The Colossal Statue of Shapur, Powerful King of the Sassanian Empire

The Colossal Statue of Shapur, Powerful King of the Sassanian Empire

The Colossal Statue of Shapur is the name given to a carved figure of the 3 rd century AD Sassanian ruler, Shapur I. This giant statue is located in a limestone cave known as the ‘Shapur Cave’, which is situated in the Zagros Mountains in southern Iran. This cave lies about 6 km (3.7 miles) from the ancient city of Bishapur, which is said to have been founded by Shapur himself. This statue of Shapur is often regarded as one of the most outstanding sculptures produced by the Sassanians that is still in existence today.

The Zagros Mountains in Iran ( Stefan Jürgensen / Flickr )

Shapur I, King of Kings

Shapur I (known also as ‘Shapur the Great’) was the second shahanshah (meaning ‘king of kings’) of the Sassanian Empire, who reigned from around 239 AD to 270 AD. Shapur is perhaps best known for his military campaigns against the Roman Empire, during which a Roman emperor, Gordian III, was killed on the battlefield. Another, Philip the Arab, sued for peace, and paid a huge indemnity to the Sassanians, and yet another, Valerian, was captured, and later died in captivity. The commemoration of these military victories may be seen in several rocks reliefs, such as those at Naqsh-e-Rustam and Bishapur.

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Rock reliefs at the spectacular Naqsh-e-Rustam commemorate Shapur’s military victories

Different Sculpture

The statue of Shapur is quite a different type of sculpture from the rock reliefs. For example, the latter are found in areas where they could easily be seen by the population, thus giving them a propagandic function. The former, on the other hand, is located in a secluded cave, where it is less visible to the public. Additionally, it has been claimed that there are no known references to the cave in the many inscriptions dating to Shapur’s reign. Whilst the purpose of the statue is unclear, it has been speculated, amongst other things, that it marked the site of Shapur’s burial, i.e. somewhere in the cave, or that it was the site of a ruler cult.

Pahlavi crown carved on a cave wall inscriptions of Shapur top army ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

The Statue

The statue of the Sassanian ruler can be found about 35 m (114 ft.) from the entrance of the cave. It has been measured to be 6.7 m (21 ft.) in height, with a width across the shoulders of more than 2 m (6.5ft.). The statue is said to have been carved out of a huge stalagmite that was formed in situ . The sculptor(s) paid great attention whilst producing this piece of artwork, as is evident by the amount of detail found on the statue.

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For example, the features of the king’s head and the hair are said to have been carved symmetrically. In addition, three pieces of jewelry – a necklace, a pair of pearl earrings and a bracelet on the right wrist, are also visible. On top of that, the details of the king’s garments – his undershirt, upper garment, and wide trousers, were also carved with great detail.

The Colossal Statue of Shapur I, Restored by George Rawlinson, 1876

The statue of Shapur portrays the king as an athletic individual, as seen by his muscular biceps, broad chest, and flat stomach. The king’s hair is depicted as flowing and resting on his shoulders, and he is shown as having a moustache and a beard. The statue’s right arm is resting on its waist, whilst its left is resting on the hilt of its sword. Unfortunately, little of the statue’s legs have survived, though it may be observed that the king was depicted as wearing wide trousers. Other pieces of clothing include an upper shirt that fits tightly to the body of the king, thus emphasizing his physique, a belt that held together this upper garment, and another belt on the waist that held the sword scabbard.

The statue of Shapur had fallen onto the ground when it was re-discovered in modern times. It has been speculated that a strong earthquake that happened between the 15 th and 19 th centuries was responsible for its collapse. In the 1950s, the statue was raised again, with two concrete pillars taking the place of its original legs.

The fallen statue before restoration


Colossal Statue of Shapur I

The Colossal Statue of Shapur I‌ (Persian: پیکره شاپور یکم) is a statue of Shapur I (AD 240–272), the second shah (king) of the Sassanid Empire. It stands in the Shapur cave, a huge limestone cave located about 6 km from the ancient city of Bishapur in the south of Iran.

About 1400 years ago, after the Arab invasion of Iran and collapse of the Sasanian Empire, the statue was pulled down and a part of one of its legs was broken. About 70 years ago, again, parts of his arms were also broken in an earthquake. The statue had been lying on the ground for about 14 centuries until 1957 when Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, had a group of Iranian military to raise it again on its feet and repair the broken foot with iron and cement. The project of raising the statue, building the roads from Bishapur to the area and paths in the mountain, stairs and iron fences on the route to the cave took six months in 1957.

The statue is about 35 m from the cave entrance, on the fourth of five terraces, lying approximately 3.4 m below the level of the cave entrance. Its height of about 6.7 m and breadth across the shoulders of more than 2 m make it one of the most impressive sculptures from the Sassanian period.


The Colossal Statue of Shapur, Powerful King of the Sassanian Empire - History

Shapur succeeded his father in 240 or 241 A.D. Upon hearing of the death of Ardashir, both Armenia and Hatra revolted . The revolt in Armenia was easily crushed and the Armenians made no further effort to free themselves till several years after his death. . Hatra, however, with its great walls could withstand a siege, an art of war Sassanids were poor at .According to legend the king of Hatra ( Manizen ) had a daughter who wished to marry Shapur, and was willing to betray the city, which she did. Hatra was captured, but Shapur broke his promise and handed the daughter to the executioner .

The Colossal Statue of Shapur I

the Cave of Shapur and also the colossal sculpture of the Sasanian king Shapur I.

First Campaign against Rome 241 - 244

Shapur resolved (apparently in A.D. 241) to resume the bold projects of his father, and engage in a great war with Rome. The confusion and troubles which afflicted the Roman Empire at this time were such as might well give him hopes of obtaining a decided advantage. Alexander, his father's adversary, had been murdered in A.D. 235 by Maximin, who from the condition of a Thracian peasant had risen into the higher ranks of the army. The upstart had ruled like the savage that he was and, after three years of misery, the whole Roman world had risen against him and Maximin was assassinated. Two emperors had been proclaimed in Africa on their fall, two others had been elected by the Senate a third, a mere boy, had been added at the demand of the Roman populace. All the pretenders except the last had met with violent deaths and, after the shocks of a year unparalleled since A.D. 69, the administration of the greatest kingdom in the world was in the hands of a youth of fifteen, Gordian III. Sapor, no doubt, thought he saw in this condition of things an opportunity that he ought not to miss, and rapidly matured his plans lest the favorable moment should pass away.

Founded around 226 AD, in Persia, the Sassanian Empire lasted over 400 years as a grand imperial rival to Rome. In modern day Iran, just down the road from the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis, there is a picture carved into a rock. It depicts a king, triumphant on horseback, facing two defeated enemies. This is no pair of petty princes, they are Roman Emperors - Philip and Valerian - and the king towering above them is Shapur I of the Sassanian Empire.

Crossing the middle Tigris into Mesopotamia, the bands of Shapur first attacked the important city of Nisibis. Nisibis ( south-eastern Turkey ) , at this time a Roman colony, was strongly situated on the outskirts of the mountain range which traverses Northern Mesopotamia between the 37th and 38th parallels. The place was well fortified and well defended it offered a prolonged resistance but at last the Avails were breached, and it was forced to yield itself. The advance was then made along the southern flank of the mountains, by Carrhae (Harran) and Edessa to the Euphrates, which was probably reached in the neighborhood of Birehjik, The hordes then poured into Syria, and, spreading themselves over that fertile region, surprised and took the metropolis of the Roman East, the rich and luxurious city of Antioch.

Gordian III victory and death

But meantime the Romans had shown a spirit which had not been expected from them. When the young emperor, Gordian, the young emperor opened the doors of the Temple of Janus for the last time in Roman history, and sent a huge army to the East, lead by good general. Timesitheus, whose daughter Gordian had recently married, though his life had hitherto been that of a civilian, exhibited, on his elevation to the dignity of Praetorian prefect, considerable military ability. The army, nominally commanded by Gordian, really acted under his orders. With it Timesitheus attacked and beat the bands of Sapor in a number of engagements, recovered Antioch, crossed the Euphrates, retook Carrhae, defeated the Persian monarch in a pitched battle near Resaina in 243 (Ras-el-Ain), recovered Nisibis, and once more planted the Roman standards on the banks of the Tigris. Shapur hastily evacuated most of his conquests, and retired first across the Euphrates and then across the more eastern river while the Romans advanced as he retreated, placed garrisons in the various Mesopotamian towns, and even threatened the great city of Ctesiphon. Gordian was confident that his general would gain further triumphs, and wrote to the Senate to that effect but either disease or the assassination cut short the career of the Timesitheus, and from the time of his death the Romans ceased to be successful.

Phillip the Arab now took command and the Sassanids counter attacked near modern Fallujah and won a victory .At this point the young emperor died, either from sickess or murdered by Phillip, depending on the source .The death of the young emperor caused the withdrawl of the legions and Phillip the Arab made peace with Shapur by which Armenia seems to have been left to the Persians, while Mesopotamia returned to its old condition of a Roman province and quit the east in 244 .

The peace made between Philip and Sapor was followed by an interval of fourteen years, during which scarcely anything is known of the condition of Persia. We may suspect that troubles in the north-east of his empire occupied Sapor during this period, for at the end of it we find Bactria, which was certainly subject to Persia during the earlier years of the monarchy, occupying an independent position, and even assuming an attitude of hostility towards the Persian monarch. Bactria had, from a remote antiquity, claims to pre-eminence among the Aryan nations. She was more than once inclined to revolt from the Achaemenids and during the later Parthian period she had enjoyed a sort of semi-independence. It would seem that she now succeeded in detaching herself altogether from her southern neighbor, and becoming a distinct and separate power. To strengthen her position she entered into relations with Rome, which gladly welcomed any adhesions to her cause in this remote region .

Phillip the Arba kneels before Shapor,

Valerian seized by the sleeve

Sapor's second war with Rome was, like his first, provoked by himself. After concluding his peace with Philip, he had seen the Roman world governed successively by six weak emperors, of whom four had died violent deaths, while at the same time there had been a continued series of attacks upon the northern frontiers of the empire by Alemanni, Goths, and Franks, who had ravaged at their will a number of the finest provinces, and threatened the absolute destruction of the great monarchy of the West. It was natural that the chief kingdom of Western Asia should note these events, and should seek to promote its own interests by taking advantage of the circumstances of the time. Shapur, in A.D. 258, determined on a fresh invasion of the Roman provinces, and, once more entering Mesopotamia, carried all before him, became master of Nisibis, Carrhae, and Edessa, and, crossing the Euphrates, surprised Antioch, which was wrapped in the enjoyment of theatrical and other representations, and only knew its fate on the exclamation of a couple of actors "that the Persians were in possession of the town."

Antioch was sacked and the bishop was captured and taken to Iran. 60,000 Roman prisoners were claimed to have been taken at the battle of Barbalissus. The aged emperor, Valerian, hastened to the protection of his more eastern territories, and at first gained some successes, retaking Antioch, and making that city his headquarters during his stay in the East. But, after this, the tide turned. Valerian entrusted the whole conduct of the war to Macrianus, his Praetorian prefect, whose talents he admired, and of whose fidelity he did not entertain a suspicion.

Macrianus, however, aspired to the empire, and intentionally brought Valerian into difficulties, in the hope of disgracing or removing him. His tactics were successful. The Roman army in Mesopotamia was betrayed into a situation whence escape was impossible, and where its capitulation was only a question of time. A bold attempt' made to force a way through the enemy's lines failed utterly, after which famine and pestilence began to do their work.

In vain did the aged emperor send envoys to propose a peace, and offer to purchase escape by the payment of an immense sum in gold. Sapor, confident of victory, refused the overture, and, waiting patiently till his adversary was at the last gasp, invited him to a conference, and then treacherously seized his person close to Edessa. The army surrendered or dispersed. Shapur's victory inscription claims 70,000 prisoners were taken and 36 cities plundered .

Despite these dramatic successes, the Sassanids failed to impose any formal control over the region and looked on it as a source of plunder.

Macrianus, the traitorous Praetorian prefect, shortly assumed the title of emperor, and marched against Gallienus, the son and colleague of Valerian, who had been left to direct affairs in the West. But another rival started up in the East. Sapor conceived the idea of complicating the Roman affairs by himself putting forward a pretender and an obscure citizen of Antioch, a certain Miriades or Cyriades, a refugee in his camp, was invested with the purple, and assumed the title of Caesar.

Shapur putting forward a pretender, Miriades

Miriades installed in power, Shapur retakes Asia Minor

The blow struck at Edessa laid the whole of Roman Asia open to attack, and the Persian monarch was not slow to seize the occasion. His troops crossed the Euphrates in force, and, marching on Antioch, once more captured that unfortunate town, from which the more prudent citizens had withdrawn, but where the bulk of the people, not displeased at the turn of affairs, remained and welcomed the conqueror. Miriades was installed in power, while Sapor himself, at the head of his irresistible squadrons, pressed forward, bursting "like a mountain torrent" into Cilicia and thence into Cappadocia. Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul, at once a famous seat of learning and a great emporium of commerce, fell Cilicia Campestris was overrun and the passes of Taurus, deserted or weakly defended by the Romans, came into Sapor's hands.

Penetrating through them and entering the champaign country beyond, his bands soon formed the siege of Caesarea Mazaca, the greatest city of these parts, estimated, at this time to have contained a population of four hundred thousand souls. Demosthenes, the governor of Caesarea, defended it bravely, and, had force only been used against him, might have prevailed but Sapor found friends within the walls, and by their help made himself master of the place, while its bold defender was obliged to content himself with escaping by cutting his way through the victorious host.

All Asia Minor now seemed open to the conqueror and it is difficult to understand why he did not at any rate attempt a permanent occupation of the territory which he had so easily overrun. But it seems certain that he entertained no such idea. Devastation and plunder, revenge and gain, not permanent conquest, were his objects and hence his course was everywhere marked by ruin and carnage, by smoking towns, ravaged fields, and heaps of slain. His cruelties have no doubt been exaggerated but when we hear that he filled the ravines and valleys of Cappadocia with dead bodies, and so led his cavalry across them that he depopulated Antioch, killing or carrying off into slavery almost the whole population that he suffered his prisoners in many cases to perish of hunger, and that he drove them to water once a day like beasts, we may be sure that the guise in which he showed himself to the Romans was that of a merciless scourge&mdashan avenger bent on spreading the terror of his name&mdashnot of one who really sought to enlarge the limits of his empire.

Emesa fights off Shapur

During the whole course of this plundering expedition, until the retreat began, we hear but of one check that the bands of Sapor received. It had been determined to attack Emesa (now Hems), one of the most important of the Syrian towns, where the temple of Venus was known to contain a vast treasure. The invaders approached, scarcely expecting to be resisted but the high priest of the temple, having collected a large body of peasants, appeared, in his sacerdotal robes, at the head of a fanatic multitude armed with slings, and succeeded in beating off the assailants. Emesa, its temple, and its treasure, escaped the rapacity of the Persians and an example of resistance was set, which was not perhaps without important consequences.

A letter angers Shapur

For it seems certain that the return of Sapor across the Euphrates was not effected without considerable loss and difficulty. On his advance into Syria he had received an embassy from a certain Odenathus, a Syrian or Arab chief, who occupied a position of semi-independence at Palmyra, which, through the advantages of its situation, had lately become a flourishing commercial town. Odenathus sent a long train of camels laden with gifts, consisting in part of rare and precious merchandise, to the Persian monarch, begging him to accept them, and claiming his favorable regard on the ground that he had hitherto refrained from all acts of hostility against the Persians. It appears that Sapor took offence at the tone of the communication, which was not sufficiently humble to please him. Tearing the letter to fragments and trampling it beneath his feet, he exclaimed&mdash"Who is this Odenathus, and of what country, that he ventures thus to address his lord? Let him now, if he would lighten his punishment, come here and fall prostrate before me with his hands tied behind his back. Should he refuse, let him be well assured that I will destroy himself, his race, and his land." At the same time he ordered his servants to cast the costly presents of the Palmyrene prince into the Euphrates.

This arrogant and offensive behavior naturally turned the willing friend into an enemy. Odenathus, finding himself forced into a hostile position, took arms and watched his opportunity. So long as Sapor continued to advance, he kept aloof. As soon, however, as the retreat commenced, and the Persian army, encumbered with its spoil and captives, proceeded to make its way back slowly and painfully to the Euphrates, Odenathus, who had collected a large force, in part from the Syrian villages, in part from the wild tribes of Arabia, made his appearance in the field. His light and agile horsemen hovered about the Persian host, cut off their stragglers, made prize of much of their spoil, and even captured a portion of the seraglio of the Great King. The harassed troops were glad when they had placed the Euphrates between themselves and their pursuer, and congratulated each other on their escape. So much had they suffered, and so little did they feel equal to further conflicts, that on their march through Mesopotamia they consented to purchase the neutrality of the people of Edessa by making over to them all the coined money that they had carried off in their Syrian raid. After this it would seem that the retreat was unmolested, and Sapor succeeded in conveying the greater part of his army, together with his illustrious prisoner, to his own country.

Odenathus restores Roman rule in the East

The hostile feeling of Odenathus against Sapor did not cease with the retreat of the latter across the Euphrates. The Palmyrene prince was bent on taking advantage of the general confusion of the times to carve out for himself a considerable kingdom, of which Palmyra should be the capital. Syria and Palestine on the one hand, Mesopotamia on the other, were the provinces that lay most conveniently near to him, and that he especially coveted. But Mesopotamia had remained in the possession of the Persians as the prize of their victory over Valerian, and could only be obtained by wresting it from the hands into which it had fallen. Odenathus did not shrink from this contest. It had been with some reason conjectured that Shapur must have been at this time occupied with troubles which had broken out on the eastern side of his empire.

At any rate, it appears that Odenathus, after a short contest with Macriarius and his son, Quietus, turned his arms once more, about A.D. 263, against the Persians, crossed the Euphrates into Mesopotamia, took Oarrhee and Nisibis, defeated Sapor and some of his sons in a battle, and drove the entire Persian host in confusion to the gates of Ctesiphon. He even ventured to form the siege of that city but it was not long before effectual relief arrived from all the provinces flocked in contingents for the defence of the Western capital several engagements were fought, in some of which Odenathus was defeated and at last he found himself involved in difficulties through his ignorance of the localities, and so thought it best to retire. Apparently his retreat was undisturbed he succeeded in carrying off his booty and his prisoners, among whom were several satraps, and he retained possession of Mesopotamia, which continued to form a part of the Palmyrene kingdom until the capture of Zenobia by Aurelian (A.D. 273).

The successes of Odenathus in A.D. 263 were followed by a period of comparative tranquillity. That ambitious prince seems to have been content with ruling from the Tigris to the Mediterranean, and with the titles of "Augustus," which he received from the Roman emperor, Gallienus, and "king of kings," which he assumed upon his coins. He did not press further upon Sapor nor did the Roman emperor make any serious attempt to recover his father's person or revenge his defeat upon the Persians. An expedition which he sent out to the East, professedly with this object, in the year A.D. 267, failed utterly, its commander, Heraclianus, being completely defeated by Zenobia, the widow and successor of Odenathus. Odenathus himself was murdered by a kinsman three or four years after his great successes and, though Zenobia ruled his kingdom almost with a man's vigor, the removal of his powerful adversary must have been felt as a relief by the Persian monarch. It is evident, too, that from the time of the accession of Zenobia, the relations between Rome and Palmyra had become unfriendly the old empire grew jealous of the new kingdom which had sprung up upon its borders and the effect of this jealousy, while it lasted, was to secure Persia from any attack on the part of either.

The fate of Valerian and his soldiers

With regard to the treatment that Valerian received at the hands of his conqueror, it is difficult to form a decided opinion. The writers nearest to the time speak vaguely and moderately, merely telling us that he grew old in his captivity, and was kept in the condition of a slave. It is reserved for authors of the next generation to inform us that he was exposed to the constant gaze of the multitude, fettered, but clad in the imperial purple and that Sapor, whenever he mounted on horseback, placed his foot upon his prisoner's neck. Some add that, when the unhappy captive died, about the year A.D. 265 or 266, his body was flayed, and the skin inflated and hung up to view in one of the most frequented temples of Persia, where it was seen by Roman envoys on their visits to the Great King's court.

It is impossible to deny that Oriental barbarism may conceivably have gone to these lengths and it is in favor of the truth of the details that Roman vanity would naturally have been opposed to their invention. But, on the other hand, we have to remember that in the East the person of a king is generally regarded as sacred, and that self-interest restrains the conquering monarch from dishonoring one of his own class. We have also to give due weight to the fact that the earlier authorities are silent with respect to any such atrocities and that they are first related half a century after the time when they are said to have occurred. According to other historians, Valerian and some of his army lived in relatively good conditions in the city of Bishapur, the new capital of Shapur, which they helped to build .In all the stone reliefs in Naghshe-Rostam, in Iran, Valerian is show holding hands with Shapur I, in sign of submission and respect, as is seen in the tributes at Persepolis in the Achaemenid dynasty .

Valerian was an aristrocratic Roman with a great reputation. This didn't stop him from being one of the most disastrous emperors in Roman history.

The public works of Shapur

It appears that Sapor, relieved from any further necessity of defending his empire in arms, employed the remaining years of his life in the construction of great works, and especially in the erection and ornamentation of a new capital , Bishapur . The ruins of Bishapur ( Shapur's City. ), which still exist near Kazerun, in the province of Fars, commemorate the name, and afford some indication of the grandeur, of the second Persian monarch.

The remains of Shapur's bridge dam, built in part

by captured Roman soldiers

Another important work, assigned by tradition to Shapur I., is the great dyke at Shuster. This is a dam across the river Karun, formed of cut stones, cemented by lime, and fastened together by clamps of iron it is twenty feet broad, and no less than twelve hundred feet in length. The whole is a solid mass excepting in the centre, where two small arches have been constructed for the purpose of allowing a part of the stream to flow in its natural bed. The greater portion of the water is directed eastward into a canal cut for it and the town of Shuster is thus defended on both sides by a water barrier, whereby the position becomes one of great strength. Tradition says that Sapor used his power over Valerian to obtain Roman engineers for this work and the great dam is still known as the Bund-i-Kaisar, or "dam of Caesar," to the inhabitants of the neighboring country.

Nishapur, once a chief city in khorasan, was also founded

It was in Persia, and in the reign of Sapor, that one of the most remarkable of these well-meaning attempts at fusion and reconciliation that the whole of history can show was made, and with results which ought to be a lasting warning to the apostles of comprehension. A certain Mani (or Manes, as the ecclesiastical writers call him), born in Persia about A.D. 240, grew to manhood under Sapor, exposed to the various religious influences of which we have spoken. With a mind free from prejudice and open to conviction, he studied the various systems of belief which he found established in Western Asia&mdashthe Cabalism of the Babylonian Jews, the Dualism of the Magi, the mysterious doctrines of the Christians, and even the Buddhism of India. At first he inclined to Christianity, and is said to have been admitted to priest's orders and to have ministered to a congregation but after a time he thought that he saw his way to the formation of a new creed, which should combine all that was best in the religious systems which he was acquainted with, and omit what was superfluous or objectionable. He adopted the Dualism of the Zoroastrians, the metempsychosis of India, the angelism and demonism of the Talmud, and the Trinitarianism of the Gospel of Christ. Christ himself he identified with Mithra, and gave Him his dwelling in the sun. He assumed to be the Paraclete promised by Christ, who should guide men into all truth, and claimed that his "Ertang," a sacred book illustrated by pictures of his own painting, should supersede the New Testament. Such pretensions were not likely to be tolerated by the Christian community and Manes had not put them forward very long when he was expelled from the church and forced to carry his teaching elsewhere. Under these circumstances he is said to have addressed himself to Sapor, who was at first inclined to show him some favor but when he found out what the doctrines of the new teacher actually were, his feelings underwent a change, and Manes, proscribed, or at any rate threatened with penalties, had to retire into a foreign country.

The extent of Shapur domains

Shapur made a inscription on the Ka'ba-ye Zartosht or the ' Cube o f Zoroaster ' at the tombs of the Achaemenid kings at Naqsh-e Rustam in which he claims thesassanid conquests of : Fars, Media, Azerbaijan, Albania, Georgia, Armenia, Patishwager,Gorgan,Abarshar, Parthia, Hindu Kush, Aria, Merv,Kushanshahr, Turan, Seistan, Markan, India, Oman across Oman in Arabia 9 to contral the trade ) Khuzistan,Maishan,Asuristan, Arabistan.


Colossal Statue of Shapur I

The Colossal Statue of Shapur I‌ (Persian: پیکره شاپور یکم) is a statue of Shapur I (AD 240–272), the second shah (king) of the Sassanid Empire. It stands in the Shapur cave, a huge limestone cave located about 6 km from the ancient city of Bishapur in the south of Iran.

About 1400 years ago, after the Arab invasion of Iran and collapse of the Sasanian Empire, the statue was pulled down and a part of one of its legs was broken. About 70 years ago, again, parts of his arms were also broken in an earthquake. The statue had been lying on the ground for about 14 centuries until 1957 when Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, had a group of Iranian military to raise it again on its feet and repair the broken foot with iron and cement. [1] The project of raising the statue, building the roads from Bishapur to the area and paths in the mountain, stairs and iron fences on the route to the cave took six months in 1957.

The statue is about 35 m from the cave entrance, on the fourth of five terraces, lying approximately 3.4 m below the level of the cave entrance. Its height of about 6.7 m and breadth across the shoulders of more than 2 m make it one of the most impressive sculptures from the Sassanian period.


7. Avukana Buddha Statue: Kekirawa, Sri Lanka

Carved from a massive granite rock in the 5th century, the 40 ft. (12 m) high Avukana Buddha statue is considered the epitome of Sri Lanka’s ancient standing sculptures. It was carved in situ as a whole, but the lotus-flower pedestal on which it stands was placed underneath it after its creation. Connected to the granite via a strip left at its back for support, the Avukana statue might have been the culmination of a competition between a guru (sculpting master) and his gola (pupil.) Legend has it that the guru and his gola both created Buddha statues. Racing to finish, the guru completed his first and rang a bell to notify his pupil that he had won. The pupil never completed his statue – the nearby Sasseruwa statue – and as such, it is unfinished to this day.


Museum of Sassanid Iran

Gold Sword of Sassanid king, ca. 6th century A.D.British Museum.

1. The plate with the king of the Sassanid design, silver gilt , Miho Museum.
2. Sasanian Simurgh Plate, Bronze, 7th century, Smithsonian Institution.

3. Plate Depicting a Female Figure Riding a Fantastic Winged Beast, Inspired by the Sasanian, probably 8th century, Silver gilded, chased, and engraved, with applied elements, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
4. Sassanid plate with the boar hunt, Silver gilt fifth to the seventh century, George Ortiz Collection

Head of Shapur king, ca. 3th century. Silver, mercury gilding, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Shapur II, also known as Shapur II the Great, was the tenth king of the Sasanian Persian Empire. The longest reigning monarch of the Sassanid dynasty, he reigned from 309 to 379

Sassanid mosaic, Bishapur city, Kazerun County of Pars Province, Iran

Sassanid Glass with an image of Khosrau II, 6th century

Sasanian woman bust in the Iran Museum

A gypsum bust of a Sassanian king , Shapur II (309-379 A.D.) from Ctesiphon (Salman Paak).

A Sasanian gilt bronze attachment depicting a winged horse, circa 5th to 6th Century A.D.

Ardashir I Coin - Silver, A.D. 224&ndash241, Coin depicting the portrait of the Sasanian king Ardashir I (224-241). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Beautiful solid silver earrings. Ancient Sassanian Persia. 200--500 AD. Lion made from original carnelian seal.

Title Vase with Medallions Enclosing Birds, Sasanian Art, Year 6th to 7th centuries, Silver gilt, MIHO MUSEUM.

Glass bottle - Sasanian, 6th- 8th century AD, Boston Museum of Art.

Stamp seal, pear-shaped, Bust of a king, Hormisdas II. On each side an inscription. Garnet, 226 to 561 AD (Sassanid period). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Not On View

Buckle in the shape of a rooster, Gold and Ruby. The fifth to the seventh century AD (Sassanid period). Private collection, GHIRSHMAN R., Parthes et Sassanides, Paris, 1962

Jar with lion, Silver - Mercury, Seventh century AD, Bibliothèque nationale de France

Bronze statue of Shapur I Sassanid, Bronze, fourth century AD, private collection

Bust Silver Sassanid Shapur (probably Shapur II 310 to 379 AD) with a thick beard, and crown pendant earrings Congress with a golden crescent, silver, gold, Private collection of fixed .

Figure of an elephant, Stone-Sculpture, Sasanian art, ca. 6th&ndash7th century A.D. Mesopotamia. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sasanian king, perhaps Peroz, ca. 400 CE&ndash651 CE, Museum Paris, Louvre .

Bowl, Iran, Sasanian art, 4th-6th Century, silver,Cleveland Museum of Art .

Sasanian Panel, ca. 6th&ndash7th century A.D. Stucco-Reliefs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Not on view

Sasanian silver plate, 224 CE&ndash651 CE, Tabriz, Azarbaijan Museum

Vase silver, Sassanid art, Reza Abbasi Museum

Wall panel with wings and a Pahlavi device encircled by pearls. ca. 6th century A.D. Mesopotamia, Ctesiphon. Stucco-Reliefs-Inscribed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Not on view

Rhyton Wine horn wih gazelle protome, Iran, Sasanian period, 4th century CE, Silver and gilt, Gift of Arthur M. Sackler, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

Horse beautiful head, Sassanid art, gilded silver, 4th century, Sasanian art Louvre.

Sassanid Magnificent Heritage
Palaces, temples, tombs, buildings &.

Falak-ol-Aflak Castle is a castle situated on the top of a large hill with the same name within the city of Khorramabad, the regional capital of Lorestan province, Iran. This gigantic and beautiful structure was built during the Sassanid era (226&ndash651).

Rudkhan Castle is a brick and stone medieval castle in Iran. Located 25 km southwest of Foman city north of Iran in Gilan province. Its architects have benefited from natural mountainous features in the construction of the fort. After crossing a mountainous winding route with dense forests, the first thing that one notices about the castle is its big entrance gate. The castle's 42 towers still stand intact. This gigantic and beautiful structure was built during the Sassanid era .

Sassanid fortress in Derbent ( the Republic of Dagestan, Russia), its name in Persian is Darband (Derbent), which means "closed gates". The modern name is a Persian word ( دربند Darband) meaning "gateway", which came into use in the end of the 5th or the beginning of the 6th century CE, when the city was re-established by Kavadh I of the Sassanid dynasty of Persia. Derbent was one of the persian cities.

Taq-e Bostan is a site with a series of large rock relief from the era of Sassanid Empire of Persia, the Iranian dynasty which ruled western Asia from 226 to 650 AD. This example of Sassanid art is located 5 km from the city center of Kermanshah in western Iran. It is located in the heart of the Zagros mountains, where it has endured almost 1,700 years of wind and rain. The carvings, some of the finest and best-preserved examples of Persian sculpture under the Sassanids, include representations of the investitures of Ardashir II (379&ndash383) and Shapur III (383&ndash388). Like other Sassanid symbols, Taq-e Bostan and its relief patterns accentuate power, religious tendencies, glory, honor, the vastness of the court, game and fighting spirit, festivity, joy, and rejoicing. Taq-e Bostan and its rock relief are one of the 30 surviving Sassanid relics of the Zagros mountains. According to Arthur Pope, the founder of Iranian art and archeology Institute in the USA, "art was characteristic of the Iranian people and the gift which they endowed the world with."

Shapur II In Bishapour, Bishapur was an ancient city in Iran on the ancient road between Persis and Elam. The road linked the Sassanid capitals Estakhr (very close to Persepolis) and Ctesiphon. It is located south of modern Faliyan in the Kazerun County of Pars Province, Iran. Bishapur was built near a river crossing and at the same site there is also a fort with rock-cut reservoirs and a river valley with six Sassanid rock reliefs.

Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System, is an island city from the Sassanid era with a complex irrigation system, situated in Iran's Khuzestan Province.It has been registered on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 2009, as Iran's 10th cultural heritage site to be registered on the United Nations' list. The Shushtar water mills ones are the best ones which operation in order to use water in ancient periods. These include a collection of dams, tunnels, ancillary canals watermills . which utilized as Industry&ndashEconomic collection.

Sasanian Ardeshir Palace, Located in the city of Borazjan, One of the most important historical sites of Bushehr (In southern Iran)

Shapur beautiful cave is located in the Zagros Mountains, in southern Iran, about 6 km from the ancient city of Bishapur. This cave is near Kazerun in Chogan valley, which was the site of polo/chogan in the Sasanian period. In the cave, on the fourth of five terraces, stands the colossal statue of Shapur I, the second ruler of the Sasanid Empire. The statue was carved from one stalagmite. The height of statue is 7 m. high and its shoulders are 2 m. wide, and its hands are 3 m. long. The length of cave entrance is about 16 m., with a height of less than 8 m.Behind the statue, in the depth of the cave, are three ancient water-basins. At both sides of the statue, the rock-walls of the cave were prepared for reliefs by leveling, but the reliefs were never made. It is said that in addition to this giant statue of Shapur I, the tomb of this great man is also situated somewhere in this cave.

The Palace of Ardashir Pāpakan, also known as the fire temple, is a castle located on the slopes of the mountain on which Dezh Dokhtar is situated on. Built in AD 224 by King Ardashir I of the Sassanian Empire, it is located two kilometers (1.2 miles) north of the ancient city of Gor, i.e. the old city of Piruz-Apad in Pars, in ancient Persia (Iran). From the architectural design, it seems the palace was more of a place of social gathering where guests would be introduced to the imperial throne.

Rayen beautiful Castle is an adobe castle in Kerman province, Iran. The medieval mudbrick city of Rayen is similar to the Arg-e Bam city which was destroyed in an earthquake in December 2003. Rayen displays all the architectural elements of a deserted citadel. It is extremely well preserved, despite numerous natural disasters that have destroyed similar structures nearby, and it is one of the most interesting sites in Iran.

Ancient designs: Sassanian first king Ardashir I (Ardachir Babakan) relief at Firuzaba (Tangab relief). Firuzabad also Romanized as Fīrūzābād anciently, Sassanid Middle Persian Ardashir-Khwarrah , meaning "The Glory of Ardashir" is a city in and the capital of Firuzabad County, Pars Province (Persian Province), Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 58,210, in 12,888 families. Alexander of Macedonia destroyed the original city of Gōr. Centuries later, Ardashir I, founder of the Sassanid Dynasty, revived the city before it was ransacked during the Arab invasion of the seventh century. Firuzabad is situated in a low-lying area of the region, so Alexander was able to drown the city by directing the flow of a river into the city. The lake he created remained until Ardashir I built a tunnel to drain it. He founded his new capital city on this site. Ardashir's new city was known as Khor Ardashīr, Ardashīr Khurah and Shāhr-ī Gōr. It had a circular plan so precise in measurement that the Persian historian Ibn Balkhi wrote it to be "devised using a compass".

Ancient statue of Mithraism in italy, Art of Sassanid Persian empire

The Maiden Tower, located in the Old City, Baku, in Azerbaijan, was built in the 12th century as part of the walled city. Together with the Shirvanshahs' Palace, dated to the 15th century, it forms an ensemble of historic monuments inscribed in 2001 under the UNESCO World Heritage List of Historical Monuments as cultural property, Category III. The Maiden Tower Built in Sassanian period. Republic of Azerbaijan was one of the Iranian cities.

Manujan Castle in Kerman Province, Iran. Manujan Castle from Sasanian architecture

Stone Columns of Bishapour, Sasanian palace in Kazerun

Belqeys Castle in North Khorasan Iran. Architecture Belqeys Castle According to the Sassanid architecture. The castle has 4 thousand years And in North Khorasan Esfaraen. Historic castle with 51 thousand square meters. This castle 29 towers, each tower is 11 meters high. Located on the Silk Road.

The Baku Ateshgah "Fire Temple" is an castle-like religious temple in Surakhani, a suburb of greater Baku, Azerbaijan. Based on Persian, iranian inscriptions, temple was used as a Zoroastrian fire worship place. atash is the Persian word for fire. Because Azerian Peoples in baku were Zoroastrian and also a part of iran.

The Sassanid Palace at Sarvestan is a Sassanid-era building in the Iranian city of Sarvestan, some 90 km southeast from the city of Shiraz. The palace was built in the 5th century AD, and was either a gubernatorial residence or a Zoroastrian fire temple. The Sarvestan Palace was built by the Sasanian king Bahramgur (r. 420-438), and dominates an immense, empty plain. The building reminds one of the Ghal'eh Dokhtar and the palace of Ardashir, both near Firuzabad the difference is that the Sarvestan palace is open to all sides. The building, made of stone and mortar, must have had fine decorations, which partly survive.

Barm-e Delak - Bahram's heart. It shows the king( Bahram II) offering a lotus flower to his wife. Barm-e Delak is a site of a Sasanian rock relief located about 10 km southeast of Shiraz, in the Pars Province of Iran. The rock relief was known as Bahram-e Dundalk in Middle Persian, which means Bahram's heart. The site is located near a river, on the eastern side of a rocky spur. It composes four reliefs.The first relief is a family scene done in a unique style in honor to king Bahram II. It shows the king offering a lotus flower to his wife.

Taq-e Gara: There are conflicting views as to the time of its construction. Parthian and Sassanid eras have been proposed, but most archeologists and historians believe that it has been built during late Sassanid Empire for a variety of reasons. Access and attributes The monument is located on the old road from Kermanshah to Qasr-e Shirin with the new road overlooking it. It is about a five hundred meters walk away from the main road.

Rustaq Castle (Al-Rustaq) in the Al Batinah Region of northern Oman. The wilayah of Rustaq is in the Western Hajar, in the south of the Batinah. Rustaq was once the capital of Oman, during the era of Imam Nasir bin Murshid al Ya'arubi. This gigantic and beautiful structure was built during the Sassanid era. Oman was one of the Iranian cities..

fire temple of Sassanian in the Jahrom ( FARS province) near Shiraz. Jahrom is a city in and the capital of Jahrom County, Fars Province, Iran. Jahrom is located 190 kilometres (120 mi) southeast of Shiraz, the capital of Fars Province.

Ctesiphon Sassanid beautiful place, Ctesiphon was the imperial capital of the Sasanian & Parthian. It was one of the great cities of late ancient Mesopotamia. Its most conspicuous structure remaining today is the great archway of Ctesiphon. Ctesiphon was founded in the late 120s BC. It was built on the site of a military camp established across from Seleucia by Mithridates I of Parthia. The reign of Gotarzes I saw Ctesiphon reach a peak as a political and commercial center. Iraq was part of Iranian territory .

The rock relief of Shapur I victory at Tang-e Chogan gorge, Bishapur.Bishapur was an ancient city in Iran on the ancient road between Persis and Elam. The road linked the Sassanid capitals Estakhr (very close to Persepolis) and Ctesiphon. Bishapur, Shapur's City. Outside the city, Shapur decorated the sides of the Bishapur River gorge with huge historical reliefs commemorating his triple triumph over Rome. One of these reliefs, in a semicircular shape, has rows of registers with files of soldiers and horses, in a deliberate imitation of the narrative scenes on the Trajan column in Rome. According to an inscription, the city itself was founded in 266 by Shapur I (241-272), who was the second Sassanid king and inflicted a triple defeat on the Romans, having killed Gordian III, captured Valerian and forced Philip the Arab to surrender.


History Shapur I

Shapur I (New Persian: شاپور Šāhpuhr), also known as Shapur I the Great, was the second shahanshah (king of kings) of the Sasanian Empire. The dates of his reign are commonly given as 240/42 – 270/72 CE, but it is likely that he also reigned as co-regent (together with his father) prior to his father's death in 242 (more probably than 240).
The name Shapur is a combination of the word šāh (king) and puça (son), thus literally meaning the “son of a king”. The name is derived from Old Iranian xšāyaθiyahyā-puθra. The name is attested in Manichaean sources as Shabuhr, while it is attested in Latin sources as Sapores and Sapor, which Shapur is also known by in modern sources.
Shapur was the son of Ardashir I (r. 224–242 [died 242]), the founder of the Sasanian dynasty and whom Shapur succeeded. His mother was Lady Myrōd, who—according to legend—was an Arsacid princess. The Talmud cites a nickname for her, "Ifra Hurmiz", after her bewitching beauty Shapur also had a brother named Ardashir, who would later serve as governor of Kerman. Shapur may also had another brother with the same name, who served as governor of Adiabene.
Shapur accompanied his father's campaigns against the Parthians, who — at the time — still controlled much of the Iranian plateau through a system of vassal states, in which the Persian kingdom had itself previously been a part. Before an assembly of magnates, Ardashir "judged him the gentlest, wisest, bravest and ablest of all his children" and nominated him as his successor. Shapur also appears as heir apparent in Ardashir's investiture inscriptions at Naqsh-e Rajab and his capital, Firuzabad.

Ardeshir I Coin

The Iranian historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari observed of Shapur before his ascension to the Sasanian throne:, "The Iranians had well-tried Shapur already before his accession and while his father still lived on account of his intelligence, understanding and learning as well as his outstanding boldness, oratory, logic, affection for the subject people and kindheartedness.” Then after he came to the throne, he showed such generosity towards the nobility and commoners and took such care in running the state benevolently but efficiently that “he became renowned everywhere and gained superiority over all kings.”
The Cologne Mani-Codex indicates that, by 240, Ardashir and Shapur were already reigning together. In a letter from the Roman Emperor Gordian III to his senate, dated to 242, the "Persian Kings" are referred to in the plural. Synarchy is also evident in the coins of this period that portray Ardashir facing his youthful son and bear a legend that indicates Shapur as king.
The date of Shapur's coronation remains debated: 240 is frequently noted, but Ardashir lived very probably until 242 The year 240 also marks the seizure and subsequent destruction of Hatra, about 100 km southwest of Nineveh and Mosul in present-day Iraq. According to legend, al-Nadirah, the daughter of the king of Hatra, betrayed her city to the Sasanians, who then killed the king and had the city razed. (Legends also have Shapur either marrying al-Nadirah, or having her killed, or both.).
War against the Roman Empire
First Roman war

Ardashir I had, towards the end of his reign, renewed the war against the Roman Empire. Shapur I conquered the Mesopotamian fortresses Nisibis and Carrhae and advanced into Syria. In 242, the Roman emperor Gordian III set out against the Sasanians with “a huge army and great quantity of gold,” (according to a Sasanian rock relief) and wintered in Antioch, while Shapur was busy in subduing Khwarezm and Gilan. There Gordian fought against the Sasanians and won repeated battles, and recaptured Carrhae and Nisibis, and at last routed an Sasanian army at Resaena, forcing Shapur to restore all occupied cities unharmed to their citizens. “We have penetrated as far as Nisibis, and shall even get to Ctesiphon,” he wrote to the Senate.
Gordian III later invaded eastern Mesopotamia but faced tough resistance from the Sasanians following this blockade Gordian died in battle and Romans chose Philip the Arab as Emperor. Philip was not willing to repeat the mistakes of previous claimants, and was aware that he had to return to Rome in order to secure his position with the Senate. Philip concluded a peace with the Sasanians in 244 he had agreed that Armenia lay within Persia’s sphere of influence. He also had to pay an enormous indemnity to the Persians of 500,000 gold denarii. Philip immediately issued coins proclaiming that he had made peace with the Persians (pax fundata cum Persis). However, Philip later broke the treaty and seized lost territory. Shapur I commemorated this victory on several rock reliefs in Pars.
Second Roman war

Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rustam of Shapur

(on horseback) with Philip the Arab and

Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia in 250 but serious trouble arose in Khorasan and Shapur I had to march over there and settle its affair. Having settled the affair in Khorasan he resumed the invasion of Roman territories and later annihilated a Roman force of 60,000 at the Battle of Barbalissos and burned and ravaged the Roman province of Syria and all its dependencies.
Shapur I then reconquered Armenia, and incited Anak the Parthian to murder the king of Armenia, Khosrov II. Anak did as Shapur asked, and had Khosrov murdered in 252 yet Anak himself was shortly thereafter murdered by Armenian nobles. Shapur then appointed his son Hormizd I as the “Great King of Armenia”. With Armenia subjugated, Georgia submitted to the Sasanian Empire and fell under the supervision of a Sasanian official. With Georgia and Armenia under control, the Sasanians' borders on the north were thus secured.
After his great victory against the Roman army at Barbalissos, Shapur divided his forces. Leading one army himself he penetrated deep into Syria all the way to the coast and plundered what he found, while his son Hormizd I took the other army and invaded Lesser Armenia and Cappadocia.
During Shapur's invasion of Syria he captured important Roman cities like Antioch. The Emperor Valerian (253–260) marched against him and by 257 Valerian had recovered Antioch and returned the province of Syria to Roman control. The speedy retreat of Shapur's troops caused Valerian to pursue the Persians to Edessa, but they were defeated by the Persians, and Valerian, along with the Roman army that was left, was captured by Shapur and sent away into Pars. Shapur then advanced into Asia Minor and managed to capture Caesarea, deporting 400,000 of its citizens to the southern Sasanian provinces.
However, he was later defeated by Balista and Septimius Odenathus, who captured the royal harem. Shapur plundered the eastern borders of Syria and returned to Ctesiphon, probably in late 260. In 264 Septimius Odenathus reached Ctesiphon, but was defeated by Shapur I.

Ka'ba-ye Zartosht Naghsh e Rostam

One of the great achievements of Shapur's reign was the defeat of the Roman Emperor Valerian. This is presented in a mural at Naqsh-e Rustam, where Shapur is represented on horseback wearing royal armour and a crown. Before him kneels Valerian, in Roman dress, asking for grace. The same scene is repeated in other rock-face inscriptions. Shapur is said to have publicly shamed Valerian by using the Roman Emperor as a footstool when mounting his horse. Other sources contradict this and note that in other stone carvings Valerian is respected and never on his knees. This is supported by reports that Valerian and some of his army lived in relatively good conditions in the city of Bishapur and that Shapur utilized the assistance of Roman engineers in his engineering and development plans.
The colossal statue of Shapur I, which stands in the Shapur cave, is one of the most impressive sculptures of the Sasanian Empire.
Interactions with minorities
Shapur is mentioned many times in the Talmud, in which he is referred to as King Shabur. He had good relations with the Jewish community and was a friend of Shmuel, one of the most famous of the Babylonian Amoraim.
Roman prisoners of war
Shapur's campaigns deprived the Roman Empire of resources while restoring and substantially enriching his own treasury, by deporting many Romans from conquered cities to Sasanian provinces like Khuzestan, Asuristan, and Pars. This influx of deported artisans and skilled workers revitalized Persia’s domestic commerce.

In Bishapur, Shapur died of an illness. His death came in May 270 and he was succeeded by his son, Hormizd I. Two of his other sons, Bahram I and Narseh, would also become kings of the Sasanian Empire while another son, Shapur Mishanshah, who died before Shapur, sired children who would hold exalted positions within the empire.
Government
Governors during his reign
Under Shapur, the Sasanian court, including its territories, were much larger than that of his father. Several governors and vassal-kings are mentioned in his inscriptions Ardashir, governor of Qom Varzin, governor of Spahan Tiyanik, governor of Hamadan Ardashir, governor of Neriz Narseh, governor of Rind Friyek, governor of Gundishapur Rastak, governor of Veh-Ardashir Amazasp III, king of Iberia. Under Shapur several of his relatives and sons served as governor of Sasanian provinces Bahram I, governor of Gilan Narseh, governor of Sindh, Sakastan and Turan Ardashir, governor of Kerman Hormizd I, governor of Armenia Shapur Mishanshah, governor of Maishan Ardashir, governor of Adiabene
Officials during his reign
Several names of Shapur's officials are carved on his inscription at Naqsh-e Rustam. Many of these were the offspring's of the officials who served Shapur's father. During the reign of Shapur, a certain Papak served as the hazarbed (chiliarch) of the Empire, while Peroz served as the chief of the cavalry Vahunam and Shapur served as the director of the clergy Kirdisro served as bidakhsh (viceroy) of the Empire Vardbad served as the “chief of services” Hormizd served as the chief scribe Naduk served as “the chief of the prison” Papak served as the “gate keeper” Mihrkhwast served as the treasurer Shapur served as the commander of the army Arshtat Mihran served as the secretary Zik served as the “master of ceremonies”.
Constructions
Shapur I left other reliefs and rock inscriptions. A relief at Naqsh-e Rajab near Estakhr is accompanied by a Greek translation. Here Shapur I calls himself "the Mazdayasnian (worshipper of Ahuramazda), the divine Shapur, King of Kings of the Iranians, and non-Iranians, of divine descent, son of the Mazdayasnian, the divine Ardashir, King of Kings of the Aryans, grandson of the divine king Papak." Another long inscription at Estakhr mentions the King's exploits in archery in the presence of his nobles. From his titles we learn that Shapur I claimed sovereignty over the whole earth, although in reality his domain extended little farther than that of Ardashir I. Shapur I built the great town Gundishapur near the old Achaemenid capital Susa, and increased the fertility of the district with a dam and irrigation system — built by Roman prisoners — that redirected part of the Karun River. The barrier is still called Band-e Kaisar, "the mole of the Caesar." He is also responsible for building the city of Bishapur, with the labours of Roman soldiers captured after the defeat of Valerian in 260. Shapur also built a town named Pushang in Khorasan.
Religious policy

Coin of Shapur I

Shapur on his coins and inscriptions calls himself a "worshiper of Mazda" the god of Zoroastrianism. In one of his inscriptions, he mentioned that he felt he had a mission to achieve in the world:
“ For the reason, therefore, that the gods have so made us their instrument, and that by the help of the gods we have sought out for ourselves, and hold, all these nations for that reason we have also founded, province by province, many Varahrān fires, and we have dealt piously with many Magi, and we have made great worship of the gods. ”
Shapur also wanted to add other writings to the Avesta, the holy book of Zoroastrianism, which included non-religious writings from Europe and India, about medicine, astronomy, philosophy and more.
The religious phenomenon shown by Shapur, shows that under his reign, the Zoroastrian clergy began to rise, as evidenced by the Mobed Kartir, who claims, in an inscription, that he took advantage of the conquests of Shapur to promote Zoroastrianism. Even though Kartir was part of the court of Shapur, the power of the clergy was limited, and only began to expand during the reign of Bahram I.
Shapur, who was never under the control of the clergy, appears as a particularly tolerant ruler, ensuring the best reception for representatives of all religions in his empire. Jewish sources have preserved him as a benevolent ruler that gave audiences to the leaders of their community. Later Greeks accounts writes about Shapurs invasion of Syria, where he destroyed everything except important religious sanctuaries of the cities. He also gave the Christians of his empire religious freedom, and allowed them to build churches without needing agreement from the Sasanian court.
During the reign of Shapur, Manichaeism, a new religion was founded by the Iranian prophet Mani, flourished. Mani was treated well by Shapur, and in 242, the prophet joined the Sasanian court, where he tried to convert Shapur by dedicating his only work written in Middle Persian, known as the Shabuhragan. Shapur, however, did not convert to Manichaeanism and remained a Zoroastrian.


SHĀPUR I: History

SHAPUR I, second Sasanian king of kings (r. 239-70) and author of several rock-reliefs and the trilingual inscription on the walls of the so-called Kaʿba-ye Zardo&scaront [&ScaronKZ].

The name. Three Sasanian king of kings and a number of notables of the Sasanian and later periods were called &ldquoShapur.&rdquo The name is derived from Old Iranian *x&scaronaya&thetaiya.pu&thetara &ldquoson of king&rdquo and originally must have been a title, which came to be used, at least from the last decades of the 2nd century C.E., as a personal name, although its appearance in Parthian king-lists of Arabic-Persian histories (e.g. Biruni, Chronology, pp. 117-19) is anachronistic. The attested forms include Parth. &scaronhypwhr, Sasanian &scaronhpwr-y, Manichean Pahlavi &scaron&rsquobwhr, Book Pahlavi &scaronhpwhl, Arm. &scaronapowh, Syriac &scaronbwhr, Sogdian &scaron&rsquop(&lsquo)wr, Gk Sapur, Sabour and Sapuris, Lat. Sapores and Sapor, Ar. Sābur and &Scaronābur, NPers. &Scaronāpur, &Scaronāhpur, &Scaronahfur, etc. (see Nöldeke, Kārnāmak, pp. 60-61 Justi, Namenbuch, p. 284 Fluss, col. 2326 Sundermann, 1981, p. 171 Back, pp. 260-61 Garsoïan, pp. 406-407 Gignoux, 19 86, pp. 161-2 Huyse II, pp. 5-6).

Shapur I&rsquos co-rulership and accession. Shapur I was the son of Arda&scaronir I and &ldquoLady Myrōd&rdquo (&ScaronKZ, Gk. l. 49). He participated in his father&rsquos campaign against the Arsacids (Ṭabari I, p. 819, confirmed by the victory relief of Arda&scaronir I at Firuzābād, see EIr II, pp. 377-9). Arda&scaronir &ldquojudged him the gentlest, wisest, bravest and ablest of all his children&rdquo (Mas&rsquoudi, Moruj II, p. 159), and nominated him as his successor in an assembly of the magnates (Skjærvø, 1983, 3/1, pp. 58-60). He appears in Arda&scaronir&rsquos investiture reliefs at Naq&scaron-e Rajab (q.v) and Firuzābād as the heir apparent (Hinz, 1969, pp 56ff and passim), and our data indicate that he later shared rulership with his father (Ghirshman, 1975 Calmeyer, pp. 46-7, 63-7). Balʿami (ed. Bahār, p. 884) states that &ldquoArda&scaronir placedwith his own hand his own crown upon Shapur&rsquos head,&rdquo and Masʿudi (Moruj II, p. 160) confirmings this, adds that Arda&scaronir then retired to serve God and lived for a year or longer. The testimony of the Cologne Mani Codex that in Mani&rsquos twenty-fourth year, i.e. in (24+ 216=) 240, Arda&scaronir &ldquosubjugated the city of Hatra and King Shapur, his son, placed on his head the great (royal) diadem&rdquo (Henrichs&ndashKoenen 1975, pp. 18, 21), also indicates a period of synarchy. In late 242, the Emperor Gordianus III sent a letter from Antioch in Syria to the senate claiming that he had removed the threat &ldquoof Persian kings&rdquo (reges persarum) from the city (SHA: GordianiTres 27. 5), which means that in 242 Persia had two kings. Indeed, Arda&scaronir&rsquos lates coins continues his usual reverse type of an elaborate fire altar and the legend: NWR[&rsquo] [Z]Y [&rsquor]t[x]&scarontr &ldquoFire of Ardax&scarontar&rdquo but it portrays him facing a youthful prince - symbolically representing Shapur and a new legend: mzdysn bgy shpwhry MLK&rsquo &lsquo yr&rsquon MNW &scarontry MN yzd&rsquon &ldquoDivine Shapur King of Iran whose seed is from gods&rdquo (Lukonin, 1969, pp. 55, 164, 166, Pl. II no 283 Ghirshman 1975, p. 258 Mossig-Walburg, 1980, pp. 117, 119-20 idem, 1990, pp. 112-13). Shapur&rsquos own coins show him wearing his famous mural crown and a fire altar flanked by two attendants. Clearly, Arda&scaronir issued that series when he appointed Shapur co-regent. A rock-relief at Salmās in Azerbaijan (Hinz, 1965 1969, pp. 135-39) depicting two horsemen both wearing Arda&scaronir&rsquos lower-type crown, must also date from the period of synarchy. Another, at Dārābgerd (Hinz, 1969, pp. 145-152 see also EIr., VII, p. 7), represents a victory of Shapur I over the Romans but the king wears Ardasir&rsquos crown, thereby symbolizing the shared victory of the father and the son (Ghirshman, 1971, pp. 94-103 Shahbazi, 1972).

The date of Shapur&rsquos coronation has been much debated. The testimony of his courtier Ābnun (see below) that the Romans marched against Persia &ldquoin the 3rd year of Shapur, king of kings,&rdquo proves that Shapur&rsquos accession was in 240, as Henning (1957, pp. 117-8 [= 1977, II, pp. 516-7]) calculated from the evidence of Bi&scaronāpur&rsquos inscription that separates Arda&scaronir&rsquos royal fire from that of his son by 16 years. He further correctly interpreted (ibid., pp. 118-9 [= 1977, II, pp. 717-8]) the Manichean report (in Ebn Nadim, Fehrest, p. 328) that the day of Shapur&rsquos coronation &ldquowas Sunday, the first of Nisan, when the sun was in Aries&rdquo with reference to Sunday 12 April, 240. A magnificently executed rock-relief at Naq&scaron-e Rajab symbolically commemorates Shapur&rsquos investiture: Ohrmazd, on horseback, offers the diademed ring of royalty to Shapur, who is likewise mounted, but his figure is mutilated by subsequent vandalism (see NAQ&Scaron-E RAJAB).

Wars with Rome. Eastern writers have vague ideas of Shapur&rsquos wars with Rome, making a single campaign out of them with the capture of Valerian as its conclusion (Nöldeke, Geschicter der Perser, p. 31 n. 3). The &ScaronKZ inscription and rock-reliefs agree with Roman sources (collected and discussed by Fluss, Ensslin, Maricq and Honigmann, Mazzarino,Winter, Kettenhofen, Dodgeon and Lieu) that there were three campaigns. The first (242-4) came upon Hatra&rsquos capture. The Roman account (given in the official biography of Gordian [Gordiani Tres 23.4 26.3 to 24.3] and supplemented by brief references in later Roman historians), is briefly as follows. In 242, Gordian set out against the Persians with &ldquoa huge army and great quantity of gold,&rdquo and wintered in Antioch. There he fought and won repeated battles, and drove out Shapur from the Antioch, Carrhae and Nisibis, routed him at Resaina (modern Ra&rsquos al-&rsquoAin, near Nisibis) and forced him to restore all occupied cities unharmed to their citizens. &ldquoWe have penetrated as far as Nisibis, and shall even get to Ctesiphon,&rdquo he wrote to the senate. But that was not to be. Philip the Arab, prefect of the guard, hatched plots, convinced the soldiers to proclaim him joint emperor, and undermining the authority of Gordian, hastily retreated towards the Roman frontier. During the retreat Gordian perished. Most said that he was murdered by Philip&rsquos agents, but Eusebius of Caesarea heard that &ldquoGordianus was killed in Parthia&rdquo Zosimus (who follows the official account) relates that Gordianus was killed deep in enemy&rsquos land, and a garbled version in Zonaras (12.17) reports that &ldquothe young emperor&rdquo was overthrown from his horse in a battle, broke his thigh, and died of his wound. All say that Philip then swore friendship or made &ldquoa most shameful treaty&rdquo with Shapur and ended the war. He even ceded Armenia and Mesopotamia but later broke the treaty and seized them.

Since 1940, it has been possible to contrast this version with the Persian view, given by Shapur himself in the KZ trilingual inscription (Back, pp. 290-94 Huyse, 1999, I, pp. 26-8). &ldquoJust as we were established on the throne, the emperor Gordianus gathered in all of the Roman Empire an army of Goths and Gemans and marched on Asurestan (Assyria), against Ērān&scaronahr and against us. On the edges of Assyria, at Misiḵē [on the Euphrates as it flows close to the Tigris], there was a great frontal battle. And Gordianus Caesar perished, and we destroyed the Roman army. And the Romans proclaimed Philip emperor. And Philip Caesar came to us for terms, and paid us 500,000 denars as ransom for his life and became tributary to us.&rdquo A courtier of Shapur called Ābnun set up a fire as an oblation when &ldquoit was heard that the Romans had come and Shapur the King of kings had smitten them and had worsted them [so that they fell into our captivity] (Tavoosi and Frye, pp. 25-38 Gignoux, 1991, pp. 9-17 Livshits and Nikitin, pp. 41-44 MacKenzie, 1993, pp. 105-109 Skjærvø, 1992, pp. 153-60 Sundermann, 1993).

Scholarly analyses have shown that Shapur&rsquos account while defective is superior to the Roman version, which fails to explain why the Romans having routed Shapur near Nisibis and marched to the gates of Ctesiphon would want to buy a &ldquomost shameful peace"? As Kettenhöfen puts it (pp. 35-6): &ldquoIt is understandable that Roman national pride transferred the responsibility of the defeat, in which Gordian III became the first Roman emperor to lose his life on enemy battlefield, to Philip. On the other hand, the feeling of the Sasanian triumph was immortalized in several rock-reliefs of Shapur I, and the victory at Misiḵē was mentioned by a boastful Shapur as the single military event within this first campaign.&rdquo

Having removed the Roman threat and enriched his treasury by exacting heavy ransom, Shapur brought the Roman protectorate of western Armenia under Persian control (ibid., pp. 87-97, 100-107, 114-23). He also commemorated his victory on several rock reliefs in Fārs (see below), the most relevent of which is at Dārābgerd which shows the youthful emperor Gordian prostrate under the horse of Shapur who wears Arda&scaronir&rsquos crown and receives another Roman (Philip) with benediction. Curiously, Philip also celebrated and called himself victor over the Persians (Persicus/Parthicus Maximus, see Winter, pp. 107-10) once he was in a safe distance from them.

While Western sources on Shapur&rsquos second campaign (252-6) are meager, contradictory and hostile, his is full and fairly coherent (Maricq, 1958 Back,pp. 294-306 Huyse, 1999, I, pp. 28-33). &ldquoThe Caesar lied and did harm to Armenia,&rdquo he begins, with reference to Roman interference in Armenia and possibly refusal of &ldquotribute&rdquo payment. Shapur invaded Mesopotamia in about 250 but a serious trouble in a district of Khorasan &ldquonecessitated his presence there.&rdquo He marched thither and settled its affair (Ṭabari I, p. 826 with Markwart, Capitals, p. 52). Then he resumed the invasion of Roman territories. &ldquoAnd we annihilated a Roman force of 60,000 at Barbalissus [modern Qalʿat al-Bālis, on the left bank of the Euphrates in Syria] and we burned and ravaged the province of Syria and all its dependencies and in that one campaign we conquered from the Roman empire the following forts and cities [some thirty-six of them are named].&rdquo

The available data indicate that there were several campaigns conducted in the course of the years 253-6, with Antioch, the prestigious and rich capital of the Roman East, as the ultimate goal (Kettenhöfer 1982, pp. 50-78, 83-89, summarizing the researches of Sprengling, Henning, Ensslin, Maricq, Honigmann, Rostortzeff, Baldus). During the first phase of the war, Shapur must have retaken Armenia and appointed his son Hormozd Arda&scaronir as the &ldquoGreat King of Armenians,&rdquo a prestigious title created evidently to placate the proud Armenians. Georgia submitted or was taken and made into a specially honored province placed under a very high-ranking Sasanian official, the bidax&scaron (EIr IV, pp. 242-44). The Sasanian borders on the north were thus secured, allowing direct guarding of the Caucasian passes (see DARBAND). After defeating the main Roman army at Barbalissos, Shapur divided his forces, leading one army himself he penetrated deep into Syria all the way to the coast and plundered what he found, while Hormazd-Arda&scaronir took the other and invaded Lesser Armenia and Cappadocia. The burning and looting show that Shapur had no intention of keeping the conquered lands, but he did deport a large number of the populations and settled them in his own cities (see below).

Repeated skirmishes led to a new large-scale war in 260. &ldquoAnd in the third campaign, we set upon Carrhae and Edessa, and as we were besieging Carrhae and Edessa, Valerian Caesar came against us, and with him was a force [later specified as totaling 70,000] from the province (h&scarontr) of the Goths and Germans [most Roman provinces are named]. And on the far side [= west] of Carrhae and Edessa a great battle took place for us with Valerianus Caesar. And we with our own hands took Valerian Caesar prisoner and the rest who were the commanders of this army, the Praetorian Prefect, and the senators, and the officers all of these we took prisoners and we led them away into Persis (Pārs). And we burned with fire, and we ravaged, and we took captive and we conquered the province of Syria, and the province of Cilicia, and the province of Cappadocia. And in that campaign we conquered from the Roman Empire [thirty-six cities are named with their dependent districts]. And we led the men from the Roman Empire, namely, from the Anērān [un-Iranian lands], away with the booty and we settled them in our own Iranian empire-- in Persis, Parthia and in Khuzistan and in Asōristān [=Babylonia], and in the other provinces, province by province, whenever we, or our father, or our forefathers or our ancestors had royal estates&rdquo (Maricq, 1965, pp. 52-6 Back, pp. 306-29: Huyse I, pp. 33-43 detailed commentary in Kettenhofen, 1982, pp. 97-126).

As the British military officer and historian Sir Percy Sykes has remarked (I, p. 401): &ldquoFew if any events in history have produced a greater morale effect than the capture of a Roman Emperor by the monarch of a young dynasty. The impression of the time must have been overwhelming, and the news must have resounded like a thunderclap throughout Europe and Asia.&rdquo Understandably, western historians (both ancient and modern, see e.g. Frye 1983, p. 297) have attributed &ldquothe greatest humiliation of the Romans&rdquo (Nöldeke, p.32 n.4) to the spread of disease and treachery of allies, and claimed that &ldquothe aged emperor&rdquo was tricked by Shapur during armistice negotiation and was not taken in the thick of the battle.

When the Persian army spread itself too widely over the Roman East and lost its cohesion, Shapur evacuated the devastated areas and set out for home, laden with booty and a large number of deportees. He marched through eastern Cilicia and northern Mesopotamia arriving at his capital Ctesiphon, probably in late 260. Part of his baggage train was lost during a raid by Palmyrene Arabs under their sheikh Odenathus. This &ldquominor incident of uncertain date&rdquo (Sprengling, pp. 108-109), has been turned by Roman historians and their modern successors (Felix, pp. 809 with literature) into repeated routings of Shapur by an ally of Rome who &ldquoif not restoring Rome&rsquos honor did profoundly damage and disgrace&rdquo the Persian king (Nöldeke, p. 32 n. 4). But, as Henning (1939, p. 843 [= 1977, p. 621]) has explained: &ldquoThe transport through the desert of a very great number of prisoners besides the Persian army was a difficult enterprise the fact that Shapur succeeded in this (as proven by the presence of the provincials in Susiana) shows sufficiently how much the usual accounts of the exploits of Odenathus against the Persians on their desert march are exaggerated.&rdquo

Shapur commemorated his victories in his KZ inscriptions and in several rock-reliefs (MacDermot, 1959, pp. 76-80 Hinz, 1969 Girshman, 1971 Herrmann, 1980, 1983, Herrmann-MacKenzie-Howell, 1989 see also SASANIAN ROCK-RELIEFS). That at Dārābgerd was mentioned before. A very badly damaged scene at Bi&scaronāpur (I) shows the investiture and triumph of Shapur combined: the king on horseback receives the diadem of sovereignty from Ohrmazd while under his horse lies Gordianus and kneeling before him is Philip. Nearby a great rock-relief (Bi&scaronāpur II) represents in the center Shapur on horseback, Gordianus prostrate, and Valerian standing at the side of the king who holds him by wrist. Another carved at Naq&scaron-e Rostam lacks Gordianus but shows Philip (kneeling) and Valerian (standing), and the largest (Bi&scaronāpur III) depicts Shapur and the three Roman emperors in the center, four rows of mounted Iranian dignitaries behind the king, and in front of him four rows of tribute-bearers on foot or with chariots. Finally, a sardonyx cameo of Roman-Persian workmanship pictures Shapur and Valerian on horseback in hand-to-hand fighting (Ghirshman, 1962, p. 152, fig. 195). All representations of the captive Ceasar show him unfettered and in regalia, disproving the rumors (survey in Felix, pp. 66-73) that he was mistreated.

Account of the rest of Shapur&rsquos reign. Shapur&rsquos triumph increased the prestige of the Sasanian empire, confirming her position as the rival of the Roman state, and one of &ldquothe two guardians of order and progress in the world&rdquo (Petrus Patricius in Müller, Fragmenta IV, p. 188 no. 13). His campaigns deprived the enemy from resources while restoring and substantially enriching his own treasury, and the Roman deportees, mainly artisans and skilled workers, helped to revitalize Persia&rsquos urban centers, industries and agriculture (Pigulevskaya, pp. 127-31 see also EIr IV, pp. 287-88). The incorporation of so many non-Iranians into Shapur&rsquos empire necessitated the coining of a new royal title: &ldquoKing of Kings of Ērān [&lsquoIranians&rsquo] and Anērān [&lsquoun-Iranians&rsquo],&rdquo which appeared regularly in his inscriptions and became the customary title of later Sasanian sovereigns. Many of the deportees were Christians, and no longer persecuted, they prospered and multiplied in Khuzistan, Persis and eastern Iran, built churches and monasteries and even set up bishoprics (Chronicle of Se&rsquoert II, p. 221). Greek and Syriac came into wider use (Brock, ch. IV, pp. 91-5), and various books on sciences (particularly astronomical works, including Ptolemy&rsquos) were translated into Pahlavi (Taqizadeh, 1939, p. 133, citing Ebn Nowbaḵt apud Ebn Nadim, pp. 238-9 Henning, 1942, p. 245 (= 1977, I, p. 111 Pingree, EIr II, p. 859). Also, an unprecedented period of &ldquotown building&rdquo (i. e., fortifying an existing one or renovating and enlarging it and then re-naming it) followed (Pigulevskaya, pp. 127-31). Thus, Misiḵē was re-named Pērōz-&Scaronāhpūhr and served as the main military magazine (anbār, hence its other name Anbār) on the western front (Maricq, 1958, pp.352-56 Honingmann-Maricq, pp. 112-30). Apar-&scaronahr was re-founded as Nēv-&Scaronāhpūhr>Ni&scaronāpur (&lsquoExcellent (is) Shapur&rsquo: Markwart, Capitals, p. 52 Ḥamza, p. 48.) andpart of Susa was re-named Hormazd-Arda&scaronir (Le Strange, Lands, p. 219). &Scaronād-&Scaronāhpūhr &ldquoHappiness of Shapur&rdquo was the official name given to Rimā (Marquart, Ērān&scaronahr, p. 41), a district in Ka&scaronkar. Gondē&scaronāpur was &ldquofounded&rdquo on the site of an old town called Bēth Lapāṭ, some 10 km south of the city of Dezful, to house the deported Antiocheans. The city of Bi&scaronāpur seems to have been the king&rsquos foundation and he built many monuments there, and carved rock-reliefs in a nearby gorge, the Tang-e Čowgān. In a cave above the gorge his colossal statue, originally over twenty feet high (Moqaddasi, pp. 444-45 Ghirshman, 1971, I, pp. 179-85 Pls. XXVIII-XXXII Rice), still exists.

Shapur tells us that he had other achievements &ldquowhich we have not inscribed here, besides all this&rdquo (Back, pp. 327-29 Huyse I, p. 44). Even at old age he remained fully active, as his feat of archery witnessed by kings, princes, magnates and nobles and recorded in a bilingual inscription at Hājiābād shows (Najmābādi MacKenzie, 1978, pp. 499-501 Back, p. 546 n. 245).

Religious Policy. In all of his documents Shapur refers to himself as Mzdysn (&lsquoMazda-worshipping&rsquo). His KZ inscription covers his religious foundations and wars in equal length. He felt he had a mission in history: &ldquoFor the reason, therefore, that the gods have so made us their instrument (dstkrt), and that by the help of the gods we have sought out for ourselves, and hold, all these nations (&scarontry) for that reason we have also founded, province by province, many Varahrān fires, and we have dealt piously with many Magi (mōwmard), and we have made great worship of the gods&rdquo (Huyse I, p. 45). Shapur founded pad nām ādur (&lsquonamed fires&rsquo) for himself and his immediate family, and established &ldquoendowments&rdquo for them (Back, pp. 330-67 Huyse I, pp. 45-52). Shapur ends his inscription by re-emphasizing that &ldquowe are zealous of the service and worship of the gods, and are the instruments of the gods,&rdquo and that &ldquowith the assistance of the gods&rdquo he had achieved all his works (Back, pp. 368-70 Huyse I, pp. 63-4).

The Magus Kartir tells us that Shapur showed favor towards Zoroastrians and allowed their priests to accompany his army on his Roman campaigns. But his devotion did not induce him to elevate Zoroastrianism as the only religion of the empire, and there is no evidence that an organized state church existed during his time. According to the Dēnkard (ed. Madan, pp. 412-13, ed. and tr., Shaki, 1981, pp. 116, 119): Shapur &ldquocollected the non-religious writings on medicine, astronomy, movement, time, space, substance, accident, becoming, decay, transformation, logic and other crafts and skills which were dispersed throughout India, Roman and other lands, and collated them with the Avesta, and commanded that a copy be made of all those (writings) which were flawless and be deposited in the Royal Treasury. And he put forward for deliberation the annexation of all those pure (teachings) to the Mazdaean religion.&rdquo The surviving Zoroastrian books contain elements of Hellenistic and Indian scientific thoughts (see EIr II, pp. 859, 861), proving that Shapur&rsquos effort in making the Avesta an &ldquoauthorized&rdquo encyclopedia of his time was fairly successful. On the other hand, his religious tolerance benefited all his subjects: Christians (see above), Jews (Neusner II, pp. 44 ff., 48ff.), and Manicheans. But though Mani tried hard and even wrote a book in the name of Shapur (see &ScaronĀBUHRAGĀN), he failed to convert him. The two were ideologically irreconcilable. Besides, Shapur held that he himself was the instrument of God and would not have tolerated a rival for that position.

Shapur died of illness in the city of Bi&scaronāpur (Polotsky, p. 42) probably in May 270, in his thirty- first year of reign (Henning, 1957, p. 116 [= 1977 II, p. 515] on the figures given for his regnal years see Taqizadeh, 1943-46, pp. 281-7) and was succeeded by his heir to the throne, Hormazd-Arda&scaronir. He was survived by two other sons: Bahrām Gēlān &Scaronāh and Narseh, king of &ldquoIndia,&rdquo Sakastān and Turān all the way to the Sea of Oman both were destined to ascend the throne. Another son, Shapur Mē&scaronān &Scaronāh, died before his father but left six sons and one daughter who held exalted positions.

Shapur I In national tradition. Ṭabari (I, p. 836) remarked: &ldquothe Persians had well-tried Shapur already before his accession and while his father still lived on account of his intelligence, understanding and learning as well as his outstanding boldness, oratory, logic, affection for the subject people and kindheartedness.&rdquo Then when he came to the throne, Ṭabari continues, he showed such generosity towards the nobility and commoners and took such care in running the state benevolently but efficiently that &ldquohe became renowned everywhere and gained superiority over all kings.&rdquo Ṯaʿālebi (Ḡorar, p. 487) echoes a similar report and adds: &ldquoShapur even surpassed Arda&scaronir in generosity and oratory.&rdquo

With that fame, and with a legacy so richly documented by easily accessible inscriptions and rock-reliefs, it is most surprising that the national history knows so little about Shapur and introduces him as the subject of several tales (best recounted in the Kār-Nāmag ī Ardax&scaronīr ī Pābagān and the &Scaronāh-nāma) intended to legitimize Sasanian claim to royalty by linking Arda&scaronir, his son and grandson to the Parthian families of Ardavān and Mehrān (symbolized as Mehrak). One concerns his birth. When Arda&scaronir slaughtered the family of the Arsacid king Ardavān, a daughter escaped in disguise, was taken by the victor as a concubine. She became with child and disclosed her lineage, whereupon the king ordered an old advisor to put her to death. Since Arda&scaronir was childless, the old man disobeyed the order and when a son was born to the girl, he called him &Scaronāh-pur &lsquoson of the king&rsquo and raised him in secret. Years later, when Arda&scaronir grew old and regretted leaving this world childless, the old man revealed the truth. Elated, Arda&scaronir had the lad placed in a crowd of boys of the same age and similar physic and dress, and ordered them to play polo in front of the palace. Arda&scaronir recognized Shapur at the first glance, and the lad proved his worth when he alone dared to enter the royal portico and approach the king fearlessly to retrieve a ball, which had gone astray. The meeting ended joyfully, and Shapur was proclaimed heir to the throne.

A similar story is told about Shapur&rsquos wife and son. Arda&scaronir faced grave danger in fighting rebels, the most tenacious of whom was the Persian magnate Mehrak. Finally, an Indian sage informed him that his kingdom would see peace only when two families, those of Arda&scaronir and Mehrak, rule it. Arda&scaronir so feared the House of Mehrak that he ordered its annihilation, only a single daughter of extraordinary beauty and physical strength escaped and lived in obscurity among the shepherds. Shapur met her on a hunting excursion and married her. Their son Hormozd was raised secretly until Arda&scaronir recognized him by chance. In this way the two houses were united and, as had been prophesized, Hormozd brought peace and unity to Ērān&scaronahr.

Apart from such legends, the national tradition also knows of a testament that Shapur supposedly left to his son Hormozd (Ṭabari, I, p. 831 Mas&rsquoudi, Moruj II, pp. 165-66 partially quoted by Ṯaʿālebi, Ḡorar, pp. 495-98 and ʿĀmeri, pp. 286, 296-303, 314-18, 331, 421, 427, 429-33, 435-6, 444). It concerned regulations intended to strengthen the imperial policy, and may have been a later composition mirroring Sasanian political ideology in general.

Abu-al-Ḥasan Moḥammad ʿĀmeri, Al-Saʿāda wa al-saʿād, ed. M. Minovi, Tehran, 1957.

H. R. Baldus, Uranius Antonius. Münzprägung und Geschichte, Bonn, 1971.

S. Brock, Syriac Perspectives on Late Antiquity, London, 1984.

P. Calmeyer, &ldquoZur Genese altiranischer Motive. IV: &lsquoPersönliche Krone&rsquo und Diadem V. Synarchie,&rdquo AMI , N.S., 9, 1979, pp. 45-95.

M. L. Chaumont, &ldquoLes grands rois sassanides d&rsquoArménie,&rdquo Iranica Antiqua 8, 1968, pp. 81-93.

Idem, Corégence et avènement de Shapuhr Ier,&rdquo Mémorial Jean de Menasce, Louvain, 1974, pp. 133-46.

Chronicle of Séert = Histoire Nestorienne, pt I, ed. A. Scher (Patrologia Orientalia 4), Paris , 1908. M.H. Dodgeon-S. N. C. Lieu, The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363). A Documentary History, London and New York, 1991.

W. Ensslin, Zu den Kriegen des Sassaniden Schapur I. Munich, 1949.

W. Felix, Antike literarische Quellen zur Aussenpolitik des Sāsānidenstaates.Erster Band (224-309), Vienna, 1985.

R.N. Frye, The History of ancient Iran, Munich, 1984.

M. Fluss, &ldquo Sapor I,&rdquo Pauly-Wissowa, IA2, 1920, cols. 2325-333.

N. G. Garsoïan, The Epic Histories attributed to Pʿawstos Buzand, Translation and Commentary, Cambridge, Mass., 1989.

Ph. Gignoux, &ldquoD&rsquoAbnūn à Māhān,&rdquo Stud. Ir. 20, 1991, pp. 9-17.

Idem,Noms propres sassanides en Moyen-Perse épigraphique (Personennamenbuch II/2), Vienna, 1986.

R. Ghirshman, &ldquoChâpur Ier, &ldquoRoi de rois&rdquo sans couronne,&rdquo Acta Iranica 4, 1975, pp. 257-67.

Idem, Iran: The Parthian and Sassanian dynasties, 247 B.C. - A.D. 650, London, 1962.

Idem, Bīchāpur I, Paris, 1971.

R. Göbl, &ldquo&Scaronābuhr, König der König von Iran,&rdquo Numismatia e antichit&rsquoa classiche 20, 1991, pp. 239-45.

Idem, Sasanian Numismatics, Braunschweig, 1966.

W. B. Henning, &ldquoAn Astronomical Chapter of the Bundahi&scaronn,&rdquo JRAS, 1942, pp. 229-48 (repr. in Selected Papers I, Leiden, 1977 [=Acta Iranica 14], pp. 95-114.

Idem. &rdquoThe great inscription of &Scaronāpūr I,&rdquo BSOAS 9, 1937-39, pp. 823-49 (repr. in Selected Papers I, Leiden, 1977 [=Acta Iranica 14], pp. 601-27.

W. B. Henning and S. H. Taqizadeh, &ldquoThe Dates of Mani&rsquos Life,&rdquo Asia Major 6, 1957, pp. 106-21 (cited from the repr. ed. in Selected Papers II, Leiden, 1977 [=Acta Iranica 15], pp. 505-520.

J. Henrichs and L. Koenen, &ldquoDer Kölner Mani-Kodex. &rdquo, Zeitschrift fur Papyriologie und Epigraphik 19, 1975, p. 18 (Greek text), p. 21 (translation).

G. Herrmann, The Sasanian Rock Reliefs at Bishapur: pt.3. Bishapur I, II, Sarab-i ahram, Tang-i Qandil [Iranishe Denkmäler, Lief.11], Berlin, 1983.

G. Herrmann, The Sasanian Rock Reliefs at Bishapur: Pl.1: Bishapur III:Triumph attributed to Shapur I [Iranishe Denkmäler, Lief.9.], Berlin, 1980.

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 Denkmäler 13], Berlin, 1989.

Walther Hinz, &ldquoDas sasanidische Felsrelief von Salmās,&rdquo Iranica Antiqua 5, 1965, pp. 148.

Idem, Altiranische Funde und Forschungen, Berlin, 1969.

E. Honigmann and A. Maricq, Recherches sur les Res Gestae Divi Saporis, Bruxelles, 1953.

H. Humbach and P. O. Skjærvø, The Sassanian Inscription of Paikuli, 3 vols, Wiesbaden, 1978-83.

H. Hübschmann, &ldquoIranisch-armenische Namen auf karta, kirt, gird,&rdquo ZDMG 30, 1876, pp. 138-41.

Idem, Altarmenische Gramatik. I. Etymologie, Leipzig, 1895.

Ph. Huyse, Die dreisprachige Inschrift &Scaronābuhrs I. An der Kaʿba-i Žardu&scaront Ğ&ScaronKZ), 2 vols. (Corp. Iscrip. Iran. III, Vol. I, Text I), London 1999.

E. Kettenhofenn, Die römisch-persischen Kriege des 3. Jarhunderts n. Chr. Nach der Inschrift &Scaronāhpuhrs I. an der Kaʿbe-ye Zarto&scaront (&ScaronKZ), Wiesbaden, 1982.

V.A. Livshits and A.B. Nikitin, &ldquoSome Notes on the Inscription from Naṣrābād,&rdquo Bulletin of the Asia Institute, N.S, 5 (1992), pp. 41-44.

V. Lukonin, Kultura Sasanidskogo Irana, Moscow, 1969.

B.C. MacDermont, &ldquoRoman emperors in the Sasanian Reliefs,&rdquo The Journal of Roman studies, 44, 1959, pp. 76-80.

D. N. MacKenzie,&rdquoShapur&rsquos shooting,&rdquo BSOAS, XLI, 1978, pp. 499-501.

Idem, &ldquoThe Fire Altar of Happy *Frayosh,&rdquo Bulletin of the Asia Institute, N.S., 7, pp. 105-109.

A. Maricq, &ldquoRes GestaeDivi Saporis,&rdquo Syria 35, 1958, pp. 295-360 (cited from the repr. in Classica et Orientalia, Paris, 1965, pp. 37-101).

S. Mazzarino, &ldquoLa tradizione sulle guerne tra Shāpūhr I e l&rsquoImpero Romano: &lsquoprospettiva&rsquo e &lsquodeformazione storica&rsquo,&rdquo AAASH 19, 1971, pp. 59-82.

S. Najmābādi, &ldquoMatn-e Pahlavi-e A&scaronkāni-e katiba-ye Ḥājiābād,&rdquo Honar o Mardom 86-7, Winter 1969-70, pp. 74-91.

J. Neusner, A History of the Jews in Babylonia, 5 vols., Leiden, 1969-70.

Theodor Nöldeke, &ldquoGeschichte des Artach&scaronīr i Pāpkān,&rdquo Bezzenberger ed., Beiträge zur Kunde der indogermanische Sprachen IV (=Festschrift Theodor Benefeys), Göttingen, 1878, pp. 22-69.

N. Pigulevskaja, Les villes de l&rsquoÉtat iranien aux époques parthe et sassanide. Contribution à l&rsquohistoire sociale de la basse antiquitté, Paris. 1963.

H. J. Polotsky ed., Manichäische Homlilien, Stuttgard, 1934.

D. T. Rice, &ldquoThe Cave of Shapur and Sasanian Painting,&rdquo Bulletin of the Iranian Institute of Art and Archaeology, pp. 30-34).

M. I. Rostovtzeff, &ldquoRes Gestae Divi Saporis and Dura,&rdquo Beerytus 8, 1943, pp. 17-60.

SHA=Scriptores Historiae Augustae, ed. and tr. D. Magi, 3 vols, Cambridge, Mass.-London, 1953-4.

S. Shahbazi, &ldquoSome remarks on the Sasanian relief at Darabgird,&rdquo Summaries of Papers to be Delivered at the Sixth International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology, Oxford, September 1972, p. 76).

M. Shaki, &ldquoThe Dēnkard Account of the History of the Zoroastrian scriptures,&rdquo Archive Orientální 49, 1981, pp. 116, 119.

P. O. Skjærvø, see H. Humbach and P. O. Skjærvø. P. O. Skjærvø, &ldquoL&rsquoinscription d&rsquoAbnūn et l&rsquoimparfait en moyen-perse,&rdquo Studia Iranica 21, 1992, pp. 153-60.

M. Sprengling, Third Century Iran: Sapor and Kartir, Chicago, 1953.

W. Sundermann, &ldquoShapur&rsquos Coronation: The Evidence of the Cologne Mani Codex Reconsidered and Compared with Other Texts,&rdquo BAI n.s., 4, 1990, pp. 295-99.

Idem, &ldquoThe Date of the Barm-e Delak Inscription,&rdquo BAI n.s., 7, 1993, pp. 203-205.

P. Sykes, A History of Persia, 2nd ed., I, London, 1921.

S. H. Taqizadeh, &ldquoSome chronological data related to the Sassanian period,&rdquo BSOAS 9, 1939, pp. 125-39.

Idem, &ldquoThe Early Sassanians. Some Chronological Points which Possibly Call for Revisions,&rdquo BSOAS 12, 1943-46, pp. 6-51.

Mahmud Tavoosi and R.N Frye, &ldquoAn Inscribed Capital [sic 1.] dating from the time of Shapur I,&rdquo Bulletin of the Asia Institute, N.S., 3, 1989, pp. 25-38.

Engelbert Winter, Die sāsānidisch-römischen Friedensverträge des 3. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. Ein Beirag zum Verständnis der aussenpolitischen Beziehungen zwieschen den beiden Grossmächten, Frankfurt/Main, 1988.

Zonaras, Ioannis Zonarae Epitome Historiarum, ed. L. Dindorf, 4 vols., Leipzig, 1868-75.


12. Colossal Statue of Shapur I

This statue was built for Shapur, the second king of the Sassanid Empire. It can be found inside the Shapur cave, which is a huge limestone cave. It is masterfully sculpted in the Shapur cave and it is known to be one of the most remarkable sculpture during the Sassanian period.


Government

Governors during his reign

Under Shapur, the Sasanian court, including its territories, were much larger than that of his father. Several governors and vassal-kings are mentioned in his inscriptions Ardashir, governor of Qom Varzin, governor of Spahan Tiyanik, governor of Hamadan Ardashir, governor of Neriz Narseh, governor of Rind Friyek, governor of Gundishapur Rastak, governor of Veh-Ardashir Amazasp III, king of Iberia. Under Shapur several of his relatives and sons served as governor of Sasanian provinces Bahram I, governor of Gilan Narseh, governor of Sindh, Sakastan and Turan Ardashir, governor of Kerman Hormizd I, governor of Armenia Shapur Mishanshah, governor of Maishan Ardashir, governor of Adiabene. [17]

Officials during his reign

Several names of Shapur's officials are carved on his inscription at Naqsh-e Rustam. Many of these were the offspring's of the officials who served Shapur's father. During the reign of Shapur, a certain Papak served as the commander of the royal guard (hazarbed), while Peroz served as the chief of the cavalry (aspbed) Vahunam and Shapur served as the director of the clergy Kirdisro served as viceroy of the Empire (bidakhsh) Vardbad served as the “chief of services” Hormizd served as the chief scribe Naduk served as “the chief of the prison” Papak served as the “gate keeper” Mihrkhwast served as the treasurer Shapur served as the commander of the army Arshtat Mihran served as the secretary Zik served as the “master of ceremonies”. [18]

Constructions

Shapur I left other reliefs and rock inscriptions. A relief at Naqsh-e Rajab near Estakhr is accompanied by a Greek translation. Here Shapur I calls himself "the Mazdayasnian (worshipper of Ahuramazda), the divine Shapur, King of Kings of the Iranians, and non-Iranians, of divine descent, son of the Mazdayasnian, the divine Ardashir, King of Kings of the Aryans, grandson of the divine king Papak." Another long inscription at Estakhr mentions the King's exploits in archery in the presence of his nobles. From his titles we learn that Shapur I claimed sovereignty over the whole earth, although in reality his domain extended little farther than that of Ardashir I. Shapur I built the great town Gundishapur near the old Achaemenid capital Susa, and increased the fertility of the district with a dam and irrigation system — built by Roman prisoners  — that redirected part of the Karun River. The barrier is still called Band-e Kaisar, "the mole of the Caesar." He is also responsible for building the city of Bishapur, with the labours of Roman soldiers captured after the defeat of Valerian in 260. Shapur also built a town named Pushang in Khorasan.

Religious policy

The Mazda worshipping lord Shapur, king of kings of Iran and non-Iran, whose lineage is from the Gods, son of the Mazda worshipping divinity Ardashir. — Shapur I, on the Naqsh-e Rustam inscription

Shapur on his coins and inscriptions calls himself a "worshiper of Mazda" the god of Zoroastrianism. In one of his inscriptions, he mentioned that he felt he had a mission to achieve in the world:

For the reason, therefore, that the gods have so made us their instrument, and that by the help of the gods we have sought out for ourselves, and hold, all these nations for that reason we have also founded, province by province, many Varahrān fires, and we have dealt piously with many Magi, and we have made great worship of the gods.

Shapur also wanted to add other writings to the Avesta, the holy book of Zoroastrianism, which included non-religious writings from Europe and India, about medicine, astronomy, philosophy and more.

The religious phenomenon shown by Shapur, shows that under his reign, the Zoroastrian clergy began to rise, as evidenced by the Mobed Kartir, who claims, in an inscription, that he took advantage of the conquests of Shapur to promote Zoroastrianism. Even though Kartir was part of the court of Shapur, the power of the clergy was limited, and only began to expand during the reign of Bahram I.

Shapur, who was never under the control of the clergy, appears as a particularly tolerant ruler, ensuring the best reception for representatives of all religions in his empire. Jewish sources have preserved him as a benevolent ruler that gave audiences to the leaders of their community. Later Greeks accounts writes about Shapurs invasion of Syria, where he destroyed everything except important religious sanctuaries of the cities. He also gave the Christians of his empire religious freedom, and allowed them to build churches without needing agreement from the Sasanian court.

During the reign of Shapur, Manichaeism, a new religion was founded by the Iranian prophet Mani, flourished. Mani was treated well by Shapur, and in 242, the prophet joined the Sasanian court, where he tried to convert Shapur by dedicating his only work written in Middle Persian, known as the Shabuhragan. Shapur, however, did not convert to Manichaeanism and remained a Zoroastrian. [19]


Watch the video: سرایش به زبان پهلوی ساسانی سام سرابی Sassanid Language