The humbling of the great nobles, an enterprise in which he was sustained by the lesser nobles, became necessary. He had to reduce the hereditary privileges the barons had carved out for themselves. It was also necessary to reorganize the states that made up the kingdom. He put princes of his family on the various thrones of these states: Mesene, Persis, Elymais, Atropatene, all little states that were governed by men loyal to the throne. But it proved impossible for him to put down a revolt in the eastern possessions, where the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares declared himself independent (c. 19) and took the title "king of kings."
It is thought that the position taken toward the city-states, about which precise information is lacking, was the reason for the seven-year-long revolt of Seleucia on the Tigris. The fighting took place there between the Greek and Hellenized elements and the Semites, who demanded their right to participate in the autonomy of the city and who supported pretenders against Artabanus III.
A new attempt to place a son on the throne in Armenia angered Rome, which, with the aid of the nobility, sent for Tiridates III, a pretender the barons had crowned at Ctesiphon, obliging Artabanus III to take refuge with the Dahae, who helped him win back his throne. In 37 a meeting with a representative of Rome on a bridge in the middle of the Euphrates allowed an agreement to be reached that maintained the status quo in Armenia and recognized the Parthian sovereignty with the river as the frontier.
The strong personality of Artabanus III did not seek to impose his kingdom as a world power, but he did not hesitate to make plans to regain the western province, the former Achaemenid possessions.