Rome had unfinished business with Parthia since 53 BCE, when their archers and cavalry annihilated the Roman army of Crassus at Carrhae. The Roman emperor Trajan, using as a pretext the installation of a nephew of the Parthian ruler as king of Armenia, launched a full-scale invasion. He first annexed Armenia, deposing and killing the unwanted king, and then veered south, capturing Nisibis and Singara before retiring to winter in Antioch (115–16). He then embarked upon the subjugation of Mesopotamia, making a dual amphibious assault down the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, capturing Babylon, Seleucia and the Parthian capital Ctesiphon. He then sailed to the Persian Gulf securing the submission of the key port city-state of Charax. Overextended, the Romans were confronted with a series of Parthian rebellions: while laying siege to Hatra, Trajan fell ill and died soon after. Meanwhile, the Jews exploited imperial distraction to rise in widespread revolt.
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