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For the village in Iran, see Kanarang, Iran.

The kanārang was a unique title in the Military of the Sasanian Empire, given to the commander of the Sasanian Empire's northeasternmost frontier province, Abarshahr (encompassing the cities of Tus, Nishapur and Abiward). In Byzantine sources, it is rendered as chanaranges (Greek: χαναράγγης) and often used, for instance by Procopius, in lieu of the holder's actual name.[1]

The title was used instead of the more conventional marzbān, which was held by the rest of the Persian frontier wardens. Like the other marzbān, the position was hereditary. The family holding it (the Kanārangīyān) is first attested in the reign of Yazdegerd I (r. 399–421), but was descended from some pre-Sasanian, most likely Parthian, dynasty. They enjoyed a high prestige and great authority in the Sasanian Empire's northeastern borderlands, as reflected in their glorified description in the Shahnameh of the great Persian poet Ferdowsi.[1][2]

The family was active until the very end of the Sasanian realm. A man called Kanāra in Arab sources commanded the Persian light cavalry at the decisive Battle of al-Qādisiyyah, and his son, Shahrīyār bin Kanāra, is reported to have fought valiantly before being killed.[3] The family is later recorded as assisting the Muslim conquest of Khorasan by Abdullah ibn Aamir, and being rewarded with the right to keep the province of Tus and half of Nishapur province under their control.[4]

Known holders of the post[edit]


  1. ^ a b Houtsma (1983), p. 975
  2. ^ Pourshariati (2008), pp. 266–267
  3. ^ Pourshariati (2008), pp. 232–233, 269
  4. ^ Pourshariati (2008), pp. 272, 275–276
  5. ^ Pourshariati (2008), pp. 267–268
  6. ^ Pourshariati (2008), pp. 268–269
  7. ^ Pourshariati (2008), p. 269