Battle of Bukhara

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Battle of Bukhara
Part of Hephthalite–Persian Wars
LocationNear Bukhara (present day Uzbekistan)
Result Decisive Perso-Turkic victory[2]
Northern part of the Oxus river annexed to the Göktürks and southern part to Sassanid Persia
Sasanian Empire
Western Turkic Khaganate
Hephthalite Empire
Commanders and leaders
Istämi Ghaftar

The Battle of Bukhara took place in 557[3] when the Sassanid Empire allied with the Western Turkic Khaganate against the Hephthalite Empire.


In 484, Peroz I, the grandfather of Khosrow I, was killed in the Battle of Herat (484) by the Hephthalites that allowed them to annex much of Khorasan from the Sassanids.

After a stable peace agreement with the Byzantines in the west, Khosrow I was able to focus his attention on the Eastern Hephthalites and avenge the death of his grandfather. Even with the growth of Persian military power under Khosrow's reforms, the Sasanians were still uneasy at the prospect of attacking the Hephthalites on their own and sought allies. Their answer came in the form of the Western Turkic Khaganate incursion into Central Asia.[4] The movement of Turkic people into Central Asia quickly made them natural enemies and competitors to the Hephthalites.

The Hephthalites possessed military power, but they lacked the organization to fight on multiple fronts. The Persians and the Turkic tribes made an alliance and launched a two pronged attack on the Hephthalites, taking advantage of their disorganization and disunity. As a result, the Turkic tribes took the territory north of the Oxus river, while the Persians annexed the land south of the river.[5]


Even though the Hephthalites lost control of Transoxiana, Hephthalite kingdoms remained in Afghanistan.

Friendly relations between the Turks and the Persians quickly deteriorated after the conquest of the Hephthalite peoples. Both the Turks and the Persians wanted to dominate the Silk Road and the trade between the west and the far east.[5] In 568, a Turkish ambassador was sent to the Byzantine Empire to propose an alliance and a two-pronged attack on the Sassanian Empire, but nothing came of this.[6]



  • Frye, R. N. (1983). The History of Ancient Iran.
  • Dingas, Beate; Winter, Engelbert (2007). "Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity". Cambridge University Press: 38.