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AHA 2016 Atlanta

Panel Title: Ancient Neighbors: The Eastern World under the Bactrians and Parthians
Historical Period: 3rd century 1st century BCE
Geographical Region: Ancient Near East, Middle East
Recording Permission: Granted

Chair
Rachael Goldman
The College of New Jersey
goldmanr@tcnj.edu

Organizer
Nikolaus Overtoom
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA
Email: nlovertoom972@yahoo.com

EDUCATION:
M.A. Ancient Mediterranean History, University of Maryland, College Park, May 2011
B.A. History, University of North Texas, May 2008

Recent Conference Experience

Roma Victrix: Livy and Roman Military Superiority over the Greek East, American
Historical Association Annual Conference, New York, NY, January 2015.
Was the Roman Imperial Army Small? A Comparative Study of Ancient Imperial
Military Forces, Classical Association of the Middle West and South Conference, April
2014.
Fight for your Soldiers, Die for your Gods: The Lost Ideal of Roman Leadership in Late
Antiquity, Louisiana State University HGSA Graduate History Conference, March
2014.
The Wars of Julian the Apostate: A Consideration of His Strategy and Tactics,
University of Alabama at Birmingham Graduate History Forum, March 2014.
Survival on the Periphery of the Roman Empire in War and Peace: Antiochus I and the
Kingdom of Commagene, American Historical Association, January 2014.

Published Works:
Six Polybian Themes Concerning Alexander the Great. Classical World 106, no. 4 (Summer
2013): 571-593.
A Roman Tradition of Alexander the Great Counterfactual History. Acta Antiqua Academiae
Scientiarum Hungaricae 52, no. 3 (2012): 203-212.

AWARDS
- The Scott R. Jacobs Fellowship Grant, 2012
Presentations:

Keeping up with Demetrius: Identifying Ancient Imitation Indo-Greek Coins

Frances A.M. Joseph


University of Houston
Houston, TX
Francesann26@gmail.com

Biographical Essay:
Frances A.M. Joseph is a PhD candidate in the field of Ancient History at the University of
Houston. Her research centers on the Hellenistic kingdoms of ancient Bactria and India from
250-50 B.C.E. She specifically examines the coinage of the Indo-Greek kings and its
sociopolitical ramifications. Frances received her Masters degree in Political Science from
Villanova University, and this background lends to her work a basis in political theory and
international relations.

Abstract:
Evidence for the Hellenistic Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kingdoms largely consists of coins.
Besides many royal-issue coins, one also finds ancient imitations, coins that depict the portrait,
name, and other design features of a Bactro-Indo-Greek monarch, but are minted by a different
monarch or society. Imitation coins provide insight into the ancient state system by
demonstrating political, economic, and cultural power relationships between neighbors. There is,
however, no standard methodology for differentiating imitations from royal-issue coins beyond
the subjective evaluation of barbarism. Scholarship requires a methodology that is detail-oriented
and comprehensive. Thus a body of coinage should be analyzed via criteria that include the
identification of individual die-engravers; the identification of specific models used for
engraving; the presence of errors in spelling, letter-formation, image features, and monogram
formation; monogram prevalence; weight standards; and metal content. The coins of Demetrius I
provide a suitable arena for identifying imitations and illuminating system-wide power.

Power Transition Crisis: The Creation of the Parthian State

Nikolaus Overtoom
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA
nlovertoom972@yahoo.com

Biographical Essay:
Nikolaus Overtoom earned his BA in history from the University of North Texas in 2008. He
earned his MA in ancient history from the University of Maryland in 2011. Currently he is an
ABD doctoral candidate in ancient and early medieval history at Louisiana State University. In
2012 he published A Roman Tradition of Alexander the Great Counterfactual History, in Acta
Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. In 2013 he published "Six Polybian Themes
Concerning Alexander the Great, in Classical World. His current research involves political and
military relations between the Romans and the Parthians in the late Republican and early
Imperial period.

Abstract:
From the middle of the third to the end of the second centuries BCE, the Parthians (Arsacids)
went from a minor nomadic tribe to a world power. This impressive transformation was the
result of good leadership, the inclusiveness of Parthian rule, Parthian adaptability, and the
declining strength of Parthias neighbors. In order to appreciate the Parthian clash with Rome,
one must first understand the Parthians origins and their rise to power in the East. The rapid
decline of the Seleucid state in the 240-230s BCE caused a power-transition crisis in the East that
replaced Seleucid imperial dominion over the Middle East with a multipolar anarchy based on
the Iranian plateau. What emerged was a new Eastern interstate system; one that Parthia
eventually came to dominate. This paper examines the efforts of Arsaces I to create the Parthian
state in this new international environment.

Sulla the Fortunate or the Bully: Reevaluating Motive in Rome's First Contact with
Parthia

John Poirot
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA
johnpoirot3@gmail.com

Biographical Essay:
John Poirot earned his B.A. from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 2000 and his M.A.
from LSU in 2003. He recently completed his Ph.D. in classical history at LSU in 2014 and now
works at Tulane University. He is currently working on adapting his dissertation manuscript,
The Romano-Parthian Cold War: Julio-Claudian Foreign Policy in the First Century CE and
Tacitus' Annales, for publication. Mr. Poirot's research interests involve Roman imperialism and
issues of ethnic identity in the Roman period. His chief focus is the eastern frontier and Rome's
military and diplomatic interactions with the Parthian Empire.

Abstract:
Some argue Roman generals who operated in the East during the Late Republican period acted
improperly in diplomatic exchanges with non-Roman peoples. One of the most often cited
examples is Romes first diplomatic interaction with the Parthian Empire ca. 92 BCE. At this
meeting, Sulla treated Parthias ambassador with such disdain that it tainted Romano-Parthian
relations for decades. Previously, some scholars have interpreted diplomatic debacles like Sullas
as the result of Roman arrogance and ignorance about the East. However, it is possible to
interpret Romes first interaction with Parthia differently. Sullas background and career suggest
that he may have understood Parthian strength. His improper treatment of Parthias
representative could therefore have been intentional rather than accidental. This paper concludes
that he may have purposely bullied Parthias envoy to secure a more advantageous treaty for the
Romans.

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