Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament 
Parthians are mentioned in Acts 2:9 among the sojourners in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. They were probably Jews who had become naturalized in Parthia, ‘Jews of the Dispersion,’ with possibly a few Parthian proselytes. Their ruler at this time was Arsaces XIX. (Artabanus III.), and their kingdom extended from Mesopotamia eastwards to the borders of India. The Parthians at first inhabited the mountainous country south of the Caspian Sea, between Media and Bactriana. Strabo (xi. 9. 2), Arrian (frag. 1), and Justin (xli. 1-4) agree in describing them as Scythians brought into this region by Sesostris. However this may be, they came under Persian rule in the time of Darius Hystaspis, and remained loyal to the Persian kings till Alexander the Great overthrew Darius Codomannus (333 b.c.) and conquered all his territory. Thereafter the Parthians acknowledged the suzerainty of the Seleucidae till 256 b.c., when they revolted under Arsaces I., who became founder of a dynasty which lasted till c._ a.d. 226.
Rome found the Parthians a difficult people to subdue, and the conflicts between the two nations were many and long-continued. Sometimes Rome prevailed; sometimes Parthia held its own. The Parthian soldiers were skilled horsemen and archers. They could move quickly on military campaigns, and shoot arrows with great precision while riding at full speed. Hence they were able to harass even the highly disciplined armies of Rome. The Parthians were not a literary people, and fell below the Persians, and very much below the Greeks, both in civilization and in art._
A. W. Cooke.
Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
Acts 2:9; Parthians, i.e. Jews settled in Parthia. Parthia proper lay S. of Hyreania, E. of Media; but in the apostles' time the Parthian empire stretched from India to the Tigris and from the Kharesm desert to the southern ocean. Arsaces (256 B.C.), revolting from the Seleucid successors of Alexander the Great, founded it. Rising out of the ruins of the Persian empire it was the only power that Rome dreaded, the Roman Crassus having been defeated by Parthians at Carrhae (Haran). Selencia was a chief city, also Hecatompylon. Ecbatana was their kings' summer residence. Mithridates I ruled from the Indian Koosh to the Euphrates. Horsemen and bowmen were their chief force, expert in terribly injuring any enemy who durst follow them in flight. In A.D. 226 the last Arsacid yielded the kingdom to the Persians revolting under Artaxerxes. They were Scythic Tatars of the Turanian race. The arch at Tackt-i-Bostan shows they were not unskillful in art.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
PARTHIANS. The founders of a powerful dynasty in Persia which overthrew the yoke of the Syrian SeleucidÃ¦ b.c. 250, and maintained itself against all external enemies till a.d. 226, defying even the Romans. They came from northern Iran, and their language or dialect greatly affected the cultivated speech of the empire, which was known as Pahlavi during their rÃ©gime. But the exact form of the language of the Jews or proselytes who came to Jerusalem from Parthia, referred to in Acts 2:9 , cannot be ascertained.
J. F. M‘Curdy.
People's Dictionary of the Bible 
Parthians ( Pär'Thi-Anz ). Acts 2:9. The inhabitants of Parthia. It lay east of Media. Parthia was raised into a distinct kingdom by Arsaces, b.c. 256. It soon extended itself over a great part of the ancient Persian empire. The Parthians were esteemed the most expert horsemen and archers in the world; and their skill in discharging arrows while in full flight Is frequently celebrated by Roman poets.
Morrish Bible Dictionary 
Inhabitants of Parthia, a country in the East, lying south of Hyrcania, north of Sagartia, and east of Media. Some Jews from thence were present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:9 . They were a very warlike people, they rode swift horses, and skilfully used the bow as they rode.
Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary 
We read of them Acts 2:9. Supposed to be the same as the ancient Persians.
Holman Bible Dictionary 
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
par´thi - anz ( Πάρθοι , Párthoi ):
1. Country and Early History:
A people mentioned in Acts 2:9 only, in connection with other strangers present at Jerusalem at Pentecost, from which we infer that they were Jews or proselytes from the regions included in the Parthian empire. This empire stretched from the Euphrates to the confines of India and the Oxus, and for centuries was the rival of Rome, and more than once proved her match on the battlefield. The Parthians are not mentioned in the Old Testament, but are frequently in Josephus, and they had an important connection with the history of the Jews, on account of the large colonies of the latter in Mesopotamia, and the interference of the Parthians in the affairs of Judea, once making it a vassal state.
Parthia proper was a small territory to the Southeast of the Caspian Sea, about 300 miles long by 120 wide, a fertile though mountainous region, bordering on the desert tract of Eastern Persia. The origin of the Parthians is rather uncertain, though the prevailing opinion is that they were of Scythic stock or of the great Tartar race. We have no reference to them earlier than the time of Darius the Great, but they were doubtless among the tribes subdued by Cyrus, as they are mentioned by Darius as being in revolt. They seem to have remained faithful to the Persians after that, and submitted to Alexander without resistance.
2. The Seleucid Kings:
Next they came under the rule of the Seleucid kings of Syria, but revolted about 250 BC, in the reign of Antiochus 2 (Theos), and gained their independence under the lead of Arsaces I who established the dynasty of the Arsacidae, which continued for nearly 5 centuries. His capital was Hecatompylos, but his reign continued only about 3 years, and his brother Tridates succeeded him as Arsaces 2 and he consolidated the kingdom. The war between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies freed him from interference from that quarter until 237 BC, when Seleucus 2 (Callinicus) marched against him, but was completely defeated, and Parthian independence was secured. Artabanus I, who followed him, extended his dominions westward to the Zagros Mountains, but Antiochus 3 would not permit such an encroachment with impunity, and led an expedition against him, driving him back and even invading his ancestral dominion. But after a struggle of some years the Parthians remained still unsubdued, and the difficulties of the contest led Antiochus to conclude peace with him in which he acknowledged the independence of Parthia. For about a quarter of a century the king of Parthia remained quiet, but Phraates I (181-174 BC) recommenced aggressions on the Seleucid empire which Were continued by Mithridates I (174-137), who added to his dominions a part of Bactria, on the East, and Media, Persia and Babylonia on the West. This was a challenge to Demetrius II, of Syria, to whose empire the provinces belonged, and he marched against him with a large force, but was defeated and taken prisoner. He remained in Parthia some years, well treated by Phraates II, whose sister he married, and, when Phraates wished to create a diversion against Antiochus Sidetes, he set Demetrius at liberty and sent him back to Syria. Antiochus was at first successful, as his force of 300,000 men far outnumbered the Parthians, but he was at last defeated and slain in 129 Bc and his army destroyed. This was the last attempt of the Seleucid kings to subdue Parthia, and it was acknowledged as the dominant power in Western Asia. But Phraates fell in conflict with the Scyths, whom he called in to aid him in his war with Sidetes, and his successor likewise, and it was only on the accession of Mithridates in 124 Bc that these barbarians were checked. The king then turned his attention toward Armenia, which he probably brought under his control, but its king Tigranes recovered its independence and even attacked the Parthians, and took from them two provinces in Mesopotamia.
3. In Contact with Rome:
Not long after, the power of Rome came into contact with armenia and Parthia. In 66 Bc when, after subduing Mithridates of Pontus, Pompey came into Syria, Phraates 3 made an alliance with him against Armenia, but was offended by the way in which he was treated and thought of turning against his ally, but refrained for the time being. It was only a question of time when the two powers would come to blows, for Parthia had become an empire and could ill brook the intrusion of Rome into Western Asia. It was the ambition and greed of Crassus that brought about the clash of Rome and Parthia. When he took the East as his share of the Roman world as apportioned among the triumvirs, he determined to rival Caesar in fame and wealth by subduing Parthia, and advanced across the Euphrates on his ill-fated expedition in 53 BC. The story of his defeat and death and the destruction of the army and loss of the Roman eagles is familiar to all readers of Roman history. It revealed Parthia to the world as the formidable rival of Rome, which she continued to be for nearly 3 centuries. After the death of Crassus, the Parthians crossed the Euphrates and ravaged Northern Syria, but retired the following year without securing any portion of the country, and thus ended the first war with Rome. In 40 BC, after the battle of Philippi, Pacorus, who was then king, invaded Syria a second time and took possession of it together with all Palestine, Tyre alone escaping subjection. He set Antigonus on the throne of Judea, deposing Hyrcanus for the purpose. Syria and Palestine remained in the hands of Parthia for 3 years, but the coming of Ventidius gave a new turn to affairs. He drove the Parthians out of Syria, and when they returned the following year, he defeated them again and Pacorus was slain. Parthia had to retire within her own borders and remain on the defensive. Antony's attempt to subdue them proved abortive, and his struggle with Octavian compelled him to relinquish the project. The Parthians were unable to take advantage of the strife in the Roman empire on account of troubles at home. an insurrection led by Tiridates drove the king Phraates 4 from the throne, but he recovered it by the aid of the Scyths, and Tiridates took refuge in Syria with the youngest son of the king. Augustus afterward restored him without ransom, and obtained the lost standards of Crassus, and thus peace was established between the rival empires. Each had learned to respect the power of the other, and, although contention arose regarding the suzerainty of armenia, peace was not seriously disturbed between them for about 130 years, or until the reign of Trajan. Parthia was not at peace with herself, however. Dynastic troubles were frequent, and the reigns of the kings short. Artabanus III, who reigned 16-42 AD, was twice expelled from his kingdom and twice recovered his throne. In his days occurred a terrible massacre of Jewish colonists in Mesopotamia, as narrated by Josephus ( Ant. , Xviii , ix). The contest with Rome over Armenia was settled in the days of Nero in a manner satisfactory to both parties, so that peace was not broken for 50 years. The ambition of Trajan led him to disregard the policy inaugurated by Augustus, adhered to, for the most part, by succeeding emperors, not to extend the limits of the empire. After the conquest of Dacia he turned his attention to the East and resolved on the invasion of Parthia. The Parthian king, Chosroes, endeavored to placate Trajan by an embassy bearing presents and proposals of peace, but Trajan rejected them and carried out his purpose. He subdued armenia, took Upper Mesopotamia, Adiabebe (Assyria), Ctesiphon, the capital, and reached the Pets Gulf, but was obliged to turn back by revolts in his rear and failed to reduce the fortress of Hatra. The conquered provinces were restored, however, by Hadrian, and the Parthians did not retaliate until the reign of Aurelius, when they overran Syria, and in 162 Ad L ucius Verus was sent to punish them. In the following year he drove them back and advanced into the heart of the Parthian empire, inflicting the severest blow it had yet received. It was evident that the empire was on the decline, and the Romans did not meet with the resistance they had experienced in former times. Severus and Caracalla both made expeditions into the country, and the latter took the capital and massacred the inhabitants, but after his assassination his successor, Macrinus, fought a three days' battle with the Parthians at Nisibis in which he was worsted and was glad to conclude a peace by paying an indemnity of some 1,500,000 British pounds (217 AD).
4. Fall of the Empire:
But this was the last achievement of the Parthians. It is evident that Artabanus had suffered severely in his conflict with the Romans, and was unable to put down the revolt of the Persians under the lead of Artaxerxes, who overthrew the Parthian empire and established the dynasty of the Sassanidae in its place (226 AD).
The Parthians were not a cultured people, but displayed a rude magnificence, making use, to some extent, of remains of Greek culture which they found within the regions they seized from the empire of Alexander. They had no native literature, as far as known, but made use of Greek in writing and on their coins. They were familiar with Hebrew or Syro-Chaldaic, and the later kings had Semitic legends on their coins. Josephus is said to have written his history of the Jewish War in his native tongue for Parthian readers. In their method of government they seem to have left the different provinces pretty much to themselves, so long as they paid tribute and furnished the necessary contingents.
- Parthians from Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
- Parthians from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- Parthians from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- Parthians from People's Dictionary of the Bible
- Parthians from Morrish Bible Dictionary
- Parthians from Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
- Parthians from Holman Bible Dictionary
- Parthians from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- Parthians from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia