found by some modern scholars in Scriptores Historiae Augustae Tyr. trig. 2. We shall see later in this paper (p. 41) that the report of the biographer of Mareades in all probability does not contradict, as regards the political activity of Mareades, that of Malalas as quoted above, and refers to the first invasion of Syria undertaken by Shapuhr (A.D. 252/3). All told it seems to me very improbable that the robber of the Orac. Sib. and Mareades are one and the same person. The obscure episode concerning trouble in Syria and Cappadocia reported by the Orac. Sib. which has left no other traces in our literary tradition was in my opinion a repetition of the revolt and military activity of Jotapianus, the "robber" being a Roman and not a Syrian, perhaps another ephemeral pretender to the Roman throne. His name is unknown and will remain unknown until the discovery of new evidence. However the episode is in all probability genuine and significant. It shows that even under the strong rule of Decius Syria was full of unrest and discontent and that the Persians knew it and tried to foment trouble.

A little later (according to Zonaras XII, 21 in the very beginning of the rule of Trebonianus Gallus, that is to say in A.D. 251) eventful developments took place in Armenia. Chosroes, the Parthian and pro- Roman king of Armenia was murdered, a Persian army invaded Armenia, and Tiridates, the minor son of Chosroes and his successor took flight into Roman territory. Ormizd the son of Shapuhr became king of Armenia. 45

About the time when these events were taking place in Armenia, a Persian army led by Shapuhr himself attempted to conquer Mesopotamia. But while Shapuhr was successful in Armenia he failed in Mesopotamia. According to Tabari (p. 31, Nöldeke) he laid siege to Nisibis (the most eastern of the four Roman strongholds in Mesopotamia - Nisibis, Rhesaena, Carrhae, and Edessa) in his regnal year 11, that is to say A.D. 252, but was unable to take it, since his presence was required in the East.45aBut, according to the same Tabari, the siege was renewed after his return and Nisibis fell. Though the second siege and the capture of Nisibis are not so well attested as the first siege there is no reason to think that it did not take place.46 Nevertheless thereafter Shapuhr was unable to progress farther in his conquest of Mesopotamia. We know from his own report

45. The history of Armenia in mid-third century A.D. cannot be reconstructed with any degree of certainty from the meager and contradictory evidence at our disposal. A different date for the occupation of Armenia is suggested by A. T. Olmstead, op. cit. p. 257 f., cf. above, p. 31, n. 39.
45a. Shapuhr succeeded Ardashihr in A.D. 241/2. It is probable therefore that 241 was regarded as his first regnal year, though he was officially crowned on the 20th of March 242. See Nöldeke, Tabari, p. 412; A. Christensen, Rev. d. Arts As., X, 1937, p. 127 f., and below, p. 49 (on the Pehlevi inscriptions of the Synagogue of Dura). The episode of the capture of Nisibis has been discussed after Nödeke by Ensslin, CAN, XII, p. 132 f.
46. Nödeke, loc. cit., has pointed out that the ac-
    count on the second siege of Nisibis by Shapuhr I is a repetition of the account on the capture of Nisibis by Shapuhr 11. This does not mean however that Nisibis was not taken by Shapuhr soon after the first siege. The description of the second siege may be legendary but the siege and capture historical facts. In 259/60 (see the sources quoted below) Nisibis was certainly in the hands of Shapuhr. Odenath besieged and took it in his victorious campaign after Edessa. Zos. 1, 39 in speaking of this event probably alluded to the capture of the city by Shapuhr which is not dated but probably took place before the first invasion of Syria by Shapuhr; he says namely: (Odenath)


Created by the Digital Documentation Center at AUB in collaboration with Al Mashriq of Høgskolen i Østfold, Norway.

990122 PN - Email: hseeden@aub.edu.lb