Parthian Rule in Seleucia
Seleucia, the key commercial center of Iraq, thrived even more under the Parthians than it did under the Seleucids. In the first century A.D., its population reached an impressive 600,000 inhabitants. The Parthians, favoring rural life, left their Greek citizens undisturbed. Interestingly, the Greeks continued to mint coins dating back to Seleucus I’s reign (312 B.C.). Beyond Seleucia, the Parthians established a military camp across the Tigris, laying the foundation for the future city of Ctesiphon Maccabean Struggles and Parthian Rise.
Eastern Frontier Challenges
Mithradates, in his final three years, grappled with issues on the eastern frontier. The Huns, defeating and displacing the Tocharians (Yuezhi), triggered a chain reaction affecting the Parthians. Tocharians moved westward into Central Asia, displacing the Scythians, who subsequently raided Parthian and Bactrian
Jonathan’s Leadership and Tragedy
Both Alexander I and Demetrius II sought allies, leading to favorable peace terms with the Maccabees. Jonathan became the civil and military governor of Judaea. Unfortunately, another contender for the Seleucid throne, Trypho, murdered Jonathan in 142 B.C Parthian Expansion and Seleucid Decline.
Simon Takes Charge
Mattathias’s last living son, Simon, continued Jonathan’s work. In exchange for Jewish support against Trypho’s rebellion, Demetrius II granted full independence, renouncing tribute claims. Simon became the hereditary high priest and king. However, his reign ended tragically; after defeating Antiochus VII, Simon was assassinated by his son-in-law Ptolemy, who aspired to the throne. Ptolemy was defeated by Simon’s son, John Hyrcanus I, who became the next king, leading Israel in new directions.
Seleucus II’s Eastern Campaign
Initially, the Seleucids were preoccupied with challenges in the west. Around 232 or 231 B.C., Seleucus II ventured eastward to quell a rebellion led by Tiridates. Sensing the superior strength of Seleucus, Tiridates strategically retreated to the steppe, prompting Seleucus to pursue him to the Jaxartes (Syr Dar’ya) River. However, alarming news from Syria compelled Seleucus to turn back, allowing Tiridates to re-occupy the abandoned district and annex Hyrcania along the Caspian Sea Parthian Prosperity and Eastern Challenges.
Challenges Faced by Artabanus I
Artabanus I (211-191) faced significant challenges during the reign of Antiochus the Great. Defeated in battle, Artabanus lost half his kingdom to the Greeks and acknowledged Seleucid overlordship to retain his throne. The succeeding king, Priapathius (191-176), seized the opportunity to recover Hyrcania