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A Dangerous War over a Disgraceful Peace

Contributed by David Verne

After failing to invade Syria, the Parthian king, Vologases, has spent the winter preparing to go all in and invade Armenia. The Roman commander Paetus is completely unprepared for an enemy army to arrive at the Armenian-Parthian border where he was camped for the winter. With his troops dispersed for winter, the most he could do was try to block the mountain passes. This only further dispersed his soldiers and led to the Romans becoming besieged in a series of forts. Corbulo set out with half his army to lift the siege, but by the time he arrived Paetus had agreed to a humiliating surrender. The terms included all Romans leaving Armenia, all Roman weapons and armor given to Parthia, building a permanent bridge over the river between Armenia and Parthia, and marching under the yoke. Both sides agree to a truce until Parthian diplomats returned from negotiations in Rome.

Instead of accepting peace terms from the envoys, Nero chose, as Tacitus puts it, "A dangerous war over a disgraceful peace," giving Corbulo emergency command of the entire east. Corbulo immediately launched an invasion into Parthian territory. Vologases, recognizing Corbulo's superior skill, asked for a peace agreement. A deal was reached where the Parthians would appoint Armenia's king, but the Romans had to ratify the choice. Tiridates, Vologases brother and desposed king of Armenia, traveled to Rome in 66 AD where Nero crowned him king of Armenia. Paetus was recalled to Rome on charges of incompetence, but Nero pardoned him saying that suspense would be bad for someone of such timidity. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by David Verne
Paetus had been sending word to Corbulo about his disastrous situation but had continued to send word to Rome that everything was going fine. The triumphal arch commemorating victory over Parthia was almost complete when Parthian envoys showed up with the shocking news of the Roman army marching under the yoke. Marching under the yoke was where the defeated army was marched single file under a large pole while being mocked by the victorious army lining the route. It had only happened to a Roman army once before in 321 BC. At least, there was peace once again, but many Senators believed that Nero had handed Armenia over on a silver platter. To Nero's credit though, he didn't lose any Roman territory and did what was necessary to avoid an all out war.

Pompeii is shaken

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

Last year Pompeii was hit by a massive earthquake that destroyed much of the city. Modern scientists have estimated this quake to have been between a 5 and a 6 on the Richter scale. Most of the buildings their were damaged, and falling oil lamps caused fires to break out across the city. During this era, Mount Vesuvius was very active, with people being used to regular small earthquakes. Pliny the Younger wrote that these minor quakes"were not particularly alarming because they are frequent in Campania". However this earthquake caused panic and over 20,000 citizens fled the city in fear of an eruption. During this quake, some gas escaped from the volcano and kill a flock of about 600 sheep.

My Take by Southpaw Ben
When Vesuvius finally blew in AD 79, it's destruction was legendary. Unlike in 62, the earthquakes before it blew it's top were small, and didn't cause people to flee, as was stated above, the people of this region were used to minor earthquakes. But for now, the people of Pompeii are just working to rebuild after this destructive earthquake and trying to get back to their daily grind.

See Also

References

  1. Tacitus, Cornelius. The Annals. 
  2. Dando-Collins, Stephen (2010). Legions of Rome. St. Martin's Press. 
  3. Duncan, Mike (August 16, 2009). Burn it to the Ground.

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