The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363): A Documentary History

The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363): A Documentary History

The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363): A Documentary History

The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363): A Documentary History

Synopsis

The crisis of the third century saw Rome not only embroiled in contests of succeeding short-lived Emperors, but assailed by an increasing variety of hostile peoples from outside its frontiers. Owing to the complex racial interplay of this period, the sources for its history have to be compiled from a wide variety of sources. The least adequate are those in Latin, the imperial lives of the Historia Augusta . These have to be supplemented by the Greek chronicles of Zosimus and John Malalas of Antioch, as well as the Armenian history of Moses of Chorene, the Arabic History of the Arabs of Al-Tabari , as well as inscriptions in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Syrian and other languages. This volume collects these diverse sources for the first time in English translation, and will be a uniquely valuable resource for scholars working on a period of Roman history that is attracting increasing attention.

Excerpt

The compilation and translation of this collection of texts on Romano-Persian relations were begun by Sam Lieu about five years ago for students taking his course on the history of Roman Mesopotamia (and adjacent Syria) at Warwick University. the need for some sort of collection was particularly felt for the period c. ad 224-350 because of the diverse nature of the surviving evidence and the lack of a major historical source. Michael Dodgeon joined the task of translating when the collection was already half completed, thus enabling Sam Lieu to extend his search for relevant material and, later, to concentrate on compiling the notes and the appendices. We are both extremely grateful to Richard Stoneman of Routledge for his generous invitation to publish what can only be regarded as a working collection since a great deal of new research remains to be done on Rome’s Eastern Frontier and relations with Persia in one of the more tempestuous and less well-studied periods of its history. Richard’s personal interest in this collection and his infinite patience have been invaluable assets to the editors. It is fortunate that the first part of the excellent commentary by Wolfgang Felix on the literary sources on Romano-Sassanian relations (Antike literarische Quellen zur Aussenpolitik des Sasanidenstaates, Vienna, 1985) became available to us at a time when it was still possible to make additions and alterations to our collection. Our debt to Felix’s work is enormous and is amply reflected in the notes to the first five chapters of this collection. It is a cause of some regret that we could not delay the publication of our collection until after the appearance of the second part of his work covering the period from ad 309 onwards.

The diverse origins of the texts in this collection (Greek, Latin, Arabic, Syriac, Hebrew, Palmyrene, Middle Persian, and Armenian) necessitated our turning to friends and colleagues for help at

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