Battle of Hormozdgān
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|Battle of Hormozdgān|
Map of the Sassanid and Parthian borders before the battle
|Parthian Empire||Sassanid Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Artabanus IV †||Ardashir I
|An army larger than Ardashir I's army||10,000 horsemen|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Hormozdgān was the climactic battle of the end of the Parthian Empire between the Parthian Empire and the Sassanid Empire, on April 24, 224 AD. The Sassanid victory broke the power of the Arsacid dynasty, effectively ending almost five centuries of Parthian rule in the Middle East, Iran, Caucasus, and Central Asia.
The battle was the culmination of rivalry between Ardashir son of Papag, Parthian vassal king of Persis and his overlord, Shahanshah Artabanus IV of Parthia. Ardashir ascended the throne of Persis in 208 AD after deposing his elder brother, Shapur. He immediately started expanding his domains and quickly conquered neighboring provinces of Kerman, Isfahan, Susiana (modern Khuzestan), and Mesene (modern Maysan). This expansion brought the attention of the Arscacid Great King Artabanus IV (216–224 AD).
After a period of negotiation and maneuvering, war became inevitable. Ardashir moved his army into Khuzestan in the spring of 224 AD and took a favorable position in the field of Hormozdgān, near the modern Iranian city of Shushtar. His position allowed him to control the water supplies on the field. Artabanus moved with his army from the Arsacid capital of Ctesiphon in Mesopotamia, and had to take a less favorable position with limited access to water. What we know about the battle is based on biased Sassanian sources. The two armies clashed on April 24, 224 AD. Sassanian records indicate that the battle was over the same day.
The manpower of the two armies as well as the number of casualties are unknown. We can speculate that both commanders fielded large numbers of cavalry. We may also speculate that both armies deployed horse archers in large numbers. Yet, it is reasonable to expect that at least Ardashir had some infantry on the field. It is also highly probable that both commanders relied on the shock effect of their core force of cataphracts to break the enemy line. What we know is that some Parthian forces defected to the Sassanid side, and Artabanus was killed in the battle. Sassanid sources picture Ardashir as the victor of a hand-to-hand combat with Artabanus. Given the mode of Iranian warfare, with its emphasis on protecting the commanders at any price, this claims may not be verifiable.
Ardashir's son, prince Shapur (later Shapur I of Persia) was present on the field and based on rock relief evidence, led the Persian heavy cavalry.
References, notes and sources
- References and notes
- HORMOZDGĀN, BATTLE OF, the engagement which brought Ardašir I and the Sasanian dynasty to power, 28 April 224 CE. Encyclopædia Iranica, 23 March 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2013. Archived here.
- Morony, Michael G. (2005). Iraq After The Muslim Conquest. Gorgias Press. p. 155. ISBN 9781593333157.
- For example in the Book of the Deeds of Ardashir son of Babak.