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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

ARSACES . A king of Parthia (known also as Mithridates I.). When opposed by Demetrius Nikator, who thought the people would rise in his favour and afterwards assist him against Tryphon, he deceived Demetrius by a pretence of negotiations, and in b.c. 138 took him prisoner ( 1Ma 14:1-3; Justin, xxxvi. 1). In 1Ma 15:22 Arsaces is mentioned among the kings to whom was sent an edict (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIV. viii. 5) from Rome forbidding the persecution of the Jews.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [2]

ar - sā´sēz ar´sa - sēz ( Ἀρσάκης , Arsákēs ): The common name assumed by all the Parthian kings, is mentioned in 1 Macc 14:1-3, and in 15:22 in connection with the history of Demetrius, one of the Greek, or Seleucid, kings of Syria, and successor to Antiochus Epiphanes, the oppressor of the Jews, who caused the uprising against the Syrian domination under the leadership of the Maccabees. This particular Arsaces was the sixth of the line of independent Parthian rulers which had been founded in 250 bc by Arsaces I, who revolted from Antiochus Theos, killed the Syrian satraps, and with his successor Tiridates I firmly established the independence of the Parthian kingdom. About 243 bc, Tiridates added Hyrcania to his dominions; but it was not till the reign of Arsaces VI, whose pre-regnal name was Mithridates, that Parthia through the conquest of Bactria, Media, Persia, Armenia, Elymais and Babylonia, threatened the very existence of the kingdom of the Seleucids and became a dangerous competitor of Rome itself. It was this king who about 141 bc was attacked by Demetrius Nicator, king of Syria. According to the account preserved in 1 Macc 14:1-3, Arsaces sent one of his captains, who went and smote the host of Demetrius, and took him alive, and brought him to Arsaces, by whom he was put in ward. At first, the captive king was treated with great severity, being carried in triumph from city to city and exhibited to his enemies. Later, however, Arsaces gave him his daughter in marriage and assigned him a residence in Hyrcania. Some time after the death of Arsaces, Demetrius was sent back to Syria by Phraates, the son of Mithridates, and reigned from 128 to 125 bc. Arsaces Vi is mentioned, also, in 1 Macc 15:22, as one of the kings whom the Romans forbade to make war on their Jewish allies.


See 1 Macc 14:1-3, and 15:22; Ant , Xiii , v, 11; Xiv , viii, 5; Appian, Syria , 67; Strabo, XI, 515; XV, 702; Justin, Xli , 5, 6; Xxxvi , 1; Orosius, V, 4; Rawlinson's Parthia , in the Story of the Nations series and Die Herrschaft der Parther in Justi's Geschichte des alten Persiens in Oncken's Allgemeine Geschichte , I, 4.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [3]

( Ἀρσάκης , prob. of Persian or Armenian origin, Pott, Etymol. Forschungen, ii, 172), the name of the founder of the Parthian empire (Justin. xli, 5, 5), and hence borne by his successors, the Arsacida (see Smith's Dict. Of Class. Biog. s.v.). The name occurs in the Apocrypha ( 1 Maccabees 14:2-3;  1 Maccabees 15:22) as that of the king of Parthia and Media (Diod. Sic. Excerpt. p. 597, ed. Wessel), B.C. 138. The Syrian king Demetrius (II) Nicator, having invaded his country, at first obtained several advantages. Media declared for him, and the Elymeans, Persians, and Bactrians joined him; but Arsaces having sent one of his officers to him, under pretence of treating for peace, he fell into an ambuscade, his army was cut off by the Persians, and he himself fell into the hands of Arsaceg (Josephus, Ant. 13:5, 11). As Arsaces is the common name of all the Parthian kings (Strabo, 15:702), and of many Armenian (see Kosegarten in the Hal. Encyclop. v, 408 sq.), the one here intended is probably Arsaces VI, properly named Mithridates (or Phraates) I, a prince of distinguished bravery, who conquered Bactria, penetrated India, reduced the Medes and Persians, and greatly improved the condition of the Parthian enmpire (Justin. 36:1; 38:9; xli, 6; Oros. v, 4; Strabo, 11:516, 517, 524 sq.). Mithridates treated his prisoner Demetrius with respect, and gave him his daughter in marriage (App. Syr. 67), but kept him in confinement till his own death, cir. B.C. 130 (App. Syr. 68; Diod. ap. Muller, Fragm. Hist. ii, 19). The reference to him in the Maccabees is, however, somewhat confused (see Wernsdorf, De fide Maccab. p. 175).