Arsaces Xxiii or Vologeses I.
VOLOGESES I., the son of Vonones II. by a Greek concubine, according to Tacitus (Ann.
12.14, 44); but according to Josephus, the son of Artabanus III. (Ant.
20.3.4.) Soon after his accession, he invaded Armenia, took Artaxata and Tigranocerta, the chief cities of the country, and dethroned Rhadamistus, the Iberian, who had usurped the crown.
He then gave Armenia to his brother, Tiridates, having previously given Media to his other brother, Pacorus.
These occurrences excited considerable alarm at Rome, as Nero, who had just ascended the throne (A. D. 55), was only seventeen years of age. Nero, however, made active preparations to oppose the Parthians, and sent Domitius Corbulo to take possession of Armenia, from which the Parthians had meantime withdrawn, and Quadratus Ummidius to command in Syria. Vologeses was persuaded by Corbulo and Ummidius to conclude peace with the Romans and give as hostages the noblest of the Arsacidae ; which he was induced to do, either that he might the more conveniently prepare for war, or that he might remove from the kingdom those who were likely to prove rivals. (Tac. Ann. 12.50
.) Three years afterwards (A. D. 58), the war at length broke out between the Parthians and the Romans; for Vologeses could not endure Tiridates to be deprived of the kingdom of Armenia, which he had himself given him, and would not let him receive it as a gift from the Romans.
This war, however, terminated in favour of the Romans. Corbulo, the Roman general, took and destroyed Artaxata, and also obtained possession of Tigranocerta, which surrendered to him. Tiridates was driven out of Armenia; and Corbulo appointed in his place, as king of Armenia, the Cappadocian Tigranes, the grandson of king Archelaus, and gave certain parts of Armenia to the tributary kings who had assisted him in the war.
After making these arrangements, Corbulo retired into Syria, A. D. 60. (Tac. Ann. 13.34
; D. C. 62.19
.) Vologeses, however, resolved to make another attempt to recover Armenia.
He made preparations to invade Syria himself, and sent Monaeses, one of his generals, and Monobazus, king of the Adiabeni, to attack Tigranes and drive him out of Armenia. They accordingly entered Armenia and laid siege to Tigranocerta, but were unable to take it. As Vologeses also found that Corbulo had taken every precaution to secure Syria, he sent ambassadors to Corbulo to solicit a truce, that he might despatch an embassy to Rome concerning the terms of peace.
This was granted; but as no satisfactory answer was obtained from Nero, Vologeses invaded Armenia, where he gained considerable advantages over Caesenninus Paetus, and at length besieged him in his winter-quarters. Paetus, alarmed at his situation, agreed with Vologeses, that Armenia should be surrendered to the Romans, and that he should be allowed to retire in safety from the country, A. D. 62. Shortly after this, Vologeses sent another embassy to Rome; and Nero agreed to surrender Armenia to Tiridates, provided the latter would come to Rome and receive it as a gift from the Roman emperor. Peace was made on these conditions; and Tiridates repaired to Rome, A. D. 63, where he was received with extraordinary splendour, and obtained from Nero the Armenian crown. (Tac. Ann. 15.1
; D. C. 62.20
In the struggle for the empire after Nero's death, Vologeses sent ambassadors to Vespasian, offering to assist him with 40,000 Parthians.
This offer was declined by Vespasian, but he bade Vologeses send ambassadors to the senate, and he secured peace to him. (Tac. Hist. 4.51
.) Vologeses afterwards sent an embassy to Titus, as he was returning from the conquest of Jerusalem, to congratulate him on his success, and present him with a golden crown; and shortly afterwards (A. D. 72), he sent another embassy to Vespasian to intercede on behalf of Antiochus, the deposed king of Commagene. (Joseph. B. J.
7.5.2, 7.3; comp. D. C. 66.11
; Suet. Nero 57
.) In A. D. 75, Vologeses sent again to Vespasian, to beg him to assist the Parthians against the Alani, who were then at war with them; but Vespasian declined to do so, on the plea that it did not become him to meddle in other people's affairs. (D. C. 66.15
; Suet. Dom. 2
; Joseph. B. J.
7.7.4.) Vologeses founded on the Euphrates, a little to the south of Babylon, the town of Vologesocerta. (Plin. Nat. 6.30
.) he seems to have lived till the reign of Domitian.