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Sasanian Empire

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Sasanian Empire

By: S.Mahdavi

The Sasanian Empire at its greatest extent under Khosrau II.

The Sasanian Empire at its greatest extent

under Khosrau II.

Das Sasanische Reich, das auch als Sassanier, Sasanid oder Sassanid bekannt ist oder das Neo-Persische Reich, das sein Bewohnern als Ērānshahr und Ērān auf Mittelpersisch bekannt ist und zu den neuen persischen Begriffen Iranshahr und Iran führt, Krieg das letzte iranische Reich vor Dem Aufstieg des Islam, regiert von der sasanischen Dynastie von 224 CE bis 651 CE. Das Sassanid-Reich, das dem Partherischen Reich folgte, wurde als eine der Hauptmächte in West- und Zentralasien neben dem römisch-byzantinischen Reich für einen Zeitraum von mehr als 400 Jahren anerkannt.
The Sassanian empire was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Arsakid empire and the defeat of the last Arsakid king Artabanus V. The Sassanid empire covered most of today's Iran, Iraq, Levant, Palestine, Jordan, Israel) , The Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan), Egypt, parts of Turkey, Central Asia (Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), the Persian Gulf, Yemen, Oman and Pakistan. According to a legend, the Vexilloid of the Sassanid empire was Derafsh Kaviani. It was also assumed that the transition to the Sassanian empire represented the end of the struggle of the ethnic proto-Persians with their closely neighboring ethnic relatives, the Parthians, their original homeland, in today's Central Asia.
The Sasan Empire, during Late Antiquity, is one of the most important and influential historical epochs of Iran and formed the last great Iranian empire before the Muslim conquest and the acceptance of Islam. In many ways, the Sassanian period was the culmination of ancient Iranian civilization. Persia influenced Roman civilization considerably during the Sassanid period. The cultural influence of the Sassanids extended far beyond the borders of the country and extended to Western Europe, Africa, China and India. It played a prominent role in the formation of European and Asian medieval art. Much of what later became known as Islamic culture in architecture, poetry and other subjects were transmitted by the Sassanids throughout the Muslim world. Even after the fall of the Sasan Empire, it remained the ideal model of organization, splendor and justice in the Perso-Arab tradition; And his bureaucracy and his royal ideology were imitated by successor states, especially by the Abbasids, Ottomans, and Safavids.

History

Origins and early history (205–310)

Ghal'eh Dokhtar ("The Maiden's Castle") in present-day  Fars, Firuzabad, Iran,

Ghal'eh Dokhtar ("The Maiden's Castle") in present-day

Fars, Firuzabad, Iran, built by Ardashir in 209, before

he was finally able to defeat the Parthian empire.

Conflicting accounts shroud the details of the fall of the Parthian Empire and subsequent rise of the Sassanid Empire in mystery. The Sassanid Empire was established in Estakhr by Ardashir I.
Babak was originally the ruler of a region called Kheir. But until the year 200 he managed to overthrow Gocihr and to appoint himself as the new ruler of the Bazrangids. His mother Rodhagh was the daughter of the governor of Persis. Babak and his eldest son Shapur managed to extend their power over Persis. The subsequent events are unclear due to the elusive nature of the sources. However, it is certain that Ardashir, who was then the governor of Darabgerd, was involved in a power struggle with his older brother Shapur after the death of Babak. Sources show that Shapur, abandoned for a meeting with his brother, was killed when the roof of a building collapsed on him. By the year 208, about the protests of his other brothers who were killed, Ardashir declared himself ruler of Persis.

Once Ardashir was appointed Shahanshah, he moved his capital further south of Persis and founded Ardashir-Khwarrah (formerly Gur, now Firouzabad). The city, well supported by high mountains and easily defended by narrow passports, became the center of Ardashir's efforts to gain more power. The city was surrounded by a high, circular wall, probably copied from the Darabgird, and on the north side a large palace, which has been preserved to this day. After establishing his rule over Persis, Ardashir I expanded his territory rapidly, and demanded fidelity from the local princes of the Fars, gaining control over the neighboring provinces of Kerman, Isfahan, Susiana, and Mesene.
This expansion attracted Artabanus V, the Parthian king, who first commanded the governor of Khuzestan to lead the war against Ardashir in 224, but the battles were victories for Ardashir. In a second attempt to destroy Ardashir, Artabanus V met Ardashir in battle in Hormozgan, where Artabanus V met his death. After the death of the Parthian ruler, Ardashir continued to penetrate into the western provinces of the Parthian Empire, now deceased.
Factors supporting the rise to the supremacy of the Sassanids were the dynastic struggle of Artabanus V -Vologases VI for the Parthian throne, which probably enabled Ardaschir to strengthen its authority in the south with little or no interference from the Parthians; And the geography of the Fars province, which separated him from the rest of Iran. Crowned in 224 at Ctesiphon as the sole ruler of Persia, Ardashir took the title of Shahanshah or "King of Kings" (the inscriptions mention Adhur-Anahid as his "Queen of Queens," but their relationship with Ardashir is not established) Year Parthian empire to the end and early four centuries of Sassanid rule.

The FINE ARTS OF IRAN IN THE SASANIAN PERIOD

Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rustam

Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rustam of Persian

emperor Shapur I on horseback capturing

Roman emperor Valerian standing and Philip

the Arab kneeling suing for peace

Over the next few years local revolts around the empire would develop. Nevertheless, Ardashir I extended his new empire to the east and north-west, conquering the provinces of Sistan, Gorgan, Khorasan, Margiana (in modern Turkmenistan), Balkh and Chorasmia. He also added Bahrain and Mosul to Sassanid's possessions. Later Sassanid inscriptions also claim that the kings of Kushan, Turan, and Mekran are subordinate to Ardashir, although they are based on numismatic evidence, it is more likely that these were presented to the son of Ardashir, the future Shapur I. In the west attacks against Hatra, Armenia and Adiabene have been less successful. In 230 he rode deeply into the Roman territory, and a Roman counteroffensive ended two years later unclear, although the Roman emperor Alexander Severus celebrated a triumph in Rome.
Ardashir's son Shapur I continued the expansion of the empire and conquered Bactria and the western part of the Kushan empire, while he led several campaigns against Rome. Penetrating the Roman Mesopotamia, Shapur took Carrhae and Nisibis, but in 243 the Roman General Timesitheus defeated the Persians in Rhesaina and won the lost territories. The later Euphrates descent of the Emperor Gordian III (238-244) was defeated at Meshike (244), which led to Gordian's assassination by his own troops, and enabled Shapur to conclude a very favorable peace treaty with the new Emperor Philip the Arab Payment of 500,000 denarii and other annual payments.
Ardashir's son Shapur I continued the expansion of the empire and conquered Bactria and the western part of the Kushan empire, while he led several campaigns against Rome. Penetrating the Roman Mesopotamia, Shapur took Carrhae and Nisibis, but in 243 the Roman General Timesitheus defeated the Persians in Rhesaina and won the lost territories. The later Euphrates descent of the Emperor Gordian III (238-244) was defeated at Meshike (244), which led to Gordian's assassination by his own troops, and enabled Shapur to conclude a very favorable peace treaty with the new Emperor Philip the Arab Payment of 500,000 denarii and other annual payments ..
Shapur soon resumed the war, defeated the Romans at Barbalissos (253), and then probably took and plundered Antioch.
Roman counter-attacks under Emperor Valerian ended in disaster when the Roman army was defeated and encamped in Edessa, and Valerian was captured by Shapur and remained his prisoner for the rest of his life. Shapur celebrated his victory by carving the impressive rock reliefs in Naqsh-e Rostam and Bishapur, as well as a monumental inscription in Persian and Greek near Persepolis. He exploited his success by advancing in Anatolia (260) but, after the defeats in the hands of the Romans and their Palmyren ally Odaenathus, fell into disorder, suffered the capture of his harem, and the loss of all Roman territories occupied by him .
Shapur had intensive development plans. He ordered the construction of the first dam bridge in Iran and established many cities, some of which were partly settled by emigrants from the Roman territories, among them Christians who could freely exercise their faith under Sassanide. Two cities, Bishapur and Nishapur, are named after him. He particularly favored Manichaeism, protected Mani (who gave him one of his books, the Shabuhragan) and sent many Manichaean missionaries abroad. He also befriends a Babylonian rabbi named Shmuel.

Sasanian Belts

 Coin of Ardashir I.

Coin of Ardashir I

After Bahram III (who reigned briefly in 293) Narseh went to another war with the Romans. After an early success against the Emperor Galerius at Callinicum on the Euphrates in 296, Narseh was decisively defeated. Galerius, probably in the spring of 298, was reinforced by a new contingent, which had been collected from the empire's Donaubet enterprises. Narseh did not rise from Armenia and Mesopotamia, so Galerius launched the offensive in 298 with an attack on North Mesopotamia over Armenia. Narseh withdrew to Armenia to fight Galerius' violence, to Narseh's disadvantage: the rugged Armenian terrain was favorable to the Roman infantry, but not to the Sassanian cavalry. Local help gave Galerius the advantage of surprise over the Persian forces, and in two consecutive battles Galerius secured victories over Narseh.
During the second encounter, Roman forces carried the camp of Narseh, his treasury, his harem and his wife. Galerius advanced in the media and Adiabene and won successive victories, especially near Erzurum, and secured Nisibis (Nusaybin, Turkey) before October 1, 298. He drew down the Tigris and took the Ctesiphon.
Narseh had previously sent an ambassador to Galerius to plead for the return of his wives and children.Peace negotiations began in the spring of 299, with both Diocletian and Galerius presiding.
The conditions of peace were difficult: Persia would give up territory to Rome and make the Tigris the border between the two rich. Further expressions specified that Armenia was returned to Roman domination, with the fort of Ziatha as its border; The Caucasian Iberia would pay Rome under a Roman appeal; Nisibis, now under Roman rule, would become the sole guidance for the trade between Persia and Rome; And Rome would exercise control over the five satrapies between Tigris and Armenia: Ingilene, Sophanene (Sophene), Arzanene (Aghdznik), Corduene and Zabdicene (near modern Hakkâri, Turkey).
The Sassanids ceded five provinces west of the Tigris, and agreed not to interfere in the affairs of Armenia and Georgia. In the aftermath of this defeat, Narseh gave up the throne and died a year later, leaving the Sassanid throne to his son, Hormizd II. Unrest spread throughout the land, and while Hormizd II suppressed revolts in Sistan and Kushan, he was unable to control the nobles and was subsequently killed by Bedouins in a hunting trip in 309.

First Golden Era (309–379)
After the death of Hormizd II, Arabs from the north began to devastate and plunder the eastern cities of the Empire, even the province of Fars, the birthplace of the Sassanian kings. Meanwhile, Persian nobles killed the oldest son of Hormizd II, blinded the second and arrested the third (who later escaped the Roman territory). The throne was reserved for Shapur II, the unborn child of a woman of Hormizd II who was crowned in utero: the crown was placed on the belly of his mother. During his youth, the empire was controlled by his mother and the nobles. When Shapur II acquired, he took over the power and quickly proved to be an active and effective ruler.

Tang -e- Chogan.Bishapour.King ShapourII.
Tang -e- Chogan.Bishapour.King ShapourII.

Shapur II first led his small but disciplined army south against the Arabs, which he had defeated to secure the southern territories of the Empire. He then launched his first campaign against the Romans in the West, where the Persian forces had won a series of battles but were unable, due to the failure of the repeated sieges of the most important frontier town of Nisibi and the Roman success in the re-conquest of the cities To make profits From Singara and Amida, after they had fallen to the Persians.
Shapur II. His small but disciplined army south against the Arabs, which he had defeated to secure the southern territories of the Empire. He then launched his first campaign against the Romans in the West, where the Persian forces had a series of battles that were able to destroy the territories of Singara and Amida.
Kulturelle Erweiterung folgte diesen Sieg, und Sassanid Kunst durchdrang Turkestan, so weit wie China. Shapur, zusammen mit dem Nomaden König Grumbates, begann seine zweite Kampagne gegen die Römer in 359 und bald gelang es, Singara und Amida wieder zu nehmen. Als Reaktion, schlug der römische Kaiser Julian tief in persisches Territorium und besiegte Shapurs Kräfte am Ktesiphon. Er versäumte, die Hauptstadt zu nehmen, und wurde getötet, als er versuchte, sich auf das römische Territorium zurückzuziehen. Sein Nachfolger Jovian, der am Ostufer des Tigris gefangen Krieg, musste alle Provinzen, die die Perser im Alter von 298 nach Rom abgetreten hatten, sowie Nisibis und Singara übergeben, um sicherzustellen, dass seine Armee aus Persien sichere Passagen erhalten konnte.
Shapur II pursued a hard religious policy. Under his rule, the Avesta collection, the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, was closed, heresy and apostasy punished and Christians persecuted. The latter was a reaction against the Christianization of the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great. Shapur II. Was kind, like Shapur I, against the Jews who lived in relative freedom and gained many advantages in their time (see also Raba). At the time of the death of Shapur, the Persian empire was stronger than ever, pacifying its enemies in the east, and Armenia under Persian control.

THE SOCIETY AND CLVILIZATION OF THE SASANIANS

Intermediate Era (379–498)

Khosro Parviz Sassanid King and his Horse Shabdiz Taq  Tagh. -e- Bostan

Khosro Parviz Sassanid King and his Horse Shabdiz

Tagh. -e- Bostan

From Shapur II's death to the first coronation of Kavadh I, there was a largely peaceful period with the Romans (at this time the Eastern or Byzantine Empire) interrupted only by two short wars, the first in 421-422 and the second In 440. During this time, the religious policy of the Sassanids differed dramatically from king to king. Despite a series of weak leaders, the administrative system established during the Shapur II reign remained strong, and the empire continued to function effectively.
After Shapur II died in 379, he left a powerful empire to his half-brother Ardashir II (379–383; son of Vahram of Kushan) and his son Shapur III (383–388), neither of whom demonstrated his predecessor's talent.

Ardashir II, who had grown up as the "half-brother" of the Emperor, failed to fill his brother's shoes, and Shapur III. Was too melancholic to achieve anything. Bahram IV (388-399), although not as inactive as his father, still managed to achieve nothing important for the empire. During this time, Armenia was divided by a treaty between the Roman and the Sassanian empires. The Sassanids reestablished their rule over large armies, while the Byzantine Empire held a small part of western Armenia.
Bahram IV's son Yazdegerd I (399-421) is often compared with Constantine I. He was like him physically and diplomatically powerful. Similar to his Roman counterpart, Yazdegerd was opportunistic. Like Constantine the Great, Yazdegerd I practiced religious tolerance and freedom for the rise of religious minorities. He stopped the persecution against Christians, and even punished nobles and priests who persecuted them. Its reign marked a relatively peaceful era. He made lasting peace with the Romans and even took the young Theodosius II (408-450) under his guardianship. He also married a Jewish princess, who bore him a son named Narsi.
Yazdegerd I. His successor was his son Bahram V (421-438), one of the most famous Sassanid kings and the hero of many myths. These myths also persisted after the destruction of the Sassanid Empire by the Arabs. Bahram V, better known as Bahram-e Gur, won the crown after the sudden death of Yazdegerd I (or assassination) against the opposition of the Great with the help of al-Mundhir, the Arab dynasty of al-Hirah. Bahram Vs mother was Soshandukht, the daughter of the Jewish exilearch. In 427, he crashed an invasion in the east through the nomadic hephalites and extended his influence into Central Asia, where his portrait survived centuries of the imprinting of Bukhara (in Uzbekistan today). Bahram V dismissed the vassal kings of the Persian part of Armenia and made him a province.
Bahram V is a great favorite in the Persian tradition which tells many stories about his bravery and beauty, his victories over the Romans, Turkic peoples, Indians and Africans and his adventures in hunting and love; He is called Bahram-e Gur, Gur meaning onager, because of his love for hunting and especially hunting onager. He symbolized a king at the height of a golden age. He had won his crown by competing with his brother, spending time fighting foreign enemies, but most amused by hunting and court parties with his famous gang of ladies and courtiers. He embodied royal prosperity. During his time, the best pieces of Sassanid literature were written, remarkable pieces of Sassanid music were composed, and sports such as polo became regal pastimes, a tradition which continues to this day in many kingdoms.
Bahram V's son Yazdegerd II (438–457) was a just, moderate ruler, but in contrast to Yazdegerd I, practiced a harsh policy towards minority religions, particularly Christianity.
At the beginning of his reign, Yazdegerd II collected a mixed army from different nations, including his Indian allies, and attacked the Eastern Roman Empire in 441, but peace was soon restored after minor struggles. Then he gathered his forces in Nishapur in 443 and launched a long campaign against the Kidarites. Finally, after a series of battles, he crushed the Kidarites and drove them out over the Oxus in the year 450.

www.irangazette.com/en.sasanid.Bahram V is a great favorite in Persian literature and poetry. Bahram and the Indian princess in the black pavilion. Depiction of a Khamsa .Quintet. by the great Persian poet Nizam.jpg

Bahram V is a great favorite in

Persian literature and poetry.

Bahram and the Indian princess in

the black pavilion. Depiction of a

KhamsaوQuintet.

by the great Persian poet Nizam

During his eastern campaign, Yazdegerd II became suspicious of the Christians in the army and expelled them all from the commander-in-chief and the army. Then he followed the Christians and, to a much lesser degree, the Jews. In order to restore Zoroastrianism in Armenia, he crushed an insurrection of the Armenian Christians in the battle of Vartanantz in 451. The Armenians, however, remained predominantly Christian. In his later years, he was still engaged to Kidarites until his death in 457. Hormizd III (457-459), younger son of Yazdegerd II, rose to the throne. During his short reign, he constantly struggled with his older brother Peroz, who had the support of the nobility, and with the hephthalites in Bactria. He was killed by his brother Peroz in 459.
At the beginning of the 5th century, the Hephalites (White Huns), together with other nomadic groups, attacked Persia. First, Bahram V and Yazdegerd II brought decisive defeats against them and drove them back east. The Huns returned at the end of the fifth century and defeated Peroz I (457-484) in 483. After this victory the Huns invaded and plundered parts of East Persia for two years. After a few years of hard work you have practiced hard.
These attacks caused instability and chaos for the kingdom. Peroz I once again tried to expel the hephthalites, but on the way to Herat he and his army were captured by the Huns in the desert; Peroz was killed, and his army was extinguished. After this victory, the Hephalites advanced to the city of Herat and cast the Empire into chaos. Finally, a noble Persian from the old family of Karen, Zarmihr (or Sokhra) restored a certain order. He raised Balash, one of Peroz's brothers, although the Hunnian threat existed until the reign of Khosrau I. Balash (484-488) was a mild and generous monarch who made concessions to Christians; However, he has no action against the enemies of the Empire, especially the White Huns. Balash, after a reign of four years, was blinded and dismissed (attributed to the magnates), and his nephew, Kavadh I, was raised to the throne.
Kavadh I (488-531) was an energetic and reformist ruler. Kavadh I supported the sect founded by Mazdak, son of Bamdad, who demanded that the rich should share their wives and wealth with the poor. His intention was evidently to be broken by the acceptance of the doctrine of the Mazdakites, the influence of the magnates and the growing aristocracy. These reforms led him to be deposed and imprisoned in Susa, and his younger brother Jamasp (Zamaspes) was elevated to the throne in 496. Kavadh I, however, escaped 498 and was crowned by the White Hun King.
Djamasp (496-498) was installed on the Sassanid throne after the deposition of Kavadh I by the members of the nobility. Djamasp was a good and good king, and he reduced taxes to relieve the peasants and the poor. He was also a follower of the Greek Zoroastrian religion, distractions, of which Kavadh I had lost his throne and freedom. His reign ended soon, when Kavadh I returned to the imperial capital at the head of a great army granted him by the Hephalitic king. Djamasp stepped back from his position and restored the throne to his brother. No further mention of Djamasp is made after the restoration of Kavadh I, but it is generally believed that he was favorably treated at his brother's court.

Second Golden Era (498–622)
The second golden age began after the second reign of Kavadh I. With the support of the Hephtalites, Kavadh I launched a campaign against the Romans. In 502 he took Theodosiopolis in Armenia but lost it soon after. In 503 he took Amida on the Tigris. In 504, an invasion of Armenia by the Western Huns from the Caucasus led to an armistice, the return of Amida to Roman rule and a peace treaty in 506. In 521/522, Kavadh lost control of Lazica whose rulers were loyal to the Romans ; An attempt by the Iberians in 524-525 to also cause a war between Rome and Persia.
In 527, a Roman offensive against Nisibis was rejected and Roman efforts to consolidate positions near the border were thwarted. In 530, Kavadh sent an army under Firouz the Mirranes to attack the important Roman border town of Dara. The army was met by the Roman General Belisarius, and although superior in figures, was defeated in the battle of Dara. In the same year a second Persian army under Mihr-Mihroe in Satala was defeated by Roman troops under Sittas and Dorotheus, but in 531 a Persian army, accompanied by a Lakhmid contingent under Al-Mundhir III, defeated the Belisarius in the battle of Callinicum In 532 an "eternal" peace was concluded. Although he was not able to free himself from the yoke of the Ephtites, Kavadh succeeded in restoring order within himself, and fought with general success against the Eastern Romans, founded several cities, some of which were named after him, and began to regulate internal taxation Administration.

Painting depicts Bahram Gur

Painting depicts Bahram Gur central

figure on horseback hunting three

deer from a Khamseh of Maulana

Azhar

After Kavadh I, his son Khosrau I, also known as Anushirvan ("with the immortal soul," reigned 531-579), rose to the throne. He is the most famous of the Sassanid rulers. Khosrau I is famous for his reforms in the aging government body of the Sassanids. He introduced a rational system of taxation based on a survey of landowned by his father, and he tried in every way to increase the welfare and revenues of his empire. Previous large feudal lords filed their own military equipment, trailers and holders. Khosrau I developed a new power of the Dehkans or "knights", paid and equipped by the central government and the bureaucracy, linking the army and the bureaucracy more closely to the central government than to local masters.
Emperor Justinian I (527-565) paid Khosrau I 440,000 pieces of gold as part of the "eternal peace" Treaty of 532. In 540, Khosrau broke the treaty and invaded Syria, dismissed Antioch and extorted large sums of money from a number of other cities . Further successes followed: in 541 Lazica on the Persian side, and in 542 a large Byzantine offensive in Armenia was defeated at Anglon. A five-year armistice, approved in 545, was interrupted in 547, when Lazica changed sides again, and finally expelled his Persian occupation with Byzantine aid; When the war was resumed, it was confined to Lazica, which was maintained by the Byzantines when the peace was closed in 562.
In 565 Justinian I died and was persecuted by Justin II (565-578), who decided to stop subsidies for Arab chiefs to prevent them from invading Byzantine territory in Syria. A year earlier, the Sassanian governor of Armenia, the Suren family, set up a modern fire strike near Dover near Yerevan today, killing an influential member of the Mamikon family by touching a revolt leading to the Persian massacre His guard in 571, while rebellion also broke out in Iberia. Justin II used the Armenian revolt to stop his annual payments to Khosrau I for the defense of the Caucasus passports.
The Armenians were received as allies, and an army was sent to the territory of Sassanid, which Nisibis laid siege in 573. However, the dissension among the Byzantine generals not only led to a siege, but they were again beset in the city of Dara, which were devastated by the Persians who then devastated Syria and caused Justin II to make annual payments in exchange for a five-year Armistice on the Mesopotamian front, although the war was continued elsewhere. In 576 Khosrau I led his last campaign, an offensive in Anatolia, which dismissed Sebasteia and Melitene, but ended in disaster: defeated outside Melite, the Persians suffered heavy losses as they fled over the Euphrates under the Byzantine attack. The Byzantines used the Persian disorder and attacked deeply into the Khosrau area, leading even amphibious attacks across the Caspian Sea. Khosrau sued for peace, but he decided to continue the war after a victory through his general Tamkhosrau in Armenia in 577 and fought back in Mesopotamia. The Armenian revolt ended with a general amnesty which brought Armenia back to the Sassanian Empire.
Around 570, "Ma'd-Karib," the brother of the King of Yemen, demanded the intervention of Khosrau I. Khosrau I sent a fleet and a small army under a commander named Vahriz to the area near today's Aden, and they marched Against the capital San'a'l, which was occupied. Saif, the son of Mard-Karib, who had accompanied the expedition, became king between 575 and 577. Thus the Sassanids could create a base in South Arabia to control maritime trade with the East. Later, the South Arabian kingdom renounced the Sassanid supremacy, and another Persian expedition was sent in 598, which successfully annexed South Arabia as a Sassanid province which lasted until the time of the unrest after Khosrau II.
The reign of Khosrau I witnessed the rise of the Dihqans (literally the village lords), the petty nobility who were the backbone of the later Sassanian provincial administration and the tax recovery system. Khosrau I was a great builder, decorated his capital, founded new cities and built new buildings. He rebuilt the canals and restored the farms destroyed in the wars. He built strong fortifications on the passports and placed subjects in carefully selected cities on the borders to serve as guardians against intruders. He was tolerant of all religions, although he ordered that Zoroastrianism should be the official state religion, and was not overly disturbed when one of his sons became a Christian.

Hunting scene on a gilded silver bowl  showing king Khosrau I

Hunting scene on a gilded silver bowl

showing king Khosrau I

According to Khosrau I, Hormizd IV (579-590) took the throne. The war with the Byzantines continued to grow intensively, but unclearly, until General Bahram Chobin, who had been dismissed and humiliated by Hormizd, rose in rebellion in 589. In the following year, Hormizd was overthrown by a palace coup and his son Khosrau II (590-628). However, this change of the ruler failed to force Bahram, who defeated Khosrau, to flee to the Byzantine territory and conquer the throne for himself as Bahram VI. Khosrau asked the Byzantine Emperor Maurice (582-602) for support against Bahram and offered to cede the Western Caucasus to the Byzantines.To cement the alliance, Khosrau also married Maurice's daughter Miriam. Under the command of Khosrau and the Byzantine generals Narses and John Mystacon the new united Byzantine-Persian army raised a rebellion against Bahram who defeated him in the Battle of Blarathon in 591st When Khosrau was later returned to power, he kept his promise About the control of Western Armenia and Caucasian Iberia. The new order of peace enabled the two empires, to concentrate on other military issues: Khosrau extended the eastern frontier of the Sassanid Empire, while Maurice Byzantine control over the Balkan restored.
After being overthrown and killed by Phocas (602-610) in 602, Khosrau II used the murder of his benefactor as a pretext to begin a new invasion that benefited from the ongoing civil war in the Byzantine Empire and did not provide any effective resistance . The generals of Khosrau systematically subjected the strongly fortified border towns of the Byzantine Mesopotamia and Armenia, laying the foundations for an unprecedented expansion. The Persians overrun Syria and conquered Antioch in 611.
In 613, outside of Antioch, the Persian generals Shahrbaraz and Shahin occupied a decisive counter-attack, personally led by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius. Persian progress remained unchecked. Jerusalem fell 614, Alexandria 619, and the rest of Egypt by 621. The Sassanid dream of restoring the Achaemenid boundaries was almost complete while the Byzantine Empire was on the brink of collapse. This remarkable peak of the expansion was marked by a flower of Persian art, music and architecture.

Decline and fall (622–651)

Winter sasanid palace-Iraq
Winter sasanid palace-Iraq

While initially seemed to be successful at first glance, Khosrau II's campaign had actually exhausted the Persian army and the Persian treasures. In an attempt to rebuild the national treasury, Khosrau overwhelmed the population. Thus Heraclius (610-641) saw the remaining resources of the impoverished and devastated empire, reorganized his armies, and brought a remarkable counteroffensive. Between 622 and 627 he fought against the Persians in Anatolia and the Caucasus and won a series of victories against Persian troops under Khosrau, Shahrbaraz, Shahin and Shahraplakan, abducting the great Zoroastrian temple in Ganzak and supporting the Khazars and the West Turkic Supported Khaganat.
In 626, Constantinople was besieged by Slavic and Avarian armed forces supported by a Persian army under Shahrbaraz on the other side of the Bosporus, but attempts to cross the Persians were blocked by the Byzantine fleet and the siege failed. In 627-628, Heraclius mounted a winter invasion of Mesopotamia and, despite the departure of his Khazar ally, defeated a Persian army commanded by Rhahzadh in the Battle of Nineveh. Then he marched down the Tigris, devastated the country and dismissed Khosrau's palace in Dastagerd. He was prevented from attacking Ctesiphon by destroying the bridges on the Nahrawan Canal, leading further attacks before retreating Diyala to northwest Iran.
The effects of the Heraclius victories, the devastation of the richest areas of the Sassanian empire, and the humiliating destruction of high-profile targets such as Ganzak and Dastagerd have mortally undermined Khosra's reputation and his support under the Persian aristocracy. At the beginning of 628 he was overthrown and murdered by his son Kavadh II (628), who had immediately ended the war and declared himself ready to withdraw from all occupied territories. In 629 Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in a majestic ceremony. Kavadh died within months, and chaos and civil war followed. Over a period of four years and five consecutive kings, including two daughters of Khosrau II and Spahbod Shahrbaraz, the Sassanid empire weakened considerably. The power of the central power passed into the hands of the generals. It would take several years for a strong king to emerge from a series of coups, and the Sassanids never had time to recover completely.
In the spring of 632 a grandson of Khosrau I, who in Estakhr, Yazdegerd III. Hidden, had ascended the throne. In the same year the first Arabs of the Arabic tribes, reunited by Islam, came to Persian territory. According to Howard-Johnston, the years of the war had exhausted both the Byzantines and the Persians. The Sassanids were further weakened by the economic decline, the heavy taxation, the religious unrest, the rigid social stratification, the growing power of the landowners, and the rapid change of the rulers and the Islamic conquest of Persia.

Developments in Zoroastrian literature  liturgy  by the Sassanids

The Sassanids never bore a real resistance to the pressure exerted by the first Arab armies. Yazdegerd was a boy who was merciful by his advisors and was unable to break a large country into small feudal kingdoms, although the Byzantines had not threatened the newly exposed Arabs under similar pressure. The caliph Abu Bakr's commander, Khalid ibn Walid, moved to capture Iraq in a series of lightning battles. In June 634, the successor of Khalid in Iraq was thrown back from the Syrian front against the Byzantines, and the Muslims were defeated at the Battle of the Bridge in 634, resulting in a victory of the Sassanids. But the Arab threat did not stop and appeared briefly from the disciplined armies of Khalid ibn Walid, once Muhammad's chosen companion of the Arab army.
In 637, a Muslim army under the caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab defeated a greater Persian power led by General Rostam Farrokhzad in the plains of al-Qādisiyyah and advanced over the Ctesiphon, which fell after a long siege. Yazdegerd fled east of Ctesiphon and left him the bulk of the Empire's huge treasury. The Arabs conquered Ctesiphon shortly thereafter, gained a powerful financial resource, and left the Sassanid government. Several Sassanid governors tried to unite their forces to throw back invaders, but effort was crippled by the lack of a strong central authority, and the governors were defeated at the Battle of Nihawānd. The empire, with its military command structure, did not exist, its non-noble troops were decimated, its financial resources effectively destroyed, and the Asawarian (Azatan) chivalrous caste destroyed, was now completely helpless in face of the intruders.
Upon hearing of the defeat in Nihawānd, Yazdegerd along with most of Persian nobilities fled further inland to the eastern province of Khorasan. He was assassinated by a miller in Merv in late 651, while the rest of the nobles settled in Central Asia where they contributed greatly to spreading Persian culture and language in those regions and to the establishment of the first native Iranian Islamic dynasty, the Samanid dynasty, which sought to revive Sassanid traditions.
The sudden fall of the Sassanid empire was completed over a period of five years, and most of its territory was incorporated into the Islamic caliphate; But many Iranian cities resisted and fought several times against the invaders. Islamic caliphates repeatedly suppressed revolts in cities like Rey, Isfahan and Hamadan. The local population was initially under low pressure to move to Islam and remain as Dhimmi subjects of the Muslim state and pay a Jizya. Jizya virtually replaced duties imposed by the Sassanids. In addition, the old Sassanid "land tax" (known in Arabic as Kharaj) was adopted. Caliph Umar is said to have occasionally set up a commission to collect taxes to assess whether they were more than the country could bear. The transformation of the Persian population into Islam would gradually occur, especially as the Persian-speaking elites tried to gain prestige positions under the Abbasid caliphate.

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