Media and Hellenistic Greece
Alexander occupied Media in the summer of 330 BC. In 328 he appointed Atropates, a former general of Darius (Arrian iii. 8, 4), as satrap (iv. 18, 3, Vi. 29, 3), whose daughter was married to Perdiccas in 324 (Arrian vu. 4, ~). In the partition of his empire, southern Media was given to the Macedonian Peithon; but the north, which lay far off and was of little importance for the generals who fought for the inheritance of Alexander, was left to Atropates.
While southern Media with Ecbatana passed to the rule of Antigonus, and afterwards (about 31o) to Seleucus I, Atropates maintained himself in his satrapy and succeeded in founding an independent kingdom. Thus the partition of the country, which the Persian had introduced, became lasting; the north was named Atropatene (in Plin. Vi. 42, Atrapatene; in. Ptolem. Vi. 2, 5, Tropatene; in Pniyb, V. 44 and 55 corrupted in r?. isarpajr a KaXouu~va), after the founder of the dynasty, a name which is preserved in the modern Azerbaijan; cf. Nldeke, Atropatene, in Zeitschrif.t der deutschen morgeni. Geselisclzaft, 34, 692 sqq. and Marquart, Eranshahr, p. 108 sqq.
The capital was Gazaca in the central plain, and the strong castle Phraaspa (Dio Cass. xlix. 26; Plut. 4nlon. 38; Ptol. Vi. 2, 10) or Vera (Strabo xi. 523), probably identical with the great ruin Takhti Suleiman, with remains of Sassanid fire-altars and of a later palace. The kings had a strong and warlike army, especially cavalry (Polyb. v. 55; Strabo xi. 253). Nevertheless, King Artabazanes was forced by Antiochus the Great in 220 BC to conclude a disadvantageous treaty (Polyb. v. 55), and in later times the rulers became in turn dependent on the Parthians, on Tigra,nes of Armenia, and in the time of Pompey who defeated their king Darius (Appian, Mithr. 108), on Antonius (who invaded Atropatene) and on Augustus of Rome. In the time of Strabo (A.D. 17), the dynasty existed still (p. 523); in later times the country seems to have become a Parthian province.
Atropatene is that country of western Asia which was least of all other countries influenced by Hellenism; there exists not even a single coin of its rulers. But the opinion of modern authors that it had been a special refuge of Zoroastrianism, is based upon a wrong etymology of the name (which is falsely explained as "country of fire-worship"), and has no foundation whatever. There can be no doubt that the kings adhered to the Persian religion; but it is not probable that it was deeply rooted among their subjects, especially among the non-Aryan tribes.
Southern Media remained a province of the Seleucid Empire for a century and a half, and Hellenism was introduced everywhere. Media is surrounded everywhere by Greek towns, in pursuance of Alexander's plan to protect it from neighboring barbarians, says Polybius (x. 27). Only Ecbatani retained its old character. But Rhagae became the Greek town, Europus; and with it Strabo (xi. 524) names Laodicea, Apamea Heraclea or Achais (cf. Pun. Vi. 48). Most of them were fouiidec by SeJeucus I. and his son Antiochus I.
In 221, the satrap Molon tried to make himself independent (there exist bronze coins with his name and the royal title), together with his brother Alexander, satrap of Persis, but they were defeated and killed by Antiochus the Great. In the same way, hI 16r, the Median satrap Timarchus took the diadem and conquered Babylonia; on his coins he calls himself the great king Timarchus; but this time again the legitimate king, Demetrius I, succeeded in subduing the rebellion, and Timarchus was slain. But with Demetrius I. the dissolution of the Seleucid Empire begins, which was Jrought on chiefly by the intrigues of the Romans, and shortly afterwards, about 150, the Parthian king, Mithradates I. (q.v.), conquered Media (Justin xli. 6).
From this time Media remained subject to the Arsacids, who changed the name of Rhagae, or Europus, into Arsacia (Strabo xi. 524), and divided the country into five small provinces (Isidorus Charac.). From the Arsacids or Parthians, it passed in A.D. 226 to the Sassanids, together with Atropatene.
By this time the old tribes of Aryan Iran had lost their character and had been amalgamated into the one nation of the Iranians. The revival of Zoroastrianism, which was enforced everywhere by the Sassanids, completed this development. It was only then that Atropatene became a principal seat of fire-worship, with many fire-altars. Rhagae now became the most sacred city of the empire and the seat of the head of the Zoroastrian hierarchy; the Sassanid Avesta and the tradition of the Parsees therefore consider Rhagae as the home of the family of the Prophet.
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