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For the record : How many times did Rome sack Ctesiphon ?
#1
My count is 5 times, under Emperors: Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Severus, Carus, and Galerius. Can anyone confirm this ?

It's amazing that city always seemed to resurrect itself after so many sacks :!: Confusedhock:

You'd think the Romans would've torn down every building the first time they entered the Parthian/Persian captial.
~~~~~jaime~~~~~~
Fathers of the Church
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#2
The earliest surviving references to Ctesiphon date back to the 4th century BC. The Parthians established it as one of a number of royal residences around 129 BC, and it ultimately became their winter capitol. It was first taken by Trajan in 116 AD, then by Marcus Aurelius’ general Avidius Cassius in 165 AD. Septimius Severus captured the city in 198. The Persian king Ardašir took the city in 226, and it became the Sassanian capitol. It was taken in 283 by the Emperor Carus, and not long after by the tetrarch Caesar Galerius in 296. Islamic Arab armies took the city one last time in 637, and it was finally abandoned with the establishment of Baghdad around 762.

I don’t have any of my primary sources at hand, but I think that’s pretty much it, though some of these dates may be a year of two off. I don’t think Odanthus ever captured the city, though he invested it twice. And I don’t think Heraclius did either.

Gregg
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#3
Hi Gregg,

That's right, Ctesiphon was the sister capital (of Babylon ?). So the Parthians/ Persians had something to fall back on.

I also don't remember Heracleus taking the city. So my count is correct. Thanks for the brief history :wink:
~~~~~jaime~~~~~~
Fathers of the Church
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#4
If... Sebeos. History. trans. Robert Bedrosian (New York: Sources of the Armenian Tradition, 1985), 106-107, 113-116 ....is to be belived ,Heraclios after the battle of Ninevi only sent envoys to Ctesiphon to recover the Holy Cross but he and his army did not enter the city probably to avoid getting involved in Iranian civil war and because the restoration of the cross to Jerusalem would make the people forget theit resentment for his marriage with Martina.
Kind regards
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#5
Ctesiphon was the sister city of Seleucia, not Babylon.

A couple of years ago, I published an article online on Ctesiphon ( [url:3aaqll6n]http://www.livius.org/ct-cz/ctesiphon/ctesiphon.htm[/url] ) and also claimed that Galerius took the city, which I must have read somewhere - I do not remember in which article or book. Later, someone replied and asked what was my source; and I did not know. So, does someone know a source that mentions Galerius capturing Ctesiphon?

Jona
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
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#6
Julian came up to Ctesiphon but did not besiege it. AMMIANUS 24;6 + ZOSIMUS 3.25,5-7 + EXC.DE SENT 22 Ina battle near the city, the armies drew up in line opposite each other and the Byzantines charged. After a long battle the Persians started to withdraw and then made headlong for Ctesiphon. The Byzantines followed but their commander, Victor, wisely stopped them getting too close to the walls. According to Exc. De Sent 22 there were many supplies in the suburbs so presumably there were at least as many inside the city which would enable it to hold out against starvation tactics for a while.

One source for the Arab capture of the city in 637/8 is CHRON.1234.247
Stephen McCotter
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#7
Quote:You'd think the Romans would've torn down every building the first time they entered the Parthian/Persian captial.

I suspect that would have been a very very time consuming task - and the army probably wouldn't have had the logistic support for it to stay in one place and undertake it.

Also probably just not worth the effort.
Nik Gaukroger

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#8
I know that Ctesiphon was captured by the Romans three times alone in the 2nd century AD. This has always been a convenient catch phrase to dismiss authoratively those forumers who like to project Carrhae in all of Rome's eastern wars and preach the eternal inferiority of the foot soldier against the cavalrymen east of the Orontes.
Stefan (Literary references to the discussed topics are always appreciated.)
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#9
Quote:My count is 5 times, under Emperors: Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Severus, Carus, and Galerius.
For balance, how many times was Antioch taken or sacked by the Parthians or Persians?

Pacorus, c.40 BC; Shapur I twice, c. 253 or 256 and c.260; Khusrau I c.540; Khusrau II c.613

Not sure how many of these were "sacks", though.
cheers,
Duncan
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#10
Quote: So, does someone know a source that mentions Galerius capturing Ctesiphon?

Constantine was a tribune in Galerius' army. In his Oratio ad Sanctorum Coetum Constantine states he witnessed the destruction of (or saw the ruins of) Babylon. This has been taken to suggest that Galerius advanced on Ctesiphon after defeating Narses in Armenia, thus allowing Constantine to see Babylon.

See T.D. Barnes, "Imperial Campaigns, A.D. 285-311," Phoenix 30 (1976), 184; cf. Barnes, New Empire and Constantine and Eusebius.

Cheers,

R
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#11
Quote: So, does someone know a source that mentions Galerius capturing Ctesiphon?

Interesting. This seems to be very commonly asserted. I just checked Michael Grant and he says so too, but doesn’t give a source. So I checked CAH and found this:

Quote: In 297, after an initial defeat at Callinicum, Galerius gained a spectacular victory over Narses and captured Ctesiphon… These victories, depicted on the triumphal arch erected at Thessalonica in honour of Galerius…(47)

Note 47: Millar, Near East 174-222

Cambridge Ancient History, The Crisis of Empire, A.D. 193-337 page 229

So perhaps this comes from archaeology and not from a literary source?
David J. Cord
http://www.davidcord.com
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#12
Curiously, I've been unable to find mention of Galerius sacking Ctesiphon in AHM Jones' "The Later Roman Empire".

I checked Stephen Williams' biography on Diocletian and he mentions the sacking as well, listing some sources which I've been double checking. The closest reference that may imply a sacking of Ctesiphon (that I've been able to find) comes from Eutropius, 9:25 :

...After putting Narseus to flight, he captured his wives, sisters, and children, with a vast number of the Persian nobility besides, and a great quantity of treasure; the king himself he forced to take refuge in the remotest deserts in his dominions...

From the underlined portion I infer that the King was unable to "take refuge" in Ctesiphon because it was lost to the Romans.

One source I haven't been able to check is Aurelius Victor, 39, because I can't get a good english translation. I tried translating it with online software but it's too crude to gather the meaning.

(Hey, this thread is over three years old ! Sometimes it takes a while to get a response :lol: )

~Theo
~~~~~jaime~~~~~~
Fathers of the Church
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#13
Quote:So perhaps this comes from archaeology and not from a literary source?

No, it's a literary source - see my post above yours.
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#14
Quote:No, it's a literary source - see my post above yours.

Oh, yes. Sorry. When I first read that I thought you were just advancing a theory.

I'm wondering if the Arch of Galerius in Greece also depicts the taking of Ctesiphon. The CAH makes it sound like it. The Arch must still stand, because I'm finding pictures of it online.
David J. Cord
http://www.davidcord.com
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#15
Quote:You'd think the Romans would've torn down every building the first time they entered the Parthian/Persian captial.

If I rob your piggy bank every time you fill it up am I going to smash it too? What benefit is it to Rome to destroy it when they can just sack it and make a fortune some time in the future.
Timothy Hanna
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