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Showing posts from July, 2013

Rome's Forgotten Expedition: Arabia Felix

The Romans were arguably history's greatest war machine. Conquering the Italian peninsula from the Latin League whilst being politically and militarily outnumbered, subduing the relentless Gauls of modern-day France, wiping out the Carthaginian civilisation and bringing an end to the Seleucid Empire. The year is 25 BC, Rome's empire stretches from the Iberian peninsula to Egypt. But this was during the time of Octavian, founder of the Roman empire and he wanted to expand his newly-created empire. It should be no surprise that he referred to himself as Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus, Imperator meaning 'Emperor' which is where the term originates from. Seeking to expand his empire, Augustus set his sights on Arabia Felix, in modern-day Yemen.

Of all places, why Arabia Felix? Why conquer a land in a seemingly hot desert region at the world's end? To understand, it is necessary to look at the situation from the Roman perspective. The Latin phrase 'Arabia Feli…