The need for a third space, geographical and political spaces at the periphery of the Parthian and Roman empires: some preliminary remarks

A proposal for a new approach to the study of the roman-Parthian frontier is presented. Since the 1st century
BC the two large empires of rome and Parthia had faced each other for supremacy in western asia. along
the frontier, from the Persian Gulf to the Caucasus, a series of minor, formally independent political subjects,
kingdoms and autonomous cities existed. there the people of the frontier developed peculiar social and political
systems. there different cultural elements met and mixed. there the frontiermen met and established contacts
with authorities officially connected with the other empire. through focusing on similar characteristics shared
by these political entities, both roman and Parthian, a sort of third space will be individuated, where the
political belonging will remain in the background. the new approach consists in focusing primarily on these
middle-ground states as a micro-world in itself. the investigation of this contact region will be instrumental in
improving the dialogue between different disciplines of historical research.


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