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Trajan's Parthian War and Arrian's Parthika Hardcover – June, 1985

ISBN-13: 978-0890055304 ISBN-10: 0890055300

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Hardcover, June, 1985
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Product Details

  • Series: Two Volumes in One
  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Ares Pub (June 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890055300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890055304
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,699,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Arch Stanton on February 17, 2013
This is the only book I'm aware of focused on Trajan's Parthian War. This important event is rather poorly recorded in the sources, though this was not initially the case. Arrian (who also wrote one of our main sources for Alexander) wrote a long (17 book) history of the Parthians which culminated in Trajan's war, but this work exists only in fragments. These fragments are compiled together at the end of this book (at least in the new edition) and you can easily see how poor a source they are for any events of Trajan's reign.

This is very much a specialists' book. The only narrative account offered is a brief summary of Dio's account given in chapter one. The rest of the book deals with various issues surrounding the war. The first 27 pages are occupied with a useful analysis of the sources, p. 28-96 examine various chronological issues of the campaign, p. 97-155 analyzes the Roman strategy, and p. 156-204 looks at the causes of the war.

His main purpose in the book is to find out which of the existing models works best for Trajan's war. This means the book contains a great deal about then current theories and ideas instead of using the evidence to construct a theory of his own. It also takes a very rationalistic approach to military affairs, an idea that's out of vogue now in this age of anthropological and primitive models for ancient society. It's rather nice to see the old views as a counter to these new ones.

One of the most limiting things about this book is the author's almost total neglect of archaeological evidence. This book was printed in 1948 when the disciplines of Archaeology and Classics looked down on each other even more than they do today..
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