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Likewise, through his careful analysis of the use of limes in Ammianus Marcellinus, Jan Willem Drijvers Rijksuniversiteit Groningen distinguishes a range of changing meanings for the word, in the process noting how viii preface Ammianus recognised the frontier region as a contact zone between different cultures; a notion to which several other authors return. Again, changing vocabulary denoted changing mentalities, showing developments in how the temporal and spatial limits of Rome were perceived over time.

A second section looks at the consequences of the presence of Roman provincial borders for those living near these frontiers. Indeed, Kate da Costa University of Sydney argues that traces of such consequences can be of the utmost importance in defining the spatial limits of territorial provinces. Distortions in distribution patterns of local ceramics, in her view, may well have been caused by customs duty on provincial borders, which would have made it uneconomical to import local ceramics from across borders.

By carefully analyzing these patterns, then, one can map the locations of provincial borders. The Egyptian eastern desert, it is argued, forms a fiscal frontier, with many repercussions for military, administrative and commercial structures in the area. Richard Hingley Durham University and Rich Hartis Durham University look at what would have been a highly visible frontier for anyone living in its vicinity: Taking their cue from studies of frontiers and borders in other cultural contexts, the authors promote a broad comparative approach to Roman frontiers, and in doing so formulate new approaches to Roman identities and social change in frontier areas.

The adoption and adaptation of Roman cultural elements is studied through the lens of building techniques, military equipment, crockery and cooking materials, and religious activity. This latter aspect, religious activity, is the subject of the contributions in the third section.

Her case-studies of Roman Palmyra and Parthian Hatra show how the cultic patterns of these two cities were affected not only by their own particular economic and social circumstances, but also by their respective alliances to the superpowers of the ancient world. It is argued that there is no good evidence to see as is commonly accepted a proper divide between the two forms of Christians in terms of social class, degree of urbanization, linguistic issues and church architecture.

Frontiers, of whatever category, were not fixed. Political actions often had consequences for the organisation of the realm, as is demonstrated by the articles in the fourth section of these proceedings, on shifting frontiers. One category of political activity that almost inevitably led to shifting frontiers was war. Indeed, in warlike circumstances even seemingly minor measures could lead to long lasting and very influential consequences.

But most consequences affected people more directly, and these effects were often related to changing political alliances during war times. Frontiers, almost by definition, are going to be crossed. The last section of the volume discusses people crossing boundaries. John Nicols University of Oregon suggests that an important tool to ease potential problems for people going from one community to the next was the practice of hospitium.

Through an analysis of the archaeological and literary evidence, he explores ways in which hospitium facilitated exchange and understanding on the Roman frontier. But hospitium was not the only tool. Lien Foubert Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen , finally, explores some of the effects crossing frontiers had for a new group of travellers during the Early Empire: Neither the meeting in Durham nor its resulting volume would have been possible without the aid of several institutions and individuals. We wish to thank these institutions for their much appreciated financial support.

We are furthermore grateful to the following colleagues for chairing sessions: Bart Hekkert, finally, was of enormous help during the editorial process. My contribution to this feast is little more than an aperitif or as I might hope a bonne bouche, since I shall for the most part be looking only at the period of the Republic, and within that at a particular question or pair of questions.

Those questions are not, however, insignificant nor, I hope, without interest. They are about the provinciae of Roman imperium-holders and of the Roman people, and, by extension, of the imperium populi Romani as a whole. Did the provinciae and indeed the imperium have boundaries at all? And if so, what were they the boundaries of? The boundaries, the frontiers of such power are somewhat different from those of a piece of land, however extensive.

In any case, the questions I have posed are in themselves ill-conceived. They imply that throughout the middle and late Republican period there was one answer. This is, to put it mildly, improbable. The provinciae of the time of Julius Caesar and Pompeius Magnus are very different from those during the Hannibalic war, and it is only to be expected that the boundaries, the fines and termini, of those two sets of provinciae will be different too.

So, with those provisos, what can be said about fines provinciae in the last two centuries of the Republic? I must begin with an observation that will not, I think, be a surprise to anyone, but whose ramifications have not always been noticed. It is clear that in the late third and second centuries bc a provincia was a task allotted by the senate to an individual holding imperium.

This is apparent from the names of the provinciae which Livy gives in the notices of allocations which frequently appear at the beginning of consular years. Although such provinciae do often bear the name of a geographical area, this is not always the case: It is within this framework, this understanding at least by the senate of what a provincia was, that the development of the structures of the provinces of the Roman empire took place. But were provinciae with geographical names geographically bounded? Neither of these, however, provides evidence for a provincial formula in the second century bc.

There are, however, some indications that there were provincial boundaries of some sort fines or termini provinciae in the late third and second centuries bc. In both these cases, Livy uses the word fines, and it seems clear that there was indeed a frontier at this point between the earlier provincia Sicilia and the Syracusan kingdom, which became itself a provincia once the Romans were engaged in warfare against the city. Helvius to Hispania ulterior and C. By the early third century ad such a list appears to have existed for all provinciae.

These men were ordered to fix the boundaries terminare of what was to be regarded as each of the two provinciae. On this boundary, see J. For the senate at least the boundary between the two provinciae was a live issue. The common element which links these three passages from Livy is that in each case the boundary of the provincia sets a limit on exercise of power by the magistrate or pro-magistrate to whom it is allotted.

This is also the import of one other more generalised passage in Livy which refers to the boundaries of provinciae. Livius Salinator in the north. Cassius Longinus, from the provincia Gallia into Macedonia, which was held by his colleague, P. That, after all, is what might be expected at a period when a provincia was seen as the task assigned by the senate to a holder of the essentially unrestricted power given to a magistrate or pro-magistrate, not least to avoid problematic clashes between two such imperia.

It would appear that the boundaries of a provincia in the earlier second century bc were limits on the imperium of its holder. To move forward, what was the situation in the first century? The obvious place to look is in the works of Cicero and his usage of the terms fines and termini with regard both to imperium and provincia. It is worth noticing in passing that, of course, there are other sorts of limits to imperium than territorial ones: An interesting instance, which reveals precisely this ambiguity, is in pro Murena, where Cicero is contrasting the legal activity of the prosecutor, Ser.

Sulpicius, with the military functions of Murena. What it does show, however, is that for Cicero and his hearers the ambiguity was a live one, and that the meaning of fines was not settled. It is interesting to note, however, that he rarely refers to the boundaries of provinciae, and only speaks of fines provinciae in one speech, that against L. Gabinius, and about Caesar, following his victories in the Civil Wars.

Macedoniam praesertim, quam tantae barbarorum gentes attingunt ut semper Macedonicis imperatoribus idem fines provinciae fuerint qui gladiorum atque pilorum. Indeed, although in principle and in origin a provincia can only exist if there is a magistrate or pro-magistrate whose provincia it is, for Cicero it can also have an on-going existence in the absence of an imperium-holder.

It is then to be expected that the meanings of fines imperii and fines provinciae show consonant changes. In fact fines provinciae occurs rarely. This does not mean that the older ideas of imperium had disappeared. Throughout the period there are still references to the imperium of the Romans as encompassing the entire world. Omnium provinc[iarum populi Romani], quibus finitimae fuerunt gentes quae n[on parerent imperio nos]tro, fines auxi. On the limits of this understanding, see C.

By the time we have reached the first century ad, then, the boundaries, the fines, of the provinciae and of the imperium certainly exist, and what they bound are pieces of territory. But it was not ever thus. The change that I have sketched out in this paper, from limits on power and responsibility to lines on a map, marks a change; and the change, I would suggest, is not just one of language but of mentality, a change in what the Romans thought their empire was.

I extended the borders of all those provinces of the Roman people on whose borders lay people not subject to our government. I brought peace to the Gallic and Spanish provinces, as well as to Germany, throughout the area bordering on the ocean from Cadiz to the mouth of the Elbe. My fleet sailed through the ocean eastwards from the mouth of the Rhine to the territory of the Cimbri, a country which no Roman had visited before either by land or sea, and the Cimbri, Charydes, Semnones and other German peoples of that region sent ambassadors and sought my friendship and that of the Roman people.

Special thanks are due to Benjamin Isaac for his willingness to comment on a paper many of the views of which he does not share; I profited greatly from his critical remarks and he made me reconsider some of my opinions or put them forward in a more nuanced way. Alasdair MacDonald was kind enough to correct my English. Omnium provinciarum populi Romani quibus finitimae fuerunt gentes quae non parerent imperio nostro fines auxi. Gallias et Hispanias provincias, item Germaniam, qua includit Oceanus a Gadibus ad ostium Albis fluminis pacavi.

Classis mea per Oceanum ab ostio Rheni ad solis orientis regionem usque ad fines Cimbrorum navigavit, quo neque terra neque mari quisquam Romanus ante id tempus adit, Cimbrique et Charydes et Semnones et eiusdem tractus alii Germanorum populi per legatos amicitiam meam et populi Romani petierunt; tr. However, Augustus and his contemporaries seem to have had a different concept of Roman territory than modern historians.

The Romans still adhered to the idea of an imperium sine fine. Actual conquest, occupation, and provincialisation were apparently not necessary to let them consider Germania as part of the world under Roman imperium. This attitude has consequences for how the Romans perceived frontiers or borders in the early imperial period. The concept of an imperial frontier seems to have had little meaning and the Romans in the early Empire seem not to have been accustomed to thinking about frontiers as physical and static boundaries. Four centuries after Augustus, the new consciousness of limits to Roman territory is well expressed by St.

Territorial concessions had to be made: The usual Roman term for land boundary is limes. Originally, the word was used by land surveyors to indicate the boundary or limit between fields, consisting of a path or a balk. Subsequently, the term was also used to indicate the actual path or a road. Like the Roman concept of territory the meaning of limes changed over time in the Roman imperial period, and can have several meanings: It was seen as a dividing line between the civilised and the barbarian. In accordance with this line of thinking the limes was therefore used as referring to the Roman defence system along the border of the empire, with permanent defensive structures such as garrison camps, watch towers, patrolling river fleets, and even walls of which the main purpose was to keep the ubi hodieque persistent.

However, there was a clear sense of reality that there were actual limits to the empire; see J. Lee, Information and Frontiers. Whittaker, Frontiers of the Roman Empire. Williams, The Reach of Rome. Mattern, Rome and the Enemy. Whittaker, Rome and its Frontiers: Even though many scholars have nuanced this one-sided meaning of limes, the term is still often associated with a frontier of military character, demarcating Roman territory from that beyond, and meant to keep outsiders out of the Roman Empire, or at least to regulate the crossing of the border by outsiders entering the empire.

According to Isaac, however, in sources from the fourth century onwards, when the term occurs more often than in the earlier writings, the meaning of limes had changed. Isaac bases his argument on a close examination 11 E. It is not a term that describes physical structures, forts, defence works, roads and related features, but a term indicating army bureaucracy. Contrary to what Isaac argues, Ammianus in a few cases may even refer to limes as a constructed defence-line with military installations.

That it can have that meaning or was associated with military defence is plausible and understandable: The aim of this article is threefold. Firstly, I examine the use of the word limes by Ammianus Marcellinus and the different meanings it can have in his work. Secondly, I briefly deal with rivers as demarcation lines, and finally I succinctly discuss the frontier as an intercultural contact zone, as displayed in the work of Ammianus.

Isaac, The Limits of Empire. Isaac is absolutely correct in arguing that limes generally indicates a frontier zone or territory in the frontier regions, in particular when it is used in its plural form. In this sense Ammianus uses the word twentytwo times. This zone could either be situated on the Roman side eighteen instances or on the non-Roman side four instances. Frontier Zones within Roman Territory orientis vero limes in longum protentus et rectum ab Euphratis fluminis ripis ad usque supercilia porrigitur Nili laeva Saracenis conterminans gentibus, dextra pelagi fragoribus patens.

Austin, Ammianus on Warfare. These interiores limites should be seen as the territory on the Roman side of the boundary between the two powers. The word finis refers to the actual border line between the two empires. Although Ammianus did not compose a work about the administration of the Roman Empire but a political and military history, it is nevertheless noteworthy that he has only one instance of what according to Isaac is the main meaning of limes, namely a border district under the supervision of a dux limitis.

In seven cases Ammianus is likely, even though we cannot be entirely certain, to refer to an actual border or demarcation line. In these instances he uses limes in its singular form. According to Isaac, limes never refers to a border defence line consisting of military installations. However, the impression gained from five passages in Ammianus is otherwise.

In these passages the term limes carries clear undertones of a line of demarcation of military character. Constantius, metuens expeditiones Parthicas. The most current meaning is that of frontier zone or tract along the frontier both within and outside Roman territory. Ammianus seems to use the word limes also when referring to a physical border line or even to a militarily defensive frontier.

Would this emperor have started implementing the advice of the anonymous writer of the De rebus bellicis, a work generally agreed to have been composed 31 Ms V reads verius milite. According to this author it was necessary to solve the problems at the frontiers by creating a continuous line of castella, situated every thousand feet and linked by a solid wall with strong watchtowers. Rivers Rivers and mountain ranges are effective barriers and lines of defence, and were used as such by the Romans.

Evidently, the river Tigris was considered the line of demarcation between Roman and Persian territory. Est praetera inter commoda rei publicae utilis limitum cura ambientium ubique latus imperii; quorum tutelae assidua melius castella prospicient, ita ut millenis interiecta passibus stabili muro et firmissimis turribus erigantur. Nicasie, Twilight of Empire. Frontier Zones and Intercultural Exchange Although it seems that some parts of the Roman frontier, in particular in the Rhine and Danube areas, were closed to outsiders, or at least intended to keep interlopers out, in most cases Ammianus refers to limes as a frontier zone.

This strip of land, the furthest extent of the empire, should be seen as a demarcation region between Roman and non-Roman societies. The frontier zone was typified by a gradual transition from Roman to non-Roman society and it was by character permeable, dynamic, and fluid. They may therefore also be designated as contact zones. The concept of contact zone may, I would argue, be fruitfully applied to the frontier zones in late Roman times.

However, a distinction should be made to the frontier zones in the north and the east—Roman Africa will be left out of the discussion. The relations between Romans and Germans were often of an asymmetrical kind and Roman culture dominated over that of the Germans and clearly influenced Germanic culture, in particular through the military service of Germanic peoples in the Roman army.

Historians still tend to speak in this case of romanisation. Romanisation is not an adequate term since it suggests a top-down and one-way process, in the course of which non-Roman societies adapted to and adopted Roman culture. Also Roman culture, in particular in the frontier zone, adapted to and adopted Germanic cultural features. Throughout imperial times, Roman-Germanic contacts of various kinds continued with an intensification in Late Antiquity. In Late Antiquity the number of Germans who fought in the Roman armies increased considerably and many Germanic leaders 44 M.

See now also A. Ammianus mentions many of them. The first example concerns a certain Charietto. He came from the right bank of the Rhine and was possibly of Frankish descent. Ammianus reports about Vadomarius that he was familiar with Roman affairs because he lived near the frontier. Vadomarius clearly accommodated to and adopted Roman culture, contrary to his son Vithicabius who remained hostile to Rome till the end of his life.

Dirk Buschhaus Dirk Buschhaus als Marcus Antonius

These two examples can easily be multiplied. The situation was different in the East. There Rome found a superpower like itself at its borders: There existed a more symmetrical relation between Rome and Persia than between Rome and the peoples in the Rhine and Danube regions, as a consequence of which both cultures influenced one another and a sort of mixed Roman-Persian culture could develop in the borderlands, in particular in the northern Mesopotamian plain.

Antoninus was very well known in Mesopotamia; he had been a merchant 46 See in general M. Vadomarius vero nostris coalitus utpote vicinus limiti. Without difficulty, he was able to continue his life at the other side of the border and even to pursue a career in the service of the Persian king. Antoninus and Cragausius are clear examples of the symmetrical cultural adaptability that characterised relations and conduct in this frontier zone between the two empires. I hope to have shown that limes as it is used by Ammianus Marcellinus has more meanings than only a frontier district commanded by a dux or a frontier zone, as Isaac argues.

It can have these denotations, but Ammianus also uses limes in the meaning of boundary line and probably even in the sense of a militarily defended border. Finally, Ammianus provides examples for the frontier region as a contact zone where different cultures meet and acculturate—sometimes symmetrically, at other times asymmetrically. Nam propter initia et fines duobus istis diis duos menses perhibent dedicantes praeter illos decem, quibus usque ad decembrem caput est Martius, Ianuarium Iano, Februarium Termino.

Ideo Terminalia eodem mense Februario celebrari dicunt, cum fit sacrum purgatorium, quod uocant Februm, unde mensis nomen accepit. Oppida condebant in Latio Etrusco ritu multi, id est iunctis bobus, tauro et uacca interiore, aratro circumagebant sulcum hoc faciebant religionis causa die auspicato , ut fossa et muro essent muniti. Terram unde exculpserant, fossam uocabant et introrsum iactam murum. Post ea qui fiebat orbis, urbis principium ; qui quod erat post murum, postmoerium dictum, eo usque auspicia urbana finiuntur.

Cippi pomeri stant et circum Ariciam et circum Romam. Quare et oppida quae prius erant circumducta aratro ab orbe et uruo urbes ; et, ideo coloniae nostrae omnes in litteris antiquis scribuntur urbes, quod item conditae ut Roma ; et ideo coloniae et urbes conduntur, quod intra pomerium ponuntur. Je ne vais retenir que deux aspects qui me semblent susS. Et pomerium Vrbis auxit Caesar, more prisco, quo iis qui protulere imperium etiam terminos Vrbis propagare datur. Nec tamen duces Romani, quamquam magnis nationibus subactis, usurpauerant, nisi L. Sulla et diuus Augustus.

Regnum in eo ambitio uel gloria uarie uulgata. Sed initium condendi et quod pomerium Romulus posuerit, noscere haud absurdum reor. Igitur a foro boario, ubi aereum tauri simulacrum aspicimus, quia id genus animalium aratro subditur, sulcus designandi oppidi coeptus, ut magnam Herculis aram amplecteretur ; inde certis spatiis interiecti lapides per ima montis Palatini ad aram Consi, mox curias ueteres, tum ad sacellum Larundae.

Mox pro fortuna pomerium auctum. Pomerio autem neminem principum licet addere nisi eum, qui agri barbarici aliqua parte Romanam rem p ublicam locupletauerit. Ogulnii aediles curules aliquot feneratoribus diem dixerunt ; quorum bonis multatis ex eo quod in publicum redactum est aenea in Capitolio limina et trium mensarum argentea uasa in cella Iouis Iouemque in culmine cum quadrigis et ad ficum Ruminalem simulacra infantium conditorum urbis sub uberibus lupae posuerunt semitamque saxo quadrato a Capena porta ad Martis strauerunt.

Romanae spatium est Vrbis et orbis idem. Cum uero adtenderem te non solum de uita communi omnium curam publicaeque rei constitutione habere, sed etiam de opportunitate publicorum aedificiorum ut ciuitas per te non solum prouinciis esset aucta, uerum etiam ut maiestas imperii publicorum aedificiorum egregias haberet auctoritates. Rerum gestarum diui Augusti, quibus orbem terrarum imperio populi Romani subiecit, et impensarum quas in rem publicam populumque Romanum fecit, incisarum in duabus aheneis pilis, quae sunt Romae positae, exemplar subiectum.

Aigner Foresti et al. Si cum finitumis de finibus bellum gererent, si totum certamen in uno proelio positum putarent, tamen omnibus rebus instructiores et apparatiores uenirent ; nedum illi imperium orbis terrae, cui imperio omnes gentes, reges, nationes partim ui, partim uoluntate consenserunt, cum aut armis aut liberalitate a populo Romano superati essent, ad se transferre tantulis uiribus conarentur.

Ita late per orbem terrarum arma circumtulit, ut qui res illius legunt non unius populi, sed generis humani facta condiscant. Bowersock, Mosaics as history. En ne retenant que deux mises en contexte: In nomine domini nostri Iesu Christi. Imperatoriam maiestatem non solum armis decoratam, sed etiam legibus oportet esse armatam, ut utrumque tempus et bellorum et pacis recte possit gubernari et princeps Romanus uictor existat non solum in hostilibus proeliis, sed etiam per legitimos tramites calumniantium iniquitates expellens, et fiat tam iuris religiosissimus quam uictis hostibus triumphator.

Ianus igitur, a quo sumpsit exordium, quaero quisnam sit. Breuis haec plane est atque aperta responsio. Nonne omnia, quae in hoc mundo fieri dicunt, in hoc etiam mundo terminari fatentur? Quae est ista uanitas, in opere illi dare potestatem dimidiam, in simulacro faciem duplam? Nonne istum bifrontem multo elegantius interpretarentur, si eundem et Ianum et Terminum dicerent atque initiis unam faciem, finibus alteram darent?

Vnde necesse est a memoria respiciente prospiciens conectatur intentio ; nam cui exciderit quod coeperit, quo modo finiat non inueniet. Quod si uitam beatam in hoc mundo inchoari putarent, extra mundum perfici, et ideo Iano, id est mundo, solam initiorum tribuerent potestatem: Quamquam etiam nunc cum in istis duobus diis initia rerum temporalium finesque tractantur, Termino dari debuit plus honoris. Maior enim laetitia est, cum res quaeque perficitur ; sollicitudinis autem plena sunt coepta, donec perducantur ad finem, quem qui aliquid incipit maxime adpetit intendit, expectat exoptat, nec de re inchoata, nisi terminetur, exultat.

Censu perfecto quem maturauerat metu legis de incensis latae cum uinculorum minis mortisque, edixit ut omnes ciues Romani, equites peditesque, in suis quisque centuriis, in campo Martio prima luce adessent. Ibi instructum exercitum omnem suouetaurilibus lustrauit, idque conditum lustrum appellatum, quia is censendo finis factus est. Milia octoginta eo lustro ciuium censa dicuntur ; adicit scriptorum antiquissimus Fabius Pictor, eorum qui arma ferre possent eum numerum fuisse.

Ad eam multitudinem urbs quoque amplificanda uisa est. Addit duos colles, Quirinalem Viminalemque ; Viminalem inde deinceps auget Esquiliis ; ibique ipse, ut loco dignitas fieret, habitat ; aggere et fossis et muro circumdat urbem ; ita pomerium profert. Pomerium uerbi uim solam intuentes postmoerium interpretantur esse ; est autem magis circamoerium, locus quem in condendis urbibus quondam Etrusci qua murum ducturi erant certis circa terminis inaugurato consecrabant, ut neque interiore parte aedificia moenibus continuarentur, quae nunc uolgo etiam coniungunt, et extrinsecus puri aliquid ab humano cultu pateret soli.

Antiquissimum autem pomerium, quod a Romulo institutum est, Palati montis radicibus terminabatur. Sed id pomerium pro incrementis reipublicae aliquotiens prolatum est et multos editosque collis circumplexum est. Habeat autem ius proferendi pomerii, qui populum Romanum agro de hostibus capto auxerat. Propterea quaesitum est ac nunc etiam in quaestione est, quam ob causam ex septem urbis montibus, cum ceteri sex intra pomerium sint, Auentinus solum, quae pars non longinqua nec infrequens est, extra pomerium sit, neque id Seruius Tullius rex neque Sulla, qui proferundi pomerii titulum quaesiuit, neque postea diuus Iulius, cum pomerium proferret, intra effatos urbis fines incluserint.

Huius rei Messala aliquot causas uideri scripsit, sed praeter eas omnis ipse unam probat, quod in eo monte Remus urbis condendae gratia auspicauerit auesque inritas habuerit superatusque in auspicio a Romulo sit: Sed de Auentino monte praetermittendum non putaui, quod non pridem ego in Elydis, grammatici ueteris, commentario offendi, in quo scriptum erat Auentinum antea, sicuti diximus, extra pomerium exclusum, post auctore diuo Claudio receptum et intra pomerii fines obseruatum.

Ut enim in membris alia sunt tamquam sibi nata, ut oculi, ut aures, alia etiam ceterorum membrorum usum adiuuant, ut crura, ut manus, sic inmanes quaedam bestiae sibi solum natae sunt, at illa, quae in concha patula pina dicitur, isque, qui enat e concha, qui, quod eam custodit, pinoteres uocatur in eandemque cum se recepit includitur, ut uideatur monuisse ut caueret, itemque formicae, apes, ciconiae aliorum etiam causa quaedam faciunt. Multo haec coniunctius homines.

Itaque natura sumus apti ad coetus, concilia, ciuitates. Mundum autem censent regi numine penser la limite: Ut enim leges omnium salutem singulorum saluti anteponunt, sic uir bonus et sapiens et legibus parens et ciuilis officii non ignarus utilitati omnium plus quam unius alicuius aut suae consulit. Nec magis est uituperandus proditor patriae quam communis utilitatis aut salutis desertor propter suam utilitatem aut salutem. Quoniamque illa uox inhumana et scelerata ducitur eorum, qui negant se recusare quo minus ipsis mortuis terrarum omnium deflagratio consequatur— quod uulgari quodam uersu Graeco pronuntiari solet—, certe uerum est etiam iis, qui aliquando futuri sint, esse propter ipsos consulendum.

Equidem me cognosse admodum gaudeo. Sed illud tamen quale est quod paulo ante dixisti, hunc locum—id enim ego te accipio dicere Arpinum—Germanam patriam esse uestram? Numquid duas habetis patrias, an est una illa patria communis? Nisi forte sapienti illi Catoni fuit patria non Roma sed Tusculum. Ego mehercule et illi et omnibus municipibus duas esse censeo patrias, unam naturae, alteram ciuitatis: Dulcis autem non multo secus est ea quae genuit quam illa quae excepit.

Itaque ego hanc meam esse patriam prorsus numquam negabo, dum illa sit maior, haec in ea contineatur. While it is more or less clear how provinces were accumulated—from inheritance through conquest to acquisition—it is much less clear what they were for. Not one single ancient source describes the rationale behind the definition of territorial provinces, nor the reasons behind the transfer of territory from one to the other.

Our only reference is the unreliable testimony of Lactantius that Diocletian chopped up the Empire to give more jobs to his cronies. Some of this territorial knowledge is preserved in a variety of ways, somewhat better in the west than the east. Inscriptions are invaluable sources. City or other territories can be defined by cadestrations or boundary markers. Green, Tabula imperii Romani: Eretz Israel in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods: In theory then, the limit of territory dependent on each city was known, based on tax records of land holdings, and thus, the provincial borders were known fairly exactly, even if there was no physical marker.

That the lines of provincial borders were known in antiquity, even if this knowledge has not survived for us, conforms with our understanding of the interest of Romans in boundaries of many types. We know that Roman law was sophisticated enough to distinguish conceptually between the finis limit and limes boundary of land, and between land delimited by a natural feature and land measured out. Ad Fines in Dalmatia: The boundaries of the land were: Dilke, The Roman Land Surveyors: Distribution patterns of locally produced ceramics have long been recognized as significant indicators of local economic activity,17 and the opportunity exists to use this material to address the problem.

The use of ceramic patterning to examine the extent, or nature, of imperial influence in provinces, has been used in pre-Roman Levantine studies, and in Meso-America. The persistence of cultural regions in the southern Levant since the Neolithic has now been documented. Work on the distribution of distinctive pottery in pre- and Imperial Aztec polities is particularly relevant from a methodological perspective. Traditional studies have followed the written material, and only in recent decades has the larger, undocumented world of the uninfluential population been examined.

In this respect, the vastly greater documentary evidence from the Roman empire, which includes, for instance, personal letters, epigraphy and sermons, has led to extensive examination of the non-elite, well before such issues have been raised in America. On the other hand, possibly because scholars of the Aztec empire have been employed in anthropology rather than Classics departments, and because the written sources are so limited in central America, 17 K.

Peacock, Pottery in the Roman World: In the Later Aztec Imperial period, the patterning changed to a much more homogenous marketing system, although some regional differences remained. Although the results are different from the archaeological data described below, they do indicate that material culture patterns can be related to political, as well as social structures, depending on the artifact class and level of quantification studied. In the southern Levant, patterns of differing classes of ceramics seem to be showing an equally uneven distribution.

The patterns are best explained not by topographic features nor by simple distance from production centres. They seem bounded by the approximate line of provincial borders, in the few places where these can be reasonably reconstructed. The most likely explanation is the imposition on major provincial borders of a customs duty. By making it uneconomical to import local ceramics from neighbouring provinces, the duty distorted trade patterns. This distortion can be harnessed to map the location of the unknown sections of the provincial borders.

The Borders of Arabia and Palaestina BAP project, a case-study in an area overlapping part of the border between Palaestina Secunda and Arabia, is developing an archaeological methodology to allow a more precise definition of provincial territory based on this distortion to ceramic trade. Goffart, Caput and Colonate: The overall corpus from each site will be categorized by reference to the known corpora from Pella Palestinian and Jarash Arabian.

The border must lie between the Palestinian and Arabian sites. Sites selected for sampling had previously been identified in earlier surveys of north-west Jordan, although in most cases little or no pottery had been published. However, of the twenty sites sampled, only around ten will produce reliable statistics because of collection difficulties. There were fewer sites in the eastern half of the sampling area, and many of these had significant modern or mediaeval occupation over the entire area. The focus of processing to date has been on the coarse ware body sherds—exactly those ceramics normally unsampled or discarded in conventional survey.

It is this which distinguishes the project from the methodology used, for instance, by Hodge and Minc to discuss market types and integration in the Aztec Empire. It is only at the level of bulk trade in low-profit common wares that the distorting effect seems to appear. Processing of the material still continues, and only preliminary results are presented.

One reason coarse or common wares are not prioritized in conventional survey or sampling is the tremendous difficulty of close dating, particularly when corrective data from excavations is unavailable. The BAP project therefore has been using very broad date ranges, and there are clearly potential problems for interpretation, given the known history of border changes at more frequent intervals than we may be able to detect ceramically.

Leakage of ceramics across the border has also been anticipated, particularly since we have sampled sites quite close to the hypothetical border line, and it is quite feasible that small quantities of material crossed over. However, the identification of a corpus as Palaestinian or Arabian will depend on general ratios of wares across the entire sample, rather than the presence of a few distinctive pieces. As so few sites in the case study area have been excavated or published, our treatment of the coarse wares must remain very general. However, it appears from the initial results that the methodology is able to indicate differences in corpora, and these correspond to the presumed provincial allocations of each site.

Given that the same circumstances exist across the Empire—abundant coarse ware ceramics and a customs duty on major borders—this methodology should be applicable elsewhere in order to more precisely define the line of a provincial boundary. Only those sites where over a thousand sherds of the Byzantine period have been catalogued have been included in these preliminary results. With the same processing protocol for each site, and with the largest possible quantities collected in the time available, we believe that minor fluctuations in cataloguing will be evened out.

Bodysherds in each category have been counted and weighed. The final processing of diagnostic sherds will help in some way to gauge the bodysherds, although it is not possible in many cases to tell if rim sherds come from ribbed or unribbed or ribbed and unribbed vessels. Sittat had large numbers of small sherds, whereas Maqati" and Ba"un had large numbers of large sherds.

Modern scholars long underestimated the Arsacid dynasty and regarded Parthian—Roman relations solely from the Roman perspective. Above all the many works of G. Luttwak ; MacMullen ; Isaac Relations with Rome were in fact a major structural element in the history of the Parthian kingdom. The recollection of the significant Achaemenid past50 encouraged the Arsacids to stand up to the Roman Empire, an aspect that widens the scope of Arsacid policies tremendously. Given that the late phase of Parthian—Roman relations was characterised by mutual respect and appreciation — certainly beyond a modus vivendi57 and with options for a formalised relationship on the basis of an international law,58 one also has to ask if and to what extent the rising Sasanian Empire was prepared to use the opportunity and to further develop existing relations.

On the goals of Arsacid foreign policy and on Arsacid military strength see Kennedy a: A chronological survey 2. Rome therefore considered the Sasanian dynasty as a serious opponent right from the beginning of their relations 1. For the history of the Sasanian Empire see Morony The Sasanians withdrew from the areas they had conquered and the status quo ante bellum was restored.

Although this first military confrontation was not a victory for either Persians or Romans, the fact that a Persian advance had been prevented was viewed as a major triumph in the West 4. Soon the Sasanians invaded again. In and he apparently gained control of a number of fortresses in Roman Mesopotamia, among these the important cities of Nisibis and Carrhae.

His activities along the Persian Gulf, which primarily illustrate economic and strategic motives, affected Roman economic interests. This situation could not but affect relations between the two powers Herodian describes Hatra as an impregnable fortress. Losing a fortress of immense strategic importance for securing middle Mesopotamia to Rome threatened the Persian Western frontier considerably. April 12 and September 30 of the year In the spring of the Roman emperor Gordian III —44 set off with his army from the Syrian metropolis Antioch on the Orontes, crossed the Euphrates and won back the cities of Carrhae and Nisibis, which had been occupied by the Sasanians.

Gordian III died in battle 5. On this emperor and his rule see de Blois —9: For the possible causes of the Sasanian expedition against Armenia and the course of events see Chaumont It is difficult to establish a chronology of the various Sasanian expeditions between and ; see Kettenhofen In the second half of , however, the Persians suffered a first setback when one of their columns was stopped at Emesa and defeated, possibly by the Palmyrene Odaenathus died in At Edessa they captured high Roman officials and Valerian himself.

Numerous Christians, and among these priests and Church officials, also entered Persia and established organised congregations. However, the quick spread of Christianity in the Sasanian Empire endangered the position of the Zoroastrian priesthood, whose claims to power 22 23 24 25 26 27 The individual dates are uncertain. On the Roman—Sasanian confrontations of the year and on the capture of Valerian see Kettenhofen Although the Christian population displayed loyalty towards the king in many instances, as a guardian and protector of Zoroastrianism he was ultimately not allowed to tolerate Christianity Here we see clear parallels to the developments in the Roman Empire where reasons of state were also responsible for persecutions of the Christians.

At the beginning of the fourth century Constantine the Great displayed a similar attitude with regard to the Christian God after his victories over Maxentius and Licinius. As the Sasanian kings supported Zoroastrianism a long time before the conversion of Constantine, religious developments in Persia must have been significant for the events in the West.

One famous example is the silver medallion from Ticinum, which probably dates to the year ; see Brandt On behalf of the Romans Odaenathus promoted Western interests against Sasanian claims. The Roman emperor Gallienus —8 invested the Palmyrene king with almost unlimited power, and from the second half of the year onwards the Sasanians suffered several defeats at his hands.


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From onwards the Eastern frontier of the Roman Empire was quiet. Eventually, the creation of a Palmyrene kingdom that was independent from Rome was not tolerable. Removing Palmyrene power from the political map certainly strengthened the Roman position. Aurelian adopted the titles Parthicus and Persicus maximus35 and thereby emphasised his military achievements in the East.

The Roman emperor Probus —82 travelled to the East twice; these visits included diplomatic contacts with the Persian opponent but no armed conflict. A Roman offensive was planned for the year but was abandoned when the emperor was assassinated. The Roman army invaded Mesopotamia and did not meet any Persian resistance. Not surprisingly, Carus also adopted the titles Persicus maximus and Parthicus in order to display his success over the Eastern rival.

In the Historia Augusta we read that he was struck by lightning while in his camp at the Tigris. Immediately, he started to reorganise Roman rule and the defence system along the frontier, a development which caused Sasanian concern. Diocletian was satisfied that the Sasanian king respected the existing Eastern frontier and in 37 38 39 40 41 43 44 Anonymus post Dionem, frg. For the Persian campaign of the emperor Carus see Winter From now onwards religious affairs became a significant and growing factor in the relations between the two great powers.

Both sides respected the agreement of while their energies were applied elsewhere. Already in Diocletian once more headed East. In the following period he took numerous measures in order to strengthen the Roman position along the Eastern frontier. The difficult situation 45 46 47 48 49 52 53 On the Roman—Sasanian peace treaty of see Winter Since the capture of Valerian in the year the balance of power between West and East had changed.

The Sasanian Empire, which from its foundation in had pursued an aggressive policy against its Western neighbour and had inflicted major defeats on Rome, suffered setbacks that were the result not only of its own internal situation but also of a recovering Roman Empire from the beginning of the s. He benefited from the fact that the Romans had to deal with a revolt against their rule in Egypt.

However, it is remarkable that persecutions of the Manichaeans ceased in Persia after in order that their support could be used in the battle against Rome. Ammianus Marcellinus tells us that Diocletian hurried to the scene and that Galerius, clad in purple, marched for nearly a mile before the carriage of the enraged emperor.

Possibly, Diocletian humiliated Galerius in this way 54 55 56 57 58 Brandt It was to his advantage that Galerius and Diocletian could not agree on a strategy. He did not want to embark on new and uncertain 60 61 62 65 67 68 70 So Klein Edictum Diocletiani et collegarum de pretiis rerum venalium, praef. Corcoran is preparing a translation of all fragments; see also Brandt Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions military campaigns that could put at risk what had been accomplished so far.

In the end, Diocletian prevailed in the negotiations at Nisibis. A peace treaty was concluded and put an end to the last of the Roman—Sasanian Wars of the third century. Although the foedus of put the Sasanians at a major disadvantage 17 , Rome intended to respect the sovereignty of the defeated Sasanian ruler. There is no doubt that the peace treaty of made the Roman Eastern frontier more secure.

During the first Tetrarchy the so-called Strata Diocletiana from Damascus via Palmyra to Sura72 was built and fortified with numerous forts map 3 , and a security zone with military roads, fortresses and watch towers created between Hauran in Southern Syria and the Sinai. It was his goal to reconcile questions of security with the control over the trade with the East, which was so important for Rome. From now on economic and strategic factors were also important in the diplomatic relations between both empires 27— Although there were still unsolved problems to do with the spread of information through diplomats, defectors and spies 35 , for the time being the peace treaty of Nisibis formed the beginning of a peaceful period between Rome and Persia that would last for forty years — an exceptionally long period of peace in the history of Roman—Sasanian relations.

They did not play a decisive role in Roman—Sasanian relations. His Western advance, however, did not bear an impact on the peace of It is possible that the king followed a far-reaching and programmatic foreign policy which included the restoration of the former Achaemenid Empire as far as the Strymon river 2.

The year was an important turning-point because at this time hostilities with Rome started again. Changes in religious affairs that had occurred within the Roman Empire dramatically affected the relationship between the two great powers. From onwards non-Christian religions were therefore repressed and the Christianisation of the Roman Empire took place at a much accelerated pace. The fact that Constantine turned to Christianity and furthered this religion in state and society encouraged the Christians in Persia to bond even more than before with their fellow-believers in the Roman Empire.

Numerous acts of martyrs reflect the suffering of the Christians in this period and illustrate the political character of the persecutions The attack formed a prelude to numerous armed confrontations between Rome and Persia. Neither of the two sides gained any major advantages during this period 7. When, moreover, in the spring of Julian was proclaimed Augustus by his army in Paris, Constantius was forced to intervene against him in the West but died on his way in Cilicia on 3 November Towards the beginning of the year his successor to the throne, Julian, renewed the Roman offensive in the East in order to deal with the situation along the Eastern frontier of the Roman Empire once and for all.

His advance far into Sasanian territory was successful at first but ended in catastrophe. The emperor was wounded in battle and died on 26 June 8. The hope for a lasting peace was not fulfilled. When the Roman emperor died in the following year he went back to his aggressive policy against Rome. The king had been one of the greatest rulers on the Sasanian throne and was admired even by authors biased against him, such as Ammianus Marcellinus.

For a history of Armenia in the fourth century see Baynes The king was determined to retain peace with the Romans. The sources further illustrate good relations at the beginning of this century by telling us that the emperor Arcadius — asked Yazdgard I to become the guardian of his infant son Theodosius after his death 9. However, refraining from an expansive foreign policy against Byzantium and sympathising with the Christians made Yazdgard I the target of accusations by the bellicose Persian nobility as well as the Zoroastrian priesthood.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

When the latter refused, the Sasanian king continued the persecutions initiated by his predecessor. As neither of the two sides achieved any noteworthy successes, the war did not last for very long and a peace was concluded just one year later The growing Christological differences within Christianity,90 85 86 87 88 89 90 On the Byzantine—Sasanian relations in the fifth century see Synelli On the situation of the Persian Christians in the fifth century see Macomber On the Roman—Persian relations in the first half of the fifth century see Lee On these see Spuler Yazdgard II was even forced to move his residence to the East for a few years in order to take better action against the Hephthalites.

There were no new confrontations with the Romans, although the Western power repeatedly tried to gain from the problems faced by its Eastern opponent. Emperor Leo I —74 refused the payments for the defence of the Caucasus passes that had been agreed upon by both powers in and served the interests of both sides On Nestorianism see Stewart For the consequences of this development on the unity of the Church in the West see Haussig A survey of the history of Eastern Iran in the Sasanian period may be found in Bivar a: These events eventually led to renewed confrontations with the Romans.

A return to the aggressive Western policy of the Sasanian rulers of the third and fourth centuries triggered numerous armed confrontations. In the year the Sasanian king was in need of funds in order to pay the Hephthalites, who were now his allies. He approached the Byzantine emperor Anastasius I — Renewed confrontations with the Hephthalites finally forced the Persians to seek terms for peace and they agreed to give up Amida and further territories that they had conquered in return for a high sum.

The subsequent peace was concluded for a period of seven years but actually lasted for over twenty years. In the following years he therefore built new fortresses close to the frontier. After that the relations between the two powers deteriorated. In spite of several successes neither of the two parties was able to gain an advantage, with the result that a peace treaty was concluded in Even his political opponents displayed respect to him, and during this period a strong Western interest may be observed in developments in Persia The political relations with the Romans, however, did not remain unspoilt for long.

Both sides used the peaceful phase after in order to consolidate their own position of power and to carry out domestic reforms. For the peace of see ibid. A dispute over border-land between two Arab tribes, the Lahmids and Ghassanids, was used to justify the outbreak of new hostilities Justinian had not been able to stop the forceful Sasanian attack.

As the majority of the Roman units were engaged in the West and not available to confront the Persian army, the emperor had to enter into negotiations Both sides agreed to a truce under the following terms: A formal peace treaty would not be concluded before the tribute had been handed over. Already during the second half of the third century Rome and Persia had begun to entrust the defence of their frontiers to powerful Arab leaders The following year saw further military conflicts. During the following years the battles in Armenia and Mesopotamia were fought with changing luck and neither of the two parties scored a lasting success.

In particular, he decided to conquer Edessa in order to get hold of the Roman possessions beyond the Euphrates. They entered negotiations for a peace. He did not want to give up the dominant position he enjoyed in Lazika at the time. In the spring of Justinian I gave in and had to agree to considerable payments. Almost all of Lazika was once more under Roman control. For the history of Armenia in the period see Adontz On the history and culture of Edessa, one of the most important cities in Northern Mesopotamia, see Drijvers For the sequence of events see Stein The contemporary author Agathias gives us a detailed account of the armed confrontations regarding Lazika and the other Caucasian territories in the third and fourth books of his Histories; see also Stein In both sides agreed upon a general armistice, which included Lazika.

Until a final peace treaty had been signed each would remain in possession of the territories they were occupying. Both powers acted defensively, watched the opponent suspiciously from a distance and tried to hide their own intentions. Between and the powerful empire of the Western Turks had formed in the Sasanian East. On this third great war in the sixth century see Bury On the struggle for Nisibis see also Lee a: On the peace efforts during this period see Winter As Armenia was excluded from the regulations, warfare continued.

Diplomatic efforts did not bear fruit. In spite of initial Persian successes in Armenia and in the Roman part of Mesopotamia the Romans were able to repel the Sasanian king, who finally sought peace. The state of war continued and lasted throughout the reign of Hormizd IV, even after on the Roman side Maurice — had become emperor. In particular the Western Turks became increasingly dangerous, similar to the Hephthalites during the fifth century. Although initially he was victorious, he suffered a great defeat in the plains of Azerbaijan. On the Chazars see Golden For the chronology of events see Higgins The Senate demanded that Maurice give priority to the interests of his own empire, that is, to let Persia fall into a state of anarchy.

The latter escaped to the Western Turks but was assassinated a year later. The following paragraphs summarise the relations during this century: Although for a short period of time the reign of Justinian I revived the former glory of the Roman Empire, Theoph. Levy ; German tr. See also Frendo a: On this peace treaty see Goubert During the sixth century the confrontation between Romans and Persians took place on a worldwide scale. Moreover, Roman activities in the Western empire as well as growing Sasanian difficulties in the East had an impact on the fighting between the two.

However, this phase is not well documented. When confrontations resumed at the beginning of the seventh century the Persians once more proved to be strong and very serious opponents for the Romans. Within five years the entire Eastern part of the Byzantine Empire fell into Persian hands In turn, the emperor would honour him as a father deserved. When Alexandria fell and Egypt was lost in the year the Romans were altogether in a hopeless situation. In contrast, Persia was at the height of its power.

But the Romans recovered quickly. Heraclius agreed to make high payments to the Avars and thereby managed to conclude a temporary peace with them. His success marked a turning-point that eventually led to the final defeat and fall of the Sasanian kingdom. On the day after Easter Heraclius and his army left Constantinople in order to re-conquer the lost territories.

As a consequence, Asia Minor was liberated from Sasanian rule. The victory boosted the morale of the Roman troops and had the Avars not broken the peace agreement they would have advanced even The most comprehensive account can be found in Stratos On this emperor see Reining and Stolte ; Kaegi The years and saw numerous confrontations between the two opponents in which the Romans were victorious for the greater part. However, as Heraclius could not score a decisive victory he withdrew to Cilicia in The situation became even more threatening when, shortly after, the ruler of the Avars, the Khagan, also pressed against Constantinople with a large force and besieged the city from two sides.

At this point the last great Roman offensive began. While the capital was under threat, Heraclius stayed away from Constantinople so that he would not be surrounded. In Lazika he built up a new, powerful army and established contacts with the Chazars, a Turkish people located between the Sea of Azov and the Caspian Sea. This alliance between Romans and Chazars was to become both a threat to Persia and a characteristic of a new Roman Eastern policy. Then Heraclius decided to invade Sasanian territory. When in December of a battle was fought the Persians suffered a crushing defeat, which decided the war in favour of Byzantium.

The Sasanian On the Avars see Samolin —8: For a detailed account see Kaegi Moreover, his subjects had lost respect for the king when he took flight from Heraclius. With regard to its external affairs, Persia was now in an entirely defensive position. The return and restoration of the Holy Cross in March of symbolised the final victory of the West over the East and established a motif that would become notorious in the religious wars of later ages.

Apparently Heraclius supported his activities by putting soldiers at his disposal. Along with this attitude the direct relations between Romans and Persians ended because in both empires internal matters shifted to the foreground. As far as external matters are concerned, both were soon confronted with the onslaught of the Muslim conquerors. For the events in the Sasanian Empire see Christensen The constant struggles did not end until Yazdgard III —51 was crowned as the last legitimate heir to the Sasanian throne.

However, the long wars against Byzantium had exhausted the empire so that it could no longer develop great power. In the meantime changes in the Arabian Peninsula affected the entire political and strategic situation in the Near and Middle East. Muhammad intended to end tribal and religious fragmentation as well as Arab dependence on the great powers. Under the banner of Islam the prophet successfully put these goals into practice before he died in the year His successors initiated a massive expansionist policy that combined religious fanaticism with an aggressive desire for conquest.

The ensuing Arab offensive and their continuous triumphant progress were certainly facilitated by the weakness of the Romans and Persians, who had dominated the events in the Middle East for centuries. The defeat accelerated the downfall of the kingdom. Although the Arabs had to continue fighting for some time before they had subjugated all areas within the Sasanian Empire, they faced merely local conflicts with individual independent rulers.

Bivar and Boyce On this battle and the subsequent events see the detailed account by Spuler Hinds ; 39—53; Daryaee Soon after the Romans had re-conquered Syria, Palestine and Egypt, these territories were lost once more, this time to the Arabs. In they finally attacked Egypt, which was conquered by The most important Eastern provinces of the Byzantine Empire had thus fallen under Arab rule.

On the battle see Kaegi These goals are therefore the starting point of the second part of our survey, in which we present and analyse the source material. This should not, however, evoke the impression that the Sasanians acted as aggressors and the Romans as defenders of threatened possessions or territories, which, obviously, the latter had conquered in long, violent wars from an unwilling population. The enormous Persian capacity for expansion 1 3 5 2 Cf.

Badian ; Raaflaub On the scholarly discussion see van de Mierop However, as soon as the political, economic and social problems of the Roman Empire receded, the Romans similarly exploited phases of instability within the Sasanian Empire and embarked on numerous military offensives against the territories held by their Eastern opponent in order to underline their claim to world domination, which continued to exist up to the fall of the Roman Empire.

Evidently, the imperial prestige on both sides significantly fostered the emergence of conflicts between the two powers. Severus Alexander] reigned in this way, and so far as it was up to him, irreproachably. In the fourteenth year,6 however, he was suddenly sent reports by the governors in Syria and Mesopotamia informing him of the following: He had put to death Artabanos,8 who used to be called Great King and had worn two diadems. He was still not satisfied and was not staying within the borderline of the river Tigris but crossing its banks and thus the borders of the Roman Empire.

He was overrunning Mesopotamia and threatening Syria. He claimed that it was now his task to renew this empire for the Persians just as they had possessed it in the past. Herodian composed his history of the Roman Empire, which covers the time period between and , in the third century.

Although the author, who wrote in the Greek language, favoured the rhetorical and literary 6 7 8 9 The number of years is historically not correct. This is the last Arsacid ruler Artabanos IV — The consequences of this development for the Romans are evident. The Roman emperor received reports from the East that speak not only of an immediate threat for the Eastern frontier as well as Mesopotamia and Syria but also of Sasanian territorial claims that affected all of Asia Minor.

Cassius Dio, who wrote a history of Rome that ended with the events of the year , also points to the dangers arising for Rome when power in Iran changed hands. Apparently, immediately after the foundation of the empire in the Sasanians demanded possession of all of Mesopotamia, Syria, Asia Minor, Armenia and Egypt as well as control over Arabia and the Red Sea. Between and scholars of the Oriental Institute of 15 Cf.

In it was published for the first time. Numerous studies of the text have appeared since then that illustrate the extent to which the inscription complements the Western tradition with its more vague and impressionistic account of the Roman—Persian confrontations. In particular, the inscription draws attention to aspects that authors writing in Greek and Latin neglect altogether. In his report, the Sasanian ruler displays facts that serve to praise his military and political achievements.

According to this interpretation the inscription is a kind of epitome of an official history. Here the Achaemenids worshipped their former kings in 16 17 18 19 22 For a bibliography see Kettenhofen In contrast to the Middle Persian text, which was discovered first, the Parthian and Greek translations of the Middle Persian have been preserved fairly well. The Middle Persian text was inscribed on the eastern side of the Achaemenid shrine, the Parthian and Greek texts on the southern and western faces. The monumental royal inscriptions of the former Achaemenid rulers had also been trilingual Babylonian, Elamite, Old Persian.

On these Achaemenid trilingual inscriptions see Kent The Royal Tombs and other Monuments: Southeast and Southwest Corner 60 1 Political goals In the fourth century the Sasanians still referred to the Achaemenid dynasty in order to legitimise their own territorial claims. In this letter, the king demands that the Roman emperor Constantius II return Armenia and Mesopotamia and in addition to these all territories to the Strymon river and the borders of Macedonia which had belonged to his ancestors.

This interpretation should not lead us to assume that the Sasanians were necessarily the aggressors and responsible for every war they fought with the Romans. On the contrary, there is no doubt that Rome repeatedly pursued an offensive policy in the East. However, it seems justified to talk about a programmatic Sasanian foreign policy, which formed the counterpart to the Roman claim to world domination. This interpretation is controversial among scholars; see Kettenhofen Over centuries the borders between Rome and Persia were contested and military confrontations took place almost without interruption.

For an overview see Ensslin Sasanian armament and tactics Heliodorus, Aethiopica ix. He is covered by this from the top of his head to the neck except for the eyes in order to see through it; he equips his right hand with a pike longer than a spear, the left is free for the reins.

He has a sabre hung by his side under his arm, and he is armed with a corselet not only across his breast but also across the rest of his body. Such a corselet it is, a protection against missiles and a defence against all wounds. The greave reaches from the top of the foot to the knee, fastened to the corselet. When the moment of battle comes, he drives his horse with the rein, applies his spurs and goes with all his force against the enemies, looking like an iron man or like a moving image wrought with the hammer.

It obeys its rulers out of fear. Because of this the Persians are capable of enduring their work and engage in wars on behalf of their fatherland. Eager to deal with most serious matters rather by way of counsel and strategy, they pay attention to order and not to courage and rashness. Raised in a hot climate, they easily bear the annoyance of heat, thirst and the lack of food. They are awesome when they lay siege, and even more awesome when they are besieged; they are extremely apt in hiding their pain, in holding out nobly in adverse circumstances and turning these to their advantage.

And in negotiations they are irreconcilable so that they do not offer themselves what they want to choose for their own benefit but as recipients are offered this by their enemies. They are armed with cuirass or thorax, bows and swords, 2 and experienced in quick — but not forceful — archery, more than all other warlike nations. Going to war, they encamp within fortified boundaries. When battle arises, they create a ditch and a sharp palisade around themselves; they do not leave the baggage train in this but create the ditch to have a refuge from a critical situation in battle.

It is not their practice to let their horses graze but to let them gather their feed from the hand. They are set up for battle in three equal parts, the centre, the right and the left, with the centre having up to or selected men in addition. They do not create an even depth within the formation but try to line up the cavalry in each unit in the first and second line or phalanx and to keep the front of the formation even and dense.

They place the supernumerary horses and the train a short way behind the main line. When they are in battle against pike men it is their practice to place their main line in the roughest landscape and to use their bows in order that the attacks of the pike men against them are dispersed and easily dissolved by the difficult terrain. Not only before the day of the battle do they like to delay the fighting, in particular when they know that the enemies are well prepared and ready for fighting, encamping on the most inaccessible ground, but also during the battle itself, in particular in the summer, they like to make their attacks around the hottest hour, in order that through the boiling heat of the sun and the delay in time the courage and spirit of those lined up against them slackens, and they make their charges step by step in an even and dense formation, because they walk gently and attentively.

They are, however, distressed by the following: It is thus necessary to line up in battles as the treatise about formations says, namely to choose ground that is even, open and level, so far as possible, which does not have swamps or ditches or shrubs so as not to dissolve the formation. When the army or formation is well prepared do not delay the attack, if it has been firmly decided to fight on that day.

In battle, launch the charges and attacks when close to the reach of the bows, even and in dense order, and swiftly, lest through a delay in getting to hand-to-hand combat the enemies, sending a continuous shower of arrows, get to afflict our soldiers and horses with even more missiles. The two passages are excerpts from two very different sources, each of which provides us with an impressive as well as vivid account of Sasanian armament and tactics.

The date of this work is uncertain but it was probably composed in the third century, or possibly the second half of the fourth century. The Aethiopica tells the love story of a certain Theagenes and an Aethiopian princess Chariclea, whose adventures take them all the way to Delphi. In our passage the contemporary observer Heliodorus describes the mailed Sasanian cavalry,6 which underlines the significance of this source with regard to questions of cultural history.

The second source relates to the late phase of Byzantine—Sasanian relations. This is a manual on military affairs composed in Greek, which contains much information concerning military tactics, the organisation and line-up of the army, military training and the use of armament as well as siege craft and instructions for generals. It is not clear whether the emperor 3 4 5 6 7 For a general background see Tafazzoli On the Sasanian mailed cavalry see Bivar The confrontations with the Islamic Arabs that began in the s are not mentioned.

Politik, Verwaltung und Kultur der Ilchanzeit Preiser-Kapeller, SS 2. Preiser-Kapeller, SS 4. Liste der Katholikoi der armenischen Kirche, 4. Freiburg — Basel — Wien , — He is presumed to have been born in Cilicia around , and his death has been placed around Nothing is known about his parents, although by his own testimony Grigor did have a brother, Mxit'ar, who had died by the time Grigor completed his work.

First, as the product of a Cilician author in his early 20's when the work was completed in , this history lacks the immediacy found in the compilations of eastern Armenian eye-witnesses to the Mongol conquest and domination, such as those of the well-educated and polished churchmen Kirakos Gandzakets'i, Vardan Arewelts'i, and Step'annos O'rbelean.

This circumstance probably accounts for some of the chronological inaccuracies committed by Grigor in the early portion of his work. For the post period, however, Grigor is generally accurate. A second difference between Grigor's work and the histories of Kirakos, Vardan, and Step'annos concerns the scope of his undertaking. Aknerts'i wrote a relatively short history of a forty-four year period.

Far from being a universal history of the Armenians, the author focused on but two principal areas, Greater Armenia and Cilicia in the thirteenth century, devoting considerable space to the latter. A third important difference is that Grigor, clearly, was not a well-educated or deep individual. His occasional lapses into fantasy compromise the credibility of other information for which he is our only source.

Despite its limitations, the HNA remains a valuable source for thirteenth century Armenian and Mongol studies. Akinean observed a number of them. Apparently among the most important were oral accounts of events provided by Armenian visitors to Akner monastery such as Dawit' Bjnets'i, Kirakos Getikts'i, and king Het'um I, people who either were from the East, or had travelled there.

One informant, in Akinean's opinion, had been a student of Vanakan vardapet doctor of the Church. It was from such informed individuals that Grigor learned the meanings of the large number of Mongolian military and juridical terms which he incorporated into the History. Akinean also detected a few written sources, including the Bible, a commentary on the Names of the Hebrews, the Chronography of Michael the Syrian, and the lengthy colophon of Vardan Arewelts'i providing a legendary genealogy of the Mongols, which Grigor incorporated into his own work with few alterations.

It is also possible, as Akinean and Blake suggested, that Grigor may have had access to Vanakan's now-lost history. The HNA is contained in ms. The Chronography is followed by a continuation made by the same translator or some other person which briefly comments on the period This section is succeeded by a colophon of the copyist Grigor Aknerts'i, which states that the latter completed his copy of the above portions in , and then adds: This is followed immediately by Grigor's HNA which the author apparently saw as a continuation of the chronologies he had been copying.

At the end of the History, Grigor stated: All publications of the Armenian text and all translations of it prior to the issuance of R. Blake's text and English translation have incorrectly named a certain vardapet Maghakia as the author. Scholarly Works of the State University of Erevan 23 pp. Maghakia, it was revealed, was none other than the 17th century vardapet Maghakia T'oxat'ets'i who had recopied Grigor's work and whose own colophon gave rise to this confusion.

James, Jerusalem dated , and another ms. Vardan the Historian's History of the T'at'ars, printed from manuscript copies Jerusalem, Also in K. Patkanean published the Armenian text in St. Petersburg based on a Venice ms. The History previously had been translated into French by Brosset in [based on the Venice ms. Subsequently, in , Blake's text and translation and Cleaves' article were reprinted together in book form [History of the Nation of the Archers the Mongols by Grigor of Akants', hitherto ascribed to Maghak'ia the Monk, the Armenian text edited with an English translation and notes by Robert P.

Blake and Richard N. Blake's translation, without a doubt a great contribution to Armenian and Mongol studies, nonetheless has a sufficient number of inaccuracies to warrant a retranslation. Some of these inaccuracies are due to typographical errors, others to the scholar's unfamiliarity with certain conventions in Classical Armenian and with Armenian place names.

The most serious of these mistakes have been identified in Akinean's review of the publication Hande's Amso'reay, , pp. Here are three noteworthy examples among many: The present translation was made from the Classical Armenian text issued by Blake and Fry in , and incorporates Akinean's corrections. For a detailed study of the Mongol invasions see volume five of the Cambridge History of Iran Cambridge, ; for eastern Armenia in particular, see R. For Cilicia see S. II Philadelphia, pp. Additional bibliography is available in C. The maps and accompanying text in R.

Three other Cilician sources of relevance to this period are available on other pages of this website: Otherwise we follow the LOC transliteration, which eliminates diacritical marks above or below a character, and substitutes single or double quotation marks to the character's right. In the right margin the pagination of the Classical Armenian grabar text also is provided. We have made the following alterations for the online texts: For example [] this text would be located on page , and [] this text would be on page The grabar pagination is as follows.

This sentence corresponds to the information found on page 91 of the Classical Armenian text [g91] and what follows is on page In other words, the Classical Armenian text delimiters [gnn] indicate bottom of page. Concerning the Nation of Archers, where they came from and from what line they arose, and how they came to rule over many lands and districts.


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Meanwhile the slanderer Satan, because of his wicked envy, was ever teaching mankind to work inequities, such as Cain's fratricide and the impious giants, to create new sins, and to eat carrion. When the Creator saw this, He became angry because of mankind's evil deeds and caused the Flood to destroy everyone excepting the venerable and just Noah who preserved the seed of mankind. The father of faith, the great Abraham, Tereh T'aray 's son, was born ten generations after Noah the just.

And indeed, that is what happened. Isaac was born from Abraham's free wife. Esau and Jacob were [Isaac's] descendants. Jacob's descendants included the twelve patriarchs and the great prophet, David. From Ketura, Imran was born whence the Pahlaws, [a lineage which includes] brave Arshak and saint Gregory, illuminator of the Armenians. From Hagar [descended] Ishmael, which translates "the hearing of God," whence the Ishmaelites. At the birth of Ishmael, God commanded Abraham to give to him and his people the richness of the land, and to make a great people from him with his hand upon his enemies, and more successful than all other peoples with the sword and bow.

The Esavites, who are the Scythians, descended from Esau, son of Isaac. They are black, wild, and strange looking. From them descend the Boramichk' and Lekzik', who dwell in holes and traps and perpetrate many crimes. And it is said that the Edomites, who are the Franks, also are descended from him. These three peoples, descendants of Hagar, Ketura, and Esau, mingled together and gave birth to another people, strange looking and wicked, called T'at'ar, which means sharp and light.

Nerse's says that [the Mongols] are the remnants of Hagar mingled with the people of Gog, who are descendants of the T'orgom who hold the Scythian part of the world. This begins at the At'l [Volga] river, by Mt. Emawon and extends as far as the Caspian Sea where [g] thirty-three peoples dwell.

They are separate peoples. The chief of all of them is called Bushx. Of these peoples, one is called T'ughark', which we believe are the ones called T'at'ars. Regarding their life-style, religion, laws and ruler. They had no religion except for felt images which they carried with them for witchcraft. They were in awe of the sun, as though it were a divine power. Then suddenly they came to their senses, very straitened by their wretched and poor life. They called upon the aid of God, creator of Heaven and earth, and swore a great oath to Him to be faithful to His commands.

By the command of God, an angel in the form of an eagle with golden feathers appeared to their chief named Ch'anke"z, calling out to him in the dialect of their own language. And then the eagle, speaking their own language, related all the commands of God. Here are the laws of God which they call Iasax which were given to them [g]: And should perpetrators of such crimes be found among them, they should be killed. When the angel had so instructed [Chingiz], he called the chief by the title of Ghayan, whence Ch'anke"z Ghayan or Ch'anke"z khan.

And the angel told him to rule over many lands and districts and to increase into an uncountable, limitless host, as in fact happened. What had been said by the Lord [to Chingiz-Khan] was fulfilled just as God, speaking through a prophet, had threatened: In this way an alien people brought upon us not only the chalice but the dregs of bitterness because of our many and diverse sins which always angered God the Creator at our deeds.

As a result, the Lord in anger roused [the Mongols] as a lesson to us for not obeying His commands. A much embellished version of Chingiz-Khan's rise to power appears elsewhere on this website. The first war of the T'at'ars with the Iranians, then the Aghuans and Georgians. The [Mongols'] resistance and long lifespan. The subjugation of the Armenians and Georgians. And they seized [g] a small city from them; but then the Iranians armed and retook what was theirs, plus some more. On top of all this, again they received an order from their khan, who was called Chingiz-Khan and they launched an attack on the land of the Aghuanians and Georgians.

When the kings of the Georgians heard the news about the coming of the T'at'ars, they took 60, cavalry and went against them in the great plain called Kotman, which lies in front of Terunakan fortress. When the battle had been joined, the lord of Manasgom, named Hamidawla, due to some grudge, hamstrung the horse of At'abak Iwane. This was due to the influence of satan, who is opposed to justice. For at that time the king of Georgia, Lasha, had died survived by a son, Dawit', and a daughter, Ur'uzuk'an Rusudan. Dawit' had fallen into the hands of the sultan of Rum and was in prison.

His sister, Rusudan, held the throne under the supervision of Iwane' who was named At'abak. Once news of the coming of the T'at'ars arrived, as was mentioned above, Iwane' took the cavalry of the Georgian kingdom, and came to Gag, to the great and wise prince Varham, son of Plu Zak'are'. Taking him along with his troops, he went against the T'at'ars. It was at this point, when the two sides clashed, that the crime we mentioned was perpetrated by the accursed Hamidawla, when [Iwane'] had the mighty and great prince Varham in charge of the right wing while he himself commanded the left wing [g].

Now when the nation of archers saw such discord amongst them, they grew more powerful, attacked the Georgian cavalry and mercilessly crushed them. The great prince Varham, lord of Gag, taking the right wing, went along mercilessly cutting down the T'at'ars until evening, until the plain of Sagam was filled with dead T'at'ars.

Then he himself, Varham, prince of Gag, heard about the destruction of the royal troops. Deeply saddened, he abandoned his warfare and returned to his secure fortress, called Karherdz. This occurred in of the Armenian Era [A. After three years had passed, the T'at'ars returned and took Gandzak shahastan, mercilessly destroying and taking captives. Then they returned to their own country with much booty and treasure. Let us say some more about what these first T'at'ars resembled. The first who came against our country were not like [ordinary] people. They were awful to see and impossible to describe.

They had large heads, like a buffalo, narrow eyes like a chick, short noses like a cat, protruding chins like a dog, narrow waists like an ant, and short legs like a pig. They are completely beardless, possessing the strength of a lion and a screeching voice like an eagle. Their women have attractive hats covered with a brocade shawl on top and broad faces smeared with a deadly pine medicine.

They give birth like snakes [g], and eat like wolves. Death does not appear among them, and so they can live for three hundred years. Such were the folk who came first to the upper land. They never eat bread. They came against the fortresses with countless cavalry. First they took Shamk'awr close to Gandzak which had been taken before. Then they captured Sagam, K'arherdz, and Terewen; the great royal residence the stronghold Gardman, Erk'ewank' and the fortress of Matsnaberd. By siege they took the secure stronghold of Tawush, which was the seat of the sultan, Te'runakan and Norberd.

They took the cave of the great vardapet Vanakan, full of much wealth and took away our glorious vardapet himself, with his attending students. However, the entire country, united in grief, gave much treasure and gold and purchased their vardapet and his students. After this, when the wise princes of the Armenians and Georgians realized that it was God Who had given them the power and victory to take our lands, they went to the T'at'ars in submission and promised to pay taxes, that is, the mal and t'aghar and to go with them wherever they went, with their own cavalry.

Agreeing to this, the T'at'ars stopped ruining and destroying the land and returned to their place in the Mughan country. However, they did leave one chief, named Ghara Bugha, to pull down all the strongholds they had taken in the country. They demolished to the foundations the impregnable fortresses built at great cost by the Tachiks. This, then, is what they did [g]. A comet; the renewed attack of the T'at'ars followed by an end to the destruction of the conquered lands and their division among the chiefs.

In these days a comet appeared for a while, then was concealed again. During the same period, the sun was darkened from the sixth to the ninth hour. The three chiefs—whom we mentioned as having taken the lands of the Georgians and Aghuanians—returned to the Mughan country, where the grass is always green summer and winter because of the fertility of the place and the goodness of the climate.

After staying there for some days they again planned to come against the Christians, regarding as nothing the destruction and slave-taking of Christians already accomplished from the lands of the Georgians and Aghuanians. They also took the renowned rock of Shmegha, killing myriads upon myriads there, such that there was no number to the slain. They took a countless multitude of children captive from all the lands, yet were not satisfied with this. So they planned to come again and universally destroy the entire country. But the providence of omnipotent God does not ignore those who place their hopes in Him.

For He overturned their unworthy, unjust plans and killed two of the three chiefs we mentioned above. We shall briefly narrate what it was [the Mongols] had planned to do. In the evening they held a quriltai xur'ut'ay , which is called an assembly, and planned to come against the captured country and to destroy it again.

But the three were not unanimous about this, only two of them [were in agreement]. By the foresight of God, Ch'awrman expressed good counsel, saying: Let it remain cultivated [g] and let them give us half the yield of vineyards and fields and keep half for themselves. When it became light, the two chiefs who had planned evil were found dead while the other one, named Ch'awrman, who had sought cultivation and peace for the country, was alive.

Then Ch'awrman arose and went to their leader Chingiz-Khan with witnesses to these events and narrated to him all the deliberations, both his own and the other chiefs', about their deaths, and his survival in the same night. When the khan heard this he said to Ch'awrman in astonishment: For it is the will of God to take the country and keep it flourishing, to impose the yasax and keep [the people] under our command so that they give us tzghu, mal, t'aghar, and ghp'ch'ur. However, as for those who do not obey our commands and do not pay us taxes, [it is the will of God] to kill them and wreck their places.

That way others who hear and observe [the consequences of disobedience] will be afraid and not do it. He gave to Ch'awrman his kindly wife Aylt'ana khatun xat'un and styled him Chormaghun Ch'awrmaghan. Next they held a quriltai and great meeting by the command of Chormaghun and divided the countries among the one hundred and ten chiefs. This land was divided into three parts: The names of the chiefs who remained in the middle part of the country are: Asut'u noyin, who was the oskr of the khan; Ch'aghatay, who was called khan; Sanit'ay; another lesser Ch'aghatay; Baiju Bach'u noyin whom they placed at the head of all the troops; Asar noyin; Xut't'u noyin; T'ut'tu noyin; Awgawt'ay noyin; Xojay noyin; Xur'umch'i noyin; Xunan noyin; T'enal noyin; Angurag noyin.

These thirteen chieftains similarly divided amongst themselves the mountains and plains of the country of the Georgians and Aghuanians. Also they brought the great house of Chormaghun to Gandzak shahastan which previously had been ruined, but was later rebuilt. Taxation of the princes of the Georgians and Aghuans; and about Vanakan, vardapet of the Amenians. The great and untaxed princes of the Georgians and Aghuanians came under taxation to [the Mongols], both those willing and those unwilling.

Without obstruction they gave all the stipulated taxes which we mentioned earlier. They themselves in accordance with their strength and ability accompanied [the Mongols] on raids with their cavalry and took [g] the cities and fortresses which had not submitted, destroying and enslaving. They mercilessly killed men, women, priests and monks, capturing deacons to serve them, fearlessly robbing Christian churches, stripping the ornaments from revered relics of the holy martyrs, from crosses and books then discarding them as worthless.

Woe to me, a transitory [being]. I think that all of this occurred due to our sins; that our Lord and creator, Who is forgiving and broad-minded, visited this upon His flock which He redeemed with His worthy blood. At this difficult and bitter time the holy spirit of our vardapet Vanakan shone forth like the sun in the eastern land [ i.

He was styled "the second Sunrise," full of the light and incomparable knowledge of the all-knowing Holy Spirit who with much effort and labor freely distributed spiritual food, that is to say, the word of the doctrine of the Spirit. To the grandees he was terrifying, while to the poor and needy he was sweet [g].

To the sinners he was without malice, placing upon them the lightest medicine of repentance, so that they be able to endure the yoke of repentance and once again, be renewed in spirit and body and become steadfast in the true faith as glorifiers and worshippers of the most Holy Trinity. Similarly [Vanakan's] praiseworthy students—Vardan and Kirakos, Ar'ak'eal and Yovsep'— divided up the eastern lands in a cross shape and illuminated it with the life-giving doctrine of the Holy Spirit. In addition, they led many sons to glory, freely distributing the Lordly cruciform scepter, resembling their glorious vardapet, and fulfilling the Lord's command to "take freely and give freely," as Christ God forever gave His life to them for His church.

Armenien und die arabische Expansion, 7.

Römisches Palästina – Wikipedia

Der armenische Raum im Das historische Armenien im Die Entstehung des armenischen Staates in Kilikien, Full of people and incalculable splendor, it is located by the shore of the Ocean sea. There are so many islands in the sea bordering it that no one knows their number, since no one has visited all of them.

Yet as far as the foot of man has travelled thereabouts, countless luxuries, treasures, and wealth have been observed. Olive oil is an item which fetches a great price there and is much esteemed, and kings and grandees have kept it with great care as a major medicine. There are numerous strange animals in the kingdom of Cathay, which I shall not mention. People there are creative and quite clever; and thus they have little regard for the accomplishments of other people in all the arts and sciences.

They claim that they themselves are the only ones to see with two eyes, while the Latins see with but one eye, and all other peoples are blind. And their word is confirmed by the fact that, generally, they regard other people as imbeciles. For such a quantity of varied and marvellous wares with indescribably delicate workmanship is brought from that kingdom, that no one is capable of matching such goods in the scales [end of grabar Classical Armenian text page 5; henceforth shown as, for example, g5].

All the people in that kingdom are called Cathayans, and among them are many attractive men and women. But by and large, they have tiny eyes and are beardless by nature. These Cathayans have very beautiful letters, in some respects similar in beauty to Latin letters. It is difficult to describe the [religious] doctrines of the people of this kingdom. For some folk worship idols made out of metal; some worship cattle since they work the land which brings forth wheat and other produce ; some worship gigantic trees; some, the natural elements; some, the stars.

There are those who worship the sun and those who worship the moon. Yet others have no belief or doctrine and lead their lives like irrational beasts. Although they are full of genius with regard to making all sorts of material goods, no acquaintance with the spiritual exists among them.

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However, they are extremely skilled on the seas where they defeat their enemies more so than on land. They possess many types of weapons not found among other peoples. As for the money which this people uses, it is made of sedge, of square shape and bears the royal stamp, and it is based on this stamp that the money's value is determined, great or small.

If the money becomes worn through age, they take it to the royal court and exchange it for fresh money. They make vessels and other ornaments out of gold and other metals. Only in the west is Cathay bordered by another kingdom, that of Tars [g6]. In the north is the Belgean desert, and to the south are the aforementioned islands in the Ocean sea.

Chapter 2 The Kingdom of Tars There are three provinces in the kingdom of Tars and their respective lords are styled kings. The people thereabouts are called Eo'gur [Uighurs]. They have always been idolators and at present still are, excepting the kin of those kings who came, guided by a vision of the Star to Bethlehem in Judea to worship the birth of the Lord. Even now one may find many grandees and nobles among the Tartars who are descended from that line, and who firmly hold the faith of Christ. The idol-worshippers in these parts are powerless in arms, but gifted and perceptive in studying the arts and sciences.

They possess their own distinct alphabet. All the inhabitants of this kingdom refuse meat and wine and refuse to kill any living thing. Their cities are extremely agreeable, and they have numerous temples wherein they worship the idols. Wheat and other produce grow abundantly here.

But they do not have wine, for they regard it as sinful to drink it, in no way differing from the Saracens. In the east the kingdom of Tars is bordered by the above-mentioned kingdom of Cathay; in the west, by Turkestan; in the north, by a desert; and in the south by an extremely rich province called Sune, located between the kingdom of India and Cathay. In this province enormous diamonds are found [g7]. Chapter 3 The Kingdom of Turkestan In the east, the kingdom of Turkestan is bordered by the kingdom of Tars; in the west, by the kingdom of Persia; in the north, by the kingdom of Khwarazmia; in the south it stretches to the Indian desert.

In this kingdom there are few good cities. There are extensive, rolling plains for herds. Thus the greater part of the inhabitants are tent-dwelling herders, that is, they live in such houses which may be transported easily from place to place. The large city of this kingdom is called Okerra [Otrar]. Little barley or wheat is harvested here. They eat rice, millet, and meat. They are called Turks. Although they are Muhammedan, nonetheless, some of them have no faith or laws.

They lack their own letters, instead employing the Arabic script in the city and army. Chapter 4 The Kingdom of Khwarazmia The kingdom of Khwarazmia is well endowed with good cities and villages and abundant population; for it is a fertile and temperate land. They harvest much wheat and other produce, but have little wine. This kingdom borders a desert the length of which stretches one hundred traveling days to the east; in the west, Khwarazmia reaches the Caspian Sea; in the north, it borders the kingdom of Komania; and in the south, the kingdom of Turkestan, discussed above [g8].

The major city of the kingdom is called Khwarazme and the people, Khwarazmians. They are pagans, lacking writing or laws and are ferocious warriors. Amongst them are people called Koltink' [Soldains], possessing their own language and using Greek letters and the Greek rite. They take communion in accordance with the Greek ritual, and they obey the patriarch of Antioch. During the winter, in places, it gets so cold that it is impossible for man or beast to live. Meanwhile, in the summer, in other places, it gets so hot that neither man nor beast can bear the heat or the flies.

This kingdom is almost entirely plains, and on such lands neither trees nor other wood are found, except in gardens by a few cities. The people who dwell in tents on those plains burn animal dung in place of wood. In the east, the kingdom of Komania is bordered by the kingdom of Khwarazmia and a desert; in the west, by the Great Sea [Black Sea] and a small sea [called the sea of Reme [Azov] oe10]; in the north by the kingdom of Kassi [Russia]; in the south, it stretches to the huge river called Et'il [Volga].

Every year this river freezes, and sometimes it remains frozen year round; and men, as well as beasts, go about on the ice as though walking on land. By the shores of this river grow some trees of low height. On the far side of the river [g9] dwell various and sundry peoples not counted among [the peoples of] the kingdom of Komania, but obedient to its king. There are some who dwell close to Mount Caucasus, which is very lofty and awesome.

The goshawks and other large birds and birds of prey born on that mountain are white in color. This mountain is set between two seas; for on the west is the Great [Black] Sea and on the east, the Caspian Sea which lacks an outlet to the Ocean. It is like a lake, but by reason of its size, is called a sea. Yet it is larger than any lake in the world, for it extends from the Caucasus mountain to the beginning of the Persian kingdom, dividing the entire land of Asia into two parts.

There are many excellent fish in the Caspian Sea, while buffaloes and numerous other wild animals are found in the vicinity. On the far side are many islands where birds nest, especially falcons, and marlyons [merlins], and other types of birds which are found there and nowhere else. The major city of the kingdom of Komania is called Sarai. In the past it was a noble and renowned city, but it was overthrown and almost completely destroyed by the Tartars who took it forcibly, as we shall relate below.

This kingdom borders the kingdom of Persia and stretches east to the district named Balazam [Badakhshan] [g10]. Precious stones called palays [balas rubies] are found in that province. In the north is the long and large Indian desert where, they say, King Alexander [the Great, d. In this kingdom the Apostle Thomas preached the faith of Christ and converted many districts and peoples. However, because they are very distant from other lands and places where the Christian faith is held, their faith became quite weak.

And there is but one city wherein Christians dwell, for the rest [of the population] by and large has completely abandoned Christianity. Now there are numerous islands in the south along the coast. People inhabiting them are black and go about totally naked in the summers because of the heat. They foolishly worship idols.

Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity: Neighbours and Rivals

There are sources of pearls and gold and many varieties of spices on those islands, which people frequently bring to this country. An island named Ceylon is located there and it has gems, rubies and sapphires in particular. The king of the island has a rare ruby, large and choice. At the coronation of the king, the latter holds that stone in his hand and circulates through the city mounted on a horse. Only after this [ceremony] do people obey him as king.

The land of India itself is like an island, surrounded by the aforementioned desert and the Ocean. Consequently, it is difficult for someone to enter by land save by way of the kingdom of Persia. Merchants who would enter that country first go to the city known as Hermes [Hormuz], which the philosopher Hermes, as mayor, skillfully established, thence they pass along an arm of the sea until they arrive at the city of Kompak' [Cambay], where green parrots may be found [g11].

And there are as many of those birds in that country as there are sparrows here. Merchants sell all kinds of wares in the harbor there. Should they want to advance farther, they may do so with no effort. The country lacks abundance of barley and wheat; instead the inhabitants eat rice, milk, butter, and the fruits which grow there in plenty.

Chapter 7 The Kingdom of Persia The kingdom of Persia is divided into two parts, though one king rules as common lord over both sections. The first part of the Persian land begins in the east, where it borders the kingdom of Turkestan, and stretches west to the great Phison River—the first of the four rivers flowing from the earthly Paradise.

In the north, [the Persian kingdom] extends to the Caspian Sea; in the south, to the Indian desert. That land is entirely plains. There are two cities among others which are very large and opulent. One is called Poktara [Bukhara] and the other, Seonorgant [Samarqand]. The inhabitants of this kingdom are called Persians and have their own language.

They live by trade and agriculture, but do not take up arms in battle. Previously they worshipped idols, and fire as the chief deity; however, when the faith of Mahmet conquered those parts, the people generally became Saracens, accepting the doctrine of Mahmet. Now the other part [of the Persian kingdom] begins with the aforementioned Phison [g12] River and stretches west to the borders of the kingdom of Media, and partly to the borders of Greater Armenia. It extends north to the Caspian Sea and in the south [it borders one province of the realm of India and in some parts the ocean while another part borders oe13] one of the districts of the Median kingdom.

Two very large cities, Niwshapuh and Spahan, are located in that part of the kingdom. In religion and way of life, the people there resemble those [in the first part of the kingdom] whom we have described already. In the east it borders the kingdom of Persia and, partly, the kingdom of Greater India. It extends westward to the kingdom of Chaldea; north to the kingdom of Greater Armenia; and south to the city of Ak'isum [Qishm] by the Ocean.

The large pearls found there circulate throughout the world. In the Median kingdom there are great mountains and few plains. There are two districts [in the kingdom]. The people living in one of them are called Saracens; while those in the other district are called Kurds. The Median kingdom possesses two very great cities, one named Soraket [Shiraz] and the other Aworemon [Kermanshah].

By law and faith they are Muhammedan and use the Arabic script. They are brave and powerful infantry bowmen [g13]. Chapter 9 The Kingdom of Armenia There are four kingdoms in the land of Armenia, but one monarch always holds the lordship. Lengthwise, the land of Armenia begins with the Persian kingdom and stretches west to the kingdom of the Turks. In breadth Armenia begins at the city of Darial, called the Iron Gate. This was constructed by King Alexander [the Great] because he did not want the various and sundry peoples living in the depths of Asia to enter Greater Asia without his command.

This city was built at the narrow part of the Caspian Sea, and extended to the great Mount Caucasus. Now in breadth, Armenia extends [from the same city, oe14] as far as the kingdom of Media. There are many great and rich cities in the kingdom of Armenia, but the most renowned is the city of Tabriz, which is more glorious than the rest. In Armenia, [the terrain consists of] lofty mountains, extensive plains, great rivers and lakes of both fresh and salt water with fish in abundance.

The people inhabiting the land of Armenia are called by various names according to their districts and localities. They are valiant warriors, both mounted and on foot. In respect to armaments, they imitate the Tartars, under whose domination they have been for a long time.

As for letters, they have [different sorts of alphabets, oe14], some Armenian and another besides, called Alo'ye'n [Alcen oe14, RB: In Armenia there is one mountain, commonly called Ararat, which is taller than any other. And it was on the summit of this mountain that Noah's Ark first rested after the Flood. Now despite the fact that there is a great deal of snow on the mountain winter and summer, such that no one can climb it, nonetheless, on the mountain's summit something black is visible, which people say is the Ark [g14].

Many different peoples dwell there, and thus that district is named Alank'. The kingdom of Georgia extends to the west and north up to some lands in the kingdom of the Turks. Lengthwise it coasts the Great [Black] sea. In the south it borders the kingdom of Greater Armenia. The Georgian kingdom is divided into two parts: There were always two kings there, one of whom, the king of Georgia, fell under [the sway of] the Emperor of Asia. The other king, of Abkhazia, has many people and secure fortresses.

Thus neither the Emperor of Asia nor the Tartars were able to subjugate them. There is a miraculous and strange place in the realm of Georgia which—had I not seen it with by own eyes—I would neither dare to speak about it nor to believe in it. But since I was there in person and saw it, I shall discuss it. There is a district named Hamshen in that area, its circumference being a three day's journey. And despite the district's extent, the place is so foggy and dark that no one can see anything. For no road goes through it. People in those parts say that one frequently hears the sounds of men bellowing, of cocks crowing, of horses neighing in the forest, and the murmuring of a river which flows thence.

These are all regarded as trustworthy signs there that a settlement of people exists in the area. This much is true [g15]: Those who ignored the command were to be burned with fire. Whereupon it transpired that some of the Christians chose martyrdom to worshipping the idols. Some chose to convert temporarily and, out of fear, worshipped the idols, so that they not be deprived of their lives and wordly goods. Meanwhile others took to the mountains and deserted places and somehow kept themselves alive. The group of the best Christians who lived in the Moghon [Mughan] plain thought to leave their belongings and to pass to Greece [Byzantium].

Now the people cried out to the Lord Jesus Christ and, going by the straight path, they survived. However, the infidels have resided in that gloomy valley to the present. So it is believed by everyone, and so it is related.