1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vardanes

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VARDANES, the name of two Parthian kings.

Vardanes I., succeeded Artabanus II., probably his father, in a.d. 40 (Joseph. Ant. xx. 3, 4), but had continually to fight against his rival Gotarzes (q.v.). The coins show that he was in full possession of the throne from 42 to 45. In 43 he forced Seleucia on the Tigris to submit to the Parthians again after a rebellion of seven years (Tac. Ann. xi. 9). Ctesiphon, the residence of the kings on the left bank of the Tigris, opposite to Seleucia, naturally profited by this war; and Vardanes is therefore called founder of Ctesiphon by Ammianus Marc, xxiii. 6. 23. He also prepared for a war against Rome, with the aim of reconquering Armenia (cf. Joseph, Ant. xx. 3, 4), but did not dare to face the Roman legions (Tac. Ann. xi. 10). In a new war with Gotarzes he gained a great success against the eastern nomads. He is praised by Tacitus as a young and highly gifted ruler of great energy (cf. Philostratus, Vita Apollon. Tyan. i. 21. 28), but lacking in humanity. In the summer of 45 he was assassinated while hunting, and Gotarzes became king again.

Vardanes II. rebelled against his father Vologaeses I. in a.d. 54 (Tac. Ann. xiii. 7). We know nothing more about him and it is not certain whether the coins of a young beardless king, which are generally attributed to him, really belong to him (Wroth, Catalogue of the Coins of Parthia, p. L. ff.).

(Ed. M.)