Europe 54 AD: Iberian–Armenian War

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 15 Jan 54 AD (The Julio–Claudian Dynasty: Iberian–Armenian War), showing the following events: Iberian–Armenian War of 50–51; Sanabares’ Rebellion; Armenian Succession War of 51–53.

Exploiting Parthian instability, Rhadamistus of Iberia invaded Armenia in 50 AD and executed the king, even though both were Roman allies. Although Rome accepted Rhadamistus’ power grab, Parthia—by now under the firm rule of Vologases I (51–78)—did not and in 52 AD marched into Armenia with their own claimant, Vologases’ brother Tiridates. However, the expedition was crippled by winter and disease, forcing Tiridates to withdraw the following year.

Main Events

50–51 AD Iberian–Armenian War of 50–51

Both persuaded by and fearing his manipulative son Rhadamistus, the elderly King Pharasmanes I of Iberia declared war on his brother, King Mithridates of Armenia, in 50 AD, even though both kings were clients of the Roman Empire. Invading with a strong army, Rhadamistus besieged Mithridates at Gorneas (Garni) until the king was betrayed by his Roman garrison and executed by Rhadamistus while negotiating peace. Rhadamistus then proclaimed himself King of Armenia and was recognized as such by wikipedia

50?–65 AD Sanabares’ Rebellion

In c.50 AD Sanabares, satrap of Margiana (Merv), mounted a claim on the Parthian throne, possibly with the support of the rising Kushan Empire. However, Sanabares never seemed to venture far from his capital and little is known of him beyond the coins he minted. In 65 AD he or his successor recognized the authority of Shah Vologases I, who apparently acknowledged Margiana as a client wikipedia

51–53 AD Armenian Succession War of 51–53

Concerned by the usurpation of the Armenian throne by the Iberian prince Rhadamistus, Shah Vologases I of Parthia named his younger brother Tiridates as King of Armenia and sent him with an army to depose Rhadamistus. In 52 AD Tiridates invaded, capturing the Armenian capitals of Tigranocerta and Artaxata and dispersing the Iberian forces effortlessly. However, in the bitter winter that followed an epidemic ravaged the Parthian troops, forcing them to withdraw and allowing Rhadamistus to regain control of the wikipedia