The Parthian Empire, also known as the Arsacid empire, became a world power in 247 B.C. Arsaces I, the Parni tribe's leader, began its rise to dominance by conquering the northeast region of Iran. At the time of its conquest the province was in rebellion against the Seleucids.
The Parthian Empire reached the height of its power under Mithridates II (123 – 88 B.C.) when it controlled 1.1 million square miles (2.84 million square kilometers) of territory. The Parthians are considered the 10th largest and most powerful ancient world power.
There is, surprisingly, a Semitic-Israel connection to David's royal household that exists in the royal Parthian ruling family. The Arsacid dynasty of rule were Jewish descendants of Phares and King David. Israelite tribe and clan names are found throughout the area they controlled. The capital city of the Parthian empire was named after Abraham's only son through Sarah - Isaac.
Rome battled this east of the Euphrates River power for dominance and supremacy in a series of conflicts. These conflicts ran from 66 B.C. to 217 A.D - a span of 281 years! For a period of time the power wielded by the Parthians so rivaled that of Rome's that the Romans actually feared it!
Just a few short decades prior to Jesus' birth, the Parthian empire so roundly defeated Rome's army that they experienced one of the worst defeats ever. At Carrhae fifty percent of the Roman army's 40,000 troops died, twenty five percent of the soldiers ran from the battlefield, and 10,000 troops became captives of the Parthians! Crassus, who helped govern Rome with Caesar and Pompey, was also killed in battle.
Roman territory was also attacked by Parthia in 40 B.C. Their military tactics proved so successful that almost all the Mediterranean area called the Levant (which comprises areas such as Syria, Jordan, Palestine and other land), will the exception of Tyre, fell into their control.
Josephus, the well-known ancient Jewish historian, stated that Parthia was so powerful that they forced Herod the Great, just before the Romans made him king of Palestine, to run so as not to be killed (History of the Jews)!
When compared to several well-known ancient world powers, the duration of the Parthian empire was quite long.
|c. 1550 to 1069||431|
less than 230
|Assyrian||884 to 612||272|
612 to 539
|Persian||549 to 330||249|
454 to 404
|Alexander the Great||334 to 323||11|
|Roman||27 B.C. |
to 1453 A.D.
The Parthian empire finally fell in 224 A.D. when King Ardashir I, ruler of the Sassanid dynasty, revolted and killed the last ruler.