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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The Arsacid dynasty originated in Parthia, to the east of the Caspian Sea, and created an empire that lasted for nearly 500 years and extended from the Euphrates to Central Asia. This chapter presents an overview of the literary sources on the Arsacids, the problem of their origins, their principal sites in Iran (e.g., Susa, Germi, Hecatompylus), material culture, religion, burial patterns, and the nature and organization of their empire. Questions of centralization and regionalism are addressed, as is the relationship between “Parthian” and Hellenistic art. The significance of Hellenism in Arsacid Iran is discussed. In conclusion, a reevaluation of the Arsacid Empire is offered.

Keywords: Arsacids, Parthia, Hellenism, empires, Susa, Germi, Hecatompylus

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