Roman Soldier versus Parthian Warrior – Carrhae to Nisibis, 53 BC-AD 217, Si Sheppard

Roman Soldier versus Parthian Warrior – Carrhae to Nisibis, 53 BC-AD 217, Si Sheppard


The Parthian Empire was one of the few Ancient powers that was able to successfully survive a series of Roman invasion attempts, famously inflicting defeats on members of both of the triumvirates and capable of fighting off later Imperial invasions.

As Sheppard makes clear, the reason for the long running rivalry was that neither power had the ability to destroy the other. The Romans could win victories over the Parthians, but were generally quite vulnerable when operating in their wide open heartlands, and could never hold onto their conquests, while the Parthians had no real siegecraft, rarely threatened Rome’s eastern cities, and never posed any threat to Rome itself. As a result the Parthians were able to stop Rome expanding any further to the east,

I like the structure of this book. Sheppard focuses on three of the main battles between the two powers – Carrhae, Phraaspa and Nisibis, separated by over 250 years. The standard format in this series is to have an historical overview, followed by all of the battles. Here the historical overviews are placed between the three battles, giving us more of a continuous narrative and allowing us to place the detailed battle accounts in their true context.

The Road to War
The Opposing Sides
Carrhae, 53 BC
Carrhae to Phraaspa
Phraaspa, 36 BC
Phraaspa to Nisisbis
Nisibis, AD 217

Author: Si Sheppard
Edition: Paperback
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2020

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