7. Karma Catches Up With a Plutocrat
The Parthian mounted archers shot up the Romans from a distance and retreated whenever Crassus’ men advanced. As casualties mounted, morale plummeted. Crassus, unable to think of a plan, hoped that the Parthians would eventually run out of arrows. The Parthians however had a baggage train of thousands of camels loaded with arrows, that kept them well supplied. Finally, Crassus ordered his son to take the Roman cavalry and some infantry, and drive off the horse archers. The Parthians feigned a retreat, Crassus’ son rashly pursued and was slaughtered with all his men. The Parthians rode back to Roman army and taunted Crassus with his son’s head mounted on a spear.
Shaken, Crassus retreated to Carrhae, and abandoned thousands of his wounded. The Parthians invited him to negotiate and offered to let his army go in exchange for Roman territorial concessions. Crassus was reluctant to meet the Parthians, but his men threatened to mutiny if he did not, so he went. Things did not go well. Violence broke out, and ended with Crassus and his generals killed. Karma had a particularly ironic – and cruel end – in store for the notoriously greedy plutocrat. To mock his avarice, the Parthians poured molten gold down Crassus’ throat. Those Romans still alive fled, but most were hunted down and killed or captured. Out of Crassus’ 50,000, only 10,000 made it back to Roman territory.