Ardashir-Khwarrah (Middle Persian: Arđaxšēr-Xwarra, meaning "glory of Ardashir") was one of the four (later five) administrative divisions of the Sasanian province of Pars. The other administrative divisions were Shapur-Khwarrah, Istakhr and Darabgerd, while a fifth named Arrajan was founded in the early 6th century by Kavadh I (r. 498–531).
|Administrative division of Sasanian Pars|
Map of Sasanian Pars
|Historical era||Late Antiquity|
|Today part of|| Bahrain|
United Arab Emirates
Ardashir-Khwarrah was founded by the first Sasanian king Ardashir I (r. 224-242), who around the same time also founded its capital, Gor. Although some sources state that the capital was established after Ardashir's victory in 244 over the Parthian king Artabanus V, archeological evidence confirm that it was established before the battle. In Gor, Ardashir I built a Zoroastrian tower called Terbal, which was similar to a Buddhist stupa. Furthermore, he also built a fire-temple which the 10th-century Arab historian al-Masudi reportedly visited.
In the early 5th-century, a bridge was built in Gor by the Sasanian minister (wuzurg framadār) Mihr Narseh, who was a native of Abruwan, a subdistrict in Ardashir-Khwarrah. An inscription was also written on the bridge, which says; "This bridge was built by order of Mihr-Narseh, wuzurg framadār, for his soul's sake and at his own expense... Whoever has come on this road let him give a blessing to Mihr-Narseh and his sons for that he thus bridged this crossing." Furthermore, he also founded four villages with a fire-temple in each of them. The name of the fire-temples were; Faraz-mara-awar-khwadaya, Zurwandadan, Kardadan, and Mahgushnaspan. He had a fifth fire-temple constructed in Abruwan, which may have been the Barin fire-temple that the 10th-century Persian geographer Estakhri visited, who stated that the fire-temple had an inscription that stated 30,000 dirhams was spent for its construction. Sometime before 540, a diocese was established in Gor.
In ca. 644, during the Arab invasion of Iran, one of Ardashir-Khwarrah's subdistricts, Tawwaz, was seized by al-'Ala' ibn al-Hadrami, who thereafter sent Hormoz ibn Hayyan al-'Abdi to capture Siniz, which he successfully managed to. In 649/50, Abd-Allah ibn Amir made an unsuccessful attempt to capture Gor. In 650/1, the last Sasanian king Yazdegerd III (r. 632–651) went to Gor to plan an organized resistance against the Arabs, but after receiving the news of Istakhr's fall, fled to Kirman. The Arabs then quickly seized Gor, Siraf, and the rest of Pars.
The subdistricts of Ardashir-Khwarrah were;
Abarsas was an ancient district in present-day southern Iran. It is first mentioned in the early 3rd-century as part of the fief of the Parthian dynast Mihrak. In 222, his fief was conquered by the Sasanian king Ardashir I (r. 224-242), who two years later had it incorporated into the administrative division of Ardashir-Khwarrah.Ardashir I
Ardashir I or Ardeshir I (Middle Persian 𐭠𐭥𐭲𐭧𐭱𐭲𐭥 , New Persian: اردشیر بابکان, Ardashir-e Bābakān), also known as Ardashir the Unifier (180–242 AD), was the founder of the Sasanian Empire. He was also Ardashir V of the dynasty of the Kings of Persis, until he founded the new empire. After defeating the last Parthian shahanshah Artabanus V on the Hormozdgan plain in 224, he overthrew the Parthian dynasty and established the Sasanian dynasty. Afterwards, Ardashir called himself "shahanshah" and began conquering the land that he called Iran.There are various historical reports about Ardashir's lineage and ancestry. According to Al-Tabari's History of the Prophets and Kings, Ardashir was son of Papak, son of Sasan. Another narrative that exists in Kar-Namag i Ardashir i Pabagan and Ferdowsi's Shahnameh also states it says that Ardashir was born from the marriage of Sasan, a descendant of Darius III, with the daughter of Papak, a local governor in Pars.
According to Al-Tabari's report, Ardashir was born in the outskirts of Istakhr, Pars. Al-Tabari adds that Ardashir was sent to the lord of Fort Darabgard when he was seven years old. After the lord's death, Ardashir succeeded him and became the commander of Fort Darabgard. Al-Tabari continues that afterward, Papak overthrew the local Persian shah named Gochihr and appointed his son, Shapur, instead of him. According to Al-Tabari's report, Shapur and his father, Papak, suddenly died and Ardashir became the ruler of Pars. Tension rose between Ardashir and the Parthian empire and eventually on April 28, 224, Ardashir faced the army of Artabanus V in the Hormozdgan plain and Artabanus, the Parthian shahanshah, was killed during the battle.
According to the royal reports, it was Papak who overthrew Gochihr, the local Persian shah, and appointed his son, Shapur, instead of him; Ardashir refused to accept Shapur's appointment and removed his brother and whosoever stood against him and then minted coins with his face drawn on and his father, Papak's behind. It is probable that the determining role that is stated about Ardashir in leading the rebellion against the central government is the product of the later historical studies. Papak had probably united most of Pars under his rule by then.
Ardashir had an outstanding role in developing the royal ideology. He tried to show himself as a worshiper of Mazda related to god and possessing khvarenah. The claim of the legitimacy of his reign as a rightful newcomer from the line of the mythical Iranian shahs and the propagations attributed to Ardashir against the legitimacy and role of the Parthians in the Iranian history sequence show the valuable place that the Achaemenid legacy had in the minds of the first Sasanian shahanshahs; though the current belief is that the Sasanians did not know much about the Achaemenids and their status. On the other hand, some historians believe that the first Sasanian shahanshahs were familiar with the Achaemenids and their succeeding shahanshahs deliberately turned to the Kayanians. They knowingly ignored the Achaemenids in order to attribute their past to the Kayanians; and that was where they applied holy historiography.
In order to remark his victories, Ardashir carved petroglyphs in Firuzabad (the city of Gor or Ardashir-Khwarrah), Naqsh-e Rajab and Naqsh-e Rustam. In his petroglyph in Naqsh-e Rustam, Ardashir and Ahura Mazda are opposite to each other on horsebacks and the corpses of Artabanus and Ahriman are visualized under the nails of the horses of Ardashir and Ahura Mazda. It can be deduced from the picture that Ardashir assumed or wished for others to assume that his rule over the land that was called "Iran" in the inscriptions was designated by the lord. The word "Iran" was previously used in Avesta and as "the name of the mythical land of the Aryans". In Ardashir's period, the title "Iran" was chosen for the region under the Sasanian rule. The idea of "Iran" was accepted for both the Zoroastrian and non-Zoroastrian societies in the whole kingdom and the Iranians' collective memory continued and lived on in the various stages and different layers of the Iranian society until the modern period today. What is clear is that the concept of "Iran" previously had a religious application and then ended up creating its political face and the concept of a geographical collection of lands.Aspad Gushnasp
Aspad Gushnasp (Persian: اسپد گشنسپ), known as Gousdanaspa in Byzantine sources, was an Iranian commander (hazarbed) of the Sasanian royal guard, who played a key role in the overthrow of the last great Sasanian king (shah) Khosrow II (r. 590–628) and the enthronement of the latters son, Kavadh II Sheroe.Bokht-Ardashir
Bokht-Ardashir (Middle Persian: Bōkht-Artaxshīr, meaning "saved by Ardashir") was the name of a medieval town in the Sasanian province of Pars. It was founded in the early 3rd-century by the first Sasanian king Ardashir I (r. 224-242) after his flight from the court of the last Parthian king, Artabanus V. In 224, it was incorporated into the administrative division of Ardashir-Khwarrah.Fars Province
Pars Province (; Persian: استان پارس, Ostān-e Pārs, pronounced [ˈpɒː(ɾ)s]) also known as Fars (Persian: فارس, Fārs) or Persia in the Greek sources in historical context, is one of the thirty-one provinces of Iran and known as the cultural capital of the country. It is in the south of the country, in Iran's Region 2, and its administrative center is Shiraz. It has an area of 122,400 km². In 2011, this province had a population of 4.6 million people, of which 67.6% were registered as urban dwellers (urban/suburbs), 32.1% villagers (small town/rural), and 0.3% nomad tribes. The etymology of the word Persian (From Latin Persia, from Ancient Greek Περσίς, Persís), found in many ancient names associated with Iran, is derived from the historical importance of this region. Fars Province is the original homeland of the Persian people.Firuzabad, Fars
Firuzabad (Persian: فيروزآباد also Romanized as Fīrūzābād; Middle Persian: Gōr or Ardashir-Khwarrah, literally "The Glory of Ardashir"; also Shahr-e Gūr شهر گور) is a city and capital of Firuzabad County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 58,210, in 12,888 families. Firuzabad is located south of Shiraz. The city is surrounded by a mud wall and ditch.
The original ancient city of Gor, dating back to the Achaemenid period, was destroyed by Alexander the Great. Centuries later, Ardashir I, the founder of the Sassanian Empire, revived the city before it was ransacked during the Arab Muslim invasion of the seventh century. It was again revived by the Buyids, but was eventually abandoned in the Qajar period and was replaced by a nearby town, which is now Firuzabad.Guyim, Shiraz
Guyim (Persian: گويم, also Romanized as Gūyīm; also known as Gūyom and Gūyum) is a village in Derak Rural District, in the Central District of Shiraz County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 7,297, in 1,829 families.Kavar
Kavar (Persian: كوار, also Romanized as Kavār; also known as Kaval) is a city and capital of Kavar County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 22,158, in 4,753 families.Khunapakan
Khunapakan was the name of a medieval district in the Sasanian province of Pars. It is mentioned as a district of the administrative division of Ardashir-Khwarrah in the Madigan-i Hezar Dadistan.Mihr Narseh
Mihr Narseh (Middle Persian: 𐭬𐭲𐭥𐭭𐭥𐭮𐭧𐭩 mtrnrshy), was a powerful Iranian nobleman from the House of Suren, who served as minister (wuzurg framadār) of the Sasanian Empire during the reigns of the Sasanian kings Yazdegerd I (r. 399-420), Bahram V (420–438), Yazdegerd II (r. 438–457) and Peroz I (r. 457–484).Minar (Firuzabad)
The Minar (Persian: منار, literally "pillar") or Minaret (مناره), mentioned in medieval Arabic-language Islamic sources as Terbal (طربال Ṭirbāl), was a unique, spiral, tower-like structure built in the centre of the Sassanian circular city of Gōr (modern Firuzabad, Iran). Several theories have been proposed for its purpose. Only the core of the structure remains today.Pars (Sasanian province)
Pars (Middle Persian: 𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩 Pārs, pronounced [ˈpaːrs]) was a Sasanian province in Late Antiquity, which almost corresponded to the present-day province of Fars. The province bordered Khuzestan in the west, Kirman in the east, Spahan in the north, and Mazun in the south.Persis
Persis (Greek: Περσίς), better known as Persia (Old Persian: Parsa; Persian: پارس, Pars), or "Persia proper", was originally a name of a region near the Zagros mountains at Lake Urmia. The country name Persia was derived directly from the Old Persian Parsa. Over time, the area of settlement shifted to the southwest of modern Iran (now Fars).Qeshm Island
Qeshm (Persian: قشم, Persian pronunciation: [ɢeʃm]), formerly also known as Kishm, is an Iranian island in the Strait of Hormuz, separated from the mainland by the Clarence Strait/Khuran in the Persian Gulf (26°50′N 56°0′E). It is the largest island in Iran.Sasanian Empire
The Sasanian Empire (), also known as the Sassanian, Sasanid, Sassanid or Neo-Persian Empire (known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr, or Iran, in Middle Persian), was the last kingdom of the Persian Empire before the rise of Islam. Named after the House of Sasan, it ruled from 224 to 651 AD. The Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire and was recognised as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighbouring arch-rival the Roman-Byzantine Empire for a period of more than 400 years.The Sasanian Empire was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Parthian Empire and the defeat of the last Arsacid king, Artabanus V. At its greatest extent, the Sasanian Empire encompassed all of today's Iran, Iraq, Eastern Arabia (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatif, Qatar, UAE), the Levant (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan), the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan), Egypt, large parts of Turkey, much of Central Asia (Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), Yemen and Pakistan. According to a legend, the vexilloid of the Sasanian Empire was the Derafsh Kaviani.The Sasanian Empire during Late Antiquity is considered to have been one of Iran's most important, and influential historical periods and constituted the last great Iranian empire before the Muslim conquest and the adoption of Islam. In many ways, the Sasanian period witnessed the peak of ancient Iranian civilisation. The Sasanians' cultural influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe, Africa, China and India. It played a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asian medieval art. Much of what later became known as Islamic culture in art, architecture, music and other subject matter was transferred from the Sasanians throughout the Muslim world.Shapur-Khwarrah
Shapur-Khwarrah (Middle Persian: Šāhpuhr-Xwarra, meaning "glory of Shapur") was one of the four (later five) administrative divisions of the Sasanian province of Pars. The other administrative divisions were Ardashir-Khwarrah, Istakhr and Darabgerd, while a fifth named Arrajan was founded in the early 6th century by Kavadh I (r. 498–531).Sukhra
Sukhra (also spelled Sufaray, Sufray, Surkhab, Sarafra'i) was an Iranian nobleman from the House of Karen, who was the de facto ruler of the Sasanian Empire from 484 to 493. He was active during the reign of shah Peroz I (r. 457-484), Balash (r. 484 – 488) and Kavadh I (r. 488-496). He is often confused with his father Zarmihr Hazarwuxt and son Zarmihr Karen.
He first appears in 484, when Peroz I appoints him as the minister (wuzurg framadār) of the empire. Peroz I was defeated and killed the same year during a campaign against the Hephthalite Empire, which seized much of the empire's eastern territory. Sukhra then avenged Peroz I by invading Hephthalite territory and inflicting a major defeat on them.
When he returned from his campaign, he was praised by the Sasanian nobles, and Balash was elected as king. However, it was in reality Sukhra that had control over the empire. In 488, Kavadh I made a major revolt in order to seize the throne, and was supported by several prominent Iranian statesmen, including Sukhra, who had Balash deposed and Kavadh installed as the new king. However, Sukhra still remained the power behind the throne. In 493, Kavadh I had Sukhra exiled to Shiraz in order to minimize his power. Fearful of rebellion, Kavadh I asked for the assistance of Shapur of Ray, who defeated Sukhra's loyalists, and had him captured and sent to Ctesiphon, where he was executed.