Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson
Plan of the Campaign
The new Alexander, however, was in no haste. Before he carried into effect these great plans, he found leisure for very tedious and very lucrative collateral transactions. The temples of Derceto at Hierapolis Bambyce and of Jehovah at Jerusalem and other rich shrines of the Syrian province, were by order of Crassus despoiled of their treasures; and contingents or, still better, sums of money instead were levied from all the subjects. The military operations of the first summer were limited to an extensive reconnaissance in Mesopotamia; the Euphrates was crossed, the Parthian satrap was defeated at Ichnae (on the Belik to the north of Rakkah), and the neighbouring towns, including the considerable one of Nicephorium (Rakkah), were occupied, after which the Romans having left garrisons behind in them returned to Syria.
They had hitherto been in doubt whether it was more advisable to march to Parthia by the circuitous route of Armenia or by the direct route through the Mesopotamian desert. The first route, leading through mountainous regions under the control of trustworthy allies, commended itself by its greater safety; king Artavasdes came in person to the Roman headquarters to advocate this plan of the campaign. But that reconnaissance decided in favour of the march through Mesopotamia.
The numerous and flourishing Greek and half-Greek towns in the regions along the Euphrates and Tigris, above all the great city of Seleucia, were altogether averse to the Parthian rule; all the Greek townships with which the Romans came into contact had now, like the citizens of Carrhae at an earlier time,(4) practically shown how ready they were to shake off the intolerable foreign yoke and to receive the Romans as deliverers, almost as countrymen.
4. Cf. V. IV. Military Pacification of Syria
The Arab prince Abgarus, who commanded the desert of Edessa and Carrhae and thereby the usual route from the Euphrates to the Tigris, had arrived in the camp of the Romans to assure them in person of his devotedness. The Parthians had appeared to be wholly unprepared.
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