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Journal ArticleDOI

The History of Theophylact Simocatta

01 Jan 1987-Classical World (JSTOR)-Vol. 80, Iss: 4, pp 324
About: This article is published in Classical World.The article was published on 1987-01-01. It has received 131 citations till now.
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Book ChapterDOI
01 Jan 2009
TL;DR: A chapter dealing with Iranian feudalism in a distinguished series dedicated to The rise and fall of the Roman world bears the title ‘Iran, Rome's greatest enemy' as discussed by the authors, which is more than merely a justification for the inclusion of a chapter on Iran in a work devoted to the history of the East Roman empire, since the trauma of Crassus' defeat by the Parthians at Carrhae.
Abstract: romans and sasanians A chapter dealing with Iranian feudalism in a distinguished series dedicated to The rise and fall of the Roman world bears the title ‘Iran, Rome’s greatest enemy. This title is more than merely a justification for the inclusion of a chapter on Iran in a work devoted to the history of the East Roman empire. It also reflects a host of fears and prejudices fostered for long centuries in the Roman world, since the trauma of Crassus’ defeat by the Parthians at Carrhae. Not even extended periods of decline and internal disarray within the Parthian monarchy, during which it was repeatedly invaded by the Roman army, could dispel the myth of the uncompromising threat posed by Iran to the Roman order. The replacement of the Parthian Arsacid dynasty by a vigorous new one, based in Fars, namely the Sasanian dynasty, at a time when the Roman empire itself was facing one of its severest crises, only aggravated its inhabitants’ deeply rooted fear of Iran. Ancient writers in the Roman oikoumenē passed on this attitude to modern western scholars. It is the Sasanian bogeyman which has left a deep imprint in modern historiography. The Sasanian state is widely regarded as a much more centralised and effective political entity than its Parthian counterpart, with a far better army. The great pretensions and aspirations of its monarchs are believed to have been fed by the fervour of religious fanaticism, inspired by the Zoroastrian priesthood, which is commonly depicted as a well-organised state church.

23 citations

Book ChapterDOI
01 Jan 2009

23 citations

Book Chapter
01 Jan 2009

23 citations

Book ChapterDOI
08 Jan 2009

22 citations

Book ChapterDOI
01 Jan 2009
TL;DR: In the present state of our knowledge it is not difficult to describe the physical setting for pre-Islamic Arabian history, and new archaeological discoveries in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan and the Gulf are producing much valuable evidence as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: introduction: the question of sources In the present state of our knowledge it is not difficult to describe the physical setting for pre-Islamic Arabian history, and new archaeological discoveries in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan and the Gulf are producing much valuable evidence. Over the past century a vast body of epigraphical material – some 50,000 north and south Arabian inscriptions and the inscribed sticks now emerging by the hundreds in northern Yemen – has provided a wealth of information on the societies of the peninsula, especially the bedouins. But all this seldom provides a coherent picture of the course of events, as opposed to vignettes and bare details, and thus does not replace a literary historical tradition. There are external epigraphic records of the Arabs and Arabia, and historical sources – especially in Greek and Syriac – are often helpful. But this information too is profoundly discontinuous, and in any case represents the perspective of outsiders who regarded the Arabs as barbarian marauders and most of Arabia as a menacing wasteland. There is voluminous material on the subject in the Arabic sources, but herein lies the problem. The relevant accounts include a vast bulk of poetry and are frequently attributed to the pre-Islamic period, or are presented as describing events and conditions of that time; but – apart from the Koran – the sources containing these accounts date from at least two centuries later. In times past it seemed reasonable simply to compare the various accounts to determine which seemed most likely to be true.

22 citations