How to Write History
The Parthian War here referred to was that of a.d. 162–165 against Vologesus III. He defeated the Romans at Elegeia in 162, destroying the Roman legion; the Roman commander Severianus was killed in the fighting. However, he was driven back from the Syrian border by Lucius Verus. Avidius Cassius destroyed Babylon and Ctesiphon, and Statius Priscus took Artaxata, the Parthian capital. Lucian criticises the flock of petty historians who had rushed to chronicle the war. The work is ostensibly a letter to Philo, of whom nothing further is known, and was written before the end of the war—Lucian looks forward to the triumph still to be celebrated (ch. 31).