See N. C. Debevoise, A Political History of Parthia (1938, repr. 1970); P. B. Lozinski, The Original Homeland of the Parthians (1959); M. A. R. Colledge, The Parthians (1967).
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 dynasty circa 250 BC, a new Parthian kingdom was founded by Arsaces. The Arsacid dynasty ruled until it was overthrown by the Sāsānian dynasty circa 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.
Learn more about Parthia with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Anxi is the ancient Chinese name for Parthia. Anxi was described by the Chinese explorer Zhang Qian who visited the neighbouring countries of Bactria and Sogdiana in 126 BC, making the first known Chinese report on Parthia. In Chinese, the name "Anxi" (pronounced anshiak in Tang Dynasty Chinese) is a transliteration of the name Arsaces, founder of the Arsacid Dynasty of Parthia.