Spectacular Diplomacy: Nero and the Reception of Tiridates of Armenia on the Bay of Naples | University of Oxford

Spectacular Diplomacy: Nero and the Reception of Tiridates of Armenia on the Bay of Naples

Speaker
Professor Kathleen Coleman, James Leob Professor of the Classics, Harvard University
Event date
Event time
18:00 - 19:00
Venue
Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College, Oxford
Linton Road
Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX2 6UD
Venue details

Leonard Wolfson Auditorium

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Free
Disabled access?
Yes
Booking required
Not required

After much jockeying between Rome and Parthia for control of Armenia, the Romans agreed to the reinstatement of the Parthian prince, Tiridates, on the Armenian throne, on condition that he be crowned at Rome by Nero. A surviving fragment of the Roman History of Cassius Dio recounts the remarkable nine-month journey undertaken by Tiridates, his wife, and their retinue of thousands overland from Armenia to Italy, and their ensuing detour to the Bay of Naples, where they were treated to a spectacular display in the arena at Puteoli. This episode tends to be overlooked in favor of the subsequent coronation in Rome. But the more one thinks about it, the more intriguing the detour becomes. This paper suggests reasons, diplomatic and otherwise, for the apparently illogical choice of route and the reception that was laid on for Tiridates at the end of it.