Roman–Persian Wars  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Roman–Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between states of the Greco-Roman world and two successive Persian empires. Contact between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic began in 92 BC; wars began under the late Republic, and continued through the Roman and Sassanid empires. They were brought to an end by the Arab Muslim invasions, which struck the Sassanid and Byzantine East Roman empires with shattering effect shortly after the end of the last war between them.

Although warfare between the Romans and the Parthians/Sassanids lasted for seven centuries, the frontier remained largely stable. A game of tug of war ensued: towns, fortifications, and provinces were continuously sacked, captured, destroyed, and traded. Neither side had the logistical strength or manpower to maintain such lengthy campaigns far from their borders, and thus neither could advance too far without risking stretching their frontiers too thin. Both sides did make conquests beyond the border, but the balance was almost always restored in time. The line of stalemate shifted in the 2nd century AD: it had run along the northern Euphrates; the new line ran east, or later northeast, across Mesopotamia to the northern Tigris. There were also several substantial shifts further north, in Armenia and the Caucasus.

The expense of resources during the Roman–Persian Wars ultimately proved catastrophic for both empires. The prolonged and escalating warfare of the 6th and 7th centuries left them exhausted and vulnerable in the face of the sudden emergence and expansion of the Caliphate, whose forces invaded both empires only a few years after the end of the last Roman–Persian war. Benefiting from their weakened condition, the Arab Muslim armies swiftly conquered the entire Sassanid Empire, and deprived the Eastern Roman Empire of its territories in the Levant, the Caucasus, Egypt, and the rest of North Africa. Over the following centuries, most of the Eastern Roman Empire came under Muslim rule.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Roman–Persian Wars" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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