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Temporarily controlled during the Byzantine– Sasanian
Sasanian
War of 602–628:  Abkhazia[12]  Russia (  Dagestan
Dagestan
and  Chechnya)  Turkey  Lebanon  Israel   Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
( West Bank
West Bank
and Gaza strip)[13]  Jordan  Egypt

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v t e

The Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
(/səˈsɑːniən, səˈseɪniən/), also known as the Sassanian, Sasanid, Sassanid or Neo-Persian Empire[14] (known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr[1] in Middle Persian),[a] was the last period of the Persian Empire
Persian Empire
(Iran) before the rise of Islam, named after the House of Sasan
House of Sasan
who ruled from 224 to 651 AD.[2][16] The Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire, which succeeded the Parthian Empire, was recognised as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighbouring arch-rival the Roman-Byzantine Empire, for a period of more than 400 years.[17][18][19] The Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
and the defeat of the last Arsacid
Arsacid
king, Artabanus V. At its greatest extent, the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
encompassed all of today's Iran, Iraq, Eastern Arabia
Eastern Arabia
(Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatif, Qatar, UAE), the Levant
Levant
(Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan), the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan), Egypt, large parts of Turkey, much of Central Asia
Central Asia
(Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), Yemen
Yemen
and Pakistan. According to a legend, the vexilloid of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
was the Derafsh Kaviani.[20] The Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
during Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
is considered to have been one of Iran's most important and influential historical periods and constituted the last great Iranian empire before the Muslim conquest and the adoption of Islam.[21] In many ways, the Sasanian
Sasanian
period witnessed the peak of ancient Iranian civilisation. The Sasanians' cultural influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe,[22] Africa,[23] China
China
and India.[24] It played a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asian medieval art.[25] Much of what later became known as Islamic culture
Islamic culture
in art, architecture, music and other subject matter was transferred from the Sasanians throughout the Muslim world.[26]

Contents

1 History

1.1 Origins and early history (205–310) 1.2 First Golden Era (309–379) 1.3 Intermediate Era (379–498) 1.4 Second Golden Era (498–622) 1.5 Decline and fall (622–651) 1.6 Descendants

2 Government

2.1 Sasanian
Sasanian
military

2.1.1 Role of priests 2.1.2 Infantry 2.1.3 Navy 2.1.4 Cavalry

3 Relations with neighboring regimes

3.1 Frequent warfare with the Romans and to a lesser extent others 3.2 War with Axum 3.3 Relations with China 3.4 Relations with India

4 Society

4.1 Urbanism
Urbanism
and Nomadism 4.2 Shahanshah 4.3 Class division 4.4 Slavery

5 Culture

5.1 Education 5.2 Society 5.3 Art, science and literature

6 Economy

6.1 Industry and trade

7 Religion

7.1 Zoroastrianism

7.1.1 Tansar and his justification for Ardashir I's rebellion 7.1.2 Influence of Kartir 7.1.3 Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
calendar reforms under the Sasanians 7.1.4 Three Great Fires 7.1.5 Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm
and the elevation of Persian over other Iranian languages 7.1.6 Developments in Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
literature and liturgy by the Sasanians

7.2 Christianity 7.3 Other religions

8 Language

8.1 Official languages 8.2 Regional languages

9 Legacy and importance

9.1 In Europe 9.2 In Jewish
Jewish
history 9.3 In India

10 Chronology 11 See also 12 Notes 13 References 14 Bibliography 15 Further reading 16 External links

History See also: Timeline of Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire Origins and early history (205–310)

Ghal'eh Dokhtar
Ghal'eh Dokhtar
(or "The Maiden's Castle") in present-day Fars, Firuzabad, Iran, built by Ardashir in 209, before he was finally able to defeat the Parthian empire.

Taq Kasra
Taq Kasra
is the most famous Persian monument from the Sasanian
Sasanian
era.

Further information: Sasan and House of Sasan Conflicting accounts shroud the details of the fall of the Parthian Empire
Empire
and subsequent rise of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
in mystery.[27] The Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
was established in Estakhr
Estakhr
by Ardashir I. Papak
Papak
was originally the ruler of a region called Khir. However, by the year 200, he managed to overthrow Gochihr, and appoint himself as the new ruler of the Bazrangids. His mother, Rodhagh, was the daughter of the provincial governor of Pars. Papak
Papak
and his eldest son Shapur managed to expand their power over all of Pars. The subsequent events are unclear, due to the elusive nature of the sources. It is certain, however, that following the death of Papak, Ardashir, who at the time was the governor of Darabgerd, got involved in a power struggle of his own with his elder brother Shapur. Sources reveal that Shapur, leaving for a meeting with his brother, was killed when the roof of a building collapsed on him. By the year 208, over the protests of his other brothers who were put to death, Ardashir declared himself ruler of Pars.[28][29] Once Ardashir was appointed shahanshah, he moved his capital further to the south of Pars and founded Ardashir-Khwarrah
Ardashir-Khwarrah
(formerly Gur, modern day Firuzabad). The city, well supported by high mountains and easily defendable through narrow passes, became the center of Ardashir's efforts to gain more power. The city was surrounded by a high, circular wall, probably copied from that of Darabgird, and on the north-side included a large palace, remains of which still survive today. After establishing his rule over Pars, Ardashir I
Ardashir I
rapidly extended his territory, demanding fealty from the local princes of Fars, and gaining control over the neighboring provinces of Kerman, Isfahan, Susiana and Mesene. This expansion quickly came to the attention of Artabanus V, the Parthian king, who initially ordered the governor of Khuzestan
Khuzestan
to wage war against Ardashir in 224, but the battles were victories for Ardashir. In a second attempt to destroy Ardashir, Artabanus V himself met Ardashir in battle at Hormozgan, where Artabanus V met his death. Following the death of the Parthian ruler, Ardashir I
Ardashir I
went on to invade the western provinces of the now defunct Parthian Empire.[30]

Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rustam
Naqsh-e Rustam
of Persian emperor Shapur I
Shapur I
(on horseback) capturing Roman emperor
Roman emperor
Valerian (standing) and Philip the Arab
Arab
(kneeling), suing for peace, following the victory at Edessa.

At that time the Arsacid
Arsacid
dynasty was divided between supporters of Artabanus V and Vologases VI, which probably allowed Ardashir to consolidate his authority in the south with little or no interference from the Parthians. Ardashir was aided by the geography of the province of Fars, which was separated from the rest of Iran.[31] Crowned in 224 at Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
as the sole ruler of Persia, Ardashir took the title shahanshah, or "King of Kings" (the inscriptions mention Adhur-Anahid as his Banbishnan banbishn, "Queen of Queens", but her relationship with Ardashir is not established), bringing the 400-year-old Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
to an end, and beginning four centuries of Sassanid rule.[32] In the next few years, local rebellions would form around the empire. Nonetheless, Ardashir I
Ardashir I
further expanded his new empire to the east and northwest, conquering the provinces of Sistan, Gorgan, Khorasan, Margiana
Margiana
(in modern Turkmenistan), Balkh
Balkh
and Chorasmia. He also added Bahrain
Bahrain
and Mosul
Mosul
to Sassanid's possessions. Later Sassanid inscriptions also claim the submission of the Kings of Kushan, Turan and Mekran
Mekran
to Ardashir, although based on numismatic evidence, it is more likely that these actually submitted to Ardashir's son, the future Shapur I. In the west, assaults against Hatra, Armenia
Armenia
and Adiabene
Adiabene
met with less success. In 230, he raided deep into Roman territory, and a Roman counter-offensive two years later ended inconclusively, although the Roman emperor, Alexander Severus, celebrated a triumph in Rome.[33][34][35]

The Humiliation of Valerian by Shapur (Hans Holbein the Younger, 1521, pen and black ink on a chalk sketch, Kunstmuseum Basel)

Ardashir I's son Shapur I
Shapur I
continued the expansion of the empire, conquering Bactria
Bactria
and the western portion of the Kushan
Kushan
Empire, while leading several campaigns against Rome. Invading Roman Mesopotamia, Shapur I
Shapur I
captured Carrhae and Nisibis, but in 243 the Roman general Timesitheus defeated the Persians at Rhesaina and regained the lost territories.[36] The emperor Gordian III's (238–244) subsequent advance down the Euphrates
Euphrates
was defeated at Meshike (244), leading to Gordian's murder by his own troops and enabling Shapur to conclude a highly advantageous peace treaty with the new emperor Philip the Arab, by which he secured the immediate payment of 500,000 denarii and further annual payments. Shapur soon resumed the war, defeated the Romans at Barbalissos (253), and then probably took and plundered Antioch.[36][37] Roman counter-attacks under the emperor Valerian ended in disaster when the Roman army
Roman army
was defeated and besieged at Edessa and Valerian was captured by Shapur, remaining his prisoner for the rest of his life. Shapur celebrated his victory by carving the impressive rock reliefs in Naqsh-e Rostam
Naqsh-e Rostam
and Bishapur, as well as a monumental inscription in Persian and Greek in the vicinity of Persepolis. He exploited his success by advancing into Anatolia
Anatolia
(260), but withdrew in disarray after defeats at the hands of the Romans and their Palmyrene ally Odaenathus, suffering the capture of his harem and the loss of all the Roman territories he had occupied.[38][39]

The spread of Manichaeism
Manichaeism
(300– 500)[40]

Shapur had intensive development plans. He ordered the construction of the first dam bridge in Iran
Iran
and founded many cities, some settled in part by emigrants from the Roman territories, including Christians who could exercise their faith freely under Sassanid rule. Two cities, Bishapur
Bishapur
and Nishapur, are named after him. He particularly favored Manichaeism, protected Mani (who dedicated one of his books, the Shabuhragan, to him) and sent many Manichaean missionaries abroad. He also befriended a Babylonian rabbi called Samuel. This friendship was advantageous for the Jewish
Jewish
community and gave them a respite from the oppressive laws enacted against them. Later kings reversed Shapur's policy of religious tolerance. Under pressure from Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
Magi
Magi
and influenced by the high-priest Kartir, Bahram I killed Mani and persecuted his followers. Bahram II
Bahram II
was, like his father, amenable to the wishes of the Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
priesthood.[41][42] During his reign, the Sassanid capital Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
was sacked by the Romans under Emperor Carus, and most of Armenia, after half a century of Persian rule, was ceded to Diocletian.[43] Succeeding Bahram III
Bahram III
(who ruled briefly in 293), Narseh
Narseh
embarked on another war with the Romans. After an early success against the Emperor Galerius
Galerius
near Callinicum on the Euphrates
Euphrates
in 296, Narseh
Narseh
was decisively defeated. Galerius
Galerius
had been reinforced, probably in the spring of 298, by a new contingent collected from the empire's Danubian
Danubian
holdings.[44] Narseh
Narseh
did not advance from Armenia
Armenia
and Mesopotamia, leaving Galerius
Galerius
to lead the offensive in 298 with an attack on northern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
via Armenia. Narseh
Narseh
retreated to Armenia
Armenia
to fight Galerius' force, to Narseh's disadvantage: the rugged Armenian terrain was favorable to Roman infantry, but not to Sassanid cavalry. Local aid gave Galerius
Galerius
the advantage of surprise over the Persian forces, and, in two successive battles, Galerius
Galerius
secured victories over Narseh.[45]

Rome and satellite kingdom of Armenia
Armenia
around 300, after Narseh's defeat

During the second encounter, Roman forces seized Narseh's camp, his treasury, his harem, and his wife.[45] Galerius
Galerius
advanced into Media and Adiabene, winning successive victories, most prominently near Erzurum, and securing Nisibis
Nisibis
(Nusaybin, Turkey) before October 1, 298. He moved down the Tigris, taking Ctesiphon. Narseh
Narseh
had previously sent an ambassador to Galerius
Galerius
to plead for the return of his wives and children. Peace negotiations began in the spring of 299, with both Diocletian
Diocletian
and Galerius
Galerius
presiding. The conditions of the peace were heavy: Persia would give up territory to Rome, making the Tigris
Tigris
the boundary between the two empires. Further terms specified that Armenia
Armenia
was returned to Roman domination, with the fort of Ziatha as its border; Caucasian Iberia
Caucasian Iberia
would pay allegiance to Rome under a Roman appointee; Nisibis, now under Roman rule, would become the sole conduit for trade between Persia and Rome; and Rome would exercise control over the five satrapies between the Tigris
Tigris
and Armenia: Ingilene, Sophanene (Sophene), Arzanene (Aghdznik), Corduene, and Zabdicene (near modern Hakkâri, Turkey).[46] The Sassanids ceded five provinces west of the Tigris, and agreed not to interfere in the affairs of Armenia
Armenia
and Georgia.[47] In the aftermath of this defeat, Narseh
Narseh
gave up the throne and died a year later, leaving the Sassanid throne to his son, Hormizd II. Unrest spread throughout the land, and while Hormizd II suppressed revolts in Sakastan
Sakastan
and Kushan, he was unable to control the nobles and was subsequently killed by Bedouins
Bedouins
in a hunting trip in 309. First Golden Era (309–379) Following Hormizd II's death, northern Arabs
Arabs
started to ravage and plunder the western cities of the empire, even attacking the province of Fars, the birthplace of the Sassanid kings. Meanwhile, Persian nobles killed Hormizd II's eldest son, blinded the second, and imprisoned the third (who later escaped to Roman territory). The throne was reserved for Shapur II, the unborn child of one of Hormizd II's wives who was crowned in utero: the crown was placed upon his mother's stomach.[48] During his youth the empire was controlled by his mother and the nobles. Upon Shapur II's coming of age, he assumed power and quickly proved to be an active and effective ruler. Shapur II
Shapur II
first led his small but disciplined army south against the Arabs, whom he defeated, securing the southern areas of the empire.[49] He then started his first campaign against the Romans in the west, where Persian forces won a series of battles but were unable to make territorial gains due to the failure of repeated sieges of the key frontier city of Nisibis, and Roman success in retaking the cities of Singara
Singara
and Amida, after they had fallen to the Persians. These campaigns were halted by nomadic raids along the eastern borders of the empire, which threatened Transoxiana, a strategically critical area for control of the Silk Road. Shapur therefore marched east toward Transoxiana
Transoxiana
to meet the eastern nomads, leaving his local commanders to mount nuisance raids on the Romans.[50] He crushed the Central Asian tribes, and annexed the area as a new province. He completed the conquest of the area now known as Afghanistan. Cultural expansion followed this victory, and Sassanid art penetrated Turkestan, reaching as far as China. Shapur, along with the nomad King Grumbates, started his second campaign against the Romans in 359 and soon succeeded in taking Singara
Singara
and Amida again. In response, the Roman emperor
Roman emperor
Julian struck deep into Persian territory and defeated Shapur's forces at Ctesiphon. He failed to take the capital, however, and was killed while trying to retreat to Roman territory.[51] His successor Jovian, trapped on the east bank of the Tigris, had to hand over all the provinces the Persians had ceded to Rome in 298, as well as Nisibis
Nisibis
and Singara, to secure safe passage for his army out of Persia. Shapur II
Shapur II
pursued a harsh religious policy. Under his reign, the collection of the Avesta, the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, was completed, heresy and apostasy were punished, and Christians were persecuted. The latter was a reaction against the Christianization
Christianization
of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
by Constantine the Great. Shapur II, like Shapur I, was amicable towards Jews, who lived in relative freedom and gained many advantages in his period (see also Raba). At the time of Shapur's death, the Persian Empire
Persian Empire
was stronger than ever, with its enemies to the east pacified and Armenia
Armenia
under Persian control.[51] Intermediate Era (379–498)

Bahram V
Bahram V
is a great favorite in Persian literature
Persian literature
and poetry. "Bahram and the Indian princess in the black pavilion." Depiction of a Khamsa (Quintet) by the great Persian poet Nizami, mid-16th-century Safavid era.

From Shapur II's death until Kavadh I's first coronation, there was a largely peaceful period with the Romans (by this time the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire), interrupted only by two brief wars, the first in 421–422 and the second in 440.[52][53][54][55][56] Throughout this era, Sassanid religious policy differed dramatically from king to king. Despite a series of weak leaders, the administrative system established during Shapur II's reign remained strong, and the empire continued to function effectively.[52] After Shapur II
Shapur II
died in 379, he left a powerful empire to his half-brother Ardashir II
Ardashir II
(379–383; son of Vahram of Kushan) and his son Shapur III
Shapur III
(383–388), neither of whom demonstrated his predecessor's talent. Ardashir II, who was raised as the "half-brother" of the emperor, failed to fill his brother's shoes, and Shapur III
Shapur III
was too much of a melancholy character to achieve anything. Bahram IV (388–399), although not as inactive as his father, still failed to achieve anything important for the empire. During this time Armenia
Armenia
was divided by treaty between the Roman and Sassanid empires. The Sassanids reestablished their rule over Greater Armenia, while the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
held a small portion of western Armenia. Bahram IV's son Yazdegerd I
Yazdegerd I
(399–421) is often compared to Constantine I. Both were powerful both physically and diplomatically, opportunistic, practiced religious tolerance and provided freedom for the rise of religious minorities. Yazdegerd stopped the persecution against the Christians and even punished nobles and priests who persecuted them. His reign marked a relatively peaceful era with the Romans and he even took the young Theodosius II
Theodosius II
(408–450) under his guardianship. Yarzdegerd also married a Jewish
Jewish
princess who bore him a son called Narsi. Yazdegerd I's successor was his son Bahram V
Bahram V
(421–438), one of the most well-known Sassanid kings and the hero of many myths. These myths persisted even after the destruction of the Sassanid empire by the Arabs. Bahram V, better known as Bahram-e Gur, gained the crown after Yazdegerd I's sudden death (or assassination) against the opposition of the grandees with the help of al-Mundhir, the Arabic dynast of al-Hirah. Bahram V's mother was Shushandukht, the daughter of the Jewish
Jewish
Exilarch. In 427, he crushed an invasion in the east by the nomadic Hephthalites, extending his influence into Central Asia, where his portrait survived for centuries on the coinage of Bukhara
Bukhara
(in modern Uzbekistan). Bahram V
Bahram V
deposed the vassal King of the Persian part of Armenia
Armenia
and made it a province.

Coin of Hormizd I, issued in Khorasan, and derived from Kushan
Kushan
designs

Bahram V
Bahram V
has many well known stories of valor, beauty, victories over the Romans, Turkic peoples, Indians and Africans, hunting and love; he is called Bahram-e Gur, Gur meaning onager, on account of his love for hunting and, in particular, hunting onagers. He symbolized a king at the height of a golden age, embodying royal prosperity. He had won his crown by competing with his brother and spent time fighting foreign enemies, but mostly kept himself amused by hunting, court parties and a famous band of ladies and courtiers. During his time, the best pieces of Sassanid literature were written, notable pieces of Sassanid music were composed, and sports such as polo became royal pastimes, a tradition that continues to this day in many kingdoms.[57] Bahram V's son Yazdegerd II
Yazdegerd II
(438–457) was in some ways a moderate ruler, but in contrast to Yazdegerd I, practiced a harsh policy towards minority religions, particularly Christianity.[58] However, by the 451 Battle of Avarayr, the Armenian subjects led by Vardan Mamikonian
Mamikonian
managed to affirm Armenia's right to profess Christianity freely.[59][60] This was to be later confirmed by the Nvarsak Treaty (484). At the beginning of his reign, Yazdegerd II
Yazdegerd II
gathered a mixed army of various nations, including his Indian allies, and attacked the Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in 441, but peace was soon restored after small-scale fighting. He then gathered his forces in Nishapur
Nishapur
in 443 and launched a prolonged campaign against the Kidarites. Finally, after a number of battles, he crushed the Kidarites
Kidarites
and drove them out beyond the Oxus river in 450.[61] During his eastern campaign, Yazdegerd II
Yazdegerd II
grew suspicious of the Christians in the army and expelled them all from the governing body and army. He then persecuted the Christians and, to a much lesser extent, the Jews.[62] In order to reestablish Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
in Armenia, he crushed an uprising of Armenian Christians at the Battle of Vartanantz in 451. The Armenians, however, remained primarily Christian. In his later years, he was engaged yet again with Kidarites until his death in 457. Hormizd III (457–459), younger son of Yazdegerd II, ascended to the throne. During his short rule, he continually fought with his elder brother Peroz I, who had the support of nobility,[62] and with the Hephthalites
Hephthalites
in Bactria. He was killed by his brother Peroz in 459.

A coin of Yazdegerd II

In the beginning of the 5th century, the Hephthalites
Hephthalites
(White Huns), along with other nomadic groups, attacked Persia. At first Bahram V and Yazdegerd II
Yazdegerd II
inflicted decisive defeats against them and drove them back eastward. The Huns returned at the end of the 5th century and defeated Peroz I
Peroz I
(457–484) in 483. Following this victory, the Huns invaded and plundered parts of eastern Persia for two years. They exacted heavy tribute for some years thereafter. These attacks brought instability and chaos to the kingdom. Peroz I tried again to drive out the Hephthalites, but on the way to Herat, his army was trapped by the Huns in the desert; Peroz I
Peroz I
was killed, and his army was wiped out. After this victory, the Hephthalites advanced forward to the city of Herat, throwing the empire into chaos. Eventually, a noble Iranian from the old family of Karen, Sukhra, restored some degree of order. He raised Balash, one of Peroz I's brothers, to the throne, although the Hunnic threat persisted until the reign of Khosrau I. Balash
Balash
(484–488) was a mild and generous monarch, who made concessions to the Christians; however, he took no action against the empire's enemies, particularly, the White Huns. Balash, after a reign of four years, was blinded and deposed (attributed to magnates), and his nephew Kavadh I
Kavadh I
was raised to the throne. Kavadh I
Kavadh I
(488–531) was an energetic and reformist ruler. Kavadh I gave his support to the sect founded by Mazdak, son of Bamdad, who demanded that the rich should divide their wives and their wealth with the poor. His intention evidently was, by adopting the doctrine of the Mazdakites, to break the influence of the magnates and growing aristocracy. These reforms led to his being deposed and imprisoned in the "Castle of Oblivion" in Susa, and his younger brother Jamasp (Zamaspes), was raised to the throne in 496. Kavadh I, however, escaped in 498 and was given refuge by the White Hun king. Djamasp
Djamasp
(496–498) was installed on the Sassanid throne upon the deposition of Kavadh I
Kavadh I
by members of the nobility. Djamasp
Djamasp
was a good and kind king, and he reduced taxes in order to relieve the peasants and the poor. He was also an adherent of the mainstream Zoroastrian religion, diversions from which had cost Kavadh I
Kavadh I
his throne and freedom. His reign soon ended when Kavadh I, at the head of a large army granted to him by the Hephthalite
Hephthalite
king, returned to the empire's capital. Djamasp
Djamasp
stepped down from his position and restored the throne to his brother. No further mention of Djamasp
Djamasp
is made after the restoration of Kavadh I, but it is widely believed that he was treated favorably at the court of his brother.[63] Second Golden Era (498–622) The second golden era began after the second reign of Kavadh I. With the support of the Hephtalites, Kavadh I
Kavadh I
launched a campaign against the Romans. In 502, he took Theodosiopolis in Armenia, but lost it soon afterwards. In 503 he took Amida on the Tigris. In 504, an invasion of Armenia
Armenia
by the western Huns from the Caucasus
Caucasus
led to an armistice, the return of Amida to Roman control and a peace treaty in 506. In 521/522 Kavadh lost control of Lazica, whose rulers switched their allegiance to the Romans; an attempt by the Iberians in 524/525 to do likewise triggered a war between Rome and Persia. In 527, a Roman offensive against Nisibis
Nisibis
was repulsed and Roman efforts to fortify positions near the frontier were thwarted. In 530, Kavadh sent an army under Perozes to attack the important Roman frontier city of Dara. The army was met by the Roman general Belisarius, and though superior in numbers, was defeated at the Battle of Dara. In the same year, a second Persian army under Mihr-Mihroe
Mihr-Mihroe
was defeated at Satala
Satala
by Roman forces under Sittas
Sittas
and Dorotheus, but in 531 a Persian army accompanied by a Lakhmid contingent under Al-Mundhir III defeated Belisarius
Belisarius
at the Battle of Callinicum, and in 532 an "eternal" peace was concluded.[64] Although he could not free himself from the yoke of the Hephthalites, Kavadh succeeded in restoring order in the interior and fought with general success against the Eastern Romans, founded several cities, some of which were named after him, and began to regulate the taxation and internal administration.

Hunting scene on a gilded silver bowl showing king Khosrau I

After Kavadh I, his son Khosrau I, also known as Anushirvan ("with the immortal soul"; ruled 531–579), ascended to the throne. He is the most celebrated of the Sassanid rulers. Khosrau I
Khosrau I
is most famous for his reforms in the aging governing body of Sassanids. He introduced a rational system of taxation based upon a survey of landed possessions, which his father had begun, and he tried in every way to increase the welfare and the revenues of his empire. Previous great feudal lords fielded their own military equipment, followers, and retainers. Khosrau I
Khosrau I
developed a new force of dehqans, or "knights", paid and equipped by the central government[65] and the bureaucracy, tying the army and bureaucracy more closely to the central government than to local lords.[66] Emperor Justinian I
Justinian I
(527–565) paid Khosrau I
Khosrau I
440,000 pieces of gold as a part of the "eternal peace" treaty of 532. In 540, Khosrau broke the treaty and invaded Syria, sacking Antioch
Antioch
and extorting large sums of money from a number of other cities. Further successes followed: in 541 Lazica
Lazica
defected to the Persian side, and in 542 a major Byzantine offensive in Armenia
Armenia
was defeated at Anglon. In the same year of 541, upon requests of the Lazic king, king Khosrau I, entered Lazica, captured the Byzantine main stronghold of Petra, and established another protectorate over the country,[67] commencing the Lazic War. A five-year truce agreed to in 545 was interrupted in 547 when Lazica again switched sides and eventually expelled its Persian garrison with Byzantine help; the war resumed but remained confined to Lazica, which was retained by the Byzantines when peace was concluded in 562. In 565, Justinian I
Justinian I
died and was succeeded by Justin II
Justin II
(565–578), who resolved to stop subsidies to Arab
Arab
chieftains to restrain them from raiding Byzantine territory in Syria. A year earlier, the Sassanid governor of Armenia, Chihor-Vishnasp of the Suren family, built a fire temple at Dvin near modern Yerevan, and he put to death an influential member of the Mamikonian
Mamikonian
family, touching off a revolt which led to the massacre of the Persian governor and his guard in 571, while rebellion also broke out in Iberia. Justin II
Justin II
took advantage of the Armenian revolt to stop his yearly payments to Khosrau I
Khosrau I
for the defense of the Caucasus
Caucasus
passes. The Armenians
Armenians
were welcomed as allies, and an army was sent into Sassanid territory which besieged Nisibis
Nisibis
in 573. However, dissension among the Byzantine generals not only led to an abandonment of the siege, but they in turn were besieged in the city of Dara, which was taken by the Persians who then ravaged Syria, causing Justin II
Justin II
to agree to make annual payments in exchange for a five-year truce on the Mesopotamian front, although the war continued elsewhere. In 576 Khosrau I
Khosrau I
led his last campaign, an offensive into Anatolia
Anatolia
which sacked Sebasteia and Melitene, but ended in disaster: defeated outside Melitene, the Persians suffered heavy losses as they fled across the Euphrates
Euphrates
under Byzantine attack. Taking advantage of Persian disarray, the Byzantines raided deep into Khosrau's territory, even mounting amphibious attacks across the Caspian Sea. Khosrau sued for peace, but he decided to continue the war after a victory by his general Tamkhosrau
Tamkhosrau
in Armenia
Armenia
in 577, and fighting resumed in Mesopotamia. The Armenian revolt came to an end with a general amnesty, which brought Armenia
Armenia
back into the Sassanid Empire.[65] Around 570, "Ma 'd-Karib", half-brother of the King of Yemen, requested Khosrau I's intervention. Khosrau I
Khosrau I
sent a fleet and a small army under a commander called Vahriz to the area near present Aden, and they marched against the capital San'a'l, which was occupied. Saif, son of Mard-Karib, who had accompanied the expedition, became King sometime between 575 and 577. Thus, the Sassanids were able to establish a base in south Arabia to control the sea trade with the east. Later, the south Arabian
Arabian
kingdom renounced Sassanid overlordship, and another Persian expedition was sent in 598 that successfully annexed southern Arabia as a Sassanid province, which lasted until the time of troubles after Khosrau II.[65] Khosrau I's reign witnessed the rise of the dihqans (literally, village lords), the petty landholding nobility who were the backbone of later Sassanid provincial administration and the tax collection system.[68] Khosrau I
Khosrau I
was a great builder, embellishing his capital and founding new towns with the construction of new buildings. He rebuilt the canals and restocked the farms destroyed in the wars. He built strong fortifications at the passes and placed subject tribes in carefully chosen towns on the frontiers to act as guardians against invaders. He was tolerant of all religions, though he decreed that Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
should be the official state religion, and was not unduly disturbed when one of his sons became a Christian. After Khosrau I, Hormizd IV
Hormizd IV
(579–590) took the throne. The war with the Byzantines continued to rage intensely but inconclusively until the general Bahram Chobin, dismissed and humiliated by Hormizd, rose in revolt in 589. The following year, Hormizd was overthrown by a palace coup and his son Khosrau II
Khosrau II
(590–628) placed on the throne. However, this change of ruler failed to placate Bahram, who defeated Khosrau, forcing him to flee to Byzantine territory, and seized the throne for himself as Bahram VI. Khosrau asked the Byzantine Emperor Maurice (582–602) for assistance against Bahram, offering to cede the western Caucasus
Caucasus
to the Byzantines. To cement the alliance, Khosrau also married Maurice's daughter Miriam. Under the command of Khosrau and the Byzantine generals Narses and John Mystacon, the new combined Byzantine-Persian army raised a rebellion against Bahram, defeating him at the Battle of Blarathon
Battle of Blarathon
in 591. When Khosrau was subsequently restored to power he kept his promise, handing over control of western Armenia
Armenia
and Caucasian Iberia. The new peace arrangement allowed the two empires to focus on military matters elsewhere: Khosrau expanded the Sassanid Empire's eastern frontier while Maurice restored Byzantine control of the Balkans. After Maurice was overthrown and killed by Phocas
Phocas
(602–610) in 602, however, Khosrau II
Khosrau II
used the murder of his benefactor as a pretext to begin a new invasion, which benefited from continuing civil war in the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
and met little effective resistance. Khosrau's generals systematically subdued the heavily fortified frontier cities of Byzantine Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
and Armenia, laying the foundations for unprecedented expansion. The Persians overran Syria
Syria
and captured Antioch
Antioch
in 611. In 613, outside Antioch, the Persian generals Shahrbaraz
Shahrbaraz
and Shahin decisively defeated a major counter-attack led in person by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. Thereafter, the Persian advance continued unchecked. Jerusalem
Jerusalem
fell in 614, Alexandria
Alexandria
in 619, and the rest of Egypt
Egypt
by 621. The Sassanid dream of restoring the Achaemenid boundaries was almost complete, while the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
was on the verge of collapse. This remarkable peak of expansion was paralleled by a blossoming of Persian art, music, and architecture. Decline and fall (622–651) Main articles: Byzantine– Sasanian
Sasanian
War of 602–628, Sasanian
Sasanian
civil war of 628-632, Fall of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire, and Muslim conquest of Persia While successful at the first stage (from 602 to 622), the campaign of Khosrau II
Khosrau II
had actually exhausted the Persian army and Persian treasuries. In an effort to rebuild the national treasuries, Khosrau overtaxed the population. Thus, while his empire was on the verge of total defeat, Heraclius
Heraclius
(610–641) drew on all his diminished and devastated empire's remaining resources, reorganized his armies, and mounted a remarkable, risky counter-offensive. Between 622 and 627, he campaigned against the Persians in Anatolia
Anatolia
and the Caucasus, winning a string of victories against Persian forces under Shahrbaraz, Shahin, and Shahraplakan (whose competition to claim the glory of personally defeating the Byzantine emperor contributed to their failure), and Khusrau, sacking the great Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
temple at Ganzak, and securing assistance from the Khazars
Khazars
and Western Turkic Khaganate.

The Siege of Constantinople
Constantinople
in 626 by the combined Sassanid, Avar, and Slavic forces depicted on the murals of the Moldovița Monastery, Romania

As a response, Khusrau, in coordination with Avar and Slavic forces, launched a siege on the Byzantine capital of Constantinople
Constantinople
in 626. The Sassanids led by Shahrbaraz
Shahrbaraz
attacked the city the eastern side of the Bosphorus, while the Avar and Slavic allies invaded from the western side. Attempts to ferry the Persian forces across to aid their Slavic and Avar allies, the former being by far the strongest in siege warfare, were blocked by the Byzantine fleet who heavily guarded the Bosphorus
Bosphorus
and the siege ended in failure. In 627–628, Heraclius mounted a winter invasion of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
and, despite the departure of his Khazar
Khazar
allies, defeated a Persian army commanded by Rhahzadh in the Battle of Nineveh. He then marched down the Tigris, devastating the country and sacking Khosrau's palace at Dastagerd. He was prevented from attacking Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
by the destruction of the bridges on the Nahrawan Canal
Nahrawan Canal
and conducted further raids before withdrawing up the Diyala into north-western Iran.[69]

Queen Boran, daughter of Khosrau II, the first woman and one of the last rulers on the throne of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire, she reigned from 17 June 629 to 16 June 630

The impact of Heraclius's victories, the devastation of the richest territories of the Sassanid Empire, and the humiliating destruction of high-profile targets such as Ganzak and Dastagerd fatally undermined Khosrau's prestige and his support among the Persian aristocracy. In early 628, he was overthrown and murdered by his son Kavadh II
Kavadh II
(628), who immediately brought an end to the war, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territories. In 629, Heraclius
Heraclius
restored the True Cross
True Cross
to Jerusalem
Jerusalem
in a majestic ceremony.[69] Kavadh died within months, and chaos and civil war followed. Over a period of four years and five successive kings, including two daughters of Khosrau II
Khosrau II
and spahbed Shahrbaraz, the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
weakened considerably. The power of the central authority passed into the hands of the generals. It would take several years for a strong king to emerge from a series of coups, and the Sassanids never had time to recover fully.[68]

Extent of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
in 632

In early 632, a grandson of Khosrau I
Khosrau I
who had lived in hiding in Estakhr, Yazdegerd III, ascended the throne. The same year, the first raiders from the Arab
Arab
tribes, newly united by Islam, arrived in Persian territory. According to Howard-Johnston, years of warfare had exhausted both the Byzantines and the Persians. The Sassanids were further weakened by economic decline, heavy taxation, religious unrest, rigid social stratification, the increasing power of the provincial landholders, and a rapid turnover of rulers, facilitating the Islamic conquest of Persia.[70] The Sassanids never mounted a truly effective resistance to the pressure applied by the initial Arab
Arab
armies. Yazdegerd was a boy at the mercy of his advisers and incapable of uniting a vast country crumbling into small feudal kingdoms, despite the fact that the Byzantines, under similar pressure from the newly expansive Arabs, no longer threatened. Caliph Abu Bakr's commander Khalid ibn Walid, once one of Muhammad's chosen companions-in-arms and leader of the Arab army, moved to capture Iraq
Iraq
in a series of lightning battles. Redeployed to the Syrian front against the Byzantines in June 634, Khalid's successor in Iraq
Iraq
failed him, and Muslims were defeated in the Battle of the Bridge
Battle of the Bridge
in 634, which resulted in a Sassanid victory. However, the Arab
Arab
threat did not stop there and reappeared shortly from the disciplined armies of Khalid ibn Walid. In 637, a Muslim army under the Caliph Umar
Umar
ibn al-Khattāb defeated a larger Persian force led by general Rostam Farrokhzad
Rostam Farrokhzad
at the plains of al-Qādisiyyah and advanced on Ctesiphon, which fell after a prolonged siege. Yazdegerd fled eastward from Ctesiphon, leaving behind him most of the Empire's vast treasury. The Arabs
Arabs
captured Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
shortly afterward, acquiring a powerful financial resource and leaving the Sassanid government strapped for funds. A number of Sassanid governors attempted to combine their forces to throw back the invaders, but the effort was crippled by the lack of a strong central authority, and the governors were defeated at the Battle of Nihawānd. The empire, with its military command structure non-existent, its non-noble troop levies decimated, its financial resources effectively destroyed, and the Asawaran (Azatan) knightly caste destroyed piecemeal, was now utterly helpless in the face of the invaders. Upon hearing of the defeat in Nihawānd, Yazdegerd along with Farrukhzad
Farrukhzad
and with some of the Persian nobles fled further inland to the eastern province of Khorasan. Yazdegerd was assassinated by a miller in Merv
Merv
in late 651, while some of the nobles settled in Central Asia, where they contributed greatly to spreading Persian culture and language in those regions and to the establishment of the first native Iranian Islamic dynasty, the Samanid dynasty, which sought to revive Sassanid traditions. The abrupt fall of the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
was completed in a period of five years, and most of its territory was absorbed into the Islamic caliphate; however, many Iranian cities resisted and fought against the invaders several times. Islamic caliphates repeatedly suppressed revolts in cities such as Rey, Isfahan, and Hamadan.[71] The local population was initially under little pressure to convert to Islam, remaining as dhimmi subjects of the Muslim state and paying a jizya.[72] Jizya
Jizya
practically replaced poll taxes imposed by the Sassanids. In addition, the old Sassanid "land tax" (known in Arabic as Kharaj) was also adopted. Caliph Umar
Umar
is said to have occasionally set up a commission to survey the taxes, to judge if they were more than the land could bear.[73] Conversion of the Persian population to Islam
Islam
would take place gradually, particularly as Persian-speaking elites attempted to gain positions of prestige much later under the Abbasid Caliphate. Descendants It is believed that the following dynasties and noble-families have ancestors among the Sassanian
Sassanian
rulers:

The Dabuyid dynasty
Dabuyid dynasty
(642–760) descendant of Djamasp.[74] The Paduspanids
Paduspanids
(665–1598) of Mazandaran, descendant of Djamasp.[75] The Shahs of Shirwan
Shahs of Shirwan
(1100–1382) from Hormizd IV's line.[76] The Banu Munajjim (9th–10th century) from Mihr Gushnasp, an Sasanian prince. The Kamkarian family (9th–10th century) a dehqan family descended from Yazdegerd III. The Mikalids
Mikalids
(9th–11th century) a family descended from the Sogdian ruler Divashtich, who was in turn a descendant of Bahram V
Bahram V
Gur.

Government The Sassanids established an empire roughly within the frontiers achieved by the Parthian Arsacids, with the capital at Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
in the Asoristan
Asoristan
province. In administering this empire, Sassanid rulers took the title of shahanshah (King of Kings), becoming the central overlords and also assumed guardianship of the sacred fire, the symbol of the national religion. This symbol is explicit on Sassanid coins where the reigning monarch, with his crown and regalia of office, appears on the obverse, backed by the sacred fire, the symbol of the national religion, on the coin's reverse.[77] Sassanid queens had the title of Banbishnan banbishn (Queen of Queens). On a smaller scale, the territory might also be ruled by a number of petty rulers from a noble family, known as shahrdar, overseen directly by the shahanshah. The districts of the provinces were ruled by a shahrab and a mowbed (chief priest). The mowbed's job was to deal with estates and other things relating to legal matters. [78] Sasanian
Sasanian
rule was characterized by considerable centralization, ambitious urban planning, agricultural development, and technological improvements.[68] Below the king, a powerful bureaucracy carried out much of the affairs of government; the head of the bureaucracy was the wuzurg framadar (vizier or prime minister). Within this bureaucracy the Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
priesthood was immensely powerful. The head of the Magi
Magi
priestly class, the mowbedan mowbed, along with the commander-in-chief, the spahbed, the head of traders and merchants syndicate Ho Tokhshan Bod and minister of agriculture (wastaryoshan-salar), who was also head of farmers, were, below the emperor, the most powerful men of the Sassanid state.[79] The Sassanian
Sassanian
rulers always considered the advice of their ministers. A Muslim historian, Masudi, praised the "excellent administration of the Sasanian
Sasanian
kings, their well-ordered policy, their care for their subjects, and the prosperity of their domains". In normal times, the monarchical office was hereditary, but might be transferred by the king to a younger son; in two instances the supreme power was held by queens. When no direct heir was available, the nobles and prelates chose a ruler, but their choice was restricted to members of the royal family.[80] The Sasanian
Sasanian
nobility was a mixture of old Parthian clans, Persian aristocratic families, and noble families from subjected territories. Many new noble families had risen after the dissolution of the Parthian dynasty, while several of the once-dominant Seven Parthian clans remained of high importance. At the court of Ardashir I, the old Arsacid
Arsacid
families of the House of Karen and the House of Suren, along with several other families, the Varazes and Andigans, held positions of great honor. Alongside these Iranian and non-Iranian noble families, the kings of Merv, Abarshahr, Kirman, Sakastan, Iberia, and Adiabene, who are mentioned as holding positions of honor amongst the nobles, appeared at the court of the shahanshah. Indeed, the extensive domains of the Surens, Karens and Varazes, had become part of the original Sassanid state as semi-independent states. Thus, the noble families that attended at the court of the Sassanid empire continued to be ruling lines in their own right, although subordinate to the shahanshah. In general, Wuzurgan from Iranian families held the most powerful positions in the imperial administration, including governorships of border provinces (marzban). Most of these positions were patrimonial, and many were passed down through a single family for generations. The marzbans of greatest seniority were permitted a silver throne, while marzbans of the most strategic border provinces, such as the Caucasus province, were allowed a golden throne.[81] In military campaigns, the regional marzbans could be regarded as field marshals, while lesser spahbeds could command a field army.[82] Culturally, the Sassanids implemented a system of social stratification. This system was supported by Zoroastrianism, which was established as the state religion. Other religions appear to have been largely tolerated, although this claim has been debated.[83] Sassanid emperors consciously sought to resuscitate Persian traditions and to obliterate Greek cultural influence.[68] Sasanian
Sasanian
military Main article: Military of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire

The Walls of Derbent, part of the Sasanian
Sasanian
defence lines

Sasanian army
Sasanian army
helmet

The active army of the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
originated from Ardashir I, the first shahanshah of the empire. Ardashir restored the Achaemenid military organizations, retained the Parthian cavalry model, and employed new types of armour and siege warfare techniques. Role of priests The relationship between priests and warriors was important, because the concept of Ērānshahr had been revived by the priests. Without this relationship, the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
would not have survived in its beginning stages. Because of this relationship between the warriors and the priests, religion and state were considered inseparable in the Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
religion. However, it is this same relationship that caused the weakening of the Empire, when each group tried to impose their power onto the other. Disagreements between the priests and the warriors led to fragmentation within the empire, which led to its downfall.[84] Infantry The Paygan formed the bulk of the Sassanid infantry, and were often recruited from the peasant population. Each unit was headed by an officer called a "Paygan-salar," which meant "commander of the infantry" and their main task was to guard the baggage train, serve as pages to the Asvaran
Asvaran
(a higher rank), storm fortification walls, undertake entrenchment projects, and excavate mines.[85] Those serving in the infantry were fitted with shields and lances. To make the size of their army larger, the Sassanids added soldiers provided by the Medes
Medes
and the Dailamites
Dailamites
to their own. The Medes provided the Sassanid army with high-quality javelin throwers, slingers and heavy infantry. Iranian infantry are described by Ammianus Marcellinus
Ammianus Marcellinus
as "armed like gladiators" and "obey orders like so many horse-boys".[86] The Dailamite
Dailamite
people also served as infantry and were Iranian people who lived mainly within Gilan, Iranian Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
and Mazandaran. They are reported as having fought with weapons such as daggers, swords and javelins and reputed to have been recognized by Romans for their skills and hardiness in close-quarter combat. One account of Dailamites
Dailamites
recounted their participation in an invasion of Yemen
Yemen
where 800 of them were led by the Dailamite
Dailamite
officer Vahriz.[85] Vahriz would eventually defeat the Arab
Arab
forces in Yemen and its capital Sana'a
Sana'a
making it a Sasanian
Sasanian
vassal until the invasion of Persia by Arabs.[87] Navy The Sasanian navy was an important constituent of the Sasanian military from the time that Ardashir I
Ardashir I
conquered the Arab
Arab
side of the Persian gulf. Because controlling the Persian gulf
Persian gulf
was an economic necessity, the Sasanian navy worked to keep it safe from piracy, prevent Roman encroachment, and keep the Arab
Arab
tribes from getting hostile. However, it is believed by many historians that the naval force could not have been a strong one, as the men serving in the navy were those who were confined in prisons.[88] The leader of the navy bore the title of nāvbed.[89] Cavalry

A Sassanid king posing as an armored cavalryman, Taq-e Bostan, Iran

The cavalry used during the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
were two types of heavy cavalry units: Clibanarii
Clibanarii
and Cataphracts. The first cavalry force, composed of elite noblemen trained since youth for military service, was supported by light cavalry, infantry and archers.[90] Mercenaries and tribal people of the empire, including the Turks, Kushans, Sarmatians, Khazars, Georgians, and Armenians
Armenians
were included in these first cavalry units. The second cavalry involved the use of the war elephants. In fact, it was their specialty to deploy elephants as cavalry support. Unlike the Parthians, the Sassanids developed advanced siege engines. The development of siege weapons was a useful weapon during conflicts with Rome, in which success hinged upon the ability to seize cities and other fortified points; conversely, the Sassanids also developed a number of techniques for defending their own cities from attack. The Sassanid army was much like the preceding Parthian army, although some of the Sassanid's heavy cavalry were equipped with lances, while Parthian armies were heavily equipped with bows.[91] The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus's description of Shapur II's clibanarii cavalry manifestly shows how heavily equipped it was, and how only a portion were spear equipped:

“ All the companies were clad in iron, and all parts of their bodies were covered with thick plates, so fitted that the stiff-joints conformed with those of their limbs; and the forms of human faces were so skillfully fitted to their heads, that since their entire body was covered with metal, arrows that fell upon them could lodge only where they could see a little through tiny openings opposite the pupil of the eye, or where through the tip of their nose they were able to get a little breath. Of these, some who were armed with pikes, stood so motionless that you would have thought them held fast by clamps of bronze. ”

Horsemen in the Sassanid cavalry lacked a stirrup. Instead, they used a war saddle which had a cantle at the back and two guard clamps which curved across the top of the rider's thighs. This allowed the horsemen to stay in the saddle at all times during the battle, especially during violent encounters.[92] The Byzantine emperor Maurikios also emphasizes in his Strategikon that many of the Sassanid heavy cavalry did not carry spears, relying on their bows as their primary weapons. However the Taq-i Bustan reliefs and Al-Tabari's famed list of equipment required for dihqan knights which included the lance, provide a contrast. What is certain is that the horseman's paraphernalia was extensive. The amount of money involved in maintaining a warrior of the Asawaran (Azatan) knightly caste required a small estate, and the Asawaran (Azatan) knightly caste received that from the throne, and in return, were the throne's most notable defenders in time of war. Relations with neighboring regimes See also: Roman relations with the Parthians and Sassanids, Roman-Persian Wars, and Byzantine-Sassanid Wars Frequent warfare with the Romans and to a lesser extent others

A fine cameo showing an equestrian combat of Shapur I
Shapur I
and Byzantine emperor Valerian in which the Roman emperor
Roman emperor
is seized following the Battle of Edessa, according to Shapur's own statement, "with our own hand", in year 256

See also: Sassanian
Sassanian
defense lines The Sassanids, like the Parthians, were in constant hostilities with the Roman Empire. The Sassanids, who thus succeeded the Parthians, were recognized as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighboring archrival the Roman-Byzantine Empire, for a period of more than 400 years.[17][18][19] Following the division of the Roman Empire in 395, the Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
(Byzantine Empire), with its capital at Constantinople, continue as Persia's principal western enemy, and main enemy in general. Hostilities between the two empires became more frequent.[68] The Sassanids, similar to the Roman Empire, were in a constant state of conflict with neighboring kingdoms and nomadic hordes. Although the threat of nomadic incursions could never be fully resolved, the Sassanids generally dealt much more successfully with these matters than did the Romans, due to their policy of making coordinated campaigns against threatening nomads.[93] The last of the many and frequent wars with the Byzantines, the climactic Byzantine– Sasanian
Sasanian
War of 602–628, which included the siege of the Byzantine capital Constantinople, ended with both rivalling sides having drastically exhausted their human and material resources. Furthermore, social conflict within the Empire
Empire
had considerably weakened it even further.[94][95] Consequently, they were vulnerable to the sudden emergence of the Islamic Rashidun Caliphate, whose forces invaded both empires only a few years after the war. The Muslim forces swiftly conquered the entire Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
and deprived the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
of its territories in the Levant, the Caucasus, Egypt, and North Africa. Over the following centuries, half the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
and the entire Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
came under Muslim rule. In general, over the span of the centuries, in the west, Sassanid territory abutted that of the large and stable Roman state, but to the east, its nearest neighbors were the Kushan Empire
Kushan Empire
and nomadic tribes such as the White Huns. The construction of fortifications such as Tus citadel or the city of Nishapur, which later became a center of learning and trade, also assisted in defending the eastern provinces from attack. In south and central Arabia, Bedouin
Bedouin
Arab
Arab
tribes occasionally raided the Sassanid empire. The Kingdom of Al-Hirah, a Sassanid vassal kingdom, was established to form a buffer zone between the empire's heartland and the Bedouin
Bedouin
tribes. The dissolution of the Kingdom of Al-Hirah
Al-Hirah
by Khosrau II
Khosrau II
in 602, contributed greatly to decisive Sassanid defeats suffered against Bedouin
Bedouin
Arabs
Arabs
later in the century. These defeats resulted in a sudden takeover of the Sassanid empire by Bedouin
Bedouin
tribes under the Islamic banner.

Sassanian
Sassanian
fortress in Derbent, Dagestan. Now inscribed on Russia's UNESCO
UNESCO
world heritage list since 2003.

In the north, Khazars
Khazars
and other Turkic nomads frequently assaulted the northern provinces of the empire. They plundered Media in 634. Shortly thereafter, the Persian army defeated them and drove them out. The Sassanids built numerous fortifications in the Caucasus
Caucasus
region to halt these attacks, of which perhaps the most notably are the imposing fortifications built in Derbent
Derbent
(Dagestan, North Caucasus, now a part of Russia) that to a large extent, have remained intact up to this day. On the eastern side of the Caspian Sea, the Sassanians erected the Great Wall of Gorgan, a 200 km-long defensive structure probably aimed to protect the empire from northern peoples, such as the White Huns. War with Axum Main article: Abyssinian–Persian wars

Egyptian woven pattern woolen curtain or trousers, which was a copy of a Sassanid silk import, which was in turn based on a fresco of King Khosrau II
Khosrau II
fighting Axum
Axum
Ethiopian forces in Yemen, 5–6th century

In 522, before Khosrau's reign, a group of monophysite Axumites led an attack on the dominant Himyarites of southern Arabia. The local Arab leader was able to resist the attack but appealed to the Sassanians for aid, while the Axumites subsequently turned towards the Byzantines for help. The Axumites sent another force across the Red Sea
Red Sea
and this time successfully killed the Arab
Arab
leader and replaced him with an Axumite man to be king of the region.[96] In 531, Justinian suggested that the Axumites of Yemen
Yemen
should cut out the Persians from Indian trade by maritime trade with the Indians. The Ethiopians never met this request because an Axumite general named Abraha took control of the Yemenite throne and created an independent nation.[96] After Abraha's death one of his sons, Ma'd-Karib, went into exile while his half-brother took the throne. After being denied by Justinian, Ma'd-Karib sought help from Khosrau, who sent a small fleet and army under commander Vahriz to depose the new king of Yemen. After capturing the capital city San'a'l, Ma'd-Karib's son, Saif, was put on the throne.[96] Justinian was ultimately responsible for Sassanian
Sassanian
maritime presence in Yemen. By not providing the Yemenite Arabs
Arabs
support, Khosrau was able to help Ma'd-Karib and subsequently established Yemen
Yemen
as a principality of the Sassanian
Sassanian
Empire.[97] Relations with China Main article: Iran- China
China
relations Like their predecessors the Parthians, the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
carried out active foreign relations with China, and ambassadors from Persia frequently traveled to China. Chinese documents report on thirteen Sassanid embassies to China. Commercially, land and sea trade with China
China
was important to both the Sassanid and Chinese Empires. Large numbers of Sassanid coins have been found in southern China, confirming maritime trade. On different occasions, Sassanid kings sent their most talented Persian musicians and dancers to the Chinese imperial court at Luoyang during the Jin and Northern Wei
Northern Wei
dynasties, and to Chang'an
Chang'an
during the Sui and Tang dynasties. Both empires benefited from trade along the Silk Road
Silk Road
and shared a common interest in preserving and protecting that trade. They cooperated in guarding the trade routes through central Asia, and both built outposts in border areas to keep caravans safe from nomadic tribes and bandits. Politically, there is evidence of several Sassanid and Chinese efforts in forging alliances against the common enemy, the Hephthalites. Upon the rise of the nomadic Göktürks
Göktürks
in Inner Asia, there is also what looks like a collaboration between China
China
and Sassanid to defuse Turkic advances. Documents from Mt. Mogh talk about the presence of a Chinese general in the service of the king of Sogdiana
Sogdiana
at the time of the Arab invasions. Following the invasion of Iran
Iran
by Muslim Arabs, Peroz III, son of Yazdegerd III, escaped along with a few Persian nobles and took refuge in the Chinese imperial court. Both Peroz and his son Narsieh (Chinese neh-shie) were given high titles at the Chinese court. On at least two occasions, the last possibly in 670, Chinese troops were sent with Peroz in order to restore him to the Sassanid throne with mixed results, one possibly ending in a short rule of Peroz in Sakastan, from which we have a few remaining numismatic evidences. Narsieh later attained the position of a commander of the Chinese imperial guards, and his descendants lived in China
China
as respected princes. The sister of the Sassanian
Sassanian
Prince Peroz III was married into the imperial court, which allowed Sassanian
Sassanian
refugees fleeing from the Arab
Arab
conquest to settle in China.[98] The Emperor of China
China
at this time was Emperor Gaozong of Tang. Relations with India Main article: Indo-Sasanians

Coin of the Indo-Sassanid kushansha Varhran I (early 4th century) Obv: King Varhran I with characteristic head-dress Rev: Shiva
Shiva
and bull

Foreign dignitary drinking wine, on ceiling of Cave 1, at Ajanta Caves, possibly depicting the Sasanian
Sasanian
embassy to Indian king Pulakesin II
Pulakesin II
(610–642 CE), photograph and drawing.[99]

Following the conquest of Iran
Iran
and neighboring regions, Shapur I extended his authority northwest of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
(Pakistan and Afghanistan). The previously autonomous Kushans were obliged to accept his suzerainty.[100] These were the western Kushans which controlled Afghanistan[100] while the eastern Kushans were active in India. Although the Kushan
Kushan
empire declined at the end of the 3rd century, to be replaced by the Indian Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
in the 4th century, it is clear that the Sassanids remained relevant in India's northwest throughout this period. Persia and northwestern India, the latter that made up formerly part of the Kushans, engaged in cultural as well as political intercourse during this period, as certain Sassanid practices spread into the Kushan
Kushan
territories. In particular, the Kushans were influenced by the Sassanid conception of kingship, which spread through the trade of Sassanid silverware and textiles depicting emperors hunting or dispensing justice. This cultural interchange did not, however, spread Sassanid religious practices or attitudes to the Kushans. While the Sassanids always adhered to a stated policy of religious proselytization, and sporadically engaged in persecution or forced conversion of minority religions, the Kushans preferred to adopt a policy of religious tolerance. Lower-level cultural interchanges also took place between India
India
and Persia during this period. For example, Persians imported the early form of chess, the chaturanga (Middle Persian: chatrang) from India. In exchange, Persians introduced backgammon (Nēw-Ardašēr) to India. During Khosrau I's reign, many books were brought from India
India
and translated into Middle Persian. Some of these later found their way into the literature of the Islamic world
Islamic world
and Arabic literature. A notable example of this was the translation of the Indian Panchatantra by one of Khosrau's ministers, Borzuya. This translation, known as the Kalīlag ud Dimnag, later made its way into the Arabic literature
Arabic literature
and Europe.[101] The details of Burzoe's legendary journey to India
India
and his daring acquisition of the Panchatantra
Panchatantra
are written in full details in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, which says:

“ In Indian books, Borzuya
Borzuya
read that on a mountain in that land there grows a plant which when sprinkled over the dead revives them. Borzuya asked Khosrau I
Khosrau I
for permission to travel to India
India
to obtain the plant. After a fruitless search, he was led to an ascetic who revealed the secret of the plant to him: The "plant" was word, the "mountain" learning, and the "dead" the ignorant. He told Borzuya
Borzuya
of a book, the remedy of ignorance, called the Kalila, which was kept in a treasure chamber. The king of India
India
gave Borzuya
Borzuya
permission to read the Kalila, provided that he did not make a copy of it. Borzuya
Borzuya
accepted the condition but each day memorized a chapter of the book. When he returned to his room he would record what he had memorized that day, thus creating a copy of the book, which he sent to Iran. In Iran, Bozorgmehr
Bozorgmehr
translated the book into Pahlavi and, at Borzuya's request, named the first chapter after him.[102] ”

Society Urbanism
Urbanism
and Nomadism

The Palace of Taq-i Kisra in Sasanian
Sasanian
capital Ctesiphon. The city developed into a rich commercial metropolis. It may have been the most populous city of the world in 570–622.

In contrast to Parthian society, the Sassanids renewed emphasis on a charismatic and centralized government. In Sassanid theory, the ideal society could maintain stability and justice, and the necessary instrument for this was a strong monarch.[103] Thus, the Sasanians aimed to be an urban empire, at which were quite successful. During the late Sasanian
Sasanian
period, Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
had the largest population density in the medieval world.[104] This can be credited to, among other things, the Sasanians founding and re-founding a number of cities, which is talked about in the surviving Middle Persian
Middle Persian
text Šahrestānīhā ī Ērānšahr (the provincial capitals of Iran).[104] Ardashir I
Ardashir I
himself built and re-built many cities, which he named after himself, such as Veh-Ardashir
Veh-Ardashir
in Asoristan, Ardashir-Khwarrah
Ardashir-Khwarrah
in Pars and Vahman-Ardashir in Meshan. During the Sasanian
Sasanian
period, many cities with the name “Iran-khwarrah" were established. This was because Sasanians wanted to revive Avesta ideology.[104] Many of these cities, both new and old, were populated not only by native ethnic groups, such as the Iranians or Syriacs, but also by the deported Roman prisoners of war, such as Goths, Slavs, Latins, and others.[104] Many of these prisoners were experienced workers, who were used to build things such as cities, bridges, and dams. This allowed the Sasanians to become familiar with Roman technology. The impact these foreigners made on the economy was significant, as many of them were Christians, the spread of the religion accelerated throughout the empire.[104] Unlike the amount of information about the settled people of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire, there is little about the nomadic/unsettled ones. It is known that they were called "Kurds" by the Sasanians, and that they regularly served the Sasanian
Sasanian
military. Particularly the Dailamite
Dailamite
and Gilani nomads. This way of handling the nomads continued into the Islamic period, where the service of the Dailamites
Dailamites
and Gilanis continued unabated.[105] Shahanshah

Bust of a Sasanian
Sasanian
king, most likely Shapur II.

The head of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
was the shahanshah (king of kings), also simply known as the shah (king). His health and welfare was of high importance, due to this the phrase “May you be immortal" was used to reply to him with. By looking at the Sasanian
Sasanian
coins which appeared from the 6th-century and afterwards, a moon and sun is noticeable. The meaning of the moon and sun, in the words of the Iranian historian Touraj Daryaee, “suggest that the king was at the center of the world and the sun and moon revolved around him. In effect he was the “king of the four corners of the world," which was an old Mesopotamian idea."[106] The king saw all other rulers, such as the Romans, Turks, and Chinese, as being beneath him. The king wore colorful clothes, makeup, a heavy crown, while his beard was decorated with gold. The early Sasanian
Sasanian
kings considered themselves of divine descent; they called themselves for “bay" (divine).[107] When the king went to the publicity, he was hidden behind a curtain,[106] and had some of his men in front of him, whose duty was to keep the masses away from the king and to make his way clear.[108] When one came to the king, he/she had to prostrate before him, also known as proskynesis. The king was guarded by a group of royal guards, known as the pushtigban. On other occasions, the king was protected by a group of palace guards, known as the darigan. Both of these groups were enlisted from royal families of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire,[108] and were under the command of the hazarbed, who was in charge of the king's safety, controlled the entrance of the kings palace, presented visitors to the king, and was allowed to be given military command or used in negotiations. The hazarbed was also allowed in some cases to serve as the royal executioner.[108] During Nowruz
Nowruz
(Iranian new year) and Mihragan
Mihragan
(Mihr's day), the king would hold a speech.[107] Class division Sassanid society was immensely complex, with separate systems of social organization governing numerous different groups within the empire.[109] Historians believe society comprised four[110][111] social classes:

Asronan (priests) Arteshtaran (warriors) Wastaryoshan (commoners) Hutukhshan (artisans)

At the center of the Sasanian
Sasanian
caste system the shahanshah ruled over all the nobles.[112] The royal princes, petty rulers, great landlords and priests, together constituted a privileged stratum, and were identified as wuzurgan, or grandees. This social system appears to have been fairly rigid.[68] The Sasanian
Sasanian
caste system outlived the empire, continuing in the early Islamic period.[112] Slavery In general, mass slavery was never practiced by the Iranians, and in many cases the situation and lives of semi-slaves (prisoners of war) were, in fact, better than those of the commoner.[113] The term "slave" was also used on people who were in debt and had to use some of their time to serve in a fire-temple.[114] The most common slaves in the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
were the household servants, who worked in private estates and at the fire-temples. Usage of a woman slave in a home was common, and her master had outright control over her and could even produce children with her if he wanted to. Slaves also received wages and were able to have their own families whether they were female or male.[114] Harming a slave was considered a crime, and not even the king himself was allowed to do it.[115] The master of a slave was allowed to free the person when he wanted to, which, no matter what faith the slave believed in, was considered a good deed.[115] A slave could also be freed if his/her master died.[114] Culture Education See also: Academy of Gondishapur There was a major school, called the Grand School, in the capital. In the beginning, only 50 students were allowed to study at the Grand School. In less than 100 years, enrollment at the Grand School was over 30,000 students.[citation needed] Society Membership in a class was based on birth, although it was possible for an exceptional individual to move to another class on the basis of merit. The function of the king was to ensure that each class remained within its proper boundaries, so that the strong did not oppress the weak, nor the weak the strong. To maintain this social equilibrium was the essence of royal justice, and its effective functioning depended on the glorification of the monarchy above all other classes.[103] On a lower level, Sasanian
Sasanian
society was divided into Azatan (freemen), who jealously guarded their status as descendants of ancient Aryan conquerors, and the mass of originally non- Aryan
Aryan
peasantry. The Azatan formed a large low-aristocracy of low-level administrators, mostly living on small estates. The Azatan provided the cavalry backbone of the Sasanian
Sasanian
army.[109] Art, science and literature

See also: Sasanian
Sasanian
music, Sasanian
Sasanian
art, Science and medical academy of Gundishapur, Pahlavi literature, Sasanian
Sasanian
architecture

A bowl with Khosrau I's image at the center

Horse head, gilded silver, 4th century, Sasanian
Sasanian
art

A Sasanian
Sasanian
silver plate featuring a simurgh. The mythical bird was used as the royal emblem in the Sasanian
Sasanian
period.[116]

A Sasanian
Sasanian
silver plate depicting a royal lion hunt

The Sasanian
Sasanian
kings were enlightened patrons of letters and philosophy. Khosrau I
Khosrau I
had the works of Plato
Plato
and Aristotle
Aristotle
translated into Pahlavi taught at Gundishapur, and even read them himself. During his reign, many historical annals were compiled, of which the sole survivor is the Karnamak-i Artaxshir-i Papakan
Karnamak-i Artaxshir-i Papakan
(Deeds of Ardashir), a mixture of history and romance that served as the basis of the Iranian national epic, the Shahnameh. When Justinian I
Justinian I
closed the schools of Athens, seven of their professors fled to Persia and found refuge at Khosrau's court. In time they grew homesick, and in his treaty of 533 with Justinian, the Sasanian
Sasanian
king stipulated that the Greek sages should be allowed to return and be free from persecution.[80] Under Khosrau I, the Academy of Gundishapur, which had been founded in the 5th century, became "the greatest intellectual center of the time", drawing students and teachers from every quarter of the known world. Nestorian Christians were received there, and brought Syriac translations of Greek works in medicine and philosophy. Neoplatonists too, came to Gundishapur, where they planted the seeds of Sufi mysticism; the medical lore of India, Persia, Syria
Syria
and Greece mingled there to produce a flourishing school of therapy.[80] Artistically, the Sasanian
Sasanian
period witnessed some of the highest achievements of Iranian civilization. Much of what later became known as Muslim culture, including architecture and writing, was originally drawn from Persian culture. At its peak, the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
stretched from western Anatolia
Anatolia
to northwest India
India
(nowadays Afghanistan/Pakistan), but its influence was felt far beyond these political boundaries. Sasanian
Sasanian
motifs found their way into the art of Central Asia
Central Asia
and China, the Byzantine Empire, and even Merovingian France. Islamic art
Islamic art
however, was the true heir to Sasanian
Sasanian
art, whose concepts it was to assimilate while, at the same time instilling fresh life and renewed vigor into it.[25] According to Will Durant:

Sasanian art
Sasanian art
exported its forms and motifs eastward into India, Turkestan
Turkestan
and China, westward into Syria, Asia Minor, Constantinople, the Balkans, Egypt
Egypt
and Spain. Probably its influence helped to change the emphasis in Greek art from classic representation to Byzantine ornament, and in Latin
Latin
Christian art from wooden ceilings to brick or stone vaults and domes and buttressed walls.[80] ”

Sasanian
Sasanian
carvings at Taq-e Bostan
Taq-e Bostan
and Naqsh-e Rustam
Naqsh-e Rustam
were colored; so were many features of the palaces; but only traces of such painting remain. The literature, however, makes it clear that the art of painting flourished in Sasanian
Sasanian
times; the prophet Mani is reported to have founded a school of painting; Firdowsi
Firdowsi
speaks of Persian magnates adorning their mansions with pictures of Iranian heroes; and the poet al-Buhturi describes the murals in the palace at Ctesiphon. When a Sasanian
Sasanian
king died, the best painter of the time was called upon to make a portrait of him for a collection kept in the royal treasury. Painting, sculpture, pottery, and other forms of decoration shared their designs with Sasanian
Sasanian
textile art. Silks, embroideries, brocades, damasks, tapestries, chair covers, canopies, tents and rugs were woven with patience and masterly skill, and were dyed in warm tints of yellow, blue and green. Every Persian but the peasant and the priest aspired to dress above his class; presents often took the form of sumptuous garments; and great colorful carpets had been an appendage of wealth in the East since Assyrian days. The two dozen Sasanian
Sasanian
textiles that have survived are among the most highly valued fabrics in existence. Even in their own day, Sasanian
Sasanian
textiles were admired and imitated from Egypt
Egypt
to the Far East; and during the Middle Ages, they were favored for clothing the relics of Christian saints. When Heraclius
Heraclius
captured the palace of Khosrau II
Khosrau II
Parvez at Dastagerd, delicate embroideries and an immense rug were among his most precious spoils. Famous was the "Winter Carpet", also known as "Khosrau's Spring" (Spring Season Carpet قالى بهارستان) of Khosrau Anushirvan, designed to make him forget winter in its spring and summer scenes: flowers and fruits made of inwoven rubies and diamonds grew, in this carpet, beside walks of silver and brooks of pearls traced on a ground of gold. Harun al-Rashid
Harun al-Rashid
prided himself on a spacious Sasanian
Sasanian
rug thickly studded with jewelry. Persians wrote love poems about their rugs.[80] Studies on Sasanian
Sasanian
remains show over 100 types of crowns being worn by Sasanian
Sasanian
kings. The various Sasanian
Sasanian
crowns demonstrate the cultural, economic, social and historical situation in each period. The crowns also show the character traits of each king in this era. Different symbols and signs on the crowns–the moon, stars, eagle and palm, each illustrate the wearer's religious faith and beliefs.[117][118] The Sasanians Dynasty, like the Achaemenid, originated in the province of Pars. The Sasanians saw themselves as successors of the Achaemenids, after the Hellenistic
Hellenistic
and Parthian interlude, and believed that it was their destiny to restore the greatness of Persia. In reviving the glories of the Achaemenid
Achaemenid
past, the Sasanians were no mere imitators. The art of this period reveals an astonishing virility, in certain respects anticipating key features of Islamic art. Sasanian art
Sasanian art
combined elements of traditional Persian art with Hellenistic
Hellenistic
elements and influences. The conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
had inaugurated the spread of Hellenistic
Hellenistic
art into Western Asia. Though the East accepted the outward form of this art, it never really assimilated its spirit. Already in the Parthian period, Hellenistic
Hellenistic
art was being interpreted freely by the peoples of the Near East. Throughout the Sasanian
Sasanian
period, there was reaction against it. Sasanian art
Sasanian art
revived forms and traditions native to Persia, and in the Islamic period, these reached the shores of the Mediterranean.[119] According to Fergusson:

“ With the accession of the [Sasanians], Persia regained much of that power and stability to which she had been so long a stranger ... The improvement in the fine arts at home indicates returning prosperity, and a degree of security unknown since the fall of the Achaemenidae.[120] ”

Surviving palaces illustrate the splendor in which the Sasanian monarchs lived. Examples include palaces at Firuzabad and Bishapur
Bishapur
in Fars, and the capital city of Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
in the Asoristan
Asoristan
province (present-day Iraq). In addition to local traditions, Parthian architecture influenced Sasanian
Sasanian
architectural characteristics. All are characterized by the barrel-vaulted iwans introduced in the Parthian period. During the Sasanian
Sasanian
period, these reached massive proportions, particularly at Ctesiphon. There, the arch of the great vaulted hall, attributed to the reign of Shapur I
Shapur I
(241–272), has a span of more than 80 feet (24 m) and reaches a height of 118 feet (36 m). This magnificent structure fascinated architects in the centuries that followed and has been considered one of the most important examples of Persian architecture. Many of the palaces contain an inner audience hall consisting, as at Firuzabad, of a chamber surmounted by a dome. The Persians solved the problem of constructing a circular dome on a square building by employing squinches, or arches built across each corner of the square, thereby converting it into an octagon on which it is simple to place the dome. The dome chamber in the palace of Firuzabad is the earliest surviving example of the use of the squinch, suggesting that this architectural technique was probably invented in Persia. The unique characteristic of Sasanian architecture
Sasanian architecture
was its distinctive use of space. The Sasanian
Sasanian
architect conceived his building in terms of masses and surfaces; hence the use of massive walls of brick decorated with molded or carved stucco. Stucco wall decorations appear at Bishapur, but better examples are preserved from Chal Tarkhan
Chal Tarkhan
near Rey (late Sasanian
Sasanian
or early Islamic in date), and from Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
and Kish in Mesopotamia. The panels show animal figures set in roundels, human busts, and geometric and floral motifs. At Bishapur, some of the floors were decorated with mosaics showing scenes of banqueting. The Roman influence here is clear, and the mosaics may have been laid by Roman prisoners. Buildings were decorated with wall paintings. Particularly fine examples have been found on Mount Khajeh
Mount Khajeh
in Sistan. Economy

The remains of the Shushtar
Shushtar
Historical Hydraulic System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sasanian
Sasanian
silk twill textile of a simurgh in a beaded surround, 6th–7th century. Used in the reliquary of Saint Len, Paris

Due to the majority of the inhabitants being of peasantry stock, the Sasanian
Sasanian
economy relied on farming and agriculture, Khuzestan
Khuzestan
and Iraq being the most important provinces for it. The Nahravan Canal is one of the greatest examples of Sasanian
Sasanian
irrigation systems, and many of these things can still be found in Iran. The mountains of the Sasanian state was used on lumbering by the nomads of the region, and due to the great centralization of the Sasanians, they also managed to impose tax on the nomads and inhabitants of the mountains. During the reign of Khosrau I, further land was brought under centralization.[121] Two trade routes were used during the Sasanian
Sasanian
period, one in the north, the famous Silk Route, and one less prominent route in the southern Sasanian
Sasanian
coast. The factories of Susa, Gundeshapur, and Shushtar
Shushtar
were famously known for their production of silk, and rivaled the Chinese factories. The Sasanians showed great toleration to the inhabitants of the countryside, which was important to create a great deal of stuff in case of famine.[121] Industry and trade

Sasanian
Sasanian
sea trade routes

Persian industry under the Sasanians developed from domestic to urban forms. Guilds were numerous. Good roads and bridges, well patrolled, enabled state post and merchant caravans to link Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
with all provinces; and harbors were built in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
to quicken trade with India.[80] Sasanian
Sasanian
merchants ranged far and wide and gradually ousted Romans from the lucrative Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
trade routes.[122] Recent archeological discovery has shown an interesting fact that Sasanians used special labels (commercial labels) on goods as a way of promoting their brands and distinguish between different qualities.[123] Khosrau I
Khosrau I
further extended the already vast trade network. The Sasanian
Sasanian
state now tended toward monopolistic control of trade, with luxury goods assuming a far greater role in the trade than heretofore, and the great activity in building of ports, caravanserais, bridges and the like, was linked to trade and urbanization. The Persians dominated international trade, both in the Indian Ocean, Central Asia and South Russia, in the time of Khosrau, although competition with the Byzantines was at times intense. Sassanian
Sassanian
settlements in Oman
Oman
and Yemen
Yemen
testify to the importance of trade with India, but the silk trade with China
China
was mainly in the hands of Sasanian
Sasanian
vassals and the Iranian people, the Sogdians.[124] The main exports of the Sasanians were silk; woolen and golden textiles; carpets and rugs; hides; and, leather and pearls from the Persian Gulf. There were also goods in transit from China
China
(paper, silk) and India
India
(spices), which Sasanian
Sasanian
customs imposed taxes upon, and which were re-exported from the Empire
Empire
to Europe.[125] It was also a time of increased metallurgical production, so Iran earned a reputation as the "armory of Asia". Most of the Sasanian mining centers were at the fringes of the Empire
Empire
– in Armenia, the Caucasus
Caucasus
and above all, Transoxania. The extraordinary mineral wealth of the Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
on the eastern horizon of the Sasanian
Sasanian
empire led to a legend among the Tajiks, an Iranian people living there, which is still told today. It said that when God was creating the world, he tripped over Pamirs, dropping his jar of minerals, which spread across the region.[122] Religion Main article: Zoroastrianism Zoroastrianism Under Parthian rule, Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
had fragmented into regional variations which also saw the rise of local cult-deities, some from Iranian religious tradition but others drawn from Greek tradition too. Greek paganism and religious ideas had spread and mixed with Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
when Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
had conquered the Persian Empire
Empire
from Darius III; a process of Greco-Persian religious and cultural synthesisation which had continued into the Parthian era too. But under the Sassanids, an orthodox Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
was revived and the religion would undergo numerous and important developments. Sassanid Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
would develop to have clear distinctions from the practices laid out in the Avesta, the holy books of Zoroastrianism. It is often argued that the Sassanid Zoroastrian clergy later modified the religion in a way to serve themselves, causing substantial religious uneasiness.[specify] Sassanid religious policies contributed to the flourishing of numerous religious reform movements, most importantly the Mani and Mazdak
Mazdak
religions. The relationship between the Sassanid Kings and the religions practiced in their empire became complex and varied. For instance, while Shapur I
Shapur I
tolerated and encouraged a variety of religions and seems to have been a Zurvanite himself, religious minorities at times were suppressed under later Kings, such as Bahram II. Shapur II, on the other hand, tolerated religious groups except Christians, whom he only persecuted in the wake of Constantine's conversion.[126][126][127][127] Tansar and his justification for Ardashir I's rebellion From the very beginning of Sassanid rule in 224 an orthodox Pars-oriented Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
tradition would play an important part in influencing and lending legitimization to the state until its collapse in the mid-7th century. After Ardashir I
Ardashir I
had deposed the last Parthian King, Artabanus V, he sought the aid of Tansar, a herbad (high priest) of the Iranian Zoroastrians to aid him in acquiring legitimization for the new dynasty. This Tansar did by writing to the nominal and vassal kings in different regions of Iran
Iran
to accept Ardashir I
Ardashir I
as their new King, most notably in the Letter of Tansar, which was addressed to Gushnasp, the vassal king of Tabarestan. Gushnasp had accused Ardashir I of having forsaken tradition by usurping the throne, and that while his actions 'may have been good for the World' they were 'bad for the faith'. Tansar refuted these charges in his letter to Gushnasp by proclaiming that not all of the old ways had been good, and that Ardashir was more virtuous than his predecessors. The Letter of Tansar included some attacks on the religious practices and orientation of the Parthians, who did not follow an orthodox Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
tradition but rather a heterodox one, and so attempted to justify Ardashir's rebellion against them by arguing that Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
had 'decayed' after Alexander's invasion, a decay which had continued under the Parthians and so needed to be 'restored'.[128] Tansar would later help to oversee the formation of a single ' Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
church' under the control of the Persian magi, alongside the establishment of a single set of Avestan
Avestan
texts, which he himself approved and authorised. Influence of Kartir Kartir, a very powerful and influential Persian cleric, served under several Sassanid Kings and actively campaigned for the establishment of a Pars-centred Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
orthodoxy across the Sassanid Empire. His power and influence grew so much that he became the only 'commoner' to later be allowed to have his own rock inscriptions carved in the royal fashion (at Sar Mashhad, Naqsh-e Rostam, Ka'ba-ye Zartosht and Naqsh-e Rajab). Under Shapur I, Kartir
Kartir
was made the 'absolute authority' over the 'order of priests' at the Sassanid court and throughout the empire's regions too, with the implication that all regional Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
clergies would now for the first time be subordinated the Persian Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
clerics of Pars. To some extent Kartir
Kartir
was an iconoclast and took it upon himself to help establish numerous Bahram fires throughout Iran
Iran
in the place of the 'bagins / ayazans' (monuments and temples containing images and idols of cult-deities) that had proliferated during the Parthian era. In expressing his doctrinal orthodoxy, Kartir
Kartir
also encouraged an obscure Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
concept known as khvedodah among the common-folk (marriage within the family; between siblings, cousins). At various stages during his long career at court, Kartir
Kartir
also oversaw the periodic persecution of the non-Zoroastrians in Iran, and secured the execution of the prophet Mani during the reign of Bahram I. During the reign of Hormizd I
Hormizd I
(the predecessor and brother of Bahram I) Kartir
Kartir
was awarded the new Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
title of mobad – a clerical title that was to be considered higher than that of the eastern-Iranian (Parthian) title of herbad.[128] Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
calendar reforms under the Sasanians The Persians had long known of the Egyptian calendar, with its 365 days divided into 12 months. However, the traditional Zoroastrian calendar had 12 months of 30 days each. During the reign of Ardashir I, an effort was made to introduce a more accurate Zoroastrian calendar for the year, so 5 extra days were added to it. These 5 extra days were named the Gatha days and had a practical as well as religious use. However, they were still kept apart from the 'religious year', so as not to disturb the long-held observances of the older Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
calendar. Some difficulties arose with the introduction of the first calendar reform, particularly the pushing forward of important Zoroastrian festivals such as Hamaspat-maedaya and Nowruz
Nowruz
on the calendar year by year. This confusion apparently caused much distress among ordinary people, and while the Sassanids tried to enforce the observance of these great celebrations on the new official dates, much of the populace continued to observe them on the older, traditional dates, and so parallel celebrations for Nowruz
Nowruz
and other Zoroastrian celebrations would often occur within days of each other, in defiance of the new official calendar dates, causing much confusion and friction between the laity and the ruling class. A compromise on this by the Sassanids was later introduced, by linking the parallel celebrations as a 6-day celebration/feast. This was done for all except Nowruz. A further problem occurred as Nowruz
Nowruz
had shifted in position during this period from the spring equinox to autumn, although this inconsistency with the original spring-equinox date for Nowruz
Nowruz
had possibly occurred during the Parthian period too. Further calendar reforms occurred during the later Sassanid era. Ever since the reforms under Ardashir I
Ardashir I
there had been no intercalation. Thus with a quarter day being lost each year, the Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
holy year had slowly slipped backwards, with Nowruz
Nowruz
eventually ending up in July. A great council was therefore convened and it was decided that Nowruz
Nowruz
be moved back to the original position it had during the Achaemenid
Achaemenid
period - back to spring. This change probably took place during the reign of Kavad I
Kavad I
in the early 6th century. Much emphasis seems to have been placed during this period on the importance of spring and on its connection with the resurrection and Frashegerd.[128] Three Great Fires

Ruins of Adur Gushnasp, one of three main Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
temples in the Sassanian
Sassanian
Empire

Reflecting the regional rivalry and bias the Sassanids are believed to have held against their Parthian predecessors, it was probably during the Sassanid era that the two great fires in Pars and Media—the Adur Farnbag and Adur Gushnasp
Adur Gushnasp
respectively—were promoted to rival, and even eclipse, the sacred fire in Parthia, the Adur Burzen-Mehr. The Adur Burzen-Mehr, linked (in legend) with Zoroaster
Zoroaster
and Vishtaspa (the first Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
King), was too holy for the Persian magi to put an end to veneration for it, however, it was demoted during the Sassanid era. It was therefore during the Sassanid era that the three Great Fires of the Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
world were given specific associations. The Adur Farnbag in Pars became associated with the magi, Adur Gushnasp
Adur Gushnasp
in Media with warriors, and Adur Burzen-Mehr in Parthia
Parthia
with the lowest estate; farmers and herdsmen. The Adur Gushnasp
Adur Gushnasp
eventually became, by custom, a place of pilgrimage by foot for newly enthroned Kings after their coronation. It is likely that during the Sassanid era that these three Great Fires became central places for pilgrimage among Zoroastrians.[128] Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm
and the elevation of Persian over other Iranian languages The early Sassanids ruled against the use of cult images in worship, and so statues and idols were removed from many temples and where possible; sacred fires were installed instead. This policy extended even to the 'non-Iran' regions of the empire during some periods. Hormizd I
Hormizd I
allegedly destroyed statues erected for the dead in Armenia. However, only cult-statues were removed. The Sassanids continued to use images to represent the deities of Zoroastrianism, including that of Ahura Mazda, in the tradition that was established during the Seleucid era. In the early Sassanid period royal inscriptions often consisted of Parthian, Middle Persian
Middle Persian
and Greek. However, the last time Parthian was used for a royal inscription came during the reign of Narseh, son of Shapur I. It is likely therefore that soon after this, the Sassanids made the decision to impose Persian as the sole official language within Iran, and forbade the use of written Parthian. This had important consequences for Zoroastrianism, given that all secondary literature, including the Zand, were then recorded only in Middle Persian, having a profound impact in orienting Zoroastrianism towards the influence of the Pars region, the homeland of the Sassanids.[128] Developments in Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
literature and liturgy by the Sasanians Some scholars of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
such as Mary Boyce have speculated that it is possible that the yasna service was lengthened during the Sassanid era 'to increase its impressiveness'.[129] This appears to have been done by joining the Gathic Staota Yesnya with the haoma ceremony. Furthermore, it is believed that another longer service developed, known as the Visperad, which derived from the extended yasna. This was developed for the celebration of the seven holy days of obligation (the Gahambars plus Nowruz) and was dedicated to Ahura Mazda. While the very earliest Zoroastrians eschewed writing as a form of demonic practice, the Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Zand, along with much secondary Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
literature, was recorded in writing during the Sassanid era for the first time. Many of these Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
texts were original works from the Sassanid period. Perhaps the most important of these works was the Bundahishn – the mythical Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
story of 'Creation'. Other older works, some from remote antiquity, were possibly translated from different Iranian languages
Iranian languages
into Middle Persian during this period. For example, two works, the Drakht-i Asurig (Assyrian Tree) and Ayadgar-i Zareran (Exploits of Zarter) were probably translated from Parthian originals.

The Sasanians developed an accurate, phonetic alphabet to write down the sacred Avesta

Of great importance for Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
was the creation of the Avestan alphabet by the Sassanids, which enabled the accurate rendering of the Avesta
Avesta
in written form (including in its original language/phonology) for the first time. The alphabet was based on the Pahlavi one, but rather than the inadequacy of that script for recording spoken Middle Persian, the Avestan
Avestan
alphabet had 46 letters, and was well suited to recording Avestan
Avestan
in written form in the way the language actually sounded and was uttered. The Persian magi where therefore finally able to record all surviving ancient Avestan
Avestan
texts in written form. As a result of this development, the Sasanian
Sasanian
Avesta
Avesta
was then compiled into 21 nasks (divisions) to correspond with the 21 words of the Ahunavar invocation. The nasks were further divided into 3 groups of 7. The first group contained the Gathas and all texts associated with them, while the second group contained works of scholastic learning. The final section contained treatises of instruction for the magi, such as the Vendidad, law-texts and other works, such as yashts. An important literary text, the Khwaday-Namag (Book of Kings) was composed during the Sasanian
Sasanian
era. This text is the basis of which the later Shahnameh
Shahnameh
of Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi
drew from. Another important Zoroastrian text from the Sasanian
Sasanian
period includes the Dadestan-e Menog-e Khrad (Judgements of the Spirit of Wisdom).[128] Christianity Main article: Church of the East See also: Christianisation of Armenia
Armenia
and Church of Caucasian Albania Christians in the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
belonged mainly to the Nestorian Church (Church of the East) and the Jacobite Church (Syriac Orthodox Church) branches of Christianity. Although these churches originally maintained ties with Christian churches in the Roman Empire, they were indeed quite different from them. One reason for this was that the liturgical language of the Nestorian and Jacobite Churches was Syriac rather than Greek, the language of Roman Christianity
Christianity
during the early centuries (and the language of Eastern Roman Christianity
Christianity
in later centuries). Another reason for a separation between Eastern and Western Christianity
Christianity
was strong pressure from the Sasanian
Sasanian
authorities to sever connections with Rome, since the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
was often at war with the Roman Empire. Christianity
Christianity
was recognized by king Yazdegerd I
Yazdegerd I
in 409 as an allowable faith within the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire.[130] The major break with mainstream Christianity
Christianity
came in 431, due to the pronouncements of the First Council of Ephesus. The Council condemned Nestorius, a theologian of Cilician/Kilikian origin and the patriarch of Constantinople, for teaching a view of Christology
Christology
in accordance with which he refused to call Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, "Theotokos" or Mother of God. While the teaching of the Council of Ephesus was accepted within the Roman Empire, the Sasanian
Sasanian
church disagreed with the condemnation of Nestorius' teachings. When Nestorius
Nestorius
was deposed as patriarch, a number of his followers fled to the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire. Persian emperors used this opportunity to strengthen Nestorius' position within the Sasanian
Sasanian
church (which made up the vast majority of the Christians in the predominantly Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
Persian Empire) by eliminating the most important pro-Roman clergymen in Persia and making sure that their places were taken by Nestorians. This was to assure that these Christians would be loyal to the Persian Empire, and not to the Roman.[citation needed] Most of the Christians in the Sasanian
Sasanian
empire lived on the western edge of the empire, predominantly in Mesopotamia, but there were also important extant communities in the more northern territories, namely Caucasian Albania, Lazica, Iberia, and the Persian part of Armenia. Other important communities were to be found on the island of Tylos (present day Bahrain), the southern coast of the Persian Gulf, and the area of the Arabian
Arabian
kingdom of Lakhm. Some of these areas were the earliest to be Christianized; the kingdom of Armenia
Armenia
became the first independent Christian state in the world in 301. While a number of Assyrian territories had almost become fully Christianized even earlier during the 3rd century, they never became independent nations.[63] Other religions Some of the recent excavations have discovered the Buddhist, Hindu
Hindu
and Jewish
Jewish
religious sites in the empire.[131] Buddhism
Buddhism
and Hinduism
Hinduism
were competitors of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
in Bactria
Bactria
and Margiana,[132] in the far easternmost territories. A very large Jewish
Jewish
community flourished under Sasanian
Sasanian
rule, with thriving centers at Isfahan, Babylon
Babylon
and Khorasan, and with its own semiautonomous Exilarchate leadership based in Mesopotamia. Jewish
Jewish
communities suffered only occasional persecution. They enjoyed a relative freedom of religion, and were granted privileges denied to other religious minorities.[133] Shapur I (Shabur Malka in Aramaic) was a particular friend to the Jews. His friendship with Shmuel produced many advantages for the Jewish community.[134] He even offered the Jews
Jews
in the Sasanian
Sasanian
empire a fine white Nisaean horse, just in case the Messiah, who was thought to ride a donkey or a mule, would come.[135] Shapur II, whose mother was Jewish, had a similar friendship with a Babylonian rabbi named Rabbah. Raba's friendship with Shapur II
Shapur II
enabled him to secure a relaxation of the oppressive laws enacted against the Jews
Jews
in the Persian Empire. Moreover, in the eastern portion of the empire, various Buddhist places of worship, notably in Bamiyan were active as Buddhism gradually became more popular in that region. Language Official languages During the early Sasanian
Sasanian
period, Middle Persian
Middle Persian
along with Greek and Parthian appeared in the inscriptions of the early Sasanian
Sasanian
kings. However, by the time Narseh
Narseh
(r. 293–302) was ruling, Greek was no longer in use, perhaps due to the disappearance of Greek or the anti-Hellenic Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
clergy had finally managed to remove it once and for all. This was probably also because Greek was a commonplace among the Romans/Byzantines, the rival of the Sasanians.[4] Parthian soon disappeared as an administrate language too, but was continued to be spoken and written in the eastern part of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire, the homeland of the Parthians.[136] Furthermore, many of the Parthian aristocrats who had entered into Sasanian
Sasanian
service after the fall of the Parthian Empire, still spoke Parthian, such as the seven Parthian clans, who possessed much power within the empire. Sometimes one of the members of the clans would even protest against Sasanian
Sasanian
rule. Aramaic, like in the Achaemenid
Achaemenid
Empire, was widely used in the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire, and provided scripts for Middle Persian
Middle Persian
and other languages.[6] Regional languages Although Middle Persian
Middle Persian
was the native language of the Sasanians (who, however, were not originally from Pars), it was only a minority spoken-language in the vast Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire; it only formed the majority of Pars, while it was widespread around Media and its surrounding regions. However, there were several different Persian dialects during that time. Besides Persian, Adhari along with one of its dialects, Tati, was spoken in Adurbadagan
Adurbadagan
(Azerbaijan). Daylamite and Gilaki was spoken in Gilan, while Mazandarani (also known as Tabari) was spoken in Tabaristan
Tabaristan
(Mazandaran). Furthermore, many other languages and dialects were spoken in the two regions.[137] In the Sasanian
Sasanian
territories in the Caucasus, numerous languages were sproken including Georgian, various Kartvelian languages
Kartvelian languages
(notably in Lazica), Middle Persian,[138] Armenian, Caucasian Albanian, Scythian, Greek, and others. In Khuzestan, several languages were spoken; Persian in the north and east, while Aramaic was spoken in the rest of the place.[139] Furthermore, Neo-Elamite was also spoken in the province.[137] In Meshan, the Arameans, along with settled Arabs
Arabs
(known as Mesenian Arabs), and the nomadic Arabs, formed the Semitic population of the province along with Nabataean and Palmyrene merchants. Iranians had also begun to settle in the province, along with the Zutt, who had been deported from India. Other Indian groups such as the Malays may also have been deported to Meshan, either as captives or recruited sailors.[140] In Asoristan
Asoristan
the majority of the people were Aramaic-speaking Nestorian Christians while the Persians, Jews
Jews
and Arabs
Arabs
formed a minority in the province. Due to invasions from the Scythians
Scythians
and their sub-group, the Alans into Azerbaijan, Armenia, and other places in Caucasus, the places gained a larger, although small, Iranian population.[141] Parthian, along with other Iranian dialects and languages was spoken in Khorasan, while to the further east in places which were not always controlled by the Sasanians, Sogdian, Bactrian and Khwarazmian was spoken. To the further south in Sistan, a place which during the Parthian period saw an influx of Scythians
Scythians
to the place, Sistani was spoken.[142][137] Kirman was populated by an Iranian group which closely resembled the Persians, while to the further east in Paratan, Turan
Turan
and Makran, Balochi and non- Iranian languages
Iranian languages
were spoken.[142] In major cities such as Gundeshapur
Gundeshapur
and Ctesiphon, Latin, Greek and Syriac was spoken by Roman/Byzantine prisoners of war. Furthermore, Slavic and Germanic was also spoken in the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire, once again due to the capture of Roman soldiers.[143] Legacy and importance The influence of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
continued long after it fell. The empire, through the guidance of several able emperors prior to its fall, had achieved a Persian renaissance that would become a driving force behind the civilization of the newly established religion of Islam.[144] In modern Iran
Iran
and the regions of the Iranosphere, the Sasanian
Sasanian
period is regarded as one of the high points of Iranian civilization.[145] In Europe

A Sasanian
Sasanian
fortress in Derbent, Russia
Russia
(the Caspian Gates)

Sasanian
Sasanian
culture and military structure had a significant influence on Roman civilization. The structure and character of the Roman army
Roman army
was affected by the methods of Persian warfare. In a modified form, the Roman Imperial autocracy imitated the royal ceremonies of the Sasanian court at Ctesiphon, and those in turn had an influence on the ceremonial traditions of the courts of medieval and modern Europe. The origin of the formalities of European diplomacy is attributed to the diplomatic relations between the Persian governments and the Roman Empire.[146] In Jewish
Jewish
history

"Parsees of Bombay" a wood engraving, c. 1878

Important developments in Jewish
Jewish
history are associated with the Sassanian
Sassanian
Empire. The Babylonian Talmud
Talmud
was composed between the third and sixth centuries in Sasanian
Sasanian
Persia [147] and major Jewish academies of learning were established in Sura and Pumbedita
Pumbedita
that became cornerstones of Jewish
Jewish
scholarship.[148] Several individuals of the Imperial family such as Ifra Hormizd the Queen mother of Shapur II and Queen Shushandukht, the Jewish
Jewish
wife of Yazdegerd I, significantly contributed to the close relations between the Jews
Jews
of the empire and the government in Ctesiphon.[149] In India See also: Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
in India The collapse of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
led to Islam
Islam
slowly replacing Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
as the primary religion of Iran. A large number of Zoroastrians chose to emigrate to escape Islamic persecution. According to the Qissa-i Sanjan, one group of those refugees landed in what is now Gujarat, India, where they were allowed greater freedom to observe their old customs and to preserve their faith. The descendants of those Zoroastrians would play a small but significant role in the development of India. Today there are over 70,000 Zoroastrians in India.[150] The Zoroastrians still use a variant of the religious calendar instituted under the Sasanians. That calendar still marks the number of years since the accession of Yazdegerd III, just as it did in 632. (See also: Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
calendar) Chronology Main articles: List of shahanshahs of the Sasanian Empire
List of shahanshahs of the Sasanian Empire
and Timeline of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire

Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
timeline including important events and territorial evolution.

224–241: Reign of Ardashir I:

224: Overthrow of the Parthian Empire 229–232: War with Rome Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
is revived as official religion The collection of texts known as the Zend Avesta
Avesta
is assembled

241–271: Reign of Shapur I
Shapur I
"the Great":

241–244: War with Rome 252–261: War with Rome. Decisive victory of Persian at Edessa and Capture of Roman emperor
Roman emperor
Valerian 215–271: Mani, founder of Manicheanism

271–301: A period of dynastic struggles. 283: War with Rome. 293: Revolt of Narseh. 296–298: War with Rome – Persia cedes five provinces east of the Tigris
Tigris
to Rome. 309–379: Reign of Shapur II
Shapur II
"the Great":

325: Shapur II
Shapur II
defeats many Arab
Arab
tribes and makes the Lakhmid kingdom his vassal. 337–350: First war with Rome with relatively little success 359–363: Second war with Rome. Rome cedes Northern and Eastern Mesopotamia, Georgia and Armenia
Armenia
including fifteen fortresses as well as Nisibis
Nisibis
to Persia.[151][152]

387: Armenia
Armenia
partitioned into Roman and Persian zones 399–420: Reign of Yazdegerd I
Yazdegerd I
"the Sinner":

410: Church of the East
Church of the East
formalised at the synod of Isaac under the patronage of Yazdegerd. Christians are permitted to publicly worship and to build churches 416–420: Persecution of Christians as Yazdegerd revokes his earlier order

420–438: Reign of Bahram V:

421–422: War with Rome 424: Council of Dad-Ishu declares the Eastern Church independent of Constantinople 428: Persian zone of Armenia
Armenia
annexed to Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire

438–457: Reign of Yazdegerd II:

440: War with the Byzantine Empire, the Romans gives some payments to the Sasanians[153] 449–451: Armenian revolt. Battle of Avarayr
Battle of Avarayr
fought in 451 against the Christian Armenian rebels led by Vardan Mamikonian.

482–3: Armenian and Iberian revolt 483: Edict of Toleration granted to Christians 484: Peroz I
Peroz I
defeated and killed by Hephthalites. The Nvarsak Treaty grants the Armenians
Armenians
the right to profess Christianity
Christianity
freely. 491: Armenian revolt. Armenian Church repudiates the Council of Chalcedon:

Nestorian Christianity
Nestorian Christianity
becomes dominant Christian sect in Sasanian Empire

502–506: War with the Byzantine Empire. In the end the Byzantine Empire
Empire
pays 1,000 pounds of gold to the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire[154] The Sasanians captures Theodosiopolis and Martyropolis. Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
received Amida for 1,000 pounds of gold.[154] 526–532: War with the Byzantine Empire. Treaty of Eternal Peace: The Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
keeps Iberia and the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
receives Lazica & Persarmenia[155] Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
paid tribute 11,000 lbs gold/year[156] 531–579: Reign of Khosrau I, "with the immortal soul" (Anushirvan). 541–562: War with the Byzantine Empire. 572–591: War with the Byzantine Empire. 580: The Sasanians under Hormizd IV
Hormizd IV
abolish the monarchy of the Kingdom of Iberia. Direct control through Sasanian-appointed governors starts. 590: Rebellion of Bahram Chobin
Bahram Chobin
and other Sasanian
Sasanian
nobles, Khosrau II overthrows Hormizd IV
Hormizd IV
but loses the throne to Bahram Chobin. 591: Khosrau II
Khosrau II
regains the throne with help from the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
and cedes Persian Armenia
Armenia
and western half of Iberia to the Byzantine Empire. 593: Attempted usurpation of Hormizd V
Hormizd V
595–602: Rebellion of Vistahm 603–628: War with the Byzantine Empire. Persia occupies Byzantine Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt
Egypt
and the Transcaucasus, before being driven to withdraw to pre-war frontiers by Byzantine counter-offensive 610: Arabs
Arabs
defeat a Sasanian army
Sasanian army
at Dhu-Qar 626: Unsuccessful siege of Constantinople
Constantinople
by Avars, Persians, and Slavs. 627: Byzantine Emperor Heraclius
Heraclius
invades Sasanian
Sasanian
Mesopotamia. Decisive defeat of Persian forces at the battle of Nineveh 628: Kavadh II
Kavadh II
overthrows Khosrau II
Khosrau II
and becomes Shahanshah. 628: A devastating plague kills half of the population in Western Persia, including Kavadh II.[154] 628–632: Civil war 632–644: Reign of Yazdegerd III 636: Decisive Sasanian
Sasanian
defeat at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah
Battle of al-Qādisiyyah
during the Islamic conquest of Iran 641: The Muslims defeats a massive Sasanian army
Sasanian army
with heavy casualties during the Battle of Nihawānd 644: The Muslims conquer Khorasan, Yazdegerd III
Yazdegerd III
becomes a hunted fugitive 651: Yazdegerd III
Yazdegerd III
fled eastward from one district to another, until at last he was killed by a local miller for his purse at Merv (present-day Turkmenistan), ending the dynasty. Yazdegerd is given a burial by the Assyrian bishop Mar Gregory.[157] His son, Peroz III, and many others went into exile in China.[158] See also

Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
portal

Sasanian
Sasanian
art Sasanian
Sasanian
family tree Sasanian
Sasanian
music Military of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire List of Sasanian
Sasanian
revolts and civil wars Romans in Persia Women in the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire

Notes

^ Whence the New Persian
New Persian
terms Iranshahr and Iran,[15]

References

^ a b Book Pahlavi
Book Pahlavi
spelling: (ʾylʾnštr') Inscriptional Pahlavi
Inscriptional Pahlavi
spelling: 𐭠𐭩𐭥𐭠𐭭𐭱𐭲𐭥𐭩 (ʾyrʾnštry), 𐭠𐭩𐭫𐭠𐭭𐭱𐭲𐭥𐭩 (ʾylʾnštry) Modern Persian: ایرانشهر ^ a b (Wiesehofer 1996) ^ "CTESIPHON – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ a b c d Daryaee 2008, pp. 99-100. ^ Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa
Africa
and the Middle East, Vol.1, Ed. Jamie Stokes, (Infobase Publishing, 2009), 601. ^ a b Chyet, Michael L. (1997). Afsaruddin, Asma; Krotkoff, Georg; Zahniser, A. H. Mathias, eds. Humanism, Culture, and Language in the Near East: Studies in Honor of Georg Krotkoff. Eisenbrauns. p. 284. ISBN 978-1-57506-020-0. In the Middle Persian
Middle Persian
period (Parthian and Sasanian
Sasanian
Empires), Aramaic was the medium of everyday writing, and it provided scripts for writing Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, and Khwarezmian.  ^ First Encyclopaedia of Islam: 1913-1936. Brill. 1993. p. 179. ^ Parvaneh Pourshariati, Decline and Fall of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab
Arab
Conquest of Iran, I.B. Tauris, 2008. (p. 4) ^ Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D (December 2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires". Journal of World-Systems Research. 12 (2): 223. ISSN 1076-156X. Retrieved 11 September 2016.  ^ Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D." Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 122. doi:10.2307/1170959. Retrieved 11 September 2016.  ^ South Ossetia
South Ossetia
is not an internationally recognized state. Most countries recognize it as a part of Georgia. See Georgian-Ossetian conflict. ^ Abkhazia
Abkhazia
is not an internationally recognized state. Most countries recognize it as a part of Georgia. See Abkhaz-Georgian conflict. ^ The Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
are not internationally recognized. Many countries recognize them as a part of Israel. See Israeli–Palestinian conflict. ^ Fattah, Hala Mundhir (2009). A Brief History Of Iraq. Infobase Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-8160-5767-2. Historians have also referred to the Sassanian
Sassanian
Empire
Empire
as the Neo-Persian Empire.  ^ MacKenzie, D. N. (2005), A Concise Pahlavi Dictionary, London & New York: Routledge Curzon, p. 120, ISBN 0-19-713559-5  ^ "A Brief History". Culture of Iran. Archived from the original on 21 November 2001. Retrieved 11 September 2009.  ^ a b (Shapur Shahbazi 2005) ^ a b Norman A. Stillman The Jews
Jews
of Arab
Arab
Lands pp 22 Jewish Publication Society, 1979 ISBN 0827611552 ^ a b International Congress of Byzantine Studies Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies, London, 21–26 August 2006, Volumes 1-3 pp 29. Ashgate Pub Co, 30 sep. 2006 ISBN 075465740X ^ Khaleghi-Motlagh, Derafš-e Kāvīān ^ Hourani, p. 87. ^ Will Durant, Age of Faith, (Simon and Schuster, 1950), 150; Repaying its debt, Sasanian art
Sasanian art
exported it forms and motives eastward into India, Turkestan, and China, westward into Syria, Asia Minor, Constantinople, the Balkans, Egypt, and Spain.. ^ " Transoxiana
Transoxiana
04: Sasanians in Africa". Transoxiana.com.ar. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ Sarfaraz, pp. 329–330 ^ a b "Iransaga: The art of Sassanians". Artarena.force9.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ Abdolhossein Zarinkoob: Ruzgaran: tarikh-i Iran
Iran
az aghz ta saqut saltnat Pahlvi, page 305 ^ Frye 2005, p. 461 ^ Farrokh 2007, p. 178 ^ Zarinkoob 1999, p. 194 198 ^ Farrokh 2007, p. 180 ^ Frye, 2005 & p-465 466 ^ Frye 2005, p. 466 467 ^ "5.1-6". Livius.org. 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ Dodgeon-Greatrex-Lieu 2002, p. 24 28 ^ Frye 1993, p. 124 ^ a b Frye 1993, p. 125 ^ Southern 2001, p. 235 236 ^ Frye 1993, p. 126 ^ Southern ^ World History Atlas, Dorling Kindersly ^ Zarinkoob 1999, p. 197 ^ Frye 1968, p. 128 ^ Zarinkoob 1999, p. 199 ^ Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, p. 18. ^ a b Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, p. 18; Potter, The Roman Empire
Empire
at Bay, p. 293. ^ Michael H. Dodgeon; Samuel N. C. Lieu (1991). Galienus conquests:Google Book on Roman Eastern Frontier (part 1). Routledge. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ Zarinkoob 1999, p. 200 ^ Agathias, Histories, 25, 2-5 translated by Dodgeon-Greatrex-Lieu (2002), I, 126 ^ Zarinkoob 1999, p. 206 ^ Blockley 1998, p. 421 ^ a b Frye 1968, p. 137 138 ^ a b Neusner 1969, p. 68 ^ Bury 1923 ^ "XIV.1". Penelope.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ Frye 1993, p. 145 ^ Greatrex-Lieu (2002), II, 37–51 ^ "History of Iran, Chapter V:Sassanians". Archived from the original on 15 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-17.  ^ Zarinkoob, p. 218 ^ Hewsen, Robert H. (August 17, 2011). "AVARAYR". Encyclopædia Iranica. So spirited was the Armenian defense, however, that the Persians suffered enormous losses as well. Their victory was pyrrhic and the king, faced with troubles elsewhere, was forced, at least for the time being, to allow the Armenians
Armenians
to worship as they chose.  ^ Susan Paul Pattie (1997). Faith in History: Armenians
Armenians
Rebuilding Community. Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 40. ISBN 1560986298. The Armenian defeat in the Battle of Avarayr
Battle of Avarayr
in 451 proved a pyrrhic victory for the Persians. Though the Armenians lost their commander, Vartan Mamikonian, and most of their soldiers, Persian losses were proportionately heavy, and Armenia
Armenia
was allowed to remain Christian.  ^ Zarinkoob, p. 217 ^ a b Zarinkoob, p. 219 ^ a b Khodadad Rezakhani. "Iranologie History of Iran
Iran
Chapter V: Sasanians". Iranologie.com. Archived from the original on 6 February 2014. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ Zarinkoob, p. 229. ^ a b c "Richard Frye "The History of Ancient Iran"". Fordham.edu. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ For more on the reforms of Khosrau I, visit http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/reforms_of_anushirvan.php. ^ Martindale, Jones & Morris 1992, pp. 559, 639; Bury 1958, pp. 101–102. ^ a b c d e f " Iran
Iran
Chamber Society: The Sassanid Empire, 224–642 AD". Iranchamber.com. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ a b Haldon (1997), 46; Baynes (1912), passim; Speck (1984), 178 ^ Howard-Johnston 2006, p. 291 ^ Zarinkoob, pp. 305–317 ^ Bashear, Suliman, Arabs
Arabs
and others in Early Islam, p. 117 ^ The Caliphs and Their Non-Muslim Subjects. A. S. Tritton, pg.139. ^ "DABUYIDS". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ "BADUSPANIDS". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ Stokvis A.M.H.J., pp. 112, 129. ^ [1] Guitty Azarpay "The Near East in Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
The Sasanian Empire" ^ Daryaee 2008, p. 125. ^ Sarfaraz, p. 344 ^ a b c d e f Durant. ^ Nicolle, p. 10 ^ Nicolle, p. 14 ^ Wiesehöfer, Ancient Persia, or the Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 3 ^ Daryaee, Touraj (2009). Sasanian
Sasanian
Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. New York NY: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. pp. 45–51.  ^ a b Kaveh Farrokh; Angus McBride (July 13, 2005). Sassanian
Sassanian
elite cavalry AD 224-642. Osprey Publishing. p. 23.  ^ Vadim Mikhaĭlovich Masson, History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Vol.II, (UNESCO, 1996), 52.[2] ^ Kaveh Farrokh (2007). Shadows in the desert: ancient Persia at war. Osprey Publishing. p. 237.  ^ Daryaee, Touraj (2009). Sasanian
Sasanian
Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. New York NY: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. pp. 46–47.  ^ Daryaee 2008, p. 47. ^ Michael Mitterauer; Gerald Chapple (July 15, 2010). Why Europe?: The Medieval Origins of Its Special
Special
Path. University of Chicago Press. p. 106.  ^ Yarshater, Ehsan (1983). The Cambridge History of Iran
Iran
Volume 3 (1): The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian
Sasanian
Periods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. Chapter 15.  ^ Shahbazi, A. Sh. "History of Iran: Sassanian
Sassanian
Army". Retrieved 10 December 2012.  ^ Nicolle, pp. 15–18 ^ George Liska (1998). Expanding Realism: The Historical Dimension of World Politics. Rowman & Littlefield Pub Incorporated. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-8476-8680-3.  ^ "The Rise and Spread of Islam, The Arab
Arab
Empire
Empire
of the Umayyads -Weakness of the Adversary Empires". Occawlonline.pearsoned.com. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2013.  ^ a b c Frye Ancient Iran ^ Farrokh 2007, 237 ^ Kaveh Farrokh (2007), Shadows in the desert: ancient Persia at war, Osprey Publishing, p. 274, ISBN 1-84603-108-7, retrieved 2010-06-29  ^ The Buddhist
Buddhist
Caves at Aurangabad: Transformations in Art and Religion, Pia Brancaccio, BRILL, 2010 p.82 ^ a b Richard N. Frye, The History of Ancient Iran, (C.H. Beck'sche Verlagbuchhandlung, 1984), 298. ^ Zarinkoob, p. 239 ^ "BORZŪYA – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ a b Daniel, p. 57 ^ a b c d e Daryaee 2008, pp. 39-40. ^ Daryaee 2008, pp. 40-41. ^ a b Daryaee 2008, p. 41. ^ a b Daryaee 2008, p. 42. ^ a b c Morony 2005, p. 92. ^ a b Nicolle, p. 11 ^ These four are the three common Indo-European social tripartition common among ancient Iranian, Indian and Romans with one extra Iranian element (from Yashna xix/17). cf. Frye, p. 54. ^ Kāẓim ʻAlamdārī. Why the Middle East Lagged Behind: The Case of Iran. University Press of America. p. 72.  ^ a b Zarinkoob, p. 201 ^ Farazmand, Ali (1998) “Persian/Iranian Administrative Tradition", in Jay M. Shafritz (Editor), International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp 1640–1645 – Excerpt: "Persians never practiced mass slavery, and in many cases the situations and lives of semi-slaves (prisoners of war) were in fact better than the common citizens of Persia." (pg 1642) ^ a b c Daryaee 2008, pp. 58-59. ^ a b K. D. Irani, Morris Silver, Social Justice in the Ancient World , 224 pp., Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995, ISBN 0-313-29144-6, ISBN 978-0-313-29144-9 (see p.87) ^ Zhivkov, Boris (2015). Khazaria in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries. BRILL. p. 78. ISBN 9789004294486.  ^ Jona Lendering (2006-03-31). " Sasanian
Sasanian
crowns". Livius.org. Retrieved 2013-06-30.  ^ Iranian cultural heritage news agency (CHN)[dead link] ^ Parviz Marzban, p.36 ^ Fergusson, History of Architecture, vol. i, 3rd edition, pp. 381−3. ^ a b Tafazzoli & Khromov, p. 48 ^ a b Nicolle, p. 6 ^ "Sassanids Used Commercial Labels: Iranian Archeologists". Payvand. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-25.  ^ Frye, p. 325 ^ Sarfaraz, p. 353 ^ a b Ehsan Yarshater. The Cambridge History of Iran: The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian
Sasanian
Periods, (Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 879–880. ^ a b Manfred Hutter. Numen, Vol. 40, No. 1, " Manichaeism
Manichaeism
in the Early Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire", (BRILL, 1993), pp. 5–9 ^ a b c d e f Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, 2nd edition. Mary Boyce, (Routledge; Dec 2000). ^ Mark Boyce. Their Religious Beliefs and Practices The Library of Religious Beliefs and Practices. pp. 123–125.  ^ Alexander A. Vasiliev, History of the Byzantine Empire, 324–1453, Vol. I, (University of Wisconsin Press, 1980), 96-97. ^ Front Cover Jamsheed Kairshasp Choksy (1997). Conflict and Cooperation: Zoroastrian
Zoroastrian
Subalterns and Muslim Elites in Medieval Iranian Society. Columbia University Press. p. 5.  ^ Ahmad Hasan Dani; B. A. Litvinsky. History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The crossroads of civilizations, A.D. 250 to 750. UNESCO. p. 410.  ^ Zarinkoob, p. 272 ^ Zarinkoob, p. 207 ^ Jona Lendering. "Livius article on Sassanid Empire". Livius.org. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ Daryaee 2008, pp. 116-117. ^ a b c Daryaee 2008, p. 101. ^ Shnirelman, V.A.(2001), 'The value of the Past: Myths, Identity and Politics in Transcaucasia', Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology. pp 79: "Yet, even at the time of Caucasian Albania
Caucasian Albania
and later on, as well, the region was greatly affected by Iran
Iran
and Persian enjoyed even more success than the Albanian language". ^ Christopher Brunner 1975, p. 754. ^ Christopher Brunner 1975, p. 755. ^ Christopher Brunner 1975, p. 763. ^ a b Christopher Brunner 1975, pp. 772-773. ^ Daryaee 2008, p. 102. ^ Sasanian
Sasanian
Iran, 224- 651 AD: portrait of a late antique empire - Page 20 ^ The Iranians: Persia, Islam
Islam
and the soul of a nation - Page 33 ^ Bury, p. 109 ^ [3] ^ The fire, the star and the cross by Aptin Khanbaghi(2006) pg 6 ^ A. Khanbaghi(2006) pg 9 ^ "Parsi population in India
India
declines". Payvand's Iran
Iran
News ... Payvand. September 7, 2004. Retrieved 3 September 2009.  ^ "SHAPUR II". Encyclopaedia Iranica. 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ "BYZANTINE-IRANIAN RELATIONS". Encyclopaedia Iranica. 1990-12-15. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ "YAZDEGERD II". Encyclopaedia Iranica. 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ a b c "SASANIAN DYNASTY". Encyclopaedia Iranica. 2005-07-20. Retrieved 2013-12-16.  ^ John W Barker, Justinian and the later Roman Empire, 118. ^ John W Barker, Justinian and the later Roman Empire, (University of Wisconsin Press, 1966), 118. ^ "All about Oscar". P2.britannica.com. 2001-09-11. Retrieved 2013-06-30.  ^ "Pirooz in China". Chinapage.com. 2000-08-11. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 

Bibliography

G. Reza Garosi (2012): The Colossal Statue of Shapur I
Shapur I
in the Context of Sasanian
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Sculptures. Publisher: Persian Heritage Foundation, New York. G. Reza Garosi (2009), Die Kolossal-Statue Šāpūrs I. im Kontext der sasanidischen Plastik. Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Mainz, Germany. Baynes, Norman H. (1912), "The restoration of the Cross at Jerusalem", The English Historical Review, 27 (106): 287–299, doi:10.1093/ehr/XXVII.CVI.287, ISSN 0013-8266  Blockley, R.C. (1998), "Warfare and Diplomacy", in Averil Cameron; Peter Garnsey, The Cambridge Ancient History: The Late Empire, A.D. 337-425, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-30200-5  Börm, Henning (2007), Prokop und die Perser. Untersuchungen zu den Römisch-Sasanidischen Kontakten in der ausgehenden Spätantike, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, ISBN 978-3-515-09052-0  Börm, Henning (2008). "Das Königtum der Sasaniden - Strukturen und Probleme. Bemerkungen aus althistorischer Sicht." Klio 90, pp. 423ff. Börm, Henning (2010). "Herrscher und Eliten in der Spätantike." In: Henning Börm, Josef Wiesehöfer (eds.): Commutatio et contentio. Studies in the Late Roman, Sasanian, and Early Islamic Near East. Düsseldorf: Wellem, pp. 159ff. Börm, Henning (2016). "A Threat or a Blessing? The Sasanians and the Roman Empire". In: Carsten Binder, Henning Börm, Andreas Luther (eds.): Diwan. Studies in the History and Culture of the Ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Duisburg: Wellem, pp. 615ff. Daniel, Elton L. (2001), The History of Iran, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, ISBN 978-0-313-30731-7  Daryaee, Touraj (2008). Sasanian
Sasanian
Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. I.B.Tauris. pp. 1–240. ISBN 0857716662.  Dodgeon, Michael H.; Greatrex, Geoffrey; Lieu, Samuel N. C. (2002), The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (Part I, 226-363 AD), Routledge, ISBN 0-415-00342-3  Durant, Will, The Story of Civilization, 4: The Age Of Faith, New York: Simon and Schuster, ISBN 978-0-671-21988-8  Farrokh, Kaveh (2007), Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War, Osprey Publishing, ISBN 1-84603-108-7  Frye, R.N. (1993), "The Political History of Iran
Iran
under the Sassanians", in William Bayne Fisher; Ilya Gershevitch; Ehsan Yarshater; R. N. Frye; J. A. Boyle; Peter Jackson; Laurence Lockhart; Peter Avery; Gavin Hambly; Charles Melville, The Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-20092-X  Frye, R.N. (2005), "The Sassanians", in Iorwerth Eiddon; Stephen Edwards, The Cambridge Ancient History - XII - The Crisis of Empire, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-30199-8  Greatrex, Geoffrey; Lieu, Samuel N. C. (2002), The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (Part II, 363–630 AD), Routledge, ISBN 0-415-14687-9  Haldon, John (1997), Byzantium in the Seventh Century: the Transformation of a Culture, Cambridge, ISBN 0-521-31917-X  Hourani, Albert (1991), A History of the Arab
Arab
Peoples, London: Faber and Faber, pp. 9–11, 23, 27, 75, 87, 103, 453, ISBN 0-571-22664-7  Howard-Johnston, James: "The Sasanian's Strategic Dilemma". In: Henning Börm - Josef Wiesehöfer (eds.), Commutatio et contentio. Studies in the Late Roman, Sasanian, and Early Islamic Near East, Wellem Verlag, Düsseldorf 2010, pp. 37–70. Martindale, John Robert; Jones, Arnold Hugh Martin; Morris, J., eds. (1992). The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Volume III: A.D. 527–641. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-20160-5.  Khaleghi-Motlagh, Djalal (1996), "Derafš-e Kāvīān", Encyclopedia Iranica, 7, Cosa Mesa: Mazda, archived from the original on 7 April 2008.  Mackenzie, David Neil (2005), A Concise Pahalvi Dictionary (in Persian), Trans. by Mahshid Mirfakhraie, Tehrān: Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies, p. 341, ISBN 964-426-076-7  Neusner, Jacob (1969), A History of the Jews
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in Babylonia: The Age of Shapur II, BRILL, ISBN 90-04-02146-9  Nicolle, David (1996), Sassanian
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Armies: the Iranian Empire
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Early 3rd to Mid-7th Centuries AD, Stockport: Montvert, ISBN 978-1-874101-08-6 . Rawlinson, George, The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World: The Seventh Monarchy: History of the Sassanian
Sassanian
or New Persian Empire, IndyPublish.com, 2005 [1884]. Sarfaraz, Ali Akbar, and Bahman Firuzmandi, Mad, Hakhamanishi, Ashkani, Sasani, Marlik, 1996. ISBN 964-90495-1-7 Southern, Pat (2001), "Beyond the Eastern Frontiers", The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-23943-5  Parviz Marzban, Kholaseh Tarikhe Honar, Elmiv Farhangi, 2001. ISBN 964-445-177-5 Shapur Shahbazi, A. (2005), " Sasanian
Sasanian
Dynasty", Encyclopedia Iranica, Columbia University Press, 1  Speck, Paul (1984), "Ikonoklasmus und die Anfänge der Makedonischen Renaissance", Varia 1 (Poikila Byzantina 4), Rudolf Halbelt, pp. 175–210  Stokvis A.M.H.J., Manuel d'Histoire, de Généalogie et de Chronologie de tous les Etats du Globe depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu'à nos jours, Leiden, 1888–1893 (ré-édition en 1966 par B.M.Israel) Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D. (November 2004), East-West Orientation of Historical Empires (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 27 May 2008, retrieved 2008-05-02  Wiesehöfer, Josef (1996), Ancient Persia, New York: I.B. Taurus  Wiesehöfer, Josef: The Late Sasanian
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Further reading

Christensen, A (January 2, 1939), "Sassanid Persia", in Cook, S. A., The Cambridge Ancient History, XII: The Imperial Crisis and Recovery (A.D. 193–324), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-04494-4  Michael H. Dodgeon, Samuel N. C. Lieu. The Roman Eastern frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363). Part 1. Routledge. London, 1994 ISBN 0-415-10317-7 Howard-Johnston, J.D. (2006), East Rome, Sasanian
Sasanian
Persia and the End of Antiquity: Historiographical and Historical Studies, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., ISBN 0-860-78992-6  Labourt, J. Le Christianisme dans l'empire Perse, sous la Dynastie Sassanide (224-632). Paris: Librairie Victor Lecoffre, 1904. Oranskij, I. M. (1977), Les langues Iraniennes (translated by Joyce Blau) (in French), Paris: Klincksieck, ISBN 978-2-252-01991-7  Edward Thomas (1868), Early Sassanian
Sassanian
inscriptions, seals and coins, London: Trübner, p. 137, retrieved 2011-07-05  (Original from the Bavarian State Library) Edward Thomas (1868), Early Sassanian
Sassanian
inscriptions, seals and coins, London: Trübner, p. 137, retrieved 2011-07-05  (Original from the New York Public Library)

External links

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Chamber Society ECAI.org The Near East in Late Antiquity: The Sasanian
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Empire Google Book on Roman Eastern Frontier (part 1) A Review of Sassanid Images and Inscriptions, on Iran
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Chamber Society Sassanid crowns Sassanid coins Sassanid textile Islamic Metalwork The continuation of Sassanid Art Sasanians in Africa
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Provinces of the Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire

Abarshahr Adurbadagan Albania Arbayistan Armenia Asoristan Balasagan Dihistan Egypt* Eran-Khwarrah-Yazdegerd* Garamig Garamig ud Nodardashiragan Gurgan Harev Iberia India Khuzestan Kirman Kushanshahr Khwarazm Lazica Machelonia Makuran Marw Mazun Media Meshan Nodardashiragan Paradan Padishkhwargar Pars Sakastan Sogdia Spahan Turgistan

* indicates short living provinces

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Iran
Iran
topics

History

Prehistory

Ancient

3400–550 BCE

Kura-Araxes culture
Kura-Araxes culture
(3400–2000 BC) Proto-Elamite
Proto-Elamite
civilization (3200–2800 BC) Elamite dynasties (2800–550 BC) Akkadian Empire
Akkadian Empire
(c.2334 BC–c.2154 BC) Kassites
Kassites
(c.1500–c.1155 BC) Kingdom of Mannai (10th–7th century BC) Neo-Assyrian Empire
Neo-Assyrian Empire
(911–609 BC) Urartu
Urartu
(860 BC–590 BC) Median Empire
Empire
(728–550 BC) (Scythian Kingdom) (652–625 BC) Neo-Babylonian Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
(626–539 BC)

550 BC – 224 AD

Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
(550–330 AD) Kingdom of Armenia
Armenia
(331 BC–428 AD) Atropatene
Atropatene
(320s BC–3rd century AD) Kingdom of Cappadocia
Kingdom of Cappadocia
(320s BC–17 AD) Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
(330 BC–150 AD) Kingdom of Pontus
Kingdom of Pontus
(281 BC–62 AD) Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
(248 BC –  224 AD)

224–651 AD

Sasanian
Sasanian
Empire
Empire
(224–651 AD)

Medieval

637 – 1055

Patriarchal Caliphate
Caliphate
(637–651) Umayyad Caliphate
Umayyad Caliphate
(661–750) Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
(750–1258) Tahirid dynasty
Tahirid dynasty
(821–873) Alavid dynasty (864–928) Saffarid dynasty
Saffarid dynasty
(861–1003) Samanid dynasty
Samanid dynasty
(819–999) Ziyarid dynasty
Ziyarid dynasty
(928–1043) Buyid dynasty
Buyid dynasty
(934–1062)

975–1432

Ghaznavid Empire
Empire
(975–1187) Ghurid dynasty
Ghurid dynasty
(1011–1215) Seljuk Empire
Seljuk Empire
(1037–1194) Khwarazmian dynasty
Khwarazmian dynasty
(1077–1231) Eldiguzids
Eldiguzids
(1135/36-1225) Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
(1256–1335) Kurt dynasty
Kurt dynasty
(1231–1389) Muzaffarid dynasty (1314–1393) Chobanid dynasty (1337–1357) Jalairid Sultanate
Jalairid Sultanate
dynasty (1339–1432)

1370–1925

Timurid Empire
Timurid Empire
(1370–1507) Qara Qoyunlu Turcomans (1375–1468) Ag Qoyunlu
Ag Qoyunlu
Turcomans (1378–1508) Safavid
Safavid
Empire
Empire
(1501 – 1722 / 1736) Afsharid dynasty
Afsharid dynasty
(1736–50) Zand Dynasty (1750–94) Qajar Dynasty (1794–1925)

Khanates of the Caucasus
Caucasus
(18th century–20th century)

Modern

1925–1979

Pahlavi dynasty
Pahlavi dynasty
(1925–1979) Iran
Iran
Constituent Assembly, 1949 1953 coup d'état Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
(1979) Interim Government

Islamic Republic

History (1979–) Arab
Arab
separatism in Khuzestan

Embassy siege (1980)

Iran– Iraq
Iraq
War (1980–88) Iranian pilgrim massacre (1987) Iran
Iran
Air Flight 655 shootdown (1988) PJAK insurgency Balochistan conflict Syrian Civil War Military intervention against ISIL

See also

Ancient Iran Greater Iran Iranic peoples (languages) Kura–Araxes culture Jiroft culture Aryans Persian people Azerbaijanis Caucasian peoples Kings of Persia Heads of state Cities Military history History of democracy List of years in Iran

Geography

Cities (list) Earthquakes Iranian Azerbaijan Iranian Balochistan Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests Caucasus Iranian Kurdistan Iranian Plateau Lake Urmia Islands Mountains Provinces Wildlife

Politics

General

Censorship Constitution (Persian Constitutional Revolution) Elections (2009 presidential Green Revolution) Foreign relations Human rights (LGBT) Judicial system Military (Army Air Force Navy) Ministry of Intelligence and National Security Cyberwarfare Nuclear program (UN Security Council Resolution 1747) Political parties Principlists Propaganda Reformists Terrorism (state-sponsorship allegations) White Revolution
White Revolution
(1963) Women's rights movement

Councils

Assembly (or Council) of Experts Expediency Discernment Council City and Village Councils Guardian Council Islamic Consultative Assembly
Islamic Consultative Assembly
(parliament) Supreme National Security Council

Officials

Ambassadors President Provincial governors Supreme Leader

Economy

General

Bonyad
Bonyad
(charitable trust) Brain drain Companies (Automotive industry) Corruption Economic Cooperation Organization
Economic Cooperation Organization
(ECO) Economic history Economic Reform Plan Energy Environmental issues Foreign direct investment Intellectual property International oil bourse International rankings Iran
Iran
and the World Trade Organization Taxation Main economic laws Economy of the Middle East Milad Tower
Milad Tower
and complex Military equipment manufactured Nuclear program (UN Security Council Resolution 1747) Privatization Rial (currency) Space Agency Setad Supreme Audit Court Tehran Stock Exchange Venture capital (Technology start-ups)

Sectors

Agriculture (fruit) Banking and insurance (Banks (Central Bank) Electronic banking) Construction Defense Health care (Pharmaceuticals) Industry Mining Petroleum (Anglo-Persian Oil Company) Telecommunications and IT (TCI) Transport (airlines metro railways shipping) Tourism

State-owned companies

Defense Industries Organization
Defense Industries Organization
(DIO) Industrial Development and Renovation Organization (IDRO) Iran
Iran
Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO) Iran
Iran
Electronics Industries (IEI) National Iranian Oil Company
National Iranian Oil Company
(NIOC) National Development Fund

Places

Asaluyeh
Asaluyeh
industrial corridor Chabahar Free Trade-Industrial Zone Kish Island
Kish Island
Free Trade Zone Research centers

Society

Demographics

Languages

Persian (Farsi) Armenian Azerbaijani Kurdish Georgian Neo-Aramaic Iranian languages

Peoples

Iranian citizens (abroad) Ethnic minorities

Armenians Assyrians Azerbaijanis Circassians Georgians Kurds Persian Jews Turkmen

Religion

Islam Bahá'í (persecution) Christianity Zoroastrians (persecution) minorities

Other

Corruption Crime Education (higher scientists and scholars universities) Brain drain Health care International rankings Nationality Water supply and sanitation Women

Culture

Architecture (Achaemenid architects) Art (modern / contemporary) Blogs Calendars (Persian New Year (Nowruz)) Chādor (garment) Chicago Persian antiquities dispute Cinema Crown jewels Cuisine Folklore Intellectual movements Iranians Iranian studies Islam (Islamization) Literature Media (news agencies (student) newspapers) Mythology National symbols (Imperial Anthem) Opium consumption Persian gardens Persian name Philosophy Public holidays Scouting Sport (football)

Music

Folk Heavy metal Pop Rap and hip-hop Rock and alternative Traditional Ey Iran

Other topics

Science and technology Anti-Iranian sentiment Tehrangeles

Category Portal WikiProject Commons

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Empires

Ancient

Akkadian Egyptian Assyrian Babylonian Carthaginian Chinese

Qin Han Jin Northern Wei Tang

Hellenistic

Macedonian Seleucid

Hittite Indian

Nanda Maurya Satavahana Shunga Gupta Harsha

Iranian

Elamite Median Achaemenid Parthian Sasanian

Kushan Mongol

Xianbei Xiongnu

Roman

Western Eastern

Teotihuacan

Post-classical

Arab

Rashidun Umayyad Abbasid Fatimid Córdoba

Aragonese Angevin Aztec Benin Bornu Bruneian Bulgarian

First Second

Byzantine

Nicaea Trebizond

Carolingian Chinese

Sui Tang Song Yuan

Ethiopian

Zagwe Solomonic

Georgian Hunnic Inca Indian

Chola Gurjara-Pratihara Pala Eastern Ganga dynasty Delhi Vijayanagara

Iranian

Samanid

Kanem Khmer Latin Majapahit Malaccan Mali Mongol

Yuan Golden Horde Chagatai Khanate Ilkhanate

Moroccan

Idrisid Almoravid Almohad Marinid

North Sea Oyo Roman Serbian Somali

Ajuran Ifatite Adalite Mogadishan Warsangali

Songhai Srivijaya Tibetan Turko-Persian

Ghaznavid Great Seljuk Khwarezmian Timurid

Vietnamese

Ly Tran Le

Wagadou

Modern

Ashanti Austrian Austro-Hungarian Brazilian Central African Chinese

Ming Qing China Manchukuo

Ethiopian French

First Second

German

First/Old Reich Second Reich Third Reich

Haitian

First Second

Indian

Maratha Sikh Mughal British Raj

Iranian

Safavid Afsharid

Japanese Johor Korean Mexican

First Second

Moroccan

Saadi Alaouite

Russian USSR Somali

Gobroon Majeerteen Hobyo Dervish

Swedish Tongan Turkish

Ottoman Karaman Ramazan

Vietnamese

Tay Son Nguyen Vietnam

Colonial

American Belgian British

English

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Lists

Empires

largest

ancient great powers medieval great powers m

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