Eastern Mediterranean 41 AD: Herod Agrippa
In 37 AD Caligula (37–41 AD) appointed his friend Herod Agrippa as King of Batanaea and other Jewish territories. Agrippa annexed the domains of Herod Antipas two years later, before reaching the peak of his power in 41, when he was permitted to revive the Kingdom of Judea by Caligula’s successor Claudius. His kingdom, however, lasted only until his death in 44, at which date it was annexed back to Rome.
36–42 AD Parthian Civil Wars of 36–42▲
Shortly after regaining his throne after the civil war of 36 AD, Artabanus II of Parthia had to face a rebellion in Seleucia, former capital of the Seleucids and a center of Greek aristocracy in the Parthia Empire. While attempting to deal with the revolt, Artabanus was overthrown by Cinnamus, a Parthian noble, and fled to Adiabene. The King of Adiabene negotiated Artabanus’ return to power, but the latter ruled for just over a year more before dying in 38 or 39 AD, leading to civil war between his sons. One son, Gotarzes, seized power and murdered his brother, another Artabanus, but was overthrown in turn by a third brother, Vardanes. Returning with Hyrcanian and Dahae support, Gotarzes then expelled Vardanes to Bactria. However, faced with intriguing nobles at home and in Armenia, the two brothers reluctantly agreed on peace, with Vardanes as shah. With the arrival of Vardanes back in Ctesiphon, the Parthians finally accepted the capitulation of Seleucia in 42.
37–44 AD Reign of Herod Agrippa▲
In 37 AD Caligula made his friend, Herod Agrippa, client king of Batanaea and other Jewish territories which Tiberius had annexed to Syria. Two years later, Agrippa brought about the banishment of his uncle, Herod Antipas, and was granted Antipas’ domains of Galilee and Peraea. Agrippa reached the peak of his power in 41 AD when, after Caligula’s death, he supported Claudius and in return became ruler of a restored Kingdom of Judea. Agrippa’s realm lasted until his death three years later, upon which it was annexed back to the Roman Empire.
37 AD Caligula’s interference in Armenia▲
In 37 AD the Roman emperor Caligula undid Tiberius’ intervention in Armenia (35 AD) by ordering the arrest and imprisonment of King Mithridates, allowing Shah Artabanus II of Parthia to restore Orodes—Artabanus’ son and Mithridates’ old rival—to the Armenian throne. At about this time, Caligula made Cotys king of Lesser Armenia—the first mention of this kingdom as a Roman client state.
37–38? AD Caligula’s Commagene▲
When he gained power, Caligula granted Gaius Julius Antiochus, his friend and brother-in-law, the position of client king of Commagene, restoring that kingdom (Tiberius had annexed it after the death of Antiochus’ father in 17 AD). In addition to Commagene, the new king received Cilicia Tracheia and part of Lycaonia. However, Antiochus soon had a falling out with Caligula, who abruptly deposed him.