The book The Military History of the Third Century Iran is the result of several years of collaboration between the authors who undertake daily research on the history of pre-Islamic Iran. The present work is primarily addressed to students of history who acquire their first experiences in exploring the history of the Near East. We hope that it will help readers with a fascinating topic and will encourage them to continue their studies on ancient military.
Šāpur of Ray, known also as Mermeroes in Procopius’ and Agathias’ narratives, was the spāhbed in the battles of Dara (June 530) and Satala (summer 530). In 542 he was dispatched by Xusrō I Anōšīrvān (r. 531–579) against the Byzantine fortress of Dara. In 548 Šāpur of Ray was sent at the head of a large army to relieve the fortress of Petra in Lazica, which was under siege by a combined Byzantine-Lazic force. He died of his illness at Mtskheta in the summer of 555. According to Ṭabarī at the time of Sukhrā’s fall, Šāpur of Ray was supreme Commander of the land (iṣbahbadh al-bilād). If we allow identification of Sukhrā and Siāwoš, the last commander of Iranian army with the title of Artēštārān sālār, then we must state that, after removing Sukhrā, Šāpur of Ray also held a high military rank until the military reforms of Xusrō I Anōšīrvān.
The war of 337-363 (which the author dubs the ‘Nisibis War’), was an exception to the traditional Roman reliance on a strategic offensive to bring about a decisive battle. Instead, the Emperor Constantius II adopted a defensive strategy and conducted a mobile defence based upon small frontier (limitanei) forces defending fortified cities, supported by limited counteroffensives by the Field Army of the East. These methods successfully checked Persian assaults for 24 years. However, when Julian became emperor his access to greater resources tempted him to abandon mobile defence in favour of a major invasion aimed at regime change in Persia. Although he reached the Persian capital, Ctesiphon, he failed to take it, was decisively defeated in battle and killed. The Romans subsequently resumed and refined the mobile defence, allowing the Eastern provinces to survive the fall of the Western Empire.
John Harrel applies his personal experience of military command to a strategic, operational, tactical and logistical analysis of these campaigns and battles, highlighting their long-term significance.
In Brill’s Companion to Insurgency and Terrorism in the Ancient Mediterranean, Tim Howe and Lee Brice challenge the view that these forms of conflict are specifically modern phenomena by offering an historical perspective that exposes readers to the ways insurgency movements and terror tactics were common elements of conflict in antiquity. Assembling original research on insurgency and terrorism in various regions including, the Ancient Near East, Greece, Central Asia, Persia, Egypt, Judea, and the Roman Empire, they provide a deep historical context for understanding these terms, demonstrate the usefulness of insurgency and terrorism as concepts for analysing ancient Mediterranean behavior, and point the way toward future research.
About the authors:
Lee L. Brice, Ph.D. (2003), UNC-Chapel Hill, is Professor of History at Western Illinois University. He has published volumes and articles/chapters on the military history of the ancient world and is series editor of Warfare in the Ancient Mediterranean World (Brill).
Timothy Howe studied History, Classical and Archaeology at The Pennsylvania State University. PhD. 2000. He has been at St. Olaf College since 2003, where he is currently Associate Professor of History & Ancient Studies. Since 2013 he has excavated at the Hellenistic/Roman site of Antiochia ad Cragum in Southern Turkey, where he is currently Associate Field Director. Main interests include Greek and Roman agriculture and warfare, Mediterranean archaeology and Alexander the Great. He has written two monographs (Pastoral Politics: Animals, Agriculture and Society in Ancient Greece, Regina 2008 and All Things Alexander the Great, Greenwood 2016).
Until the second half of the second century AD the border between Rome and Iran was marked by the Euphrates, with Mesopotamia regarded as an integral part of the Parthian state. In 224 AD the power in Iran was taken over by the Sasanians, who sought to regain influence over the territory previously ruled by the Parthians. The change of the dynasty in Iran was perceived as a threat to the position of Rome in the Near East. It has result a series of conflicts resumed shortly after the overthrow of Parthian rule and Ardašīr I’s foundation of the Sassanid Empire, known as Roman–Sasanian Wars.
This book is an expanded english translation of the in 2012 published original Geografia wojen rzymsko-irańskich. Działania Rzymu i Iranu w okresie sasanidzkim in Polish. The present work is primarily addressed to students and scholars of history. It presents a valuable collection of designing maps depicting topography of Roman-Iranian armed conflicts. The maps have been created on the basis of source texts reporting wars waged by Rome against the Sasanian Iran and only the towns and provinces which were mentioned by ancient writers while reporting specific conflicts have been marked. Moreover, the present work contains only maps of military operations in which Roman and Iranian armies directly participated.
The graffito from Dura-Europos depicting a heavily armored cavalryman is one of the most important sources used to reconstruct the armament of Iranian cavalry units seen in the middle of the third century A.D. The graffito presents a hybrid cuirass that is composed of mail and lamellas. It was probably originally an Iranian construction. The use of hybrid armor should be connected with the process of the adaptation of mail in the Parthian empire and then adjusting this new type of body armor to the realities of cavalry combat. The new hybrid cuirass served its purpose well. It not only survived the Parthian era but also the Arabic conquest of Sasanian Iran in the middle of the seventh century A.D., which is evidently demonstrated by the fact that it was present in the military equipment of Muslim armies in the 16th and 17th centuries A.D.