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Parthian City Index

Mint city names appear as links to more information. Modern names are italicized.


(ΚΑΤΑ) ΣΤΡΑΤΕΙΑ - Traveling Court Mint


Adianbene - or Hadhaiyab. District with Arbela as its capital, was ruled by a certain Izates I shortly after the Christian era, and his daughter and Izates II were converted to Judiaism (Josephus, Ant. XX.17-37). Arbela is said to be the burial place of the later Parthian kings (Dio Cass. LXXVIII.1).  [Frye (1963), p. 179]
(see Ecbatana)
Agra (or Akra), city of Mesene beyond the Tigris occupied by Trajan during his A.D. 115/116 campaign (Arrian, Parthica, frs. 67-68)
(see Agra)

Apaortenon, Mount Apaortenon (see Dara)
Apavortene, Mount Apavortene (see Dara)
Arshak (see Assak)
or Artashat, in Armenia on the Araxes river
(see Rhagae)
Arzanene - district on the Tigris northwest of Adiabene and Zabdicene during Parthian rule of the area
Ashkhabad (see Nisa)
Asaak or Arshak - in Astuene, site of Arsaces I crowning according to Isidore of Charax (see also Astauene). It is in modern Iran near Kuchan in the upper Atrek river valley.
Ashur (Aššur) - Qala'at at Sherqat in modern Iraq (see Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie analytique de l'archéologie de l'Iran ancien). The ancient city of Ashur dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. From the 14th to the 9th Centuries BC, it was the first capital of the Assyrian Empire. Ancient Ashur lost its importance as a major center following its conquest and partial destruction of the city in 614 B.C. by the Babylonians, but it flourished anew when the Parthians seized power in the second century. As the seat of a Parthian governor, it was given new temples and palace structures, notably the Parthian palace in the southeast. The city was once again occupied and for the most part the dead were buried beside the fortification walls of the neo-Assyrian period that had collapsed in the interim. (see Andrae & Lenzen, Die Partherstadt Assur, 1933). Designated a world heritage site by UNESCO in July 2003.
Assyria as a Roman province - Formed by Trajan on his A.D. 115/116 against Parthia. It most probably included all of Adiabene, Nineveh, Arbela and Gaugmela as well as the Kirkuk district and Olbia in the district of Chazane on the Tigris (Strabo xvi 1.1 was correct; Dobla misplaced it on the Euphrates)
(hodie Quchan) - district in modern Iran; Arsaces I was crowned in Asaak, its capital
Atropatene - district or kingdom, southwest of the Caspian Sea, modern Azerbaijan


Babak CastleBabak Castle - also known as the Immortal Castle or Republic Castle, is located 16 km to the southwest of Kelidar in East Azerbaijan Province, 2,300 to 2,600 meters above the sea level. The fort, surrounded by gorges as deep as 400 to 600 meters, belongs to the Sasanid or Parthian eras. To reach the castle, one has to trek a tortuous and narrow passageway and then cross a corridor-shaped temple, 200 meters in length.  The castle was a center of power for Khorramdin, also known as Abdullah Babak, who led a rebellion against Arab rulers, 816-837 A.D.
Babylon -
ancient town in Mesopotamia
Babylonia - ancient district in Mesopotamia
Bam - most historians refer to the story of "Haftvad" in the Shahnameh, or "Haptanbad" in the Karnamak-e-Ardashir-e-Papkan, a historically true story, as the story, and the date, of the foundation of Bam. If so, this date goes back to the late, or mid, Parthian period although a thorough scientific and archeological inspection of the site is still needed. There are some signs and indications -- Parthian coins found there -- indicating that the nucleus of the town and citadel belong to the Parthian period.
Bard-e Nishandeh in modern Khuzistan is a ruin from ancient Elymais with inscriptions in a Semitic language rather than Parthian. See R. Ghirshman, Terrasses Sacres.
Behistun archaeological site
Birs Nimrud (see Borsippa)
Borsippa (Birs Nimrud) city of Mesene (Characene) occupied by Trajan during his A.D. 115/116 campaign (Arrian, Parthica, frs. 67-68)


Carrhae (Harran) - on the river Balicha (Balikh), site of Crassus' defeat by the Parthian army in 53 B.C.
Caspian Gates
- a pass in the Alborz mountains near ancient city of Charax (near modern Tehran, this is a different city than Charax Spasini which is located near Basra, Iraq). Charax is a Greek translation for the generic Parthian word for "stockade"
Citadel of Nisa
(see Nisa)
Charax (Characene) - In southern Mesopotamia. It extended not only over the mouth of the Tigris-Euphrates, but also at times extended northwards. [Frye (1963), p. 180]


Damghan, Iran (see Traxiane),
Dara city founded by Arsaces I [Debevoise, using a now obsolete genealogy, says Tiridates I] on Mount Apaortenon, an almost impregnable position. The site has been varously identified as the oasis of Attek east of the "Achal-Tekke", as probably near Abivard in Apavarktikene", as Kala Maran, as perhaps Kelat, and as near Kelat-i-Nadiri. Victor Chapot in La frontiere de l'Euphrate de Pompee a la conqete arab, p. 315 and n. 1, confuses the Dara of Tiridates with the Dara founded by Anastasius near Nisibis about 504 A.D. (see Debevoise, p. 15, n. 62 for more detail on these confusions). M. E. Masson identifies the town of Dara in Justin with modern Abivard.
, the most important site of the Parthian period in the Gulf region is a site dating largely to the 1st century AD on the coast of Umm al-Qaiwain in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). This was part of an international collaborative effort involving the universities of Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Gent and Lyon.
in modern Syria. Also see Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie analytique de l'archéologie de l'Iran ancien). Trajan erected a triumphal arch here during his A.D. 115/116 campaign against the Parthians. Dura was evidently among those cities that retained some form of Hellenistic city-state status under Parthian control. [Debevoise (1938), p. xli]
(see Dara)


Ecbatana (see Encyclopaedia Iranica article)
(see Encyclopaedia Iranica article)
Elymais - ancient kingdom and sometime province of the Parthian empire. East of Characene in the foothills of the Zagros beyond Susa, whcih city was governed by a satrap of the Parthian king. [Frye (1963), p. 180]
- river named Karun in southwestern modern Iran, running principally in ancient Kingdom of Elymais
(see Rhagae)


Fars - see Persis


Gabae - modern Isfahan, Iran. Where Antiochus III died on the return after attacking Persepolis
Gedrosia - east and south of the Fars province in modern Iran
Georgia (Iberia) - Parthian wyršn - kingdom in Transcaucasia ruled A.D. 30-60 by a king Farsman (Pharasmanes) with his capital at Mtskheta northwest of present Tiflis, but there is not yet any evidence this kingdom was under the influence of the Parthians. [Frye (1963), p. 179]
Gordyene (or Gorduene) - Beth Qardu in Syriac sources. A small vassal state between Armenia and Parthia in the mountainous area south of Lake Van in modern Turkey. Pompey annexed Gordyene


Hamadan (see Ecbatana)
Hatra in modern Iraq (see Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie analytique de l'archéologie de l'Iran ancien). A large fortified city of the Parthian Empire, Hatra withstood invasions by the Romans in A.D. 116 and A.D. 198, because of its high, thick walls with their towers. The remains of the city, especially the temples where Greek and Roman architecture blend with Eastern decorative features, attest to the greatness of Parthian civilization. The archaeological site is on the World Heritage List. Hatra did not fall immediately at the end of the Parthian empire, but held out until its capture by Shapur I [Frye (1963), p. 180]
Hedyphon river
- in ancient Kingdom of Elymais, now the Jarrahi river in southwestern Iran
, Afghanistan (see Areia)
Hyrcania - ancient district between the Elburz mountains and the Caspian sea, now in modern Iran. A part of the Parthava satrapy at the time of Cyrus, later made a separate satrapy, but rejoined to form the Parthia satrapy under Alexander.




Kata Strateia
- traveling Court Mint (see ΚΑΤΑ ΣΤΡΑΤΕΙΑ)
Kelidar - see Babak Castle
Khorasan District, Iran (see Traxiana)
- the country between the Tigris and the Iranian plateau northeast of Ctesiphon (Beth Garme in Syriac), with the modern town of Kirkuk as its centre. We hear of a king of Kirkuk who joined with Ardashir I in his revolt against the Parthians, but we know nothing more about a kingdom in this area.
(see Kangavar)
Korduene (see Gordyene)
Kuh-e Khwaja in Seistan. For a bibliography on the surveys of M. A. Stein and E. Herzfeld see Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie analytique de l'archéologie de l'Iran ancien.
Kush - A Parthian, Sasanian and early-Islamic tell in the Shimal area of the Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, UAE. It contains an occupation sequence dating from around the first century AD through to the end of the 13th century AD.


Mount Labus (see Tagae)
Lamavu (see Tagae)
Lycus River (the Greater Zab River) - During the reign of Phraates II Antiochus VII Sedetes here defeated the Parthian general Idates and raised a trophy in honor of his victory in 130 B.C. (Debevoise, 32)


Mange (see Seleucia on the Hedyphon river)
, Iran (see Traxiane)
Masjid-e Sulaiman in modern Khuzistan is a ruin from ancient Elymais with inscriptions in a Semitic language rather than Parthian. See R. Ghirshman, Terrasses Sacres.
Media - kingdom and later as Media Atropatene a Parthian province west of the Caspian Sea, situated in what is now Azerbaijan in modern Iran and the Azerbaijan Republic of the former Soviet states. In Parthian times had its own dynasty; after Marc Antony retreated from Media and Armenia, the king of Atropatene made an alliance with the Romans against the Parthian king (Dio Cass. XLIX.33 and 44), and Roman-Median collaboration continued under Octavian (Dio Cass. LI.16). [Frye (1963), 179]
Merv (see Margiane)
Mesene - another name for the kingdom of Characene (Charax), later a province of Parthia, located on the Gulf in modern Iraq
Mithradatkart (see Nisa)
Mount Apaortenon (see Dara)
Mount Apavortene (see Dara)


Nicephorium on the upper Euphrates (above Dura-Europas). One of the Greek cities taken by Crassus in early 54 B.C.
Nihavand (see Laodicea)
Nineveh is one of the world's earliest cities. It was occupied during the Parthian period as described by archaeologist Murray Eiland in a special Nineveh section of this web site.
Nippur in modern Iraq (see Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie analytique de l'archéologie de l'Iran ancien). See also the Patterns of Occupaton at Nippur and Nippur - Sacred City of Enlil pages.
(see Abarshahr)
Nisibis - district on the Khabur river (called Beth Arbaya in Syriac) during Parthian rule of the area
Nisaia - the land on the northern edge of the Kopet Dagh range, it may have been considered part of the richer valley of Astuene to its south.


Oratha - city of Mesene (Characene) occupied by Trajan during his A.D. 115/116 campaign (Arrian, Parthica, frs. 67-68)


Palmyra (Tadmor) east of Homs in modern Syria (see Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie analytique de l'archéologie de l'Iran ancien.)
Parthia - in the narrow context, generally the Khorasan province in modern Iran. Broadly, the entire reach of the Parthian empire. Parthia was also a satrapy of the Achaemenid and Seleucid empires. At the time of Alexander it included Hyrcania, but not Sogdiana, Chorasmia, nor Areia, which were separate satrapies. (Arrian, Anabasis iii and iv)
Persis - also Fars or Pars, ancient kingdom and sometime province of Parthian empire
Praaspa (modern Takht-i-Sulaiman, Iran) - capital of ancient Media Atropatene in north-western Iran. Besieged unsuccessfully by Marc Antony at the beginning of his disastrous invasion of Parthia (36 B.C.). Praaspa is the classical Vera of Strabo. Designated a world heritage site by UNESCO in July 2003, the archaeological site includes the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary partly rebuilt in the Ilkhanid (Mongol) period (13th Century) as well as a temple of the Sasanian period (6th and 7th Centuries AD) dedicated to Anahita.



(see Rhagae)


, on the Tigris river
Seleucia on the Hedyphon river, formerly Solace (not to be confused with Seleucia on the Tigris), captured by Mithradates I.  This is possibly the modern town Mange in Iran.
Solace on the Hedyphon river (see Seleucia on the Hedyphon).
Sophene - modern Diyarbakir in Turkey
Spasini (see Charax)
(Kata) Strateia - traveling Court Mint (see ΚΑΤΑ ΣΤΡΑΤΕΙΑ)


Tagae - perhaps Tak, near Damghan in modern Iran. Antiochus III moved on to Tagae in 209 B.C. after taking Hecatompylos and before moving up to the summit of Mount Labus (Lamavu) where he defeated the Parthians. After the defeat, Antiochus moved down into Hyrcania.
Tapuria - District on the southeastern shore of the Caspian Sea. Mithradates I may have campaigned here in about 171 B.C. [Debevoise, 19]
, Pakistan
(archaeological site)
, Iran (see Rhagae)
Traveling Court Mint -
- Parthian district of Traxiana, later known as Khorasan, in modern Iran


Urfa - see Edessa
Uruk (also as Uruk-Orchae) in modern Iraq on the lower Euphrates (see Vanden Berghe, Bibliographie analytique de l'archéologie de l'Iran ancien) Uruk first came under Parthian control with Mithradates I's defeat of Seleucia. [Debevoise, 23]


Vologasia (or Vologesocerta) was founded in the vicinity of Babylon during the reign of Vologases I. The king's intention may have been to establish a new commercial center to compete with the older Seleucia, where party strife frequently disturbed the flow of trade and where opposition to the royal will often arose. [Debevoise, 204] Vologasia is frequently mentioned in inscriptions from Palmyra as the destination of the Palmyrene caravans. [Debevoise, 205] Frye [1963, p. 180) says it was north of of Ctesiphon.
Vologesocerta (see Vologasia)





Zabdicene - district on the Tigris northwest of Adiabene uring Parthian rule of the area
- Incorrect variant of Apaortenon, used by Justin xli. 5. 1-4.
Zenodotium - destroyed by Crassus in 54 B.C. after citizens massacred some Roman legionares
Zeugma, Turkey - See article


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