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Anonymous

I have quite a few questions:<br>
(1)Could someone please inform me of the date, place, and under what general the battle at Charrea took place? This information would be much appreciated.<br>
(2)What type of centurion would be in charge of crucifictions? Possibly a centurio regionarius?<br>
<br>
Thank you for any information you could provide<br>
<br>
Quintus Romanus<br>
<br>
<p></p><i></i>
Hi Quintus!<br>
I suppose you mean the battle of Carrhae. That took place in may, 53BC at: Carrhae! ;-) (modern Harran, Eastern Turkey). The Roman army at Carrhae was nearly completely wiped out after their general, Marcus Licinius Crassus, member of the first triumvirate and famously rich, was tricked into a parley and killed. A number of Roman standards was captured by the Parthians, which was felt as a great disgrace. When Augustus managed to get them back in 20 BC, it was named as one of his great achievements in the Res Gestae.<br>
<br>
Greets<br>
<br>
Jasper<br>
<p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my question! This information will help me greatly!<br>
~Quintus<br>
<p></p><i></i>
Hi there,<br>
Crassus went to parley after the romans started getting slaughtered, and not the other way around.<br>
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Ceasar was organizing a campaign against Parthia but was killed first. I always wondered how things would have went under his command. Crassus was not a real military man although he got credit for destroying Spartacus. Ceasar had REAL experience and after 2000 years we still admire his tactical abilities. I wonder whether he would have extricated himself from the same situation Crassus got trapped into. Antony, about 15 years after Crassus, got his butt kicked too but managed to lead a fraction his troops out of Parthia to safety because at least he was a moderately talented general(*). I imagine Ceasar wouldn't have got himself into that situation in the first place.<br>
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(*) Actually, to be fair, Antony was more talented than I make it seem. Some consider his retreat from Parthia a masterpiece of leadership. At least he saved lives and face. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/ugoffredo.showPublicProfile?language=EN>goffredo</A> at: 4/29/01 8:05:59 pm<br></i>
Parially the issue is the differences between Generalship in the East and the West, with the change in geography being a major factor. To use a later example the emperor Julian, who was reasonalby succesful at command in the West, defeating Franks and Alamanii etc quite comprehensively, enough to win him quitew a reputation in (the admittedly hugely biased) Ammianus. However in the East he was franklly out of his depth. his attempt then was simply to do what worked in the West, only to do it bigger. So he mounted a glorified raid, forgetting his supply lines and the distances involved. What followed was dazzling succes swiftly followed by unmitigated disaster. fighting an organised Persian empire is not the same as fighting barbarians, organised as they may be, or in Crassus case killing of the slave revolt of Spartacus, for whom Pompey pinched all the credit anyhow. Caesar I suspect would have worked very differently, I think the campaigns would have been far more similar to Sulla's early eastern actions. Lots of propoganda and Roman posturing, but no unneccessary fioghting. Romans could go sit outside Ctesiphon, but if the Parthians wouldn't fight there was not a lot they could do, again see Julian, who reached Ctesiphon, no doubt expecting Sapor II to fight. He didn't and from then on Julian was at a loss. <p>It's not a bug, it's a feature</p><i></i>
I stand corrected Goffredo! Serves me right for trying to answer that question too quickly from a Penguin dictionary. I guess it was too early this morning... ;-)<br>
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Another interesting difference in ways of fighting between 'Western' and 'Eastern' armies might lie in what Victor Hanson calls 'The Western Way of War' in his book of the same title. According to him the Greeks invented the seemingly western habit of fighting an enemy army to the end. A desire to annihilate the other army, thereby ending the war immediately. It seems Eastern armies, and Parthians seem a good example, fighting and retreating when it became too much, and stopping at the 'border' when the Romans fell back.<br>
<br>
Greets<br>
<br>
Jasper <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/ujasperoorthuys.showPublicProfile?language=EN>Jasper Oorthuys</A> at: 4/29/01 10:27:56 pm<br></i>

Anonymous

Thank you all for your extensive enlightnement on this subject. This information will not go to waste! Could someone also please tell me what legion was involved in this excursion?<br>
~Quintus <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/uquintusromanus.showPublicProfile?language=EN>Quintus Romanus</A> at: 4/29/01 11:33:34 pm<br></i>
I remember reading a nice article that compared Trajan's campaign with Antony and Julian. I'll try to find it.<br>
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When the romans entered Parthia with a well organized army they basically did what they wanted (The Parthian campaign of Verus/Marcus went well, Trajan too, then Septimius Severus and again Carus). If the Parthians or Sassanians tried to stage a set battle the odds were in favor of the Romans. But the Romans couln't distract themselves else they would lose the initiative and get severely defeated. The "trick" was to have a good balance between the usual heavy infantry, and missile throwing troops (archers, slingers) and cavalry. But I don't want it to sound as simple as the right combination must have been difficult to achieve.<br>
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Goldsworthy says something I find obvious, but that is still very unconventional (at least at the level of simplistic books that abound that tend to explain things with simple formulas). He says that Roman archers on foot could out shoot the mounted Parthian! That makes sense (!) because shooting from a moving and woundable platform (the horse) the mounted archer can only pepper a zone and not really strike a specific target with any real precision. Also the composite bow was not a secret and the romans had them too! With good stand-off fire power the Parthians and the Sassanians couldn't make use of their best weapons (light mounted archers and heavy cavalry). Ventidius beat the Parthians soundly because his army was deployed well and had an adequate number of missile troops.<br>
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The Romans were capable, when led by talented generals, of fielding well balanced armies while the Parthians and Sassanians couldn't; they didn't have the infantry tradition. But, as things of war go, to have good odds (e.g. troop quality) does not mean certainty of success, especially when the opposing generals are of different caliber. Also, when discussing things of war, it is important to remember that to win battles is important, but it is not sufficient to win a war. One needs to control his own supply chains and the territory behind the front, and of course enter the "heartland" of the enemy and defeat him there. These things made the Romans vulnerable in the long run: they couldn't control their lines of communication and supplies, they couldn't hold the territory as it was too vast and culturally hostile, and they couldn't enter the true heartland of Parthia which was too far (does Napoleon and Hitler in Russia sound familiar). Alexander succeeded because he kept going and going after Darius and did not rely on supply chains. He was "crazy" enough to drag his army all the way to India. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/ugoffredo.showPublicProfile?language=EN>goffredo</A> at: 4/30/01 12:36:42 pm<br></i>

Anonymous

I did a reconstruction of Julian's Persian campaign and I came to the conclusion that he made one major, indeed fatal, error. He arrived in lower Mesopotamia in the heat of the summer. Now this would have made sense to someone campaigning in NW europe, where summer is a wonderful season for warfare. But he failed to note that all of his successful predecessors arrived in the Tigris-Euphrates delta somewhere between December and January.<br>
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So, when Julian arrived there, he found swollen rivers, muddy bottomlands, hordes of misquitos, and nasty tropical diseases for his mainly european troops. Not to mention the fact that the crops were not yet ripe enough to eat at that point in time. Had he arrived six months later, he would have found relatively solid ground, dried from the spring flooding and irrigation and plentiful stores from the recent harvest.<br>
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WWB <p></p><i></i>
Hi WWB<br>
Welcome to the board. What kind of reconstruction did you do? Why not elaborate on it a bit, maybe an article for RomanArmy.com? Sure sounds interesting...<br>
<br>
Greets<br>
<br>
Jasper<br>
<p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Thanks for the welcome. I have often lurked but have not had too much to add.<br>
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Regarding the reconstruction, well, it was the last paper I did for school before I graduated and moved on to other things (i.e. real life). Basically, I followed Ammianus as a main source, checked it against a map, and a few other secondary sources (which I can list at some point in the future). Then I melded it all into one semi-coherent narrative. Tried to attach a timetable and dates, but there is definitely some room for doubt in my numbers. If anyone wants to see it, feel free to drop me a line. My e-mail is in my ezboard profile.<br>
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I am still troubled by what exactly was the mission of the forces detached and sent east on the upper Euphrates. I suspect they were sent there to encourage a little trouble in Armenia while also giving Julian the ability to fall back on a route not already despoiled by his army (i.e. along the Tigris). Anyone else have any theories on what those guys were doing?<br>
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WWB <p></p><i></i>
The problem I have with this theory is that the regions were not unknown to the Romans as they had been going there for hundreds of years.<br>
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More recently the French and Germans made similar "mistakes" in Russia, even though knowledge of Russian climate was scientifically available (certainly for Hitler; Russia was not an unknown country in Napoleon's time either). But in those cases the French and German timetables were thrown off by miscalculated contingencies (initial delays that multiplied their effects, unexpected resistance, even banal mistakes).<br>
At one point the French and the initial German operations were so forwardly off balance that to stop and reconsider would have been more dangerous than to continue (the enemy, taken intially by surprise, would have had time to organize a defense!). Once started they had to push on. So it is certainly a real possibility that the Romans too miscalculated their timetables, not allowing for the unexpected, did not recognize early enough that their time table was seriously jeopardized and finally found themselves deep in enemy territory in the wrong season. The climate theory would be credible if there was evidence that the operations suffered from real and unpredicted DELAYS.<br>
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The alternative is that the Romans started the invasion deliberately in the wrong season and that doesn't convince me. They did it out of ignorance? No! It could only imply an irrational Julian with complete control over his staff of generals imposing his will in a more-than-Hitler-like way and completely contrary to Roman tradition. Had he done so he probably would have been eliminated in a coup. <p></p><i></i>
WWB you seem to have done just what I've had marked at Uni here. Ammianus and the expedition of Julian.<br>
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Slightly different conclusions were reached , but not massively so. I don't think Julain failed for the reasons you stated, they were major contributing factors, it was a failure to properly define objectives. The Romans couldn't win because they didn't really know what they were doing there, beyond 'lets go fight Persians'. I'm knocking my work into shape to give it to Jenny, it's not quite suitable in it's present format but it will be soon with a bit of luck.<br>
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Out of time now, but I'll post a summary of my thoughts later <p>It's not a bug, it's a feature</p><i></i>

Anonymous

Well, given the fact that Julian departed Roman territory in mid-April, according the Ammianus, he moved ahead of schedule if anything. I charted out the movement rates, very roughly, and in the early parts of the campaign he was making upwards of 15 miles a day. I can post the chart later, but I am currently at work and it is unavailiable. One other possible reason for this odd timing would be an attempt at gaining operational suprise, which he clearly had, not meeting serious resistance until the campaign was well underway.<br>
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Another possible reason is the one you find unlikely, that Julian was is complete, despotic control and contravened the advice of his advisors. He might well have had the legitimacy, and clearly had the popular support of the soldiers, to pull this off without fearing a coup. It is significant that many counseled him against the strike deep into Mesopotamia, arguing for the recapture of Amida, etc. Also note that there had never been an attempt at a summer campaign in Lower Mesopotamia, so they might not have known any better.<br>
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All of this would fit well with Julians rather impulsive nature, and Cataline's theory that there was not a clear goal for the campaign.<br>
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WWB <p></p><i></i>
Since mention has been made of research on Ammianus I have a question regarding a book I have entitled<br>
"The Roman Empire of Ammianus" by John Matthews.<br>
Are you familiar with the book? If yes how is it judged in the academic circle? As an outsider it certainly looks and weighs like an important milestone work.<br>
I got it about 6 months ago and am slowly reading it. Slow reading because it is a immense book with an incredibile amount of information. I find it very stimulating (that's why I keep going back to it) but also exhausting (that's why I keep dropping it as I can read Roman stuff only in my spare time). This book is serious business. But everytime I thumb through it randomly I get immediately attracted by the many interesting aspects Matthews discusses about those times and sit down and attempt another reading session of the part that grabbed my attention. In other words I am reading it in random order (like playing Monopoly); to read through starting from page one is beyond me. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/ugoffredo.showPublicProfile?language=EN>goffredo</A> at: 5/2/01 5:03:03 pm<br></i>
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