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Lecture 13

HIST 3180 Lecture 13: week 13
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Department
History
Course Code
HIST 3180
Professor
Thabit Abdullah

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Week 13 8th Jan ,2018
Question of Succession
Aguale that thee ae 2 “asaia Epies
Golden Age of Shapur II (end of 4th century - 379)
Classical Period of Khosrau Anushirawan
After the death of Shapur II, most of 5th century becomes fraught with tensions and constant
infighting over the succession during the transition periods
Nobles and clergy clashing most heavily
Both groups are big land-owners and thus wield large amounts of wealth and power
Differing priorities bring them to promote separate candidates
Leads to overall weakening of the position of shah
Appointment of female rulers [eg. Queen Denag (457), who had to be named an honorary man to be
legitimized] caused elite to question imperial stability
Shahs sent princes to royal cities so they could learn how to govern, or to shadow allied rulers
Sparks an upswing in princely tendencies to build independent power bases in these provinces
Provinces also attempt to assert themselves as independent states
Bahram Gor (r. 420-438)
Stuff of legends; heavily romanticized
Sent to shadow Lakhmid king as a boy, grew up with Arabs
When his father died, his eldest brother (king of Armenia) Shapur was murdered by an aristocratic
plot and put forth a rival candidate, Khusraw I
Bahram Gor, with his own independent power base, rose up with an army mostly composed of
Arabs and seized the throne
Threat from the East
Baha Go’s tie sa the poiee of the Hephthalites as a theat to the empire
Lots of speculation over them
“oe ague the’e Aa, othes Tuko-Mongol (Huns)
Livelihood nominally pastoralism (nomadic animal herding)
Mid-400s, they suddenly seemed more organized and numerous
Established strong tribal confederacy, extended power over Afghan and Pakistani territory, began to
encroach on eastern Iran
Baha’s ostat ilita itoies did othig to ste the flo, ad aids ge oe feuet ad
got deeper
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By the time of Shah Peroz (457-484) who launched three wars against the Hephthalites, all failing
miserably, those raids had gotten to the interior, and even across through to Mesopotamia
469, he and his entire harem are captured and dearly ransomed, and in 484 he is killed in battle by
Kush-Newaz Khan
Hephthalites began to demand regular tribute from the Sasanian Empire, bringing it to its lowest
point yet (according to their history)
As luck would have it, Byzantium was having the exact same problem with northern invaders
Produced a treaty between them which held for most of the century
Elite shifted propaganda of legitimacy to focus less on Achaemenids and more on nigh-mythical
Kayanids, kings of all Aryan tribes
Coinage and reliefs also undergo less of an emphasis on royal divinity
Pressing concerns over the east led to places like Armenia and Georgia more strongly asserting
independence
Took the growing followers and quick spread of Christianity as a sign
Armenian nobility still divided between Zoroastrians and Christians
Zoroastrians staring down the Nestorian church
Social Crisis
Humiliation by the Hephthalites caused the nobility to raise up an ambitious man named Kavad I
(488-531) to the throne
In addition to the above problems there was an internal social upheaval under Mazdak, likely a
rogue Zoroastrian priest
Normall Kaad ould’t hae ee the ideal adidate fo the aistoats, ut the eeded a gu
who was ambitious and had the drive to get it done
Another recurring problem is the movement of Zoroastrianism towards orthodoxy causing disquiet
amongst social outliers and lower classes
These favored more mystical, intuitive doctrine, almost a customary sense of religion
Mazdak did’t hallege dualis, ut the foatio of the piesthood
Argued that the religious person acted rightly in his/her life rather than follow a complicated set of
rituals correctly
Clergy weaponized rituals and observances against the poor, in fact it was the reason that people
were poor and were kept impoverished
Proposed social revolution through proto-Communism, more socialistic terms
Won great support from peasantry
Most sources against him were thus incredibly hostile
Championed the poor, used language of class struggle
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Description
th Week 13 8 Jan ,2018 Question of Succession Arguable that there are 2 Sasanian Empires Golden Age of Shapur II (end of 4th century 379) Classical Period of Khosrau Anushirawan After the death of Shapur II, most of 5th century becomes fraught with tensions and constant infighting over the succession during the transition periods Nobles and clergy clashing most heavily Both groups are big landowners and thus wield large amounts of wealth and power Differing priorities bring them to promote separate candidates Leads to overall weakening of the position of shah Appointment of female rulers [eg. Queen Denag (457), who had to be named an honorary man to be legitimized] caused elite to question imperial stability Shahs sent princes to royal cities so they could learn how to govern, or to shadow allied rulers Sparks an upswing in princely tendencies to build independent power bases in these provinces Provinces also attempt to assert themselves as independent states Bahram Gor (r. 420438) Stuff of legends; heavily romanticized Sent to shadow Lakhmid king as a boy, grew up with Arabs When his father died, his eldest brother (king of Armenia) Shapur was murdered by an aristocratic plot and put forth a rival candidate, Khusraw I Bahram Gor, with his own independent power base, rose up with an army mostly composed of Arabs and seized the throne Threat from the East Bahram Gors time saw the prominence of the Hephthalites as a threat to the empire Lots of speculation over them Some argue theyre Aryan, others TurkoMongol (Huns) Livelihood nominally pastoralism (nomadic animal herding) Mid400s, they suddenly seemed more organized and numerous Established strong tribal confederacy, extended power over Afghan and Pakistani territory, began to encroach on eastern Iran Bahrams constant military victories did nothing to stem the flow, and raids grew more frequent and got deeper
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