The Roman Easter Frontier

TheRoman Easter Frontier


TheExtent of Responsibility of Diocletian in the Reversal of Rome’sfortunes on the eastern frontier

Itcan be stated that Diocletian greatly contributed to the reversal ofRome’s fortunes on the eastern frontier. One of his keycontributions was that he assisted in resolving the problem ofinflation that had affected the Roman economy at that particularperiod. He initiated price controls through his renowned Edict onprices (Edictum De Pretiis Rerum Venalium), that had the objective ofsetting the least and the highest prices of goods in order to avertincreasedprices and exploitation by businesses (Williams,1985).

Diocletianalso introduced monetarily reforms in order to deal with the problemof inflation. He introduced the use of gold as medium of exchange andreplaced it with the Silver that had brought the inflation problems(Stern, 1954).

Also,Diocletian initiated various key projects that were useful inadvancing the fortunes of Rome. Williams (1985) discloses thatDiocletian was driven by architectural ambitions, as a result heinitiated numerous architectural projects that transformed Rome.


Whatare the main aspects of Luttwak`s `defence in depth` strategy? Can wesee this strategy in operation along the strata Diocletiana

Akey aspects of the Luttwak`s `defence in depth` strategy was toacknowledge the fact that in order for Rome to fight and protect herself againstenemies, there was need to protect its internalterritory and provinces as opposed to focusing on the externalterrorists that bordered Rome. The strategy therefore involved newinterior reconstructions that would improve the internal security ofRome (Luttwak, 1976).

Luttwak(1976) discloses that one of the areas of renovation was thedevelopment of much stronger fortifications. This was done bybuilding the perimeter walls to be thicker in order to add moreprotection. In addition, the walls were reconstructed to reach ahigher level in order to prevent the entry of any invaders. The wallswere constructed in every section of the city band in the provinces.

Also,a difference in siting of the fortifications was initiated.Initially, fortifications were constructed for housing and logisticconvenience such as closeness to the highway. However, through thestrategy, change was initiated whereby forts were now built on top ofthe few available hills even if the sites were not suitable (Luttwak,1976).

New technologies were also used in the construction of the fortifiedareas. For instance a more sophisticated device was used to elevatethe floor level within the fort. This was anticipated to counter thetechniques that the attackers would use when they lacked engines forconducting a siege and when their defense experienced a lack of firepower to block them from the wall (Luttwak, 1976).

Itcan be stated that the `defence in depth` strategy would not haveoperated along with the

strataDiocletiana based on the fact the `defence in depth` strategyinvolved the development of interior protection that was aimed atdefending Roman provinces . The Diocletiana road on the other handwas an open road that exposes the region to external invaders(Luttwak, 1976).


Whatfactors led to the spread of Christianity in Persia? How wereChristians viewed by the Persian government? Were Persian suspicionsjustified?

Oneof the factors that led to the spread of Christianity in Persia iswhen Constantine invaded Persia and defected the territory. Heestablished Christianity to be the official religion of the RomanEmpire. Christianity become part of Constantine’s foreign policy.Constantine’s dealings in Persia resulted to the spread of Christianity in Persia (Barnes, 1985).

Aseries of writings by Christian bishops and missionary work to peoplein Persia also resulted to the spread of Christianity in the regions(Barnes, 1985).

TheChristians were not treated justly by the Persian government.Barnes,(1985)discloses that the persecution of Christians wererecorded in the early years of Shapu’s persecution . Persecutionstarted with the arrest of Simeon who was the bishop of Seleucia–Ctesiphon inthe thirty first year of Shapur.

Thesuspicions of the Persians were not justified based on the fact thatthe converts of Christianity were not against the government howeverthey were persecuted.


Whatwere the main beliefs of Manichaeism?

One of the beliefs of Manichaeism is that it was based on rigiddistinctions between the perfectandthe elect (Men and Women) who were also ranked as the elect and thehearers. The role of the elect was to secure salvation for thehearers. While the hearers fed and sheltered the elect (Brown, 1969).

Thereligion also placed a lot of relevance to the sun whereby the sunwould be considered divine (Brown, 1969).

Anotherbelief was that Manichaeism was a missionary religion. The objectiveof the religion was to spread its beliefs to different regions. Itwas actually the last religion to make attempts to reach the Romansociety (Brown, 1969).

The religion was also believed in tolerance. This resulted intopatients even during hard times. For instance persecutions existedin the early church such as Priscillina was the first Manichees to beexecuted (Brown, 1969).


Inwhat ways did Christianity come to play a role in the conflictbetween Rome and Persia during Constantine`s reign? Christianity contributed to the conflict between Rome and Persia inthe sense thatthe Persians developed a feeling that the reign ofConstantine was dictating the Christian region on them. WhenChristianity was established as the official religion of Rome, herforeign policy was also affected. For instance when Constantine endeda treaty with Goth in 332, he insisted the religious stipulationswere to be integrated into the treaties. The Persians were notpleased with such a move (Barnes, 1985).

Constantine also acclaimed himself as the official protector ofChristians. He was therefore interfering with the agenda of thePersian government to persecute the Christians (Barnes, 1985).


Isit possible to identify a long-term strategy in Constantius II`sapproach to the eastern frontier?

Itcan be stated that it is difficult to identify a long term strategyof Constantius II`s approach to the eastern frontier.Unlike hisfather, Constantine 11 faced numerous power constrains which made itdifficult to precisely identify his long- term strategy on theeastern frontier. For instance when he needed to reshape and reviewthe Roman policy on the east, the Roman emperor had split thereforemaking it difficult for him to conduct an invasion on Persia. Thiswas a constraint based on the fact that invasion needed aconsiderable reinforcement (Cairns, 1992).


Whatled to the outbreak of hostilities between Rome and Persia after thebrief period of peace?

TheHostilities between Rome and Persia were instigated by ongoingstruggle for the control of territories such as Armenia, the MiddleEuphrates and Mesopotamia. For instance when Armenia become a Romanprovince, Rome practiced a considerable amount of power over theprovince. The Persians on the other hand claimed hegemony over thekingdom due to their long standing cultural and political links. These power struggles therefore influenced conflict between the two(Edwell, 2008).


Howcredible is Ammianus as an eyewitness of Julian`s campaign in Persia?What does he include? What does he omit?

Itcan be stated that Ammianus account of the Julian`scampaign in Persia is actually credible. The credibility of theaccount is grounded on the fact that he gives an in-depth account ofhis role during the Persian expedition. In addition, the explanationgiven about the military activities are objective and realistic.

Omissiondid take place in his account. This is because there was a confusionin Ammianus account concerning the decision by Julian’s atCtesiphon. This was attributed to two major emissions which includean official view of the headquarter and the highlightingthestrategic reasoning for the actions that were to be taken (Austin,1972).


Austin,N.(1972). Julian at Ctesiphon: A fresh look at Ammianus` account . Studi Periodici di Letteratura e Storia Dell` Antichita Vol. 50, p.301-309.

Brown,P. (1969). The diffusion of Manichaeism in the Roman Empire / Peter

London:Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, Journalof Roman StudiesVol. 59, p. 92-103.

Barnes,T.(1985).Constantine and the Christians of Persia . Journalof Roman Studies. Vol. 75, p. 126-136

Cairns,F. (1992).Constantius II: Facing the limitations of Roman power / RBlockley

Leeds:Francis. East Roman Foreign Policy: Formation and Conduct fromDiocletian to Anastasius p. 12-23

Edwell,P.(2008). Conflictbetween Rome and Sasanian Persia involving the middle Euphrates, Mesopotamia and Palmyra. Routledge.

Luttwak,E .(1976).Defense-in-depth: The great crisis of the third century andthe new strategies (Part 1 of 2 parts) / Edward N Baltimore: JohnsHopkins university Press.

Stern,H.(1954). Remarks on the &quotAdoratio&quot under Diocletian.Journalof the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes.17,( 1/2,1954), pp. 184-189.4

Williams,S. (1985). Diocletianand the Roman recovery.London : B.T. Batsford