Parthian Empire Coins
In 247 BC, Arsaces, leader of a Scythian group in Central Asia called the Parni (a branch of the Dahae) is crowned king. He overthrows the Seleucid governor of Parthia in 238 BC and establishes a nation that lasts for almost 500 years. 95 - 57 BC is referred to as the Parthian 'dark age,' and civil wars make the chronology of this period a matter of conjecture. At the height of their power, the Parthians were second only to Rome and were the only civilized nation able to stand up to her. The empire began its decline in the 2nd century AD and the rebellion of Ardashir of Persis in 220 AD was its death knell. The last Parthian king, Artabanos IV, was killed in the battle of Hormuzdagan in 224 AD and Ardashir became the first Sasanian king.