Crassus' (mostly) infantry forces marched across the desert to Carrhae where, with devastating consequences, the exhausted and badly-led men faced Parthian cataphracts and mounted archers, led by Surenas, a very capable, under-appreciated Parthian vassal. In the fighting, Crassus' son Publius was wounded and committed assisted-suidide. Crassus was on his way to negotiate a treaty or being taken prisoner when he was killed, perhaps by the Parthian Pomaxathres. Plutarch says Pomaxathres may simply have severed the head from Crassus' corpse, although Cassius Dio (40.27) records a rumor that Parthians poured molten gold in Crassus' mouth after he was dead.
Plutarch says 20,000 men were slain and 10,000 taken prisoner.
- "The Defeat of Crassus and the Just War"
Susan P. Mattern-Parkes
The Classical World, (Summer, 2003), pp. 387-396
- "Long-Term Commands at the End of the Republic"
J. P. V. D. Balsdon
The Classical Review, (May, 1949), pp. 14-15
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The legionary standards were lost to the Parthians at Carrhae, and only recovered under Augustus in 20 B.C.