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Text of Persian Wars




A narrative sourcebook

Edited and compiled by Geoffrey Greatrex and Samuel N.C. Lieu

London and New York

First published 2002 by Routledge 11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group

This edition published in the Taylor and Francis e-Library, 2005. To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledges collection of thousands of eBooks please go to 2002 Geoffrey Greatrex and Samuel N.C. Lieu All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data A catalog record has been requested

ISBN 0-203-99454-X Master e-book ISBN

ISBN 0415146879 (Print Edition)



List of maps Preface Acknowledgements Abbreviations Eastern Roman emperors (363630) Persian kings (363630) Glossary Notes on the sources Maps

ix x xiii xv xvii xviii xix xxi xxviiixxxii 1 20 31 53 62 82 102 115 123 135

1 The Peace of Jovian and its aftermath in Mesopotamia (363399) 2 The evolution of the north-east frontier (363399) 3 The Mesopotamian frontier in the fifth century 4 The north-east frontier in the fifth century 5 The Anastasian War and its aftermath (502525) 6 Justinians First Persian War and the Eternal Peace (c.525540) 7 Justinians Second Persian War: the southern front (540545) 8 Justinians Second Persian War: the northern front (540562) 9 Justinians Second Persian War: diplomatic relations (545562) 10 The failure of the Peace of 562 (562573)



11 The war under Tiberius (574582) 12 The reign of Maurice (582602) 13 The Persian takeover of the Near East (602622) 14 The Roman recovery under Heraclius (622630) 15 The Khuzistan Chronicle (first part) 16 The evidence of epigraphy: the eastern frontier (363630) Notes Bibliography Index of sources General index

151 167 182 198 229 238 247 323 350 355



1 2 3 4 5 6

The Near East in late antiquity The southern theatre of war (Mesopotamia and surrounding regions) The northern theatre of war (Armenia and surrounding regions) The western Transcaucasus (Lazica and surrounding regions) The Transcaucasus Provenance of inscriptions discussed in Chapter 16

xxviii xxix xxx xxxi xxxii 239



This book differs in several respects from its predecessor. Instead of offering merely a series of translated excerpts from ancient authors, we have attempted to fill the gaps between extracts, thus providing a history of the frontier and of RomanoPersian relations from 363 to 630. We have not sought to address broader issues, such as trading relations, or to analyse long-term developments (for instance) in diplomacy between the two powers. Discussion of these matters may be found elsewhere, and we may take the opportunity to refer the interested reader to a thematic sourcebook in German on the whole Sasanian period by E. Winter and B. Dignas (2001). We have consciously departed from the traditional sourcebook system of numbering the extracts in each chapter. Our intention is to encourage those using the sources here assembled to refer to the actual passage in the source itself, rather than simply to Greatrex and Lieu 9.2. We hope that this will lead to greater clarity for both students and researchers, and perhaps to more of an awareness of the actual sources themselves. We believe that the passages translated here are of great importance to the subject. It does not follow from this that passages excluded from this book are not. Various criteria, such as relevance, the availability of an English translation and the reliability of the source in question, determined whether a given excerpt was included or not. Hence, just as in volume 1 few passages from Ammianus Marcellinus were presented, here the reader will not find much Procopius, Joshua the Stylite or Sebeos, because translations of all three are readily obtainable. We have not included any material by George of Pisidia, whose poems in honour of Heraclius are an important source for the early seventh century. Our decision in this was prompted partly by difficulties in how to interpret the information presented by George, and partly by the fact that an English translation of many of his poems is being prepared by Mary Whitby. Nonetheless we have tried to give references to all relevant sources, even when they are not quoted. By contrast, there are substantial excerpts from Zachariah of Mytilene and other lesser-known Syriac sources. Fairly long sections of Theophanes and the Chronicon Paschale have been included, particularly concerning the reign of Heraclius. Although excellent English translations of both are available, we considered them too important to omit. The spelling of names is always problematic in a work of this nature. We have opted for conventional forms of names commonly referred to, e.g. Khusro, Shahrvaraz, x


Heraclius, Bahram and the Tur Abdin. In the case of the name Khusro, used by both Armenian and Persian rulers, we have used the Armenian form Khosrov for Armenian rulers of this name. We thus refer to Arsaces rather than Arshak, but keep to the Armenian form of Mushe and others who do not feature in Latin or Greek sources. In less obvious cases we have tended simply to transliterate the name in question, occasionally correcting it where possible (e.g. rendering the Greek name Nakhoragan as the Persian title nakhveragan). We have avoided diacritics on the whole, and have omitted the Syriac letter ain in cases where a name is commonly used, e.g. Sabrisho for Sabrisho, Abdin for Abdin. In Chapter 16, upon the recommendation of Irfan Shahd, we have tended to keep to the transliteration of Arabic place names adopted by IGLS. Anachronistic references to Greeks and Parthians have been retained; the former refers, of course to the Romans, the latter to the Persians. We have referred on occasion to volume 1, by which we mean Dodgeon and Lieu 1991. We have also tended to refer to the Transcaucasus rather than Caucasia, although the latter term is probably now more common for the region south of the Caucasus mountains. In translations, we have consistently referred to the king of Persia and the Roman emperor. In fact, the word used for both rulers is almost invariably the same; it is for the sake of convenience that we have translated them differently, so that references to king and emperor are instantly clear. We have also generally preferred to translate phrases such as king of the Romans as Roman emperor to avoid verbosity. The translations themselves aim to keep as close as possible to the original text, and may therefore appear somewhat inelegant; clarity, we hope, has not been sacrificed. We should point out too that we have considered the eastern frontier as running from the Transcaucasus in the north to Syria in the south. We have not sought to include material from the provinces of Palestine or Arabia on the whole, save when they became the scene of conflict between Romans and Persians. In Syriac texts, we have translated Arbaye as Arabs, but have left Tayyaye as it stands: the latter is the more common term for Arabs, but we thought it best to preserve the distinction. We have distinguished throughout between Jafnids and Ghassanids: as several scholars have recently pointed out, the former were the descendants of Jafna who ruled (part of) the Ghassan tribe.1 We have latinised the Greek terms stratgos and stratlats where it is possible to give the formal Roman office with certainty (e.g. magister militum per Orientem); if in doubt, however, we have left the Greek. We have referred consistently to the catholicoi of the Persian and Armenian Churches, although aware that these terms are anachronistic to some extent. They are, however, convenient and conventional.2 We refer throughout to Monophysites and Nestorians for the sake of convenience, despite the unsatisfactory nature of these labels. Our system of bracketing also requires explanation: ( ) usually indicates an insertion by the translator to indicate that a word or phrase, though necessary to the English, is not present in the original text. < > indicates an insertion by the editor of the text. [ ] indicates a passage which the editor of the text considers was not present in the



original (and hence should be omitted) or, in the case of inscriptions, words or parts of words no longer surviving, but the restoration of which has been suggested. The abbreviation AG, used in connection with chronicle entries, refers to a date according to the Seleucid era (starting on 1 October 312 BC). Access to the new edition of Malalas Chronicle has proved difficult for us. We have used it for the passages translated, but elsewhere have had to content ourselves with giving book and chapter reference, together with the pages in the Bonn edition. Many individuals have been of assistance to us in the preparation of this volume, often producing translations and answering questions at short notice. Among them we should like to thank Sebastian Brock, Richard Burgess, Ian Colvin, Jan van Ginkel, Marina Greatrex, Tim Greenwood, George Hewitt, Robert Hewsen, James Ho

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