Podcast with Adrian Goldsworthy, author of “Rome and Persia: The Seven Hundred Year Rivalry”

Adrian Goldsworthy Adrian Goldsworthy

For almost seven centuries, two powers dominated the region we now call the Middle East: Rome and Persia. From the west: The Roman Republic, later the Roman Empire, later the Byzantine Empire. From the East: The Parthian Empire, later replaced by the Sassanian Empire. The two ancient superpowers spent centuries fighting for influence, paying each other off, encouraging proxy fights in their neighbors, and seizing opportunities while the other was distracted with internal strife. The relationship culminates in an almost-three-decade long war that so exhausts the two powers that they both end up getting overrun by the Arabs years later.

 

 

Rome and Persia: The Seven Hundred Year Rivalry, Adrian Goldsworthy (Basic Books, September 2023)
Rome and Persia: The Seven Hundred Year Rivalry, Adrian Goldsworthy (Basic Books, September 2023)

Adrian Goldsworthy gives a detailed account of this long history in his recent book Rome and Persia: The Seven Hundred Year Rivalry, starting from the (alleged) first contact in 92 BC through to the collapse of Persia in the seventh century. The two of us are going to try our best to talk about this long history in our interview today.

Adrian Goldsworthy is an award-winning historian of the classical world. He is the author of numerous books about ancient Rome, including Hadrian’s Wall (Basic Books, 2018), Caesar: Life of a Colossus (Yale University Press, 2008), How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower (Yale University Press, 2010), Pax Romana: War, Peace and Conquest in the Roman World (Yale University Press, 2016), and Augustus: First Emperor of Rome (Yale University Press, 2014).


Nicholas Gordon has an MPhil from Oxford in International Relations and a BA from Harvard. He is a writer, editor and occasional radio host based in Hong Kong.