Arsaces Xiv. or Orodes I.
ORODES I., the brother of the preceding, was the Parthian king, whose general Surenas defeated Crassus and the Romans, in B. C. 53. [CRASSUS.] The death of Crassus and the destruction of the Roman army spread universal alarm through the eastern provinces of the Roman empire. Orodes, becoming jealous of Surenas, put him to death, and gave the command of the army to his son Pacorus, who was then still a youth. The Parthians, after obtaining possession of all the country east of the Euphrates, entered Syria, in B. C. 51, with a small force, but were driven back by Cassius.
In the following year (B. C. 50) they again crossed the Euphrates with a much larger army, which was placed nominally under the command of Pacorus, but in reality under that of Osaces, an experienced general. They advanced as far as Antioch, but unable to take this city arched against Antigoneia, near which they were defeated by Cassius. Osaces was killed in the battle, and Pacorus thereupon withdrew from Syria. (D. C. 40.28
; Cic. Att. 5.18
, ad Fam.
15.1.) Bibulus, who succeeded Cassius in the command in the same year, induced Ornodapantes, one of the Parthian satraps, to revolt from Orodes, and proclaim Pacorus king (D. C. 40.30
), in consequence of which Pacorus became suspected by his father and was recalled from the army. (Justin, 42.4
.) Justin (l.c.
) seems to have made a mistake in stating that Pacorus was recalled before the defeat of the Parthians by Cassius. On the breaking out of the war between Caesar and Pompey, the latter applied to Orodes for assistance, which he promised on condition of the session of Syria; but as this was refused by Pompey, the Parthian king did not send him any troops, though he appears to have been in favour of his party rather than of Caesar's. (D. C. 41.55
; Justin, l.c.
) Caesar had intended to invade Parthia in the year in which he was assassinated, B. C. 44; and in the civil war which followed, Brutus and Cassins sent Labienus, the son of Caesar's general, T. Labienus, to Orodes to solicit his assistance.
This was promised; but the battle of Philippi was fought, and Brutus and Cassius fell (B. C. 42), before Labienus could join them.
The latter now remained in Parthia. Meantime Antony had obtained the East in the partition of the Roman world, and consequently the conduct of the Parthian war; but instead of making any preparations against the Parthians, he retired to Egypt with Cleopatra. Labienus advised the Parthian monarch to seize the opportunity to invade Syria, and Orodes accordingly placed a great army under the command of Labienus and Pacorus. They crossed the Euphrates in B. C. 40, overran Syria, and defeated Saxa, Antony's quaestor. Labienus penetrated into Cilicia, where he took Saxa prisoner and put him to death; and while he was engaged with a portion of the army in subduing Asia Minor, Pacorus was prosecuting conquests with the other part in Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine.
These successes at length roused Antony from his inactivity.
He sent against the Parthians Ventidius, the ablest of his legates, who soon changed the face of affairs.
He defeated Labienus at Mount Taurus in B. C. 39, and put him to death when he fell into his hands shortly after the battle.
By this victory he recovered Cilicia; and by the defeat shortly afterwards of Pharnapates, one of the Parthian generals, he also regained Syria. (D. C. 48.24
; Veil. Pat. 2.78; Liv. Epit. 127
; Flor. 4.9
; Plut. Ant. 100.33
; Appian, App. BC 5.65
In the following year, B. C. 38, Pacorus again invaded Syria with a still larger army, but was completely defeated in the district called Cyrrhestice. Pacorus himself fell in the battle, which was fought on the 9th of June, the very day on which Crassus had fallen, fifteen years before. (D. C. 49.19
; Plut. Ant. 100.34
; Liv. Epit. 128
; Oros. 6.18
; Justin, l.c.
) This defeat was a severe blow to the Parthian monarchy, and was deeply felt by the aged king, Orodes. For many days he refused to take food, and did not utter a word; and when at length he spoke, he did nothing but call upon the name of his dear son Pacorus. Weighed down by grief and age, he shortly after surrendered the crown to his son, Phraates, during his life-time. (Justin, l.c.; D. C. 49.23
The inscription on the annexed coin is ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΑΡΣΑΚΟ
) ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟ