When he was about to go forth to the war, he took a wreath from the sacred olive-tree,1
and, in obedience to a certain oracle, filled a vessel with water from the Clepsydra2
and carried it with him. In the meantime Pacorus, the king's son, advanced again with a large army of Parthians against Syria; but Ventidius engaged and routed him in Cyrrhestica, and slew great numbers of his men.3
Pacorus fell among the first.
This exploit, which became one of the most celebrated, gave the Romans full satisfaction for the disaster under Crassus, and shut the Parthians up again within the bounds of Media and Mesopotamia, after they had been utterly defeated in three successive battles. Ventidius, however, decided not to pursue the Parthians further, because he feared the jealousy of Antony; but he attacked and subdued the peoples which had revolted from Rome, and besieged Antiochus of Commagené in the city of Samosata.
When Antiochus proposed to pay a thousand talents and obey the behests of Antony, Ventidius ordered him to send his proposal to Antony, who had now advanced into the neighbourhood, and would not permit Ventidius to make peace with Antiochus. He insisted that this one exploit at least should bear his own name and that not all the successes should be due to Ventidius.
But the siege was protracted, and the besieged, since they despaired of coming to terms, betook themselves to a vigorous defence. Antony could therefore accomplish nothing, and feeling ashamed and repentant, was glad to make peace with Antiochus on his payment of three hundred talents. After settling some trivial matters in Syria, he returned to Athens, and sent Ventidius home, with becoming honours, to enjoy his triumph.
Ventidius is the only man up to the present time who ever celebrated a triumph over the Parthians. He was a man of lowly birth, but his friendship with Antony bore fruit for him in opportunities to perform great deeds. Of these opportunities he made the best use, and so confirmed what was generally said of Antony and Caesar, namely, that they were more successful in campaigns conducted by others than by themselves.
For Sossius, Antony's general, effected much in Syria, and Canidius, who was left by Antony in Armenia, conquered that people, as well as the kings of the Iberians and Albanians, and advanced as far as the Caucasus. Consequently the name and fame of Antony's power waxed great among the Barbarians.