Europe 59 AD: War of the Armenian Succession
In 54 AD the Armenians rose up against Rhadamistus’ rule, restoring the Parthian prince Tiridates to power. The Roman emperor Nero—who had succeeded Claudius that year—asked Tiridates to Rome to receive his crown as a client king, but was rebuffed. In response, the Romans invaded Armenia, deposing Tiridates and placing their own candidate on the throne.
54 AD First Restoration of Tiridates I▲
When the Iberian prince Rhadamistus retook the throne of Armenia after the unsuccessful Parthian occupation of 53–54 AD, he ruthlessly punished those cities who had surrendered to the Parthians. Soon tiring of his reign, they rose in revolt, forcing him to flee his palace on horseback (upon his arrival in Iberia he would be executed as a traitor, while his wife Zenobia—who he had abandoned for dead during his retreat—was rescued by the Parthians). With Rhadamistus’ departure, the Parthian prince Tiridates I became King of Armenia again.
13 Oct 54–9 Jun 68 AD Principate of Nero▲
In 54 AD, with the consent of the Praetorian Guard, Nero succeeded his great-uncle and adoptive father Claudius to become ruler of the Roman Empire at the age of sixteen. Initially dominated by his mother Agrippina—who he had murdered in 59 AD—he was a flamboyant character whose extravagant reign saw a number of major revolts. In 68 AD he was overthrown in a rebellion and committed suicide, bringing an end to the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
55–58 AD Rebellion of Vardanes II▲
Shortly after the Parthian restoration of Tiridates I in Armenia (54 AD), Shah Vologases’ son Vardanes rose up in revolt in Ecbatana, Media. In response, Vologases recalled his forces from Armenia and traveled east to suppress this new rival, finally defeating him at some point in 58 AD. Whether due to this war or the fight against the Hyrcanians, Vologases would also be in Ecbatana the next year, when his brother Tiridates reached him requesting aid after the Roman conquest of Armenia.
56 AD Roman Tyras▲
In 56 AD the Romans under Emperor Nero restored the ancient Black Sea city of Tyras, making it part of the province of Moesia. Nearby Olbia was also restored by the Romans in the 1st century, presumably a few years later (it would be well-established by the time Dio Chrysostom visited it in 95 AD).
58–59 AD Corbulo’s Conquest of Armenia▲
When the Parthian prince Tiridates I became King of Armenia in 54 AD, the new Roman emperor Nero demanded that he travel to Rome for customary approval (as Armenia was a Roman client state). When, after some delay, Tiridates refused in 58, Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, the Roman commander of Cappadocia and Galatia, invaded with a force of three legions and a large number of local auxiliaries. In a two-year campaign, the Romans captured the two Armenian capitals of Artaxata and Tigranocerta and placed their candidate, Tigranes VI, on the throne.
58–61 AD Hyrcanian Revolt▲
Emboldened by the Roman invasion of Armenia (58–59 AD), the satrapy of Hyrcania revolted against Parthian rule, sending envoys to Rome to request an alliance. At first Shah Vologases attempted to suppress the rebellion, but, faced with Armenian incursions into Adiabene, was eventually forced to concede client state status to the Hyrcanians in 60 AD. Relations soon soured, however, and some time in the next decade Hyrcania revolted again, possibly breaking away from the Parthians for good (it was an independent state by the mid-2nd century).