SASANIAN DYNASTY, the last Persian lineage of rulers to achieve hegemony over much of Western Asia before Islam, ruled 224 CEľ650 CE.


Rise of the Sasanian empire. The overthrow of the Arsacid royal house in 224 CE and the establishment of the Sasanian dynasty was the outcome of the simultaneous decline of the Parthian state brought about by chronic civil strife, a devastating epidemic of smallpox, repeated wars with Roman forces (who sacked Ctesiphon in 165 and 198), and the gradual ascendancy of a Persian family with religious and political bases of support. The Arsacid empire was divided between two rival brothers: Vologeses VI (207-27), who ruled from Ctesiphon, and Ardava@n (212-24), who held Media and Khuzistan (see ARTABANUS IV). The Roman emperor Caracalla (q.v.) encouraged discord between the two, and himself trapped and massacred Ardava@n's supporters and sacked Arbela and many Armenian forts in 217. Although Ardava@n regrouped and even defeated the Romans in the same year, his authority was seriously weakened (Bivar, 1983, pp. 92-97).



These troubles evoked political ambition in "Lord Sa@sa@n"(Sa@sa@n xˇada@y), "a great warrior and hunter," the custodian of the "Fire Temple of Ana@hid" at Esßtßak˛r, who married a princess of the Ba@zarangid family, the vassal dynasty of Fa@rs (T«abari, I, pp. 813-14). Their son Pa@pak (see BA┌BAK) consolidated his power with the help of his own sons, ła@pur and ArdaŠir. The three of them are represented on the wall of the Harem of Xerxes at Persepolis (q.v.)Śevidence, it has been suggested, of a claim to Achaemenid heritage (Calmeyer, 1976, pp. 65-67; figs. 3 and 4). The coins of ła@pur bear his image and that of his father, and its combined legend reads: bgy Šh┬pwh┬ry MLK' BRH bgy p'pky MLK' "divine [= Majesty] Shapur the King, son of divine Pa@pak the King" (Alram, 1986, p. 185, Pl. 22, nos. 653-56). ArdaŠir was more ambitious. After making himself the castellan (argbed) of Da@ra@bgerd and enticing his father to kill the Ba@zrangid king of Esßtßak˛r, he rose in open rebellion in the Seleucid year 523, i.e., 212 CE. Claiming that he was the inheritor of the ancient kings and destined to revive their glory and reunite all peoples of Persia, he began to conquer local rulers of Fa@rs (T«abari, I, pp. 813, 815-16; Widengren, 1971). His coins (Alram, 1999) show his father's image on the reverse but he himself is represented on the obverse and full-faced (a well-known sign of rebellion in Parthian numismatics), with the combined legend bgy 'rthߊtr MLK' BRH bgy p'pky MLK' "divine [= Majesty] ArdaŠir, son of divine Pa@pk the King" (see also Herzfeld, 1924, I, p. 37; Alram, 1986, Pl. 22, nos. 657-59; 1999, pp. 68 ff.). With the death of Pa@pak ła@pur succeeded him in Esßtßak˛r but was accidentally killed at Persepolis. The mention of Shapur as a legitimate king for whom Shapur, son of ArdaŠir, endowed pious foundations (Huyse, 1999, I, p. 49) militates against the report in T«abari (I, p. 816) that Shapur was about to wage war on Ardasir for his refusal to recognize his authority.



Thereupon ArdaŠir reigned as the leader of the Sasanian house (T«abari, p. 816); and he went on to conquer, within 12 years, local dynasts of Fa@rs and neighboring regions (Mas┐udi, Moruj II, p. 161; Widengren, 1971). Well acquainted with historical reality, he adopted the newer, more flexible chain armor of the Roman type, while the Parthians still used the older lamellar and scale armor (Bivar, 1972, pp. 275-76; see also ARMY i., ARMOR). On 30 Mehr (= 28 May) 224 ArdaŠir vanquished Ardava@n at the battle of Hormzdaga@n (q.v.) and assumed the title "King of Kings of Iran." He commemorated the event in his victory relief carved at the approach to his early capital, ArdaŠir K˛orra (see FIRUZA┌B┌A┌D), as well as in three investiture reliefs showing him receiving the symbol of sovereignty from Ohrmazd (see ARDAłIR I ii.). Afterwards, ArdaŠir captured Ctesiphon, annexed parts of Armenia and northwest Arabia, and reduced by force or political stratagem eastern Iran and the western provinces of the Kushan empire, an area which henceforth was ruled by Sasanian princes known as the "Kushano-Sasanian" kings (see HORMOZD KUłA┌NłA┌H and INDIA iv.). Then he returned to the western front and took some Roman border towns and besieged Hatra. This brought about the war with Rome (Felix, 1985, pp. 32-42; Winter, 1988, pp. 45-79 with literature). ArdaŠir, pretending to be the heir of the Achaemenids (Dio Cassius 80.4.1; Herodian 6.2.1-2; see Shahbazi, 2002, with previous literature), laid claim to the eastern provinces of the Roman empire, fought with a good measure of success against Alexander Severus, and again invested Hatra, which fell in 240 (see ARDAłIR I).



ArdaŠir symbolized his ideology on an imperial coinage (Lukonin, 1965, pp. 165-66; Alram, 1999), which he introduced in silver (Gk. drachma > NPers. derham), and gold (dina@r), the latter in imitation of the Achaemenid practice (G÷bl, p. 25; cf. p. 27). The obverse shows his bust, wearing a new type of crown, consisting of a diademed headgear surmounted by the korymbos, a fine, bejeweled fabric encasing the top hair in a glob-like fashion; it became the identifying feature of the Sasanian kings (on the symbolism of Sasanian crowns, see Herzfeld, 1938, pp. 91-158; Erdmann, 1951). The legend is also new (Klima, 1956; Sundermann, 1988): mzdysn bgy ¸rthߊtr MLK'n MLK' 'yr'n MNW ctry MN yzd'n "Mazda-worshipping divine [=Majesty] ArdaŠir King of Kings of Iran whose seed is from gods." Having re-united the Iranians (hence his traditional epithet, "the Unifier"; Maqdisi, III, p. 156), he adopted what appears to have been the old designation of their landsŚE┌ra@nŠahr "Empire of the Iranians"Śto serve as the official name of his country (Shahbazi, "The History of the Idea of Iran," forthcoming; for a different interpretation, see Gnoli, 1989). His title, as elaborated by Shapur I (see below), became the standard designations of the Sasanian sovereigns. The reverse of his imperial coins shows a fire holder placed on a platform throne, which is itself supported by a stepped altar (both directly copied from the representations on the Achaemenid tombs, see Pfeiler, 1973), and the legend NWR¸ ZY ¸rthߊtr "Fire of ArdaŠir" (Alram, 1986, p. 187). ArdaŠir abandoned the Seleucid and Arsacid practice of dating by dynastic eras and returned to the Achaemenid usage of counting by regnal years. The fire of each king was kindled on his accession (again an Achaemenid tradition, cf. Diodorus Siculus, 17.114, explained by Shahbazi, 1980, p. 132), and later Sasanian kings inscribed their regnal year on the coin reverse next to the fire. The legend conveyed "year X of the sacred fire of King Y" (Henning, 1957, p. 117, n. 2); "years of the sacred fire" meant "regnal years."



ArdaŠir succeeded in creating a "Second Persian empire" which was recognized for over four centuries as one of the two great powers in Western Asia and Europe (see BYZANTINE-IRANIAN RELATIONS; see further Widengren, 1976; Howard-Johnston, 1991). It also "stood as a great shield in defense of the culture of Western Asia" against the constant onrush of Central Asian nomads (Ghirshman, 1954, p. 355). He left a lasting memory as a model king (see ARDAłIR I), a city-builder (no fewer than eight were said to have been founded by him [T«abari, I, p. 820; N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 19-20]), an administrative reformer, and a consolidator of the Zoroastrian religion. He did not, however, elevate Zoroastrianism to be the state religion, as Sasanian-based sources claimed; and the clerical hierarchy was not yet fully organized (see Gignoux, 1984). He replaced vassal kings with his own sons and relatives, and he centralized the state revenue and authority by developing an efficient bureaucracy and by strengthening the military.


He continued the Arsacid tradition of entrusting high state positions to great noble families such as the Su@re@n, Mehra@n, and Ka@ren (Henning, 1954, pp. 425-27; Maricq, 1958, p. 66; Lukonin, 1969, p. 38), to the extent that Sasanian E┌ra@nŠahr was described as "the empire of Persians and Parthians" (see MacKenzie, 1993, pp. 106, 108). Indeed, during the Sasanian period most of the Great Houses of Persia (see HAFT) were Parthian, more specifically Arsacid (N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 127-28, 139-40, 438-39; Christensen, Iran. Sass., pp.103-6). They intermarried with the Sasanian families and held the highest civil and military positions in the empire. A calendar reform is attributed to ArdaŠir, as is the introduction of the game of backgammon (Nard-ArdaŠir > nard, but see F. Rozenthal, "Nard," EI2 VII, p. 963). A political testament (┐ahd) ascribed to him remained the most respected manual on statecraft well into the Islamic period (┐Abba@s, 1967, pp. 33-45; see also ANDARZ i.). Late Sasanian storytellers shrouded the rise of the dynasty (N÷ldeke, 1878; Gutschmid, 1880) and the career of its first kings in a series of legends (see BA┌BAK, łA┌PUR I).


Wars with Rome. In his last years, ArdaŠir had made ła@pur, his eldest son, co-regent, and the latter participated in the capture of Hatra (Chaumont, 1974; Ghirshman, 1975). Then ArdaŠir retired, and Shapur succeeded him as the sole ruler (12 April 240) and reigned until May 270. He left several inscriptions, most notably one on the walls of the Ka┐ba-ye ZardoŠt (q.v.) which is in Parthian, Middle Persian, and Greek (hereafter łKZ; Huyse, 1999). Historically it is the most important inscriptional record next to that of Darius I at Bisotun (q.v.); it records his Roman wars (Honnigmann and Maricq, 1953; Maricq, 1958; Kettenhoffen, 1982; Felix, 1985, pp. 43-89; Winter, 1988, pp. 80-123); and it provides a clear picture of the extent of his empire (cf. Gignoux, 1971; Chaumont, 1975) by naming its provinces, describing religious foundations, and mentioning relatives and senior officials who lived at the court of Pa@pak, ArdaŠir, and ła@pur. He tells us that upon his accession, the emperor Gordianus (III) "marched on Assyria, against E┌ra@nŠahr and against us" but perished in battle, and his successor Philip "came to us for terms, and he became our tributary." Afterwards ła@pur annexed most of Roman Armenia, appointed his own son, Hormozd-ArdaŠir "Great King of Armenia" (see Chaumont, 1968), and took and plundered many cities of Syria, Cilicia, and Cappadocia. Finally, in 260 he trapped and captured the emperor Valerian and his entire army of 70,000 (which included many senators, dignitaries, and officers) near Carrhae. All were deported, together with many of the inhabitants of the captured cities, and settled in royal domains (dstkrt) throughout Iran (see DEPORTATION ii.). A number of the deportees were Christian; no longer persecuted by pagan Roman authorities, they flourished (Labourt, 1904, pp. 18 ff.). For a long time they continued to speak and write in their native Greek or Syriac languages (Brock, 1982).



Because his empire now incorporated so many non-Iranians, ła@pur elaborated his titles to "King of kings of E┌ra@n (Iran) and Ane@ra@n (non-Iran)," which henceforth became the customary title of Sasanian sovereigns. ła@pur also illustrated his triumphs in a number of rock-relies at Da@ra@bgerd, BiŠa@pur, and NaqŠ-e Rostam, (see Hinz, 1969; see also SASANIAN ROCK-RELIEFS), in which the young Gordianus is represented as fallen, Philip as kneeling (entreating for peace), and Valerian as standing, with his wrist firmly grasped by the victor (a traditional gesture symbolizing capture; see MacDermot, 1959, p. 78). In his eleventh year ła@pur had to march to the eastern borders and quell a rebellion in Khorasan (T«abari, I, p. 826). According to łKZ, his empire included "Marv, Hera@t and all of AparŠahr ... the Kushan Kingdom (Ku@Ša@nŠahr) up to Peshawar and up to Ka@Šg@ar, Sogdiana and to the mountians of Tashkent" (Huyse 1999, I, pp. 23-24; for the empire and its provinces see Marquart, E┌ra@nŠahr; Chaumont, 1975; Brunner, 1983; Gyselen, 1989; Hewsen, 1992).



ła@pur I was known as a builder and a patron of knowledge. He constructed dams and bridges, forts and towns, and developed industries and trade. He had Greeks and Indian works on sciences and Greek scientific works translated into Middle Persian and even incorporated them into the Avesta (Boyce, 1968, pp. 36-37 with literature). His tolerant religious policy encouraged Mani (q.v.), the founder of Manicheism, to preach freely; he even attempted to convert the Great king. Mani dedicated a compendium of his doctrine in Middle Persian translation to the king, calling it ł┌a@hbuhraga@n (q.v). ła@pur declined the offer of salvation, and kept to his Mazdean faith; but, like his father, he did not give it the status of the national religion.


Particularism and religious conflicts. Sasanian society was basically comprised of three classes (see CLASS SYSTEM ii.): the warriors, the commoners ("cultivators"), and the clergy (see Tafazzoli 2001). They were ideally symbolized by the three great fires of the empire, respectively: A┌dur GoŠnasp (q.v.) at łiz in Azerbaijan, A┌dur Buze@n Mehr (q.v.) at Re@vand, near NiŠa@pur, and A┌dur Farnba@g (q.v.) at Ka@ria@n in Fa@rs. The warrior class, usually called the aristocracy or nobility, had five ranks (N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 437-55; Christensen, Iran. Sass., pp. 98-140; Lukonin, 1983, pp. 698-712; for the highest offices see Khurshudian, 1998). Immediately below the "King of kings" were "kings (Šahrya@ra@n)," who ruled provinces and had their own court and army. Next were "princes (wispuhra@n "clan sons," Ar. ahl al-boyuta@t) or great noble houses. Most important of these were "the Seven" MagnatesŚthe Vara@z, Ka@ren, Sure@n, Mehra@n, Spandia@ĺ, █ik, and Neha@bed. They had feudal rights and large estates scattered throughout the empire; they formed the backbone of the imperial organizations and provided the King of kings with advice and military and financial means. Third were the grandees (wuzurga@n, Ar. al-┐ozÁema@¸), senior civil servantsŚthe great secretaries (dabira@n), viziers, and tax collectors. Fourth were the "householders" (katag xˇata@ya@n), and fifth the "high born (a@za@da@n), the lesser nobility consisting of the landed gentry (d^hga@na@n), military elite, particularly the knights (aswa@ra@n). (See ASW┌AR, ASA┌WERA, ARMY i., DABIR, DEHGA┌N.)



The particularistic tendencies of the higher aristocracy had bedeviled the Arsacid empire, but ArdaŠir and ła@pur curbed them. These kings also refrained from creating a state church. Both policies were challenged throughout the Sasanian period; and only ła@pur II, Kava@d I, and K˛osrow I succeeded in exercising absolute power. During the reign of other kings, magnates re-asserted their influence through support of their own candidates for the throne or by deposing, even killing, autocratic kings. In the religious arena, the Mazdean society was threatened first with the spread of Manicheism. In response, the high priest Kirde@r (see KERD╚R) enlisted royal support and began influencing state administration. Later, under ła@pur II, the danger of the Roman domination of Persia through Christianity necessitated the elevation of the Mazdean faith as the "national church" with a canonical organization and hierarchal priesthood capable of countering the Christian church of the Roman empire.



The successor of ła@pur, Hormozd I (q.v.), died after a short reign (May 270ľJune 271), and the throne passed, not to his son Hormozdak, but to his brother Bahra@m Ge@la@nŠah, evidently with the support of the Kirde@r. Bahra@m I (June 271ľSeptember 274) was fond of fighting, hunting, and feasting (Henning, 1942, p. 951) but fonder of the Mazdean religion: he adopted a crown adorned with Mithra's rays, and he showed himself on horseback receiving the diadem of royalty from a mounted Ahuramazda in a superbly carved investiture relief at BiŠa@pur (q.v.). If Kirde@r is to be believed, the king gave the priest a free hand in the consolidation of church authority and ended Mani's career.



Originating from Babylon, Mani claimed the mission of combining and purifying Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Christianity. He asserted that "this revelation of mine of the two principles and my vital writings, my wisdom and my knowledge are much better than those of the earlier religion," and "my creed is in ten things better than other, earlier religions," including the universalistic nature, the undistorted writings, the ability to serve as "a door towards salvation" for unsuccessful believers of earlier faiths (M 5794, in Boyce, Reader, pp. 29-30; Wieseh÷fer, pp. 206-7). These claims enraged the Mazdeans, and since he often described his own concepts in Zoroastrian terminology and even "translated" the names of his gods and angels to those of the Mazdean religion, he and his followers were labeled Zand^ks "heretics," meaning "those who put their own perverse interpretation upon holy texts" (Boyce, 1979 p. 112). His creed has been called "absolutely not suitable as the religion of a people. So spiritualized as it was, if adopted it could only lead to confusion, in contrast to the Mazdean faith with its love of life" (N÷ldeke, p. 48, n.). Bahra@m summoned him to the court, but Mani disobeyed (Polotsky, 1934, p. 46, ll. 12-16), and His statements that falsehood and evil acts would earn the "fire-worshippers" (meaning Mazdayasnians) the fire [of hell] (Henning, 1951, p. 50, n. 1, Manichean frag. 28) and that ła@pur was known as an evildoer (Sundermann, 1987, p. 80) no doubt increased the Zoroastrian clergy's animosity. Bahra@m, therefore, sought Mani out and had him tried and executed at Gonde@Ša@pur on 2 March 274 (Henning, 1942; 1957, pp. 119-21).



Mani's archenemy, the Zoroastrian high priest Kirde@r, is mainly known from his own words, written in his heyday, in four Middle Persian texts carved on rocks of Fa@rs (Hinz, 1971; Gignoux, 1991; MacKenzie, 1989). His assertions are lengthy: he was a he@rbed (attendant of a sacred fire)" under ArdaŠir; ła@pur I titled him Mo@bed and He@rbed, "in authority over the order of priests at court" and throughout the empire, and put him in charge of religious documents and endowment deeds; Hormozd I invested him with the rank of nobility and the title "chief priest" (maęupati > mo@bed) of Ohrmazd); and Bahra@m I retained him in "absolute authority," while Bahra@m II increased his dignity and authority by elaborating his title to "Kirde@r, whose soul (god) Bahra@m saved" (on this last title see Huyse, 2001, pp. 116-19) and appointing him "mo@bed and da@tbar (judge) of the whole empire" and the custodian of "the Fire Temple of Ana@h^d the Lady" at Estak˛rŚa position hitherto held by the Sasanians themselves. He claims that he destroyed many images and temples of false gods and replaced them with the sacred fire and fire temples, and converted many non-Zoroastrians to the Mazda-worshipping faith. He states that "Jews and Buddhists and Brahmans and Maktaks [= al-mog@tasela "practitioners of ablutions," i.e., of baptisms] and Christians and Manicheans are being smitten in the land." This writer regards Kirde@r's statements as exaggerated. The fact that Zoroastrian scholars, who could very well read his inscriptions, totally ignored him means that his claims were not taken seriously. His own statement that he punished the priests who did not follow his line, but exalted those who did, implies that his actions were not considered as approved Mazdean policy. His rise was unusual and temporary, resulting from the social and political alliance against the danger posed by the success of Manicheism to Persian society and way of life. Narseh referred to him simply as "Kirde@r the Mo@bed of Ohrmazd" (Skjaerv and Humbach, 1983, III/1, p. 42).



While Bahra@m II was engaged in fighting the rebellion of his brother, Hormozd Ku@Ša@nŠa@h (q.v.), the Emperor Carus marched on Ctesiphon unopposed; but his troops retreated after he died suddenly and mysteriously, and Bahra@m crushed the rebellion (Bivar, 1972; contra EIr. III, pp. 516-17). Under Bahra@m II Sasanian art achieved mastery of form and a realistic style. He left at least seven rock-reliefs in Fa@rs, in most of which Kirde@r is present, showing the priest's importance at the court (see Hinz, 1969, pp. 189-228). He issued a vast number of coins of diverse types; some bear the images of his queen and heir next to his own, and one type even pictures and names "ła@hpuhrduxtak, Queen of queens" on the obverse, in a place usually reserved for a patron deity (Lukonin, 1979, pp. 116-34 [English]; pls., pp. 155-73).



The events following the death of Bahra@m II were related in Narseh's bilingual (Parth. and Mid. Pers.) inscription carved on the base of a memorial tower (now ruined) at Paikuli, in Iraq (see HERZFELD iv.), on the road to Qas┬r-e łirin. Though it contains numerous gaps, in historical significance it is surpassed only by Darius's Bisotun and ła@pur's KZ inscriptions (see Skjaerv, 1985). On the death of Bahra@m II some of the Iranian nobility sided with his son Bahra@m Saga@nŠa@h (see BAHRA┌M III), but a larger party pleaded with Narseh, Great king of Armenia, to regain "the Farra ("[God-given] Glory") and the realm and to restore the throne and honor of his ancestors and make E┌ra@nŠahr safe (Skjaerv and Humbach, 1983, III/1, pp. 34-35). Narseh moved "in the name of Ohrmazd and all the gods and Ana@h^d the Lady" towards E┌ra@nŠahr (ibid., p. 35), and vanquished the "rebels." "The assembly then deliberated according to the correct procedure for royal succession instituted by ArdaŠir I and followed by his successors"; having judged him the most qualified candidate for the throne, it elected him King of kings (ibid., pp. 56-74). Since he considered Bahra@m I a usurper, he appropriated his investiture relief by carving his own name over that of his brother. He further carved a rock-relief at NaqŠ-e Rostam, which depicted him either as receiving the diadem of royalty from Ana@hid or sharing it with his wife, ła@hpuhrduxtak (Shahbazi, 1983).



Narseh seems to have returned to the religious tolerance of ArdaŠir I and ła@pur I (Decret, 1979, p. 133; Duchesne-Guillemin, 1983, pp. 884-85). In war with Rome he first won a great victory over Galerius Caesar but was then routed by him. The peace treaty signed in 299 ceded five provinces across the Tigris (Arzanes, Carduene, Zabdicene, Moxoene, and Rehimene) to Rome, recognized the Tigris as the border of the two empires, gave the Persian territories up to the fort of Zintha to Armenia, and made Iberia a Roman protectorate (Petros Patriciaus, frags. 13-14, in MŘller, 1885, pp. 181-84; see also Winter, pp. 152-231; Felix, pp. 110-30; Blockley, 1984). Narseh died soon after. His son Hormozd II (q.v., r. 302ľ307) was challenged domestically, as is evidenced by his "victory relief" at NaqŠ-e Rostam. He was slain in a remote place; and the nobility murdered his heir, imprisoned the second son, Hormozd, blinded the third, and "proclaimed a younger son [i.e., ła@pur] as King" (Suidas, s.v. "Marsuas," tr. with other sources in Dodgeon and Lieu, pt. 1, pp. 148-49). The stories about ła@pur's election while in mother's womb are unfounded (see Seeck, 1920, col. 2334).


The Age of ła@pur II (309-79). Early in his reign, ła@pur led a punitive expedition against the Arabs of the desert who had crossed over to Fa@rs and Khuzistan and devastated urban centers and ruined the countryside. He relentlessly pursued and harshly punished the Arabs, and built the ła@pur's ditch (K˛andaq-e ła@pur), a defensive line south of H«ira (q.v.) along the southern border of Mesopotamia. The Arabs called him D˛o'l-akta@f (for Pers. Hu@bah-sonba@ "Piercer of Shoulder [blades]," see Christensen, Iran Sass., p. 235, n. 2). On the northeastern front, the Chionites (q.v.), a Hunnic people who by the early fourth century had mixed with north Iranian elements in Transoxiana and adopted the Kushan-Bactrian language, threatened Persia. Several times ła@pur had to interrupt his Roman campaigns and hurry to the east to remove the Hunnic threats. Soon the Kidarite Hunnic rulers replaced the Kushano-Sasanian prince governors (see HUNNIC COINAGE), but ła@pur subjugated some and forced others into a treaty of alliance. Between 372 and 375, ła@pur seems to have been campaigning again in the East against the "Kushans," i.e., the Chionites (Frye, 1984, p. 345).



More lasting and consequential were ła@pur's long wars with the Romans, which started when Constantine supported the refugee prince Hormozd (q.v.), promoted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire, and asserted guardianship of the Christians of all lands, including Armenia and Persia (Barnes), and refused the request to return the five provinces ceded by Narseh. Small- or full-scale campaigns were waged almost annually between 337 and 359, frequently in favor of the Persians, who captured the main Roman garrison towns of Amida and Sanjara in their last campaign. In 263, Julian (q.v.), generally acknowledged as the ablest Roman general since Trajan, led an expedition against Persia, with an army of 83,000 men, well-trained and equipped with the most sophisticated siege engines, and guided by Prince Hormozd. Marching down along the Euphrates, he besieged Ctesiphon and captured its southern sector, but a heavy Persian counterattack forced him to retreat northward (Ammianus Marcellinus, 23-24; other sources in Dodgeon and Lieu, pp. 231-74; detailed studies: Ridley; Wirth). He was killed in the thick of the battle, and his successor, Jovian (363-64, q.v.), signed a "thirty-year peace treaty," which obliged the Romans to return the five provinces east of the Tigris ceded by Narse, surrender Nisibis, Singara, and another fort in eastern Mesopotamia, and refrain from interfering in Armenia. Then ła@pur annexed the rest of Armenia as well as Albania. When emperor Valens (364-78) hatched several military and political plots in those provinces, limited local wars continued until ła@pur died in 379. As George Rawlinson says, for twenty-seven years "he fought numerous pitched battles with the Romans, and was never once defeated ... By a combination of courage, perseverance, and promptness, he brought the entire contest to a favorable issue, and restored Persia, in AD 363, to a higher position than that from which she had descended two generations earlier" (pp. 239-40). According to Ammianus (18.6.14), ła@pur's empire comprised eighteen major provinces "ruled by BedaxŠes (vitaxi), by kings, and by satraps." They were: Assyria (Aso@rista@n), Susiana (Khuzistan), Media (Ma@ĺa/Ma@h), Persis (Pa@rs), Parthia (Parthav, Apar-Šahr), Greater Carmania (Kerma@n), Hyrcania (Varka@n/Gorga@n and Dahesta@n), Margiana (Marv region), Bactria (Balk˛ area), Sogdiani (Sogdian land), the Sacae (Sakasta@n/Sista@n), Scythia at the foot of Imaus (an eastern Sakaland, east of Afghanistan), Aria (Hare@v/Herat), the Paropanisadae (Aparse@n, northeast Afghanistan), Drangiana (Zarang), Arachosia (Ruxaĺ, Rok˛kaj, the Ghazni region), Gedrosia (Mokra@n/Baluchistan), and two unidentified eastern regions of Serica and Beyond Imaus.



ła@pur deported the Roman captives into the inner region of his empire to use their skill and technical talents and develop industries (Mas┐udi, Moruj II, p. 186; Ghirshman, B^cha@pour I, p. 13). Many were settled in Susa, which after its destruction as the result of a revolt was rebuilt and renamed E┌ra@n K˛orra ła@pur (ła@pur's Aryan Glory). On the other hand he repopulated Nisibis with Persians, and it henceforth became the strongest Persian border post. The "founding" of several other towns were also attributed to him. During his reign Christianity posed a grave threat to the empire. It divided the Armenians into those favoring Romans as co-religionists and others holding to the Iranian heritage (cf. EIr. V, p. 525b); it also fostered sympathy with "the Christian emperor" of Rome against "the enemy of God," ła@pur. Iranian authorities claimed that Christians demeaned his authority, mocked his religious beliefs, disobeyed his commands, refused to pay taxes or serve in the army, and even harbored Roman spies, destroyed fire temples, and instigated rebellion. In about 337, their leader Aphrahat (Farha@d) hailed Constantine as the "instrument" of the "prosperity of the People of God" (Labourt, pp. 45-56; Christensen, Iran. Sass., pp. 249-50, 266-68; cf. Brock; Barnes; Decre) and hoped that he would conquer ła@pur the "wicked and proud man." He even warned that, if the Persians won the war, that would be tantamount to God's wrath (Demonstration 5.1.24 f.). ła@pur (and his successor) saw such claims as leading to political revolt in favor of the enemy of Persia. Hence, wars with Rome normally brought parallel persecution of Christians (see CHRISTIANITY i.), reported with some exaggerations by Christian authors.



To counter this domestic threat, ła@pur convened religious councils headed by the Zoroastrian high priest A┌durba@d son of Mahrspand (q.v.), which after many disputations "proved" the superiority of the Mazdean faith, whereupon the king issued a decree stating "Now that we have gained an insight into the religion in the worldly existence, we shall not tolerate anyone of false religion, and we shall be still more zealous" (De@nkard 4.26-27: tr. Shaki, 1981, pp. 114-25). Thus the Zoroastrian Canon was consolidated, and the state finally enforced Zoroastrianism as the "national religion" with a canonical organization and clerical hierarchy which could rival the Christian church of the Roman empire. The development of the De@n-dipirih "religious script" (the "Avestan alphabet"), "which "permitted the rendering of every vowel and consonant" as accurately as does "the modern international phonetic alphabet" (Boyce, 1979, p. 135) must have followed this canonization (cf. Bailey, 1943, pp. 177-94 and AVESTAN LANGUAGE i.). As Frye (1984, p. 315) remarks, "the ecclesiastical organization of the state church was not identical with the legal structure and the theory of the religious hierarchy was not always evident in reality." The religious establishment executed the law, but secular input from the royal court and provincial administration prevented theocratic conditions. The Jews had their own court to deal with communal disputes (Neusner, III, pp. 29, 45, 273; IV, p. 131); and, similarly, Christian courts settled affairs of the Christians (Sachau, 1907, pp. 1-27; Morony, 1984, pp. 332-42). Incidentally, the view that in the Sasanian period Zurvanism was important or even prevailed as the state religion may have been founded on doubtful onomastic indications and free interpretation of confused non-Zoroastrian reports (Asmussen, 1983, p. 939; Frye, 1984, pp. 312-13). Duchesne-Guillemin (1983, pp. 898-99) has pointed out that the De@nkard (ed. Madan, p. 829) condemns it: Those who believed that "Ohrmazd and Ahr^man were two brothers in one womb" were heretics deceived by the demon AriŠ(k) "Envy."



Ironically, the concept of the "twin brotherhood of the state and the faith" (Shaked, 1990, pp. 262-64.) restricted the absolutism of the sovereign with ethical and religious obligations (De@nkart, tr. de Menasce, 1973, pp. 136-38; Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 261-62) and the expectation he would show "faith in the high-priest of the Good Religion," because he is "the wisest among mankind." If a king was inclined to ignore people's hardships or was incapable of preventing evil and was weak, then he was "manifestly unfit to administer justice of any kind," and it behooved other "rulers to war with him for the sake of justice" (Christensen, Iran Sass., p. 262). Another impact of the creation of the state religion was the changes in Iranians' idea of the past (Shahbazi, 2001; see also HISTORIOGRAPHY i.). To the mo@beds the history of the past was the legends of the Pe@Šda@dian and Kaya@nian kings as found in the YaŠts and later Zoroastrian traditions. As legitimate Zoroastrian sovereigns, the Sasanians now claimed descent from GoŠta@sp (T«abari, I, p. 813), and the Avestan royal title Kay (< Kav^) started to appear on Sasanian coins in addition to the regular MLK¸N MLK¸ "Ša@ha@nŠa@h" (Shahbazi, 1991). The wispuhra@n followed suit and alleged that they were descended from the legendary kings and heroes (Manu▒ehr, GoŠta@sp, Esfandia@r), and that their rank and rights had been established by GoŠta@sp (T«abari, I, p. 683).ła@pur II left an enormous quantity of coins, which testify to various stages of his life (cf. G÷bl, pp. 46-47; pl. VI and pls. 6-7, nos. 88-120), as well as two magnificent silver plates representing him hunting boars and lions (Harper, 1981, pp. 61-63, 171, 179, 182, Pls. 15, 37), and a stucco bust from the site of a manor house at H«a@jia@b@d, some 60 km south-southwest of Da@ra@bgerd (Azarnoush) There are four rock-reliefs, notably those at T«@@@a@q-e Bosta@n: one depicts him giving the diadem of royalty to his brother ArdaŠir II while Mithra the Judge supervises the covenant and Julian lies prostrate under the two kings' feet (see Trumplemann; Sellheim; see also ARDAłIR II); the other represents ła@pur with his son ła@pur III, both identified in Mid. Pers. texts, the last of the royal inscriptions known to date.


Social and military crises. The successors of ła@pur II tended to religious tolerance and peaceful relations with their neighbors, but their attempt to enforce royal absolutism was constantly challenged by the clergy, who detested kings tolerating Christianity or any other creed, and the higher nobility, who resisted any attempt to curb their particularism while viewing with contempt any king who showed mildness towards the enemiesŚdomestic or foreign. Consequently, from 379 to about 530, the empire witnessed grave internal crises, which culminated in a social upheaval in which the Sasanian king Kava@d sided with the mobs in order to reduce the power of the clergy and the nobles.



The nobles deposed ArdaŠir II (q.v., r. 379-83), known as the Benevolent (nikuka@r), when he turned against them (T«abari, I, pp. 845-46). They also murdered ła@pur III (383-88), a just and compassionate ruler much loved by the people (T«abari, I, p. 846; Ya┐qubi, I, p. 183), who stopped the persecution of the Christians (N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 70-71, n. 4; Chaumont, 1974b), and concluded a peace treaty with the East Roman (Byzantine) empire, whereby Armenia was divided between the two states, making the larger part, or Persarmenia, a Persian Marzbanate (Adonitz, pp. 209-24; Blockley, 1987, pp. 222-34). His son Bahra@m IV (388-99) was known for his pursuit of justice (Ya┐qubi, I, p. 183; cf. T«abari, I, p. 847); although his forces defeated a Hunnic inroad into Mesopotamia and Syria (N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, p. 72, n. 1), he was shot to death when he tried to tame his commanders (T«abari, I, p. 847). It was only natural that his brother and successor, Yazdegerd I (q.v., r. 399-421), could not trust the nobility and resolutely prevented them from gaining undue influence and erode the royal authority. Highly intelligent and brilliantly educated, and "from the start" widely known for "the nobility of character" (Procopius 1.2, 8.4; cf. T«abari, I, p. 865; ła@h-na@ma VII, p. 264), and a contemporary Christian testifies that he championed the cause of "the poor and the wretched" (cited in N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, p. 75, n.). He granted religious freedom to all; the Christians began to establish a "Persian Church," and the Jewish leader hailed him as a new Cyrus (see Neusner, V, pp. 9-13). He maintained friendly relations with Rome, even acting as the guardian of the child emperor Theodosius (Procopius 1.2.1-10; Agathias 4.25). His policy so enraged the clergy and aristocracy that they accused him of many evil deeds, called him the "Sinner, (Persian Bezegar), and killed him in a remote place and then presented the murder as a God-sent miracle (N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, p. 77 n. 1; Christensen, Iran Sass., p. 273) They further decided to deny his children the throne and slew his son and heir, ła@pur, but compromised with another son, Bahra@m, a 20-year old youth, who threatened Ctesiphon with an Arab army provided by his foster father, the king of H«ira. He was accepted as ła@ha@nŠa@h but was crowned by the mo@beda@n mo@bed (the first recorded instance of such coronation) and had to recognize the nobility's claimed privileges. Consequently, he was left in peace and is pictured in the "national history" as a merciful king with exemplary generosity, a valiant defender of the faith and country, a heroic fighter, a peerless hunter, a poet, a lover of music and dance, a man of many women, and a paragon of splendor. From his time the A┌dur GoŠnasp (q.v.) temple in łiz became the most important sanctuary of the empire and the symbol of its royal house. Also, the Avestan classification of the society into three classes, each headed by a chief, was revived, at least in theory; and his grand vizier, Mehr-Narseh, a Zoroastrian zealot, gave those chietainships to his own three sons (see ARTE┌łTA┌RA┌N SA┌LA┌R).Christians' missionary zeal brought about persecution, causing a short war with the Byzantines (422). The peace agreement obliged the Persians not to resume persecution or to press for the return of Christian fugitives, and the Byzantines to tolerate Zoroastrian religion in the Roman empire and pay a yearly payment to the Persians as assistance in guarding the Caucasian Pass (N÷ldeke, p. 109, n.). More threatening was the penetration into the eastern provinces by the Chionites (often anachronistically called the Turks or confused with the Kushans or the Hephthalites [qq.v.]). Bahra@m defeated them and seized vast booty. The recently discovered stuccos at Daragaz (q.v., 100 km southeast of Ashkhabad) representing victorious Iranian warriors trampling on fallen enemies characterized by Central Asian features (Gignoux, 1998) seem to commemorate this victory.



Bahra@m's successor was Yazdegerd II (439-57), an intelligent and well educated youth whose maxim was "Question, examine, see. Let us choose and hold that which is best" (EČishe, tr., p. 69). "He made a review of all doctrines" but stayed with his ancestral faith and greatly honored the Mazdean religion, priests, and shrines (ibid, tr., p. 66). He showed friendship toward the Christians until his twelfth year (Ďazar, tr., p. 74); but when Christians attacked Mazdeans at home and in Armenia, he ordered Mehr-Narseh to reconvert Armenia, which he failed to do. During his reign, nomadic threats increased. He repulsed an invasion of the Causasus (Priscus, Frag. 47; tr. Blockley, pp. 353-55) and built or strengthened the Persian defenses in the region. He also defeated the ┘uls (łuls, Ar. Sßul), the Hunnic tribes east of the Caspian Sea, north of Gorga@n, and built a stronghold in their region, called łahresta@n-e Yazdegerd, in which he stayed from the fourth to eleventh year of his reign (450), when he marched against the "Kushans" (i.e., the Hunnic tribes). After several victories over them, he was forced in 454 to retreat (EČishe, tr., pp. 192-93 with p. 10, n. 1; Ďazar, tr., p. 133; Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 288-89).



Yazdegerd's death inaugurated another period of royal and feudal rivalry. His oldest son, Hormozd III (457-59), was killed by Bahra@m the Mehra@n, who enthroned his foster son Pe@r@oz (459-84). Pe@r@oz put down a revolt in Albania (which was aided by invading Huns), stopped the invasions from the Caucasus (despite Romans refusal to pay the subsidy for the shared defense of the passes), and defeated the Kidarite Huns, who moved southeastwards and settled in Peshawar (Marquart, E┌ra@nŠahr, p. 58). But Pe@ro@z faced a new and more formidable Hunnic people, the Hephthalites, who had taken Tok˛a@resta@n, the upper Oxus, and northern Afghanistan. He waged war against them but was defeated and captured. He bought his release with a heavy ransom and in 484 again attacked the Hephthalites, against the advice of his nobles and high priests. This time he and his entire army were annihilated; the Hephthalites captured Bost, Rak˛wad (Arachosia), Za@bolesta@n, Ba@dg@eys, Herat, and PuŠanj (Marquart, E┌ra@nŠahr, pp. 37, 77), and they imposed a heavy annual tribute on Iran, which had additionally suffered from three (or seven) years of drought. According to the contemporary Armenian historian Ďazar (tr., pp. 217-18), the nobility, led by Zarmehr the Suk˛ra@ (a branch of the Mehra@n) and ła@pur the Mehra@n, blamed Pe@ro@z for having "acted as a tyrant," not willing to consult anyone; they murdered his son Zare@r, who claimed the throne, and elected Bala@Š, a brother of Pe@ro@z, laying down the rules for him: "We have all willingly and readily chosen you, as a mild man concerned for the country's welfare, in order to re-establish under you the prestige of the Aryan throne, and to promote the prosperity of the remaining portions of the Aryan kingdom and of the other lands that are subject to our rule." They expected him "to reduce by soft words and friendship the nations who have rebelled," recognize each person's rank and worth, consult with the wise, and to reward every one according to his service. Bala@Š was clement, courteous, and fond of peace. He granted Christians freedom of worship. Iranian Christians had resisted the Roman version of dyophysite doctrine (as defined by the Council of Chalcedon in 451), adopting instead Nestorianism. The Nestorians emphasized the distinctness of the two natures in the person of Jesus Christ and stressed the completeness of his human nature. They also outlawed celibacy for priests, thereby appeasing the national faith, which anathemized celibacy. When the Romans closed down the Nestorian school at Edessa in 471, it was reopened and continued to flourish under the Persian authority in Nisibis. However, the empire was in deep trouble, and Bala@Š had no money to pay the troops, the Emperor Zeno having refused to pay the subsidies traditionally paid to support the guarding of the Caucasus passes (Joshua, 18). The nobility led by Zarmehr and ła@pur the Mehra@n lost patience, deposed and blinded Bala@Š, and elected Kava@d, a son of Pe@ro@z, hoping that since the youth had been a hostage of the Hephthalites and had secured their friendship, he could decrease the pressure of the victorious enemy.



When Kava@d ascended the throne in 488, troubles appeared everywhere. Wars and recent famines had devastated the land and emptied the treasury, yet a hefty annual tribute had to be paid to the Hephthalites; Armenia, Iberia, Arabs and some tribes of the Zagros regions were in revolt, and the Huns were ravaging the northern regions, while the Romans continued to withhold the subsidy for guarding the Caucasus passes. The nobility had become too powerful and paid no heed to the royal authority, while the commoners had become poor and desperate. It was at this moment that the "Mazdakite revolution," which preached the distribution of wealth and sharing of women (in the old Platonic ideology; see Altheim), became widespread and received regal support. Social anarchy ensued, nearly destroying the fabric of the Sasanian state. From Byzantine, Syriac, and Sasanian-based accounts, it appears that in the late third century a certain Zare@doŠt, who may have borne the title *Windag/bwyndak "Venerable," Romanized into Boundos (Christensen 1925, pp. 96 ff.; Iran Sass., pp. 337-38), preached a Manichean interpretation of Zoroastrian faith and the Avesta called Dre@st-de@n (on the form, see Christensen 1925, pp. 97-98). It persisted, at times openly and at times secretly, until the movement found fertile grounds for growth in the social and military difficulties during the reign of Pe@ro@z. Eager to reform the whole society and ease the plight of his subjects and wishing to rid himself of the yoke of the nobility and Zoroastrian clergy, Kava@d accepted ("re-established," as Joshua specifies) this neo-Manchean creed. It came to be known as the "Mazdakitie" heresy (see Christensen, 1925; Klima, 1957, 1977; Yarshater), after its leader Mazdak (q.v.), son of Ba@mda@d; however, the historicity or at least the principal role of Mazdak is seriously questioned (Gaube; Fula@dpur and Rabi┐i; on the alledged Mazdak-na@ma see Tafazzoli, 1984). Extremism resulted in social upheaval, and the nobility and clergy deposed and imprisoned Kava@d and enthroned his mild-mannered brother, Ja@ma@sp. Kava@d escaped, returned with a Hephthalite army, and regained his throne.


Reforms of Kava@d and K˛osrow I. Having seen the consequences of lawlessness and radical social practices, Kava@d supported Zoroastrian orthodoxy, massacred the Mazdakite heretics, and subjugated the unruly nobility, a good many of whom had been killed, dispersed, or impoverished by the Mazdakite upheaval (Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 357-58). He eliminated the highest-ranking official, the Arte@Šta@ra@nsa@la@r, whose office was abolished (Procopius 1.11.31-38), demoted from the first to the third rank the Mo@beda@n Mo@bed (chief of the clergy), replaced the Ira@n-spa@hbed (the generalissimo of the empire) by four Spa@hbads, each responsible for a quarter (kust) of the empire (see SPA┌HBED), and reduced the power of Wuzurg-framada@r (approximately: "prime minister") by the institution of the office of Astabed "Chief of the household" (Stein, 1920; 1940, pp. 54ff.; Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 521 ff.). Kava@d then initiated a new tax system based on a revision of land ownership and on payment in installments and according to a certain percentage of the assessed income. This reform was carried out in full by his successor, K˛osrow I Ano@Širava@n ("of the immortal soul"), and it severely broke the power bases of the higher nobility while promoting the lower aristocracy and bringing them closer to the crown (Frye, 1984, p. 324). Having thus restored royal absolutism, Kava@d re-instituted the right of the king to choose his heir and restricted the role of the magnates and highest clergy in this case to the supervision of the exact execution of the king's testament. Then Kava@d quelled the rebellions of the Arabs and other tribes and waged a war against the Byzantines (502-506), the first military conflict between the two empires in sixty years. He invaded Armenia with an army that included Hephthalite warriors (Joshua 48); he took Theodosiopolis, Martyropolis, and Amida, while his Arab ally, No┐ma@n III of H«ira, raided and plundered Mesopotamia (Joshua, 51-52). After some skirmishes, he returned Amida for a ransom of 1,000 pounds of gold and signed a seven-year truce, which required him to attack and drive out the Hunnic tribes who had invaded Caucasus and plundered Persia's northern territories (Procopius 1.8-9, 1.10.12; Marquart, E┌ra@nŠahr, pp. 63-64). Ten years later he had to subjugate the Sabir Huns who had invaded Armenia and Asia Minor (references in ibid., p. 64). Meanwhile Kava@d chose as his heir K˛osrow, in preference to Ka@us PatiŠwa@rŠa@h (king of Tßabaresta@n), who had sided with, and was supported by, the Mazdakites. To secure the succession, Kava@d requested the Byzantine emperor Justin to act as K˛osrow's guardian and adopted father. This act, he urged, "would bind together in kinship and in goodwill" the two royal houses, as well as "all our subjects," thereby "bring us to a satiety of the blessings of peace" (Procopius, 1.11.7-9; see also Peiler). Justin proposed unacceptable terms, since he feared that a legal adoption might entitle K˛osrow to "the father's inheritance," resulting in the Persian king demanding the Roman empire. Feeling insulted, Kava@d started a second war with the Romans (Procopius, 1.11.10 ff.; see also Christensen, Iran Sass., p. 355), which lasted from 527 till 531 and was mainly fought in Armenia, Iberia or Georgia, and Lazesta@n (Lazica). The two sides won and lost many a battle (described in detail by Procopius, and studied by Greatrex, 1998). In these campaigns Mond˛er of Hßira actively supported the Persians, and H«a@ret˛ of Kinda sided with the Romans. The participation of these clients brought the Arabs into the thick of the Irano-Byzantine wars and increased their political and military influence. Kava@d died in 531; and his successor, K˛osrow, who faced internal dissent, signed the "Endless Peace" with Justinian. The Persians relinquished their gains in Lazica, and the Byzantines did the same in Persarmenia and undertook to pay 11,000 pounds of gold for the defense of the Caucasus passes



Kava@d does not appear to have troubled his Nestorian subjects; and his relationship with the Jews seems to have been friendly (Joshua the Stylite, 58; Neusner, V, pp. 105-7). He revived the function of the king as a "town builder" and "founded" Weh-az-A┌med-Kava@d ("Ka@va@d's better-than-Amida") in Arraja@n and Abaz-Kava@d (Abar-Kava@d), which lay between Basßra and Wa@seć (N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, p. 146, n. 2); he created a new settlement (kura) in Arraja@n called Kava@d-k˛orrah "K˛ava@d's Glory" (Ebn Balk˛i, Fa@rsna@ma, pp. 84, 115; T˛a┐a@lebi, G┌orar, p. 594; see further Gyselen, 1989, pp. 45-47, 71-72). Kava@d also fortified Partav in Armenia and renamed it Pe@ro@z-Kava@d, and he built strong fortification walls in the Caucasus, which K˛osrow I expanded and strengthened (see DARBAND).



After Kava@d's death, the eldest son, Ka@us, claimed the throne; but the nobility abided by the testament of the late king (Procopius, 1.21.20-22; cf. Malalas, 18.68; tr., p. 274) and helped K˛osrow to occupy the throne. Later many of them plotted to dethrone K˛osrow, but he discovered the plot and slew "all the Persian notables" involved (Procopius, loc. cit) This event may have been related to the resurgence of the Mazdakite party and their subsequent slaughter, in which their leader, Mazdak, is said to have perished. Then K˛osrow eased the social plight of those who had been ruined as the result of the Mazdakite excesses by providing them with work, estates, and legal security. He carried out the reforms his father had started (see K˛OSROW I) consolidated royal authority through direct taxation and extension of the central bureaucracy in every part of the empire, turning the feudal lords into officials of the central government who were loyal to him rather than to their hereditary families (cf. N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, p. 163, n. 1 and Christensen, Iran Sass., p. 365). The army was retrained and better equipped, with the aswa@ra@n ("mounted nobility or knights") patronized and promoted to the rank of royal retainers (see ARMY i.). or knights") patronized and promoted to the rank of royal retainers (see ARMY i.). The tax reform was personally supervised by the king (Grignaschi, 1971, pp. 87-131; cf. Rubin, p. 99, n. 1), whose trusted officials worked with local judges in assessing, registering and exacting the dues. The "death tax" was abolished; and the poll-tax (gazit > jaziya), which was really a substitute for the service to the court and church which the privileged class rendered, was limited to taxable men only; those too young or too old were exempt as being incapable of any type of service (N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 242, n. 1, 246, n. 1; Ka@rna@mag, pp. 13, 26-27). Cases could be appealed to the supervising judges, and all complaints could be directed to the royal chancellery (Ka@rna@mag, pp. 17-18). The reform transformed a system which had been arbitrary, burdensome, and liable to every type of cheating into a regulated method of payment by installments (in three or four annual installments, either one-fourth each quarter or one-third every four months) in accordance with the standard yield. In most areas the lowest rate was by far the commonest (N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, p. 241, n. 2), and in poorer provinces payment in kind seems to have been permitted (ibid., p. 242, n. 1).



Having consolidated his power, K˛osrow decided to put an end to the Hephthalite domination over the eastern provinces. By then the Turks, originally an Ural-Altaic steppe people, had established a powerful empire stretching from Mongolia and the northern frontier of China to the Black Sea (Sinor). Under the K˛a@qa@n IŠtńmi (called Snijabu in T«abari, I, p. 895 and Sizibul/Silzabul in Byzantine sources; Blockley, p. 262, n. 112 with reference), the Turkish empire had extended westward (Sinor, pp. 297-304) and come under heavy Sogdian influence (von Gabain). K˛osrow and IŠtńmi made an alliance and destroyed the Hephthalite empire (Widengren, 1951; Grignaschi, 1971). Soon after, the Turks replaced the Hephthalites as the eastern enemies of the Iranians. In 569 or 570 IŠtńmi/Sizibul, who had conquered the Avars and the remnants of the Caucasian "Huns" and thereby had come to control the Silk Road, attacked Persia with the encouragement of the Romans and pillaged some border areas (cf. Menander, tr., p. 147). K˛osrow contained the Turkish assault and concluded a treaty with them, but his marriage with the daughter of the K˛a@qa@n is chronologically impossible (see HORMOZD IV). He fortified the northeastern provinces against their further incursions. Sizibul died soon after, and his successor declined Byzantine's offer of alliance against Persia and instead invaded the Bosporus area.



K˛osrow's wars with the Byzantines were long and consequential. Justinian's border fortifications in Mesopotamia, Syria, and Armenia, his annexation of Armenia, and his attempts to entice the Lakhmid king's of H«ira to come to his side and the "Huns" to attack Persia, led to the first war in 540 (Procopius, 2.1 ff.; Bury, II, pp. 91-93; GŘterbock, pp. 37-48). It lasted for five years; and K˛osrow personally invaded Syria and Lazica and took several cities including Antiochia (q.v.), which he plundered; he then deported its population to a section of his capital, al-Mada@¸en, which he named Weh-Antioch-K˛osrow "K˛osrow's Better Antiochia," commonly called Rumaga@n "Roman Town," Ar. al-Rumiya (on the privileges granted to its population, see Procopius, 2.1-13). In the meantime the Byzantines campaigned in Armenia and northern Mesopotamia. The truce was concluded for five years: Justinian paid 2,000 pounds of gold, and K˛osrow released a large number of Roman captives but kept Lazica (Procopius, 2.26-28; Evagrius, 4. 8; Bury, II, pp. 107-13; GŘterbock, pp. 48-54). However, in the fourth year of the truce, Justinian broke it by sending an army into Lazica, causing a new war, involving Mesopotamia, Syria, Armenia, Lazica, and the participation of the Lakhmids and Ghassanids. The Persians were, on the whole, victorious; during the war, negotiations continued, and Justinian paid 400 pounds of gold annually. After another five-year truce, a peace treaty was signed in 562. This exemplary document of international relation is described in unusual detail by Menander Protector (tr., Blockley, pp. 71-75; studies in Bury, II, pp. 121-23; GŘterbock, pp. 58-109). It obligated the Persians to prevent the Huns, Alans, or other barbarians from passing through Darband and the Dariel Pass and reaching Roman territories. It required the Romans not to cross the Persian borders with an army; declared diplomatic relations free and goods of ambassadors tax-exempt; regulated trade relations; and prohibited Arab allies of the two sides from attaching each other or their opponent's suzerains. It recommended settling disputes between the subjects of the two states by arbitration courts, and intercommunity disputes across the border by the ruling of frontier officials and, if necessary, by appeal to the General of the East or, as a final resort, to the sovereign of the offender.



Following the peace treaty, K˛osrow defeated the Hephthalites and Khazars, stopped the threat of the Turks (Widengren, 1952; Grignaschi, 1980), and conquered Yemen, which allowed him to effectively control the sea routes and endanger Byzantine trade bases (Harmatta, 1974; 2000). Envious, and enticed by an offer of alliance from Sizibul K˛a@qa@n, the Byzantines stopped payment for the defense of Caucasian passes to Persia in 572; and a new war started. The Byzantines invaded Armenia; and K˛osrow, despite advanced age and feebleness, took the field and captured Da@ra@ (q.v.), while his forces raided Syria up to Antiochia, and forced the adversary to buy a truce for one year at the cost of 45,000 aurei. The truce was renewed for another three years at a cost of 30,000 gold aurei per annum and the promise not to interfere in Persarmenia. The conflicts resumed in Armenia; and, when K˛osrow died of an illness in 579, his successor Hormozd IV had to counter renewed Roman offensive.



K˛osrow became known as Ano@Širava@n ("of the immortal soul"). He "was praised and admired" by Persians and even some Romans, as "a lover of literature and profound student of philosophy," who read (in translation) Greek philosophy and whose "mind was filled with the doctrines of Plato" (Agathias, 2.28). N÷ldeke studied his achievements and character and concluded that he "was certainly one of the most efficient and best kings that the Iranians have ever had" (N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 160-62, n. 3). Arab-Persian sources consider him the paragon of justice and title him "The Just (da@dgar, Ar. ┐a@del)." He viewed justice as the "action most pleasing to God," as the support of the cosmic order and the source of prosperity for the land and all who inhabited it. He maintained that equity and justice must apply both to the weak and to the mighty, to the poor and to the rich (Ka@rna@mag, pp. 26-27). Although Kosrow had been educated in Zoroastrian religion and respected it (Mas'udi, Moruj IV, pp. 74, 76; De@nkart, ed. Madan, p. 413; tr. M. Shaki, 1981, pp. 114-25), he followed a certain rationalism, which in a time dominated by religious fanaticism had its advantages (N÷ldeke, loc. cit.; see also Morony, 1984, pp. 335, 337-39). Paul the Persian (q.v.) reflects K˛osrow's mind when he says, in his dedicatory preface to Aristotle's Logic, which he translated for the King, that philosophy is superior to faith; since in religious learning doubts always exist, while philosophy is the mental acceptance of explained ideas (Gutas). The introduction of Borzo@e@ (q.v.) to the Kalila wa Dimna (N÷ldeke, 1912) also makes the same point. K˛osrow himself states that "we examined the customs of our forebears," but, concerned with the discovery of the truth, "we [also] studied the customs and conducts of the Romans and Indians" and accepted those among them which seemed reasonable and praiseworthy, not merely likeable. "We have not rejected anyone because they belonged to a different religion or people." And having examined "the good customs and laws" of our ancestors as well as those of the foreigners, "we have not declined to adopt anything which was good nor to avoid anything which was bad. Affection for our forebears did not lead us to accept customs which were not good" (Ka@rna@mag, pp. 27-28). John of Ephesus, who even apologizes for eulogizing a Magian and an enemy, states that K˛osrow "was a prudent and wise man, and all his lifetime he assiduously devoted himself to the perusal of philosophical works ... He took pains to collect the religious books of all creeds, and read and studied them, that he might learn which one were true and wise and which were foolish" (6.20). When the Academy at Athens was closed down by the Christian emperor, the pagan philosophers fearing persecution fled to K˛osrow and received warm and generous treatment; when they left him, he enthusiastically included a clause about their protection against the their Christian oppressors in his peace treaty with the inheritor of the Greco-Roman world, the Byzantine emperor (Agathias, 2.30-1). In general, he granted freedom of religion to the Jews (Neusner, V, pp. 111-12, 124-27), and to the Christians, even though Christian clergy was suspected of siding with the Byzantines (see Evagrius, 5.9).



Pahlavi literature flourished under K˛osrow (Boyce, 1968), as did translations from Syriac, Greek, and Indian sources on science, particularly medicine and astronomy. His interest in history led to the compilation of an official "national history," the Xwada@y-na@mag (see HISTORIOGRAPHY i.); and his court astronomers compiled the Royal Canon (Zij-e Šahria@ra@n), which henceforth served as the basic source for astronomers and chronographers in Sasanian Persian and the Muslim world (see EIr. II, pp. 859, 862 ff.). K˛osrow's rationalism had created a society interested in foreign ideas and disputation. Indian and Manichean asceticism and Christian faith had spread, and Zoroastrianism had gone on the defensive (Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 429-39). Borzo@e@, the "Chief Physician" of Persia, traveled to India in search of spiritual learning and returned with a copy of Pa˝catantra, translated as Kalila and Dimna, which became the highest model of "wisdom literature" (see ANDARZ). Due to Borzo@e@ and ascetics like him, K˛osrow's age of progress and enlightenment assimilated pessimistic and wholly non-Iranian worldviews, which had a crushing effect on Iranians' morale and strength just when they needed the power of self-preservation most (Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 415-40).


Decline and fall. As soon as Kosrow left the scene, the higher nobility and the clergy attempted to regain their traditional power; but they were determinedly opposed by his successor, Hormozd IV (579-89). He was a highly educated yet haughty and suspicious king (N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 264-65), who proclaimed that he was on the side of the common people and against any who would seek to deprive them of their rights and means (Dinavari, pp. 103-6). He infuriated the clergy by refusing their demand to restrict the non-Zoroastrians of the realm (T«abari, I, pp. 990-91). Some said that he "surpassed his father in justice" (Bal'ami, ed. Baha@r, p. 1071); others saw him as cruel and unjust. He killed or blinded his own brothers (John of Ephesus, 6.29), put to death a large number of higher priests and senior officials, and refused a peace offer by the Byzantine empire, thereby prolonging the war on the northern front. Arab tribes raided the westerns borderlands, while eastern nomads (called Hephthalites in Armenian sources, but Turks in Arab-Persian texts) invaded Khorasan and even occupied Hera@t. The leading Iranian general, Bahra@m ┘o@bin (q.v.), of the Arsacid family of Mehra@n, defeated the Hephthalites and then crossed the Oxus and routed the Turks, while Persian forces contained other sources of trouble in the northwest and west. However, the king's distrust and ingratitude drove Bahra@m to rebel and march on Ctesiphon. Other magnates led by Besta@m and Bendo@y (q.v.), the king's brothers-in-law and of Arsacid lineage, seized Hormozd and, with the approval of his son, Kosrow, first blinded and then murdered him (patricide was one of the charges that led to Kosrow's execution, see below). Bahra@m now captured Ctesiphon and proclaimed himself King of kings and restorer of the Arsacid dynasty (Ya'qubi, I, p. 192; ła@h-na@ma, Moscow, IX, pp. 29-32; Shahbazi, 1990, pp. 222-23, 228). He was viewed by many as "King Bahra@m the Glorious (ła@h Bahra@m varja@vand"), an expected Savior in Iranian traditions (Czegleédy, pp. 36-39). The royalists gathered around K˛osrow, who after suffering a defeat fled to the Byzantine territory and returned with a Roman army (eastern sources claim that Maurice even gave his daughter, Maria, to K˛osrow in marriage). Besta@m and Bendo@y gathered the loyalists around K˛osrow, and he regained the throne, proclaiming himself the true expected "Victorious King (Aparve@z ß/Parwiz)." Defeated, Bahra@m fled to the Turks and was murdered by an agent of K˛osrow. Envious of the power of Besta@m and Bendo@y, the king relied on a Roman guard and Armenian forces led by Sumbat Bagratuni. He soon murdered Bendo@y, who publicly denounced the Sasanians as faithless upstart usurpers unworthy of service or loyalty (Dinavari, pp. 106-7), but Besta@m rose in rebellion and carved a kingdom for himself in the territories west of Reyy and even subjugated some Hephthalite princes. Sumbat put down his rebellion after six years, and the king had him executed. In about 600 K˛osrow imprudently overthrew the faithful vassal dynasty of the Lakhmids of H«ira and thus removed the state which had acted as a barrier between rich Sasanian provinces and impoverished desert Arabs, who a generation later overran Sasanian territory with remarkable ease (see ARAB CONQUEST OF IRAN).



K˛osrow now enjoyed several years of peace (due to the goodwill of Maurice), increasingly turning to cruelty, luxury, and intellectual decadence. At first he supported Christians (his favorite wife łirin was a Christian from Khuzistan: Guidi Chronicle, tr. N÷ldeke, p. 10), appointed them to the highest state offices, and offered precious gifts to Christian churches (Peeters; Higgins). He built magnificent palaces at Ctesiphon, Dastagerd (qq.v.), Qasßr-e łirin, and T«a@q-e Bosta@n. In the last site, he had a grotto hewn in the Bisotun mountain in front of a park consisting of a large pool, garden, and a pavilion with columns surmounted by capitals with carved representations of the king, Ana@hita@, and other divinities (Herzfeld 1920b, pp. 91 ff.). The grotto walls were ornamented with carved panels; one showed K˛osrow receiving the diadem of royalty from Ahuramazda while Ana@hita@ supervised the ceremony; another showed the king on his famous steed, łabdiz; and a pair represented him hunting deer and boars, accompanied by mounted hunters, musicians, and pages (Herzfeld, 1920; 1929; 1938; see SASANIAN ROCK-RELIEFS).



The age of K˛osrow saw the zenith of splendor and corrupt rulership (Ferdowsi, ła@h-na@ma IX, pp. 198-250; Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 453-87). He combined autocracy with cruelty and ingratitude, love of luxury with avarice. He accumulated immense wealth (his seven treasures became legendary) by ruthlessly exacting heavy taxes from his subject and sending his forces on dangerous campaigns to collect booty. He kept thousands of women in his harem as wives, concubines, dancers, musicians, and singers, although he himself stayed to the last with łirin (their story became the stuff of legend). At Dastagerd he strolled or hunted in a park that contained thousands of wild and domestic animals; he sat on a fabled throne (Tak˛t-e Tßßa@qdis) under a dome representing heaven and adorned with mechanically moving celestial spheres (Herzfeld, 1920b; Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 466-68 with literature). When in 602 Maurice was murdered by the usurper Phocas, K˛osrow, allegedly to "avenge" his slain patron, sent his finely equipped and well-trained armies to wage an all-out war against the Byzantine east. These were led by the able generals Farrok˛a@n surnamed "Razmyo@zan" ("battle seeker") and entitled "łahrvara@z" (the "Boar [i.e., the hero] of the empire") and ła@he@n Vahmanza@daga@n, one of the four Spa@hbeds (N÷ldeke, pp. 291-92, n. 2), and other notable commanders. Iranian troops swept through Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine (Jerusalem [q.v.] was captured in 614, and the "True Cross" was transferred to Ctesiphon [Flussin]), Cilicia, Armenia Minor, Cappadocia, and the rest of Asia Minor. By 616, they were camping at Chalcedon, opposite Constantinople.



In 610, the Byzantine general Heraclius, of Armenian origin and probably of Arsacid descent (Shahid, pp. 310-11; Toumanoff, 1985, pp. 431-34), defeated and slew Phocas, ascended the throne, and repeatedly sought peace. Acceptance could have prevented all the calamities of the seventh century, leaving Persia at the zenith of power and height of prosperity. However, intoxicated by his victories, K˛osrow imprudently and haughtily refused; and the Persian advances continued. Heraclius was about to flee to Egypt when the news came that Alexandria had fallen. Desperate, the Emperor turned the war into a crusade for "saving Christianity," and the church mobilized all its resources in his aid. He further reformed the army, replacing mercenaries with local recruits, who were now fighting for their land, family, and faith; and he placed the provinces he still controlled under military officials, thereby unifying the administrative and military commands. Aware that the Persians lacked a navy in the Black Sea, Heraclius sailed with an elite and mobile force to the neck of Armenia in 622, landed behind Persian lines, and devastated Armenia, northern Mesopotamia, and A┌durba@d˛aga@n, killing many enemy troops and amassing much booty. The tactic proved successful, and he repeated it several times in the next few years, while łahrvara@z and other Persians held Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Asia Minor. The two sides bled each other to the point of exhaustion (Gerland; Howard-Johston, 1994; 1999). Heraclius also made alliance with the Khazars of the Caucasus and in 627 they descended on the northwestern Iranian provinces, overwhelming Persian forces without mercy. In the same year, Heraclius occupied and pillaged łiz (the rich shrine of the Persian warrior class) and Dastagerd, where he wintered and continued to threaten Ctesiphon. There K˛osrow was forced to raise an army of cooks and slave boys, and yet he ordered his commanders to execute the troops who had been defeated on battlefields (for details and sources see BYZANTINE-IRANIAN RELATIONS and Greatrex-Lieu, pp. 198-228). A mutiny ensued, and the warrior aristocracy deposed K˛osrow and enthroned his son łe@ro@ye (allegedly a grandson of Maurice), who assumed the throne name Kava@d (II). K˛osrow was captured, tried, and found guilty of patricide, treason, inhumane behavior towards subjects especially soldiers and women, ingratitude toward the Romans, illegal orders, injustice, ruinous avarice, and mistreatment of his own children. He was executed, and łe@ro@ye returned Persia's gains in return for peace.



The country was disintegrating, and łe@ro@ya's murder of his seventeen brothers, "all well-educated, valiant, and chivalerous men" (T«abari, I, p. 1060), deprived Persia of a future able monarch. The highest aristocracy gained full independence, each carving a state for himself within the empire; and the old animosity between the Parthians (led by Farrok˛˛ Hormozd, the Spa@hbed of the north), and the Persians led by Hormoza@n (q.v.), brother-in-law of łe@ro@ye, flared up, further dividing the resources of the country (T«abari, I, pp. 2176, 2209). Dams and canals in Mesopotamia broke, turning cultivated areas into swamps. A plague devastated western provinces, killing łe@ro@ya and half of the population (Mas'udi, Moruj II, p. 232; cf. N÷ldeke, Geschichte der Perser, p. 385, n. 4). His son and successor, ArdaŠir III (q.v.), was murdered by łahrvara@z. The latter, having made a pact with Heraclius and evacuated all Roman territories (Mango), captured Ctesiphon with a small force, demonstrating to all the weakness of the empire. He also ascended the throne, further undermining the legitimacy of the Sasanian house. Nobles killed him after forty days, and two daughters of K˛osrow reigned in succession. When Farrok˛˛ Hormozd was assassinated in a palace plot, his son Rostam brought his forces to Ctesiphon, murdered the queen, and enthroned Yazdegerd (III), a grandson of K˛osrow then merely eight years old (T«abari, I, p. 1067). Other nobles enthroned and deposed other candidates (ten in two years). The situation was so chaotic, the condition of the people so appalling, that "the Persians openly spoke of the immanent downfall of their empire, and saw its portents in natural calamities" (Bala@d˛ori, p. 292; cf. Ta@rik˛-e Sista@n, p.81).



Such a wretched state enticed Persia's neighbors to take advantage of its situation. The Turks were marching through the eastern provinces at will, and only alliance with them saved local magnates in charge of those lands. The Khazars were ravaging the northwest provinces; Heraclius was interfering in Persia's internal affairs, and the Arabs, now inspired by a new faith and united by a call to arms and fully aware of the difficulties of the rich but disintegrating empire (T«abari, I, pp. 2187-88), were making inroads into Mesopotamia. Success made the Arabs rich and bold, and they defeated a major Persian army at Qa@desiya (southwest of H«ira), and subjugated local rulers until they captured Ctesiphon, where they found untold riches. Wave after wave of them swept through Iranian lands. Yazdegerd fled from one place to another, begging local lords to help save him and the empire; but the end had come, and no real, united front could be organized. The Arabs subjugated local lords by force or treaty and succeeded in destroying the Persian empire by 650. Yazdegerd was betrayed by Ma@ho@y Suri of Marv and murdered in a mill, in which he had been taking refuge.



With him ended the Sasanian dynasty, for the attempts of his son, Pe@ro@z, and his descendants to regain power with the help of Chinese or Turkish troops proved futile. Although its last days were inglorious, the Sasanian state remained the ideal model of organization, splendor, and justice in Perso-Arab tradition; and its bureaucracy and royal ideology were imitated by successor states, especially the Abbasid, Ottoman, and Safavid empires. The memory of Yazdegerd III remained that of a martyred prince, and many a subsequent ruler or notable in Islamic Iran claimed descent from him. His coins (like that of K˛osrow II) were usedŚand continued to be minted, with some gradual alteration in legendsŚby Arab governors for several generations (Tyler-Smith). According to a Shi'ite tradition, one of his daughters married Imam H«osayn and begot 'Ali Zayn-al-'a@bedin, the fourth Imam (Boyce, 1967). Thus, the Hosayni sayyeds claimed superiority over others by virtue of "nobility on both sides" (karim al-tarafayn: Ebn Balki, Fa@rsna@ma, p. 4). Many Iranians, particularly Zoroastrians, took the accession of Yazdegerd (16 June 632), as the beginning of the Era of Yazdegerd; some, however dated from the year of his murder in 650 (Taqizadeh, pp. 917-22).



See also: SASANIAN EMPIRE and entries for the individual rulers.


Bibliography: For works not cited in the bibliography see the "Short References and Abbreviations of Books and Periodicals" in EIr. I. General surveys of the sources of Sasanian history include: F. Justi in Grundriss II, pp. 512-13; Christensen, Iran. Sass., pp. 50-83; Widengren, Camb. Hist. Iran III, pp. 1269-89; Frye, 1984, pp. 287-91; Wiesehofer, 1996, pp. 283-87; Morony, 1995, pp. 80-83; Morony, 1984, pp. 541-42, 545-65, 575-77; and Cereti, 1995-97. The bibliography of the entry BYZANTINE-IRANIAN RELATIONS provides a list up to 1985 related to Sasanian political history. Useful anthologies of sources on the same subject are given in annotated translation in Dodgeon and Lieu, 1991 and 2002. The best modern overview of the Sasanian period, with excellent bibliographical essays, is Wieseh÷fer, 2001, pp. 153-221, 276-300, 309.



E. ┐Abba@s, ed., ┐Ahd ArdaŠ^r, Beirut, 1967. Agathias, The Histories, tr. G. D. Frendo, Berlin and New York, 1975 (see also Cameron 1995). N. Adontz, Armenia in the period of Justinian, tr. and rev. by N. Garso´an, Lisbon, 1970. M. Alram, Alram, Nomina propria iranica in nummis. Materialgrundlagen zu den iranischen Personennamen auf antiken MŘnzen, Vienna, l986. Idem, "The Beginning of Sasanian Coinage," Bulletin of the Asia Institute, N.S. 13, 1999, pp. 67-76. F. Altheium, "Mazdak und Porphyrios," La Nouvelle Clio 5, 1953, pp. 356-76. Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum Libri qui supersunt, ed. and tr. J. Rolfe as Histories, tr. J. C. Rolfe, 3 vols., Cambridge, Mass., 1935. J. P. Asmussen, "Christians in Iran," Camb. Hist. Iran 3, 1983, pp. 924-48. M. Azarnoush, The Sasanian Manor House at Hajiabad, Iran, Florence, 1994. H. W. Bailey, Zoroastrian problems in the ninth-century books, Oxford, 1943; repr. with a new introd., Oxfoird, 1971. T. D. Barnes, "Constantine and the Christians of Persia," Journal of Roman Studies 75, 1985, pp. 126-36. A. D. H. Bivar, "Cavalry equipment and tactics on the Euphrates frontier," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 26, 1972, pp. 2, 71-91. Idem, "The Political history of Iran under the Arsacids," Camb. Hist. Iran III, 1983, pp. 21-99. R. C. Blockley, ed. and tr., The Fragmentary Classicising historians of the Later Roman Empire I, Liverpool, 1981 (Eunapius, Malchus and Priscus). Idem, "The Roman-Persian peace-treaties of AD 299 and 363," Florilegium, 1984, pp. 62-74. Idem, East Roman Foreign Policy, Leeds, 1992. C. E. Bosworth, annotated tr., The History of al-T«abar^ IV. The Sa@sa@nids, the Byzantines, the Lakhmids and Yemen, Albany, New York, 1999. M. Boyce, "B^b^ Shahrba@nu@ and the Lady of Pa@rs," BSOAS 30, 1967, pp. 30-44. Eadem, "Middle Persian literature," Handbuch der Orientalistik, Abh. 1, Bd. 4, Abs. 2, Literatur, Lief. 1, Leiden, 1968, pp. 31-66. Eadem, Zoroastrians, their religious beliefs and practices, London and New York, 1979. S. Brock, "Christians in the Sasanian Empire: A case of divided loyalties," in S. Mews, ed., Religion and national identity. Studies in Church history, Oxford, 1982, pp. 1-19. C. J. Brunner, "Geographical and administrative division: Settlements and economy," Camb. Hist. Iran III, 1983, pp. 747-77. J. B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, 2 vols., London, 1923. P. Calmeyer, "Zur Genese altiranischer Motive. IV: 'Pers÷nliche Krone' und Diadem; V. Synarchie," AMI, N.S. 9, 1979, pp. 45-95. Averil Cameron, ed., The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East: III. States, resources and armies, Princeton, 1995. Cassius Dio, Roma History, tr. E. Cary, Cambridge, Mass. 1955. C. G. Cereti, "Primary Sources on the History of Inner and Outer Iran in the Sasanian Period," Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, 9, 1995-97, pp. 17-71.M. L. Chaumont, "Les grands rois sassanides d'Armeénie," Iranica Antiqua 8, 1968, pp. 81-93. Eadem, "Coreégence et aveÓnement de Shapuhr Ier," Meémorial Jean de Menasce, Louv ain,1974a, pp. 133-46. Eadem, "A propos d'une edict religieuse d'eépoque Sassanide," Meélange d'Histoire des Religions offerts aÓ H. C. Puech, Paris, 1974b, pp. 71-80. Eadem, "Etats vassaux dans l'empire des primiers Sassanides, Acta Iranica 4, 1975, pp. 89-156; Addendum in Acta Iranica 6, 1975, p. 356. Arthur Christensen, La regne du roi Kawadh I et le communisme mazdakite, Copenhagen, 1925. Idem, "La Legende du sage Buzurjmihr," Acta Orientalia 8, 1930, pp. 81-113. J. Cribb, "Numismatic evidence for Kushano-sasanian chronology," Studia Iranica 19, 1990, pp. 151-93. K. Czegleédy, "Bahra@m ┘o@bin and the Persian Apocalyptic Literature," AAASH 8, 1958, pp. 21-43.



E. Dabrowa ed., The Roman and Byzantine army in the East, Krakoéw, 1994, pp. 227-63. F. Decret, "Les consequences sur le christianisme en Perse de l'affrontemenet des empire romain et Sassanide de Shapur Ier aÓ Yazdgard Ier," Recherches Augustiniennes 14, 1979, pp. 91-152. Michael Dodgeon and Samuel Lieu, eds., The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363), Part 1. A.D. 226-363, a documentary history, compiled and ed. by M. H. Dodgeon and S. N. C. Lieu; London and New York, 1991; Part 2. AD 363-630, a narrative sourcebook, ed. and compiled by Geoffrey Greatrex and S. N. C. Lieu. J. Duchesne-Guillemin, "Zoroastrian religion," Camb. Hist. Iran 3, 1983, pp. 866-908. Kurt Erdmann, "Die Entwicklung der Sa@sa@nidischen Kr÷ne," Ars Islamica 15/16, 1951, pp. 87-123. Evagrius, tr. M. Whitby, The Ecclesiastical history of Evagrius Scholasticus, Liverpool, 2000. W. Felix, Antike literarische Quellen zur Aussenpolitik des Sa@sa@nidenstaates, Erster Band (224-309), Vienna, 1985. B. Flusin, Saint Anastase le Perse et l'histoire de la Palestine au deébut du VIIe sieÓcle, Paris 1992, II, pp. 151-64. R. N. Frye, "The Political history of Iran under the Sasanians," Camb. Hist. Iran III, 1983, pp. 116-80. Idem, The History of Ancient Iran, Munich, 1984. A. von Gabain, "Irano-Turkish relations in the Late Sasanian Period," Camb. Hist. Iran, III, pp. 613-24. H. Gaube, "Mazdak: historical reality or invention?" Stud. Ir. 9,1982, pp. 111-22. Ernst Gerland, "Die persischen FeldzŘge des Kaisers Herakleios," Byzantinische Zeitschrift 3, 1894, pp. 231-73. Roman Ghirshman, Iran. From the earliest times to the Islamic Conquest, Bungay, Suffolk, UK, 1954. Idem, Fouilles de ChÔpour: BţchÔpour I, Paris, 1971; II. Les Mosa´ques Sassanides, Paris, 1956. Idem, "ChÔpur Ier, 'Roi de rois' sans couronne," Acta Iranica 4, 1975, pp. 257-67. Philippe Gignoux, "La Liste de provinces de l'Eran dans les inscriptions de Sabuhr et Kirdir," AAASH 19, 1971, pp. 83-93. Idem, "Church-state relations in the Sasanian period," Bullettin of the Middle Eastern CultureCenter in Japan 1, 1984, pp. 72-80. Idem, Les quatres inscriptions de mage Kirde@r. Textes et concordance, Paris, 1991. Idem, "Les inscriptions en moyen-perse de Bandia@n," Stud. Ir. 27, 1998, pp. 251-58. Gh. Gnoli, The Idea of Iran. An Essay on its Origins, Rome, 1989. Robert G÷bl, Sasanian Numismatics, tr. Paul Severin, Braunschweig, 1971. Geoffrey Greatrex, Rome and Persia at war: 502-532, Leeds, 1998. M. Grignaschi, "Quelques speécimens de la liteérature Sassanide conserveés dans les Bibliotheques d'Istanbul," JA 1966, pp. 1-142 (containing ed. and tr. of ┐Ahd-e ArdaŠ^r, Ka@rna@mag-e AnoŠirava@n, and ┐Ayin-e ArdaŠ^r). Idem, " La riforma tributaria di Ëosro@ I e il feudalesimo sasanide," in La Persia nel Medioevo, Rome, 1971, pp. 87-147. Idem, "La chute de l'empire Hephthalite dans les sources byzantines et perses et le probleÓme des Avars," AAASH 28, 1980, pp. 219-40. D. Gutas, "Paul the Persian on the classification of the parts of Aristotle's philosophy: a milestone between Alexandria and Bagdad," Der Islam 40,1985, 231-67. R. GŘterbock, Byzans und Persien in ihren diplomatisch-v÷lkerrechtlichenBeziehungen im Zeitalter Justinians, Berlin, 1906. A. von Gutschmid, "Zur Geschichte der Sasaniden," ZDMG 34, 1880, pp. 585-87. Rika Gyselen, La Geéographie administrative de L'empire Sassanide. Les teémoignages sigillographiques, (Res Orientales I), Paris, 1989. Idem, The Four Generals of the Sasanian Empire: Some Sigillographic Evidence, Rome, 2001.



J. Harmatta, "The struggle for the possession of South Arabia between Aksum and the Sasanians," Actes de IVe congreés international des eétudes eéthiopiennes, Rome 1972, Rome, 1974, pp. 95-116. Idem, "The Struggle for the 'Silk Route' between Iran, Byzantium and the TŘrk Empire from 560 to 630 A.D.," in Cs. Baélint, ed., Kontakte zwischen Iran, Byzanz und der Steppe in 6.-7. Jh., Budapest, 2000, pp. 249-252. P. O. Harper and P. Meyers, Silver Vessels of the Sasanian Period. I. Royal Imagery, New York, 1981. W. B. Henning, Selected Papers I-II (Acta Iranica 14-15), Tehran and LieÓge, 1977. Idem, "The great inscription of ła@pu@r I," BSOS 9, 1937-39, pp. 823-49 (Sel. Pap. I, pp. 601-27). Idem, "Mani's last journey," BSOAS 10, 1942, pp. 941-53 (Sel. Pap. II, pp. 81-93). Idem, "Notes on the great inscription of ła@pur I," in Professor Jackson Memorial Volume, Bombay, 1954, pp. 40-54 (Sel. Pap. II, pp. 415-29). W. B. Henning and S. H. Taqizadeh, "The Dates of Mani's Life," Asia Major 6, 1957, pp. 106-21 (Sel. Pap. II, pp. 505-20). A. Henrichs and L. Koenen, "Der K÷lner Mani-Kodex...," Zeitschrift fur Papyriologie und Epigraphik 19, 1975, pp. 1-85 (p. 18, Greek text; p. 21, translation). Herodian, History of the Empire from the time of Marcus Aurelius, tr. C. R. Whittaker, Cambridge, Mass. 1970. Ernst Herzfeld, Am Tor von Asien. Felsdenkmńler aus Irans Heldenzeit, Berlin, 1920a. Idem, "Der Thron des Khosr˘," Jahrbuch der Preussischen Kunstsammlungen 41, 1920b, pp.1-24, 103-45. Idem, Paikuli: Monument and Inscription of the Early History of the Sasanian Empire, 2 vols., Berlin, 1924. Idem, "Khusrau Parwe@z und der Ta@q-i Vasta@n," AMI 9, 1938), pp. 91-158. Robert Hewsen, tr. with introd. and comm., The Geography of Ananias of _irak (A_xarhac'oyc'). The Long and Short Recensions, Wiesbaden, 1992. M. J. Higgins, "Chosroe II's Votive Offerings at Sergiopolis," Byzantinische Zeitschrift 48/1, 1955, pp. 89-102. Walther Hinz, Altiranisches Funde und Forschungen, Berlin, 1969. Idem, "Mani und Karde@r," La Persia nel Medioevo, Rome, 1971, pp. 485-99. E. Honigmann and A. Maricq, Recherches sur les Res Gestae Divi Saporis, Bruxelles, 1953. J. D. Howard-Johnston, "The Official History of Heraclius' Persian campaigns," in Dabrowa, 1994, pp. 57-87. Idem, "The two Great Powers in Late Antiquity: a comparison," in Cameron, 1995, pp. 157-226. Idem, "Heraclius' Persian campaigns and the revival of the East Roman Empire, 622-30," War in History 6, 1999, pp. 1-44. H. Humbach and P. O. Skjaerv°, The Sassanian Inscription of Paikuli, 3 vols, Wiesbaden, 1978-83. Philip Huyse, "Kerd^r and the first Sasanians," in N. Sims-Williams ed., Proceedings of the Third European Conference of Iranian Studies, Wiesbaden, 1998, pp. 109-20. Idem, Die dreisprachige Inschrift ła@buhrs I. An der Ka┐ba-i █arduŠt (łKZ), Corp. Inscrip. Iran. III, Vol. I, Text I, 2 vols., London 1999.



Joshua the Stylite, The Chronicle of Joshua the Stylite. Syriac text and English tr. by W. Wright, Cambridge, 1882; tr. by Frank R. Trombley and W. Watt as The Chronicle of Pseudo-Jashua the Stylite, Liverpool, 2000; German tr. by A. Luther, Die syrische Chronik des Josua Stylite, Berlin and New York, 1997. John of Antioch in MŘller, 1885, pp. 535-622. F. Justi, "Herrschaft der Sa@sa@niden," in Grundriss II/4, 1900, pp. 512-49. John of Ephesus, Historiae ecclesiasticae, tr. J. M. Sch÷nfelder as Die Kirchen Geschichte des Johannes von Ephesus, Munich, 1862. Ka@rna@mag-e Ano@Š^rava@n: see Grignaschi, 1966; also in MoŠko@ya, Taja@reb al-omam, ed. K. Ima@mi, I, Tehran, 1987, pp. 100-14. E. Kettenhofen, Die r÷misch-persischen Kriege des 3. Jarhunderts n. Chr. Nach der Inschrift ła@hpuhrs I. an der Ka┐be-ye ZartoŠt (łKZ), Wiesbaden, 1982. E. Khurshudian, Die parthischen und sasanidischen Verwaltungsinstitutionen: nach den literarischen und epigraphischen Quellen, 3 JH. v. Chr. - 7 JH. n. Chr., Jerewan, 1998. O. Klima, "Ke@ ▒ihr hac yazata@n," ArchÝiv OrientaélnÝ 24, 1956, pp. 292-93. Idem, Beitrńge zur Geschichte des Mazdakismus, Prague, 1977. Idem, Mazdak. Geschichte einr sozialen Bewegung im sassanidischen Persien, Prague, 1957. Idem, Beitrńge zur Geschichte der Mazdakismus, Prague, 1977. J. Labourt, Le Christianisme dans l'empire perse sous la dynatie Sassanide (224-632) (BibliotheÓque de l'enseignement de l'histoire eccleésiastique), Paris, 1904. V. G. Lukonin, Kultura Sasanidskogo Irana, Moscow, 1969. Idem, Iran v III veke, Moscow 1979. Idem, "Politcal, social and administrative institutions: taxes and trade," Camb.Hist. Iran 3, 1983, pp. 681-746. B. C. MacDermont, "Roman emperors in the Sasanian Reliefs," The Journal of Roman studies, 44, 1959, pp. 76-80. D. N. MacKenzie, "Kerdir's Inscription (synoptic text in translitteration, transcription, translation and commentary)," in G. Herrmann, D. N. Mackenzie and R. Howell Caldecott, The Sasanian Rock Reliefs at Naqsh-i Rustam. Naqsh-i Rustam 6. The Triumph of Shapur I, Representation of Kerdir and Inscription (Iranishe Denkmńler 13), Berlin, 1989, pp. 35-72. Idem, "The Fire Altar of Happy *Frayosh," Bulletin of the Asia Institute, N.S. 7, 1993, pp. 105-9. John Malalas, Chronographia, ed. L. Dindorf, Bonn 1831; tr. from better manuscripts by E. Jeffreys et al. as The Chronicle of John Malalas, Melbourne, 1986. C. Mango, "Deux eétudes su Byzance et la Perse sassanide. II. Heéraclius, Shahrvaraz et la Vraie Croix," Travaux et meémoires 9, 1985, pp. 91-118. A. Maricq, "Res Gestae Divi Saporis," Syria 35, 1958, pp. 295-360 (repr. in Classica et Orientalia, Paris, 1965, pp. 37-101). Josef Marquart, "Historische Glossen zu den alttŘrkischen Inschriften," WZKM 12, 1898, pp. 157-200. J. de Menasce, Le troiseÓme livre du DŰnkart, Paris, 1973. Menander Protector, Hitorikon syngramma, ed. and tr. with notes R. C. Blockley as The History of Menander the Guardsman, Classical and Medieval texts, papers and monographs 17, Liverpool, 1985. Michael G. Morony, Iraq after the Muslim Conquest, Princeton, 1984. Idem, "Sasanids," in EI2 IX, 1997, pp. 70-83. Na@ma-ye Tansar, ed. M Minovi, Tehran, 1311 ł./1932; tr. by M. Boyce as The Letter of Tansar, Rome, 1966. C. MŘller, Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum IV, Paris, 1885. J. Neusner, A History of Jews in Babylonia, 5 vols., Leiden, 1960-70. Theodor N÷ldeke, "Geschichte des ArtachŠ^r i Pa@pka@n," Beitrńge zur Kunde der indogermanische Sprachen 4 (Festschrift Theodor Benfeys), G÷ttingen, 1878, pp. 22-69. Idem, "Die von Guidi herausgegebene syrische Chronik," Sitzungsberichte der phil.-hist. Class der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften 128, Vienna, 1893, pp. 1-48. Idem, "Burzo@e@'s Einteilung zu dem Buche Kalila wa-Damna," Schriften der wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft in Strassburg 12, 1912, pp. 1-26. P. Peeters, "Les ex-voto de Khosrau Aparwez aÓ Sergiopolis," Analecta Bollandiana 65, 1947, pp. 5-56. P. Pieler, "L'aspect politique et jurisdique de l'adoption de Chosroes proposeée par la Perses aÓ Justin," Revue internationale des droits de l'antiquiteé 19, 1972, pp. 399-433. I. Pfeiler, "Der Thron der Achaimeniden als Herrschaftssymbol auf sasanidischen MŘnzen," Schweizer MŘnzblńtter 23, 1973, pp. 107-11. H. J. Polotsky, ed., Manichńische Homlilien, Stuttgart, 1934. Procopius, History of the Wars, ed. and tr. H. D. Dewing, London, 1961.



G. Rawlinson, The Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy or the Geography, History, and Antiquities of the Sassanians or New Persian Empire, New York, 1882. R. T. Ridley, "Three notes on Julian's Persian expedition," Historia 22, 1973, pp. 317-30. Z. Rubin, "The reforms of Khusro Anushirwan," in Cameron, 1995, pp. 227-97. E. Sachau, "Von den rechtlichen Verhńltnissen der Christen im Sasanidenreich," Mitteilungen des Seminar fŘr orientalische Sprachen zu Berlin 10/2, 1907, pp. 69-95. Klaus Schippmann, GrundzŘge der Geschichte des sasanidischen Reiches, Darmstadt, 1990. Sebeos, The Armenian History Attributed to Sebeos, Vol. I, tr. with notes by R. W. Thomson; Vol. II: Historical Commentary by J. Howard-Johnston (with Tim Greenwood), Liverpool, 1999. Otto Seeck, "Sapor II," in Pauly-Wissowa IA/2, 1920, cols. 2334-54. Rudolf Sellheim, "Ta@q-I Busta@n und Kaiser Julian (361-63)," Oriens 34, 1994, pp. 354-66. A. Sh. Shahbazi, "An Achaemenid Symbol. II. Farnah '(God-given) Fortune' Symbolized," AMI 13, 1980, pp. 119-47. Idem, "Studes in Sasanian Prosopography I: Narse's Relief at Naqsh-i Rustam," AMI 16, 1983, pp. 255-68. Idem, "On the Xwada@y-na@mag," Acta Iranica 30 (Papers in Honor of Professor Ehsan Yarshater), Leiden 1990, pp. 208-29. Idem, "Early Sasanians' claim to Achaemenid heitage," Na@me-ye Ira@n-e Ba@sta@n 1/1, 2001, pp. 61-73. I. Shahid, "The Iranian factor in Byzantium during the reign of Heraclius," Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 26, 1972, pp. 295-320. S. Shaked, "Some Legal and Administrative Terms of the Sasanian Period," Monumentum H.S. Nyberg II (Acta Iranica 5, Hommages et opera minora), Leiden, Teéheéran, LieÓge, 1975, pp. 213-25. Idem, "Administrative functions of priests in the Sasanian period," in Proceedings of the First European Conference of Iranian Studies held in Turin, Rome, 1990, pp. 260-73. M. Shaki, "The De@nkard Account of the History of the Zoroastrian scriptures," ArchÝv OrientaélnÝ 49, 1981, pp. 114-25 (esp. 116, 119). D. Sinor, "The establishment and dissolution of the TŘrk empire," in D. Sinor, ed., Cambridge History of Inner Asia, Cambridge, 1990, pp. 285-316; bibliog., pp. 478-82. P. O. Skjťrv° and H. Humbach, The Sassanian Inscription of Paikuli, 3 vols. in 4 pts, Wiesbaden, 1983. S. Tyler Smith, "Coinage in the name of Yazdgerd III (AD 632-651) and the Arab conquest of Iran," NC 160, 2000, pp. 135-70. E. Stein, "Perse Sassanide," La Museoén 53, 1940, pp. 123-33. Idem, "Ein kapitel vom persischen und byzantinischen Staate," Byzantinisch-neugrichische Jahrbucher 1, 1920, pp. 50-89. W. Sundermann, "Studien zur kirchengeschichtlichen Literatur der iranischen Manichńer III," Altorientalische Forschungen 14, 1987, pp. 41-107. Idem, "Ke@ ▒ihr az yazda@n. Zur Titulatur der Sasnidenkonige," ArchÝv OrientaélnÝ 56, 1988, pp. 338-40.



A. Tafazzoli, "Observations su le soi-disant Mazdak-Na@mag," in Acta Iranica 23, 1984. Idem, Sasanian Society, Winona Lake, 2000. S. H. Taqizadeh, "Various eras and calendars used in countries of Islam," BSOS 9, 1937-39, pp. 903-22. Theophylact Simocatta, Historiae, tr. Michael and Mary Whitby as The History of Theophylact Simocatta Simocatta, Oxford and New York, 1986. Cyril Toumanoff, "The Heraclids and the Arsacids," REA, N.S. 19, 1985, pp. 431-34. Leo TrŘmpelmann, "Triumph Řber Julian Apostata," Jahrbuch fŘr Numismatick und Geldgeschichte 25, 1975, pp. 107-11. Geo Widengren, "Xosrau Ano@Šurva@n, les Hephthalites et les peuplese turcs," Orientalia Suecana 1, 1952, pp. 69-94. Idem, "The Establishment of the Sasanian Dynasty in the Light of New Evidence," in La Persia nel Medioevo, Rome, 1971, pp. 711-82. Idem, Der Feudalismus im alten Iran, Cologne and Opladen, 1967. Idem, Iran der grosse Gegner Roms: K÷nigsgewalt, Feudalismus, Militńrwesen, Aufstieg und Niedergang der r÷mischen Welt II/9.1, 1976, pp. 219-306. Idem, "Sources of Parthian and Sasanian History," Camb. Hist. Iran 3, 1983, pp. 1261-83. Josef Wieseh÷fer, Ancient Persia From 550 BC to 650 AD, tr. from German by Azizeh Azodi, London and New York, 1996; 2nd ed., 2001. Engelbert Winter, Die Sa@sa@nidisch-r÷mischen Friedensvertrńge des 3. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. ein Beitrag zum Verhstńndnis der aussen politischen Beziehungen zwischen den beiden Grossmńchten, Frankfurt on the Main and New York, 1988. G. Wirth, "Julians Perserkrieg. Kriterien einer Katastrophe," in R. Klein, ed., Julian Apostata, Darmstadt, 1978, pp. 419-507. Ehsan Yarshater, "Mazdakism," Camb. Hist. Iran 3, pp. 991-1026.



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