Spahān is attested in various Middle Persian seals and inscriptions, including that of Zoroastrian priest Kartir. The present-day name (Isfahan) is the Arabicized form of Ispahan (unlike Middle Persian, New Persian does not allow initial consonant clusters such as sp). The region appears with the abbreviation GD (Gay, Southern Media) on Sasanian numismatics. In Ptolemy's Geographia it appears as Aspadana, translating to "place of gathering for the army". It is believed that Spahān derives from spādānām 'the armies', Old Persian plural of spāda (from which derives spāh 'army' in Middle Persian).
Spahan became a part of the Sasanian Empire in 224, after Ardashir I (r. r. 224–242) seized its capital and killed its ruler, Shadh-Shapur. During the reign of Ardashir's son and successor Shapur I (r. 240-270), a certain Varzin was appointed as the governor of the province.