AbstractThis thesis studies the wartime experiences of the Empire’s urban civilians in the sixth-century Persian wars. While many researches have been conducted to examine Romano-Persian relations, civilians’ fates in the armed conflicts between these two great powers were generally neglected. This dimension deserves more attention to shed new light on the relationship between Rome and Persia and the nature of warfare in classical antiquity.
This thesis is divided into three parts. In chapter 1, both a sketch of major political and military events of the Roman Near East and a brief review of late antique intellectual backgrounds are provided. Chapter 2 aims to investigate how late antique and medieval writers presented and described civilians’ wartime experiences. The results show that they not only shared the same language stock with their predecessors, but also adopted certain allusions and motifs in their works. Roman civilians’ fates are examined thematically from chapter 3 onwards. Whereas many of them were killed, the blockade of a city could lead to famine and cannibalism. Meanwhile, cases of sexual violence were reported by authors from different literary milieux. Also, the inhabitants’ possessions and buildings were either destroyed or removed. Different types of population movements in wartime are investigated in chapters 4 and 5. Some Romans took refuge outside their hometown or escaped to other places, while certain notables were detained as hostages. The victorious Persians captured many survivors and transported them to different places.
In the end, chapter 6 includes both a synthesis of Roman civilians’ wartime experiences and an explanation for these phenomena. Whereas many cities were either besieged or threatened, it is shown that the Romans’ fates in these conflicts were variable and affected by the interaction of various factors such as the Sasanids’ strategies and the responses of the Empire’s authorities.
|Date of Award||2015|
|Supervisor||Peter McGuffin (Supervisor) & Gerome Breen (Supervisor)|