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The Great Forgotten Parthian/Israel Empire

The Greatness disolves and migrates


THE GREAT PARTHIAN ISRAEL EMPIRE 


From the book "The Lost Ten Tribes of Israel - Found!"

by Steven Collins

Continued from previous page:


     However, all the Parthians throughout the Empire were
outraged by the violations of the tombs and corpses of their dead
emperors!
     Indeed, Rome's armies had never even come close to Parthia's
homeland, which was located southeast of the Caspian Sea.
     Ctesiphon, the "western capital" known to the Romans, was
nowhere near the actual homeland of the Parthians. It is possible
that Ctesiphon was an administrative center for governing their
western provinces, but that other "capitals" existed eastward in
their empire. The Scythian nature of the Parthians is well-known,
and Scythian reverence for the dead was an historic trait. When
Darius attacked the Scythians many centuries earlier near the
Black Sea, he was warned that retribution would be most dire if
he desecrated Scythian cemeteries. 84 Given the historic
relationship between Parthia and the Sacae tribes of Scythia, it
is possible that Scythian tribes furnished troops for this battle
as well.
     The Roman headquarters in the area was at Nisibis (near the
modern border of Syria and Turkey). The enraged Parthian army
headed for Nisibis to avenge themselves on the Romans. Caracallus
had been assassinated prior to the arrival of the Parthians, and
the new Roman emperor, Macrinus, tried to appease the Parthians
by offering to return Parthian captives as part of a peace
treaty. The Parthian emperor, Artabanus IV, spurned this offer as
his army was there to exact vengeance and spill as much Roman
blood as possible.
     The Parthian and Roman armies, both headed by their
emperors, clashed in what must have been one of the fiercest (and
bloodiest) battles ever fought in the ancient world. What
occurred was not merely a battle, but the death struggle of two
mighty empires. Citing the classical writers, Rawlinson states:

"The battle of Nisibis ... was the fiercest and best contested
which was ever fought between the rival powers. It lasted ...
three days. The army of Artabanus was numerous and
well-appointed: like almost every Parthian force, it was strong
in cavalry and archers; and it had ... a novel addition of ...
soldiers, clad in complete armour, and carrying long spears or
lances, who were mounted on camels ... The Romans suffered
greatly from the bows of the horse-archers, and from the lances
of the corps mounted on camels; and ... as they retired, they
strewed the ground with spiked balls and other contrivances for
injuring the feet of animals." 85 

     This kind of fighting went on for three full days. The
armor-clad Parthians must have looked like medieval knights as
they charged the Romans with levelled lances. The Romans,
however, were ingenious in countering these assaults by maiming
the Parthian animals. The killing was awesome. It is recorded
that the bodies of the dead were:

"piled to such a height that the manoeuvres of the troops were
impeded by them, and at last the two contending hosts could
scarcely see one another!" 86

     At this point of mutual exhaustion, the battle ended with a
clear Parthian victory. Macrinus, the Roman emperor, fled the
scene and afterward agreed to repatriate all Parthian captives
and to pay a huge war indemnity to Parthia. In his book,
"Persia," published in 1888, historian S.G.W. Benjamin writes of
this event:

"Macrinus ... the Roman emperor ... was obliged to ... pay an
indemnity of $50,000,000 denarii ... to the great rival of Rome
almost in the very hour when the doom of Parthia was sounding on
the great bell of time. The hero [Artabanus, Parthia's emperor]
who wrested a war indemnity from a Roman emperor was also the
last of his line." 87

     The classical Greco-Roman historians wrote copiously about
Scythian and Parthian history. As recent as 1888, a historian
could still recognize the battle of Nisibis between Rome and
Parthia as one of the greatest events of world history. Yet
today, the important histories of Scythia and Parthia have been
virtually erased from history texts. What caused this glaring
omission?

     During the nineteenth century, the famous historian George
Rawlinson wrote books about the Parthian Empire in an attempt to
counter what he called a "defective" and "false" view of history
which omitted the major role of the Parthian Empire in world
history. Is it only coincidental that modern history books
deemphasize or omit the histories of empires founded by the ten
tribes of Israel (Phoenicia, Carthage, Scythia and Parthia) while
waxing eloquent about the histories of the non-Israelite empires?
     In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the dogma of
evolution become the new religion of a secularized world. It is
now "politically incorrect" to have real faith in the Bible or
the God of Israel. It hardly seems coincidental that the world's
awareness of the history of the ten tribes of Israel (an
important biblical theme) declined even as evolution became the
new "god" of modern, secularized culture.
     The Parthian Empire had won a great victory over the Roman
Empire. One would expect the Parthian Empire to be reinvigorated
by its triumph, but, in fact, the end of its empire was at hand.
It is recorded that, in this time of trial, Artabanus IV,
Parthia's emperor, sought to the occult for guidance and was told
Parthia's empire was about to end. 88 This account echoes that of
Saul, the first Israelite king, whose effort to seek occult
guidance via an ancient "seance," led to his defeat and death (1
Samuel 28:7-25). Based on biblical precedent, it is a symptom of
advanced moral decay in a society when its leaders seek to the
occult (astrology, "channelers," etc.) for guidance. Such actions
not only forfeit God's favor (via the sin of idolatry), but also
invite his punishment. If God had divinely protected Parthia in
earlier battles, this sin of Artabanus was especially grievous.
Soon after one of Parthia's greatest victories over Rome, Parthia
collapsed.
     In 220 A.D., the province of Persia revolted. A series of
three battles was fought which resulted in a Persian victory in
227 A.D., costing Artabanus IV his life and effectively ending
the Parthian Empire. The Sassanian Persian Empire replaced the
Parthian Empire, and the Parthians were forced to migrate out of
their old empire to flee the Persians. Some histories discuss
Parthian history as part of "Persian" history, although this is
misleading. Although the Parthians ruled the territory of the
previous Persian Empire, the Parthians and Persians were two
separate people in the same region of the world. The Parthians
had been the subjects of the Persians before establishing their
own empire, in which the Persians were a subject nation. In
220-227 A.D., the Persians threw off Parthian rule and drove the
Parthians out of the region. Where they went and the new names by
which they came to be known will be discussed in chapter ten.

     The discussion of Parthia's history has so far been
dominated by events along its western borders. This is
unavoidable since classical Greek and Roman writings are the
basis for much of what we know about Parthia. Naturally, these
ancient writers wrote mostly about the events that occurred in
the western areas of Parthia where Rome's and Parthia's spheres
of influence overlapped. The wars and events detailed so far took
place basically within the territories of modern Syria, Turkey
and Iraq. Parthia's Empire also included modern Iran,
Afghanistan, a portion of western Pakistan and the southern
regions of the former Soviet Union. No Roman army ever penetrated
these regions of Parthia, and less is known of their ancient
history.

     Besides Parthia, portions of the ten tribes of Israel also
ruled a "Saka" kingdom to the east of Parthia in the region of
modern Pakistan and west India. Various Saka (Sacae or Scythian)
kings began ruling in Pakistan and Northwest India in the first
century B.C. 89 These rulers were later replaced by "Pahlava" or
"Indo-Parthian" rulers who had names like the Parthian Arsacids.
Among these rulers was Gondophares, who exhibited the name of the
Davidic royal line of the kingdom of Judah (Phares). The
Encyclopedia Britannica states:

"the name (Pahlavi]... means Parthian." 90 These "Saka" kings
bore the name of "Isaac," and their kings had Parthian names. We
do not know to what extent the Parthian emperors and the Saka
kings either cooperated or competed. Richard Frye writes the
following concerning Parthian-Saka affairs:

"Indian sources imply that the Sakas and the Pahlauas [Parthians]
were allies in their Indian conquests and this would seem to be
corroborated by the coins with both Saka and Parthian names.
[However] The adoption of the title 'king of kings' by
Gondophares ... would imply that these Indo-Parthian kings were
completely independent of the Parthian rulers." 91

     The title "king of kings" was the standard title of Parthian
Emperors, and the Indo-Parthian use of the term confirms their
affinity with Parthia even if they constituted a separate
kingdom. While little is known of Parthia's eastern affairs, we
do know that Parthian dominance and/or influence extended into
modern India.
     We have already seen that the Parthians placed Semitic
legends on their coins during the early Christian era. However,
there is additional evidence that the Parthians had long spoken a
Semitic language. Josephus observed that he originally wrote his
"Wars of the Jews" in his native Semitic tongue so that the
people of Parthia could understand what happened in the
Roman-Jewish war of the first century A.D. Josephus stated:

"I have proposed ... for the sake of such as live under the
government of the Romans, to translate those books into the Greek
tongue, which I formerly composed in the language of our own
country, and sent to the Upper Barbarians ...[identified in a
footnote as the Parthians, Babylonians, Arabians, and the Jews
beyond Euphrates... and the Adiabene.]" 92 

     Josephus, before writing in Greek to the Romans, had written
"Wars of the Jews" in his own Semitic language so the Parthians
and other nations in the Parthian empire could read his works.
Note the phrase "beyond Euphrates" is again used as a euphemism
to designate Parthian territory. When he wrote to the Romans, he
was mindful of Roman sensitivities in calling the Parthians
"Upper Barbarians." Rawlinson states the following about
Josephus' comments:

"Josephus ... regarded the Parthians as familiar with Hebrew, or
Syro-Chaldaic, and wrote his history of the Jewish War in his own
native tongue, before he put out his Greek version, for the
benefit especially of the Parthians, among whom he declares he
had many readers." 93 

     It is a telling commentary that the Parthians were so
familiar with the Hebrew/Aramaic language that the Parthians
could read whatever Josephus wrote "in his native tongue." The
obvious conclusion is that the Jews and Parthians shared a common
"native tongue," and the similarity of the Parthian and
Hebrew/Aramaic languages further indicates that the Parthians
were the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel.
     Why would the Parthians have a particular interest in the
writings of Josephus, and why would Josephus have a particular
interest in communicating information to them? The clear answer
is that both the Parthians and Josephus realized that the
Parthians were the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel!
Nothing else makes sense. Josephus was a product of the same
Jewish culture that shaped the converts of the early New
Testament church (Acts 10:28). That culture regarded
non-Israelites as "unclean" people with whom Jews could not
fellowship. Josephus, himself a Pharisee, would have been shaped
by anti-gentile ideas, and would not have regarded the Parthians
as "worthy" of extensive communication on his part unless he
realized that the Parthians were fellow Israelites of the ten
tribes of Israel.
     On Parthia's northern border were their Scythian kinsmen.
While there were hostilities between the Parthians and the
Scythians, such episodes were the exception rather than the rule.
In fact, on many occasions, the Parthians received reinforcements
from the Scythian tribes to strengthen their own military power.
In some instances, various Scythian tribes essentially decided
which Arsacid would rule Parthia by intervening in behalf of
certain claimants in disputes over the Parthian throne.
     Parthia maintained extensive trade relations with the
Scythians and other people on their northern and eastern borders
as indicated by the presence of Parthian coins being:

"... found on the Volga, in the Caucasus, in Chinese Turkestan
and elsewhere ... At the same time Parthian-Chinese contacts
overland are attested in Chinese sources." 94

     Parthia also had extensive trade relations with Rome during
their periods of "detente." During these times the Parthian
merchant class imported metals and various manufactured items
from Rome in exchange for textiles and spices supplied by the
Parthians. 95 The above indicates that the Parthians were
capitalists who took advantage of their strategic position as
geographic middlemen between the Roman world and the Orient.
     Concerning Parthia's religion, we know that their empire
contained sun-worshippers and other pagan religions. As discussed
earlier, Judaism was common in Parthia, and Christianity became
quite significant in the first and second centuries A.D. Indeed,
Rawlinson wrote the following:

"Christianity also penetrated the Parthian provinces to a
considerable extent, and in one Parthian country ... seems to
have become the state religion. The kings of Osrhoene are thought
to have been Christians from the time of the Antonines ... and a
flourishing church was certainly established at Edessa before the
end of the second century. 96

     Parthia allowed considerable "freedom of religion" for its
subjects, 97 a tolerant attitude not typical of the ancient
world's empires. Rawlinson adds:

"The Parthians had many liberal usages which imply a fairly
advanced civilisation ... in political matters they seem to have
been free from the narrowness which generally characterizes
barbarous nations. They behaved well to prisoners, admitted
foreigners freely to offices of high trust, gave an asylum to
refugees, and treated them with respect and kindness, were
scrupulous observers of their pledged word, and eminently
faithful to their treaty obligations." 98

     Additionally, Parthia's empire was based on a feudal system
which foreshadowed the feudal system of Medieval Europe by a
millennium. The Parthians elected their monarchs via the
Megistanes, a bicameral body representing the royalty, the
priestly tribe and the nobility. They were capitalists who traded
widely with other nations, and even with their enemies when
possible. The Parthians permitted freedom of religion, and gave
liberal dispensations of home-rule to many nations and cities in
their empire. Given the fact that there were many adherents of
Judaism and Christianity in the Parthian Empire, it is not
surprising that their empire was known by many of the commendable
traits of what is now referred to in the modern world as the
"Judeo-Christian ethic."

     In contrast, the Romans had a religion of superstitious
polytheism, launched many wars of aggression simply to exalt the
ego of various emperors and commanders, enslaved other nations
with tight-fisted control, oppressed the Jews, persecuted the
Christians, regularly violated treaties, and watched gladiators
and animals kill each other in the arenas for sport. Yet
histories routinely describe the Romans as "civilized," and call
the Parthians "barbarians."

     By any standard of comparison, which empire was "civilized,"
and which was "barbaric?" The answer is obvious; it was far more
pleasant to live under Parthian rule than under Rome's, as the
nations caught between the two empires regularly affirmed.
The western world is generally taught that its roots come from
ancient Roman institutions, and new generations are force-fed the
history of Rome while the empire of Parthia is scarcely
mentioned. However, it is clear that the governmental and
societal structure of medieval Europe and the modern western
world have much more in common with the institutions and
practices of the Parthian Empire than those of the Roman Empire.
     As will be seen in chapter ten, the western world has been
taught a major historical error. Even though Europe and the
modern western world developed in the geographic area of the old
Roman empire, their social and political institutions are firmly
rooted in the heritage of Parthia........
     


ENDNOTES: CHAPTER EIGHT

1.   Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, preface, pp. v- vii
2.   Rawlinson, Parthia, p.47
3.   Josephus, Antiquities, XI, VIII, 5
4.   Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, pp.49-51 
5.   Ibid, pp.54-57
6.   Ibid, pp.63-67 
7.   Ibid, pp.94-95 
8.   Ibid, pp.77 and 79 
9.   Ibid, p.99
10.  Ibid, p.105 
11.  Ibid, p.105 
12.  Josephus, Antiquities, XIII, VIII, 4, and XIII, IX, 1 (also
     see footnote) 
13.  Strabo, The Geography of Strabo, translated by Horace Jones,
     11, 9, 3 
14.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, p.85
15.  Ibid, p.85 
16.  Ibid, p.86 
17.  Ibid, p.393 
18.  Ibid, p.87
19.  Ibid, pp.87-88
20.  Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 17, "Persia," p.578 
21.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, pp.88-89 
22.  Rawlinson, Parthia, p.82-83
23.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, pp.116-118
24.  Frye, The Heritage of Persia, pp.207-208; and the
     Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Parthia," Vol. 17, p.344
25.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, pp.117-118 
26.  Ibid, see map after p.78
27.  Ibid, p.115 
28.  Ibid, p.118
29.  Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Ephthalites or White Huns," Vol.
     8, p.646 
30.  Ibid, Vol. 8, p.646
31.  Ibid, Vol. 8, p.646
32.  Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Indo-Scythians," Vol. 12, p.270
33.  Ibid, Vol. 2, "Babylonia and Assyria," p.857
34.  Rawlinson, Parthia, p.140
35.  Rawlinson, Sixth Oriental Monarchy, p.146 
36.  Ibid, pp.147-148
37.  Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 17, "Persia", p.579 
38.  Josephus, Antiquities, XIV, VII, 1
39.  Ibid, p.154
40.  Ibid, pp.155-156 
41.  Ibid, p.160 
42.  Ibid, p.161
43.  Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 17, "Persia," p.581
44.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, p.172 (see also
     footnote # 5) 
45.  Ibid, p.174
46.  Frye, The Heritage o f Persia, p.214
47.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, p.188 
48.  Ibid, p.190-191
49.  Josepbus, Antiquities, X1, V, 2
50.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, pp.200-201 
51.  Ibid, p.216
52.  Ibid, pp.218-219
53.  Ibid, pp.246-247,266 
54.  Ibid, pp.231-234
55.  Ibid, p.255
56.  Ibid, pp.270, 279-280 
57.  Ibid, p.282
58.  Ibid, p.294
59.  Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Dacia," Vol. 6, p.969
60.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, pp.296-297
61.  Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 1., "Alphabet," pp.683-684
62.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, pp.304-305 
63.  Ibid, p.308
64.  Ibid, p.309
65.  Ibid, p.312-313 
66.  Ibid, p.315 
67.  Ibid, p.317 
68.  Ibid, p.318
69.  Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible, Hebrew Lexicon,
     word "Melek," p. 26 
70.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental      Monarchy, p.297 (footnote
     No.1)
71.  Eusebius, The History of the Church (The Ecclesiastical
     History), Book 3, 1, 1 
72.  Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Persia," Vol. 17, p.580
73.  Harper's Bible Dictionary, "Aramaic," p.43
74.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, p.319 
75.  Ibid, pp.322-325
76.  Ibid, p.328 
77.  Ibid, p.328 
78.  Ibid, p.329
79.  Ibid, p.329
80.  Ibid, pp.340-341 
81.  Ibid, p.352
82.  Ibid, p.354 (footnote no. 1) 
83.  Ibid, p.356
84.  Herodotus, History, 4, 127
85.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, pp.358-359 
86.  Ibid, p.360
87.  Benjamin, Persia, p.170 
88.  Ibid, p.173
89.  Frye, The Heritage of Persia, p.198
90.  Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Pahlavi," Vol. 17, p.30 
91.  Frye, The Heritage of Persia, p.213
92.  Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Preface, 1-2
93.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, p.424 
94.  Frye, p.224
95.  Rawlinson, The Sixth Oriental Monarchy, pp.425-426 
96.  Ibid, p.401. (see also footnotes 5-7)
97.  Ibid, pp.400-401, 426 
98.  Ibid, p.426

.............................


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