Rome's Wars in Parthia: Blood in the Sandby Rose Mary Sheldon
The leader of an empire decides to invade Iraq. He has inadequate intelligence and underestimates the resistance of the locals, but he believes his overwhelming military strength will bring him a swift victory. His mighty army overruns the area between the Tigris and the Euphrates, but no sooner does he occupy the area than a massive insurgency arises, made up of
The leader of an empire decides to invade Iraq. He has inadequate intelligence and underestimates the resistance of the locals, but he believes his overwhelming military strength will bring him a swift victory. His mighty army overruns the area between the Tigris and the Euphrates, but no sooner does he occupy the area than a massive insurgency arises, made up of various ethnic and religious groups. What began as a simple conquest for glory and dominance bogs down in deadly fighting as the once-victorious commander-in-chief now desperately searches for an exit strategy.
This scenario could just as easily be any number of Roman campaigns, not to mention America in 2003 CE. Both ancient and modern attempts to invade Iraq have been plagued with the same problems. These problems have been caused by lack of adequate intelligence gathering, both strategic and tactical, and have resulted in long drawn out wars that have been costly in both money and manpower.
Rome's foreign policy in the East has been the subject of many books, but until now there has been no detailed study of the individual wars Rome fought against Parthia from the military perspective. This book details Rome's military encounters with Parthia from the bumbling campaign of Crassus to the fall of the Parthian regime. America's recent war in Iraq has shown that invading Mesopotamia without proper intelligence is a bad idea, but it is not a new idea. Time after time the Romans stormed into the area between the Tigris and Euphrates thinking 'shock and awe' was all they needed to prevail. What they discovered was that it takes more than just overrunning an empire to defeat it. Exhausting the Parthian regime and furthering its collapse only brought forward a new enemy, the Persians, who were much stronger and more aggressive than the Parthians ever were. We may legitimately ask, therefore, whether Rome's aggressive policy against Parthia made Rome's eastern frontier less secure.
Did the Romans attack the Parthians in self-defence, or because they simply would not tolerate the co-existence of an equal power on their border? Its size alone made the Parthian Empire formidable. This certainly counterbalanced Rome's hegemony in the West. What did the Romans gain by attacking Parthia? This book will give a historical perspective on what is still a strikingly modern problem when waging war in the Middle East.
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