This chapter addresses the battle against Achaemenid Persians. Shortly before the fateful battle of Cunaxa, Cyrus the Younger told his Greek officers why they fought and how their lives would improve if they should defeat the army of his brother, Artaxerxes II. Cyrus framed his speech entirely in terms of the Greek/Barbarian dichotomy. The chapter also shows how key aspects of the Greek/Barbarian dichotomy developed. The poetry from Homer until the Persian Wars contains only hints of the Greek/Barbarian stereotypes. In the Persae, Aeschylus presents the victorious Greeks as free men, collectively fighting in disciplined well-organized fashion, their numbers and resources comparatively modest. To many Greeks, Persia was the enemy against whom it was in the best interests of all Greeks to set aside internal differences and unite.
A. D. Lee
This chapter explains the warfare between the Roman Empire and Sasanian Persia, specifically presenting an historical review of Roman–Persian warfare. The Roman Empire presented many new military challenges, one of the most serious and certainly the most consistent of which was that introduced by Sasanian Persia to the east. The Sasanian regime was able to pose a more serious military threat to the Roman Empire compared with its predecessor. Sasanian siege capability led to increased Roman investment in the fortification of cities and towns on and near the frontier. A recent re-examination of the evidence has prompted a revised interpretation involving Persian tunnellers deliberately collapsing their tunnel on top of Roman pursuers after a grisly underground fight in the dark.