Battle of Hormozdgan

The Battle of Hormozdgan was the climactic battle between the Parthian and the Sasanian Empires that took place on April 28, 224. The Sasanian victory broke the power of the Arsacid dynasty, effectively ending almost five centuries of Parthian rule in Iran, the rest of the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia.

Battle of Hormozdgan
Battle of Hormozdgan
DateApril 28, 224
Result Decisive Sasanian victory
Parthian Empire Sasanian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Artabanus V  Ardashir I
Shapur I
An army larger than Ardashir I's army[1] 10,000 cavalry[1]


The battle was the culmination of rivalry between Ardashir I son of Papak, Parthian vassal king of Pars and his overlord, Shahanshah Artabanus V of Parthia. Ardashir ascended the throne of Pars in 208 after deposing his elder brother, Shapur. He immediately started expanding his domains and quickly conquered neighboring provinces of Kerman, Isfahan, Susiana (modern Khuzestan), and Mesene (modern Maysan).[2] This expansion brought the attention of the Arscacid Great King Artabanus V (r. 216–224).

After a period of negotiation and maneuvering, war became inevitable. Ardashir moved his army into Khuzestan in the spring of 224 and took a favorable position in the field of Hormozdgan, near the modern Iranian city of Shushtar. His position allowed him to control the water supplies on the field. Artabanus moved with his army from the Arsacid capital of Ctesiphon in Mesopotamia, and had to take a less favorable position with limited access to water. What we know about the battle is based on biased Sasanian sources.[3] The two armies clashed on April 28, 224. Sasanian records indicate that the battle was over the same day.

The manpower of the two armies as well as the number of casualties are unknown. We can speculate that both commanders fielded large numbers of cavalry. We may also speculate that both armies deployed horse archers in large numbers. Yet, it is reasonable to expect that at least Ardashir had some infantry on the field. It is also highly probable that both commanders relied on the shock effect of their core force of cataphracts to break the enemy line. What we know is that some Parthian forces defected to the Sasanian side, and Artabanus was killed in the battle. Sasanian sources picture Ardashir as the victor of a hand-to-hand combat with Artabanus. Given the mode of Iranian warfare, with its emphasis on protecting the commanders at any price, this claim may be apocryphal.

Ardashir's son, prince Shapur (later Shapur I) was present on the field and based on rock relief evidence, led the Sasanian heavy cavalry.


  1. ^ a b HORMOZDGĀN, BATTLE OF, the engagement which brought Ardašir I and the Sasanian dynasty to power, 28 April 224 CE. Encyclopædia Iranica, 23 March 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2013. Archived here.
  2. ^ Morony 2005, p. 155.
  3. ^ For example in the Book of the Deeds of Ardashir son of Babak.


  • Morony, Michael G. (2005) [1984]. Iraq After The Muslim Conquest. Gorgias Press LLC. ISBN 978-1-59333-315-7.

External links

Coordinates: 32°03′00″N 48°51′00″E / 32.0500°N 48.8500°E


The 220s decade ran from January 1, 220, to December 31, 229.

== Events ==

=== 220 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

The Goths invade Asia Minor and the Balkans.

An Indian delegation visits the Roman emperor Elagabalus.

Great frost in England is said to have lasted for five months.

Imperator Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Elagabalus) and Publius Valerius Comazon become Roman consuls.

Elagabalus divorces Julia Paula and marries Aquilia Severa, a Vestal Virgin. The wedding causes an enormous controversy – traditionally, the punishment for breaking celibacy is death by being buried alive.

King Ardashir I, founder of the Sassanid dynasty, gains support from some Parthian sub-kings and revolts against the rule of Vologases VI. Ardashir, a grandson of Sasan, had ruled Persis since 208 and six years earlier gained control of the region surrounding Persepolis.

====== Asia ======

Three Kingdoms: The northern part of China is under the control of Cao Cao, Imperial Chancellor and ruler of the Kingdom of Wei. Following his death on March 15, his son Cao Pi receives the abdication of Emperor Xian of Han on December 10, and proclaims himself emperor of Cao Wei. This ends the Han dynasty, the former emperor being created Duke of Shanyang.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

The Wei dynasty will give official recognition to Taoism as its religious sect, and the sect's celestial masters will reciprocate by giving spiritual approbation to the Wei as successors to the Han. By the end of the century most powerful families in northern China will subscribe to Daoist principles.

=== 221 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

June 26 – Emperor Elagabalus adopts his cousin Alexander Severus as his heir and receives the title of Caesar.

July – Elagabalus is forced to divorce Aquilia Severa and marries his third wife Annia Faustina. After five months he returns to Severa and claims that the original divorce is invalid. The marriage is symbolic, because Elagabalus appears to be homosexual or bisexual. According to the historian Cassius Dio, he has a stable relationship with his chariot driver, the slave Hierocles.

====== Asia ======

May 15 – Liu Bei, Chinese warlord and descendant of the imperial clan of the Han dynasty, proclaims himself emperor in Chengdu, Sichuan and establishes the state of Shu Han.

=== 222 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

March 11 – Emperor Elagabalus is assassinated, along with his mother, Julia Soaemias, by the Praetorian Guard during a revolt. Their mutilated bodies are dragged through the streets of Rome before being thrown into the Tiber.

Alexander Severus succeeds Elagabalus. He is only 13 years old; his mother, Julia Avita Mamaea, governs the Roman Empire with the help of Domitius Ulpianus and a council composed of 16 senators.

====== Asia ======

Battle of Xiaoting/Yiling between the Chinese states of Shu Han and Eastern Wu

==== By topic ====

====== Commerce ======

The silver content of the Roman denarius falls to 35 percent under emperor Alexander Severus, down from 43 percent under Elagabalus.

====== Religion ======

October 14 – Pope Callixtus I is killed by a mob in Rome's Trastevere after a 5-year reign in which he has stabilized the Saturday fast three times per year, with no food, oil, or wine to be consumed on those days. Callixtus is succeeded by Cardinal Urban I.

=== 223 ===

==== By place ====

====== Asia ======

Battle of Dongkou between the Chinese states of Cao Wei and Eastern Wu

=== 224 ===

==== By place ====

====== Parthia ======

April 28 – King Ardashir I defeats Artabanus V at the Battle of Hormozdgān in Shushtar, destroying the Parthian Empire and establishing the Sassanid dynasty. Artabanus V's brother Vologases VI will continue to rule with Armenian and Kushan support over outlying parts of Parthia.

=== 225 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Alexander Severus marries Sallustia Orbiana, and possibly raises her father Seius Sallustius to the rank of caesar.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and Science ======

The first Christian paintings appear in Rome, decorating the Catacombs.

=== 226 ===

==== By place ====

====== Asia ======

A merchant from the Roman Empire called "Qin Lun" by the Chinese, arrives in Jiaozhi (modern Hanoi) and is taken to see Sun Quan, king of Eastern Wu, who requests him to make a report on his native country and people. He is given an escort for the return trip including a present of ten male and ten female "blackish-coloured dwarfs." However, the officer in charge of the Chinese escort dies and Qin Lun has to continue his journey home alone.

=== 227 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Seius Sallustius is executed for the attempted murder of his son-in-law Emperor Alexander Severus. Sallustius' daughter, as well Alexander's wife, Sallustia Orbiana, is exiled in Libya.

====== Ireland ======

The rule of High King Cormac mac Airt begins (approximate).

====== Persia ======

King Ardashir I, ruler of Persia, annexes his new empire from the east to the northwest. He conquers with his army the provinces of Chorasmia, Sistan and the island Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. The kings of the Kushan Empire and Turan recognise Ardashir as their overlord.

=== 228 ===

==== Roman Empire ====

The Praetorian Guard kill Ulpian, Praetorian prefect, who had wanted to reduce their privileges.

==== Asia ====

Shah Ardashir I, four years after establishing the Sassanid Persian Empire, completes his conquest of Parthia.

The Battle of Jieting and the Battle of Shiting are fought in China.

=== 229 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Alexander Severus and Dio Cassius are joint Consuls.

==== Asia ====

June 23 – Chinese warlord Sun Quan formally declares himself emperor of the state of Eastern Wu. The city of Jianye (modern Nanjing) is founded as the capital of Eastern Wu. The independent kingdoms in Cambodia and Laos become Eastern Wu vassals.

Eastern Wu merchants reach Vietnam; ocean transport is improved to an extent that sea journeys are made to Manchuria and the island of Taiwan.

Battle of Jianwei between the Chinese states of Shu Han and Cao Wei

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

Ammonius Saccas renews Greek philosophy by creating Neoplatonism.


Year 224 (CCXXIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Iulianus and Crispinus (or, less frequently, year 977 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 224 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.

3rd century

The 3rd century was the period from 201 to 300 A.D. or C.E.

In this century, the Roman Empire saw a crisis, starting with the assassination of the Roman Emperor Severus Alexander in 235, plunging the empire into a period of economic troubles, barbarian incursions, political upheavals, civil wars, and the split of the Roman Empire through the Gallic Empire in the west and the Palmyrene Empire in the east, which all together threatened to destroy the Roman Empire in its entirety, but the reconquests of the seceded territories by Emperor Aurelian and the stabilization period under Emperor Diocletian due to the administrative strengthening of the empire caused an end to the crisis by 284. This crisis would also mark the beginning of Late Antiquity.

In Persia, the Parthian Empire was succeeded by the Sassanid Empire in 224 after Ardashir I defeated and killed Artabanus V during the Battle of Hormozdgan. The Sassanids then went on to subjugate many of the western portions of the declining Kushan Empire.

In China, the chaos that had been raging since 189 would ultimately continue to persist with the decisive defeat of Cao Cao at the Battle of Red Cliffs in 208, which would increasingly end the hopes of unification and lead to the tripartite division of China into three main empires; Shu, Wu, and Wei, colloquially known as the Three Kingdoms period, which started in 220 with the formal abdication of Emperor Xian of Han to Cao Cao's son, Cao Pi, thereby founding Wei, which would go on to conquer Shu in 263, but would ultimately be united again under the Jin dynasty, headed by the Sima clan, who would usurp Wei in 266, and conquer Wu in 280.

In India, the Gupta Empire was on the rise towards the end of the century.

Korea was ruled by the Three Kingdoms of Korea. Japan entered the Kofun period. The Xiongnu formed the Tiefu state under Liu Qubei. The Southeast Asian mainland was mostly dominated by Funan; the first kingdom of the Khmer people (Cambodians).

At about this time in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Bantu expansion reached Southern Africa.

In Pre-Columbian America, the Adena culture of the Ohio River valley declined in favor of the Hopewell culture. The Maya civilization entered its Classic Era.


Abarshahr was a Sasanian province in Late Antiquity, that lay within the kust of Khorasan. The province bordered Media in the west, Hyrcania in the north west, Margiana in the north east, and Harev in the south east. The governor of Abarshahr is attested to have held the unique title of kanarang, distinguished from the title of marzban given to governors of frontier provinces.

April 28

April 28 is the 118th day of the year (119th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 247 days remaining until the end of the year.

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.


Margiana (Greek: Μαργιανή Margianḗ, Old Persian: Marguš, Middle Persian: Marv) is a historical region centred on the oasis of Merv and was a minor satrapy within the Achaemenid satrapy of Bactria, and a province within its successors, the Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian empires.

It was located in the valley of the Murghab River which has its sources in the mountains of Afghanistan, and passes through Murghab District in modern Afghanistan, and then reaches the oasis of Merv in modern Turkmenistan. Margiana bordered Parthia to the south-west, Aria in the south, Bactria in the east and Sogdia in the north.

Parthian Empire

The Parthian Empire (; 247 BC – 224 AD), also known as the Arsacid Empire (), was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy (province) under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia (r. c. 171–138 BC) greatly expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran. The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han Empire of China, became a center of trade and commerce.

The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it eventually saw a gradual revival of Iranian traditions. The Arsacid rulers were titled the "King of Kings", as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire; indeed, they accepted many local kings as vassals where the Achaemenids would have had centrally appointed, albeit largely autonomous, satraps. The court did appoint a small number of satraps, largely outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsacid power, the seat of central government shifted from Nisa to Ctesiphon along the Tigris (south of modern Baghdad, Iraq), although several other sites also served as capitals.

The earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Seleucids in the west and the Scythians in the east. However, as Parthia expanded westward, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia, and eventually the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with each other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate clients. The Parthians soundly defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, and in 40–39 BC, Parthian forces captured the whole of the Levant except Tyre from the Romans. However, Mark Antony led a counterattack against Parthia, although his successes were generally achieved in his absence, under the leadership of his lieutenant Ventidius. Various Roman emperors or their appointed generals invaded Mesopotamia in the course of the ensuing Roman-Parthian Wars of the next few centuries. The Romans captured the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon on multiple occasions during these conflicts, but were never able to hold on to them. Frequent civil wars between Parthian contenders to the throne proved more dangerous to the Empire's stability than foreign invasion, and Parthian power evaporated when Ardashir I, ruler of Istakhr in Persis, revolted against the Arsacids and killed their last ruler, Artabanus V, in 224 AD. Ardashir established the Sassanid Empire, which ruled Iran and much of the Near East until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century AD, although the Arsacid dynasty lived on through the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia, the Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, and the Arsacid Dynasty of Caucasian Albania; all eponymous branches of the Parthian Arsacids.

Native Parthian sources, written in Parthian, Greek and other languages, are scarce when compared to Sassanid and even earlier Achaemenid sources. Aside from scattered cuneiform tablets, fragmentary ostraca, rock inscriptions, drachma coins, and the chance survival of some parchment documents, much of Parthian history is only known through external sources. These include mainly Greek and Roman histories, but also Chinese histories, prompted by the Han Chinese desire to form alliances against the Xiongnu. Parthian artwork is viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture that are otherwise absent in textual sources.

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.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.