|"King of Kings of Iranians and non-Iranians|
|Reign||12 April 240 – May 270|
|Died||May 270/72 (aged 55–57)
|"House||"House of Sasan|
Shapur I ("Middle Persian: 𐭱𐭧𐭯𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭩; "New Persian: شاپور), also known as Shapur I the Great, was the second "shahanshah (king of kings) of the "Sasanian Empire. The dates of his reign are commonly given as 240/42 – 270/72, but it is likely that he also reigned as co-regent (together with his father) prior to his father's death in 242 (more probably than 240).
Shapur I's rule was marked by successful military and political struggles in the northeastern regions and the "Caucasus, and two wars with the "Roman Empire during the second of which he captured the Roman "Emperor Valerian and his entire army at the "Battle of Edessa. His support for "Zoroastrianism caused a rise in the position of the clergy, and his religious tolerance accelerated the spread of "Manichaeanism and "Christianity in Persia. He is also noted in the "Jewish tradition.
The name Shapur is a combination of the word šāh (king) and pūr (son), thus literally meaning the “son of king”. The name is derived from "Old Iranian *xšāyaθiyahyā-puθra-. The name is attested in "Manichaean sources as Shabuhr, while it is attested in "Latin sources as Sapores and Sapor, which Shapur is also known by in modern sources.
Shapur was the son of "Ardashir I (r. 224–242 [died 242]), the founder of the Sasanian dynasty and whom Shapur succeeded. His mother was Lady Myrōd, who, according to legend, was an "Arsacid princess. The "Talmud cites a nickname for her, "Ifra Hurmiz", after her bewitching beauty. Shapur also had a brother named Ardashir, who would later serve as governor of "Kirman. Shapur may have also had another brother with the same name, who served as governor of "Adiabene.
Shapur accompanied his father's campaigns against the Parthians, who still controlled much of the "Iranian plateau through a system of vassal states, in which the "Persian kingdom had itself previously been a part. Before an assembly of magnates, Ardashir "judged him the gentlest, wisest, bravest and ablest of all his children" and nominated him as his successor. Shapur also appears as heir apparent in Ardashir's investiture inscriptions at "Naqsh-e Rajab and his capital, "Gor.
The Iranian historian "Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari observed of Shapur before his ascension to the Sasanian throne:, "The Iranians had well-tried Shapur already before his accession and while his father still lived on account of his intelligence, understanding and learning as well as his outstanding boldness, oratory, logic, affection for the subject of people and kindheartedness."
The "Cologne Mani-Codex indicates that, by 240, Ardashir and Shapur were already reigning together. In a letter from the Roman Emperor "Gordian III to his senate, dated to 242, the "Persian Kings" are referred to in the plural. Synarchy is also evident in the coins of this period that portray Ardashir facing his youthful son and bear a legend that indicates Shapur as king.
The date of Shapur's coronation remains debated: 240 is frequently noted, but Ardashir lived probably until 242. The year 240 also marks the seizure and subsequent destruction of "Hatra, about 100 km southwest of "Nineveh and "Mosul in present-day "Iraq. According to legend, al-Nadirah, the daughter of the king of Hatra, betrayed her city to the Sasanians, who then killed the king and had the city razed. (Legends also have Shapur either marrying al-Nadirah, or having her killed, or both.)
Ardashir I had, towards the end of his reign, renewed the war against the "Roman Empire. Shapur I conquered the "Mesopotamian fortresses "Nisibis and "Carrhae and advanced into "Syria. In 242, the Roman emperor "Gordian III set out against the Sasanians with “a huge army and great quantity of gold,” (according to a Sasanian rock relief) and wintered in "Antioch, while Shapur was busy in subduing "Khwarezm and "Gilan. There Gordian fought against the Sasanians and won repeated battles, and recaptured Carrhae and Nisibis, and at last routed a Sasanian army at Resaena, forcing Shapur to restore all occupied cities unharmed to their citizens. “We have penetrated as far as Nisibis, and shall even get to "Ctesiphon,” he wrote to the Senate.
Gordian III later invaded eastern Mesopotamia but faced tough resistance from the Sasanians; following this blockade Gordian died in battle and the Romans chose "Philip the Arab as Emperor. Philip was not willing to repeat the mistakes of previous claimants, and was aware that he had to return to "Rome in order to secure his position with the Senate. Philip concluded a peace with the Sasanians in 244; he had agreed that Armenia lay within Persia’s sphere of influence. He also had to pay an enormous indemnity to the Persians of 500,000 gold denarii. Philip immediately issued coins proclaiming that he had made peace with the Persians (pax fundata cum Persis). However, Philip later broke the treaty and seized lost territory.
Shapur I commemorated this victory on several rock reliefs in "Pars.
Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia in 250 but serious trouble arose in "Khorasan and Shapur I had to march over there and settle its affair. Having settled the affair in Khorasan he resumed the invasion of Roman territories, and later annihilated a Roman force of 60,000 at the "Battle of Barbalissos. He then burned and ravaged the Roman province of "Syria and all its dependencies.
Shapur I then reconquered "Armenia, and incited "Anak the Parthian to murder the king of Armenia, "Khosrov II. Anak did as Shapur asked, and had Khosrov murdered in 252; yet Anak himself was shortly thereafter murdered by Armenian nobles. Shapur then appointed his son "Hormizd I as the “Great King of Armenia”. With Armenia subjugated, "Georgia submitted to the Sasanian Empire and fell under the supervision of a Sasanian official. With Georgia and Armenia under control, the Sasanians' borders on the north were thus secured.
During Shapur's invasion of "Syria he captured important Roman cities like "Antioch. The Emperor "Valerian (253–260) marched against him and by 257 Valerian had recovered Antioch and returned the province of Syria to Roman control. The speedy retreat of Shapur's troops caused Valerian to pursue the Persians to "Edessa, but they were defeated by the Persians, and Valerian, along with the Roman army that was left, was captured by Shapur and sent away into Pars. Shapur then advanced into "Asia Minor and managed to capture "Caesarea, deporting 400,000 of its citizens to the southern Sasanian provinces.["citation needed]
The victory over Valerian is presented in a mural at "Naqsh-e Rustam, where Shapur is represented on horseback wearing royal armour and a crown. Before him kneels a man in Roman dress, asking for grace. The same scene is repeated in other rock-face inscriptions. Shapur is said to have publicly shamed Valerian by using the Roman Emperor as a footstool when mounting his horse. Other sources contradict this and note that in other stone carvings Valerian is respected and never on his knees. This is supported by reports that Valerian and some of his army lived in relatively good conditions in the city of "Bishapur and that Shapur utilized the assistance of Roman engineers in his engineering and development plans.
However, the Persian forces were later defeated by "Balista and "Septimius Odenathus, who captured the royal harem. Shapur plundered the eastern borders of Syria and returned to Ctesiphon, probably in late 260. In 264 Septimius Odenathus reached Ctesiphon, but was defeated by Shapur I.
Shapur is mentioned many times in the "Talmud, in which he is referred to in "Jewish Aramaic as Shabur Malka (שבור מלכא), meaning "King Shabur". He had good relations with the Jewish community and was a friend of "Shmuel, one of the most famous of the "Babylonian "Amoraim, the Talmudic sages from among the important Jewish communities of "Mesopotamia.
Shapur's campaigns deprived the Roman Empire of resources while restoring and substantially enriching his own treasury, by "deporting many Romans from conquered cities to Sasanian provinces like "Khuzestan, "Asuristan, and "Pars. This influx of deported artisans and skilled workers revitalized Persia’s domestic commerce.
In "Bishapur, Shapur died of an illness. His death came in May 270 and he was succeeded by his son, "Hormizd I. Two of his other sons, "Bahram I and "Narseh, would also become kings of the Sasanian Empire; while another son, "Shapur Mishanshah, who died before Shapur, sired children who would hold exalted positions within the empire.
Under Shapur, the Sasanian court, including its territories, were much larger than that of his father. Several governors and vassal-kings are mentioned in his inscriptions; Ardashir, governor of "Qom; Varzin, governor of "Spahan; Tiyanik, governor of "Hamadan; Ardashir, governor of Neriz; Narseh, governor of Rind; Friyek, governor of "Gundishapur; Rastak, governor of "Veh-Ardashir; "Amazasp III, king of "Iberia. Under Shapur several of his relatives and sons served as governor of Sasanian provinces; "Bahram I, governor of "Gilan; "Narseh, governor of "Sindh, "Sakastan and "Turan; Ardashir, governor of "Kirman; "Hormizd I, governor of "Armenia; "Shapur Mishanshah, governor of "Maishan; Ardashir, governor of "Adiabene.
Several names of Shapur's officials are carved on his inscription at "Naqsh-e Rustam. Many of these were the offspring's of the officials who served Shapur's father. During the reign of Shapur, a certain Papak served as the commander of the royal guard ("hazarbed), while Peroz served as the chief of the cavalry ("aspbed); Vahunam and Shapur served as the director of the clergy; Kirdisro served as viceroy of the Empire (bidakhsh); Vardbad served as the “chief of services”; Hormizd served as the chief scribe; Naduk served as “the chief of the prison”; Papak served as the “gate keeper”; Mihrkhwast served as the treasurer; Shapur served as the commander of the army; Arshtat Mihran served as the secretary; Zik served as the “master of ceremonies”.
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Shapur I left other reliefs and rock inscriptions. A relief at "Naqsh-e Rajab near "Estakhr is accompanied by a Greek translation. Here Shapur I calls himself "the Mazdayasnian (worshipper of "Ahuramazda), the divine Shapur, King of Kings of the "Iranians, and non-Iranians, of divine descent, son of the Mazdayasnian, the divine "Ardashir, King of Kings of the Aryans, grandson of the divine king "Papak." Another long inscription at Estakhr mentions the King's exploits in archery in the presence of his nobles.
From his titles we learn that Shapur I claimed sovereignty over the whole earth, although in reality his domain extended little farther than that of Ardashir I. Shapur I built the great town "Gundishapur near the old Achaemenid capital "Susa, and increased the fertility of the district with a dam and irrigation system — built by Roman prisoners — that redirected part of the "Karun River. The barrier is still called "Band-e Kaisar, "the mole of the Caesar." He is also responsible for building the city of "Bishapur, with the labours of Roman soldiers captured after the defeat of Valerian in 260. Shapur also built a town named "Pushang in "Khorasan.
|“||For the reason, therefore, that the gods have so made us their instrument, and that by the help of the gods we have sought out for ourselves, and hold, all these nations for that reason we have also founded, province by province, many Varahrān "fires, and we have dealt piously with many Magi, and we have made great worship of the gods.||”|
Shapur also wanted to add other writings to the "Avesta, the holy book of Zoroastrianism, which included non-religious writings from "Europe and "India, about medicine, astronomy, philosophy and more.
The religious phenomenon shown by Shapur, shows that under his reign, the Zoroastrian clergy began to rise, as evidenced by the "Mobed "Kartir, who claims, in an inscription, that he took advantage of the conquests of Shapur to promote Zoroastrianism. Even though Kartir was part of the court of Shapur, the power of the clergy was limited, and only began to expand during the reign of "Bahram I.
Shapur, who was never under the control of the clergy, appears as a particularly tolerant ruler, ensuring the best reception for representatives of all religions in his empire. Jewish sources have preserved him as a benevolent ruler that gave audiences to the leaders of their community. Later Greeks accounts writes about Shapur's invasion of Syria, where he destroyed everything except important religious sanctuaries of the cities. He also gave the Christians of his empire religious freedom, and allowed them to build churches without needing agreement from the Sasanian court.
During the reign of Shapur, "Manichaeism, a new religion was founded by the Iranian prophet "Mani, flourished. Mani was treated well by Shapur, and in 242, the prophet joined the Sasanian court, where he tried to convert Shapur by dedicating his only work written in "Middle Persian, known as the "Shabuhragan. Shapur, however, did not convert to Manichaeanism and remained a Zoroastrian.
Shapur appears in "Harry Sidebottom's historical fiction novel series as one of the enemies of the series protagonist Marcus Clodius Ballista, career soldier in a third-century Roman army.
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|"King of kings of "Iran and "Aniran"