A “magnificent” (Spectator) history of the epic rivalry between the ancient world’s two great superpowers
The Roman empire was like no other. Stretching from the north of Britain to the Sahara, and from the Atlantic coast to the Euphrates, it imposed peace and prosperity on an unprecedented scale.
Its only true rival lay in the east, where the Parthian and then Persian empires ruled over great cities and the trade routes to mysterious lands beyond. This was the region Alexander the Great had swept through, creating a dream of glory and conquest that tantalized Greeks and Romans alike. Tracing seven centuries of conflict between Rome and Persia, historian Adrian Goldsworthy shows how these two great powers evolved together. Despite their endless clashes, trade between the empires enriched them both, and a mutual respect prevented both Rome and Persia from permanently destroying the other.
Epic in scope, Rome and Persia completely reshapes our understanding of one of the greatest rivalries of world history.
About the Author
Adrian Goldsworthy received his DPhil in ancient history from Oxford and has taught at Cardiff University, King’s College, and the University of Notre Dame in London. The author of numerous books, including Philip and Alexander, Pax Romana, How Rome Fell, and Caesar, he lives in South Wales, UK.
"Goldsworthy [wears his] deep knowledge of the Roman world lightly and [knows] how to tell a good story. [His history] also might strike a very contemporary note of interest for many people — men and women alike." —New York Times
"Parts of Rome and Persia read like the script of a Latin American telenovela, with labyrinthine twists and turns to match. It’s a complicated story with proxy wars and peace treaties galore, pendular swings between victory and defeat and a pirouetting cast of characters thrown up by assassinations. It is to Goldsworthy’s credit that he relates it with clarity and panache without insulting the intelligence of the reader…You will be hard-pressed to find a better history of [the rivalry of Rome and Persia] in a single volume.”—The Times (UK)
"Magnificent."—The Spectator (UK)
“Goldsworthy fills a little-known but important gap in the history of the Western World with a history of the lands of Armenia, Iraq, and Syria that, as part of the Parthian Empire, became contentious ground between two empires... . Rome and Persia is annotated, includes a detailed chronology, and has a bibliography. It has lists of rulers to help the reader sort through this history of empires."—New York Journal Review of Books
"Meticulous yet sweeping in scope, this is a major contribution to the understanding of a significant period in world history."—Publishers Weekly
“An expert account of a historical rivalry long neglected by popular historians.”—Kirkus
“Epic history as it's means to be written! A splendid book that tells the story of the great imperial rivalry of the ancient world with narrative elan, scholarly authority, and a cast of extraordinary characters.”—Simon Sebag-Montefiore, author of The World: A Family History of Humanity
“Rome and Persia: The Seven Hundred Year Rivalry, is a wise and wonderful book, on a historical topic that still speaks to us today. Goldsworthy is a brilliant scholar and an excellent narrator, and here he is at the height of his powers. This book is not to be missed.”—Barry Strauss, author of The War that Made the Roman Empire
“A sweeping and panoramic account of the first great superpower rivalry - a definitive account.”—Tom Holland, author of Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World
“Renowned for his brilliant evocations of the Roman past, here Adrian Goldsworthy turns his focus towards the mighty Sasanians and explores how this long-lived Iranian dynasty challenged Rome for the title of world’s Superpower. Written with his customary flair and brio, Goldsworthy sheds much-needed light on this crucial period in east-west relations and thrillingly demonstrates what happens when two worlds collide.”—Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, author of Persians: the Age of the Great Kings