Sunday Times

Sasanian dynasty brought to its knees


February 25 628AD — Khosrow II, king (shah) of the Sasanian Empire (Iran), is overthrown by his son Kavad II. Khosrow, known as Khosrow Parviz (Khosrow the Victorious), ruled in 590 and again from 591. Kavad has all his brothers and half-brothers, “well-educated, valiant and chivalrous men”, executed. This has been described as a “mad rampage” and “reckless”, stripping the Sasanian dynasty of a future competent ruler. On February 28 he orders Mihr Hormozd to execute Khosrow (picture: an illustrati­on of his arrest), the last king of Iran to have a lengthy reign before the Muslim conquest of Iran, which begins five years after his execution. Kavad then has Mihr Hormozd killed. Kavad dies within months of a devastatin­g plague that kills at least a third, perhaps even half, of Iran’s population. He is succeeded by his son Ardashir III, 7, on September 6 628. Ardashir is killed on April 27 630 by Shahrbaraz, who usurps the throne and is killed by Iranian nobles after 40 days.

Other short-lived reigns follow. Things stabilise somewhat under Yazdegerd III, Khosrow II’s grandson, who rules from 632 until 651, when the empire is overthrown by the Arab Muslims. Yazdegerd, 27, seeks refuge at a miller near Marw, who murders him. That ends the Sasanian Empire, the second longest-lived Persian imperial dynasty after the Arsacids of the Parthian Empire. Dynasties come and go until the Pahlavi dynasty, rulers of the Imperial State of Persia/Iran from December 15 1925, falls during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

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