1st Edition

Rome and Persia at War Imperial Competition and Contact, 193–363 CE

By Peter Edwell Copyright 2021
    296 Pages 59 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    296 Pages 59 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book focuses on conflict, diplomacy and religion as factors in the relationship between Rome and Sasanian Persia in the third and fourth centuries AD. During this period, military conflict between Rome and Sasanian Persia was at a level and depth not seen mostly during the Parthian period. At the same time, contact between the two empires increased markedly and contributed in part to an increased level of conflict. Edwell examines both war and peace – diplomacy, trade and religious contact – as the means through which these two powers competed, and by which they sought to gain, maintain and develop control of territories and peoples who were the source of dispute between the two empires. The volume also analyses internal factors in both empires that influenced conflict and competition between them, while the roles of regional powers such as the Armenians, Palmyrenes and Arabs in conflict and contact between the two "super powers" receive special attention. Using a broad array of sources, this book gives special attention to the numismatic evidence as it has tended to be overshadowed in modern studies by the literary and epigraphic sources.

    This is the first monograph in English to undertake an in-depth and critical analysis of competition and contact between Rome and the early Sasanians in the Near East in the third and fourth centuries AD using literary, archaeological, numismatic and epigraphic evidence, and one which includes the complete range of mechanisms by which the two powers competed. It is an invaluable study for anyone working on Rome, Persia and the wider Near East in Late Antiquity.

    1. Introduction

    2. Rome and Parthia: conflict and diplomacy from Sulla to Caracalla

    3. Conflict and diplomacy between Rome and Persia from Ardashir to Philip I

    4. Persian triumph, Roman defeat

    5. The last years of the reign of Shapur I to the Persian invasion of Carus

    6. The relationship between Rome and Persia during the reigns of Diocletian, Bahram II and Narseh

    7. Rome and Persia during the reigns of Constantine and Shapur II

    8. Conflict and diplomacy between Rome and Persia under Constantius II and Shapur II

    9. The Persian invasion of the emperor Julian and its aftermath

    10. Conclusion


    Peter Edwell is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He researches and teaches on the relationship between the Roman and Sasanian Persian Empires and in the area of Late Antiquity more broadly. He is currently part of the project Crises of Leadership in the Eastern Roman Empire funded by the Australian Research Council. Dr Edwell is the author of Between Rome and Persia, published by Routledge and has written numerous book chapters and articles focussing on the relationship between Rome and its powerful eastern imperial neighbour.

    "Edwell’s work represents a valuable addition to the current scholarship on a subject that is becoming more and more important to our understanding of Late Antiquity. It is readable and thoroughly researched, and many students of ancient history will find it extremely useful." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    "Multiperspectivity is a strength of the book...this book successfully integrates Persian and other eastern viewpoints with Roman ones to provide a complex and balanced narrative." - The Classical Review