Thursday, November 18, 2004

PERCEPTIONS OF CLASSICAL ARMENIA: ROMANO-PARTHIAN RELATIONS, 70 BC-220 AD

Masters Thesis by J Joseph Poirot III, Louisianna State University

According to many modern scholars and several of the classical authors, Romans feared the looming threat of the Parthian state. Although such panic was unfounded, this fear
supposedly then prompted the Empire?s prolonged obsession with the territory of
Armenia, which both the scholarly and primary sources look upon as a military buffer
state. Yet in reality, Roman action in the East was not the result of a collective decision of all Roman citizens, but rather brought about by the individual wants and desires of Rome?s leaders. These leaders regarded Armenia not as a buffer state, but as a staging ground for their various campaigns against Parthia. It was their personal
ambitions, rather than Rome?s collective fear, that drew Armenia under the veil of
Roman hegemony. This project intends to examine Armenia?s role in the Romano-
Parthian conflict and hopes to prove that Roman imperialism was not defensive, as
some scholars assert, but rather the end product of the ambitions of individual Roman
leaders.
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