Arsaces

Ar'saces (Α᾿ρσάκης, prob. of Persian or Armenian origin, Pott, Etymol. Forschungen, ii, 172), the name of the founder of the Parthian empire (Justin. xli, 5, 5), and hence borne by his successors, the Arsacida (see Smith's Dict. of Class. Biog. s.v.). The name occurs in the Apocrypha (1 Macc. 14:2, 3; 15:22) as that of the king of Parthia and Media (Diod. Sic. Excerpt. p. 597, ed. Wessel), B.C. 138. The Syrian king Demetrius (II)

Nicator, having invaded his country, at first obtained several advantages. Media declared for him, and the Elymeans, Persians, and Bactrians joined him; but Arsaces having sent one of his officers to him, under pretence of treating for peace, he fell into an ambuscade, his army was cut off by the Persians, and he himself fell into the hands of Arsaceg (Josephus, Ant. 13:5, 11). As Arsaces is the common name of all the Parthian kings (Strabo, 15:702), and of many Armenian (see Kosegarten in the Hal. Encyclop. v, 408 sq.), the one here intended is probably Arsaces VI, properly named Mithridates (or Phraates) I, a prince of distinguished bravery, who conquered Bactria, penetrated India, reduced the Medes and Persians, and greatly improved the condition of the Parthian enmpire (Justin. 36:1; 38:9; xli, 6; Oros. v, 4; Strabo, 11:516, 517, 524 sq.). Mithridates treated his prisoner Demetrius with respect, and gave him his daughter in marriage (App. Syr. 67), but kept him in confinement till his own death, cir. B.C. 130 (App. Syr. 68; Diod. ap. Muller, Fragm. Hist. ii, 19). The reference to him in the Maccabees is, however, somewhat confused (see Wernsdorf, De fide Maccab. p. 175).

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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