Defeat of Rome

Crassus, Carrhae and the Invasion of the East

Gareth Sampson

Date Published :
April 2015
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
20 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781473828049
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock


In 53BC the Proconsul Marcus Crassus and 36,000 of his legionaries were crushed by the Parthians at Carrhae in what is now eastern Turkey. Crassus' defeat and death and the 20,000 casualties his army suffered were an extraordinary disaster for Rome. The event intensified the bitter, destructive struggle for power in the Roman republic, curtailed the empire's eastward expansion and had a lasting impact on the history of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It was also the first clash between two of the greatest civilizations of the ancient world. Yet this critical episode has often been neglected by writers on the period who have concentrated on the civil war between Pompey and Caesar. Gareth Sampson, in this challenging and original study, reconstructs the Carrhae campaign in fine detail, reconsiders the policy of imperial expansion and gives a fascinating insight into the opponents the Romans confronted in the East – the Parthians.

About The Author

After a successful career in corporate finance, Dr. Gareth Sampson returned to the study of ancient Rome and gained his PhD from the University of Manchester, where he currently teaches ancient history. He has made a detailed study of early Roman political history and in particular the political office of the tribunate of the plebs. He is currently engaged in a study of the power struggles and the civil warfare of the late Republic and its expansionist policies in the east.


"If you do and internet search for the Battle of Carrhae of for books on the topic you will find little other than cursory treatments. That's one of the reasons that Gareth C. Sampson's book is valuable resource on the battle. But the book, now in its second edition, is not just worthwhile for its analysis of the battle, but also for its coverage on Marcus Licinius Crassus' long career and the rise of the Parthian Empire... ... As for Carrhae itself, Sampson does an impressive job of weighing the merits of the accounts of the battle by Plutarch and Cassius Dio. Sampson painstakingly presents them side by side throughout his battle narrative. He goes to great lengths to show the strengths and weaknesses of each and where they veer into fiction rather than fact. Plutarch's account is far more reliable even though suffering from its own limitations, such as the continuing controversy surrounding what actually unfolded during the Roman retreat from the town of Carrhae toward the relative safety of Syria and Armenia. Sampson is at his best when he describes how Crassus paid the ultimate penalty for a campaign that initially underestimated the Parthians and spiraled out of control once the Romans met the Parthians in battle."

- Medieval Warfare Magazine

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