Dastagird

Dastagird (also spelled as Dastgerd, Dastigird and Daskara), was an ancient Sasanian city in present-day Iraq, and was close to its capital, Ctesiphon.

Originally known as Artemita, the city was rebuilt and renamed by king Hormizd I (r. 270-271). During the reign of king Khosrow I (r. 531-579), the city greatly expanded and had its own court, palace and fortress. During this period, the city also got a secondary name, Khosrow-shad-Kavadh. During the reign of the latter's grandson, Khosrow II (r. 590-628), Dastagird became a royal residence of the Sasanians. In 628, Dastagird was sacked by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. After that, the city completely disappears from sources.

Southwestern part of the Sasanian Empire
Map of the southwestern part of the Sasanian Empire.

Sources

  • Fisher, William Bayne; Yarshater, Ehsan (1983). The Cambridge History of Iran: The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian periods. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-24693-4.
  • 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.
  • Howard-Johnston, James (2010). "ḴOSROW II". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  • Kaegi, Walter Emil (2003), Heraclius: Emperor of Byzantium, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-81459-6.
Battle of Nineveh (627)

The Battle of Nineveh (Greek: Ἡ μάχη τῆς Νινευί) was the climactic battle of the Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602–628. The Byzantine victory later resulted in civil war in Persia and for a period of time restored the (Eastern) Roman Empire to its ancient boundaries in the Middle East. This resurgence of power and prestige was not to last, as within a matter of a few years, the

Arab Caliphate emerged and the empire was once again brought to the brink of destruction.

Byzantine Empire under the Heraclian dynasty

The Byzantine Empire was ruled by emperors of the dynasty of Heraclius between 610 and 711. The Heraclians presided over a period of cataclysmic events that were a watershed in the history of the Empire and the world in general.

At the beginning of the dynasty, the Empire was still recognizable as the Eastern Roman Empire, dominating the Mediterranean and harbouring a prosperous Late Antique urban civilization. This world was shattered by successive invasions, which resulted in extensive territorial losses, financial collapse and plagues that depopulated the cities, while religious controversies and rebellions further weakened the Empire.

By the dynasty's end, a very different state had emerged: medieval Byzantium, a chiefly agrarian, military-dominated society that was engaged in a lengthy struggle with the Muslim Caliphate. However, this state was also far more homogeneous, being reduced to its mostly Greek-speaking and firmly Chalcedonian core territories, which enabled it to weather these storms and enter a period of stability under the successor Isaurian Dynasty.

The Heraclian dynasty was named after the general Heraclius the Younger, who, in 610, sailed from Carthage, overthrew the usurper Phocas, and was crowned Emperor. At the time, the Empire was embroiled in a war with the Sassanid Persian Empire, which in the next decade conquered the Empire's eastern provinces.

After a long and exhausting struggle, Heraclius managed to defeat the Persians and restore the Empire, only to lose these provinces again shortly after to the sudden eruption of the Muslim conquests. His successors struggled to contain the Arab tide. The Levant and North Africa were lost, while in 674–678, a large Arab army besieged Constantinople itself.

Nevertheless, the state survived and the establishment of the Theme system allowed the imperial heartland of Asia Minor to be retained. Under Justinian II and Tiberios III the imperial frontier in the East was stabilized, although incursions continued on both sides.

The latter 7th century also saw the first conflicts with the Bulgars and the establishment of a Bulgarian state in formerly Byzantine lands south of the Danube, which would be the Empire's chief antagonist in the West until the 11th century.

Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628

The Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 was the final and most devastating of the series of wars fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Sasanian Empire of Iran. The previous war between the two powers had ended in 591 after Emperor Maurice helped the Sasanian king Khosrow II regain his throne. In 602 Maurice was murdered by his political rival Phocas. Khosrow proceeded to declare war, ostensibly to avenge the death of Maurice. This became a decades-long conflict, the longest war in the series, and was fought throughout the Middle East: in Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia, the Caucasus, Anatolia, Armenia, the Aegean Sea and before the walls of Constantinople itself.

While the Persians proved largely successful during the first stage of the war from 602 to 622, conquering much of the Levant, Egypt, several islands in the Aegean Sea and parts of Anatolia, the ascendancy of emperor Heraclius in 610 led, despite initial setbacks, to a status quo ante bellum. Heraclius' campaigns in Iranian lands from 622 to 626 forced the Persians onto the defensive, allowing his forces to regain momentum. Allied with the Avars and Slavs, the Persians made a final attempt to take Constantinople in 626, but were defeated there. In 627 Heraclius invaded the heartland of Persia. A civil war broke out in Persia, during which the Persians killed their king, and sued for peace.

By the end of the conflict, both sides had exhausted their human and material resources and achieved very little. Consequently, they were vulnerable to the sudden emergence of the Islamic Rashidun Caliphate, whose forces invaded both empires only a few years after the war. The Muslim forces swiftly conquered the entire Sasanian Empire and deprived the Byzantine Empire of its territories in the Levant, the Caucasus, Egypt, and North Africa. Over the following centuries, much of what remained of the Byzantine Empire, and the entire Sasanian Empire, would come under Muslim rule.

Byzantine–Sasanian wars

The Byzantine–Sasanian wars, also known as the Irano-Byzantine wars refers to a series of conflicts between the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and the Sassanian Empire of Persia. A continuation of the Roman–Persian Wars, the conflict involved several smaller campaigns and peace treaties lasting for years at a time.

Dioceses of the Church of the East to 1318

At the height of its power, in the 10th century AD, the dioceses of the Church of the East numbered well over a hundred and stretched from Egypt to China. These dioceses were organised into six interior provinces in Mesopotamia, in the Church's Iraqi heartland, and a dozen or more second-rank exterior provinces. Most of the exterior provinces were located in Iran, Central Asia, India and China, testifying to the Church's remarkable eastern expansion in the Middle Ages. A number of East Syriac dioceses were also established in the towns of the eastern Mediterranean, in Palestine, Syria, Cilicia and Egypt.

Heraclius

Heraclius (Latin: Flavius Heracles Augustus, Greek: Φλάβιος Ἡράκλειος, Flavios Iraklios; c. 575 – February 11, 641) was the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 610 to 641. He was responsible for introducing Greek as the Byzantine Empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.

Heraclius's reign was marked by several military campaigns. The year Heraclius came to power, the empire was threatened on multiple frontiers. Heraclius immediately took charge of the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628. The first battles of the campaign ended in defeat for the Byzantines; the Persian army fought their way to the Bosphorus but Constantinople was protected by impenetrable walls and a strong navy, and Heraclius was able to avoid total defeat. Soon after, he initiated reforms to rebuild and strengthen the military. Heraclius drove the Persians out of Asia Minor and pushed deep into their territory, defeating them decisively in 627 at the Battle of Nineveh. The Persian king Khosrow II was overthrown and executed by his son Kavadh II, who soon sued for a peace treaty, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territory. This way peaceful relations were restored to the two deeply strained empires.

Heraclius soon experienced a new event, the Muslim conquests. Emerging from the Arabian Peninsula, the Muslims quickly conquered the Sasanian Empire. In 634 the Muslims marched into Roman Syria, defeating Heraclius's brother Theodore. Within a short period of time, the Arabs conquered Mesopotamia, Armenia and Egypt.

Heraclius entered diplomatic relations with the Croats and Serbs in the Balkans. He tried to repair the schism in the Christian church in regard to the Monophysites, by promoting a compromise doctrine called Monothelitism. The Church of the East (commonly called Nestorian) was also involved in the process. Eventually this project of unity was rejected by all sides of the dispute.

Hormizd I

Hormizd-Ardashir, better known by his dynastic name of Hormizd I (Persian: هرمز یکم‎), was the third shahanshah (king of kings) of the Sasanian Empire from May 270 to June 271. He was the youngest son of Shapur I (240–270/72), under whom he was governor of Armenia, and appears in his wars against Rome (Historia Augusta, Trig. Tyr. 2, where Nöldeke has corrected the name Odomastes into Oromastes, i.e. Hormizd).

Khosrow II

Khosrow II (Chosroes II in classical sources; Middle Persian: Husrō(y)), entitled "Aparvēz" ("The Victorious"), also Khusraw Parvēz (New Persian: خسرو پرویز), was the last great king of the Sasanian Empire, reigning from 590 to 628.He was the son of Hormizd IV (reigned 579–590) and the grandson of Khosrow I (reigned 531–579). Khosrow II was the last king of Persia to have a lengthy reign before the Muslim conquest of Iran, which began five years after his death by execution. He lost his throne, then recovered it with Roman help, and, a decade later, went on to emulate the feats of the Achaemenids, conquering the rich Roman provinces of the Middle East; much of his reign was spent in wars with the Byzantine Empire and struggling against usurpers such as Bahram Chobin and Vistahm.

During the climactic Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, Khosrow expanded deep into western Asia Minor, eventually besieging the Byzantine capital of Constantinople in 626 alongside Avar and Slavic allies. Following the failure of the siege, Heraclius started a counterattack, undoing all territorial gains by Khosrow in the Levant, most of Anatolia, the western Caucasus, and Egypt, eventually marching into the Sassanian capital of Ctesiphon. The Byzantines also regained the True Cross, which Khosrow had captured following his conquest of the Levant during the same 602–628 war.

In works of Persian literature such as the Shahnameh and Khosrow and Shirin, a famous tragic romance by Nizami Ganjavi (1141–1209), a highly elaborated fictional version of Khosrow's life made him one of the greatest heroes of the culture, as much as a lover as a king. Khosrow and Shirin tells the story of his love for the Aramean or Roman princess Shirin, who becomes his queen after a lengthy courtship strewn with mishaps and difficulties.

Khurasan Road

The (Great) Khurasan Road was the great trunk road connecting Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, with the northeastern province of Khurasan and thence to Central Asia and China.

Patriarchal Province of Seleucia-Ctesiphon

The Patriarchal Province of Seleucia-Ctesiphon was an ecclesiastical province of the Church of the East, with see in Seleucia-Ctesiphon. It was attested between the fifth and thirteenth centuries. As its name entails, it was the province of the church's Patriarch. The province consisted of a number of dioceses in the region of Beth Aramaye, between Basra and Kirkuk, which were placed under the patriarch's direct supervision at the synod of Yahballaha I in 420.

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.

Yusif Mammadov

Yusif Mammadov (born 24 January 1950) is an Azerbaijani academic.

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