On the Edge of Empires: North Mesopotamia During the Roman Period (2nd – 4th c. CE), 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

On the Edge of Empires

North Mesopotamia During the Roman Period (2nd – 4th c. CE), 1st Edition

By Rocco Palermo


288 pages

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Hardback: 9781138120136
pub: 2019-02-22
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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.

Table of Contents

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



About the Author

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.

About the Series

Studies in the History of the Ancient Near East

Advisory Board of Associate Editors

Ra’anan Boustan, University of California, Los Angeles, USA; Zeba Crook, Carleton University, Canada; Elizabeth DePalma Digeser, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA; Matthew Gibbs, University of Winnipeg, Canada; John Lee, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA; Harry Munt, University of York, UK; Richard Payne, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, USA; Lucy Wadeson, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; Philip Wood, Aga Khan University, London, UK; Alan Lenzi, University of the Pacific, USA.


Studies in the History of the Ancient Near East provides a global forum for works addressing the history and culture of the Ancient Near East, spanning a broad period from the foundation of civilisation in the region until the end of the Abbasid period. The series includes research monographs, edited works, collections developed from conferences and workshops, and volumes suitable for the university classroom.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General