Roman Conquests – Mesopotamia and Arabia, Lee Fratantuono

Roman Conquests – Mesopotamia and Arabia, Lee Fratantuono

Mesopotamia and Arabia were at the far eastern end of the Roman Empire, and for most of the life of the Empire were the location of a series of conflicts, during this period mainly with the Parthian and then Persian Empires, the Rome Empire’s only equals during this period.

The series name doesn’t entirely suit this particular book –most of the campaigns covered here were in areas that the Romans didn’t actually manage to conquer. A series of Roman Emperors attempted to extend their authority in Mesopotamia, and several captured the Parthian capitol, but none were able to actually hold it, and few of these campaigns in the east resulted in any long term conquests. In general the Romans held the north-western end of Mesopotamia and the Parthians or Persians the south-eastern end, and the boundary between the two changed over time. As a result a significant part of this book looks at campaigns into the Parthian and Persian part of Mesopotamia that didn’t end up achieving anything, and that led to the deaths of several emperors, including the Pagan emperor Julian. Of course that doesn’t mean that this is an uninteresting topic, but ‘Roman Campaigns’ might suit better than ‘Roman Conquests’!.

One minor problem is that the book doesn’t contain any maps, so it isn’t always entirely clear exactly where the places being discussed were located, or how distant they were from each other. A significant amount of the text is taken up with accounts of political events elsewhere in the Empire. To a certain extent this is justified, as it was often political events elsewhere in the Empire that decided what happened in Mesopotamia. In other cases we follow the careers of Emperors who came from this area

As one would expect the wars against Parthia and Persian dominate large parts of the book, in particular after the rise of the Persian Empire and during the long reign of Shapur the Great. What impresses here is the resilience of Rome – even at times of great weakness at the centre, parts of the system in the east were able to resist Shapur’s pressure and limit his successes.

This is an interesting look at Roman history as seen from the viewpoint of two of its farthest flung provinces, from where Rome herself was a very distance city, and the Emperors only held real power when they were actually in the area.

1 – Introduction to Roman Arabia
2 – Roman Naval and other Military Operations in the Red Sea under the Early Principate
3 – Trajan and Arabia Petraea
4 – Roman Arabia during the High Empire
5 – Roman Mesopotamia
6 – Roman Mesopotamia from Hadrian to Septimius Severus
7 – Septimius Severus
8 – Caracalla
9 – Elagabalus, Alexander Severus and the Rise of Persia
10 – Persia and the Crisis of the Third Century from Maximinus Thrax to Philip the Arab
11 – From Philip the Arab to renewed War with Sapor
12 – Palmyra and Roman Resurgence in the East
13 – Zenobia and Aurelian
14 – From Probus to Diocletian
15 – Roman Mesopotamia and Arabia in the Fourth Century

Author: Lee Fratantuono
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 192
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2020

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy