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Active 224-644
Allegiance Sassanid Empire
Type Heavy cavalry
Size 10,000
Engagements Battle of Dara, Battle of the Bridge and Battle of al-Qādisiyyah

Zhayedan (Immortals) were warriors of an elite unit within the Sassanian army, numbering 10,000 men.[1] They are possibly modeled on the former Immortals, who served the rulers of the Achaemenid Empire, and possibly wore the same clothing as their predecessors. These warriors bore some of the finest quality weaponry and armor of the entire Sassanian army. The Zhayedan were led by a commander bearing the title of "Varhranighan-khvadhay."

Appearances in battles[edit]

Zhayedan soldiers were a form of cataphracts, a type of heavy cavalry shock troops. Although elite warriors, they do not have much role in the wars involving Rome, as they were kept as reserves alongside the generals (Spahbed). When used, they would inflict high casualties on the enemy. Kaveh Farrokh writes in Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War that they were used often against the Arabs in the 7th century. Their appearances include the Battle of Dara, the Battle of Avarayr, Battle of the Bridge, and the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah.


The immortals were equipped with some of the finest weapons of their day, including spear, sword, mace, dagger, and cane bow. They wore heavy scale or mail armor and heavy steel breastplates. According to some historians and scholars, they had golden chains and bracelets, possibly a sign of their wealth or high rank in the Sassanian army. Their helmets, of the Spangenhelm type, would have been adapted throughout the Sassanid Persia.

"But no sooner had the first light of day appeared, than the glittering coats of mail, girt with bands of steel, and the gleaming cuirasses, seen from afar, showed that the king's forces were at hand."

The immortals are said to have used the tough and powerful Nisean horse, native to the Zagros Mountains of western Iran [2]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sassanian elite cavalry AD 224-642 By Kaveh Farrokh; p. 6 Archived April 17, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Rome's Enemies (3): Parthians and Sassanid Persians By Peter Wilcox, Angus McBride