires of the Achaemenids and Seleucids. Yet the Parthian empire was different from either of these. It was a heterogeneous empire, and distinct through its political make-up of kingdoms. But their kings recognised the Parthian king as the 'king of kings'. How can this phenomenon be explained?

Principally, the existence of semi-independent kings under a central monarch was not a new occurrence. The Achaemenids had divided their empire into satrapies, but alongside these city-kings ruled in the cities of Phoenica, Cyprus and Ionia, while some satraps and local rulers were even able to establish their own dynasties, such as in Hellespontine Phrygia and in Caria. Their rule posed no threat to the Achaemenid kings because they recognised the supremacy of the king, paid tribute and provided military support."

The Seleucids took over the satrapal administration of the Achaemenids and the system remained in place during their rule. Thus, Molon and Alexander governed the satrapies of Media and Persis at the time of Antiochus III in 223, and a Cleomenes was still attested as satrap in Media in 149/8. A pahatu, the Babylonian term for 'satrap', was in charge of Seleucid Babylonia. Sistan/Drangiana and Karmania were still Seleucid satrapies at the time of Antiochus III. The Seleucid satraps had to collect tribute and taxes for the royal treasury and provide (and pay for) armed forces as necessary.

Yet the Seleucid empire increasingly saw the formation of local dynasties which sought independence from the supreme power. In Pontus a royal era began early in the third century BC, in 297/6, though it was not until 281 that Mithridates I was proclaimed king there. By the mid-third century BC an Iranian dynasty rose in Cappadocia, and a royal era started with their king, Ararathes, in 255. Commagene also was a kingdom which was established under Orontes in 230 BC. In 188 BC kingship was established in Armenia. For a satrap of a province like Bactria, rich in natural resources, urbanised, with excellent trade connections and well populated, it must have been more than tempting to revolt from Seleucid domination and proclaim independence, as indeed happened when Diodotus of Bactria rebelled and eventually proclaimed himself king. Similarly Andragoras, satrap of Parthia, defected from Seleucus II. By the second century BC local dynasties had become irreversible political institutions in the Near East. The political landscape of the region had also become more complex with the appearance of Greek-style city-states established by the Greeks who had settled here as citizens, administrators, traders and soldiers.

The concept of independent kingdoms which, however, recognised a supreme power first seems to appear when Antiochus III recognised the 'independence' of Parthia and Bactria, while they, in turn, recognised the supremacy of the Seleucid king. This distinction between a local king and a supreme king seems to be implied in Arsaces' coin portrait which shows him wearing the satrapal cap and diadem.

The Parthian empire inherited its basic political structure from the Seleucids. The office of satrap continued under their rule, satraps being installed in Media and Mesopotamia. But other regions which enjoyed more independence, like Persis and Elymais, were ruled by kings. Under the Seleucids dynasts called frataraka had governed Persis since the end of the third and the beginning of the second century BC, and by the mid-second century had become independent rulers. Elymais had been governed by kings since 147 and continued to be so after the political takeover by Mithridates I. Furthermore, in the 130s BC Hyspaosines rose as king of Characene, and by the end of the 1st century BC Media was ruled by a king. In the first century AD Izabates was recognised as king of Adiabene.

Obviously the establishment of Parthian kingdoms was the result of a development which occurred over several decades, and which had begun already in the Seleucid period. One can only speculate why local governors saw the need to distance themselves from the satrapal office and wanted to be regarded as kings. One possible explanation is that through the Macedonian takeover and later the Seleucid organisation, the office of satrap had suffered a loss of its former prestige and social status. Satrapies were no longer the size of the lands of the former Achaemenid empire, and had been subdivided into smaller regions, so-called eparchies. A satrap was also no longer the sole authority in a province, but took an administrative role while a treasurer controlled the finances. If the satrapal office had indeed suffered a loss of authority and overall control, it may explain why it was no longer a desired title for the governor of a province. A local king, a local dynasty, however, would represent that authority. And their exercising local control was compatible with their acceptance of the Parthian king as king of kings. In contrast to the development experienced by the Seleucids, the Parthian local dynasties did not strive for total independence. But their establishment was the result of the development of political institutions, in which the former office of satrap had been devalued, governing smaller territories, and lacking the close networks of alliances with the king. They were not immediate members of the royal family, but local dignitaries. They were powerful in their own right and accordingly exercised considerable influence over the local aristocracy. Both sides benefited. Small kingdoms would not have been able to withstand external threat, while their economy and commerce might have been limited to regional exchange, but as part of the Parthian empire they could count on mutual military support, on central investment in the infrastructure and overland trade, as well as on a share of official recognition as members of the king's court. In return the king of kings needed their support in war, since they formed the core of the Parthian army, the heavy and light-armed cavalry.

The regional kingdoms were the result of the change of the political climate...unlike circumstances in the Achaemenid period, there now were constant threats from external political powers, the Seleucids, the Romans, and different groups of nomadic invaders...Now the focus lay much more on military support and securing the defence of the borders of the empire. Armies were recruited and financed at local level.

Brosius seems pretty clear here as well. Although they existed on the fringes of the Achaemenid Empire, the semi-autonomous kingdoms were far more numerous and quite larger during Parthian times. This is why that statement is made in the introduction, and why I believe the dubious tag should be removed. Rebuttal?--Pericles of AthensTalk 22:39, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Both of these say that "the Achaemenians seem highly centralized in comparison", to quote one of them. But in comparison is vital here, and to drop it is misleading; the Achaemenid Empire was a collection of twenty appanages, and being less centralized than it was is a real achievement. I will recast, and return the article to its topic. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 09:55, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Very well, thanks for your contributions so far. It has certainly prodded me into exploring and sharing the sources here, perhaps to the benefit of everyone. Cheers.--Pericles of AthensTalk 17:27, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Statue of General Surena[edit]

This statue was found in Iran. There are many sources, some of them are listed below:

Persian Sources:

cheers, *** in fact *** ( contact ) 06:22, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

I hope it's enough! *** in fact *** ( contact ) 08:14, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
PericlesofAthens is right. None of the academic works are connecting this statue with Surena. Surena is one of the most famous Parthians. This statue is one of the most famous Parthian artworks. Therefore, people like to connect both to give Surena a face... WITHOUT ANY REAL evidence. The statue is uninscribed and was found in a part of the Parthian Empire which belonged to the Elymais, so it might rather depict a local king of the Elymais. bw -- Udimu (talk) 21:32, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
what if we use :"thought to represent General Surena" ? Just to show uncertainity and of course respectiing those who believe in that as well. This has been done by one of the reliable sources already mentioned by me. *** in fact *** ( contact ) 07:20, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Those links you shared are the first sources beyond Wikipedia where I have seen this claim about the statue possibly representing Surena. However, the veracity of their claims would be much stronger if they came from .edu (i.e., college and university) websites, or an official website of an established art and history museum. What I do know is that after reading academic sources on the matter, including Brosius (2006) and Curtis (2007), nowhere is it mentioned that this statue was made to resemble Surena. If this was a commonly accepted idea in modern academia, then I would surely have come across it; instead, the sources I have read refer to the statue as resembling a nameless man, an anonymous nobleman who wears the distinctive Parthian riding outfit. That is all! And Udimu makes an excellent point about this statue perhaps representing a local ruler or nobleman of Elymais, where it was found.--Pericles of AthensTalk 08:26, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Apparently, only one return with a Google Books search to support that this statue could be of Surena (Iran Patricia Baker, Hilary Smith p.193). That's pretty light, just a travel book... Per Honor et Gloria  08:43, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
it is very easy to provide links without the connection, Statue - Surena; here some more academic ones:

-- Udimu (talk) 09:09, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

PS.: perhaps a small further point: Surena was later killed by the Parthina king, because he was falling in dishonor. It would be very likely that all statues of him were removed (stone works might survived, smashed into pieces, but a bronze statue would be melted down).
So you want to ignore all the sources I provided above ! My suggestion was fair, wasn't it ? Or perhaps any other suggestions ? *** in fact *** ( contact ) 11:11, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
For me thought sounds better; but I wonder if Wiki should be better than most of these general webpages and should stick to the really known facts. best wishes -- Udimu (talk) 11:36, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Good ! I wonder if PericlesofAthens & Per Honor et Gloria accept my suggestion, too ! Thanks. *** in fact *** ( contact ) 11:44, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
"Possibly" would be the maximum allowed in my opinion, as this is the wording used in the unique available printed source on the subject Iran Patricia Baker, Hilary Smith p.193. Still, as it's only one source, and a travel guide at that, I think it would be wiser to drop the claim altogether. Cheers Per Honor et Gloria  03:52, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Thank you. I think based on the sources I already mentioned, and considering the fact that in Iran it is believed to represent General Surena, therefore a small hint (like possibly) would be fair. This is better than mentioning nothing at all !. Regards, *** in fact *** ( contact ) 08:20, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

File:Parchment III of Avroman (Hawraman), Kurdistan, Iran.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

Icon Now Commons orange.svg An image used in this article, File:Parchment III of Avroman (Hawraman), Kurdistan, Iran.jpg, has been nominated for deletion at Wikimedia Commons for the following reason: Deletion requests June 2011
What should I do?
A discussion will now take place over on Commons about whether to remove the file. If you feel the deletion can be contested then please do so (commons:COM:SPEEDY has further information). Otherwise consider finding a replacement image before deletion occurs.

This notification is provided by a Bot, currently under trial --CommonsNotificationBot (talk) 20:32, 2 June 2011 (UTC)


I am quite impressed with the quality of this article, cheers to the people bringing it to this level. I am all too aware that writing encyclopedically about any topic of Persian history is an uphill battle. I still think the lead section falls rather short of what we would expect of an average, well-written article summary.

The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han Dynasty in China, quickly became a center of trade and commerce.

This appears to be a "summary" of the part about

The Parthian Empire was enriched by taxing the Eurasian caravan trade in silk, the most highly priced luxury good imported by the Romans

Basically, the summary is less accurate and more laborious than the thing it summarizes. Neither the "quickly" is substantiated (according to the article body, this happened more than a century after the empire was established), nor does "taxing caravans" make you a "center of trade and commerce".

The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it eventually saw a gradual revival of Persian traditions.

So, (1) Persian, (2) Hellenistic and (3) regional cultures? "Persian" here not being "regional" but some sort of Achaemenid remnant, or what is being said? "For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture" isn't a great sentence. "for the first half of its existence" isn't good English, and the duration implied conflicts with the "adopted" in the next phrase. And then, why the "though"? Again, the article body has a much better phrasing, "Conscious of both the Hellenistic and Persian roots of their kingship, the Arsacid rulers styled themselves after the Persian King of Kings and affirmed that they were also philhellenes ("friends of the Greeks")". It also isn't adequate that the "Persian cultural revival" is a redlink to the non-existing culture of Persia. If it's going to be a redlink, make it one to Persian cultural revival (Parthia), suggesting that an article can be written about this (or else unlink it altogether). --dab (𒁳) 07:27, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Hello, I am the main editor of this article. I would attempt to address all of these concerns, but I am currently living in Kyrgyzstan as an American Peace Corps volunteer (teaching English to youngsters). Please, by all means, feel free to edit the lead. The body of the article is my doing, but the lead has been heavily edited by others, especially during the featured article nomination. I was never satisfied with it, but I had little time to fiddle with it. This is still the case, even more so, since I have very limited access to the internet. I trust your judgment on what to excise and reword. Cheers.--Pericles of AthensTalk 09:27, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

An empire is a place under a particular ruler: a dynasty is a period of time under a particular series of rulers. You cannot have a road, even a silk one, from a place to a time. Kevin McE (talk) 18:12, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Well said, but the phrase "Han Empire" is an adequate replacement, which still links to the article for the Han Dynasty.--Pericles of AthensTalk 09:27, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

Beginning of the Roman Empire[edit]

The consensus is that the Roman Empire began at the time of the First Settlement in 27 BC when Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus was granted the name/title of Augustus. The Augustus article uses the 27 BC beginning date for fixing the duration of his reign. The phrase in the article, "Octavian became the emperor of Rome, now a republic in name only" isn't necessary to the article and conflicts with the Augustus article. The phrase is misleading because Octavian had not consolidated power at the time of Marc Anthony's defeat. This took years. The phrase should be removed as it is both unnecessary for the Parthian Empire article and conflicts with the scholarly consensus. Gx872op (talk) 20:34, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Hello GX. I agree and therefore have amended the article. I hope it is to your liking. Cheers.--Pericles of AthensTalk 09:37, 20 July 2011 (UTC)


The article states: "Later on, some of the Parthian Kings would claim Achaemenid descent. This has recently been corroborated via the possibility of an inherited disease (neurofibromatosis) demonstrated by the physical descriptions of rulers and from evidence of familial disease on ancient coinage."

The Cambridge online dictionary defines 'corroborate' as adding proof to a statement by additional information. 'Corroborate via a possibility' does not make sense. I would prefer something like 'The claim has recently received support from evidence suggesting that both Achaemenid and Parthian kings sufffered from the hereditery disease neurofibromatosis..."

Also the reference has two links, one good and one bad. Dudley Miles 14:04, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Hello Dudley. I am the main editor of this article. This claim was added to the article quite recently, so it is not of my doing. That said, I also prefer your wording here, so I will be bold and insert it into the article. Cheers.--Pericles of AthensTalk 09:17, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

German/Deutsch links to wrong German article[edit]

It links to (a stub about the dynasty) instead of which is the actual German version for this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:05, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Looks like someone fixed it. かんぱい! Scapler (talk) 14:21, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Chinese version[edit]

WOW! Kudos and congratulations to whoever translated this article into Chinese! Not only that, but this person also attained the Chinese Wikipedia Featured Article status to match the FA status of the English version! Great job!--Pericles of AthensTalk 08:30, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

File:Parthia 001ad.jpg[edit]

This map is not very accurate. Bahrain was most likely in a wider sense part of the Parthian Empire (it was for sure part of Characene) and Gerrha was no longer relevant around AD 1 (the article on the city is not really up-to-date). This city lost most likely its power after a military campaign of Antiochus III. bw -- Udimu (talk) 10:38, 2 October 2011 (UTC)


I found a new map of Parthian at [7] that is more clear on the location of the Empire and shows its borders imposed on modern day countries. It is easier to follow than the current map that is difficult to see the extent of territories. Should we switch to this map?


in Chinese. = An-hsi (in Wade-Giles)Böri (talk) 12:27, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Parthia, parthians - ethnogenesis, language, culture.[edit]

The claim that parthians have clearly belonged to ancient iranian ethnogenesis or were part of iranian culture is simply not true. The article states that Parthian Empire "was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran, also known as ancient Persia." The foundation of the Parthian Empire were mostly parni- a mixed nomadic tribe possibly of scythes origin. Arsaces himself was of unknown origin (A 1st century AD tradition (preserved by Arrian) casts Arsaces as descending from the 5th-century BC Achaemenid monarch Artaxerxes II. The Seleucids (and virtually everyone else after them) propagated the same myth, and such contrived genealogies were used as a justification of the right to rule). Early parthians had a clear Hellenic culture and social structure. So pls see the suggested revision into "Parthian Empire was a major political power in ancient Persia."

Please provide your reliable sources and wait for the consensus on the talk page/this section. Sources that support your claims and deny the Iranic origin of Parthians. Do not change the lead section by yourself before the consensus/result. Zyma (talk) 20:17, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
It works the other way around here in wiki. It is an 'author' who have to bring in reliable sources to support his statement. In our case, the source is needed to support that "the Parthian Empire was an iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran" (enthogenesis, cultural, social?). It seems that you are quite new to Wiki, let me remind that wiki is not place for national or racial incitement or propaganda. Jim Fitzgerald post 20:39, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
The people of Parthia (the original core of the empire) spoke a northwestern Iranian language. As for the Parni tribe being a mixture of others, even if they were part Scythian it does nothing to help your argument, because the Scythians themselves spoke an Iranian language. Eventually the Parthian royal court utilized Aramaic out of respect for the earlier Achaemenid traditions, but that did not mean the Parthians themselves were a Semitic people. Pericles of AthensTalk 22:07, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

First, It's not based on nationalism or modern ethnicities/nations/nationality. This is a featured article and uses expert scholary sources for its citations. The lead section is an accepted revision. Most contributors to this article are not Iranian. Not just this article, but many historical articles started and improved by the users from different countries. So don't think this article or the others owned by the Iranians. Second, your Scythian claim is not helpful too, because Scythians were Iranic/Iranic-speaking too. Even their language arrived to the regions of Europe by the another Iranic group, the Sarmatians. So if you say Parthians were from Scythia and had Scythian origin, it only support the Iranic origin again. Third, we don't judge and write about ancient people by the modern countries, because many things changed through the history. For example, Anatolia was a Greek/Roman homeland, now It's Turkish. It's obvious that ancient sites in the modern Turkey are not related to the Turks. Central Asia was populated by the Indo-European speaking peoples like Iranians and Tocharians. But today, except the Tajikistan, Central Asia is Turkic. Can you say Tocharians or Scythians were Turkic because of modern status of Central Asia? Simple and obvious answer is: "NO". If someone come here and say: "Yes! Parthians were Slavic.", and he has expert and reliable sources, we mention his/her claim in the article. But we remove personal claims and POVs and we do not support pseudo-history/pseudo-science. --Zyma (talk) 06:37, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

Dahae confederation equals Scythian confederation?[edit]

A question. It's correct to refer to the Dahae confederation as a confederation of Scythians, right?

LouisAragon (talk) 17:56, 3 May 2014 (UTC)


Tertullian describes the Parthian flag as an image of the sun. evidence for this is: (Apologeticum, 16).

Because of this I think it would be right to use this file: Sun of Mithras (standard).png, as the flag of the Parthian empire. If anyone agrees then add the image as the flag, with Apologeticum 16 as the reference

History of Persia (talk) 21:00, 9 July 2015 (UTC)


History of Persia (talk) 21:00, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Tertullian might not be a reliable source as he is a Christian apologist from the ancient world, and texts like his are usually considered primary sources. We look for reliable scholarship that is secondary sources. Check WP:RS for a description of reliable sourcing. Ogress smash! 21:11, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
I posted this reply not three hours ago and you ignored it and replaced the flag with the edit summary, "no one is discussing this on the talk page". Ogress smash! 00:33, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Farrokh is a college counselor with NO training as an academic historian(notice it says he is a writer). Farrokh is not a reliable source since he is not a historian. Tertullian is a primary source and I seriously question exactly how he would know what a Parthian flag looks like, since he lived in Carthage! Pity you can not understand that! I noticed you couldn't provide a link for the "Tertullian source". Typical of a POV pusher that you continue to edit war, despite being reverted by two editors. --Kansas Bear (talk) 01:32, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
What chapter and page of Tertullian's Apologeticum did you find this information? --Kansas Bear (talk) 01:58, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
The only extant Roman vexillum, 3rd century AD. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Russia.
Aside from Tertullian and Kaveh Farrokh being unreliable sources, even Farrokh himself speaks of this "flag" as a battle standard, otherwise known as a battle ensign, representing the deity Mithras (Merh). A battle ensign is NOT a national flag. No such thing existed in ancient times; national flags are an invention of the early modern era (18th, 19th centuries). I had a lengthy debate with someone about this in the talk page for the Chinese Qing dynasty, and I would direct others there without having to repeat the same points. Look to the image on your right: this is a Roman vexillum, a battle ensign used by the Romans. It would be equally preposterous to assume the Romans viewed such a thing as a "national flag" representing the Roman Empire. Pericles of AthensTalk 18:57, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Addressing the info-box map![edit]

So recently I noticed that the map that I made and uploaded two years ago somehow turned green when it was originally red. (I have NO idea how that happened btw cause I didn't do it.) Now I was thinking of reverting the color of the map back to Red, but at the same time, I would like a consensus on the matter rather than simply reverting the map back it's original color off the bat.

Do you all want me to revert the color of the map back to Red? OR do you all want the map to stay green?

Red = Original color!

Green = Current color!

Kirby (talk) 00:38, 27 October 2015 (UTC)