1st Edition

Rome, Persia, and Arabia Shaping the Middle East from Pompey to Muhammad

By Greg Fisher Copyright 2020
    260 Pages 66 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 66 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Rome, Persia, and Arabia traces the enormous impact that the Great Powers of antiquity exerted on Arabia and the Arabs, between the arrival of Roman forces in the Middle East in 63 BC and the death of the Prophet Muhammad in AD 632.

    Richly illustrated and covering a vast area from the fertile lands of South Arabia to the bleak deserts of Iraq and Syria, this book provides a detailed and captivating narrative of the way that the empires of antiquity affected the politics, culture, and religion of the Arabs. It examines Rome’s first tentative contacts in the Syrian steppe and the controversial mission of Aelius Gallus to Yemen, and takes in the city states, kingdoms, and tribes caught up in the struggle for supremacy between Rome and Persia, including the city state of Hatra, one of the many archaeological sites in the Middle East that have suffered deliberate vandalism at the hands of the ‘Islamic State’. The development of an Arab Christianity spanning the Middle East, the emergence of Arab fiefdoms at the edges of imperial power, and the crucial appearance of strong Arab leadership in the century before Islam provide a clear picture of the importance of pre-Islamic Arabia and the Arabs to understanding world and regional history.

    Rome, Persia, and Arabia includes discussions of heritage destruction in the Middle East, the emergence of Islam, and modern research into the anthropology of ancient tribal societies and their relationship with the states around them. This comprehensive and wide-ranging book delivers an authoritative chronicle of a crucial but little known era in world history, and is for any reader with an interest in the ancient Middle East, Arabia, and the Roman and Persian empires.

    1. Writing the History of (the) Pre-Islamic Arabs 

    2. Between Rome and Parthia 

    3. Enemies, Allies, and Pretenders, ad 211–500 

    4. Arab Statesmen in the Sixth Century 

    5. Legacy


    Greg Fisher is a graduate of the University of Oxford, UK, and the author and editor of numerous works on the ancient world including Between Empires (2011), Arabs and Empires before Islam (2015), and Hannibal and Scipio (2015).

    'This is the definitive political history of the Arabs before Islam. Fisher deftly describes how the emergent Arab tribes navigated the complex political landscape between the Roman, Parthian, and Persian Empires. Even though I’ve studied this topic for years, I learned something new on almost every single page. Anyone interested in Middle Eastern history should read this book.' - Walter D. Ward, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA