The Salvation of the Romans in the Mountains of Armenia – Plutarch

The Salvation of the Romans

Prior to his assassination, Caesar planned to march against Parthia and conquer it, like Gaul before it. He began his preparations. After the victory over the Republicans, the triumvirs decided to continue what they had begun. The campaign was entrusted to Marcus Antonius.

However, Antonius would essentially fail the campaign. When the Romans reached the plains of Media, the Parthians began to disrupt their march with sudden attacks. Again, as in the case of Crassus, the superiority of the Parthian cavalry played its role – the Parthians attacked the Romans, and when the latter tried to fight back, the Parthians simply retreated on their fast horses. The Roman cavalry, of course, could not resist the Parthians.

The Parthians completely paralyzed the provision gathering of the Romans, and Antonius decided to retreat. However, the Parthians chased the Romans, disturbed them with sudden attacks, and didn’t allow them to replenish their resources.

The Roman army suffered from hunger and from thirst. The cataphracts of the Parthians threatened to crush the Roman infantry on the plain… Salvation was seen only in the mountains of Armenia that were nearly impassable for the cavalry.

This is what Plutarch tells us about this:

“On the sixth day after the final battle, the Romans approached the Araks River which separated Media from Armenia. It was seemingly deep and stormy. In addition, there was a rumor that the enemies were planning an ambush during the crossing.

After safely reaching the opposite shore, the Romans set foot on Armenian soil and, as if seeing the dry land for the first time after long wanderings in the open sea, kissed stones and sand and wept out of joy, hugging each other.”

(Plut. Ant. 49).




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