Latin inscription on a rock in Gobustan, Azerbaijan

“Imp(eratore) Domitiano / Caesare Aug(usto) / Germanic(o) / L(ucius) Iulius / Maximus (centurio) / leg(ionis) XII Ful(minatae) (“Emperor Domitian, Caesar Augustus Germanic Lucius Julius, Captain Maximus, of the 12th Legion”)

—Latin inscription on a rock in Gobustan, Azerbaijan, between 83 and 96 C.E.

Roman Influences

The easternmost point of Roman advancement was in Caucasian Albania (North Azerbaijan), where archaeologists have found Roman inscriptions carved into stones, such as in Gobustan. During the centuries of conflicts between Rome and Persia, many battles were fought on Azerbaijani territory. Despite overwhelming military superiority of the Romans, Caucasian Albania was never fully dominated by Rome and never became a province of the Roman Empire, unlike neighboring Armenia. According to Greek geographer Strabo, Caucasian Albanians “can send into the field a larger army than the Iberians [Georgians], for they can equip 60,000 infantry and 22,000 horsemen; with such a force they offered resistance to [Roman general] Pompey.”