Battle of Blarathon

The Battle of Blarathon was fought in 591 near Ganzak between a combined ByzantinePersian force and a Persian army led by the usurper Bahram Chobin.

Battle of Blarathon
Part of the Sasanian civil war of 589-591, Byzantine–Sassanid War of 572–591
The battle between kusrau parvis and Bhram Chubineh

A Shahnameh illustration depicting the battle between Khusrau II and Bahram Chobin
DateAugust 591
near Ganzak, northwest Persia
Result Decisive allied victory
Khosrau II's forces
 Byzantine Empire
Rebel forces of Bahram Chobin
Commanders and leaders
John Mystacon
Khosrau II
Musel II Mamikonian
Bahram Chobin

60,000 in total

  • 40,000 Byzantine troops[1]
  • 12,000 Armenian cavalry[2]
  • 8,000 Persian troops[3]
Heavily outnumbered[4]
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown


The combined army was led by John Mystacon, Narses, and the Persian king Khosrau II. The Byzantine–Persian force was victorious, ousting Bahram Chobin from power and reinstating Khosrau as ruler of the Sassanid Empire. Khosrau was swiftly reinstated upon the Persian throne, and as agreed upon returned Dara and Martyropolis. Additionally, he agreed to a new partition of the Caucasus by which the Sassanids handed over to the Romans many cities, including Tigranokert, Manzikert, Baguana, Valarsakert, Bagaran, Vardkesavan, Yerevan, Ani, Kars, and Zarisat. Most of the Kingdom of Iberia, including the cities of Ardahan, Lori, Dmanisi, Lomsia, Mtskheta, and Tontio became Roman dependencies. Also, the city of Cytaea was given to Lazica, also a Roman dependency. The Battle of Blarathon altered the course of Roman-Persian relations dramatically, leaving the former in the dominant position. The extent of effective Roman control in the Caucasus reached its zenith historically.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Pourshariati (2008), pp. 127–128
  3. ^ Pourshariati (2008), pp. 127–128
  4. ^


  • Whitby, Michael (1998), The Emperor Maurice and his Historian – Theophylact Simocatta on Persian and Balkan Warfare, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-822945-3
  • Pourshariati, Parvaneh (2008). Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab Conquest of Iran. London and New York: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-645-3.

The 590s decade ran from January 1, 590, to December 31, 599.


Year 591 (DXCI) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 591 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Adurbadagan (also transliterated as Aturpatakan) in Middle Persian and Parthian, Atropatene in Greek, and Atrpatakan in Armenian, was a Sasanian province in northern Iran which almost corresponded to the present day Iranian Azerbaijan. The capital of the province was Ganzak.

Bahram Chobin

Bahrām Chōbīn (Persian: بهرام چوبین‎) or Wahrām Chōbēn (Middle Persian: wlhl’n), also known by his epithet Mihrevandak ("servant of Mithra"), was a nobleman, general, and political leader of the late Sasanian Empire and briefly its ruler as Bahram VI (r. 590-591).

Son of general Bahram Gushnasp and hailing from the noble House of Mihran, Bahram began his career as the governor of Ray, and was promoted to the army chief (spahbed) of the northwestern portions of the empire after capturing the Byzantine stronghold of Dara, fighting in the war of 572–591. After a massive Hephthalite-Turkic invasion of the eastern Sasanian domains in 588, he was appointed as the spahbed in Khorasan, beginning a campaign that decisively ended with Iranian victory.

Bahram earned an elevated position in Iran due to his noble descent, character, skills, and accomplishments. The Sasanian king (shah) Hormizd IV (r. 579–590) was already distrustful of Bahram and stripped the increasingly popular general of his commands. Bahram began a rebellion aiming to reestablish the "more rightful" Arsacid Empire, identifying himself with the promised savior of the Zoroastrian faith. Before he had reached the Sasanian capital of Ctesiphon, Hormizd was assassinated in support of his son, Khosrow II, by another anti-Hormizd faction led by the two Ispahbudhan brothers, Vistahm and Vinduyih. As Bahram captured Ctesiphon, Khosrow II fled to the Byzantine Empire, with the assistance of which he launched a campaign against Bahram, who was defeated with his outnumbered forces, but managed to flee to the Western Turkic Khaganate where he was well received. He was shortly assassinated at the instigation of Khosrow II, who was then the shah.

Bahram Chobin left a legacy even after Arab conquest of Iran among Iranian nationalists, as well as in the Persian literature.

Byzantine–Sasanian War of 572–591

The Byzantine–Sasanian War of 572–591 was a war fought between the Sasanian Empire of Persia and the Eastern Roman Empire, termed by modern historians as the Byzantine Empire. It was triggered by pro-Byzantine revolts in areas of the Caucasus under Persian hegemony, although other events contributed to its outbreak. The fighting was largely confined to the southern Caucasus and Mesopotamia, although it also extended into eastern Anatolia, Syria, and northern Iran. It was part of an intense sequence of wars between these two empires which occupied the majority of the 6th and early 7th centuries. It was also the last of the many wars between them to follow a pattern in which fighting was largely confined to frontier provinces and neither side achieved any lasting occupation of enemy territory beyond this border zone. It preceded a much more wide-ranging and dramatic final conflict in the early 7th century.


Ganzak (Persian: گنزک Ganzak, Greek: Gazaca, Latin: Gaza, Ganzaga, Arabic: Janza, Jaznaq), is an ancient town founded in northwestern Iran. The city stood somewhere south of Lake Urmia, and it has been postulated that the Persian nobleman Atropates chose the city as his capital. The exact location, according to Minorsky, Schippmann, and Boyce, is identified as being near Leylan, Malekan County in the Miandoab plain.

John Mystacon

John, surnamed Mystacon, "the mustachioed", (Greek: Ἰωάννης ὀ Μυστάκων, fl. 580–590), was a prominent East Roman (Byzantine) general in the wars with Sassanid Persia during the reigns of Byzantine emperors Tiberius II (r. 578–582) and Maurice (r. 582–602).

List of Byzantine battles

The following is a list of battles fought by the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, from the 6th century AD until its dissolution in the mid-15th century, organized by date. The list is not exhaustive. For battles fought by the Byzantine Empire's Roman predecessors, see List of Roman battles.

List of conflicts in Asia

This is a list of wars and conflicts in Asia, particularly East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Russia. For a list of conflicts in Southwest Asia, see List of conflicts in the Near East for historical conflicts and List of conflicts in the Middle East for contemporary conflicts.

List of wars involving Greece

This is a list of known wars, conflicts, battles/sieges, missions and operations involving ancient Greek city states and kingdoms, Magna Graecia, other Greek colonies (First Greek colonisation, Second Greek colonisation, Greeks in pre-Roman Crimea, Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul, Greeks in Egypt, Greeks in Syria, Greeks in Malta), Greek Kingdoms of Hellenistic period, Indo-Greek Kingdom, Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, Byzantine Empire/ Byzantine Greeks, Byzantine Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire, Kingdom of Greece and Greece between 3000 BC and the present day.

Maurice (emperor)

Maurice (Latin: Mauricius; Greek: Μαυρίκιος; 539 – 27 November 602) was Byzantine Emperor from 582 to 602. A prominent general, Maurice fought with success against the Sasanian Empire. After he became Emperor, he brought the war with Sasanian Persia to a victorious conclusion. Under him the Empire's eastern border in the South Caucasus was vastly expanded and, for the first time in nearly two centuries, the Romans were no longer obliged to pay the Persians thousands of pounds of gold annually for peace.

Maurice campaigned extensively in the Balkans against the Avars – pushing them back across the Danube by 599. He also conducted campaigns across the Danube, the first Roman Emperor to do so in over two centuries. In the west, he established two large semi-autonomous provinces called exarchates, ruled by exarchs, or viceroys of the emperor. In Italy Maurice established the Exarchate of Italy in 584, the first real effort by the Empire to halt the advance of the Lombards. With the creation of the Exarchate of Africa in 590 he further solidified the power of Constantinople in the western Mediterranean.

His reign was troubled by financial difficulties and almost constant warfare. In 602 a dissatisfied general named Phocas usurped the throne, having Maurice and his six sons executed. This event would prove a disaster for the Empire, sparking a twenty-six year war with Sassanid Persia which would leave both empires devastated prior to the Muslim conquests. His reign is a relatively well documented era of late antiquity, in particular by the historian Theophylact Simocatta. The Strategikon, a manual of war which influenced European and Middle Eastern military traditions for well over a millennium, is traditionally attributed to Maurice.

Military of the Sasanian Empire

The Sasanian army was the primary military body of the Sasanian armed forces, serving alongside the Sasanian navy. The birth of the army dates back to the rise of Ardashir I (r. 224–241), the founder of the Sasanian Empire, to the throne. Ardashir aimed at the revival of the Persian Empire, and to further this aim, he reformed the military by forming a standing army which was under his personal command and whose officers were separate from satraps, local princes and nobility. He restored the Achaemenid military organizations, retained the Parthian cavalry model, and employed new types of armour and siege warfare techniques. This was the beginning for a military system which served him and his successors for over 400 years, during which the Sasanian Empire was, along with the Roman Empire and later the East Roman Empire, one of the two superpowers of Late Antiquity in Western Eurasia. The Sasanian army protected Eranshahr ("the realm of Iran") from the East against the incursions of central Asiatic nomads like the Hephthalites and Turks, while in the west it was engaged in a recurrent struggle against the Roman Empire.

Mushegh II Mamikonian

Mushegh II Mamikonian (Armenian: Մուշեղ Բ Մամիկոնյան) was an Armenian nobleman from the Mamikonian family. During his later life he was nominated as Marzban of Persian Armenia, ruling briefly in 591.

Roman–Persian Wars

The Roman–Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between states of the Greco-Roman world and two successive Iranian empires: the Parthian and the Sasanian. Battles between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic began in 66 BC; wars began under the late Republic, and continued through the Roman (later Byzantine) and Sasanian empires. Various vassal kingdoms and allied nomadic nations in the form of buffer states and proxies also played a role. The wars were ended by the Arab Muslim Conquests, which led to the fall of the Sasanian Empire and huge territorial losses for the Byzantine Empire, shortly after the end of the last war between them.

Although warfare between the Romans and Persians continued over seven centuries, the frontier, aside from shifts in the north, remained largely stable. A game of tug of war ensued: towns, fortifications, and provinces were continually sacked, captured, destroyed, and traded. Neither side had the logistical strength or manpower to maintain such lengthy campaigns far from their borders, and thus neither could advance too far without risking stretching its frontiers too thin. Both sides did make conquests beyond the border, but in time the balance was almost always restored. Although initially different in military tactics, the armies of both sides gradually adopted from each other and by the second half of the 6th century they were similar and evenly matched.The expense of resources during the Roman–Persian Wars ultimately proved catastrophic for both empires. The prolonged and escalating warfare of the 6th and 7th centuries left them exhausted and vulnerable in the face of the sudden emergence and expansion of the Caliphate, whose forces invaded both empires only a few years after the end of the last Roman–Persian war. Benefiting from their weakened condition, the Arab Muslim armies swiftly conquered the entire Sasanian Empire, and deprived the Eastern Roman Empire of its territories in the Levant, the Caucasus, Egypt, and the rest of North Africa. Over the following centuries, more of the Eastern Roman Empire came under Muslim rule.

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.


Tardu or Tardush Yabghu (c. 575–603) was the second yabgu of Western Half of Turkic Khaganate. He was the son of Istämi.


Bistam or Vistahm (also transliterated Wistaxm, Persian: بیستام‎), was a Parthian dynast of the Ispahbudhan house, and maternal uncle of the Sasanian shah of Persia, Khosrow II (reigned 591–628). Vistahm helped Khosrow regain his throne after the rebellion of Bahram Chobin, but later led a revolt himself, which encompassed the entire Iranian East before being suppressed.

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