Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Relative to its importance, little research has been done on the Romano-Parthian rivalry that existed during the first two centuries AD. By extension, even less has been written concerning the kingdom of classical Armenia, which often served as the focal point of that bitter conflict. The absence of such research is regrettable, for it was this very rivalry that dictated how the Empire’s eastern border would be defined. 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.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Steven K. Ross



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History Commons