Sas Group Project


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THe research project for our sasanian empire group.

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Sas Group Project

  1. 1. The Sasanian Empire
  2. 2. How it all started Sasanians
  3. 3. Beginning Sasanians Where does it come from ? • Last native dynasty to reign in Persia before the • The name Sasanian comes from Arab conquest. a Persian priest named “Sasan”, who was the ancestor of the dynasty.
  4. 4. Beginning cont. The reign lasted from 224 A.D. to 651 A.D. The Sasanian period marks the end of the ancient and the beginning of the medieval era
  5. 5. Sassanid Empire General Facts • 226-651 CE • Last Iranian empire before the Muslim conquests • Had a unique, aristocratic culture • Only civilization that Rome considered to be equals • Major influence on Rome, Islamic Empire,
  6. 6. Timeline • 226: Founded by Ardashir I, following the collapse of the Arsacids – Claimed to be an ancestor of Papag (father) and Sasan (grandfather) , where the name is derived – Sasan was a priest of Temple of Anahita • 229-232: War with Rome • 241-271: Reign of Shapur “The Great” – 241-271: Renewed war with Rome – 261: captured emperor Valerian • 296-298: War with Rome and loss of provinces west of Tigris
  7. 7. Timeline • 309-379: Reign of Shapur II – 359-363: Western Tigris provinces returned to Sasanid's • 399-420: Reign of Yazdegerd I “The Sinner” – Allows Christians to build churches and worship freely – Later revokes his decree and persecutes the Christians • 420-438: Reign of Bahram V – 424: Eastern Church declared independent of Constantinople
  8. 8. Timeline • 438-457: Reign of Yazdegerd II – 449-451: Armenian Revolt • 483: Toleration granted to Christians • 484: Peroz I defeated by Hephthalites • 491: Armenian revolt leads to Nestorian Christianity being the dominant sect in the Empire
  9. 9. Timeline • 502-532: Wars with Constantinople • 539-571: Reign of Khosrau I “The Immortal Soul” • 540-591: Continued war with Constantinople ends with the loss of territory • 590-628: Reign of Khosrau II – 603-628: War with Byzantinium • Sassanid Empire gains various territory before withdrawing from Byzantine counter-offensive.
  10. 10. Timeline • 610: Sassanid Army defeated by Arabs at Dhu- Qar • 627: Byzantine invasion of Mesopotamia and Assyria leads to defeat of Persian army at Ninevah • 632-642: Reign of Yazdegerd III (the last Sassanid Emperor) • 636-642: Sassanid Empire defeated during Islamic conquest of Iran
  11. 11. Sassanid Governmental Structure • “Queen Of Queens” • “King of Kings” – Banebshenan – Shahanshah banebshen
  12. 12. Under The King • Territory ruled by petty • Vuzorg (Vice Chancellor) rulers from royal family • Zoroastrian (Priest) called Shahrdar • Mobadon (magi) • Usually acted under • Iran Spahbod advice of ministers, yet, (Commander in Chief) the king a carried out • Vastrioshansalar (n much of the affairs of Minister of Agriculture) government.
  13. 13. Sassanid Rule • Sassanid rule was very centralized, big on urban planning, agricultural development, and technological improvements. • In normal times the monarchical office was hereditary, but might be transmitted by the king to a younger son; in two instances the supreme power was held by queens. When no direct heir was available, the nobles and prelates chose a ruler, but their choice was restricted to members of the royal family
  14. 14. Important Figures in the Sasanian Empire
  15. 15. Ardashir I • Founder of the Sassanid dynasty. • Made Zoroastrianism the state religion. • After achieving his crown he rapidly expanded his empire gaining the ire of Artabanus IV, the ruler of the Parthian Empire. • Their armies fought at Hormizdeghan and Artabanus was killed. Ardashir went on to conquer the Arsacids. • Ardashir I was the ruler of Istakhr (206-241), subsequently Persia (208-241) and finally all of Iran (226-241). • Crowned “King of Kings of Iran” in 226, Ardashir I marked the end of the Parthian Empire and the beginning of the Sasanian Empire
  16. 16. Shapur I
  17. 17. Shapur I • Shapur I was the second ruler of the Sasanian Empire and ruled from 241-272, though some believe he may have ruled with his father before his fathers death. • Shapur I was named his fathers successor before a court of magnates, where his father proclaimed he was the “bravest, wisest, and most able of all his children” • Conquered Armenia and plundered Antioch, while defeating the Roman Emperor Valerian; whom he kept as a slave the rest of Valerians life. • Shapur I lost most of the lands he conquered when Septimius Odenathus, rose to power and attacked Shapurs forces from behind.
  18. 18. Shapur II • Took over rule as ninth king of the Sasanian empire after his father, Narseh suffered a humiliating defeat and was forced to make a treaty with the Romans. • Brought the Sasanian empire its first golden age since Shapur I had ruled. • Was crowned while still unborn and is the only king known to be crowned in utero. • Many considered him to be the or at least one of the greatest rulers of the Sasanian empire. • Redacted the Avesta. • Broke the steady but uneasy peace between the Sasanian empire and the Roman Empire just before the death of Constantine.
  19. 19. Yazdgerd III • Last ruler of the Sasanian Empire from 632 to 651. • Caliph Umar begged him to convert from Zoroastrianism to Islam but he refused. • When the Arabs took over Ctesiphon, Yazgerd fled to the east, where he was robbed and murdered. • Many of his sons and other noble lords of the Sasanian empire fled east and spread the ideals of the Sasanian people, but usually spreading the Islamic faith with it not the Zoroastrian faith.
  20. 20. Zarathushtra • Also known as Zoroaster as the Greeks named him. • Was the founder of the Zoroastrian religion, which was made the state religion for the Sasanian empire. • Wrote the Gathas, which are the core of Zoroastrianism. • Many different views are taken on when he lived, some as late as 100 BCE others as early as 6500 BCE. • Zarathushtra was the founder of the first religion on record • Preached that leaders must be chosen, hence succession did not automatically past to the oldest son. This can even be seen as a precursor to democracy.
  21. 21. Zarathushtra cont. • Zarathushtra was an ancient Iranian who was born most likely in 628 BC and brought up in a proto-Iranian polytheistic faith. When he was 30 he had a religious vision and spent the rest of his life spreading the word about what had been revealed to him. Eventually he came to the land of King Vishtaspa where he converted the king and all the people. Zarathushtra most likely died in 551 BC thinking he had no fulfilled his goal. He never knew his religion would not only spread but form 3 more religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
  22. 22. Geography/ Climate
  23. 23. Geography • Empire stretched from part of modern Egypt all the way to modern Afghanistan including the Euphrates River • Rugged mountain rim • Central basin with deserts • Small plains along coasts • Major bodies of water – Persian Gulf – Caspian Sea
  24. 24. Climate • Mostly Arid – Much of the empire un able to support crops – Large basins were almost entirely desert • Subtropical along the Caspian coast – Large numbers of forests along coast line – Settled near Caspian sea and Euphrates River
  25. 25. Religion in the Sassasnian Empire Zoroastrianism
  26. 26. Zoroaster
  27. 27. Zoroastrianism • Was the official state religion of the Sasanian empire. • The religion was founded roughly 3500 years ago by Zarathushtra, who has come to be known here in the west as Zoroaster
  28. 28. Basic Beliefs • Ahura Mazda is the one true God, the creator of all life. He represents all that is good and just, truth and order. He as 6 angels that do his biding. • Angra Mainyu/Ahriman is not a God but an evil Spirit he is the equivalent to the modern Devil. His presence creates a dualism in the faith. He has 6 demons that do his bidding. • Man has an active role in the constant struggle between the two beings. Man is granted free will by God and they are to choose to fight for good with good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. • Zoroastrianist believed in 7 attributes of God that showed how he effected the world, these were called the Amesha Spentas or Bounteous Immortals • After Zoroaster the founder of the religion there were to be 3 more prophets and the last was to be a Savior of the people and he was to lead the final battle between good and evil on Earth
  29. 29. Basic Beliefs cont. • Before you are born you are assigned a protective spirit that guides you through life and you are reunited with them after death. • Water and fire also represented a duality but a purely good duality, both were means of purification. Water was the 2nd element created and fire the fourth. Both were worshiped in the fire temples. Water was seen as a source of wisdom and fire was the means to access this insight. • They did not dwell on sin or guilt.
  30. 30. Amesha Spentas • Vohu Manah - Good Thought - connected with Animals • Asha Vahishta - Justice and Truth - Fire and Energy • Kshathra - Dominion - Metals and minerals • Spenta Armaiti - Devotion and Serenity - The earth and land • Haurvatat - Wholeness – Waters • Ameretat - Immortality – Plants • Spenta Mainyu - Creative Energy - Human beings
  31. 31. The Afterlife • Those who lived a overall good moral life achieved the “best afterlife” or what many people today would call heaven, meanwhile those who lived a predominantly bad moral life received “the worst afterlife” or Hell as their reward in the here after.
  32. 32. Sacred Texts • The Avesta is the collection of all of the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism. • The Yasna, contains many of the tenants of faith and is considered the primary liturgical source for Zoroastrianism. – The Gathas, are hymns included in the Yasna and thought to have been composed by Zoroaster himself and considered the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism. • The Visparad, is a collection of supplements and additions to the Yasna. • The Yashts, contains many of the hymns used in prayer. • The Vendidad, is like a religious self defense book and contains information on evil spirits and how to fight them.
  33. 33. Impact on other Faiths • Zoroastrianism had a huge impact on other faiths, such as Judaism and Christianity. We can see that the Zoroastrian beliefs of a eternal heaven and hell, as well as angels and a single greater God all appear later in Jewish and Christian beliefs. • The practice of Zoroastrianism greatly declined when the Muslims took over the Sasanian empire and many of the Zoroastrian priests had to flee to the east. • Zoroastrianism traveled along the silk road where it gained some foothold in China until even the recent 11 hundreds. It is thought that Zoroastrianism also effected Buddhism which can be seen with Buddhism's use of light as a symbol in their faith.
  34. 34. Accomplishments • The invention of the Avestan alphabet, named after the holy book the Avesta which was the book in which their laws were found. • They created their own calendar system.
  36. 36. Art was cultivated and generously sponsored. They were famous for their great skill in metal work, and their work with gold and silver. Sasanians also had elaborate styles of dress. They were also famous for their coins and their rock reliefs.
  37. 37. Coins Sasanian coins were very important. The coins show a sequence of the four centuries throughout their rule. The coins also give a lot of information. They provide us with the sequence of the rulers in chronological order, and they also reflect the changes in the economy and their religious prefernces.
  38. 38. Coins Artishir III, AD 628 to 630 Varhran I, AD 271 to 274 Front: Head of Artashir III right with a Sassanid inscription naming him around. Front: Head of Varhran right with a long inscription around. Back: Fire altar flanked by two attendants with the mint mark to the right and the date Back: Fire altar flanked by two attendants, mark to the left in Sassanid script. with inscriptions to the sides.
  39. 39. More Coins
  40. 40. Metals
  41. 41. Textiles • Almost every Persian other than the peasant and the priest wanted to dress above their class. • Painting, sculpture, pottery, and other forms of decoration shared their designs with Sasanian textile art. Silks, embroideries, brocades, damasks, tapestries, chair covers, canopies, tents, and rugs were woven with servile patience and masterly skill, and were dyed in warm tints of yellow, blue, and green.
  42. 42. Sasanian Robe
  43. 43. Crowns Studies on Sasanian remains show that over 100 types of crowns being worn by Sasanian kings. The various Sasanian crowns demonstrate the cultural, economic, social, and historical situation in each period. The crowns also show the character traits of each king in this era. Different symbols and signs on the crowns, the moon, stars, eagle, and palm, each illustrate the wearer's religious faith and beliefs.
  44. 44. Rock Reliefs • Elaborate form of Sasanian art. • Wanted to show their monarchy was eternal • Usually had carvings of kings, who could be identified by their crowns
  45. 45. Technology
  46. 46. War Axe
  47. 47. Armored Sasanian Cavalry • The Sasanian empire also used military technology such as cavalry and armored horses and warriors to help them defeat their enemies in the Roman Empire and other neighboring countries. • The backbone of the Sasanian army was composed of two types of heavy cavalry units: Clibanarii and Cataphracts. Both units had large cavalry, infantry, and archers that supported their force, composing of elite noblemen trained since youth for military purposes
  48. 48. Cheese maker
  49. 49. Hand Mirror One side would be highly polished so it would reveal a reflection
  50. 50. Architecture • Used mortor • Brick work was usually for vaults and domes • Forts: The main elements include ditches, walls with stepped niches, blind windows and arrow slots with horizontal or triangular covering, stepped battlements, corridors or narrow rooms within the walls, and far- protruding bastions, generally with semicircular headings.