Many have assumed that Paul is writing here about the Roman province of Asia in Asia Minor, however there was another Asia, east of Syria, ruled by the Parthians that he could be referring to. Further, in the 1st century BCE there were two disastrous attempts by the Romans to invade Parthia, the first in 53 BCE at Carrhae by the general Marcus Licinius Crassus and the second by Mark Antony at Phraaspa in 37 BCE. Both attempts were complete failures that resulted in heavy casualties to the Roman and allied forces.“For we don't desire to have you ignorant, brothers, concerning our affliction which came our way in
Asia, that we were placed under excessive pressure, beyond our power, of such a kind that we even
despaired of living. But we held the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in
ourselves, but God who raises the dead, who delivered us out of so great a death, and does deliver; on
whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us; and you cooperating by your prayer on our
behalf; that, for the gift bestowed on us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on
your behalf.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-11.
If indeed one of these failed invasions into Parthia is what Paul is talking about I personally feel that the one in 37 BCE under Mark Antony to be the more probable, if anything because Paul is writing to the Corinthians which didn’t become a veteran settlement colony until 44 BCE nine years after Carrhae but seven years before Phraaspa.
Anthony lost thousands of Romans and auxiliaries to cold and starvation, up to a quarter of his forces, during the long retreat march.
If anyone sees flaws in this or would like to discuss it further I would love to hear from you.