The Antiquities of the Jews, 20.54–20.74

Flavius Josephus  translated by William Whiston

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541. But now Artabanus, king of the Parthians perceiving that the governors of the provinces had framed a plot against him, did not think it safe for him to continue among them; but resolved to go to Izates, in hopes of finding some way for his preservation by his means, and, if possible, for his return to his own dominions. 55So he came to Izates, and brought a thousand of his kindred and servants with him, and met him upon the road, 56while he well knew Izates, but Izates did not know him. When Artabanus stood near him, and, in the first place, worshipped him, according to the custom, he then said to him, “O king! do not thou overlook me thy servant, nor do thou proudly reject the suit I make thee; for as I am reduced to a low estate, by the change of fortune, and of a king am become a private man, I stand in need of thy assistance. 57Have regard, therefore, unto the uncertainty of fortune, and esteem the care thou shalt take of me to be taken of thyself also; for if I be neglected, and my subjects go off unpunished, many other subjects will become the more insolent towards other kings also.” 58And this speech Artabanus made with tears in his eyes, and with a dejected countenance. Now as soon as Izates heard Artabanus’s name, and saw him stand as a supplicant before him, he leaped down from his horse immediately, 59and said to him, “Take courage, O king! nor be disturbed at thy present calamity, as if it were incurable; for the change of thy sad condition shall be sudden; for thou shalt find me to be more thy friend and thy assistant than thy hopes can promise thee; for I will either re-establish thee in the kingdom of Parthia, or lose my own.”

602. When he had said this, he set Artabanus upon his horse, and followed him on foot, in honor of a king whom he owned as greater than himself; which, when Artabanus saw, he was very uneasy at it, and sware by his present fortune and honor that he would get down from his horse, unless Izates would get upon his horse again, and go before him. 61So he complied with his desire, and leaped upon his horse; and when he had brought him to his royal palace, he showed him all sorts of respect when they sat together, and he gave him the upper place at festivals also, as regarding not his present fortune, but his former dignity, and that upon this consideration also, that the changes of fortune are common to all men. 62He also wrote to the Parthians, to persuade them to receive Artabanus again; and gave them his right hand and his faith, that he should forget what was past and done, and that he would undertake for this as a mediator between them. 63Now the Parthians did not themselves refuse to receive him again, but pleaded that it was not now in their power so to do, because they had committed the government to another person, who had accepted of it, and whose name was Cinnamus; and that they were afraid lest a civil war should arise on this account. 64When Cinnamus understood their intentions, he wrote to Artabanus himself, for he had been brought up by him, and was of a nature good and gentle also, and desired him to put confidence in him, and to come and take his own dominions again. 65Accordingly, Artabanus trusted him, and returned home; when Cinnamus met him, worshipped him, and saluted him as a king, and took the diadem off his own head, and put it on the head of Artabanus.

663. And thus was Artahanus restored to his kingdom again by the means of Izates, when he had lost it by the means of the grandees of the kingdom. Nor was he unmindful of the benefits he had conferred upon him, but rewarded him with such honors as were of the greatest esteem among them; 67for he gave him leave to wear his tiara upright, and to sleep upon a golden bed, which are privileges and marks of honor peculiar to the kings of Parthia. 68He also cut off a large and fruitful country from the king of Armenia, and bestowed it upon him. The name of the country is Nisibis, wherein the Macedonians had formerly built that city which they called Antioch of Mygodonla. And these were the honors that were paid Izates by the king of the Parthians.

694. But in no long time Artabanus died, and left his kingdom to his son Bardanes. Now this Bardanes came to Izates, and would have persuaded him to join him with his army, and to assist him in the war he was preparing to make with the Romans; 70but he could not prevail with him. For Izates so well knew the strength and good fortune of the Romans, that he took Bardanes to attempt what was impossible to be done; 71and having besides sent his sons, five in number, and they but young also, to learn accurately the language of our nation, together with our learning, as well as he had sent his mother to worship at our temple, as I have said already, was the more backward to a compliance; and restrained Bardanes, telling him perpetually of the great armies and famous actions of the Romans, and thought thereby to terrify him, and desired thereby to hinder him from that expedition. 72But the Parthian king was provoked at this his behavior, and denounced war immediately against Izates. Yet did he gain no advantage by this war, because God cut off all his hopes therein; 73for the Parthians perceiving Bardanes’s intentions, and how he had determined to make war with the Romans, slew him, and gave his kingdom to his brother Gotarzes. 74He also, in no long time, perished by a plot made against him, and Vologases, his brother, succeeded him, who committed two of his provinces to two of his brothers by the same father; that of the Medes to the elder, Pacorus; and Armenia to the younger, Tiridates.

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