1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vologaeses

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VOLOGAESES (Vologaesus, Vologases; on the coins Ologases; Armen. Valarsh; Mod. Pers. Balash), the name of five Parthian kings.

(1) Vologaeses I., son of Vonones II. by a Greek concubine (Tac. Ann. xii. 44), succeeded his father in A.D. 51 (Tac. Ann. xii. 14; cf. Joseph. Ant. xx. 3, 4). He gave the kingdom of Media Atropatene to his brother Pacorus, and occupied Armenia for another brother, Tiridates (Tac. Ann. xii. 50, xv. 2, Joseph. Ant. xx. 3, 4). This led to a long war with Rome (54–63), which was ably conducted by the Roman general Corbulo. The power of Vologaeses was weakened by an attack of the Dahan and Sacan nomads, a rebellion of the Hyrcanians, and the usurpation of Vardanes II. (Tac. Ann. xiii. 7, 37; xiv. 25; xv. 1; cf. Joseph. Ant. xx. 4, 2, where he is prevented from attacking the vassal king of Adiabene by an invasion of the eastern nomads). At last a peace was concluded, by which Tiridates was acknowledged as king of Armenia, but had to become a vassal of the Romans; he went to Rome, where Nero gave him back the diadem (Tac. Ann. xv. i ff.; Dio Cass. lxii. 19 ff., lxiii. 1 ff.); from that time an Arsacid dynasty ruled in Armenia under Roman supremacy. Vologaeses was satisfied with this result, and honoured the memory of Nero (Suet. Nero, 57), though he stood in good relations with Vespasian also, to whom he offered an army of 40,000 archers in the war against Vitellius (Tac. Hist. iv. 51; Suet, Vespas. 6; cf. Joseph. Ant. vii. 5, 2, 7, 3; Dio Cass. lxvi. 11). Soon afterwards the Alani, a great nomadic tribe beyond the Caucasus, invaded Media and Armenia (Joseph. Bell. vii. 7, 4); Vologaeses applied in vain for help to Vespasian (Dio Cass. lxvi. 11; Suet. Domitian, 2). It appears that the Persian losses in the east also could not be repaired; Hyrcania remained an independent kingdom (Joseph. Bell. vii. 7, 4; Aurel. Vict. Epit. 15, 4). Vologaeses I. died about A.D. 77 . His reign is marked by a decided reaction against Hellenism; he built Vologesocerta (Balashkert) in the neighbourhood of Ctesiphon with the intention of drawing to this new town the inhabitants of the Greek city Seleucia (Plin. vi. 122). Another town founded by him is Vologesias on a canal of the Euphrates, south of Babylon (near Hira; cf. Nöldeke in Zeitschrift der deutschen-morgenl. Gesellschaft, xxviii. 93 ff.). On some of his coins the initials of his name appear in Aramaic letters.

(2) Vologaeses II., probably the son of Vologaeses I., appears on coins, which bear his proper name, in 77–79, and again 121–47. During this time the Parthian kingdom was torn by civil wars between different pretenders, which reached their height during the war of Trajan, 114–17. Besides Vologaeses II. we find on coins and in the authors Pacorus (78–c. 105), Artabanus III.(80–81), Osroes (106–29), Mithradates V. (c. 129–47) and some others; thus the Parthian empire seems during this whole time to have been divided into two or three different kingdoms. By classic authors Vologaeses II. is mentioned in the time of Hadrian (c. 131), when Cappadocia, Armenia and Media were invaded by the Alani (Dio Cass. lxix. 15).

(3) Vologaeses III., 147–91. Under him, the unity of the empire was restored. But he was attacked by the Romans under Marcus Aurehus and Verus (162–65). In this war Seleucia was destroyed and the palace of Ctesiphon burnt down by Avidius Cassius (164); the Romans even advanced into Media. In the peace, western Mesopotamia was ceded to the Romans (Dio Cass. lxxi. 1 ff.; Capitolin. Marc. Aur. 8 f.; Verus 8, &c.). Vologaeses III. is probably the king Volgash of the Parsee tradition, preserved in the Dinkart, who began the gathering of the writings of Zoroaster.

(4) Vologaeses IV., 191–209. He was attacked by Septimius Severus in 195, who advanced into Mesopotamia, occupied Nisibis and plundered Ctesiphon (199), but attempted in vain to conquer the Arabic fortress Atra; in 202 peace was restored.

(5) Vologaeses V., 209–c. 222, son of Vologaeses IV. Soon after his accession his brother Artabanus IV., the last Arsacid king, rebelled against him, and became master of the greater part of the empire (Dio Cass. lxxvii. 12). But Vologaeses V. maintained himself in a part of Babylonia; his dated coins reach down to A.D. 222.  (Ed. M.)