Pictorial History of Iranian Military Uniforms
Book in 23 Chapters
Chapter 13. Sassanian 3
February 23, 2012
Sassanian Persian 3 Moons and Sun Disk Standard Bearer Cavalryman
Sun represents Mitra the Ancient Persian Sun Goddess
Sassanid Dynasty (224 AD - 651 AD)
Sassanian Persian Wild Boar Standard Bearer Armored Cavalryman
Carrying a Moon Top Wild Boar Triangle Banner
In Zoroastrian Philosophy, Boar was a sign of Good Omen for Victorious Battles.
Sassanian Persian Wolf on Moon Sun Standard Bearer Armored Cavalryman
The Wolf Banner on the Mitra Moon Sun pole Standard
Sassanian Persian Ram Standard Bearer Armored Cavalryman
Late Sassanian Period of Chaos
L – R: Sassanian Mobade Mobadan holding Derafsh Kaviani, General Shahrboraz and Princess Purandokht Sassanid 7 AD
From 628 (end of Khosrow Parviz reign) to 651 (death of Yazdgird III) in 23 years about 13 monarchs have reigned Iran. Some were usurpers from the Persian aristocracy or military generals who seized power by force and others were from the Sassanid Dynasty chosen to rule. This period is known as the “Late Sassanian Period of Chaos”.
* Mobade Mobadan = National Chief Priest
Mobade Mobadan is carrying the Golden Eagle Top Derafsh Kaviani. This Mobade Mobadan was a warrior priest.
Eran Spahbod Shahrboraz
* Eran Spahbod Shahrboraz = Shahrboraz the Usurper (630) was primarily the Commander in Chief of the Persian Army during Khosrow Parviz (591 – 628). His name was Farokhan and his title was Shahrboraz (Boar of the City or Boar of the Nation). Amongst Shahrboraz’ achievements were the capture of Damascus (613) and Jerusalem (614) from the Romans (Byzantines) where the Holy Cross (True Cross) was carried out by the Persian Troops. Jerusalem and basically Israel was annexed from Byzantine and had become a state of Iran.
Once Heraclius the Roman Emperor had started his Persian campaign (622), Shahrboraz and his army stayed aside neutral (due to the suspicion and conflict spread between Khosrow Parviz and Shahrboraz by the Roman’s treachery). Heraclius have completely defeated Khosrow Parviz (628)
Return of the True Cross to Rome
After Khosrow Parviz, the Sassanian nobles chosen Qobad II (Shiruye) as Shah and Qobad asked Heraclius to protect his son Ardashir III (628 - 630) to become the next Shah (because Qobad was sick). In returns Qobad sent the True Cross back to Rome. Heraclius will always be remembered by the Church as the Roman Emperor who returned the True Cross to Rome. Heraclius had become a Roman national hero.
On 630, Shahrboraz still suspicious of the Sassanid Dynasty, murdered Ardeshir III and then crowned and throned himself as the Shah. What goes around, comes around and down the road Sassanian noblemen killed Shahrboraz. Niktas son of Shahrboraz escaped to Byzantine and had become one of Byzantine’s commanders during the invasion of Arabo-Muslims to Byzantine.
* Purandokht Sassanid = Purandokht the Empress (630 - 631) was one of the 3 daughters of Khosrow Parviz. Her sister Azarmidokht (631 - 632) had later on become the empress and her other sister was Turandokht. Shahbanu Purandokht attempted to stabilize Iran but by then it was too late. She made a peace treaty with Byzantine, lowered taxes, changed judicial infrastructure and minted some new coins but it was all too little and too late, by then Iran was already in chaos.
Over 60 years of Roman-Persian Wars had exhausted Iran. 631 marked the end of Purandokht’s reign and on 635 the Arabo-Muslim Invasion of the Persian Empire had officially started. After 16 long years of battle (635 – 651), the glorious Persian Empire went officially under the slavery of Islam and under the boots of Arabs.
Arabs refer to Purandokht as Boran
Arabs cannot pronounce and they do not have the 4 Persian letters of “P, Ch, Zh and G”.
P like Persepolis (town)
Ch like Chang (harp)
Zh like Zhaleh (name)
G like Gohar (jewel)
Arabs do not have these sounds or fonts.
They can't pronounce P, so they say: Bersian (Persian)
They can't pronounce Ch, so they say: Jangiz (Changiz = Genghiz Khan)
They can't pronounce Zh, so they say: Jaleh (Zhaleh = Female Name)
They can't pronounce G, so they say: Qolab (Golab = Rose-Water)
So Arabs do not have “P” in their alphabet and cannot pronounce “P” or “Purandokht”; therefore, the Arabs started calling her “Burandokht”, then “Buran” and finally “Boran”. After the burning of the Persian Libraries and books, Arabs started to write their own revised version of history and they started referring to Purandokht as Boran. This is why until today; she is mistakenly referred in the history as “Boran” or “Princess Boran”.
Yazdgird III Sassanid (632 - 651)
Yazdgird III (632 - 651)
Yazdgird III was the last Shahanshah of Sassanid
Yazdgird (Made by God) was Khosrow Parvizes grandson. Yazdgird gained the control of Ctesiphone and become Shah on the worst time possible. Since 628 (end of Khosrow Parviz reign) Iran was in shambles and technically we refer to this era as the “Late Sassanian Period of Chaos”. The best ace in Yazdgird’s pocket was that Rostam Farokhzad and his fraction were on his side and joined him to save Iran.
Yazdgird III was destined to save Iran from the internal chaos and external threat. Primarily he took control of the capital (Ctesiphone) and then made a pact with Heraclius Emperor of Rome to form harmonization in fighting the Arabs in Mesopotamia and South Western Asia.
Following the fall of Ctesiphone in to Arab’s hands, Yazdgird fled to fight another day. He fled to Ecbatana (Satrap of Media) and then to North East and city of Marv (Merv) to make alliances, gather fresh troops, reinforce and to continue the struggle against the Arabs.
Marv (Merv in today’s Turkmenistan) was a city (district capital) of the Marv Istan (district) of Marv Farmandari (Province) of the Ariana Satrap [State of Greater Khorasan (Khorasan of Iran, Turkmenistan and Western Afghanistan)] of the Persian Empire.
Satrap = State (Today’s Ostan)
Satrapi = Governor (Today’s Ostandar)
Farmandari = Province (Today’s Farmandari)
Farmanban = Province Administrator (Today’s Farmandar)
Istan = District (Today’s Bakhsh)
Istandar = District Administrator (Today’s Bakhshdar)
Also distinguish the difference between:
Farmanban = Province Administrator (Today’s Farmandar)
Farmandar = State Military Battlefield Commander
Mahuy Suri was Farmanban (Province Administrator) of Marv. Many mistakenly refer to him as Governor of Marv (Satrapi of Marv). This is incorrect because Marv was not a Satrap (State) to have a Satrapi (Governor). So Mahuy Suri was Farmanban of Marv.
In Marv due to a plot, treachery and treason by Mahuy Suri the Farmanban of Marv (Province Administrator of Marv) Yazdgird was killed, but Farmanban of Marv have sugar coated the murder by creating a story that a Wind Miller had killed Yazdgird for his clothes and bag of jewelry on his horse. The bag of jewelry was for financing a new campaign against the Arabs and it is true that Yazdgird brought this bag from Ctesiphone but the rest of the tale is a myth created by a traitor to cover up his murder.
Yazdgird III Death, the Real Story
The reality is that Farmanban of Marv sold out Yazdgird’s life to the Arabs to kiss up to them so they would grant him to keep his Farmandari (Province) and remain in their service. In addition Arabs had made it clear that they would pay high rewards to the murderer of Yazdgird III. Farmanban of Marv preferred to become an Arab Servant rather than joining Yazdgird in the struggle to save Iran. Traitors are dime a dozen.
Mahuy Suri ordered a Wind Miller servant to lure Yazdgird III to his mill for shelter and kill him. Originally Mahuy ordered the miller to cut off Yazdgird’s head and bring it back to him but once the miller had actually faced Yazdgird, he could only stab him, kill him, stage the robbery and dump his body in the desert. The Wind Miller had become so upset that due to this catastrophe his conscience kept on bothering him for times. Earlier Mahuy’s Assistant and Mobad begged him to change his mind and forbid him to murder Yazdgird because according to the legend, to murder a Prophet or a Shah will bring catastrophe upon the murderer and his whole clan. At first Mahuy frightened by these words but afterwards the temptation for the Arab Rewards changed his mind and he went ahead with the plan. Many nobles condemned Mahuy Suri for this terrible action.
Yazdgird III last Sassanian Persian Shahanshah 632 AD - 651 AD
Until this day the common belief is this myth that Yazdgird III was killed due to temptations of a wind miller for his wealth. It is time to state the historical facts rather than believe in tales to save face. Let’s face it, throughout the history of Iran, we had and we have plenty of Persian traitors.
For more information on Yazdgird III read:
222 Years of Struggle for Independence of Iran: Part 1
Following the death of Yazdgird III, his son Piruz II fled to China for his life. He fled to China through Tajikistan. After the Arabo-Muslim invasion occupation of the Persian Empire, many Persians fled to India and become Parsis of India. Piruz also facilitated the escape of many Persians to China. Piruz did refuge to the Tang Chinese Empire. The Emperor Gaozong Tang protected Piruz and sheltered Iranian patriots.
Piruz II asked for help to battle the Arabs. Emperor Gaozong Tang had established a Chinese Protectorate “Persian Governorate” in Zaranj (Today’s Afghanistan) as The “Sassanid Exiled Government”. China worry about the infiltration of Islam to China, created this protectorate to both aid seize the infiltration of Islam to China and also to fund exiled Sassanids to resist and fight Arabs at the Chinese border.
Unfortunately Islam did penetrate China and today there is a Chinese Muslim Minority residing at the western states of China which makes the Chinese Government very concern about their possible uprising in solidarity with the Global Jihadists.
Zoroastrians kept up the negative struggle as until this day they have created and use the “Yazdgirdi Calendar” which begins on the Inauguration Date of Yazdgird III (632 AD). Zoroastrians as Parsis of India or Persians of Yazd and Kerman continue sticking to their Persian traditions.
Those Zoroastrians who fled Iran to India and China have managed to establish strong communities in exile but those Zoroastrians who decided to stay in Iran, ended up paying Yearly Jaziyah (Tax Penalty) to the Arab Occupational Government to remain Zoroastrian while they could easily avoid this penalty by becoming Muslims. Eventually once Yaqub Leis Saffarid liberated Iran, this penalty was first abandoned and then abolished. Zoroastrians become Jaziyah Free so they did not have to pay this tax.
For more information on Yaqub Leis Saffarid read:
222 Years of Struggle for Independence of Iran: Part 4
Rostam Farokhzad Commander in Chief of the Sassanian Army 7 AD
Eran Spahbod Rostam Farokhzad
Rostam Farokhzad was a Commander in Chief of the Persian Forces
Rostam Farokhzad was from Atropatgan Satrap (Azerbaijan State) of the Persian Empire. Rostam was an Atropat (Azeri) Aristocrat.
Rostam Farokhzad’s Held Positions
* Satrap of Ariana [Governor of Greater Khorasan (Khorasan of Iran, Turkmenistan and Western Afghanistan)]
* Satrap of Atropatgan [Governor of Greater Azerbaijan (Internal Azerbaijan of Iran and External Azerbaijan)]
* Eran Spahbod (Commander in Chief of the Persian Forces) 630 - 636
Rostam carried the title of “Shahzad of Atropatgan” (Prince of Azerbaijan). Amongst Rostam’s achievements were conquering Armenia and annexing it from the Byzantine Empire (631). At this date Armenia had become a Satrap of the Persian Empire.
Rostam Farokhzad Commander of Sassanian Persian Armed Forces 630 - 636
Rostam and a group of Persian Noblemen, Baivarapatises (Generals) and Spahbods (Field Marshals) have decided to support Yazdgird III (632) to gain control and become the Shah. Rostam had put together this coalition to support Yazdgird III against the will of the majority of the Sassanid Dynasty Elite who wanted to nominate and crown yet another unworthy monarch. From the end of Khosrow Parviz Reign (628) until the death of Yazdgird IIII (651) about 13 monarchs ruled Iran either chosen by the Sassanian Hierarchy or via Coups. Rostam decided to support Yazdgird III not because Yazdgird III had successfully gained the control of Ctesiphone (Capital) but because Rostam had principles and wanted to stick with the tradition to support the Sassanid Prince. In fact Rostam could take over control himself and reign but he chose to support Yazdgird III. So Yazdgird III (632 - 651) established control of the Empire via Rostam’s help.
From 633 Arabo-Muslim started penetrating the Persian South Western Territories, cause insecurity, robbing caravans, pillage villages and create chaos. These penetrations continued until on 635 they have officially invaded Iran. Iran weakened by over 60 years of war with Rome and occupied with internal chaos was ready to fall. These chaotic times were the timeline that Yazdgird III and Rostam Farokhzad took charge to save Iran.
Arabo-Muslim advances during the Abu Bakr (1st Caliph of Rashedin) and Umar Ibn Al Khatab (2nd Caliph of Rashedin) eras led to a number of campaigns and battles won by Arabs (633) and only one major battle (The Battle of Bridge) won by Persians (634). General Bahman (Mardan Shah) led the Persian forces to victory at the Bridge but Rostam Farokhzad had to order him back to Ctesiphone to put down a revolt led by the Sassanid Elite.
Arabs major offensive occurred in 635 and it was obvious that Arabs wanted to annihilate both Persian and Roman Empires. Even though in early years Romans were secretly supporting the Arabs with funds and trainers to damage the Persian Empire, yet by now the Arab Imperialism (Islam) and its intentions were clear, so Heraclius the Roman Emperor made a joint plan and a pact with Yazdgird III to fight the Arabs all over Mesopotamia and South Western Asia.
On 636 Rostam Farokhzad faced Umar Ibn Al Khatab’s army led by the Arab General Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas at the Qadesiyeh (Al Qadisiyyah) plains on the west bank of Euphrates River (Forat River). Persians fought bravely but a heavy sand storm blown right in the Persians’ faces (Arabs claimed that it was the work of Allah) made the battlefield dusty and invisible to the eyes. This caused Persian flanks and battle formats to break. Once Persians were blinded by the massive sandstorm, Arab Archers showered the Persians with arrows. Rostam’s command location was compromised. Rostam and a group of his troops fell back and retreated through the river to reinforce with others and to launch an offensive but Arabs chased and caught up with him and killed him. Rostam being slaughtered, the Persian troops lost morale, scattered, died in battle, inured or escaped.
Next came battles for Mesopotamia, Ctesiphone, Nahavand and so on. The rest is history and Arabo-Muslim occupied Iran after 16 years of bloody wars.
Fore more information read:
Ctesiphone, Smoke, Fire and Blood
History of Slavery in Iran
Rostam Farokhzad (despite garbage spewed by the Arabs) was far from a coward. Rostam was one of the bravest Persian Patriots who ever fought the invading Arab Force. Rostam had brought various glories for Iran fighting various battles with enemies of Iran. His final attempt was saving Iran from Arabs and Islam. He had done his best but unfortunately he failed and the infection of Islam had taken over Iran.
Rostam Farokhzad Eran Spahbod of Sassanid Persian Army
Arabo-Muslim destroyed Persia and they took over the complete Asian Territories of the Roman Empire. If it wasn’t because of the lack of a powerful navy, then the Arabs would in addition cross over to Europe, take over Constantinople and the complete European territories of the Roman Empire and destroy the Roman Empire the same as they have destroyed the Persian Empire. Arab Barbarians armed with the power tool of Islam (Arab Imperialism) have managed to destroy the civilized world (Persia and Rome) in the 7 AD.
Sassanian Persian Clibanarius Commander
Sassanian Persian Armored Savaran Soldier
Sassanian Persian Cataphract
Sassanian Persian Cataphract Double Headed Spear Bearer
Sassanian Persian Grivapanavara Clibanarius (Heavy Cavalryman)
Sassanian Arab Protectorates Forces
Arab Forces in service of Sassanid Empire
L – R: Ahavazi Clibanarius, Lakhmid Cavalry and Tanukhid Auxiliary
Sassanian Clibanarius and 5 Globe Standard Bearer 7 AD
Sassanian Persian War Elephant Units Standard Bearer
Then Standard Bearer would ride alongside a Clibanarius in front of the War Elephant Regiment
Sassanian Persian Clibanarius Mace-man Escort for the Elephant Units
Sassanian Persian War Elephant Unit with Clibanarius Mace-man Escort 6 AD
* War Elephant Unit: Rider armed with spear and Persian Sword rides in front and archers armed with spears and supplied with bow and arrows ride in the cabin.
* Clibanarius Unit: Armed with mace, shield, Persian Sword and bow and arrow pack bag rides along side of the Elephant Unit.
* Tactical Aspects:
- Elephant Unit would pacify the danger from enemy units at far because the archers with showers of arrows and spears would target them before they get a chance to get near the elephant.
- Clibanarius Unit would pacify the danger from the enemy units at near because he would crush them with heavy mace and sword before they get a chance to approach or damage the elephant’s legs.
* Note: Elephant Rider is armed with special spear which can hit the enemy from the front or whack the enemy from the side (in case they climb the elephant).
So in a way the Elephant Unit and the Clibanarius Unit would complete each other and protect one another.
Sassanian Persian War Elephant Unit battle formation
Sassanian Persian War Elephant Unit
Rider at the front and archer, spearman and commander in the cabin
Sassanian Persian War Elephant Unit in action
Sassanian Persian War Elephant
Sassanian Persian Noble Cavalry Knights
Sassanian Sarmatian Horsemen in action
Fighting the enemy with bow arrows and spear
Sassanian Clibanarius Axe-man fights Arab Muslim Barbarians in the Mesopotamian desert 7 AD
Sassanian Persian Cataphract Knight at Ctesiphone Gate
Back to Uniforms Index
Back to Photos Index