The Sassanid Empire

226 - 51 A.D.

Brief Outline

The Persians in Seleucid and Parthian times

Ardashir I  r. 226?41

Ardashir ends the Parthian empire

The Eastern campaigns

Ardashir and Rome

Ardashir and the conquest of Armenia

Ardashir revives Zoroastrianism

Administrative reforms of Ardashir

The death of Ardashir

 Shapur I 241 - 272

First Campaign against Rome 241 - 244

Gordian III victory and death

Phillip the Arab


Second war with Rome 258 - 260 Capture of Valerian 260

Miriades installed in power, Shapur retakes Asia Minor

Emesa fights off Shapur

A letter angers Shapur

Odenathus' revenge

Odenathus restores Roman rule in the East

The fate of Valerian and his soldiers

the Manichaens

Death of Shapur 271

Hormizd I  272 - 273

Bahram I  272 - 275

Relations with Zenobia

Aurelian plans to invade the Sassanid empire

Bahram II 275 - 282

Emperor Carus invades

Mysterious death of Emperor Carus

Roman retreat

Diocletian and Tiridates of Armenia

Loss of Armenia

death of Bahram II 282  Bahram III 293

Narseh  293 -302

Victory in Armenia, war with Diocletian

Shapur II 301 - 309

"Lord of the Shoulders,"

Persecution of Christians

death of Constantine

Armenia converts to Christianity

War between Rome and the Sassanids again

Shapur tries to regain Mesopotamia

Siege of Nisibis

Armenian king replaced

The battle of Singara, 348

Novel siege of Nisibis  350

A tacit truce

Arsaces offers to wed Roman

Shapur's eastern wars

Romans offer peace

Shapur's reply

Battle for Amida

Fall of Amida

Sangara attacked

Emperor Julian

The character of Julian

Julian Plans invasion

Shapur sends an envoy to Julian

Julian and Arsaces, king of Armenia

The army of Julian

Julian Starts the invasion

Julian enters Sassanid territory

Anathan burned, tomb of Gordian III

Sassanids appear

Julian sends Shaprus brother to treat Perisabor, attacks

sack of Maoga-malcha


Roman fleet crosses the Tigris

Roman victory outside Ctesiphon

Retreat decided upon, fleet burned

Battle of Maranga  363

Death of Julian

Sassans attack

Roman army escapes

Shapur sends envoys

Shapur's terms



the Castle of Oblivion

Attack on Armenia

Shapur invades roman territory 371

Death of  Shapur II

Ardashir II  379 - 383

Affiars in Armenia

Garrison of 10,000 slaughetered in Armenia

War with Armenia

Roman and Sassanid partition of  Armenia, 36 years of peace with Roman empire

Death of Ardashir II  383

Shapur or Sapor III  383 to 388

Varahran or Bahram IV 388 - 399


Death of Bahram IV

Yazdegerd I 399 - 421

Protection of Arcadius' son

Yazdegerd and the Christians



Death of Yazdegerd

Bahram V

Succession trouble

Persecution of Christians

War with Byzantium

Bahram takes army to Nisibis

Theodosiopolis attacked

Single combat to decide war


Acacius, bishop of Amida


Invasion of the Hephthalite or white Huns

Bahram's subterfuge

Bahram in India

Death of Bahram

Yazdegerd II   438 - 457

Yazdegerd declares war on Byzantine empire

War in Transoxiania

Armenians revolt over forced conversion to Zoroastrianism

Battle of Vartanantz 451

Sever defeat in the north west against the White Huns

Death of Yazdegerd

Hormizd III  457 - 459

Civil War

Peroz I   457 - 484

the great famine

War with the Hephthalites

Peroz's army trapped


War with the Hephthalite again, the pillar

Disaster of the Ditch, death of Peroz

Balash  484 - 488

Kobad 488 - 531

Hephthalite Help

Khazar war

The communistic prophet, Mazdak

Decision to depose Kobad in favor of Zamasp

reign of Zamasp  498 - 501

The second reign of Kobad

Mazdak no longer supported

War with Byzantium

Kobad invades roman Armenia

Hephthalite invasion, Roman advance

Justin and Kobad

Mazdakite plot, Mazdakites massacred


Belisarius in Mesopotamia

The battle of Callinicus

death of Kobad

Chosroes I  or Khosrau I (Anushirwari 'The Just') r. 531 - 579

Chosroes was proclaimed lawful monarch

Plot of Zanies

Persecution of the followers of Mazdak

The ' endless peace ' between Persia and the Byzantine empire

victories of the Byzantine empire

Chosroes urgered to attack before it is ' too late '

Chosroes marches on  Antioch: Suron

map of Roman Syria

Hierapolis ransomed



Persian Antioch built for captives

Location of Lazica


The War in Mesopotamia

5 years truce

siege of Petra

Sassanid defeat

Peace terms


Yemen war

war in the north-east with the Turks

Chosroes rejects Turkish alliance, Turks turn to Byzantine empire

Byzantines refuse payment

Daras surrenders 573


Armenian wars

death of Chosroes

Administration of Persia under Chosroes I.

4 governments


preventing extortion

reforms of the army

a curious anecdote


increasing population

a patron of science and learning

religious toleration

Hormisdas or Hormizd IV  579 - 590

Hormizd continues thr Byzantine war

civil unrest, trouble in the east

Turks defeated

Bahram insulted, revolts

insurgent army marches on Ctesiphon


Chosroes or Khosrau II  r. 590 - 628

relationship with general Bahram

Battle with Bahram

Chosroes flees to the Byzantine court

Bahram declares himself king

battles with Bahram  for the empire

Bahram defeated, flees to the Turks

The second reign of Chosroes I

Bahram murdered by the Turk Queen

Chosroes' harem

plan of depopulating Armenia

11 years of peace with the Byzantine empire

Phocas murders the Byzantine emperor, becomes emperor, Chosroes declares war

Antioch sacked

Heraclius deposes Phocas, invasion of Damascus and Jerusalem

the ' true Cross ' sent to Ctesiphon

Egypt conquered

Sassanid general Shahen at the gates of Byzantium

Avars approach Byzantium

victories of Heraclius

Chosroes plans to end war through seige of Constantinople, Heraclius divides his forces

Byzantines defend Constantinople with Greek fire

The battle of Nineveh 627

Chosroes continues war, deposed and murdered


The Battle of al-Qadisiyyah 636

Peace with the Byzantine empire

massacre of the brothers

death of Kobad



Ardashir III or Artaxerxes III 628 - 630


death of Ardashir III,  Shahr-baraz 630


death of Shahr-baraz


Queen Purandocht 630 - 631


Yezdigerd  or Yazdgerd III, the last Sassanid king  632 - 651

The Battle of al-Qadisiyyah 636

 Sassanid Art


Tagh-i Karsa symbol of Ctesiphon



ranks in the empire




winter carpet of Chosroes