1st Edition

On the Edge of Empires North Mesopotamia During the Roman Period (2nd – 4th c. CE)

By Rocco Palermo Copyright 2019
    318 Pages
    by Routledge

    318 Pages
    by Routledge

    On the Edge of Empires explores the mixed culture of North Mesopotamia in the Roman period. This volatile region at the eastern edge of the Roman world became during the imperial period the theater of confrontation for multiple political entities: Rome, Parthia, Sasanian Persia. Roman presence is only recognizable through military installations – forts, barracks, military camps – yet these fascinating lands tell a story of frontier people and soldiers, of trade despite war, and daily life between the Empires. This volume combines archaeological and historical, literary and environmental evidence in order to explore this important borderland between east and west.

    On the Edge of Empires is a valuable addition to researchers engaged in the historical and archaeological reconstruction of the frontier areas of the Roman Empire, and a fascinating study for students and scholars of the Romans and their neighbours, borderlands in antiquity, and the history and archaeology of empires.

    List of figures



    Ancient Sources

    Major Abbreviations

    Chapter 1

    Rome shifts Eastwards: Empires, Hegemony, and Frontiers

    Chapter 2

    From the Anatolian Plateau to the Steppe: Geography and Climate of North Mesopotamia

    Chapter 3

    From Trajan to Jovian: Conquest, Organisation and Loss of a Borderland

    Chapter 4

    Empires and the Cities: Urban Areas and Rural Landscapes

    Chapter 5

    Minor Settlements, Forts, and Camps: Exploring the Roman Frontier in the Syrian-Iraqi Steppe

    Chapter 6

    Imperial Impact on a Small Scale: The Site of Tell Barri between the 2nd and 4th c. CE

    Chapter 7

    Landscape(s) and the Empires: Survey Data for Roman Period Mesopotamia

    Chapter 8

    Mobility, Strategy, and the Empires: The Peutinger Map and the Route System in North Mesopotamia

    Chapter 9

    Across the Edges: Arabs and Nomads in Roman Period Mesopotamia

    Chapter 10

    Rome and the Steppe: Conclusions




    Rocco Palermo is a Researcher at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. He has carried out fieldwork in Italy, Syria, and Jordan, and he is currently involved in two different projects in Northern Iraq with the University of Udine, Italy, and Harvard University, USA. He is currently working on a book on the landscape and settlements of Hellenistic period Mesopotamia.

    "Palermo offers a clear and useful narrative of the material history of the region, as well as a guide to productive venues for future work... [T]he material he has gathered provides, for the first time, clarity about what remains to be done in order to develop our understanding of North Mesopotamia. His interpretation of the archaeological material is measured and careful, and he does not shy away from ambiguity. Rather, he presents the Roman presence in the region, especially, as an influence that waxed and waned depending on historical circumstances—one among many in a region that was buffeted between imperial powers, preserving and adapting its identity over time." - Studies in Late Antiquity