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 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 Peaceresponds 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 Peaceis a fascinating new study of these two superpowers that will be of interest not only 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.