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Attested Names of Parthian Rulers


Introduction

To say that something is attested is simply to say that it is mentioned in a text or a corpus of texts, that a concrete example of it is known. A name can be said to be attested if there is at least one occurrence of the name, where the name itself is undamaged and there is enough textual or archeological context to prove that the word in question is a proper name. We usually use this term to indicate that there is very good evidence for something at a specific time and place, or in a specific language, or the like. Coin inscriptions often provide attestation because they give a name and royal titles that, even though they are not often very informative, make the name securely attested. And coins are often dated, giving strength to the attestation. Unless the coin is dated or has been found in stratified archaeological context, there is little in the way of context unless you can date the coin stylistically. This assumes, of course, the coin is genuine, and dating by stylistic elements can be controversial.

If a name is attested in, for example, the Greek, Cuneiform and Aramaic writing systems, that means texts or documents in each writing system are known to preserve the name. Every time you find a specific name in a written source, that is an attestation of the name. If all the attestations you find for a given name are in Cuneiform sources from the second century B.C., then you could say that "the name is attested only in second century B.C. Cuneiform sources." Some names are from writings that occur long after the fact; names attested from such texts usually qualify the term appropriately.  For example, it might be said that "the name ... is attested in a third-century Greek text that appears to refer to events in the first century." Many events and people in Parthian history are known only from such texts.

The Parthians used characters from Aramaic for writing but "read off" the words according to their own pronunciation. For example, they wrote prht to represent the Parthian name Frahata and then read it off as Frahata. Another example is the Aramaic title MLKYN MLK' (= King of Kings). The Parthians used this title but pronounced it (read it off) as "Shahan Shah" (= King of Kings). They also used the word BRY (= My Son in Aramaic) and read it off as "puhr" (= Parthian for "Son"). They further constructed the phrase BRY BRY which means My Son My Son in Aramaic, i.e., quite meaningless. But, they read off BRY BRY as "puhr-e-puhr" = Son of Son = Grandson. Sometimes, they mixed the two together. For example, BRY np is quite meaningless in Aramaic (it means My Son NP?). However, the Parthians read this as "puhr-e-napat" = Son of Grandson = Great Grandson. So, the names in Aramaic in the list below are how we find them written in various inscriptions (in Aramaic only and not Cuneiform). Those in Parthian are entered how they were read off (or pronounced) by the Parthians. The Akkadian pronunciations of the names were different. Unfortunately, we have but a few of the kings' names in Akkadian. So, to give a full list of the Parthian rulers' names in Akkadian is not possible as the majority remain unattested. Some examples: Arsaces was written in Akkadian as Ar-sha-ka, Ar-sha-ka-a and Ar-sha-kam; Orodes as U-ra-da-a or U-ru-da; Gotarzes as Gu-ta-ar-za-a, Gu-tar-za or Gu-tar-za-a, etc.

In the transliteration of "Parthian" Aramaic texts, scholars usually place all the Aramaic words in capital letters while the Parthian words are presented in lower-case italic to differentiate the two (i.e., to show which ones are true Aramaic and which ones aren't). A similar system is used in transliteration of Akkadian texts: the Sumerian words are given in capital letters while the Akkadian ones are in lower-case italic.


Attested Names of Parthian Rulers

These are attested names of the Parthian rulers in Greek, Aramaic and Parthian. The Aramaic names are transliterated. The Parthian pronunciations of the Aramaic (how they are "read off") are in the last column. See the Tech Info page if the Greek characters do not show properly. The key reference for attested names on Parthian coins is Michael Alram, Nomina Propria Iranica in Nummis. Materialgrundlagen zu den iranischen Personennamen auf antiken Münzen, in Iranisches Personennamenbuch, Vol 4. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie, 1986.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

RULER'S NAME GREEK ARAMAIC PARTHIAN
-A-
Arsaces I (c. 247 - 211 B.C.)
Arsaces II (c. 211 - 191 B.C.)
ΑΡΣΑΚΗΣ
ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ
'ršk Aršaka
Artabanus I (c. 127 - 124 B.C.)
Artabanus II (c. A.D. 10 - 38)
Artabanus III (c. A.D. 80 - 90)
Artabanus IV (c. A.D. 216 - 224)
ΑΡΤΑΒΑΝΟΣ 'rtbnw
'rtpn
Ardavân
Artapâna
Artavazdes     Artavâzd
-C-
Cinnamus? (c. A.D. 37) ΚΙΝΝΑΜΟΣ    
-D-
Darius of Media Atropatene (c. 70 B.C.) ΔΑΡΕΙΟΣ dryhuš Dariahuš
-G-
Gotarzes I (c. 95 - 90 B.C.)
Gotarzes II (c. A.D. 40 - 51)
ΓΩΤΑΡΖΗΣ
ΓΩΤΕΡΖΗΣ
gwtrz Godarz
RULER'S NAME GREEK ARAMAIC PARTHIAN
-M-
Meherdates (alternately, Meredates or Miradates)Meherdates (c. A.D 49) ? ΜΙΡΑΔΑΤΗΣ (bronze  statue of Herakles)    
ΜΕΡΕΔΑΤΗΣ (coins of Characene)    
ΜΕΙΡΙΔΑΤΗΣ (Avroman Parch. I)    
Mithradates I (c. 171 - 138 B.C.)
Mithradates II (c. 123 - 88 B.C.)
Mithradates III (c. 57 - 54 B.C.)
Mithradates IV (c. A.D. 129 - 140)
ΜΙΘΡΑΔΑΤΗΣ mtrdt Mithradât
Mithradâta
Musa ΜΟΥΣΗ    
-O-
Orodes I (c. 90 - 80 B.C.)
Orodes II (c. 57 - 38 B.C.)
Orodes III (c. A.D. 6)
ΟΡΩΔΗΣ wrwd Urûd
Vîroy
Osroes I (c. A.D. 109 - 129)
Osroes II (c. A.D. 190)
ΧΟΣΡΟΗΣ
ΧΩΣΡΟΗΣ
hwsrw Khusrau
-P-
Pacorus I (c. 39 B.C.)
Pacorus II (c. A.D. 78 - 105)
ΠΑΚΟΡΟΣ pkwr Pakûr
Parthamaspates (c. A.D. 116) ΠΑΡΘΑΜΑΣΠΑΤΗΣ   Pârthâmâspâta
Phraataces (c. 2 B.C. - A.D. 4) ΦΡΑΑΤΑΚΗΣ prhtk
prdtk
Frahâtak
Phraates I (c. 176 - 171 B.C.)
Phraates II (c. 138 - 127 B.C.)
Phraates III (c. 70 - 57 B.C.)
Phraates IV (c. 38 - 2 B.C.)
ΦΡΑΑΤΗΣ prht
prhd
prdty
Frahâta
Phriapatius (c. 191 - 176 B.C.) ΦΡΙΑΠΑΤΙΟΣ prypt
pryptk
Friapât
Friapâtak
RULER'S NAME GREEK ARAMAIC PARTHIAN
-S-
Sanabares (c. A.D. 50 - 65) ΣΑΝΑΒΑΡΗΣ    
Sinatruces (c. 77 - 70 B.C.) ΣΙΝΑΤΡΟΚΗΣ sntrwk Santrûk
-T-
Tiridates I (c. 29 - 26 B.C.)
Tiridates II (c. A.D. 35 - 36)

Tiridates III (c. A.D. 224 - 228?)
ΤΙΡΙΔΑΤΗΣ tyrydt
tyrdt
Tiridâta
Tirdâd
-V-
Vardanes I (c. A.D. 40 - 47)
Vardanes II (c. A.D. 55 - 58)
ΒΑΡΔΑΝΗΣ brdn Bardân
ΟΥΑΡΔΑΝΗΣ (Josep., Ant, XX) wrdn
wrt'n
Vardân
Vartân
Vologases I (c. A.D. 51 - 78)
Vologases II (c. A.D. 77 - 80)
Vologases III (c. A.D. 105 - 147)
ΟΛΑΓΑΣΗΣ wlgš
wlgšy
Valgâš
Valgâšy
Vologases IV (c. A.D. 147 - 191) ΟΛΑΓΑΣΗΣ (coins, c. A.D. 147-170)
ΟΛΟΓΑΣΗΣ (coins, c. A.D. 171-191)
Vologases V (c. A.D. 191 - 208)
Vologases VI (c. A.D. 208 - 228)
ΟΛΟΓΑΣΗΣ
Vonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12)
Vonones II (c. A.D. 51)
ΟΝΩΝΗΣ   Vonûn
Vahunam
RULER'S NAME GREEK ARAMAIC PARTHIAN

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This page last updated 10 Apr 2009

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