33. While this was going on, it happened that Hyrodes was at last reconciled with Artavasdes the Armenian, and agreed to receive the latter's sister as wife for his son Pacorus, and there were reciprocal banquets and drinking bouts, at which many Greek compositions were introduced. [2] For Hyrodes was well acquainted both with the Greek language and literature, and Artavasdes actually composed tragedies, and wrote orations and histories, some of which are preserved. Now when the head of Crassus was brought to the king's door, the tables had been removed, and a tragic actor, Jason by name, of Tralles, was singing that part of the ‘Bacchae’ of Euripides where Agave is about to appear.1 While he was receiving his applause, Sillaces stood at the door of the banqueting-hall, and after a low obeisance, cast the head of Crassus into the centre of the company. [3] The Parthians lifted it up with clapping of hands and shouts of joy, and at the king's bidding his servants gave Sillaces a seat at the banquet. Then Jason handed his costume of Pentheus to one of the chorus, seized the head of Crassus, and assuming the role of the frenzied Agave, sang these verses through as if inspired:
We bring from the mountain
A tendril fresh-cut to the palace,
A wonderful prey.
[4] This delighted everybody; but when the following dialogue with the chorus was chanted:
(Chorus) ‘Who slew him?’
(Agave) ‘Mine is the honour,’
Pomaxathres, who happened to be one of the banqueters, sprang up and laid hold of the head, feeling that it was more appropriate for him to say this than for Jason. The king was delighted, and bestowed on Pomaxathres the customary gifts, while to Jason He gave a talent. With such a farce as this the expedition of Crassus is said to have closed, just like a tragedy.2

[5] However, worthy punishment overtook both Hyrodes for His cruelty and Surena for his treachery. For not long after this Hyrodes became jealous of the reputation of Surena, and put him to death; and after Hyrodes had lost his son Pacorus, who was defeated in battle by the Romans,3 and had fallen into a disease which resulted in dropsy, His son Phraates plotted against his life and gave him aconite. And when the disease absorbed the poison so that it was thrown off with it and the patient thereby relieved, Phraates took the shortest path and strangled his father.

1 Pentheus, king of Thebes, the son of Agave, refused to recognize the divinity of Dionysus, whereupon the god infuriated the women, and Agave killed her own son. She appears in the Bacchae with his head in her hand, exulting over the death of the supposed wild beast.

2 A poet competing at the Athenian City Dionysia exhibited three tragedies and a satyric drama, ‘the four plays being performed in succession in the course of the same day.’

3 38 B.C. Cf. Plutarch's Antony, xxxiv. 1. According to Dio Cassius, xlix, 21, Pacorus fell on the same day on which Crassus had been slain fifteen years before.

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