Iran 30 BCE

Iran, the center of the Parthian empire.

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What is happening in Iran in 30BCE

The Parthians, a nomadic tribe who took over a kingdom in northern Iran in around 250 BCE, successfully conquered all the provinces previously ruled by the Seleucids east of Syria. Iran is again the center of a large empire. The Parthians were aided in this by their pro-Greek policies, and the Greek-speaking cities continue to be centers of Hellenistic civilization. Along the northern borders, steppe nomads have continued to pose a threat, and more than one Parthian king has been killed in action against them. On the whole, the Parthians are successful in defending their territories, however. They themselves have their roots in the nomadic lifestyle of the steppes, and they have developed the first heavy armed cavalry force in world history, which is more than a match for horsemen of the central Asia. Perhaps as a result, nomadic invasions have been deflected east, towards India, where the Indo-Greek kingdom of Bactria has fallen to the Scythians.

This cavalry force – which, incidentally, enabled the Parthians to inflict one of the worst defeats on Rome in its entire history, at the battle of Carrhae (53 BCE) – is under the control of the Iranian nobility, and this, together with their wealth and the hold they have over the countryside, gives them immense influence at the Parthian court. Unfortunately their factional struggles have a tendency to undermine the stability of the Parthian government.

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