Trajan's conquest of Parthia

Mar 2012
2,344
#11
A part of me does wonder how many of the emperors/commanders of the third century really did take Ctesiphon, in the sense that it almost seems like a trope. During the third century, every person who invaded the Persian Empire, we're effectively told, took Ctesiphon. I don't know, it makes me suspicious. I get that Ctesiphon wasn't a great distant from Roman lands, but Julian failed to take it, and how many times could the Sassanian regime suffer the sack of Ctesiphon? We're talking the 260s, the 280s and the 290s. Then again, the post-Shapur Sassanian empire of the late third century was fairly unstable. Maybe the sacks of Ctesiphon help to explain that fact.

In the same way, I'm a bit suspicious when we're told that Ballista, Odaenathus and Galerius all captured the harems of Persian kings. One wonders if this is influenced by the example of Alexander capturing the female relatives of Darius.
It is worth noting that Parthia had multiple capitals, and I would think Sasanid Persia would be the same. It wasn't the same as Rome or Constantinople falling. Persia was designed to have a more fluid seat of power.
 
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starman

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
3,945
Connecticut
#13
........Roman conquests of Ctesiphon. Avidius Cassus, Carus, Septimius Severus, and Galerius all occupied the capital and then returned home. Others went and did not succeed: Valerian, Gordian III
Gordian III intended to take Ctesiphon but Valerian’s campaign was different. Basically he was a defender seeking to thwart a Sassanid offensive. He was unsuccessful of course.
 

starman

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
3,945
Connecticut
#14
A part of me does wonder how many of the emperors/commanders of the third century really did take Ctesiphon, in the sense that it almost seems like a trope. During the third century, every person who invaded the Persian Empire, we're effectively told, took Ctesiphon.
Nonsense.The Romans took Ctesiphon three times in the second century but IIRC only twice in the third, in the times of Carus and Galerius. Gordian III failed to take it.

I get that Ctesiphon wasn't a great distant from Roman lands, but Julian failed to take it, and how many times could the Sassanian regime suffer the sack of Ctesiphon? We're talking the 260s, the 280s and the 290s. Then again, the post-Shapur Sassanian empire of the late third century was fairly unstable.
Ctesiphon didn’t fall in the 260s. Odaenathus went after it but didn’t take it.

In the same way, I'm a bit suspicious when we're told that Ballista, Odaenathus and Galerius all captured the harems of Persian kings. One wonders if this is influenced by the example of Alexander capturing the female relatives of Darius.
Galerius was probably the only one who did that, or at least, he captured the wife and daughter of the Sassanid king.
 
#15
Nonsense.The Romans took Ctesiphon three times in the second century but IIRC only twice in the third, in the times of Carus and Galerius. Gordian III failed to take it.



Ctesiphon didn’t fall in the 260s. Odaenathus went after it but didn’t take it.



Galerius was probably the only one who did that, or at least, he captured the wife and daughter of the Sassanid king.
We're dealing with problematic sources and a poorly-recorded century. I don't think that renders some questioning as to what is reality and what are topoi nonsense. Regardless, yes I didn't mean to imply that Gordian III took Ctesiphon. I was making a comment on the literary presentation of the successful invasions. And I stand corrected regarding Odaenathus. I remembered the sources incorrectly. As for Galerius, I don't think there actually is a source that says that he took Ctesiphon (I corrected myself on this matter in post 10). In modern scholarship it is generally treated as a possibility rather than a fact. With all that, it's possible Ctesiphon actually only fell once during the third century, and so I'm no longer suspicious there's a trope.
 
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#16
I'm going to go from memory regarding the essentials of what we know of Galerius' invasion. He defeated Narseh in Armenia Major by storming his camp by surprise, and in doing so captured Narseh's wives, sisters and children. His imperial titulature suggests that he marched into Adiabene and Media (or at least Media Atropatene). Constantine claims that he had seen the ruins of Babylon, which would place him in the vicinity of Ctesiphon, presumably in the context of Galerius' war. Galerius then met up with Diocletian in Nisibis. I know there has been some effort to reconstruct history from the panels on the Arch of Galerius in Thessalonica, but naturally these efforts haven't fundamentally changed the basics of what we know.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,668
Blachernai
#17
In fact,some author like Eutropius said that Trajan captured some place in India.History Augusta didn't record about this campain but it wrote that Hyrcania(Kushan) became a vassal king of Roman after Trajan's campain.
I'd have to check, but I think "India" for Roman authors can refer to a lot places in the Red Sea, south Arabia, or Persian Gulf regions that we wouldn't necessarily call India today.
 
May 2012
302
Heaven
#19
Here is record of Eutropius in his book "Brief history of Rome"
"...Carduenos, Marcomedos occupavit et Anthemusium, magnam Persidis regionem, Seleuciam, Ctesiphontem, Babylonem; Messenios vicit ac tenuit. Usque ad Indiae fines et mare Rubrum accessit atque ibi tres provincias fecit, Armeniam, Assyriam, Mesopotamiam, cum his gentibus, quae Madenam attingunt.Arabiam postea in provinciae formam redegit. In mari Rubro classem instituit, ut per eam Indiae fines vastaret...."
...He(Trajan) captured Corduene,Marcomades and Anthemusium - an large provine of Persia,Seleucia,Ctesphon,Babylon;He defeated Messene(Charax,Naysan,Iraq).He approached to the end of India and Red Sea(Oman bay and Indus valley near Balochistan) and he divided these places into 3 provine : Armenia,Assyria,Mesopotamia where was limited by Madena tribe.Later,Arabia became in form of province.In Red Sea,one battle fleet was built so that devaste the end of India.
 
#20
Here is record of Eutropius in his book "Brief history of Rome"
"...Carduenos, Marcomedos occupavit et Anthemusium, magnam Persidis regionem, Seleuciam, Ctesiphontem, Babylonem; Messenios vicit ac tenuit. Usque ad Indiae fines et mare Rubrum accessit atque ibi tres provincias fecit, Armeniam, Assyriam, Mesopotamiam, cum his gentibus, quae Madenam attingunt.Arabiam postea in provinciae formam redegit. In mari Rubro classem instituit, ut per eam Indiae fines vastaret...."
...He(Trajan) captured Corduene,Marcomades and Anthemusium - an large provine of Persia,Seleucia,Ctesphon,Babylon;He defeated Messene(Charax,Naysan,Iraq).He approached to the end of India and Red Sea(Oman bay and Indus valley near Balochistan) and he divided these places into 3 provine : Armenia,Assyria,Mesopotamia where was limited by Madena tribe.Later,Arabia became in form of province.In Red Sea,one battle fleet was built so that devaste the end of India.
Yeah, Eutropius' account suggests to me that Trajan did not actually reach the boundaries of India by virtue of the specific locations that he mentions. They're all places near the Roman Empire, in Armenia, Mesopotamia, Atropatene and Arabia.
 

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