Iranians History on This Day

 Nov 26 

The last war of Ardeshir Papakan with the Romans – a review of the military conquests and administrative reforms of Ardeshir

This piece of history will be completely edited later


The last war of Ardeshir Papakan with the Roman Empire ended in 240 AD, with the victory of Iran.
    This was the last war of Ardeshir Papakan with the Romans, and a year after, he died.
    8 years before that (232 AD) a greater war had broken between Ardeshir and the Romans (in present Turkey), in which Alexander Severus, the Roman Emperor, was the commander. To start this war and prevent the progress of Iran into the western territory, Severus came to Antakia (Antioch)in 231 AD and got stationed there. In this war 60,000 Roman soldiers were killed or injured or captured. Before the war started the Roman legionaries were sent towards the Iranian territory from three sides and Ardeshir defeated all three troops. The main fatalities came upon the south column which was proceeding towards Ctesiphon.
Alexsader Severus

When Severus realized the graveness of the situation he decided to take the diplomatic course of policy with Ardeshir and therefore requested cessation of hostilities and returned the remaining Roman forces to the Mediterranean coast. Ardeshir refused negotiation and sent the message that unless the Romans draw back from Easter Mediterranean (the East) negotiation was meaningless. Meanwhile, when Severus heard that, after the Germans came to know about the defeat from Ardeshir, they started revolting, he returned to Europe. Some of his officers, who were disappointed with Severus after his retreat from Ardeshir, killed him in Germany. In another war that took place 28 years after the last war of Ardeshir with Severus, (260 AD and during the reign of Shapour I, Ardeshir’s son) Valerian, another Roman Emperor, was taken prisoner by Iran.
    Historians unanimously believe that Iranian nationalism was the reason for these victories. This nationalism, which in the course of history, had shown its miraculous power, once again appeared with the foundation of the Sassanid dynasty in Iran. Th. Mommsen, the German historian of the 19th century, has written a detailed report of the wars of Ardeshir with Rome.
    In the period between the two last wars with the Romans (between the years 232 and 240 AD) Ardeshir initiated a series of administrative, judiciary and military reforms. Classification of government employees according to their efficiency, honesty, motivation and commitment towards their country, was one of those reforms. He gave priority to allocating budget and facilitating formation of a permanent army, and wrote a set of rules for drafting young soldiers of the country during war, which was followed till the end of the Sassanid era. 13 centuries later, Shah Abbas Safavid used the same rules when forming a national army in Iran. Ardeshir gave the responsibility of selecting court judges to the high priests of the country (Zoroastrian mobeds), but in cases of the judges misusing their authority and duty and creating dissatisfaction among people, the city governor could suspend these judges until head of the state made the final decision. The
     governors were responsible for directly supervising the rate of agricultural and industrial production and animal husbandry, specially breeding of horses, and controlling the centers which have not had production growth and call them to account, solving the problem and reporting directly to the king (Ardeshir). A century ago, Tarapore, an Indian scholar, had written about the administrative reforms of Ardeshir, in his book “Administrative and governing systems in ancient Iran”, in a separate chapter, and its translation is taught in the universities in the field of science of governing (the unit on history of management).
    Translation by Rowshan Lohrasbpour (AmordadNews writer)




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