Jump to: Smith'sISBEEaston'sConcordanceThesaurusGreekLibrarySubtopicsTermsResources
Smith's Bible Dictionary

This name occurs only in (Acts 2:9) where it designates Jews settled in Parthia. Parthia proper was the region stretching along the southern flank of the mountains which separate the great Persian desert from the desert of Kharesm. It lay south of Hyrcania, east of Media and north of Sagartia. The ancient Parthians are called a "Scythic" race, and probably belonged to the great Turanian family. After being subject in succession to the Persians and the Seleucidae, they revolted in B.C. 256. and under Arsaces succeeded in establishing their independence. Parthia, in the mind of the writer of the Acts, would designate this empire, which extended from India to the Tigris and from the Chorasmian desert to the shores of the Southern Ocean; hence the prominent position of the name Parthians in the list of those prevent at Pentecost. Parthia was a power almost rivalling Rome --the only existing power which had tried its strength against Rome and not been worsted in the encounter. The Parthian dominion lasted for nearly five centuries, commencing in the third century before and terminating in the third century after our era. The Parthians spoke the Persian language.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Were present in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Acts 2:9). Parthia lay on the east of Media and south of Hyrcania, which separated it from the Caspian Sea. It corresponded with the western half of the modern Khorasan, and now forms a part of Persia.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

par'-thi-anz (Parthoi):

1. Country and Early History:

A people mentioned in Acts 2:9 only, in connection with other strangers present at Jerusalem at Pentecost, from which we infer that they were Jews or proselytes from the regions included in the Parthian empire. This empire stretched from the Euphrates to the confines of India and the Oxus, and for centuries was the rival of Rome, and more than once proved her match on the battlefield. The Parthians are not mentioned in the Old Testament, but are frequently in Josephus, and they had an important connection with the history of the Jews, on account of the large colonies of the latter in Mesopotamia, and the interference of the Parthians in the affairs of Judea, once making it a vassal state.

Parthia proper was a small territory to the Southeast of the Caspian Sea, about 300 miles long by 120 wide, a fertile though mountainous region, bordering on the desert tract of Eastern Persia. The origin of the Parthians is rather uncertain, though the prevailing opinion is that they were of Scythic stock or of the great Tartar race. We have no reference to them earlier than the time of Darius the Great, but they were doubtless among the tribes subdued by Cyrus, as they are mentioned by Darius as being in revolt. They seem to have remained faithful to the Persians after that, and submitted to Alexander without resistance.

2. The Seleucid Kings:

Next they came under the rule of the Seleucid kings of Syria, but revolted about 250 B.C., in the reign of Antiochus II (Theos), and gained their independence under the lead of Arsaces I who established the dynasty of the Arsacidae, which continued for nearly 5 centuries. His capital was Hecatompylos, but his reign continued only about 3 years, and his brother Tridates succeeded him as Arsaces II and he consolidated the kingdom. The war between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies freed him from interference from that quarter until 237 B.C., when Seleucus II (Callinicus) marched against him, but was completely defeated, and Parthian independence was secured. Artabanus I, who followed him, extended his dominions westward to the Zagros Mountains, but Antiochus III would not permit such an encroachment with impunity, and led an expedition against him, driving him back and even invading his ancestral dominion. But after a struggle of some years the Parthians remained still unsubdued, and the difficulties of the contest led Antiochus to conclude peace with him in which he acknowledged the independence of Parthia. For about a quarter of a century the king of Parthia remained quiet, but Phraates I (181-174 B.C.) recommenced aggressions on the Seleucid empire which Were continued by Mithridates I (174-137), who added to his dominions a part of Bactria, on the East, and Media, Persia and Babylonia on the West. This was a challenge to Demetrius II, of Syria, to whose empire the provinces belonged, and he marched against him with a large force, but was defeated and taken prisoner. He remained in Parthia some years, well treated by Phraates II, whose sister he married, and, when Phraates wished to create a diversion against Antiochus Sidetes, he set Demetrius at liberty and sent him back to Syria. Antiochus was at first successful, as his force of 300,000 men far outnumbered the Parthians, but he was at last defeated and slain in 129 B.C. and his army destroyed. This was the last attempt of the Seleucid kings to subdue Parthia, and it was acknowledged as the dominant power in Western Asia. But Phraates fell in conflict with the Scyths, whom he called in to aid him in his war with Sidetes, and his successor likewise, and it was only on the accession of Mithridates in 124 B.C. that these barbarians were checked. The king then turned his attention toward Armenia, which he probably brought under his control, but its king Tigranes recovered its independence and even attacked the Parthians, and took from them two provinces in Mesopotamia.

3. In Contact with Rome:

Not long after, the power of Rome came into contact with armenia and Parthia. In 66 B.C. when, after subduing Mithridates of Pontus, Pompey came into Syria, Phraates III made an alliance with him against Armenia, but was offended by the way in which he was treated and thought of turning against his ally, but refrained for the time being. It was only a question of time when the two powers would come to blows, for Parthia had become an empire and could ill brook the intrusion of Rome into Western Asia. It was the ambition and greed of Crassus that brought about the clash of Rome and Parthia. When he took the East as his share of the Roman world as apportioned among the triumvirs, he determined to rival Caesar in fame and wealth by subduing Parthia, and advanced across the Euphrates on his ill-fated expedition in 53 B.C. The story of his defeat and death and the destruction of the army and loss of the Roman eagles is familiar to all readers of Roman history. It revealed Parthia to the world as the formidable rival of Rome, which she continued to be for nearly 3 centuries. After the death of Crassus, the Parthians crossed the Euphrates and ravaged Northern Syria, but retired the following year without securing any portion of the country, and thus ended the first war with Rome. In 40 B.C., after the battle of Philippi, Pacorus, who was then king, invaded Syria a second time and took possession of it together with all Palestine, Tyre alone escaping subjection. He set Antigonus on the throne of Judea, deposing Hyrcanus for the purpose. Syria and Palestine remained in the hands of Parthia for 3 years, but the coming of Ventidius gave a new turn to affairs. He drove the Parthians out of Syria, and when they returned the following year, he defeated them again and Pacorus was slain. Parthia had to retire within her own borders and remain on the defensive. Antony's attempt to subdue them proved abortive, and his struggle with Octavian compelled him to relinquish the project. The Parthians were unable to take advantage of the strife in the Roman empire on account of troubles at home. an insurrection led by Tiridates drove the king Phraates IV from the throne, but he recovered it by the aid of the Scyths, and Tiridates took refuge in Syria with the youngest son of the king. Augustus afterward restored him without ransom, and obtained the lost standards of Crassus, and thus peace was established between the rival empires. Each had learned to respect the power of the other, and, although contention arose regarding the suzerainty of armenia, peace was not seriously disturbed between them for about 130 years, or until the reign of Trajan. Parthia was not at peace with herself, however. Dynastic troubles were frequent, and the reigns of the kings short. Artabanus III, who reigned 16-42 A.D., was twice expelled from his kingdom and twice recovered his throne. In his days occurred a terrible massacre of Jewish colonists in Mesopotamia, as narrated by Josephus (Ant., XVIII, ix). The contest with Rome over Armenia was settled in the days of Nero in a manner satisfactory to both parties, so that peace was not broken for 50 years. The ambition of Trajan led him to disregard the policy inaugurated by Augustus, adhered to, for the most part, by succeeding emperors, not to extend the limits of the empire. After the conquest of Dacia he turned his attention to the East and resolved on the invasion of Parthia. The Parthian king, Chosroes, endeavored to placate Trajan by an embassy bearing presents and proposals of peace, but Trajan rejected them and carried out his purpose. He subdued armenia, took Upper Mesopotamia, Adiabebe (Assyria), Ctesiphon, the capital, and reached the Pets Gulf, but was obliged to turn back by revolts in his rear and failed to reduce the fortress of Hatra. The conquered provinces were restored, however, by Hadrian, and the Parthians did not retaliate until the reign of Aurelius, when they overran Syria, and in 162 A.D. Lucius Verus was sent to punish them. In the following year he drove them back and advanced into the heart of the Parthian empire, inflicting the severest blow it had yet received. It was evident that the empire was on the decline, and the Romans did not meet with the resistance they had experienced in former times. Severus and Caracalla both made expeditions into the country, and the latter took the capital and massacred the inhabitants, but after his assassination his successor, Macrinus, fought a three days' battle with the Parthians at Nisibis in which he was worsted and was glad to conclude a peace by paying an indemnity of some 1,500,000 British pounds (217 A.D.).

4. Fall of the Empire:

But this was the last achievement of the Parthians. It is evident that Artabanus had suffered severely in his conflict with the Romans, and was unable to put down the revolt of the Persians under the lead of Artaxerxes, who overthrew the Parthian empire and established the dynasty of the Sassanidae in its place (226 A.D.).

5. Culture:

The Parthians were not a cultured people, but displayed a rude magnificence, making use, to some extent, of remains of Greek culture which they found within the regions they seized from the empire of Alexander. They had no native literature, as far as known, but made use of Greek in writing and on their coins. They were familiar with Hebrew or Syro-Chaldaic, and the later kings had Semitic legends on their coins. Josephus is said to have written his history of the Jewish War in his native tongue for Parthian readers. In their method of government they seem to have left the different provinces pretty much to themselves, so long as they paid tribute and furnished the necessary contingents.

H. Porter

3934. Parthos -- a Parthian, an inhabitant of Parthia
... Gulf. Word Origin of foreign origin Definition a Parthian, an inhab. of
Parthia NASB Word Usage Parthians (1). Parthian. Probably ...
// - 6k

The Parthians Bring Antigonus Back into Judea, and Cast Hyrcanus ...
... CHAPTER 13. The Parthians Bring Antigonus Back Into Judea, And Cast Hyrcanus
And Phasaelus Into Prison. The Flight Of Herod, And ...
/.../chapter 13 the parthians bring.htm

How Antony Made Herod and Phasaelus Tetrarchs, after they had Been ...
... How Antony Made Herod And Phasaelus Tetrarchs, After They Had Been Accused To No
Purpose; And How The Parthians When They Brought Antigonus Into Judea Took ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/chapter 13 how antony made.htm

ten homilies on the epistle of john to the parthians
ten homilies on the epistle of john to the parthians. <. ten homilies
on the epistle of john to the parthians St. Augustine. ...
/.../augustine/ten homilies on the epistle of john to the parthians/

How Crassus came into Judea, and Pillaged the Temple; and Then ...
... CHAPTER 7. How Crassus Came Into Judea, And Pillaged The Temple; And Then
Marched Against The Parthians And Perished, With His Army. ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/chapter 7 how crassus came.htm

How Hyrcanus was Set at Liberty by the Parthians, and Returned to ...
... CHAPTER 2. How Hyrcanus Was Set At Liberty By The Parthians, And Returned To Herod;
And What Alexandra Did When She Heard That Ananelus Was Made High Priest. ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/chapter 2 how hyrcanus was.htm

ten homilies on the epistle of john to the parthians
ten homilies on the epistle of john to the parthians. <. ...
/.../augustine/ten homilies on the epistle of john to the parthians/title page.htm

Fragment xvii. On the Fortunes of Hyrcanus and Antigonus, and on ...
... And after cutting off his ears, that he might be disqualified for the priesthood,
he gave him to the Parthians to lead into captivity; for he scrupled to put ...
/.../africanus/the writings of julius africanus/fragment xvii on the fortunes.htm

How Artabanus, the King of Parthia Out of Fear of the Secret ...
... 1. But now Artabanus, king of the Parthians perceiving that the governors of the
provinces had framed a plot against him, did not think it safe for him to ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/chapter 3 how artabanus the.htm

Now Herod and Philip Built Several Cities in Honor of Caesar. ...
... Honor Of Caesar. Concerning The Succession Of Priests And Procurators; As Also
What Befell Phraates And The Parthians. 1. When Cyrenius ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/chapter 2 now herod and.htm

Collatio Cum Maximino, 14.
ten homilies on the epistle of john to the parthians. <. ... ten homilies on
the epistle of john to the parthians. Collatio cum Maximino, 14. ...
/.../collatio cum maximino 14.htm

Parthians (1 Occurrence)
...PARTHIANS. ... The origin of the Parthians is rather uncertain, though the prevailing
opinion is that they were of Scythic stock or of the great Tartar race. ...
/p/parthians.htm - 16k

Par'thians (1 Occurrence)
Par'thians. Parthians, Par'thians. Partial . Multi-Version Concordance
Par'thians (1 Occurrence). ... Parthians, Par'thians. Partial . Reference Bible.
/p/par'thians.htm - 6k

Parthia (1 Occurrence)
... Acts 2:9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia,
Pontus, Asia, (Root in WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV). ...
/p/parthia.htm - 6k

... and Parthia gained for him the surname of "The Great." In 209 he carried away the
treasure of the goddess Aine in Ecbatana, defeated the Parthians, and in 208 ...
/a/antiochus.htm - 17k

Armenia (2 Occurrences)
... Civil confusion ensued. The nobles called in the Parthians under Mithridates
I (150 BC), who became master of the whole Persian empire. ...
/a/armenia.htm - 21k

... of easily crushing Galba, he was revolving plans of despair in his Servilian gardens,
whether he should surrender himself to the mercies of the Parthians or to ...
/n/nero.htm - 41k

... In 47 BC Malchus I assisted Caesar, but in 40 BC refused to assist Herod against
the Parthians, thus provoking both the Idumean Dynasty and the Romans. ...
/n/nabathaeans.htm - 11k

... In 47 BC Malchus I assisted Caesar, but in 40 BC refused to assist Herod against
the Parthians, thus provoking both the Idumean Dynasty and the Romans. ...
/n/nabataeans.htm - 11k

Inhabitants (254 Occurrences)
... is, field of blood.) (DBY RSV). Acts 2:9 Some of us are Parthians, Medes,
Elamites. Some are inhabitants of Mesopotamia, of Judaea ...
/i/inhabitants.htm - 41k

Inhabit (29 Occurrences)
... Richardson). D. Miall Edwards. Multi-Version Concordance Inhabit (29 Occurrences).
Acts 2:9 Some of us are Parthians, Medes, Elamites. Some ...
/i/inhabit.htm - 16k

What role does Iran play in the end times? |

If His name was Yeshua, why do we call Him Jesus? |

Bible ConcordanceBible DictionaryBible EncyclopediaTopical BibleBible Thesuarus
Top of Page
Top of Page