The Persian king Shapur II (A.D. 309–379) decided early in his reign to recover by force several of the Roman Empire’s eastern provinces, especially the rich lands of Mesopotamia and Armenia. In the year 359 he focused his attention on capturing the city of Amida; the city was located in the spot currently occupied by Diyarbakir in Turkey. Its extended siege and dramatic fall are recounted in detail by Ammianus Marcellinus, whose account (Res Gestae XVIII.9) forms the primary source for the present article. The historian was personally present during the siege and took part in its defense, and his account of the battle forms one of the most dramatic episodes of his book.
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