Vologases III (c. 105–147 AD)

Vologases III reigned from c. 105 to 147 AD. During this time, he had to deal with three opponent kings: Osroes I (c. 109-129 AD), Mithradates IV (c. 129-140 AD) and the unknown King III (c. 140 AD). It is not clear in which part of the Parthian Empire Vologases III ruled.The Romans accepted Osroes I as the Parthian king, as in 113 AD his deputies tried to persuade Emperor Trajan not to fight the Parthians. The coinage of Osroes ends in the year 127/28 AD in Seleucia, which is probably at the time ofVologases Ill’s supremacy.

Between 134 and 136 AD the Alans (an Iranian people) penetrated from the north-east into Armenia. It is believed that Vologases III ransomed himself from the Alans,159 as one can assume that at this time the Parthian Empire was well situated economically, since many coins were minted under his reign.

Osroes I (c. 109–129 AD)

Osroes I was a son of Pacorus II.160 Osroes I (and not Vologases III) was - in the eyes of the Romans - regarded as the Parthian king, for in 113 AD, deputies of Osroes tried to persuade the Roman Emperor Trajan to stop the planned war against the Parthians. Nevertheless,Trajan waged war against the Parthians from 114 to 117 AD. One of the triggers for Trajan’s war may have been the appointment of Parthamasiris (son of Pacorus II) as king of Armenia by Osroes I. In these three years,Trajan’s troops first conquered Armenia, then moved to Mesopotamia. In 116 AD Trajan occupied the areas of Adiabene, conquered Dura-Europos and shortly afterwards defeated the Parthian capital Ctesiphon. Here Trajan is said to have captured a golden throne of the Parthian king. Osroes I was able to flee, but one of his daughters was taken prisoner.161 As a sign of his victories,Trajan had given himself the nickname ‘Parthicus’, later receiving confirmation of this from the Roman senate. Trajan’s triumph continued as he reached the Persian Gulf, his troops taking advantage of the more relaxed navigation on the Euphrates. Characene (see 5.5), under its king Athambelos VI, surrendered.

With his victory Trajan created for a short time the Roman provinces ofArmenia, Assyria and Mesopotamia, but his successes did not last long. Revolts, especially in Osrhoene, shook the conquered lands. The health of the emperor was also so affected that he died on the return journey in August 117 AD in Cilicia. Before leaving Ctesiphon, Trajan crowned Parthamaspates, who had grown up in Rome

(see 3.4.8), as Parthian king, hoping that he would continue to represent Roman interests. But Parthamaspates proved to be too weak, and his father, Osroes I, soon succeeded in ousting his son and taking power again. In the end, Mesopotamia remained under Parthian control, whereas Armenia and Adiabene stayed under the influence of Rome. At last in the year 127/28 AD, Vologases III assumed the throne of the Parthian Empire as king of kings, Osroes I having been ousted.

 
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