The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars

The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars

The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars

The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars

Synopsis

Late Antiquity was an eventful period on the eastern frontier of the Roman empire. From the failure of the Emperor Julian's invasion of Persia in 363 AD to the overwhelming victory of the Emperor Heraclius in 628, the Romans and Persians were engaged in almost constant conflict.This book, sequel to the volume covering the years 226-363 AD, provides translations of key texts on relations between the opposing sides, taken from a wide range of sources. Many have never before been available in a modern language, and all are fully set in context with expert commentary and extensive annotation.

Excerpt

This book differs in several respects from its predecessor. Instead of offering merely a series of translated excerpts from ancient authors, we have attempted to fill the gaps between extracts, thus providing a history of the frontier and of Romano-Persian relations from 363 to 630. We have not sought to address broader issues, such as trading relations, or to analyse long-term developments (for instance) in diplomacy between the two powers. Discussion of these matters may be found elsewhere, and we may take the opportunity to refer the interested reader to a thematic sourcebook in German on the whole Sasanian period by E. Winter and B. Dignas (2001). We have consciously departed from the traditional sourcebook system of numbering the extracts in each chapter. Our intention is to encourage those using the sources here assembled to refer to the actual passage in the source itself, rather than simply to Greatrex and Lieu 9.2. We hope that this will lead to greater clarity for both students and researchers, and perhaps to more of an awareness of the actual sources themselves.

We believe that the passages translated here are of great importance to the subject. It does not follow from this that passages excluded from this book are not. Various criteria, such as relevance, the availability of an English translation and the reliability of the source in question, determined whether a given excerpt was included or not. Hence, just as in volume 1 few passages from Ammianus Marcellinus were presented, here the reader will not find much Procopius, Joshua the Stylite or Sebeos, because translations of all three are readily obtainable. We have not included any material by George of Pisidia, whose poems in honour of Heraclius are an important source for the early seventh century. Our decision in this was prompted partly by difficulties in how to interpret the information presented by George, and partly by the fact that an English translation of many of his poems is being prepared by Mary Whitby. Nonetheless we have tried to give references to all relevant sources, even when they are not quoted. By contrast, there are substantial excerpts from Zachariah of Mytilene and other lesser-known Syriac sources. Fairly long sections of Theophanes and the Chronicon Paschale have been included, particularly concerning the reign of Heraclius. Although excellent English translations of both are available, we considered them too important to omit.

The spelling of names is always problematic in a work of this nature. We have opted for conventional forms of names commonly referred to, e.g. Khusro, Shahrvaraz,

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