The Sassanid Empire would prove to be the last of the Persian middle-eastern empires, and would also be the last great ‘civilised’ rival of Rome. The Great Achaemenid Persian Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great, had displaced the Babylonians in the Middle-East. Ultimately, it sprawled from the Mediterranean to northern India. This empire, the largest in the world, had been overthrown by the meteoric career of a western ‘barbarian’ named Alexander of Macedon, but he did not survive to consolidate his conquest and it quickly split up with various parts being ruled by Alexander’s successors, who warred among one another with none succeeding in re-uniting the former Achaemenid Empire.
With Ian Hughes joining the regulars, they discuss the problem of gaps in the historical evidence that have to be negotiated when looking at the period, and the long lasting conflict with Rome.