The Roman Eastern Frontier and Persian Wars


TheRoman Eastern Frontier and Persian Wars


Inthis account of the Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian war, thereare two authors who greatly influence its source. The ScriptoresHistoriae Augustae (SHA) is one of the famous contributors of theDodgeon and Lieu work. The author is said to have been at his peakduring the late 4thcentury. He is said to have contributed much to the writing ofvarious sources of the time which raises points of debate. On theother hand, we find Herodian, who as a writer claims to be thelegitimate source of information for he had some part in the imperialservice, as well as the Rome’s resident.

Inthe first encounter whose knowledge about the Alexander Severus waris in question about how he was well versed in it. Despite claimsthat he was involved in the imperial service and came from the cityof Rome his information source is debatable. Herodian is said to havewritten his work from the authors Marcus Aurelius III which makes hiswork questionable given the timing and reliability of the source(Patricia, S. 2003). However having claimed that he lived during thetime of his writing we are yet to make his account of the war to betrue. His accounts are based on the emperor of the time Gordian IIIthough to some extent again his work can be doubted with hisreference to the geographical features that he describes such as theAlps.

Herodianbeing a self-proclaimed historian whose accounts can only be citedfrom his work has a lot to be debated about. First his descriptionabout Syrians is questionable and hard to believe. His knowledge ofSyrian affairs can clearly tell that he was not from the region.Secondly, it would be difficult for a Syrian resident to confuse theKings that reigned during his lifetime and showing this in writingthen brings doubts about the source of information as indicated byHerodian.

Thecomparison between Herodian`s account of Severus Alexander`s invasionof Persia with the fourth century and later accounts in SHA SeverusAlexander can be noted to have a number of notable differences inthem. One is the problem of dating i.e. when various occasions tookplace. This is a fascinating debate since the Authors such asHerodian claim that they lived during the time of writing theiraccounts. Some of the accounts such as that of Aurelius Victor showsthat the writers of these accounts lived during the times of the war.However, the authenticity of this information is distorted by thescholars of later accounts, making it difficult to get the facts(Warwirk, B. 2002).

Thereis a notable difference between these accounts in terms of theirpurpose for writing. Take for example Herodian his account is basedon writing about the occurrences of the time as a writer. Having anaim of creating historical work, while, for other later accounts,some are out to criticize for the pagan attack on Christianity andother social reasons. Other comparison differences between theHerodian account and later accounts is the use of fake documents saidto have been utilized by the prehistoric rulers of the time (Kaveh,F. 2007). All these are attempts to make the writers documentationlegitimate as the authentic historical document. They are based onimagination of the writer and not the facts of history. These lettersand speeches are said to be generated to make their historicdocumentation relevant.

Thevarious use of biographies in these accounts are not clear neither dothey give much of the relevant information about the historicaccounts. It is debatable why the accounts such as that of Aurelius’and Herodian show a lot of difference yet the two authors claim thatthey lived during the time of their writing. Moreover they both claimto have held a position in the imperial chain though, for Herodian,it is not quite clear. These problems expressed in the abovedocumentation are however curbed by the introduction of thecomputer-aided analysis that shows some stylistic elements in thework by multiple authors are uniform. This leaves one to concludethat the source of this historic work might have originated from onesource, and the authors decided to make changes for their gain andpurpose for writing their work.

Apartfrom the timing problem, various accounts have expressed omissions inthe bibliographical references which is the significant aspect ofconsidering them as the original, credible sources of searchinformation dating back in that time. They show no mention ofcritical discussions for the authentication of their claims. Thesevarious loops have made it difficult to get the actual informationeven from the eyewitnesses, and we are prepared to depend on theinformation on our reach. This situation can only be amended byfinding a way to link these accounts together and relate them totheir original authors for information clarity. However, this wouldbe difficult due to the archive access to these historic sources ifthey still exist (Dodgeon, M. 2002).

TheHerodian historic account is said to have been written by him with noreference to time and no track of evidence for clarity. This makesthe current scholars come up with different assumptions on theirwritten work concerning the referencing of Herodian historic work.Authenticity of an author’s work affects the accounts that comeafter his work posing a risk to the generation that rely on the useof that information. Citation of these accounts to the authors wasimproved in the 9thcentury which makes finding the actual work by authors more hectic tofind.

Inthe future histories, the historians who wish their work to be usedfor centuries should ensure their documentation of the work iscorrect with actual references and supporting materials of the timeand location of their writing. The solution to avoiding the problemsevident in the above documentation would be proper documentation.Proper documentation, in this case, means creation of authentichistoric work that can be cited to the original author. The work canalso prove the time of its creation and also provide encounters andphysical evident materials to support the timing and location of thecreation.

Historiansin the future should avoid the problem storing their work in archivesand also ensure proper interpretation of languages and orientalintegration of the sources.


Dodgeon,M, Lieu, S, (2002). TheRoman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars, (AD 226-363 aDocumentary History),London, New York.

KavehFarrokh, 2007, Shadowsin the Desert: Ancient Persia at War,Osprey Publishing

PatriciaSouthern, 2003, TheRoman Empire from Severus to Constantine,Routledge Publisher.

WarwirkBall, (2002),Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire.Routledge Publisher.