A Political History of Parthia
IN 1873 published his Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy. Since that time no other extensive study devoted to Parthia has been written, although Rawlinson's admirable work did not include all of the classical references and obviously does not include the new source material which has since appeared. Because of these facts it was felt advisable to insert in this volume extensive references, both old and new, to the source material for the political history. The large amount of evidence for the cultural history of Parthia from Dura-Europus and Seleucia on the Tigris now in press and in preparation makes discussion of the cultural aspects inadvisable at present. This must be reserved for some future work on Parthia where the necessity of less documentation will allow of fuller interpretation of the political side of Parthia and the presentation of the new cultural material.
The present study was begun in 1927 as a dissertation at the University of Illinois under the direction of four seasons of excavating in the Near East. The work owes much more than appears in the footnotes to the advice and support of Professor Olmstead, who has furnished encouragement, friendly criticism, and references on many obscure points., now Oriental Institute Professor of Oriental History in the University of Chicago. It has been rewritten more than once since the writer came to the University of Chicago in 1929—a task which has been interrupted at intervals by
Dr. Robert H. McDowell of the University of Michigan by voluminous letters written in the press of field work and by frequent conversations has been of great assistance. The manuscript was read at Seleucia by Professor Clark Hopkins of the same institution, and many of his suggestions are embodied in the text. Professor Arthur E. R. Boak, also of Michigan, read through the galleys and gave freely of his time during the preparation of the manuscript.
For aid in specialized fields Dr. G. G. Cameron, Dr. Raymond A. Bowman, and Dr. Waldo H. Dubberstein, all of the Oriental Institute, were of great assistance; and many other members of the staff have at one time or another rendered aid.
The painstaking work of Dr. T. G. Allen, one of the editors of the Institute's publications, has eliminated many inconsistencies and infelicities of English. In the final preparation of the manuscript Miss Elizabeth Stefanski has been of great assistance. Members of the Chinese section of the Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures have kindly helped in standardizing the spelling of Chinese names. Both my wife and the editorial staff of the Oriental Institute have spent many hours in working on the manuscript and in proofreading and indexing. The librarians of the University of Illinois and of the Oriental Institute and the Classics Library at the University of Chicago have been very helpful.
Finally, the whole project was made possible by the late Professor James Henry Breasted, first director of the Oriental Institute, who was never too busy to hear and encourage a young scholar, and by his successor, Professor John A. Wilson, who together have made it possible to devote the time necessary to the preparation of this study.
The portrait of King Mithradates II used as a frontispiece is reproduced about three times original size from a silver drachm in my own collection.
Neilson C. Debevoise
July 29, 1937
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