However, the only town about which we have abundant and accurate information is the one which occupied the site of Susa in Khoozestan. The inscriptions from Hellenistic period which have been found there date from the time of Antichus III to that Ardavan the Parthian. According to them, Apollo and Artemis were worshipped there as twin deities, but it appears that Artemis took the name of the Elamite goddess “Nanaia”. Atemple outside the walls was consecrated to her. At first the town was a military colony, but it contained a considerable population of Hellenized Syrians, Cappadocians, Jews and Babylonians.
In Iran custom had it that unused land and land lying fallow belonged to the king. However, the greater part of the territory was in the possession of the notables to whom these lands had belonged from time immemorial. These quasi-feudal lords lived in fortified castles and had the soil tilled by peasants who were more or less serfs. Lords great or small were surrounded in the ancient manner by a whole group of dependants and craftsmen who manufactured the objects necessary for existence in the traditional way: carpets, fabrics, furniture, pottery and various implements. The safety of these properties and the security of their inhabitants was ensured by having young men who had been born in the same domains brought up ride on horseback, to shoot with bow and arrow and trained in ambushes by hunting. A similar state of affairs had existed since the Achaemenid period, but the Sleucids seem to have been unable to win the confidence of this quasi-feudal force.
Towards 250 BC the Parthian tribes which had long been settled in Khorasan revolted in answer to the appeal of their chiefs. The power of this Parthian dynasty of Arsacids, which was to reign almost 500 years, was already established in the period of Antiochous III, at the end of the third century BC, but it only reached the peak of its power during the second century about the time when its brilliant cavalry under Mithradates I drove the Seleucids from Babylonia. The spirit of tolerance of these new conquerors served their cause. They did not destroy the administration their predecessors had organized, they compelled no one to become a convert to Mazdaism they practiced themselves, and showed themselves generally receptive and understanding.
The example of the Parthian court at Ctesiphon enjoying the performance of the tragedies of Euripides has often been quoted. The coins of their kings on which they called themselves ‘philhellenes’ are the formal proof of their Hellenization or their desire to become Hellenized, the Jews and members of other minorities appear to have lived happily under their government, a kind of military feudal system which succeeded the centralized power of the Achaemenids. However, Persia the real Persia, remained ‘passive and refractory’. In her mountains she awaited the apparition of a chief of her people to reorganize the empire and link the glorious past with future, and thus to bypass the present.