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Ancient land, southwestern Asia. Corresponding roughly to modern northeastern Iran, it was a province of the Persian Achaemenian dynasty and later of the empire of Alexander the Great. After the dissolution of the Seleucid dynastyc. 250 BC, a new Parthian kingdom was founded by Arsaces. The Arsacid dynasty ruled until it was overthrown by the Sasanian dynastyc. AD 224. At its height in the early 1st century BC, it was known as the Parthian empire and included all of the Iranian plateau and the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. It was weakened by internal disorder and by conflict with Rome in the 1st century BC. One of its later capitals was Hecatompylos. The ruins of Ctesiphon, another major Parthian city, are in modern Iraq, near Baghdad. The Parthians were renowned as horsemen and archers.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Parthia, visit Britannica.com.