Ptolemy vs Marcus Crassus: a contrast

Mar 2017
Crassus was the richest man in Rome, but political power needed a solid military resume as well. Crassus did have military experience, capped by his defeat of Spartacus, but Pompey basically stole what credit there was. After all, he "only" defeated slaves. No triumph for Crassus, not even an ovation. The Senate advised Crassus *NOT* to invade Parthia, but I read an analysis that suggested he did so for a military victory that would allow him to compete for power on the same level as Caesar & Pompey (all three formed the first triumvirate). The whole Parthian expedition was a mess: outmaneuverd, misdirected, & just plane lied-to, Crassus & his son fell into a huge trap at Carrhae. Crassus started a war with Parthia that lasted about 700 yrs without a Roman overall victory.

The Parthians captured 10,000 of Crassus' Roman soldiers. What did they do with them? Slavery? Genetic testing has shown that most of these men were settled on a far edge of Parthian influence ... China. There are living people in this region that show "Roman" features & have Roman DNA.

The first three Ptolemies all had great military successes, eventually expanding to include all of the Seleucid empire & beyond. The remaining Ptolemies just frittered it away. The empire just slowly decayed, until it was bankrupt (and in debt to Rome on the order of $2.4B ... yeah, billion) when Cleopatra became co-regent with her useless dad (the worst Ptolemy) at 16. 23 yrs later, Egypt's huge volume of gold depressed the world price when Augustus hauled it back to Rome.