II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > F. The Neo-Persian Empire of the Sassanians, 223–651 C.E. > d. Hormizd IV to the Muslim Conquest
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d. Hormizd IV to the Muslim Conquest
579–90
 
Hormizd IV. War with Rome (Byzantium) continued. The Persians were defeated by Maurice at Constantia (581). In 589 the Romans took Martyropolis, while the Romans won an important victory near Nisibis. The war continued indecisively, weakening both sides.  1
 
589
 
Persia was invaded by Arabs. The advance of the Turks constituted a real danger, but they were defeated by the Persian general Bahram. Bahram was ordered to invade Lazica but was met and defeated by the Romans on the Araxes. Superseded and insulted by the king, he rebelled. Hormizd was deposed and murdered; he was succeeded by his son, Khusrau.  2
 
590–628
 
KHUSRAU II PARVIZ (“the victorious”). Challenged by Bahram, Khusrau sought help from Constantinople; Bahram then seized the throne and ruled as Bahram VI (590–591). Khusrau was restored with the help of the emperor Maurice. Bahram fled to the Turks, where he was assassinated. Under Khusrau the Sassanian empire reached its greatest extent but then suffered a precipitous decline. Khusrau initially tolerated Christianity and in the disputes between Nestorians and Monophysites favored the latter. At the end of his reign, persecution was resumed.  3
 
603–606
 
The assassination of Maurice and his sons by Phocas (602) gave Khusrau the opportunity to declare war against Constantinople. After defeating the forces of Phocas, Khusrau's armies invaded Armenia and Syria and ravaged Cappadocia; many cities were captured, including Dara (603), Amida, and Resaina (606). In 604 a Sassanian army had been defeated by the Arabs at the Battle of Dhu Qar.  4
 
610–619
 
After Phocas was overthrown, Khusrau continued the war against his successor, Heraclius (See 610–41). The leading cities of Armenia and Cappadocia were taken (610–611), and Persian armies captured Antioch, Damascus, and Tarsus (613). Jerusalem was occupied and the “true cross” taken to Ctesiphon (614). Anatolia was invaded, Chalcedon taken (615), and Constantinople endangered (616). In 619 Alexandria was taken, and Egypt came under Persian rule. Khusrau had restored the Achaemenid empire.  5
 
622–627
 
Heraclius counterattacked by invading Armenia, flanking and decisively defeating the Persians, who then evacuated Asia Minor. Heraclius again invaded Armenia, defeated the Persians, and ravaged Azerbaijan (623–624). Persian forces invaded Anatolia and took Chalcedon but were prevented from aiding the Avars in their abortive siege of Constantinople (626). In 627 Heraclius swept down into Mesopotamia and defeated a Persian army near Nineveh. Khusrau fled, a revolt ensued, and Khusrau was murdered and succeeded by his son Shiroe, who ruled as Kavad II.  6
 
628–629
 
Kavad II made peace with Heraclius, agreeing to evacuate Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, and western Mesopotamia and to restore prisoners and the true cross. Kavad died of the plague. The general Shahrbaraz (Sarbaros) usurped the throne and killed the infant son of Kavad, Ardashir III (628–629), but was himself murdered (629). Khusrau's daughter Borandukht (630–631) ruled for a year. On her death there was anarchy that seriously undermined the central authority of the monarchy (631–632).  7
 
632–651
 
Yazdgird III, the grandson of Khusrau, ascended the throne in 632 but did not receive the support of the Persian nobility in the face of the invasion to follow.  8
 
636–651
 
Arab invasion of Persia (See 632–750). The Persian army under the general Rustam was defeated at Qadisiyya, near Hira (636). In 637 the armies of Islam occupied Ctesiphon. Yazdgir's appeal for Chinese aid went unanswered (638). The Arab army swept over the Iranian plateau and wiped out the imperial Sassanian army at Nihavand (642). Yazdgird fled to Merv, where he was murdered while hiding in a mill (651). Sassanian rule had ended, and the Persian provinces were incorporated into the caliphate. (See The Global Picture)  9
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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