Two coins depicting Mark Antony and Orodes II

Rivalling Rome
Parthian coins and culture


New dates to be announced

Room 69a


Explore the Parthian empire, Rome's most prominent opponent.

Famous for their skill in horsemanship and archery, the Parthians were Iranian peoples who came to power in 248 BC. The Parthian empire became Rome’s most prominent opponent east of the River Euphrates from 96 BC until it was overthrown in AD 224.

This East-West conflict continued even after the fall of the Parthian empire, as their successor fought Rome for territorial gain and economic supremacy.

Our knowledge of the Parthians relies heavily on Western sources, which often give peaceful negotiations a political spin and present the Parthians as inferior to the Romans. Presenting coins and other objects including belts, figurines and a Roman cameo, this exhibition offers a balanced view of Parthian art and culture, and the empire’s lasting legacy.