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The Sassanid Empire

Sassanid rule or Sassanid Empire was the strongest independent Iranian Empire after the Achaemenids dynasty.  The Sassanids founded an empire inside the borders that were made by the Achaemenids, with the capital at Ctesiphon. They deliberately and cleverly developed the Achaemenid culture in Iran and tried to erase Greek cultural influence. The Sassanids, with a significant focus on long-term urban planning, agricultural development, and attention to trade and technological advances, presented a new way of civilization.

Taq Kasra Iraq
Tāq Kasrā, also transcribed as Taq-i Kisra, Taq-e Kesra, meaning Iwan of Khosrow, are names given to the remains of a Persian monument
dating back to the 3rd and 6th centuries, dating from the Sasanian era, which is sometimes called the Ctesiphon arcade.

The Sassanid rulers adopted the title of shahanshah (king of kings), as rulers of many small rulers, called Shahriar. They introduced a new category of urbanization.
In this social category, people were divided into different classes. This classification consists of four groups: priests, warriors, secretaries, and commoners.
The entry of people from one class to the other one was very difficult and impossible. The Sassanid rule and the system of social stratification were reinforced by Zoroastrianism, which became the state religion.

Takht-e Soleymān, also known as the Fire Temple Azar Goshnasp, literally "warrior fire", is an archaeological site in western Azarbaijan,
from the Sasanian Empire. It is located halfway between Urmia and Hamadan, near the present-day city of Takab, and 400 km west of Tehran.

The Zoroastrian leadership or priesthood or Mobedan became immensely powerful. The head of the priestly class, or the leader of mobads, as well as the commander of the army, the Iran spahbod, and the head of the bureaucracy were among the great men of the state.  Rome, with its capital at Constantinople,  replaced Greece as the new and main Western enemy of Iran and the long-standing hostility of the two countries continued. Shahpur I (240-272 AD), the son and successor of Ardeshir, led successful campaigns against the Romans, and in 260 he captured Emperor Valerian. Between 260 and 263 he had lost his conquest of Odenathus, Rome's ally.
Shapur II (led between 309 and 379 CE), however, reconquered the lost territories in three successive wars with the Romans. Khosro I (531-579), also known as righteous Anushirvan, is the most famous Sassanid King. He corrected the tax system and reorganized the army and bureaucracy, linking the military relation closer to the central government than to the local lords. His reign witnessed the rise of dihqans or villagers, the landed nobility who were the backbone of the Sasanian province administration and the tax collection system. He was a great builder: he embellished his capital, founded new cities, and built new buildings. He rebuilt the canals and replenished the farms that had been destroyed during the wars.

Naqsh e Rostam Shiraz
Shapur I's inscription at Naqsh-e Rostam, 3 kilometers away from the north of Takht-e Jamshid. This inscription depicts a famous scene in
which the Roman Emperor, Valerian, is kneeled before Shapur I and asking for grace. Shapur defeated Valerian at the Battle of Edessa,
in which the entire Roman army was destroyed and Valerian itself became Shapour's prisoner.

He built strong fortifications at the crossings and placed dependent tribes in carefully chosen towns at the borders so that they could act as guardians of the state against the invaders. Justinian paid him 440,000 gold coins as a bribe to keep the peace, but he seems to have been a man who really benefited from the fruits of peace and found no reason to pursue a senseless war.  He had believed to all religions, although he commands that Zoroastrianism should be the official religion of the state, he was not unduly disturbed when one of his sons became a Christian. Under his auspices, many books were imported from India and translated into Pahlavi. Some of them later found themselves in the literature of the Islamic world.
The reign of Khosro II (591-628 CE) was characterized by the useless splendor and sumptuousness of the court. Towards the end of his reign, the power of Khosro II declined. In the resumption of fighting with the Byzantines, he knew the first successes, captured Damascus, and took the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. But counter-attacks by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius lead enemy forces deep into Sassanid territory. In the spring of 633, a grandson of Khosro named Yezdegerd ascended the throne and that same year, the first Arab squadrons made their first raids on Persian territory.

Taq e Bostan Kermanshah
Taq-e Bostan means "ark of the garden" or "stone arch" is a site presenting a series of large rocky reliefs from the time of the Sassanid empire
of Persia (Iran), carved around the 4th century AD. This example of Sassanian Persian art is located 5 km from Kermanshah city center.

Years of war have exhausted Byzantines and Iranians. The remaining Sassanids were further weakened by economic decline, heavy taxes, religious unrest, rigid social stratification, the growing power of provincial landowners, and the rapid renewal of leadership. These factors facilitated the Arab invasion in the seventh century.
It was the beginning of the end. Yazdegerd was a boy, at the mercy of his advisers, unable to unite or control the vast country that collapsed into a number of small feudal kingdoms. Rome is no longer threatened. The threat came from the disciplined small armies of Khalid ibn Walid, who was one of Muhammad's companions in arms and who, after the death of the Prophet, was at the head of the Arab army.

Sassanid Kings:

Ardashir I 224 - 241 CE
Shapur I 241 - 272 CE
Hormoz I 272 - 273 CE
Bahram I 273 - 276 CE
Bahram II 276 - 293 CE
Bahram III 293 - 293 CE
Narseh 293 - 302 CE
Hormoz II 302 - 309 CE
Shapur II 309 - 379 CE
Ardashir II 379 - 383 CE
Shapur III 383 - 388 CE
Bahram IV 388 - 399 CE
Yazdgerd I 399 - 420 CE
Bahram V 420 - 438 CE
Yazdgerd  II 438 - 457 CE
Hormoz III 457 - 459 CE
Peroz 459 - 484 CE
Balash 459 - 484 CE
Kaveh I (first reign) 484 - 488 CE
Zamasp 488 - 496 CE
Kaveh I (second reign) 496 - 498 CE
Khosro I, Anoushirvan 498 - 531 CE
Hormoz IV 531 - 579 CE
Bahram VI, Chobin 579 - 590 CE
Khosro II, Parviz 590 - 590 CE
Kaveh II 590 - 628 CE
Ardashir III 628 - 628 CE
Shahrvaraz 628 - 629 CE
Porandokht 629 - 630 CE
Hormoz V 630 - 632 CE
Yazdgerd III 632 - 651 CE