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Province of the Sassanian Empire
Capital Nisibis
Historical era Late Antiquity
 -  Established 363
 -  Peace of Acilisene 387
 -  Annexation of Corduene 578
 -  Annexed by the Rashidun Caliphate 642
Today part of

Arbāyistān (Syriac: Bēṯ ʿArbāyē) was a Sassanian province in Late Antiquity, that bordered the Roman Empire (and later the Byzantine Empire) and was a constant area of contention between the Romans and the Sassanians.

The province reached across Upper Mesopotamia toward the Khabur and north to the lower districts of Armenia; it bordered Nōdšīragān in the east and Garmakān in the south.


The province was formed in 363 from the concessions made by Roman Emperor Jovian, which encompassed all Roman territory east of the Tigris that had been conquered by Galerius in 298. This included the former Armenian provinces of Corduene, Zabdicene and part of Arzanene. Following the treaty, Christians in these territories were forced to emigrate to avoid persecution under Shapur II.

As a result of the Peace of Acilisene of 387, Armenia was divided between the Eastern Roman and Sassanian Empires and the majority of Arzanene was given to the Romans, aside from Tigranakert canton. In the fourth century 12,000 Persians from Staxr and Spāhān were settled in Nisibis to act as mainly military garrisons.

In 578, during the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 572–591, Maurice mounted raids in Arbayistan and sacked Singara. He also annexed part of Corduene, including the city of Bezabde.

Commerce and Trade[edit]

Arbayistan's position on the Silk Road provided the province with a large income derived from custom-houses along the roads as well as from traffic on the rivers. The goods that came with it:silks and spices from the Indian and Arabian sea-trade assembled at Nisibis before it was sold to Roman merchants. The silk trade, which supplied the weaving industry of Syria, was especially lucrative and continued to thrive despite the threat of Arab raids along the roads.

Also, the Sassanian control of the two major East-West highways and excellent road system made the province easily accessible for trade.


  • The Cambridge History of Iran, vol. 3(2): The Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian Periods, ed. Ehsan Yarshater (NY: Cambridge UP, 1983), 761-762.
  • J. B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire from Arcadius to Irene (395 A.D. -800 A.D.), Adamant Media Corp., 2005
  • The Acts of Mar Mari the Apostle, page 15, Amir Harrak, Published 2005 BRILL, 110 pages,