1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Phraates

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PHRAATES (Phrahates; Pers. Frahāt, modern Ferhrit), the name of five Parthian kings.

1. Phraates I, son of Priapatius, reigned c. 175-170 B.C. He subdued the Mardi, a mountainous tribe in the Elburz (Justin xli. 5; Isid. Charac. 7). He died young, and appointed as his successor not one of his sons, but his brother Mithradates I. (Justin xli. 5).

2. Phraates II., son of Mithradates I., the conqueror of Babylonia, reigned 138-127. He was attacked in 130 by Antiochus VII. Sidetes, who, however, in 129 was defeated and killed in a great battle in Media, which ended the Seleucid rule east of the Euphrates (see Seleucid Dynasty). Meanwhile the kingdom was invaded by the Scythians (the Tochari of Bactria), who had helped Antiochus. Phraates marched against them, but was defeated and killed (Justin xlii. 1; Johannes Antioch, fr. 66).

3. Phraates III, “the God” (Phlegon, fr. 12 ap. Photius cod. 97 and on some of his coins), succeeded his father, Sanatruces, in 70 B.C., at the time when Lucullus was preparing to attack Tigranes of Armenia, who was supreme in western Asia and had wrested Mesopotamia and several vassal states from the Parthian kingdom. Naturally, Phraates declined to assist Mithradates of Pontus and Tigranes against the Romans (see Tigranes). He supported his son-in-law, the younger Tigranes, when he rebelled against his father, and invaded Armenia (65 b.c.) in alliance with Pompey, who abandoned Mesopotamia to the Parthians (Dio. Cass. xxxvi. 45, 51; Appian, Mithr. 104; Liv. Epit. 100). But Pompey soon overrode the treaty, he acknowledged the elder Tigranes, took his son prisoner, occupied the vassal states Gordyene and Osroene for the Romans, and denied the title of “king of kings,” which Phraates had adopted again, to the Parthian king (Plut. Pomp. 33, 38; Dio. Cass. xxxvii. 5 seq.). About 57 Phraates was murdered by his two sons, Orodes I. and Mithradates III.

4. Phraates IV., son of Orodes I., by whom he was appointed successor in 37 B.c., after the death of Pacorus. He soon murdered his father and all his thirty brothers (Justin xlii. 5; Plut. Crass. 33; Dio Cass. xlix. 23). He was attacked in 36 by Antonius (Mark Antony), who marched through Armenia into Media Atropatene, and was defeated and lost the greater part of his army. Believing himself betrayed by Artavasdes, king of Armenia, he invaded his kingdom in 34, took him prisoner, and concluded a treaty with another Artavasdes, king of Atropatene. But when the war with Octavianus Augustus broke out, he could not maintain his conquests, Phraates recovered Atropatene and drove Artaxes, the son of Artavasdes, back into Armenia (Dio. Cass. xlix. 24 sqq., 39 seq, 44, cf. li. 16; Plut. Antonius, 37 seq.). But by his many cruelties Phraates had roused the indignation of his subjects, who raised Tiridates II. to the throne in 32. Phraates was restored by the Scythians, and Tiridates fled into Syria. The Romans hoped that Augustus would avenge the defeat of Crassus on the Parthians, but he contented himself with a treaty, by which Phraates gave back the prisoners and the conquered eagles (20 B c, Mon. Ano. 5, 40 sqq.; Justin xlii. 5); the kingdom of Armenia also was recognized as a Roman dependency. Soon afterwards Phraates, whose greatest enemies were his own family, sent five of his sons as hostages to Augustus, thus acknowledging his dependence on Rome. This plan he adopted on the advice of an Italian concubine whom he made his legitimate wife under the name of “the goddess Musa”; her son Phraates, commonly called Phraataces (a diminutive form), he appointed successor. About 4 b.c. he was murdered by Musa and her son (Joseph. Ant. xviii. 2, 4).

5. Phraates V., or Phraates, the younger son of Phraates IV. and the “goddess Musa,” with whom he is associated on his coins Under him a war threatened to break out with Rome about the supremacy in Armenia and Media. But when Augustus sent his adopted son Gaius Caesar into the east in order to invade Parthia, the Parthians preferred to conclude a treaty (A.D. 1), by which once again Armenia was recognized as in the Roman sphere (Dio. Cass. lv. 10; Velleius ii. 101). Soon after Phraataces and his mother were slain by the Parthians, about A.D. 5 (Joseph. Ant. xviii. 2, 4).

(Ed. M.)