I'm dabbling with a short story involving two large but sparsely populated nations locked in a bitter war. Some basic conditions include:
- The two sides are evenly matched in arms and men
- Their enmity is non-negotiable (it's become deeply personal and bitter)
- The region is continent-sized but not very hospitable, mostly arid scrubland and mountains with a smattering of lush oases (think northern Africa)
Due to limitations of resources, technology, and terrain, neither side can conquer and hold enemy territory for very long, so although the border changes frequently, the overall picture has remained fairly stagnant for nearly 700 years.
A good real-world analogue to this scenario seems to be the Roman-Persian wars, which lasted just over 680 years without a clear victor. The sources I've been able to find about the Roman-Persian wars talk a lot about the strategy, tactics, and broad effects on the region, but not about how it shaped society or the everyday lives of the people on either side (apart from increased religious motivations, which don't apply in my scenario).
What I'd like to know is, in general terms, what would be the effect on society of such a conflict?
This is a pretty broad question and could be very subjective, so historical examples would be greatly appreciated!