Persian-Roman Rivalry


by Sepehr

This is a video with music by Sepehr, titled "Parthian Wedding Dance" which explores the Persian-Roman encounters during the Parthian and Sassanid Persian Dynasties that ruled in present day Iran. 

Ruling from 247 BC to 228 AD in ancient Persia, the Parthians defeated Alexander of Macedonia's successors, the Seleucids, conquered most of the Middle East and southwest Asia and built Parthia into the Eastern superpower. 

The use of the bow as a weapon made the Parthians an effective military force. The Parthians were greatly feared by the Romans. They were, in fact, the only combatants in ancient times able to destroy an entire Roman legion at the height of its power (they wiped out the army of Crassus, the Roman general who had earlier crushed the Spartacus slave rebellion).

While Rome was able to recover from its disaster at Cannae(their defeat by Hannibal of Carthage), it never did retrieve the results of Carrhae, the defeat by the Parthians, that sealed the East as an impenetrable barrier to Roman ambition, and also signaled the demise of the Republic.

The Parthian shot was a military tactic made famous by the Parthians. The Parthian archers, mounted on light horse, would feign retreat; then, while at a full gallop, turn their bodies back to shoot at the pursuing enemy. The maneuver required superb equestrian skills, since the rider's hands were occupied by his bow. As the stirrup had not been invented at the time of the Parthians, the rider relied solely on pressure from his legs to guide his horse. Some believe the term "parting shot" originated from the 'Parthian Shot".

Under the Sassanid Dynasty, King Shapur I of Persia, defeated and captured the Roman Emperor, Valerian, the only time in history a Roman Emperor was captured by the enemy.


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