DARIUS viii. Darius Son of Artabanus




A son of the Parthian king Artabanus II (r. ca. 10-38 C.E.) named Darius was sent as a hostage to Rome (Josephus, Antiquitates 18.4.5) shortly after an interview between Artabanus and the Roman legate for Syria, Vitellius, in 37 C.E. (Suetonius, Caligula 14.3; idem, Vitellius 2.4; Dion Cassius, 59.27.3).

Darius seems to have led an obscure life in the Roman empire. He is mentioned only once as having ridden before Gaius [Caligula] during one of his repeated crossings of the bridge between Baiae and the bay of Puteoli (Pozzuoli; Suetonius, Caligula 19.2). Five fragments of water conduits found at Nemi (ca. 40 km from Rome) bear the inscription “Darii Regis” (Morpurgo, p. 280 no. 109). It has been suggested that the inscription could refer to the hostage Darius (Stein, p. 2), but the could hardly have used the title “king.” Alfred von Gutschmid (p. 49 and n. 19) has identified Darius with Vologases I, mentioned as a son of Artabanus II by Josephus (Antiquitates 20.3.4), but this identification is untenable (cf. Kahrstedt, p. 18 and n. 9), as it would mean that Darius had been sent back to Artabanus.



A. von Gutschmid, Kleine Schriften III, Leipzig, 1893.

U. Kahrstedt, Artabanos III und seine Erben, Bern, 1950.

L. Morpurgo, “Nemi,” in Notizie degli scavi, Rome, 1931.

A. Stein, in Prosopographia Imperii Romani III, 2nd ed., Berlin and Leipzig, 1943.

(Marie Louise Chaumont)

Originally Published: December 15, 1994

Last Updated: November 17, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VII, Fasc. 1, p. 55

Cite this entry:

Marie Louise Chaumont, “DARIUS viii. Darius Son of Artabanus,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, VII/1, p. 55, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/darius-viii (accessed on 30 December 2012).