PARTHIAN PERIOD
(C. 238 B.C.–A.D. 224)
   Parthia was the region in northern Iran where Indo-European nomads from Central Asia began to settle in the mid-first millennium B.C. This area was then controlled by the Achaemenid empire. They began to form their own kingdom in the Seleucid period, when Arsaces, a leader of the Parni tribe, founded the Arsacid Dynasty around 238 B.C. He profited from the rebellions in Parthia and Bactria against the rule of Seleucus II and assumed control over most of central Iran, with a new capital at Dara. Arsaces’successors enlarged the Parthian territory eastward to the Indus and westward to the Euphrates. Mithridates I(reigned 171–c. 139 B.C.) annexed Mesopotamia in 141, occupying Babylonand Seleucia. Having ousted the Seleucids, the Parthians remained in Mesopotamia while the region west of the Euphrates was under Roman control. They became wealthy due to the trade of luxury items along the Silk Road to China. This northern route contributed to the economic marginalization of southern Mesopotamia.
   The Parthians established a new capital in Mesopotamia, Ctesiphon on the Tigris, which was destroyed by Trajan in A.D. 116. Thereafter, their power declined, and Sassanians established a new dynasty in A.D. 224.

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. . 2012.

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