Sassanian

Sasanian Empire

The Sasanian Empire began after the fall of the Parthian Empire and existed from 224 AD under Ardashir I, to 651 AD under Yazdgard III. It was the last Iranian empire before the rise of Islam. The power and extent of the Sassanian kings grew so great, King Shapur I captured the Roman Emperor Valerian I in 260 at the Battle of Edessa and used the emperor as a footstool when mounting his horse. There are various accounts of what happened to Valerian after his capture, but the Sasanians would have their advancement into Roman territory halted by forces at Palmyra. At its greatest extent, the Sasanian Empire controlled nearly all of the modern Middle East, along with a great part of Western and Central Asia, the Caucasus, parts of North Africa and the Levant. Their success branched off to othe...

Probus Born – August 19, 232 AD

According to most sources, Marcus Aurelius Probus was born on August 19, 232 AD in Sirmium, Pannonia Inferior (modern-day Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia). David Vagi notes in his two-volume work, “Coinage and History of the Roman Empire”, Probus may have actually been instead born in Siscia, given the interesting and unusual attention paid to that city on his coinage. In fact, his coinage itself displays the most elaborate bust types, along with very unusual legends and a complex set of mintmarks that combine to make a multitude of varieties. The most extensive website of which I currently know on the coins of Probus, was created by my friend GK, at: http://probvs.net/probvs/ Not much is documented about Probus before he joined the military, around 250 AD, when he was of age. Civil wars and tri...

Battle of the Margus River – July, 285 AD

The crisis of the Third Century nearly destroyed the Roman Empire through instability of the position of emperor and various rebel breakaway empires. When Probus was murdered in 282 AD, Marcus Aurelius Carus was elevated by the military from his appointed position of prefect of the Praetorian Guard to Augustus, in turn naming his sons Carinus and Numerian as co-Caesari. Also during this time, Diocles rose through the ranks to become commander of the elite cavalry assigned to the Imperial household. Instead of going to Rome, Carus remained on campaign, leaving Carinus in charge of the western part of the empire from Gaul and taking Numerian with him to deal with the Persians. Along the way, Carus and Numerian took back areas lost previously over the years by defeating the Quadi and Sarmatia...

Elagabalus adopts Alexianus – June 26, 221 AD

Gessius Bassianus Alexianus was born in c.208/9 AD at Phoenicia-Arca Caesarea. He was the son of Marcus Julius Gessius Marcianus and Julia Avita Mamaea, making him the cousin of Elagabalus and part of the ruling Severan family. Not much is written about his youth, but it is documented he accompanied his cousin to Rome when Elagabalus was proclaimed emperor in 218.  This characters are in many Roman Coins. While living in Rome under the rule of Elagabalus, Alexianus remained virtually unknown. The citizens of Rome became increasingly intolerant of the bizarre behavior and rituals of Elagabalus over the years, forcing Julia Maesa, grandmother of Elagabalus, to put pressure on the emperor to adopt his cousin and elevate him to the rank of Caesar on June 26, 221. Alexianus was Maesa’s backup p...

Jovian Dies – February 17, 364 AD

The Roman Emperor, Julian II, died in June of 363, from wounds received in battle against King Shapur II and the Sassanians. After his death, the soldiers offered to elevate the praetorian prefect, Saturninus Secundus Salutius to the throne, but he declined based on his advanced age. The next was Flavius Jovianus, son of general Varronianus. This choice was based on politics and culture, since the armies of the east and west had many disagreements and was finding it difficult to find a candidate that would be suitable to both sides. Deep into enemy territory, and among a Roman army who was beginning to starve, Jovian accepted the position, and signed a very unfavorable peace agreement with Shapur. This agreement cost the empire all territory east of the Tigris, parts of Armenia, and the ci...

Jovian Elevated – October 22, 363 AD

Upon the death of Julian II, in battle near Phrygia against the Persians around June 26, 363, the position of ruling the Roman Empire suddenly became available. The armies offered to elevate Saturninus Secundus Salutius, a praetorian prefect, but he declined because of his age. Next in line was Flavius Jovianus, the militarily accomplished son of General Varronianus. Jovian accepted and shortly thereafter signed an unfavorable treaty of peace with the Sassanian King, Shapur II, to get the beleaguered and starving Roman army back into friendly territory. This retreat cost the Romans all of their territory east of the Tigris River, part of Armenia, and the cities of Nisibis and Singara in Mesopotamia – all territories won under Septimius Severus and Galerius. Julian II is often referred to a...

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