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Roman-Sassanid wars

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    Posted: 28 Aug 2009 at 06:12
I really don't know too much about these wars all I know is that it was pretty much like a seesaw of power where one day the Romans would control Mesopotamia (more like centuries) and then the Sassanids did. Rome faced many unique nad strong enemies, why weren't they able to defeat the Sassanids?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2009 at 06:23
Actually the Romans defeated them on a number of occasions, but the Sassanids were certainly their most worthy rival.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2009 at 07:42
Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:

Actually the Romans defeated them on a number of occasions, but the Sassanids were certainly their most worthy rival.
 
I don't think Sun Tzu with 'defeat' ment winning a few battles but more along the lines of the ultimate fate of Carthage, which in the case of the Sassanids would have been impossible to achieve.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2009 at 19:41
I'd believe myself that Rome had found it's natural border, and couldn't expand further east unless the entire Empire was fixed on that goal, which it wasn't.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2009 at 23:54
Seige of Amida is by far the most vivid first hand account of a Sassanid vs Roman struggle.  I found it to be a gripping read.

Shapur II's legacy on Rome:

- Valerian was captured and made into his stable boy.
- Julianus Apostata was killed.
- Philip the Arab was made tributory.

Sassanid vs Roman wars ultimately ended in stale mates.  I don't think the Romans ever seriously thought about or put any effort into extinguishing the Sassanids for good.  Whereas the Sassanids in the early years at least, had a burning desire to forcibly deport the Romans from Asia and eastern North Africa.  Whilst the Romans did sack Ctesiphon a couple of times, this had no real lasting impact on the Sassanids as they had a lot of depth in Iran into which to retreat.  For example, Bakhtaran (Kermanshah) was their summer capital and there were tens of other cities in southern, northern and western Iran in which they could base and regroup.  I think the Sassanids only once managed to unsuccessfully lay seige to Constantinople; unlike the Iranians losing Ctesiphon, the Roman's loss of Constantinople would have spelled the end of their empire in Asia. 

I think this fact was very obvious to the Romans, they simply did not have the resource to destroy the Sassanids, even if they could conjure the military might.  The Parthians were obviously a precedent which they studied and the Sassanids were much more substanital than their Parthian predecessors.

After liberating Mesopotamia from Rome, the Sassanids would hold on to the territory until their demise at the hands of the Islamist Arabs.


Edited by Zagros - 28 Aug 2009 at 23:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Leonardo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2009 at 03:19
At the time of the Sassanids Rome was on the defensive, she had no more expansive power and her only aim on her eastern border was to secure her Mesopotamian frontier which she managed to do rather well.
On the contrary the intent of the Sassanids towards Rome was more ambitious, their aim was to regain all the Roman lands that once belonged to Achaemenid Empire, that is Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and maybe even more.
After centuries of confrontation with uncertain result, at the time of the Islamic attack which caused the final collapse of the Sassanid Empire, NONE of the mentioned lands were definitively regained, so ultimately the Sassanids were the losers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2009 at 07:17
At the time of Khalid Ibn Walid half of the Roman empire was already wiped out by Germanic armies, the other half would be reduced to a small patch of territory in the Balkans and Anatolia by the same armies that conquered the Sassanids, that's hardly a victory.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2009 at 08:16
Romano-Persian wars were a real lesson for mighty rival empires. They fought fierce battles, caused heavy taxes on their civilians, weaken their empires severely and at the end ignored the third party which arrived and wiped both empires. (one entirely and the other lost more than half of its territories)

Edited by Suren - 29 Aug 2009 at 08:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Leonardo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2009 at 16:41
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

At the time of Khalid Ibn Walid half of the Roman empire was already wiped out by Germanic armies, the other half would be reduced to a small patch of territory in the Balkans and Anatolia by the same armies that conquered the Sassanids, that's hardly a victory.



Don't be OT Smile
We were talking here about the "Roman-Sassanids wars" not about the barbaric invasions of Western Roman Empire or the Islamic invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire, so your irritated reply to my post is useless.





Edited by Leonardo - 29 Aug 2009 at 16:43
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2009 at 17:29
Originally posted by Leonardo Leonardo wrote:

Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

At the time of Khalid Ibn Walid half of the Roman empire was already wiped out by Germanic armies, the other half would be reduced to a small patch of territory in the Balkans and Anatolia by the same armies that conquered the Sassanids, that's hardly a victory.



Don't be OT Smile
We were talking here about the "Roman-Sassanids wars" not about the barbaric invasions of Western Roman Empire or the Islamic invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire, so your irritated reply to my post is useless.



 
Irritated? You spoke of 'losers' therefore in this conflict(Sassanid-Roman) using plain logic there had to be 'winners'  right? Well i made it very clear with my very 'relevant' post concerning the once mighty Romans being reduced to a small patch of land - which they were forced to call their 'realm' for the next 8 centuries after the Islamic invasions - can hardly be referred to as a victory. The same way the conquest of Rome and the western Empire by invading Germanic armies can not be considered a victory for the Sassanids evendo they were still rivals. The Romans and Sassanids stalemated before an alternative force entered the scene, simple as that!
 
  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Leonardo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2009 at 17:50
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

Originally posted by Leonardo Leonardo wrote:

Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

At the time of Khalid Ibn Walid half of the Roman empire was already wiped out by Germanic armies, the other half would be reduced to a small patch of territory in the Balkans and Anatolia by the same armies that conquered the Sassanids, that's hardly a victory.



Don't be OT Smile
We were talking here about the "Roman-Sassanids wars" not about the barbaric invasions of Western Roman Empire or the Islamic invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire, so your irritated reply to my post is useless.



 
Irritated? You spoke of 'losers' therefore in this conflict(Sassanid-Roman) using plain logic there had to be 'winners'  right? Well i made it very clear with my very 'relevant' post concerning the once mighty Romans being reduced to a small patch of land - which they were forced to call their 'realm' for the next 8 centuries after the Islamic invasions - can hardly be referred to as a victory. The same way the conquest of Rome and the western Empire by invading Germanic armies can not be considered a victory for the Sassanids evendo they were still rivals. The Romans and Sassanids stalemated before an alternative force entered the scene, simple as that!
 
  


The Sassanids ultimately failed in their longlasting strategic aim to regain the above mentioned lands so in this sense they were the losers (of course, for the Romans it was a very phyrric victory), simple as that!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2009 at 18:13
Those were ancient Achaemenid lands they were trying to 'regain'.  Royal ambition or not they didn't lose those lands at the hands of the Romans when they succeeded the Parthians. If you judge a power's victory or defeat by it's failure to expand(The Roman empire would have covered the entire world if it could) then the Picts, Nubians, Persians, Germanics and every other group that halted Roman expansion must have been all victorious. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Leonardo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 2009 at 18:46
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

Those were ancient Achaemenid lands they were trying to 'regain'.  Royal ambition or not they didn't lose those lands at the hands of the Romans when they succeeded the Parthians. If you judge a power's victory or defeat by it's failure to expand(The Roman empire would have covered the entire world if it could) then the Picts, Nubians, Persians, Germanics and every other group that halted Roman expansion must have been all victorious. 



When the Germanics tribes of Arminius halted the Roman expansions towards the Elbe river they were for sure victorious because Rome was at the apex of her military power and above all she had still resources and strategic aim and wish of expansion. At the time of Roman- Sassanids war Rome had no more resourses and military power to pursue an expansion strategy, her only realistic and workable strategy on her eastern frontier was a strategy of "conteinment" of the lands regaining aims of the Sassanids and her strategy in this sense was rather successful, of course ultimately only for the benefit of a third part that is the muslim invaders ...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 06:51
Rome/Constantinople had no resources or military power for the entire 400 years of the conflict? You've got to be kidding me right? The same Rome and later Eastern Empire who in terms of manpower was only surpassed by the million man armies of China? The same Eastern Empire that was capable of bringing back into it's fold the long lost Western Empire? Your telling me this same Rome after capturing Persian wealth never thought of going further? The Romans tried to subdue the Sassanids 'permanently' many times but unlike Carthage, the Persian Empire had a dozen powerhubs from which it could draw strength, so i'm not buying this story of an expansionist state like Rome being content with it's borders dictated by a war with a strong rival which obviously bothered them.
 
The Romans at the time of the Carthaginians in their pre-Empire period were in a much worser position then during the Sassanid-Roman wars but this didn't prevent them from going all out after Hannibal declared total war on them by crossing the Alps and threatening Rome itself. The Sassanid Siege of Constantinople is the equivalance of that, therefore you can include into the ambition of the Sassanids the total 'destruction of the Romans' and the Roman expeditions that captured Ctesiphon would fall under that definition aswell.
 
It was a clear stalemate, and the two empires only true option when capturing and re-capturing territories was doing it by way of disloyal governors and generals.  
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Leonardo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 08:29
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

Rome/Constantinople had no resources or military power for the entire 400 years of the conflict? You've got to be kidding me right? The same Rome and later Eastern Empire who in terms of manpower was only surpassed by the million man armies of China? The same Eastern Empire that was capable of bringing back into it's fold the long lost Western Empire? Your telling me this same Rome after capturing Persian wealth never thought of going further? The Romans tried to subdue the Sassanids 'permanently' many times but unlike Carthage, the Persian Empire had a dozen powerhubs from which it could draw strength, so i'm not buying this story of an expansionist state like Rome being content with it's borders dictated by a war with a strong rival which obviously bothered them.
 
The Romans at the time of the Carthaginians in their pre-Empire period were in a much worser position then during the Sassanid-Roman wars but this didn't prevent them from going all out after Hannibal declared total war on them by crossing the Alps and threatening Rome itself. The Sassanid Siege of Constantinople is the equivalance of that, therefore you can include into the ambition of the Sassanids the total 'destruction of the Romans' and the Roman expeditions that captured Ctesiphon would fall under that definition aswell.
 
It was a clear stalemate, and the two empires only true option when capturing and re-capturing territories was doing it by way of disloyal governors and generals.  
 
 


Evidently we have very different point of view about history. Can we agree to disagree at least Smile?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 18:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 2009 at 01:38
Considering the humble beginnings of the Sassanid dynasty in the principality of Parsa then I would say that they mostly achieved their aim of reclaiming Hakhamanesh territories - the only parts they did not retrieve for any sustained period were Western Anatolia, the Levant area and Eastern N. Africa.  Everything else from the Punjab to CA, the Caucasus and Eastern Anatolia was consistently under their sway.



Edited by Zagros - 31 Aug 2009 at 01:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Aug 2009 at 01:40
I don't think it's reasonable to argue there was an equal stalemate between Rome and Persia. At times there was an equal stalemate, and at times Persia had the upper hand, but if you take into account all the major conflicts between the two I don't see how it could sum up to anything but a Roman advantage. Several of these wars ended with Roman troops penetrating deep into the Persian heartland and even sacking the capital on a few occasions, whereas the Persians never once achieved a similar outcome. They came close to it in the 6th century, but as soon as Heraclius took the reins the war turned and ended in another Roman victory, which evidently weakened the old giant enough to be completely conquered by the Arab parvenus.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2009 at 06:31
thank you for your posts, I've heard the name Phillip the Arab before but there isn't much on him, I guess he was from Arabia?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Sep 2009 at 17:36
Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:

I don't think it's reasonable to argue there was an equal stalemate between Rome and Persia. At times there was an equal stalemate, and at times Persia had the upper hand, but if you take into account all the major conflicts between the two I don't see how it could sum up to anything but a Roman advantage. Several of these wars ended with Roman troops penetrating deep into the Persian heartland and even sacking the capital on a few occasions, whereas the Persians never once achieved a similar outcome. They came close to it in the 6th century, but as soon as Heraclius took the reins the war turned and ended in another Roman victory, which evidently weakened the old giant enough to be completely conquered by the Arab parvenus.


I can't help but agree with Regi here.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2009 at 12:18

I was trying to figure out a general timeframe for this topic.  It seemed that what was originally being discussed was the early days of the wars between the Romans and the Sassanids.  If I am not mistaken, however, the Sassanid dynasty itself lasted in various levels of potency until the middle of the seventh century.

That being said, I wanted to mention the the later wars between the Eastern Roman empire and the Sassanids.  If any time can be considered a period of "seesaw" suzerainty, it is the sixth and seventh centuries. 
 
There were astounding victories and horrendous losses on both sides.  Justinian I tried to maintain a three front war during his reign with the generals Belisarius and Narses traveling back and forth to the Eastern border to keep the Roman effort in tact.  Justinian and his immediate successors played a multi-faceted diplomatic game with the Persians using the hot zone of Armenia and its rulers as pawns.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jul 2011 at 16:05
I think Sassanids almost achieved their dream of conquering Rome. They pushed back Romans from Egypt, Levant, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor and Caucasus. Romans were behind their capital walls praying for a miracle to happen. Romans plight was so bad, Heracules wanted to change the capital to northern Africa. This I will see as a moral victory over Romans. What made this victory fade away, was a combination of arrogant of Khosrow, disobedient of some of Persian generals to come to Persian king's help, Heracules cleverness in using diplomacy (Alliance with GokTurk Khaghan) and forgery to cause disobedient in Persian ranks, Betrayal of Armenian king and awesome strategies heracules used to win this war. The best conclusion is the stalement with Persian upper hand.


 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote inventorswanted Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2012 at 03:40
Hey the Sassanids were from my Country. My country never has been conquered! FACT
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2012 at 14:11
Originally posted by inventorswanted inventorswanted wrote:

Hey the Sassanids were from my Country. My country never has been conquered! FACT
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You are a weirdo. Iran has been conquered many times. 
1. By Macedonians, Alexander.
2. By Arab hordes.
3. By Mongols, Chengis Khan
4. Seljuk Turks
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2012 at 07:20
Although Persia had its ups and downs, but It was always a powerful nation which stand against mighty rivals. Romans almost subjugated all of their enemies except the Persians. Carthagians, Germans, Gauls, Sarmations, Greeks, Jews, Britons, Dacians, and Egyptians were all defeated and subjugated by Roman empire. Out of all only Persians and Huns stand on their feet and fought back. The later came, conquered, and pulled back to the steps, but the former stood and fought back for centuries. To be fair I guess we have to take their goals into the account.



Roman emperors always dreamed to be another Alexander and to conquer Persia and beyond, but only Trajan reached to Persian gulf and pulled back to Roman territory. 



Persian kings specifically Sassanids wanted to reestablish Persian glories of Achaemenids, and Khosrow Parviz came near this goal in 6th century by taking Asia minor, North Africa and Caucasus from Romans and taking Constantinople under the siege. I think both couldn't reach to their goals, so the Romano-Persian wars were stalemate.




Edited by Harburs - 17 Sep 2012 at 07:21
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