- The Battle of Carrhae [ˈkar.rae̯] was fought in 53 BC between the Roman Republic and the Parthian Empire near the town of Carrhae. The Parthian Spahbod ("General") Surena decisively defeated a numerically superior Roman invasion force under the command of Marcus Licinius Crassus. It is commonly seen as one of the earliest and most important battles between the Roman and Parthian empires and one of the most crushing defeats in Roman history.
Crassus, a member of the First Triumvirate and the wealthiest man in Rome, had been enticed by the prospect of military glory and riches and decided to invade Parthia without the official consent of the Senate. Rejecting an offer from the Armenian King Artavasdes II to allow Crassus to invade Parthia via Armenia, Crassus marched his army directly through the deserts of Mesopotamia. His army clashed with Surena's force near Carrhae, a small town in modern-day Turkey. Despite being heavily outnumbered, Surena's cavalry completely outmaneuvered the Roman heavy infantry, killing or capturing most of the Roman soldiers. Crassus himself was killed when truce negotiations turned violent.
His death ended the First Triumvirate. The four-year period of peace between Julius Caesar and Pompey, the remaining two members of the First Triumvirate, after Carrhae until the outbreak of the civil war argues against Crassus as a peacekeeper and supports the views of most Roman historians that friction between Crassus and Pompey had always been a greater cause of tension than friction between Julius Caesar and Pompey.