NameKhusrau (Xosrov) I King of Sasanian Empire
Misc. Notes
SECOND WAR WITH ROME (Byzantium). Hostilities began in the Caucasus with Persian victories in Iberia and Mesopotamia (527–528) (See 527–31 ). Belisarius defeated Persia at the Battle of Daras (528) but was himself defeated at the Battle of Callinicum (531). The war ended with the death of Kavad. Khusrau, the crown prince, engineered the execution of Mazdak and his followers as heretics (531) and then succeeded his father, Kavad.

KHUSRAU (Chosroes) I ANUSHIRVAN (“of the immortal soul”). After putting down a revolt and concluding formal peace with Byzantium, Khusrau undertook a series of great reforms. A fixed land tax and a head tax were instituted, which improved efficiency and equity while increasing state revenues. Irrigation and communications were improved, and new agriculture was encouraged. The army was restructured, with the state supplying equipment and salaries to the poorer nobles, the dehkan (knights). The empire was divided into four great administrative districts under a military governor (spahbad). Toleration was granted to Christians, and learning was patronized. When the Athenian Academy was closed in 529, philosophers found refuge with Khusrau.

WAR WITH ROME (Byzantium). Disturbed by the policy of Justinian, Khusrau invaded Syria and sacked Antioch (540) (See 540–62 ). A treaty was struck but denounced when Khusrau extorted money from Byzantine cities. The Persians campaigned successfully in Lazica (ancient Colchis, southwest of Iberia), making it a province (541). Khusrau's unsuccessful siege of Edessa (544) led to a five-year truce which was broken when the Byzantines invaded and eventually retook Lazica (549–555). A fifty-year peace was concluded with the Byzantines in 561 in which Lazica was recognized as Roman in exchange for an annual payment in gold to the Sassanians.

Allied with the Turks of Transoxiana, Khusrau finally brought an end to Hephthalite power.

WAR WITH ROME (Byzantium) (See 572–91 ). The attempt to impose Zoroastrianism on the Armenians caused a revolt that encouraged the emperor Justin II to break the peace. Syria was ravaged by the Persians, and peace was negotiated with the co-emperor Tiberius (574); after renewed hostilities in Armenia, an uneasy truce was struck when Khusrau died (579) and was succeeded by his son, Hormizd IV.

Ref: The Encyclopedia of World History (
Khosrau I (531-579) was the greatest of all Sassanid monarchs. He started his reign by restoring property seized during the Mazdakite excesses, and carried out the reforms Kavadh planned but never had time to implement. He streamlined the government and reorganized the army. Most important was a fairer tax code, which appraised land according to its yield, situation, and type of crops grown on it. The system worked so well that it was continued by the Arab administration after the fall of the empire. He also revived the mystical majesty of his office, filling his court with luxuries that Ardashir could hardly have dreamed of. He topped his palace with the largest iwans ever constructed and made a golden crown that was so heavy that it had to be suspended on chains to keep it from breaking the royal neck.

Khosrau's reputation as an enlightened and just ruler was great, and known in foreign lands. When Justinian closed down the philosophy school in Athens, the last Neoplatonists immigrated to Persia. They hoped to find in Khosrau a true philosopher-king, a political ideal which Confucius and Plato had unsuccessfully searched for in their day. Unfortunately the philosophers found orthodox Zoroastrianism even less to their taste than orthodox Christianity, and they decided to go back to Greece. Khosrau took pity on them by inserting a clause into a later peace treaty with Justinian, giving them the right to return and ensuring that they would not be molested for their paganism or their temporary pro-Persian behavior.

The "eternal peace" promised in the first treaty between Khosrau and Justinian only lasted for seven years, until 539. Khosrau's forces seized and sacked Antioch, won battles in Roman Mesopotamia, and advanced all the way to the Black Sea. But in Justinian the Eastern Roman Empire had a leader of equal caliber. Since most of his armed forces were busy elsewhere, Justinian chose to fight a defensive war in the Middle East, but Khosrau was never able to hold onto any Roman territory for long. Over twenty years of on-and-off fighting followed, until a fifty-year peace accord was signed in 561. In the end the only Persian conquest was one of the Georgian states, Iberia (really an annexation, it had been a Persian satellite since 364); the other Georgian state, Lazica, remained in the Roman orbit.

On other fronts Khosrau did better. Early in his reign he stopped paying tribute to the White Huns, who had recently grown too weak to enforce their will on Iran. Around 553 another warlike barbarian people, the Turks, appeared in Central Asia. Khosrau married their chief's daughter and persuaded them to join him in an attack on the White Huns. The Turks were more than happy to destroy the nomads living in the lands they wanted for themselves. Once their old enemies were gone the Persians advanced their frontier to the Oxus, loudly proclaiming the victory as their own. In 575 a naval expedition across the Arabian Sea conquered Yemen, making Persia the most influential power in Arabia.
Last Modified 25 Jul 2003Created 4 Sep 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh