Siege of Pirisabora

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Siege of Pirisabora
Part of the Julian's Persian War
Date27–29 April 363[1]
Result Roman victory[2]
Roman Empire Sassanid Empire
65,000 Unknown

The Siege of Pirisabora took place when the Roman Emperor Julian besieged the city of Pirisabora in April 363.


After settling political affairs in Constantinople, Emperor Julian gathered an army of 95,000 in Antioch for his invasion of the Sassanid Empire.[3] Upon his arrival at Carrhae, Julian sent his generals, Procopius and Sebastian, with 30,000 men into Armenia to join up with Arshak II's army of 24,000.[4] At the same time the main body under Julian himself wheeled south, reaching the Euphrates at Callinicum, whence he directed his march south-east along the river towards Ctesiphon, the winter capital of the Sassanids.[5]

The siege and aftermath[edit]

Having accepted the submission of Anah and other important cities of Assyria during the course of his march through the province, Julian at length arrived before the walls of Pirisabora, a city 50 miles from Ctesiphon. Garrisoned by a strong detachment of the Persians, the city maintained a stout defense. However, the walls were soon reduced by the siege engines of the Roman emperor, and the garrison, which retired to an inner citadel while the enemy commenced the sack of the city, was soon after brought to surrender, after a mere two day siege. Pirisabora was burnt and mercilessly ravaged by the soldiery, who well remembered the treatment of the Persians towards Amida, after its capture four years previously (A.D. 359). [6] The spoils of the city were distributed by Julian to the Army.[7][8] Following this victory, the Roman army marched towards Ctesiphon, sacking and burning Bithra,[9] Diacira and Ozogardana in the process.[10]


  1. ^ Philological and Historical Commentary on Ammianus Marcellinus: XXIV, ed. J. Den Boeft, J.W. Drijvers, D. Den Hengst, H.C. Teitler, (Brill, 2002), xxiii.
  2. ^ Philological and Historical Commentary on Ammianus Marcellinus: XXIV "... until the sight of a helepolis induced the Pirisaborans to surrender ... After Pirisabora was taken, the city was burnt"
  3. ^ R. Ernest Dupuy and Trevor N. Dupuy, Harper Encyclopedia of Military History, (HarperCollins, 1993), 168.
  4. ^ R. Ernest Dupuy and Trevor N. Dupuy, The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History, 168.
  5. ^ Edward Gibbon The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, (The Modern Library, 1932), ch. XXIV., p. 807
  6. ^ Gibbon, p. 813
  7. ^ G. W. Bowersock, Julian the Apostate, 112.
  8. ^ Gibbon, pp. 813, 816. The soldiers considered insufficient a gift of 100 pieces of silver apiece
  9. ^ G. W. Bowersock, Julian the Apostate, 112.
  10. ^ Julian's Against the Galileans, transl. R. Joseph Hoffmann, (Prometheus Books, 2004), 46.