Saturday, April 08, 2006

SAPTA SANDHU:Zoroastrians in Punjab

1: Sassanian clibanarius, 7th C. AD2: Sassanian standard bearer
Under Shahpour I's brilliant leadership the Sassanian army gave much of its attention to winning back the cities of Syria that had fallen to Rome during the Parthian Era.
Sassanian forces were described by Ammianus Marcellinus, a 4th century historian with the Roman Army as ".. clad in iron, with all parts of their body covered, including their heads."
Shahpour's campaigns culminated in the capture of Valerian the Roman Emperor in AD 259 at Edessa defeating a force of 70,000.
Upon his return from the Syrian campaign, Shahpour set building himself a city known as Bishapur (the beautiful city of shahpour). Roman Ghirshman the French archaeologist described it as the Sassanian Versailles believed to have had about 80000 inhabitants.

The Sassanians: considered themselves as heirs of the Achaemenids, revived old values and practices, in particular supremacy in world affairs. Ardeshir I initiated and Shahpour I consolidated a vast empire stretching from the Indian Punjab to the east of Capadocia in Anatolia.
Bahram II is reputed to have seized the Throne by political intrigues, led by the chief priest Kerdir and the nobles. Court intrigues and a series of military defeats weakened the sassanian position. It was Khosrow I ( Anoushirvan ) and also Khosrow II who revitalized the Empire. Khosrow II came close to achieving the Sassanian dream of restoring the Achaemenid boundaries when Jerusalem fell to him and constantinople was under his siege. The two Khosrows are well celebrated as great heroes in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh. Khosrow I was renowned for his military and diplomatic skills and is reputed as the "Just" Anoushirvan Adel. During his time the game of chess had been brought to his court from India, his chief minister Buzarjomehr is reputed to have invented backgammon. The splendour of Khosrow's palace at Cetesiphon ( Tag-i Kasra ) is legendary.


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