chapter  V
10 Pages

6 V.CONSOLIDATION AND DEFENCE

PROCLAIMED emperor at Antioch, where the echo of recent events could not fail to be louder than in the West, Hadrian, who had himself participated in them, was not found unprepared. Reflection must have convinced him very soon of his predecessor’s great rashness. In theory Mesopotamia had been annexed-a fertile country, but one of length without breadth, dominated by mountains close at hand which made the Tigris a most inadequate barrier, and inevitably requiring the establishment of very many military posts. Again, the mountain block of Armenia was so closely connected with the Iranian plateau that only an arbitrary frontier could be drawn between them. The province of Arabia could easily be attached to Syria, and that was the only one which Hadrian retained; as for the other three, omittere maluit quam exercitu retinere.1 The desert of the Nejd was a protection to the countries of Syria and Palestine, and helped to isolate southern Mesopotamia, which was too far distant for safety from Asia Minor and the Mediterranean. This great spear-head of territory among hostile peoples would have been a grave embarrassment to the Empire when it was called upon to suppress the last and most terrible Jewish revolt of 132.