Battle of Misiche

The Battle of Misiche (Greek: Μισιχή), Mesiche (Μεσιχη), or Massice (Middle Persian: 𐭬𐭱‎𐭩‎𐭪‎‎‎‎‎ mšyk; Parthian: 𐭌‎𐭔‎𐭉‎𐭊‎ mšyk) (dated between January 13 and March 14, 244 AD.[4]) was fought between the Sasanians and the Romans in Misiche, Mesopotamia.[5]


The initial war began when the Roman Emperor Gordian III invaded Sasanian Empire in 243. His troops advanced as far as Misiche. The location of that city (or maybe a district) is conjectural.[6] It is often placed roughly 64 km west of Baghdad in Iraq, near the modern city of Fallujah; Ehsan Yarshater calls it "not far from Ctesiphon."[7]

The battle

The Romans were defeated and it is unclear whether Gordian died during battle or was assassinated later by his own officers.

The Inscription at Naqsh-e Rustam

The Battle is mentioned on the trilingual inscription king Shapur I made at Naqsh-e Rustam:

When at first we had become established in the empire, Gordian Caesar assembled from all of the Roman, Goth and German lands a military force and marched on Asorestan (Mesopotamia) against the Ērānšahr (Sasanian Empire) and against us. On the border of Asorestan at Misiche, a great frontal battle occurred. Gordian Caesar was killed and the Roman force was destroyed. And the Romans made Philip Caesar. Then Philip Caesar came to us for terms, and to ransom their lives, gave us 500,000 denars, and became tributary to us. And for this reason we have renamed Misiche Peroz-Shapur [literally "Victorious Shapur"].[8]

The Roman sources never admitted the defeat.[9] The contemporary and later Roman sources claim that the Roman expedition was entirely or partially successful but the emperor was murdered after a plot by Philip the Arab.[10] However, some scholars think that the Sasanian victory must not be invented and reject Philip's plot as the ultimate reason of Gordian's death, while some sources claim that it isn't likely that Gordian died during the battle, as Shapur's inscription claims,[4][11] others state he died on the battlefield.[12][13] Some sources mention a cenotaph of the murdered emperor at Zaita, near Circesium of Osroene (some 400 km north of Misiche).[14][15] The confusion of the sources about the expedition and the death of the emperor makes it possible that, after the defeat, Roman army was frustrated enough to get rid of the teenage emperor.[4]


Gordian's successor, Philip the Arab was proclaimed emperor of Rome and made peace with Shapur. The next major clash between the two empires took place in 252, when Shapur defeated a large Roman force at the Battle of Barbalissos and successfully invaded Syria and part of Anatolia.


  1. ^ The Persiians "Shapur I had to expect a military reaction from the Romans. For them, the loss of these cities warranted a counteroffensive and the emperor Gordian III commanded an army against Shapur I, regaining both Nisibis and Carrhae. But he suffered a major defeat in a battle at Misiche, north of Ctesiphon, in 243."
  2. ^ Aurelius Victor, Liber de Caesaribus, 27.7-8; Sibylline Oracles, XIII, 13-20
    * Frye (1968), 125; Southern (2001), 235
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c David S. Potter, The Roman Empire at Bay AD180-395, p.234-235
  5. ^
  6. ^ Ernst Herzfeld counters Rostovtzeff's view that it was in Assyria, writing "But Sas[anian] Asuristan is Babylonia..., and Mesiche is Pliny's Masice, the point on the Euphrates in the measurements of the Bematists." Herzfeld, The Persian Empire: Studies in Geography and Ethnography of the Ancient Near East (F. Steiner, 1968), p. 219.
  7. ^ E. Yarshater, The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 3: The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanid Periods, Part 1 of 2 (Cambridge University Press, 1983: ISBN 0-521-20092-X), p. 125.
  8. ^ Res Gestae Divi Saporis, 3-4 (translation of Shapur's inscription at Naqsh-e Rustam).
  9. ^ Potter, David S. (2014). The Roman Empire at Bay, AD 180–395. Routledge. ISBN 9781134694846.
  10. ^ This version of the events is accepted by Christian Körner, Philippus Arabs, Ein Soldatenkaiser in der Tradition des antoninisch-severischen Prinzipats, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2002.
  11. ^ Michael I. Rostovtzeff, p.23
  12. ^ Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity: Neighbours and Rivals, "They probably intended to get as far as the Sasanian capital Ktesiphon but at the beginning of the year 244, Shapur I scored a decisive victory against the Roman army at Misik. Gordian III died in battle"
  13. ^ Encyclopaedia Iranica "It is understandable that Roman national pride transferred the responsibility of the defeat, in which Gordian III became the first Roman emperor to lose his life on enemy battlefield, to Philip. On the other hand, the feeling of the Sasanian triumph was immortalized in several rock-reliefs of Šāpur I, and the victory at Misiḵē was mentioned by a boastful Šāpur as the single military event within this first campaign."
  14. ^ Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae, 23.5.7
  15. ^ Zosimus, Nova Historia, book 3


  • Rostovtzeff, Michael I. "Res Gestae Divi Saporis and Dura." Berytus 8:1 (1943): 17–60.
  • Potter, David S. The Roman Empire at Bay AD 180–395. New York: Routledge, 2004. ISBN 0-415-10058-5
  • Farrokh, Kaveh. Sassanian Elite Cavalry AD 224–642. Osprey, 2005. ISBN 978-1-84176-713-0

The 240s decade ran from January 1, 240, to December 31, 249.


Year 244 (CCXLIV) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Armenius and Aemilianus (or, less frequently, year 997 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 244 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Battle of Resaena

The Battle of Resaena or Resaina, near present-day Ceylanpınar, Turkey, was fought in 243 AD between the forces of the Roman Empire, led by the Emperor Gordian III and the Praetorian Prefect Timesitheus against a Sassanid Empire army, led by King Shapur I. The Romans were victorious.

Byzantine–Sasanian wars

The Byzantine–Sasanian wars, also known as the Irano-Byzantine wars refers to a series of conflicts between the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and the Sassanian Empire of Persia. A continuation of the Roman–Persian Wars, the conflict involved several smaller campaigns and peace treaties lasting for years at a time.

Gaius Furius Sabinius Aquila Timesitheus

Gaius Furius Sabinius Aquila Timesitheus (AD 190-243) was an officer of the Roman Imperial government in the first half of Third Century. Most likely of Oriental-Greek origins, he was a Roman citizen, probably of equestrian rank.

He began his career in the Imperial Service as the commander of a cohort of auxiliary infantry and rose to become Praetorian Prefect, the highest office in the Imperial hierarchy, with both civilian and military functions. His brilliant career reflected his mastery of contemporary cultural norms and his reputation for administrative competence, but also his ability to access patronage at the highest level. His official life was spent mainly in fiscal postings and he typified the powerful procuratorial functionaries who came to dominate the Imperial government in the second quarter of the Third Century. Nevertheless, as Praetorian Prefect, he also seems to have proved himself more than competent in his military role. Although he was on several occasions appointed to positions that contemporary Administrative Law reserved for officials of senatorial rank, he remained an equestrian until the end: it is possible that he deliberately avoided adlection to the Roman Senate preferring to exercise real power in offices from which senators were excluded. Unlike his successor in the Praetorian Prefecture, Philip the Arab, he did not take advantage of the youth and inexperience of his Imperial master (and son-in-law), Gordian III, to seize the Empire for himself.

He died in obscure circumstances, possibly murdered, in the course of a successful campaign to drive the forces of the Persian "King of Kings", Shapur I, from Rome's oriental territories. On his death the war against the Persians that he had directed so masterfully fell almost immediately into disarray to the long-term detriment of the Empire.

Gordian III

Gordian III (Latin: Marcus Antonius Gordianus Pius Augustus; 20 January 225 AD – 11 February 244 AD) was Roman Emperor from 238 AD to 244 AD. At the age of 13, he became the youngest sole legal Roman emperor throughout the existence of the united Roman Empire. Gordian was the son of Antonia Gordiana and an unnamed Roman Senator who died before 238. Antonia Gordiana was the daughter of Emperor Gordian I and younger sister of Emperor Gordian II. Very little is known of his early life before his acclamation. Gordian had assumed the name of his maternal grandfather in 238 AD.

Gordian dynasty

The Gordian dynasty, sometimes known as the Gordianic dynasty, was short-lived, ruling the Roman Empire from 238–244 AD. The dynasty achieved the throne in 238 AD, after Gordian I and his son Gordian II rose up against Emperor Maximinus Thrax and were proclaimed co-emperors by the Roman Senate. Gordian II was killed by the governor of Numidia, Capillianus and Gordian I killed himself shortly after, either 21 or 36 days after he was declared emperor. On 22 April 238, Pupienus and Balbinus, who were not of the Gordian dynasty, were declared co-emperors but the Senate was forced to make Gordian III a third co-emperor on 27 May 238, due to the demands of the Roman people. Maximinus attempted to invade Italy but he was killed by his own soldiers when his army became frustrated. After this, the Praetorian Guard killed Pupienus and Balbinus, leaving Gordian III as the sole emperor. Gordian III ruled until 244 AD when he was either killed after his betrayal by Philip the Arab, killed by Philip the Arab or killed at the Battle of Misiche; with his death, the dynasty was ended and Philip the Arab became emperor.


The Goths (Gothic: Gut-þiuda; Latin: Gothi) were an East Germanic people, two of whose branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire through the long series of Gothic Wars and in the emergence of Medieval Europe. The Goths dominated a vast area, which at its peak under the Germanic king Ermanaric and his sub-king Athanaric possibly extended all the way from the Danube to the Don, and from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.The Goths spoke the Gothic language, one of the extinct East Germanic languages.

List of conflicts in Asia

This is a list of wars and conflicts in Asia, particularly East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Russia. For a list of conflicts in Southwest Asia, see List of conflicts in the Near East for historical conflicts and List of conflicts in the Middle East for contemporary conflicts.

List of conflicts in the Near East

The area known as the "Near East" is usually referred to as Middle East in modern contexts.

For periods predating Classical Antiquity, the common term is Ancient Near East.

The Near East is generally associated with Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Caucasus.

Roman–Persian Wars

The Roman–Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between states of the Greco-Roman world and two successive Iranian empires: the Parthian and the Sasanian. Battles between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic began in 66 BC; wars began under the late Republic, and continued through the Roman (later Byzantine) and Sasanian empires. Various vassal kingdoms and allied nomadic nations in the form of buffer states and proxies also played a role. The wars were ended by the Arab Muslim Conquests, which led to the fall of the Sasanian Empire and huge territorial losses for the Byzantine Empire, shortly after the end of the last war between them.

Although warfare between the Romans and Persians continued over seven centuries, the frontier, aside from shifts in the north, remained largely stable. A game of tug of war ensued: towns, fortifications, and provinces were continually sacked, captured, destroyed, and traded. Neither side had the logistical strength or manpower to maintain such lengthy campaigns far from their borders, and thus neither could advance too far without risking stretching its frontiers too thin. Both sides did make conquests beyond the border, but in time the balance was almost always restored. Although initially different in military tactics, the armies of both sides gradually adopted from each other and by the second half of the 6th century they were similar and evenly matched.The expense of resources during the Roman–Persian Wars ultimately proved catastrophic for both empires. The prolonged and escalating warfare of the 6th and 7th centuries left them exhausted and vulnerable in the face of the sudden emergence and expansion of the Caliphate, whose forces invaded both empires only a few years after the end of the last Roman–Persian war. Benefiting from their weakened condition, the Arab Muslim armies swiftly conquered the entire Sasanian Empire, and deprived the Eastern Roman Empire of its territories in the Levant, the Caucasus, Egypt, and the rest of North Africa. Over the following centuries, more of the Eastern Roman Empire came under Muslim rule.

Timeline of Italian history

This is a timeline of Italian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Italy and its predecessor states, including Ancient Rome and Prehistoric Italy. Date of the prehistoric era are approximate. To read about the back ground check these events, see History of Italy. See also the list of Prime Ministers of Italy.

Timeline of Roman history

This is a timeline of Roman history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in the Roman Kingdom and Republic and the Roman and Byzantine Empires. To read about the background of these events, see Ancient Rome and History of the Byzantine Empire.

Following tradition, this timeline marks the deposition of Romulus Augustulus and the Fall of Constantinople as the end of Rome in the west and east, respectively. See Third Rome for a discussion of claimants to the succession of Rome.

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