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Amazaspis I King of Iberia [60759]
(-Abt 0116)
Sanatroukes "the Apostle-killer" King of Armenia [60550]
Pharasmenes (Parsman) II King of Iberia [60760]
(-Abt 0132)
Ghadama [60761]

Rhadamiste (Rhadamistus) I King of Iberia [60546]
(-Abt 0135)


Family Links

Zenobia [60547]

Rhadamiste (Rhadamistus) I King of Iberia [60546]

  • Born: Abt 0095
  • Marriage: Zenobia [60547]
  • Died: Abt 135 about age 40

bullet   Another name for Rhadamiste was Ghadam.


bullet  General Notes:

The Annals By Tacitus
Book XII

In the same year war broke out between the Armenians and Iberians, and was the cause of very serious disturbances between Parthia and Rome. Vologeses was king of the Parthians; on the mother's side, he was the offspring of a Greek concubine, and he obtained the throne by the retirement of his brothers. Pharasmanes had been long in possession of Iberia, and his brother, Mithridates, ruled Armenia with our powerful support. There was a son of Pharasmanes named Rhadamistus, tall and handsome, of singular bodily strength, trained in all the accomplishments of his countrymen and highly renowned among his neighbours. He boasted so arrogantly and persistently that his father's prolonged old age kept back from him the little kingdom of Iberia as to make no concealment of his ambition. Pharasmanes accordingly seeing the young prince had power in his grasp and was strong in the attachment of his people, fearing too his own declining years, tempted him with other prospects and pointed to Armenia, which, as he reminded him, he had given to Mithridates after driving out the Parthians. But open violence, he said, must be deferred; artful measures, which might crush him unawares, were better. So Rhadamistus pretended to be at feud with his father as though his stepmother's hatred was too strong for him, and went to his uncle. While he was treated by him like a son, with excessive kindness, he lured the nobles of Armenia into revolutionary schemes, without the knowledge of Mithridates, who was actually loading him with honours.

He then assumed a show of reconciliation with his father, to whom he returned, telling him all that could be accomplished by treachery was now ready and that he must complete the affair by the sword. Meanwhile Pharasmanes invented pretexts for war; when he was fighting with the king of the Albanians and appealing to the Romans for aid, his brother, he said, had opposed him, and he would now avenge that wrong by his destruction. At the same time he gave a large army to his son, who by a sudden invasion drove Mithridates in terror from the open country and forced him into the fortress of Gorneas, which was strongly situated and garrisoned by some soldiers under the command of Caelius Pollio, a camp-prefect, and Casperius, a centurion.

There is nothing of which barbarians are so ignorant as military engines and the skilful management of sieges, while that is a branch of military science which we especially understand. And so Rhadamistus having attempted the fortified walls in vain or with loss, began a blockade, and, finding that his assaults were despised, tried to bribe the rapacity of the camp-prefect. Casperius protested earnestly against the overthrow of an allied king and of Armenia, the gift of the Roman people, through iniquity and greed of gain. At last, as Pollio pleaded the overpowering numbers of the enemy and Rhadamistus the orders of his father, the centurion stipulated for a truce and retired, intending, if he could not deter Pharasmanes from further hostilities, to inform Ummidius Quadratus, the governor of Syria, of the state of Armenia.

By the centurion's departure the camp prefect was released, so to say, from surveillance; and he now urged Mithridates to conclude a treaty. He reminded him of the tie of brotherhood, of the seniority in age of Pharasmanes, and of their other bonds of kindred, how he was united by marriage to his brother's daughter, and was himself the father-in-law of Rhadamistus. "The Iberians," he said, "were not against peace, though for the moment they were the stronger; the perfidy of the Armenians was notorious, and he had nothing to fall back on but a fortress without stores; so he must not hesitate to prefer a bloodless negotiation to arms." As Mithridates wavered, and suspected the intentions of the camp-prefect, because he had seduced one of the king's concubines and was reputed a man who could be bribed into any wickedness, Casperius meantime went to Pharasmanes, and required of him that the Iberians should raise the blockade. Pharasmanes, to his face, replied vaguely and often in a conciliatory tone, while by secret messages he recommended Rhadamistus to hurry on the siege by all possible means. Then the price of infamy was raised, and Pollio by secret corruption induced the soldiers to demand peace and to threaten that they would abandon the garrison. Under this compulsion, Mithridates agreed to a day and a place for negotiation and quitted the fortress.

Rhadamistus at first threw himself into his embraces, feigning respect and calling him father-in-law and parent. He swore an oath too that he would do him no violence either by the sword or by poison. At the same time he drew him into a neighbouring grove, where he assured him that the appointed sacrifice was prepared for the confirmation of peace in the presence of the gods. It is a custom of these princes, whenever they join alliance, to unite their right hands and bind together the thumbs in a tight knot; then, when the blood has flowed into the extremities, they let it escape by a slight puncture and suck it in turn. Such a treaty is thought to have a mysterious sanctity, as being sealed with the blood of both parties. On this occasion he who was applying the knot pretended that it had fallen off, and suddenly seizing the knees of Mithridates flung him to the ground. At the same moment a rush was made by a number of persons, and chains were thrown round him. Then he was dragged along by a fetter, an extreme degradation to a barbarian; and soon the common people, whom he had held under a harsh sway, heaped insults on him with menacing gestures, though some, on the contrary, pitied such a reverse of fortune. His wife followed him with his little children, and filled every place with her wailings. They were hidden away in different covered carriages till the orders of Pharasmanes were distinctly ascertained. The lust of rule was more to him than his brother and his daughter, and his heart was steeled to any wickedness. Still he spared his eyes the seeing them slain before his face. Rhadamistus too, seemingly mindful of his oath, neither unsheathed the sword nor used poison against his sister and uncle, but had them thrown on the ground and then smothered them under a mass of heavy clothes. Even the sons of Mithridates were butchered for having shed tears over their parent's murder.

Quadratus, learning that Mithridates had been betrayed and that his kingdom was in the hands of his murderers, summoned a council, and, having informed them of what had occurred, consulted them whether he should take vengeance. Few cared for the honour of the State; most argued in favour of a safe course, saying "that any crime in a foreign country was to be welcomed with joy, and that the seeds of strife ought to be actually sown, on the very principle on which Roman emperors had often under a show of generosity given away this same kingdom of Armenia to excite the minds of the barbarians. Rhadamistus might retain his ill-gotten gains, as long as he was hated and infamous; for this was more to Rome's interest than for him to have succeeded with glory." To this view they assented, but that they might not be thought to have approved the crime and receive contrary orders from the emperor, envoys were sent to Pharasmanes, requiring him to withdraw from Armenian territory and remove his son.

Julius Pelignus was then procurator of Cappadocia, a man despised alike for his feebleness of mind and his grotesque personal appearance. He was however very intimate with Claudius, who, when in private life, used to beguile the dullness of his leisure with the society of jesters. This Pelignus collected some provincial auxiliaries, apparently with the design of recovering Armenia, but, while he plundered allies instead of enemies, finding himself, through the desertion of his men and the raids of the barbarians, utterly defenceless, he went to Rhadamistus, whose gifts so completely overcame him that he positively encouraged him to assume the ensigns of royalty, and himself assisted at the ceremony, authorizing and abetting. When the disgraceful news had spread far and wide, lest the world might judge of other governors by Pelignus, Helvidius Priscus was sent in command of a legion to regulate, according to circumstances, the disordered state of affairs. He quickly crossed Mount Taurus, and had restored order to a great extent more by moderation than by force, when he was ordered to return to Syria, that nothing might arise to provoke a war with Parthia.

For Vologeses, thinking that an opportunity presented itself of invading Armenia, which, though the possession of his ancestors, was now through a monstrous crime held by a foreign prince, raised an army and prepared to establish Tiridates on the throne, so that not a member of his house might be without kingly power. On the advance of the Parthians, the Iberians dispersed without a battle, and the Armenian cities, Artaxata and Tigranocerta, submitted to the yoke. Then a frightful winter or deficient supplies, with pestilence arising from both causes, forced Vologeses to abandon his present plans. Armenia was thus again without a king, and was invaded by Rhadamistus, who was now fiercer than ever, looking on the people as disloyal and sure to rebel on the first opportunity. They however, though accustomed to be slaves, suddenly threw off their tameness and gathered round the palace in arms.

Rhadamistus had no means of escape but in the swiftness of the horses which bore him and his wife away. Pregnant as she was, she endured, somehow or other, out of fear of the enemy and love of her husband, the first part of the flight, but after a while, when she felt herself shaken by its continuous speed, she implored to be rescued by an honourable death from the shame of captivity. He at first embraced, cheered, and encouraged her, now admiring her heroism, now filled with a sickening apprehension at the idea of her being left to any man's mercy. Finally, urged by the intensity of his love and familiarity with dreadful deeds, he unsheathed his scymitar, and having stabbed her, dragged her to the bank of the Araxes and committed her to the stream, so that her very body might be swept away. Then in headlong flight he hurried to Iberia, his ancestral kingdom. Zenobia meanwhile (this was her name), as she yet breathed and showed signs of life on the calm water at the river's edge, was perceived by some shepherds, who inferring from her noble appearance that she was no base-born woman, bound up her wound and applied to it their rustic remedies. As soon as they knew her name and her adventure, they conveyed her to the city of Artaxata, whence she was conducted at the public charge to Tiridates, who received her kindly and treated her as a royal person.

The king of Armenia, having been reconciled with the Greeks, went against the Iranians and Mihrdat. He encountered them on the Lex river, killed Mihrdat and the Iranian prince, and enthroned in Iberia P'arsman's [Pharasmanes/ P'arsman II the Good, 116-132] son, Admi [Radamistus/Adam, 132-35]. Radamistus lived for three years and then died leaving an infant son. Through him P'arsman's wife ruled Iberia.
The Georgian Chronicle


Rhadamiste married Zenobia [60547] [MRIN: 551616982], daughter of Mithridates of Armenia [61600] and Unknown.

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