History Files


The Middle East

Eastern Roman Borders circa AD 1-200

by Peter Kessler, 10 August 2005. Updated 18 October 2010



During this period the kingdom of Armenia was used as a buffer state and as a battlefield by the Romans from the west and the Parthians from the east border. The wars caused the division of Lesser Armenia in AD 56, as well as that of Armenia Sophene.

While this was happening, kingdoms in the Caucuses to the north were forming and gaining strength. Iberia and Armenia were closely linked for a time, and at its greatest extent in the first century BC, Armenia reached southwards as far as modern Syria. Pontus was a close ally of Armenia, until it was conquered by Rome in AD 63.

During the first century AD, the Alans were a major force in Sarmatia, to the north of Kolkis. They even raided as far south as Armenia in circa AD 70.

The later medieval kingdom of Lesser Armenia was based in Cilicia, on the northern Mediterranean coast of Anatolia, and is not shown here.

The kingdom of Media was conquered by the Persians in the sixth century BC, but made a brief reappearance circa AD 70 as the Parthian Empire fragmented.


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Map of the Caucuses


Images and text copyright P L Kessler. An original feature for the History Files.