Caracalla’s Armenia

Caracalla’s Armenia Abstract: We are hard pressed to understand the events of Caracalla’s Parthian war, including the role Armenia played in the conflict, because of gross inadequacies in our sources. A careful analysis suggests that Caracalla intended to annex Armenia but never saw the project through. His intentions can be gauged by his treatment of Edessa, for whose annexation the evidence is more solid. Caracalla was trying to secure his rear, from Osrhoene to Armenia, in preparation for a full-scale Parthian war. Because the goal of stabilizing Armenia proved elusive, given local hostilities, Caracalla had to scale back his plans. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Syllecta Classica Department of Classics @ the University of Iowa

Caracalla’s Armenia

Caracalla’s Armenia


SYLLECTA CLASSICA 24 (2013): 173­199 CARACALLA'S ARMENIA1 Lee E. Patterson Abstract: We are hard pressed to understand the events of Caracalla's Parthian war, including the role Armenia played in the conflict, because of gross inadequacies in our sources. A careful analysis suggests that Caracalla intended to annex Armenia but never saw the project through. His intentions can be gauged by his treatment of Edessa, for whose annexation the evidence is more solid. Caracalla was trying to secure his rear, from Osrhoene to Armenia, in preparation for a full-scale Parthian war. Because the goal of stabilizing Armenia proved elusive, given local hostilities, Caracalla had to scale back his plans. Modern accounts of Roman and Persian history, some surveys, some more specialized, often claim that Caracalla annexed Armenia as a Roman province around 215.2 If he did so, he would have been the second of two emperors, after Trajan a century earlier, to attempt to bring Armenia under direct governorship rather than employ it as a client state, as it had usually been since the time of the Roman Republic.3 This episode, part of the narrative of Caracalla's Parthian War, is very problematic. The This piece benefited from information and advice given by James R. Russell, Everett Wheeler, and Andrew C. Johnston, as well as the editors and anonymous referees of Syllecta Classica. To them all I express sincere thanks. Responsibility for the final product, including any errors it may contain, rests solely with me. For example, Cary and Scullard 1976, 497; Bivar 1983, 94; Grant 1996, 32; Laude 2003, 96. This state of affairs began in earnest in the days of Pompey, but Strabo 11.14.15 provides evidence that the Romans had already brought Armenia into their orbit of vassal states, at least for a time, following the defeat of Antiochus III in 190 BCE. See Patterson 2001; Wheeler 2002, 98. SYLLECTA CLASSICA 24 (2013) The Near East in the Early 3rd Century PATTERSON:...
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Department of Classics @ the University of Iowa
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Abstract

Abstract: We are hard pressed to understand the events of Caracalla’s Parthian war, including the role Armenia played in the conflict, because of gross inadequacies in our sources. A careful analysis suggests that Caracalla intended to annex Armenia but never saw the project through. His intentions can be gauged by his treatment of Edessa, for whose annexation the evidence is more solid. Caracalla was trying to secure his rear, from Osrhoene to Armenia, in preparation for a full-scale Parthian war. Because the goal of stabilizing Armenia proved elusive, given local hostilities, Caracalla had to scale back his plans.

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Syllecta ClassicaDepartment of Classics @ the University of Iowa

Published: May 17, 2013

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