Antony's Parthian War


Antony's Parthian War

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Mark Antony's campaigns against Parthia


caption=
partof=the Roman–Parthian Wars
date= 40–33 BC
place=Asia Minor, Syria, northern Mesopotamia, Media Atropatene
territory=
result=strategic draw, ended by formal peace in 20 BC
combatant1=Roman Republic and vassals:
Judea, Galatia,
Cappadocia, Pontus
combatant2=Parthian Empire
commander1=Mark Antony
Publius Ventidius Bassus
commander2=Pacorus
Quintus Labienus
strength1=
strength2=
casualties1=
casualties2=

Antony's Parthian War or the Roman-Parthian War of 40-33 BC was a conflict following the Battle of Carrhae, between the Roman Republic, represented in the East by the triumvir Mark Antony, and the Parthians.

Caesar, after ensuring victory in his civil war, planned a campaign into the Parthian Empire after a brief pacification of Dacia. After his assassination, the Second Triumvirate usurped power in Rome in a military dictatorship. After the defeat of Caesar's assassins at the Battle of Philippi, Caesarian rule over the Republic was effectively ensured. Shortly after, however, with the triumvirs preoccupied with the revolt of Sextus Pompeius in Sicily, Parthia attacked Roman-controlled Syria and the client kingdom of Judea. Its high priest and ruler, Hyrcanus, was overthrown, tortured and sent as prisoner to Seleucia, and the pro-Parthian usurper Antigonus was installed in his place.

In Anatolia, the Parthians allied with Quintus Labienus, son of Caesar's general and later antagonist Titus Labienus, penetrating deep into the west and defeating a Roman army under Decidius Saxa. They were however defeated in turn by a veteran army led by Publius Ventidius Bassus, who drove the invaders from Roman territory.

With the aid of Mark Antony, prime triumvir and lover of Egyptian Ptolemaic queen Cleopatra VII, the son-in-law of Hyrcanus, Herod, returned to Judea and recaptured Jerusalem in 37 BC. Antony then went on to attack the Parthian Empire itself, marching into Atropatene (present-day Iranian Azerbaijan) with some 100,000 legionaries, aided by the Roman client kings in Armenia, Galatia, Cappadocia and sovereign Pontus. The campaign proved a disaster however, after a Roman slipup at Phraaspa, capital of Atropatene, and thousands of Romans and auxiliaries died during the retreat due to the cold winter.

Antony later went on to annex Armenia, afraid the kingdom would seek Parthian support, but the war didn't end formally until 20 BC, by a peace made by Augustus, ensuring the return of the captured legionary eagles of Crassus' and Saxa's armies, Antony's main excuse for the invasion of Parthia proper.


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