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The Nisibis War

The Defence of the Roman East, AD 337-363

John S Harrel

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Pen and Sword
01 October 2020
The war of 337-363 (which the author dubs the Nisibis War), was an exception to the traditional Roman reliance on a strategic offensive to bring about a decisive battle. Instead, the Emperor Constantius II adopted a defensive strategy and conducted a mobile defence based upon small frontier (limitanei) forces defending fortified cities, supported by limited counteroffensives by the Field Army of the East. These methods successfully checked Persian assaults for 24 years. However, when Julian became emperor his access to greater resources tempted him to abandon mobile defence in favour of a major invasion aimed at regime change in Persia. Although he reached the Persian capital, Ctesiphon, he failed to take it, was decisively defeated in battle and killed. The Romans subsequently resumed and refined the mobile defence, allowing the Eastern provinces to survive the fall of the Western Empire. John Harrel applies his personal experience of military command to a strategic, operational, tactical and logistical analysis of these campaigns and battles, highlighting their long-term significance. AUTHOR: John S Harrels military career spanned forty years. He enlisted as an officer cadet in the US Marine Corps in 1971. Upon graduating from California State University Northridge he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the USMC. In 1980, he transferred into the California Army National Guard (a component of the US Army) as a captain, ultimately rising to the rank of Major General and retiring as Commanding General of the California Army National Guard. He is also a lawyer and retired as California Deputy Attorney General after 28 years of service. 20 b/w illustrations
By:   John S Harrel
Imprint:   Pen and Sword
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9781526782069
ISBN 10:   1526782065
Pages:   288
Publication Date:   01 October 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

John S Harrels military career spanned forty years. He enlisted as an officer cadet in the US Marine Corps in 1971\. Upon graduating from California State University Northridge he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the USMC. In 1980, he transferred into the California Army National Guard (a component of the US Army) as a captain, ultimately rising to the rank of Major General and retiring as Commanding General of the California Army National Guard. He is also a lawyer and retired as California Deputy Attorney General after 28 years of service.

Reviews for The Nisibis War: The Defence of the Roman East, AD 337-363

In The Nisibis War Harris offers us some excellent strategic analysis, helping explain the many military problems confronting the late empire, and evaluating the abilities of the respective armies and leaders, particularly the over-rated Julian, altogether providing us with a good account of a very confusing conflict, in an area still in contention. --StrategyPage This is a good account of a very confusing conflict, in an area still in contention. --The NYMAS Review, Autumn 2017


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