This volume offers an informed survey of the problematic relationship between the ancient empires of Rome and Parthia from c. 96/95 BCE to 224 CE. Schlude explores the rhythms of this relationship and invites its readers to reconsider the past and our relationship with it.

Some have looked to this confrontation to help explain the roots of the long-lived conflict between the West and the Middle East. It is a reading symptomatic of most scholarship on the subject, which emphasizes fundamental incompatibility and bellicosity in Roman–Parthian relations. Rather than focusing on the relationship as a series of conflicts, Rome, Parthia, and the Politics of Peace responds to this common misconception by highlighting instead the more cooperative elements in the relationship and shows how a reconciliation of these two perspectives is possible. There was, in fact, a cyclical pattern in the Roman–Parthian interaction, where a reality of peace and collaboration became overshadowed by images of aggressive posturing projected by powerful Roman statesmen and emperors for a domestic population conditioned to expect conflict. The result was the eventual realization of these images by later Roman opportunists who, unsatisfied with imagined war, sought active conflict with Parthia.

Rome, Parthia, and the Politics of Peace is a fascinating new study of these two superpowers that will be of interest not only to students of Rome and the Near East but also to anyone with an interest in diplomatic relations and conflict in the ancient world and today.

chapter |21 pages


chapter 1|20 pages

Rome and Parthia meet

From Sulla to Lucullus

chapter 2|18 pages

Empires with a boundary

Pompey and Phraates III

chapter 3|15 pages

An opportunist strikes

Crassus and the battle of Carrhae

chapter 4|17 pages

Parthian–Roman fallout

Orodes II and Mark Antony in the Near East

chapter 5|24 pages

A diplomatic restart

Augustus, Phraates IV, and Phraates V

chapter 6|24 pages

Instability at home and abroad

Diplomacy and war under the Julio-Claudians

chapter 7|16 pages

Legions on the Euphrates

The Parthian policy of the Flavians

chapter 8|30 pages

The model of Trajan

The final stage for Rome and Parthia

chapter |17 pages