World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Mesopotamia (Roman province)

Article Id: WHEBN0006058361
Reproduction Date:

Title: Mesopotamia (Roman province)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of Mesopotamia, Achaemenid Assyria, Romans in Arabia, Africa (Roman province), Babylonia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Mesopotamia (Roman province)

Provincia Mesopotamia
ἐπαρχία Μεσοποταμίας
Province of the Roman Empire


Location of Mesopotamia
Provincia Mesopotamia within the Roman Empire.
Capital Amida / Dara / Nisibis
Historical era Antiquity
 •  Roman-Parthian Wars 116
 •  Established by Septimius Severus 198
 •  Muslim conquests 637
Today part of  Iraq
The late Roman Diocese of the East, including the province of Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia was the name of two distinct Roman provinces, the one a short-lived creation of the Roman Emperor Trajan in 116–117 and the other established by Emperor Septimius Severus in ca. 198, which ranged between the Roman and the Sassanid empires, until the Muslim conquests of the 7th Century.

Trajan's province

In 113, Emperor [1]

Later in the same year, Trajan marched into central and southern Mesopotamia (enlarging and completing the province of Mesopotamia) and across the river Tigris to Adiabene, which he annexed into another Roman province, Assyria.[2] But he did not stop there. In the last months of 116, he captured the great Persian city of Susa. He deposed the Parthian king Osroes I and put his own puppet ruler Parthamaspates on the Parthian throne. Never again would the Roman Empire advance so far to the east.

As soon as Trajan died however, his successor Hadrian (r. 117–138) relinquished his conquests east of the Euphrates river, which became again the Roman Empire's eastern boundary.[3][4]

Severus' province

Lucius Verus Campaign

Northern Mesopotamia, including Nisibis.

Year Of The Five Emperors

This control was threatened in 195, during the civil war between [5][6]

Reconquest By Severus

Next Severus embarked on a war against Parthia, which he concluded successfully with the sack of the Parthian capital Ctesiphon. In emulation of Trajan, he re-established a province of Mesopotamia in 198, with Nisibis, elevated to the status of a full colonia, as its capital.[7][8]

Unlike Trajan's province, which encompassed the whole of Roman-occupied Mesopotamia between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, the new province was limited between the province of Osroene to the south, the Euphrates and Tigris to the north, and the river Chaboras (modern Khabur) to the east.[9]


Map showing the Mesopotamia province

For the remainder of its existence, the new province would remain a bone of contention between the Romans and their eastern neighbors, suffering heavily in the recurrent Roman–Persian Wars. In the turmoil that followed the Year of the Six Emperors, in 239–243, Ardashir I (r. 224–241), the founder of the new Sassanid Empire which replaced the moribund Parthians, attacked and overran the area, but it was recovered by Timesitheus before his death in 243.[10] In the 250s, the Persian shah Shapur I (r. ca. 240–270) attacked Mesopotamia, and fought with the Roman emperor Valerian (r. 253–260), whom he captured at Edessa in 260.[11] In the next year however, Shapur was heavily defeated by Odaenathus of Palmyra and driven out of Mesopotamia.[12]

Under the reforms of Diocletian (r. 284–305) and Constantine I (r. 306–337), it became part of the Diocese of the East, which in turn was subordinated to the praetorian prefecture of the East.

Map of Roman military stations in Mesopotamia from a 1436 manuscript

Nisibis and Singara, along with the territory in Adiabene conquered by Diocletian were lost after the debacle of Julian's Persian expedition in 363, and the capital was transferred to Amida, while the seat of the military commander, the dux Mesopotamiae, was located at Constantina. Other cities included Martyropolis and Kephas.[9]

After the troubles Roman forces faced in the Anastasian War of 502–506, the East Roman emperor Anastasius I (r. 491–518) built the fortress of Dara as a counter to Nisibis and as the new base of the dux Mesopotamiae.

During the reforms of Justinian I (r. 527–565), the province was split up: the northern districts with Martyropolis went to the new province of Armenia IV, while the remainder was divided into two civil and ecclesiastical districts, one (the region south of the Tigris) with capital at Amida and the other (the region of Tur Abdin) with capital at Dara.[9] The province suffered greatly during the near-constant wars with Persia in the 6th century. In 573, the Persians even took Dara, although the East Romans recovered it under the peace of 591. They lost it again to the Persians in the great war of 602–628, and regained it afterwards only to lose the entire region permanently to the Muslim conquests in 633–640.[9]

Episcopal sees

Ancient episcopal sees of the ecclesiastical province of Mesopotamia I listed in the Annuario Pontificio as titular sees:[13]

  • Amida
  • Arsamosata (Koratta? at the confluence of the Murad-su and the Euphrates)
  • Belabitene (near Palu)
  • Bethzabda
  • Cefa (Hassan-Kef, Osn-Kef? Reshica?)
  • Dadima (Tadem, Dadem)
  • Ingila (Agel, Ingil, Angel)
  • Martyropolis
  • Nisibis
  • Sophene
  • Zeugma in Mesopotamia

Ancient episcopal sees of the ecclesiastical province of Mesopotamia II listed in the Annuario Pontificio as titular sees:[14]

Ancient episcopal see of the Roman province of Mesopotamia listed in the Annuario Pontificio as a titular see:[15]

  • Hirta (near Najef and Koufa)


  1. ^ Bennett (1997), pp. 196, 198–199
  2. ^ Bennett (1997), p. 201
  3. ^ Bennett (1997), pp. 206–207
  4. ^ Mommsen, Dickson & Purdie (2004), p. 72
  5. ^ Mommsen, Dickson & Purdie (2004), pp. 77–78
  6. ^ Southern (2001), p. 33
  7. ^ Mommsen, Dickson & Purdie (2004), pp. 78–79
  8. ^ Southern (2001), p. 42
  9. ^ a b c d Kazhdan (1991), p. 1348
  10. ^ Southern (2001), p. 70–71
  11. ^ Mommsen, Dickson & Purdie (2004), p. 100
  12. ^ Mommsen, Dickson & Purdie (2004), pp. 103–104
  13. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), "Sedi titolari", pp. 819-1013
  14. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), "Sedi titolari", pp. 819-1013
  15. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), "Sedi titolari", p. 907


See also

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.