This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Meantime, while Orodes was without an ally, Pharasmanes, now strengthened by reinforcements, challenged him to battle, taunted him on his refusal, rode up to his camp and harassed his foraging parties. He often hemmed him in with his picquets in the fashion of a blockade, till the Parthians, who were unused to such insults, gathered round the king and demanded battle. Their sole strength was in cavalry; Pharasmanes was also powerful in infantry, for the Iberians and Albanians, inhabiting as they did a densely wooded country, were more inured to hardship and endurance. They claim to have been descended from the Thessalians, at the period when Jason, after the departure of Medea and the children born of her, returned subsequently to the empty palace of Æetes, and the vacant kingdom of Colchi. They have many traditions connected with his name and with the oracle of Phrixus. No one among them would think of sacrificing a ram, the animal supposed to have conveyed Phrixus, whether it was really a ram or the figure-head of a ship. Both sides having been drawn up in battle array, the Parthian leader expatiated on the empire of the East, and the renown of the Arsacids, in contrast to the despicable Iberian chief with his hireling soldiery. Pharasmanes reminded his people that they had been free from Parthian domination, and that the grander their aims, the more glory they would win if victorious, the more disgrace and peril they would incur if they turned their backs. He pointed, as he spoke, to his own menacing array, and to the Median bands with their golden embroidery; warriors, as he said, on one side, spoil on the other.