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Sinatruces of Parthia

Great King
Coin of Sinatruces, Ray mint
King of the Parthian Empire
Reignc. 75 – 69 BC
PredecessorOrodes I
SuccessorPhraates III
Bornc. 158 BC
Died69 BC (aged 90)
IssuePhraates III
DynastyArsacid dynasty
FatherMithridates I (?)

Sinatruces (also spelled Sinatrukes or Sanatruces) was king of the Parthian Empire from c. 75 BC to c. 69 BC.[a] Some sources (incl. G. R. Farhad Assar[2] and Edward Dąbrowa[3]) indicate that he could have been a son of the Parthian ruler Mithridates I (r. 171–132 BC), and a half-brother of Phraates II. David Sellwood, historian, designates Sinatruces as a probably younger brother of Mithridates I.[4] Sinatruces was succeeded by his son Phraates III.


The Parthian Empire had since the death of Mithridates II (r. 124–88 BC) fallen into a state of turmoil and decline; the authority of the crown had decreased, while the empire lost lands to its neighbours.[5] Sinatruces, who originally resided amongst the Saka of Central Asia, took advantage of the chaotic situation in the empire, and with the aid of the Saka captured the Parthian throne in c. 75 BC, at the age of eighty.[6] The name of the Arsacid branch established by Sinatruces on the Parthian throne has been coined by the modern historian Marek Jan Olbrycht as the "Sinatrucids", which ruled the Parthian Empire till 12 AD.[7] The Sinatrucid family was notably supported by the Suren clan of Sakastan.[8]

During Sinatruces' reign, the Artaxiad king of Armenia, Tigranes the Great (r. 95–55 BC), took advantage of the weakness of the Parthians, and retook the "seventy valleys" he had previously ceded to Mithridates II, and also went to conquer the Parthian domains of Media Atropatene, Gordyene, Adiabene, Osroene, and northern Mesopotamia.[9] Sinatruces died in 69 BC and was succeeded by his son Phraates III.[10] Contemporary historian, Saghi Gazerani, has come up with the hypothesis that the story of the legendary Iranian monarch, Zav Tahmasp, contains echoes of the life of Sinatruces.[11]


On the obverse of his coins, Sinatruces is portrayed with a tiara decorated with a line of stags.[12] The stags are a reference to the religious symbolism of the Saka, who had helped him ascend the throne.[13] Sinatruces' son Phraates III also made use of stag symbols on his coins.[12]


  1. ^ According to Assar (2006, pp. 52–53), Sinatruces reigned twice, from 93/2 to 88/7 BC, and then from 77/6 to 70/69 BC. However, this is not supported by other scholars, who state that Sinatruces only reigned once during the 70s BC.[1]


  1. ^ Kia 2016, p. 195; Dąbrowa 2012, p. 169; Olbrycht 2016, pp. 23–24; Shayegan 2011, p. 235; Curtis 2012, p. 69; Simonetta 2001, p. 86
  2. ^ Assar, G. R. F. (2005). "Genealogy and coinage of the early Parthian ruler, Part II". Parthica. Istituti ditoriali e Poligrafici internationali MMV (7): 29–63.
  3. ^ Dąbrowa, E. (2012b). "The Arsacids and their state". Altertum und Gegenwart: 125 Jahre Alte Geschichte: 30.
  4. ^ Ellerbrock, Uwe (2021). The Parthians: The Forgotten Empire. Routledge. p. 36.
  5. ^ Dąbrowa 2012, p. 171.
  6. ^ Olbrycht 2015, pp. 362–363; Olbrycht 2016, pp. 23–24; Shayegan 2011, p. 235
  7. ^ Olbrycht 2016, p. 3.
  8. ^ Gazerani 2015, p. 20.
  9. ^ Garsoian 2005; Shayegan 2011, pp. 245, 320; Dąbrowa 2012, p. 171
  10. ^ Kia 2016, p. 195; Dąbrowa 2012, p. 169; Olbrycht 2015, p. 363; Shayegan 2011, p. 235
  11. ^ Gazerani 2015, pp. 87–88.
  12. ^ a b Olbrycht 2015, p. 363.
  13. ^ Olbrycht 2015, pp. 362–363.


Sinatruces of Parthia Arsacid dynastyBorn: c. 158 BC Died: 69 BC Preceded byOrodes I King of the Parthian Empire c. 75–69 BC Succeeded byPhraates III
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Sinatruces of Parthia
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