Rome and the Near Eastern Kingdoms and Principalities, 44-31 BC

A Study of Political Relations during Civil War


The study presents a critical analysis of the political relations between Rome and Near Eastern kingdoms and principalities during the age of civil war from the death of Julius Caesar in 44 to Mark Antony’s defeat at Actium in 31 BC. By examining each bilateral relationship separately, it argues that those relations were marked by a large degree of continuity with earlier periods. Circumstances connected to the civil war had only a limited impact on the interstate conduct of the period despite the effects that the strife had on Rome’s domestic politics and the res publica. The ever-present rival Parthia and its external policies were more influential in steering the relations between Rome and Near Eastern powers.

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Hendrikus A. M. van Wijlick, Ph.D. (2014), University of Durham is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Center for Classical and Medieval Studies at Peking University. His work focuses on Rome’s foreign relations in the eastern Mediterranean in the late Republic and the coinage of the kingdom Cappadocia.
"Overall, the historical reconstruction of the relations between Rome and the Near East is the highlight of this work, which represents a welcome addition to the studies on the Roman Republic and the late Hellenistic period." Omar Coloru, The Classical Review 71.2 489–491. ''This volume deserves celebration. Van Wijlick has filled a scholarly gap left by Millar. His research of ancient and modern sources is routinely meticulous. He makes his results easily and meaningfully available through specific regional case studies and a synthetic analysis. The writing is polished, clear, and enjoyable. And he offers a balanced assessment of nearly every problem. Above all, the honesty of analysis rings true. While Roman civil war shaped the Near East in 44-31 less distinctively than the reader may expect, van Wijlick effectively reveals the powerful impact of Roman-Parthian confrontation. This conclusion encourages one to seek further reading. Van Wijlick has enriched the field of Classical history.'' Jason M. Schlude, BMCR 2022.04.29
List of Figures
A Note on the Maps, Texts and Abbreviations
 1 The Near East
 2 Structure
 3 Sources
 4 Client Kings

part 1: Prelude

1 Pompey’s Reorganisation of the Near East, 66–63 BC
 1.1 The End of the Great Armenian Empire
 1.2 War in the Caucasus and the Relations with the Parthians
 1.3 Amisus and the Friendship with Antiochus of Commagene
 1.4 Amicitia and Societas
 1.5 The War against Darius the Mede and the Dissolution of the Seleucid Kingdom
 1.6 Pompey’s Dealings with the Emisenoi and his Reorganisation of the Princedom of Chalcis
 1.7 The Reorganisation of Judaea

part 2: 44–42 BC

2 Parthia
 2.1 Parthian Support for Cassius
 2.2 The Embassy of Labienus and the Battle of Philippi

3 Ptolemaic Kingdom
 3.1 Supporting Dolabella
 3.2 Recognition for Ptolemy XV Caesarion

4 Judaea
 4.1 Judaean Support for the Caesarians in Syria
 4.2 The Imposition of Financial Contributions
 4.3 Herod’s Promotion
 4.4 Internal Conflicts and Cassius

5 Princedom of Chalcis and the Emisenoi
 5.1 The Princedom of Chalcis and Caecilius Bassus
 5.2 Caecilius Bassus and Emisenian Support

Section 1: 42–31 BC

6 Parthia
 6.1 The Parthian Invasion of Syria and Asia Minor
 6.2 Antony’s Parthian Campaign

7 Ptolemaic Kingdom
 7.1 Antony and Cleopatra in Cilicia
 7.2 The Assassination of Arsinoe
 7.3 The Territorial Grants of 37/36
 7.4 The “Donations of Alexandria” in 34

8 Judaea
 8.1 The Quest for Antony’s Favour
 8.2 Privileges Restored to Judaeans
 8.3 Herod and Phasael Made τετράρχαι of Judaea
 8.4 The Parthian Invasion and Herod’s Promotion to the Kingship
 8.5 Herod’s Return to Judaea, Roman Support and the Intervention at Samosata
 8.6 Antony between Cleopatra and Herod
 8.7 Actium and Herod in War with Malichus of Nabataea

9 Princedom of Chalcis
 9.1 Antony in the East
 9.2 The Parthian Invasion, the Death of Ptolemy and the Ascension of Lysanias
 9.3 The Princedom of Chalcis Annexed by Cleopatra

10 Nabataea
 10.1 Ventidius Bassus and Nabataea
 10.2 The Grant of Territory to Cleopatra
 10.3 Nabataean Support at Actium

11 Armenia
 11.1 Armenia, the Caucasus and Antony’s Parthian Campaign
 11.2 The Armenian Campaigns of 34 and the Late 30s BC

12 Media Atropatene
 12.1 The Parthian and Armenian Invasions
 12.2 Medes at Actium

13 Commagene
 13.1 The Parthian Invasion
 13.2 The Defeat of the Parthians and the Siege of Samosata
 13.3 Commagenian Presence at Actium

Section 2: Types of Conduct

14 Conduct of Near Eastern Rulers towards Rome
 14.1 Requests for Intervention in Internal Affairs
 14.2 Divided Rome: The Mobilisation of Rome’s Representatives in the East
 14.3 Requests for the Enlargement of Territories
 14.4 The Conclusion of an Alliance with Rome against a Third Party
 14.5 Involvement in a Foreign War
 14.6 Involvement in a Civil War

15 Rome’s Conduct towards Near Eastern Kingdoms and Principalities
 15.1 At War with a Near Eastern Kingdom
 15.2 The Conclusion of Alliances for the Conduct of a War against a Third Party
 15.3 The Arrangement of Dynastic Intermarriage
 15.4 Demands for Financial and Military Contributions
 15.5 Rome Calling Near Eastern Kings and Princes to Account
 15.6 Nomination and Removal of Near Eastern Rulers
 15.7 Territorial Rearrangements
List of Editions Used
Undergraduates, graduates and established scholars interested in Rome’s foreign relations in the eastern Mediterranean, as well as in Pompey and the civil war from 44 until 31 BC.
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