Edited by Puerto Rican Legionary, 03 November 2005 - 05:25 PM.
Parthian Empire vs Han China
Posted 06 December 2005 - 01:08 AM
Edited by warlordgeneral, 31 March 2013 - 03:33 AM.
Posted 06 December 2005 - 01:18 AM
Kangju weren't the Chorasmians/Khwarezmians, who were Indo-Iranians.
Do you mean that the Kangju weren't Indo-Iranians? But you argue on another thread that the Kangju were descended from the Yuezhi, and the Yuezhi are generally regarded as Indo-Iranians.
Posted 06 December 2005 - 01:36 AM
Edited by warlordgeneral, 31 March 2013 - 03:34 AM.
Posted 06 December 2005 - 03:06 AM
Posted 09 December 2005 - 12:32 PM
Nicolle's dating isn't so much "inaccurate" as "obsolete". See Markus Mode's article on Orlat at http://www.transoxia...icles/mode.html - interesting in itself, and gives a summary of the dating arguments. The earlier, c.1st century BC, dating was proposed by Pugachenkova, head of the team that found the plaques.
Something that may interest you is in the archaeological record and is a bone plaque from Orlat near Samarkand that has been dated by Nikonorov to the 1st-3rd centuries C.E. ... You can also find it reproduced in Nicolle's Sassanian Armies from Montvert, though he oddly and quite inaccurately somehow attributes them to be Parthians.
Nicolle describes the Orlat plaques as "Partho-Sughdian", meaning I think native Sogdians under Parthian rule. Not unresasonable if you go for the early date, perhaps. But a middle date (not Marshak's and Brentjes' 3rd-5th centuries AD!) looks more convincing to me, and I too rather favour the Kangju identification.
Posted 09 December 2005 - 10:28 PM
Edited by warlordgeneral, 31 March 2013 - 03:34 AM.
Posted 03 January 2011 - 05:32 AM
The essence of the Cataphract was the lance charge!
Posted 09 January 2011 - 04:09 PM
Parthia was anything but invincible, even though they had some victories against the Romans usually they come out worse; in fact, Rome sacked their capital 3 times and Trajan did established a vassal parthia king (short lived one thou);
Posted 20 July 2011 - 10:07 PM
Both Han and Parthian armies consist of professional soldiers as well as possibility of levies, so in terms of morale it is an equal playing field. The Parthian army is divided into horse archers and heavy cataphracts, while native Persian foot bowmen and nomadic steppe horse archers from beyond the northern frontier were also routinely used in battle. This would give the Parthians a definite advantage in cavalry.
The Han of course have both light and heavy cavalry, as well as crossbowmen and similar composite bows. There would also be a large infantry contingent with spears and pikes. Thus the Han have the advantage in infantry, since most Parthian infantry would only be armed with bows. As for missiles, it is a fairly equal playing field, thought the crossbow might have proven particularly deadly to cataphracts as it did to medieval knights.
All this being taken into account, I believe the terrain would be the deciding factor. If the battle were on a relatively flat field, the Parthians would likely have the Han heavy cavalry both outnumbered and outclassed. Of course an enterprising Han general could make use of horse archer auxiliaries as they sometimes did historically. That being said, on a flat field it is likely that a Parthian horse archer army would outmaneuver the Han army, destroying first the cavalry then the infantry. The crossbows would present a danger to the cataphracts, but in order to be protected from a cataphract charge and horse archers they would have to retreat behind the line of pikes, greatly reducing their ability to fire accurately. Once the crossbows are neutralized it would likely be a Chinese Carrhae, with the infantry being picked off by horse archers until it could be destroyed by a final cataphract charge.
Howvever, I believe on more broken terrain (forests and hills) the result would be entirely different. Roman generals who succeeded against the Parthians (such as Corbulo) routinely used such terrain to reduce Parthian mobility and the effectiveness of cataphracts. If the Parthians are not able to outflank the Han army and put the crossbows in check, then it is almost inevitable that they would have come to defeat, as the Chinese would be able to return fire (as Corbulo's greatly expanded missile contingents did) and present a wall of pikes to any cataphract charge, which could be softened by volleys of crossbow bolts and light field artillery.
Posted 27 September 2011 - 10:43 PM
So why Rome never conquered the Parthians? Well, first of all, Rome never really tried to conquer the Parthians. They never mobilized their military potential agaisnt the Parthians like they did agaisnt Carthage in the two Punic Wars (wars that were much greater in scale and destruction than any involving the Parthians). The question becomes, why didn't Rome conquer Parthia? Well, the Roman Empire was a mediterranean based empire and as such their logistics and communication limited their area of control to the mediterranean sea and adjacent areas. Also, the Romans didn't conquer Germania either, and both the Germanic tribes and the Parthians shared similarities in respect to Rome: both were poor and rather uncivilized, hence to conquer them would cost a great deal of resources with no return in sight. That implies that Parthia was a residual state that emerged from the process of formation of the Roman Empire, ruling over the lands where Rome didn't want to rule. They were a gang of horse archers that could rule these lands more effectivelly than armies based on infantry and complex logistical structures (the Roman legions).
Calling the Parthians one of the great powers of the ancient world is only the product of ignorance. The Parthians can barely be recognized as a state, they were more like a fiefdom of the Arsacids. They didn't have a bureaucracy like the Han and the Romans had.
So, assuming that there isn't any restriction on the logistical basis of a Han army (such as the one involved in supplying the Han army over thousands of kilometers into central Asia), the professional army of the Han wins over the horse archers of the Arsacids. The victories the Parthians netted over the Romans were due to special circunstances, such as Carrhae, when an army composed of heavy infantry were out in open the desert, hundreds of kilometers from the borders of Roman dominion, under an incompetent commander and they were slowly killed by a continuous stream of arrows from horse archers. A professional army under a decent commander, with adequate preparations and decent information about the enemy would have been victorious.
Posted 28 September 2011 - 02:39 AM
... Parthia was a residual state that emerged from the process of formation of the Roman Empire, ruling over the lands where Rome didn't want to rule. They were a gang of horse archers that could rule these lands more effectivelly than armies based on infantry and complex logistical structures
You're making them sound like a bunch of smelly barbarians. I don't get the impression that this is how the Romans themselves viewed the Parthians...yes, they were technically 'barbarians', but not unsophisticated ones. Here's from Plutarch's Life of Crassus:
...it happened that Hyrodes (Orodes, King of Parthia) was at last reconciled with Artavasdes the Armenian, and agreed to receive the latter's sister as wife for his son Pacorus, and there were reciprocal banquets and drinking bouts, at which many Greek compositions were introduced. For Hyrodes was well acquainted both with the Greek language and literature, and Artavasdes actually composed tragedies, and wrote orations and histories, some of which are preserved. Now when the head of Crassus was brought to the king's door, the tables had been removed, and a tragic actor, Jason by name, of Tralles, was singing that part of the "Bacchae" of Euripides where Agave is about to appear.While he was receiving his applause, Sillaces stood at the door of the banqueting-hall, and after a low obeisance, cast the head of Crassus into the centre of the company. The Parthians lifted it up with clapping of hands and shouts of joy, and at the king's bidding his servants gave Sillaces a seat at the banquet. Then Jason handed his costume of Pentheus to one of the chorus, seized the head of Crassus, and assuming the role of the frenzied Agave, sang these verses through as if inspired:
"We bring from the mountain
A tendril fresh-cut to the palace,
A wonderful prey."
"Who slew him?"
"Mine is the honour,"
Pomaxathres, who happened to be one of the banqueters, sprang up and laid hold of the head, feeling that it was more appropriate for him to say this than for Jason. The king was delighted, and bestowed on Pomaxathres the customary gifts, while to Jason he gave a talent.
Call me Parthophile if you want, but this seems pretty civilized to me. This is no scruffy nomad court
Posted 20 April 2013 - 03:54 PM
How does the Hittite Empire compare to the Parthian Empire? I know they are from different parts of History but still I would like to know the comparisons.
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