Shapur II 'the Great' of Persia, Sassanid King of Persia (c.309 - 379) MP

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Nicknames: "Shabur Dhul-aktāf", "Zol 'Aktāf"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Firuzabad, Persia
Death: Died in Persia
Managed by: LevShalem
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About Shapur II 'the Great' of Persia, Sassanid King of Persia

Occupation: Shah of Persia -------------------- Shapur II (also spelled Šahpur II) was the ninth King of the Sassanid Empire from 309 to 379.

When King Hormizd II (302–309) died, the Persian magnates killed his eldest son, blinded the second, and imprisoned the third (Hormizd, who afterwards escaped to the Roman Empire). The throne was reserved for the unborn child of one of the wives of Hormizd II, who was Jewish. It is said that Shapur II may have been the only king in history to be crowned in utero: the crown was placed upon his mother's belly. This child, named Shapur, was therefore born king; the government was conducted by his mother and the magnates. But when Shapur II came of age, he turned out to be one of the greatest monarchs of the dynasty.

During the early years of the reign of Shapur, Arabs crossed the Persian Gulf from Bahrain to "Ardashir-Khora" of Fars and raided the interior. In retaliation, Shapur led an expedition through Bahrain, defeated the combined forces of the Arab tribes of "Taghlib", "Bakr bin Wael", and "Abd Al-Qays" and advanced temporarily into Yamama in central Najd. He resettled these tribes in Kerman and Ahvaz. Arabs named him, as "Shabur Dhul-aktāf" or "Zol 'Aktāf" that means "The owner of the shoulders" after this battle.

In 337, just before the death of Constantine I (324–337, also our ancestor), Shapur II broke the peace concluded in 297 between Narseh (293–302) and Emperor Diocletian (284–305), which had been observed for forty years. A 26-year conflict (337–363) began in two series of wars, the first from 337 to 350. After crushing a rebellion in the south, he headed toward Mesopotamia and recaptured Armenia. From there he started his first campaign against Constantius II, a campaign which was mostly unsuccessful for Shapur II. He was unable to take the fortress of Singara in the Siege of Singara (344). Shapur II also attempted with limited success to conquer the great fortresses of Roman Mesopotamia, Nisibis (which he besieged three times in vain) and Amida.

Although often victorious in battles, Shapur II made scarcely any progress. At the same time he was attacked in the east by nomad tribes, among whom the Xionites are named. He had to interrupt the war with the Romans and pay attention to the east. After a prolonged struggle (353–358) they were forced to conclude a peace, and their king, Grumbates, agreed to accompany Shapur II in the war against the Romans.

Under Shapur II's reign the collection of the Avesta was completed, heresy and apostasy punished, and the Christians persecuted. This was a reaction against the Christianization of the Roman Empire by our ancestor Constantine I. He was successful in the east, and the great town Nishapur in Khorasan (eastern Parthia) was founded by him. He founded some other towns as well.

In 358 Shapur II was ready for his second series of wars against Rome, which met with much more success. In 359, Shapur II conquered Amida after a siege of seventy-three days, and he took Singara and some other fortresses in the next year (360). In 363 the Emperor Julian (361–363), at the head of a strong army, advanced to Shapur's capital at Ctesiphon and defeated a superior Sassanid army in the Battle of Ctesiphon, but was killed during his retreat.

He made peace with the Romans, something the Romans found disgraceful, and here is why: "King Shapuh of Iran ordered that all mature males be trampled by elephants, and that all the women and children should be put under the blades of threshers. They killed thousands upon thousands, myriads upon myriads, there was no counting the slain. [Shapuh] ordered that the women of the fugitive azats and naxarars should be taken to the horse-arena in the city of Zarehawan. He ordered that all the azat women should be stripped and seated here and there in the arena. Then king Shapuh himself, mounted on a horse quickly rode around the women. Those who caught his eye he took with him, one by one, to rape. For he had pitched a tent near the arena and he would go there to commit impiety. Thus he spent many days with the women. They killed all the mature males of the azg of the Siwnik' tohm, killed all the women, and [Shapuh] ordered that all the young boys should be made eunuchs and sent to the country of Iran.

Shapur II now invaded Armenia, where he took King Arshak II, the faithful ally of the Romans, prisoner by treachery: "Then king Shapuh of Iran ordered that chains be brought and cast around the neck of Arshak, and irons about his hands and feet, and that they should take him to Andmesh, which is called Anush fortress, and keep him bound there until he died--possibly by suicide. The next day king Shapuh ordered that Vasak Mamikonean, the general sparapet of Greater Armenia, should be brought before him, and he began to threaten hirn. Now Vasak was personally small, and Shapuh, king of Iran said to hirn: "Hey, fox, it was you who obstructed things and so fatigued us. You are the one who destroyed the Aryans for so many years. Why? I will kill you with a fox's death". Vasak replied, saying: "Now that you see me as personally short, you are not [accurately] measuring, my size. For until now I was a lion to you, but now, I am a fox. While I was Vasak, I was a giant with one foot on one mountain and the other foot on another mountain. When I leaned on my right foot the mountain [under my] right would be brought to the ground. When I leaned on my left foot, the left mountain would be brought to the ground". King Shapuh of Iran then asked: "Pray tell me what were those two rnountains that you brought to the ground?" And Vasak replied: "Of the two mountains, one was you and the other was the Byzantine emperor. While God allowed, I brought you and the Byzantine emperor to the ground, since the blessing of our father Nerses was upon us, and God had not forsaken us. While we acted according to his word, and accepted his xrat, be aware, we could have given you xrat. But with our eyes open, we fell into the abyss. So, do what you want". Then the king of Iran ordered that the general of Armenia, Vasak, be flayed, that the skin be removed and filled with hay, and taken to that very Andmesh fortress (which they call Anyush) wherein king Arshak was being held. Shapur tried, during the Iranian invasions of Armenia in the late 360s, to exterminate the House of Siwnik': "They killed all the mature males of the azg of the Siwnik' tohm, and killed all the women; and [Shahpuhr] ordered that all the young boys should be made eunuchs and be sent to the country of Iran."

King Shapur II then attempted to introduce Zoroastrian orthodoxy into Armenia. However, the Armenian nobles resisted him successfully, secretly supported by the Romans, who sent King Pap, the son of Arshak II, into Armenia. The war with Rome threatened to break out again, but Valens sacrificed Pap, arranging for his assassination in Tarsus, where he had taken refuge (374). Shapur II subdued the Kushans and took control of the entire area now known as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Shapur II had conducted great hosts of captives from the Roman territory into his dominions, most of whom were settled in Susiana. Here he rebuilt Susa, after having killed the city's rebellious inhabitants.

By his death in 379 the Persian Empire was stronger than ever before, considerably larger than when he came to the throne, the eastern enemies were pacified and Persia had gained control over Armenia.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shapur_II_of_Persia and http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cousin/html/p287.htm#i13536 for more information.

-------------------- Shapur II the Great was the ninth King of the Persian Sassanid Empire from 309 to 379. During his long reign, the Sassanid Empire saw its first golden era since the reign of Shapur I (241–272).

Contents [hide]

1 Early childhood

2 Conquests

3 Contributions

4 See also

5 References

[edit]Early childhood

When King Hormizd II (302–309) died, Persian nobles killed his eldest son, blinded the second, and imprisoned the third (Hormizd, who afterwards escaped to the Roman Empire).[3] The throne was reserved for the unborn child of one of the wives of Hormizd II. It is said that Shapur II may have been the only king in history to be crowned in utero: the crown was placed upon his mother's belly. This child, named Shapur, was therefore born king; the government was conducted by his mother and the magnates. But when Shapur II came of age, he turned out to be one of the greatest monarchs of the dynasty.[citation needed]

[edit]Conquests

Dark green: the Sassanid empire; Medium green: contested territory; Light green: temporarily occupied in the seventh century during war with the Byzantine Empire, three hundred years after Shapur's reign.

During the early years of the reign of Shapur, Arabs crossed the Persian Gulf from Bahrain to "Ardashir-Khora" of Pars and raided the interior. In retaliation, Shapur led an expedition through Bahrain, defeated the combined forces of the Arab tribes of "Taghlib", "Bakr bin Wael", and "Abd Al-Qays" and advanced temporarily into Yamama in central Najd. He resettled these tribes in Kerman and Hormizd-Ardashir. Arabs named him, as "Shabur Dhul-aktāf" or "Zol 'Aktāf" that means "The owner of the shoulders" after this battle.[4]

In 337, just before the death of Constantine I (324–337), Shapur II broke the peace concluded in 297 between Narseh (293–302) and Emperor Diocletian (284–305), which had been observed for forty years. A twenty-six year conflict (337–363) began in two series of wars, the first from 337 to 350. After crushing a rebellion in the south, he headed toward Mesopotamia and recaptured Armenia. From there he started his first campaign against Constantius II, a campaign which was mostly unsuccessful for Shapur II. He was unable to take the fortress of Singara in the Siege of Singara (344). Shapur II also attempted with limited success to conquer the great fortresses of Roman Mesopotamia, Nisibis (which he besieged three times in vain) and Amida.

Although often victorious in battles, Shapur II made scarcely any progress. At the same time he was attacked in the east by nomad tribes, among whom the Xionites are named. He had to interrupt the war with the Romans and pay attention to the east. After a prolonged struggle (353–358) they were forced to conclude a peace, and their king, Grumbates, agreed to accompany Shapur II in the war against the Romans.

In 358 Shapur II was ready for his second series of wars against Rome, which met with much more success. In 359, Shapur II conquered Amida after a siege of seventy-three days, and he took Singara and some other fortresses in the next year (360). In 363 the Emperor Julian (361–363), at the head of a strong army, advanced to Shapur's capital at Ctesiphon and defeated a superior Sassanid army at the Battle of Ctesiphon, however he was killed during his retreat back to Roman territory. His successor Jovian (363–364) made an ignominious peace, by which the districts beyond the Tigris which had been acquired in 298 were given to the Persians along with Nisibis and Singara, and the Romans promised to interfere no more in Armenia. The great success is represented in the rock-sculptures near the town Bishapur in Persis (Stolze, Persepolis, p. 141); under the hoofs of the king's horse lies the body of an enemy, probably Julian, and a supplicant Roman, the Emperor Jovian, asks for peace.

Shapur II then invaded Armenia, where he took King Arshak II, the faithful ally of the Romans, prisoner by treachery and forced him to commit suicide. He then attempted to introduce Zoroastrian orthodoxy into Armenia. However, the Armenian nobles resisted him successfully, secretly supported by the Romans, who sent King Pap, the son of Arshak II, into Armenia. The war with Rome threatened to break out again, but Valens sacrificed Pap, arranging for his assassination in Tarsus, where he had taken refuge (374). Shapur II subdued the Kushans and took control of the entire area now known as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Shapur II had conducted great hosts of captives from the Roman territory into his dominions, most of whom were settled in Susiana. Here he rebuilt Susa, after having killed the city's rebellious inhabitants.

By his death in 379 the Persian Empire was stronger than ever before, considerably larger than when he came to the throne, the eastern and western enemies were pacified and Persia had gained control over Armenia.

[edit]Contributions

Under Shapur II's reign the collection of the Avesta was completed, heresy and apostasy punished, and the Christians persecuted (see Abdecalas, Acepsimas of Hnaita). This was a reaction against the Christianization of the Roman Empire by Constantine I. He was successful in the east, and the great town Nishapur in Khorasan (eastern Parthia) was founded by him. He founded some other towns as well. -------------------- King Sapor (Shapur II) of Persia was not particularly friendly to the Jews, but his Mother, the old queen Ifra Hurmiz, was very fond of Rava:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abba_ben_Joseph_bar_%E1%B8%A4ama

On one occasion, when Rava displeased the king, the king wanted to punish him. But his mother warned him against doing any harm to so holy a man as Rava. "If this Rava is such a holy man, let him bring rain at this time." It was the month of Tammuz, in the middle of the dry summer season, when it never rains in that part of the world. Rava prayed to G-d, and soon a torrential rain fell, which overflowed the banks of the River Tigris. During the night, Rava's father appeared to him in a dream and rebuked him for resorting to a miracle for his own benefit.

Needless to say, Rava valued very highly the study of the Torah, and he esteemed and loved all Torah scholars. At the same time he made it plain that stuoy without practice is not an ideal in itself. The whole purpose of study is in order to know how to live in accordance with the Torah and Mitzvoth.

One of the famous teachings of Rava is: "When a person sees that he is getting into misfortune, he should search his heart, in order to repent. If he finds no particular sin for which to account for his misfortune, he should regard his suffering as a punishment for neglecting to study the Torah. If he finds himself blameless also on this score, then he should regard his suffering as a blessing in disguise, which G-d sends to those He loves most."

Rava had two outstanding sons, great scholars. One was named Rav Joseph, after Rava's father, the other Rav Mesharashay. Rava's grandchildren were also great scholars.

Rava was head of Babylonian Jewry for fourteen years, from the passing of Abaye to his own last day. Rava died in the year 4112 (approximately), at the age of about 74 years. As in the case of several other outstanding scholars whose death was accompanied by some catastrophe in nature, Rava's death brought an overflowing of the waters of the Tigris. It was as if Nature itself was shaken at the passing of such a great and holy a man.