Мekhamadiev, Е. А. Voennaya politika imperatora Konstantsiya II v blizhnevostochnykh provintsiyakh imperii v 337–350 gg.: Organizatsionnaya struktura rimsko-persidskoy granitsy i problema rekrutskogo nabora [The military policy of Emperor Constantius II in the Near East provinces of the Empire in 337–350: The organizational structure of the Roman–Persian border and the problem of recruiting], in: Proslogion: Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Social History and Culture, 2017. Vol. 3 (1). P. 159–183.
Еvgeniy Аleksandrovich Мekhamadiev, doctor of History, senior lecturer of Medieval History Department, Institute of History, St. Petersburg State University (199034, Rossiya, Sankt-Petersburg, Мendeleevskaya liniya, 5)
The present paper is dedicated to the little-studied aspect of the 4th century late Roman military organization – to the system of fortresses and their garrisons in the provinces of Syria and Mesopotamia in 340s. It was the period strictly when the Roman empire waged an intensive war with the Persians for control over upper Tigris and Euphrates. The difficulty of the study of this period is caused by few evidence about the Romans’ fighting with the Persians within Mesopotamia that contain narrative sources, however, these gaps may be filled by epigraphic data from Syria and Arabia. The author uses the classical epigraphic material, that have been known since the early 20th century thanks to the catalogue of Princeton Archaeological Expedition in Syria, and also a new document, the inscription published by M. Sartre in 2007. Having compared epigraphic data and narrative sources, the author concludes that the defense system of Syria and Mesopotamia was formed as two-level deployment of troops – the frontier garrisons that occupied an external borders of provinces and field mobile armies that posted in internal lands. The frontier garrisons kept an enemy’s assault before coming of expeditionary forces that had to repulse an enemy. The author has demonstrated that garrisons of Syria and Mesopotamia were supplemented through mandatory hereditary military service, according to that the staff of garrisons obtained not only the sons of retired soldiers (veterans), but also the sons of soldiers who were at active service. The author summaries that the fixed line of fortresses allowed the Romans to keep control over Mesopotamia until 363 when they were forced to concede Mesopotamia to the Persians.
Key Words: late Roman Empire, Constantius II, Mesopotamia, fortresses, centurio, legion, vexillation, veterans, recruiting