Alexander the Great was dying... The one before whom the world trembled, who called himself a god, died of a fever that left him neither the strength nor the time to decide the fate of the conquered countries and peoples. Meanwhile, people who called themselves friends and associates of the Great Conqueror, having forgotten about him, began a deadly struggle for his inheritance. The body of Alexander lay unburied in the chambers of the palace in Babylon, but there was no one to pay the last debt to the deceased. In vain his mother Olympias, forgetting her pride, begged to be allowed to bury her son's body. Nobody heard her. No one paid attention to the tears of the king's wife Roxana, who was trying to claim the rights of her son and heir Alexander, whom she carried in her womb.
The king is dead, long live the king... but who will become him among the commanders-diadochi of the Great Macedonian? The struggle continued for many years, the place of the fathers was occupied by their children-heirs, nicknamed epigones. It took almost 40 years after the death of Alexander, while the warring managed to agree. Three large states appeared in the Ancient World: the Ptolemies, the Seleucids and Macedonia.
The most extensive was the kingdom of the Seleucids. Its capital was first Babylon, then Seleucia on the Tigris, and finally Antioch on the Orontes. While the Seleucids settled in their new palaces, decorated the capitals and strengthened themselves in the western borders of their state, their affairs in the east went from bad to worse. The satrap of Bactria and Sogdiana did not want to submit to the central government, and his son proclaimed himself an independent ruler under the name of Diodotus II, dreaming of creating a kingdom similar to Pergamon, which fell away from the Seleucids and fought hard for its independence.
The Seleucids had to keep a sizable army on their western borders, fearing an invasion by their main enemies, the Ptolemies. Therefore, they did not have the opportunity to quickly and with great forces force the rebellious to obedience. The threat, which remained unnoticed in time, arose when unrest began on the eastern outskirts - among the Iranian nomadic tribes. The latter drove out the governor sent from the capital and declared their allegiance to the Achaemenid kings, whom everyone had already forgotten about.
The uprising was led by the leader of one of the tribes named Arshak. The Greeks called this tribe contemptuously “parny” (fugitives), considering them poor and fearful, pushed back to the desert arid lands by stronger neighbors. However, the warriors of Arshak were brave and determined to achieve freedom. They swiftly attacked and destroyed government troops in the territories of the provinces of Hyrcania and Parthia, proclaiming Arshak as king, and then his brother Tiridates, which marked the beginning of the Arshakid dynasty (250 BC - 224 AD).
The worried Seleucids repeatedly tried to destroy the emerging kingdom, but could not cope with the Parthian army. It consisted of light cavalry armed with small double-curved bows and short arrows, with which the riders showered the enemy, dragging him towards their heavily armed cavalry. Riders and horses of the heavy cavalry were protected by scaly or plate shells made of "Margian iron" (see the article "Military Affairs of the Ancient East"). Over the armor, the warriors threw cloaks of red or purple purple.
The Parthian warriors cherished their war horses more than their lives. Golden or rare white suit, they were fast and hardy, well trained, got used to the owner, unmistakably fulfilling all his commands on the battlefield. The Greeks and Romans claimed that the Parthian horses are descended from the "heavenly", the distinguishing feature of the latter was the bloody sweat that came out when running fast. Getting magical horses or their Parthian offspring was the cherished goal of many of the Parthian neighbors. The Roman military leader Marcus Aurelius was happy when, as a military booty, he got a Parthian horse, which could ride for 8-9 days, overcoming up to 150 km daily.
The Parthians also used dogs - terrible Hyrcanian killer dogs. Each of them could cope with an armed infantryman or horseman, a few - with a war elephant. The Greeks considered these dogs, which were raised in the province of Hyrcania subordinate to the Parthians, a cross between shepherd sheep dogs and Asia Minor lions. They had a strong, lean body, covered with short hair, and a huge lion-like muzzle framed by a mane of long, coarse hair.
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