The relationship between the Roman and Parthian empires was lengthy (c. 96/95 BCE–224 CE) and deserves additional study. The dominant scholarly narrative of Roman–Parthian history suggests an inevitable incompatibility and conflict between the two states. But reconsideration of the evidence reveals a more complex picture. The current reading reflects not only our modern historical experience but also an ancient source tradition that developed during acute periods of Roman–Parthian war, distorting our understanding. War was an important part of Roman–Parthian relations, but peace was central as well. The following chapters attempt to document both events in Roman–Parthian history as well as their relationship to one another. This history was cyclical in character and dominated by a political strategy that prioritized peace but relentlessly presented this peace as wrested and won from the enemy, conditioning domestic constituencies to expect war. This opened a door to opportunists who wished for something more than hollow, rhetorical victories, resulting in serious conflict.