Eastern Mediterranean 113: Outbreak of Trajan’s Parthian War
In c. 109 civil war broke out in Parthia, with Shah Osroes I gaining control of the west of the empire and Vologases III the east. The following year Osroes installed his nephew Axidares as king of Armenia, but failed to consult the Romans beforehand and thus violated the Treaty of Rhandeia (63 AD). Despite Osroes’ apologies, Trajan took this as a pretext for war, marching on the eastern frontier in 113.
108? Epirus Vetus▲
Sometime between 103 and 114, the Roman emperor Trajan separated Epirus from the the senatorial province of Achaea, adding parts of Macedonian Epirus to it to form the new province of Epirus. Later known as Epirus Vetus to distinguish it from the later Roman province of Epirus Nova to the north, the new province was placed under the administration of a procurator Augusti—an appointee of the Emperor—as was common for smaller imperial provinces.
109 Accession of Abgar VII▲
In 109 Shah Pacorus II of Parthia sold the Parthian client kingdom of Osroene to Abgar VII, son of King Izates of Adiabene. Abgar proceeded to push for the complete independence of Osroene, although he eventually felt compelled to ally with Rome when Trajan invaded Parthia (114–116).
109?–129 Parthian Civil War of 109–129▲
From around 109 Vologases III either co-ruled with Shah Pacorus II of Parthia or initiated a revolt against him in Ecbatana; either way he gained control in eastern Parthia when Osroes I succeeded Pacorus. Vologases remained at large during the Roman invasion of Parthia (114–117), eventually marching west to overthrow Osroes in 129.
110? Amnis Traianus▲
In the early 2nd century the Roman emperor Trajan ordered the construction of a canal linking the River Nile to the Red Sea, building the city of Clysma at the Red Sea end. Such a canal had existed as early as the 6th century BC but had fallen out of use by the time of the Roman Empire. It is uncertain how long Trajan’s canal lasted, but it would become silted up by the 7th century.
110 Axidares of Armenia▲
When King Sanatruces (Sanatruk) of Armenia died in 110, Shah Osroes I of Parthia appointed his own nephew, the Parthian prince Axidares, as the new king. Although Axidares was connected to the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia, the fact that his appointment was made without Roman consultation—thus violating the Treaty of Rhandeia (63 AD)—gave the Roman emperor Trajan cause for war with Parthia.
110 Bithynia et Pontus▲
In 110 the Roman emperor Trajan renamed the Roman senatorial province of Bithynia as Bithynia and Pontus, without apparently making any major changes to its territory. Bithynia and Pontus would later be made into an imperial province in c.134, in exchange for making Lycia and Pamphylia a senatorial province.
113 Outbreak of Trajan’s Parthian War▲
Regarding Shah Osroes I of Parthia appointment of Axidares as king of Armenia (110) as an act of war, the Roman emperor Trajan gathered together his armies and began marching east (113). This terrified Osroes, who, after unsuccessful peace offerings, deposed Axidares himself, replacing him with another nephew, Parthamasiris, for Trajan to crown. Rejecting all overtures, Trajan instead advanced across Asia Minor to Antioch, simply stating that friendship is determined by deeds not words and that he would act accordingly.