1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tiridates

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TIRIDATES, or Teridates, a Persian name, given by Arrian in his Parthica (preserved by Photius, cod. 58, and Syncellus, p. 539 seq.) to the brother of Arsaces I., the founder of the Parthian kingdom, whom he is said to have succeeded. But Arrian's account seems to be quite unhistorical (cf. Parthia).

The king commonly called Tiridates II. was set up by the Parthians against Phraates IV. in 32 B.C., but expelled when Phraates returned with the help of the Scythians (Dio Cass. li. 18; Justin xlii. 5 seq.; cf. Horace, Od. i. 26). Tiridates fled to Syria, where Augustus allowed him to stay, but refused to support him. During the next years Tiridates invaded Parthia again; some coins dated from March and May, 26 B.C., with the name of a king “Arsaces Philoromaios,” belong to him; on the reverse they show the king seated on the throne, with Tyche stretching out a palm branch towards him. He was soon expelled again, and brought a son of Phraates into Spain to Augustus. Augustus gave the boy back to his father, but declined to surrender “the fugitive slave Tiridates” (Justin xlii. 5; Dio liii. 33; cf. Mon. Ancyr. 5, 54; in li. 18 Dio has wrongly placed the surrender of the son in 30 B.C.).

Tiridates III., grandson of Phraates IV., lived as a hostage in Rome and was educated there. When the Parthians rebelled against Artabanus II. in A.D. 35 they applied for a king to Tiberius, who sent Tiridates. With the assistance of L. Vitellius Tiridates entered Seleucia, but could not maintain himself long (Tacitus, Ann. vi. 32 sqq.; Dio Cass. lviii. 26).

The name Tiridates is also borne by some local kings of Persis, and by some Arsacid kings of Armenia and Georgia. The best known of the Armenian kings is the Tiridates (A.D. 238–314) who was baptized by Gregory the Illuminator (see Armenian Church).  (Ed. M.)