1st Edition

East Rome, Sasanian Persia and the End of Antiquity Historiographical and Historical Studies

By James Howard-Johnston Copyright 2006
    336 Pages
    by Routledge

    The last, longest and most damaging of the wars fought between East Rome and Sasanian Persia (603-628) brought the classical phase of west Eurasian history to a dramatic close. Despite its evident significance, not least as the distant setting for Muhammad's prophetic mission, this last great war of antiquity attracted comparatively little scholarly attention until the last decades of the twentieth century. James Howard-Johnston's contributions to the subject, most of which were published in out-of-the-way places (one, that on al-Tabari, is printed for the first time), are brought together in convenient form in this volume. They strive to root history in close observation of landscape and monuments as well as careful analysis of texts. They explore the evolving balance of power between the two empires, look at events through Roman, Armenian and Arab eyes, and home in on the climax of the final conflict in the 620s.

    Contents: Introduction; The two great powers in Late Antiquity: a comparison; Procopius, Roman defences north of the Taurus and the new fortress of Citharizon; Byzantine Anzitene; The official history of Heraclius’ Persian campaigns; Armenian historians of Heraclius: an examination of the aims, sources and working-methods of Sebeos and Movses Daskhurantsi; Al-Tabari on the last great war of Antiquity; The siege of Constantinople in 626; Heraclius’ Persian campaigns and the revival of the East Roman Empire, 622-630; Pride and fall: Khusro II and his regime, 626-628. Addenda and corrigenda; Index.


    James Howard-Johnston is University Lecturer in Byzantine Studies and Fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, UK.

    ’... [James Howard-Johnston] has provided a first-rate introduction to the period in the form of this collection of studies, published initially between 1983 and 2004, brought together now in the Variorum series. ... this work will be the basis upon which future studies of Byzantium and Iran in the early seventh century will proceed. The editors of the Variorum series have done scholarship a great service in bringing together nine tightly focused and intricately linked studies.’ Early Medieval Europe