Or at least, as Mark Twain said, “… it rhymes.”
When George Bush invaded Iraq, I was immediately reminded of Julian the Apostate. I’ve read about Julian the Apostate, and I can tell you, George Bush is not Julian the Apostate. But, Julian died during his ill fated campaign in the region, so that is why I was reminded.
(If you want read a cool book have a look at Julian: A Novel, by Gore Vidal.)
Anyway, Julian was not the only ancient figure to invade Iraq with dire consequences, as Manchester Historian Gareth Sampson describes. According to Samson,
…there are strong parallels between the defeat of the feared Roman General Crassus in Mesopotamia – modern day Iraq – and the American and British led invasion of the country in 2003 in ‘The Defeat of Rome’ – published this month.
He said: “If history repeats itself – and I fear it will – its not unreasonable to argue that the world may face centuries of conflict.
“The battle of Carrhae halted the expansion of the Roman Empire and was the culmination of a century long process of Rome’s desire for international security.
“The model of international affairs used by the Roman Republic two thousand years ago follows a process of intervention, then occupation and finally annexation; a clear warning for today.
“But it set up 700 years of political instability and conflict, setting the scene for the rise of Islam and the opposition of East and West.
“But more immediately, it led to the civil war between Pompey and Caesar, the end of the Republic, and Dictatorship.”
Dr Sampson says the Roman Republic’s disastrous attack on the Parthian Empire in 53 BC led to 700 years of conflict and was the was the first failure of a great Western Empire to invade the region.