Ardashir I

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Ardashir I

Ardashir I (ärdäshērˈ) [another form of Artaxerxes], d. 240, king of Persia (226?–240). He overthrew the last Parthian king, Artabanus IV, entered Ctesiphon, and reunited Persia out of the confusion of Seleucid decline. He established the strong Sassanid, or Sassanian, dynasty and reconquered the old eastern territories. Ardashir established Zoroastrianism as the state religion and gave much power to the priestly caste. His move against Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Cappadocia caused the Roman emperor Alexander Severus to campaign against him. A great battle in 232 cost both armies heavy losses. It was Alexander who had to retire, and though Alexander celebrated a triumph in Rome, Ardashir took Armenia, and Persian power was firmly established. He is sometimes called Ardashir Papakan, for his father, Papak. Shapur I succeeded him.
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Ardashir I

 

(Artashir Papakan). Born circa 180; died Aug. 22, 239 (according to different data, 241). Founder and first king of the Iranian Sassanid dynasty.

Sasan, the grandfather of Ardashir I, was evidently a priest in the chief temple at Istakhr, the capital of Fars (Persis). Ardashir served the administrator of Darabgird (a fortress in Fars), who was a vassal of the Parthian king Artabanus V (209–224). Around the year 200, Ardashir became ruler of this fortress, and he soon brought under his power all of Fars, Kerman, and Gayy (modern Isfahan). Supported by the aristocracy and the priesthood, Ardashir then proceeded against Artabanus V. On April 28, 224, he inflicted a decisive defeat on Artabanus at the Plain of Hormizdagan, and after this battle the Parthian kingdom ceased to exist. Ardashir was crowned with the title Shah in-Shah (“king of kings”) in 226/227. His struggle with Rome over Mesopotamia and Armenia, as well as the wars which he waged in the east, led to a considerable enlargement of the territory controlled by the Sassanid state.

V. A. LIVSHITS

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.