The Parthian and Roman Empire had a long-term conflict that resulted in a series of battles that started in 66 BC until 217 AD where it is listed on the Biblical Timeline with World History. Otherwise known as the Roman – Parthian Wars, these battles took over 700 years and led to massive destruction of property between these two powerful empires.
Early Beginnings of the War
The earliest recorded incursions that existed between Parthia and Rome was in the Battle of Carrhae, which occurred in 53 BC. Moreover, the Parthians showed support to Brutus and Cassius during the Civil War of the Roman Liberators in the First Century BC. The end of the Roman Civil War, however, only led to the strengthening of the Roman Army throughout Western Asia. Thus, this increased the supremacy of Rome over other nations that were once a threat to its victory.
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Emperor Trajan of Rome began formulating plans to conquer Parthia in 113 AD. Eventually, he succeeded in gaining power over Ctesiphon, the capital of Parthia. Afterwards, he appointed Parthamaspates as the client ruler, yet this policy was reversed by Trajan’s successor, Hadrian.
During the Second Century BC, another series of wars existed between Parthia and Rome. Throughout these battles, Rome gained an advantage over Parthia, which gave Trajan much optimism about ruling over this land once and for all. Soon, the emperor believed that the time is right to begin the annexation of Armenia and invade Parthia.
The Invasion of Armenia
With a new strategy set, Trajan was able to conquer Armenia and transformed it into one of Rome’s province in 114 AD. Also, he succeeded in killing Parthamasiris, who was appointed by King Osroes of Parthia as the ruler of Armenia. A year after, Rome invaded the northern part of Mesopotamia and annexed it as a part of the Roman Empire. Prior to heading towards the Persian Gulf, the Ctesiphon succumbed to the Romans, as well.
It was in 115 AD when various revolts broke out in various nations including northern Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine. To further put the Roman army’s abilities to the test, a massive Jewish revolt also erupted in the Roman territory. Because of these consecutive revolts, Trajan was unable to take over Hatra, and this prevented him from gaining power over Parthia. As a consequence, the Parthian Army threatened major Roman territories that caused significant challenges to Trajan.
Conquer of Parthia
Upon conquering Mesopotamia, Trajan had only a few concerns as Osroes was preoccupied with another civil war with Vologases III. Hence, Trajan decided to settle in Antioch from 115 to 116, but he continued his campaign and goal of defeating Parthia. As he proceeded to the Euphrates, he conquered Dura-Europos, Characene, and Susa.
Parthia’s great leader, Sanatruces II, gathered his army to fight the Romans in the eastern part of Parthia. However, he was betrayed and murdered by Parthamaspates, his cousin. During the remaining months of 116 AD, Trajan declared himself as Parthia’s new king, which signaled his victorious attempts of ruling over the land.
In 117 AD, Babylonians threatened the Roman garrisons with a series of revolts. This has led to Trajan’s withdrawal from Mesopotamia, yet he attempted to fight back in 118 AD to completely gain power over Parthia. Unfortunately, the mighty emperor died in 117 AD even before he was able to declare another war.
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