Rome and Persia at War

Edwell, Peter. 2020. Rome and Persia at War: Imperial Competition and Contact, 193-363 CE. New York and London: 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.

Table of Contents:

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