As readers of my books and articles know, the forgotten Asian empire of Parthia was actually the fulfillment of a prophecy in Isaiah 14:4: that the “house of Israel” (the exiled ten tribes of Israel) would eventually rise to rule over the empires (Assyria, Babylon and Persia) that had taken or held them captive. Parthia rose to power around 250 BC and its empire lasted until circa 227 AD when its people were driven out of Asia toward Europe by the resurgent Persians. During its zenith, the Parthian Empire fought on equal terms with the Roman Empire and usually defeated the Romans in warfare.

Many Parthian artifacts and cities have been destroyed by the effects of time or human spitefulness and neglect, but the remains of another ancient Parthian city has been found in the region of modern Iran that is southeast of the Caspian Sea. This same region used to be part of the homeland of the Parthian people in ancient times. The fortified portion of the newly-discovered Parthian city encloses 395,000 square meters of land. Keep in mind that this is just the land which would have been inside its fortified walls. In peacetime, many people would have lived in its suburbs outside the fortified walls, so the size of this city would have been far larger than merely its fortified core.

The city has “highly-decorated stuccos” and uniquely Parthian wares so this city had to be a prosperous Parthian city. Archaeologists have determined that is was laid out in a “planned” manner, and that it was founded in the 3rd century BC (the exact time when Parthia was rising to power). They also believe that the ancient name of this Parthian city was “Dara-gerd,” which actually has an Israelite connection. Other Parthian cities also had obvious Israelite names or connections to the ancient Holy Land. One Parthian city was named Samariane (see Ancient History, by George Rawlinson, p. 475), which was clearly named in honor of the city of Samaria, the ancient capital of the biblical, ten-tribed kingdom of Israel. Another Parthian city was named Gaza (p. 474 of previously-cited source), after the old Philistine city which often warred with the Israelites. A prominent early city of the Parthians was named Asaak (The Heritage of Persia by Richard N. Frye, p. 211), which was named after the Israelite patriarch, Isaac. Richard N. Frye’s book proposes that Dara might have been the first capital city of Parthia when it beginning its period of growth (p. 210). This Parthian city of Dara may have been the very city named Dara-gerd which has now been located by modern archaeologists. Dara is also an Israelite name as Dara was a grandson of Judah, the namesake of the tribe of Judah (I Chronicles 2:6). Many Jews from the tribe of Judah were also taken into an Asian captivity by the Assyrians and many native peoples “became Jews” in the time of Esther and Mordechai (Esther 8:17), which was about 150 years before Parthia was founded, so it would not be surprising to see names from the tribes of Judah found in Parthian contexts. As George Rawlinson points out in his book, The Sixth Monarchy (p. 240), Jews were treated well in the Parthian Empire and even had cities of their own which were entirely Jewish.

It would appear that the ancient Parthian city of Dara has been found. However, that may to be its detriment, given that the modern Islamic regime of Iran is destroying (or willfully neglecting) its pre-Islamic historical sites (as previous blogs have documented). This Iranian policy seems short-sighted as Iran could make a great deal of money by restoring these sites and making them tourist attractions.  For more about the Wise Men/Magi of Parthia who came to give gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the young child Jesus (Matthew 2:9), you can read the free portion of my book, Parthia–The Forgotten Ancient Superpower, which is available now by clicking on the text crawler at this website’s homepage.

One last thought on this subject. The modern name “Iran” is derived from the name of an ancient Parthian tribe called the “Eranites” or “Eranians.” Eran was the name of a clan of the Israelite tribe of Ephraim (Numbers 26:35)! The modern Iranian capital city of Teheran (in the English language) is named after this same clan of the tribe of Ephraim. Of course, the modern Iranians are not Israelites. They are descended from the Persians who drove the Parthians out of Asia. The descendants of the Parthians migrated into Europe where they first invaded and supplanted the Roman Empire and afterwards formed the population bases of many modern European nations.

Archaeologists Discover a Parthian City in North Khorasan Province