Sasanian Dynasty

224 — Ardeshir I founded the Sasanian dynasty. The Sasanians revived Persian culture and Zoroastrianism and made a conscious effort to return to the Achaemenian norms. They sponsored trade both with their arch-enemy, the Romans/Byzantines, and the Chinese. Excavations in China have unearthed gold and silver Sasanian coins covering a span of many centuries.

260 — Shahpur I invaded the Roman Empire and took Emperor Valerian prisoner. He also established Jondi Shahpur, a major center of higher learning.

274 — Mani, the founder of Manichaeism, tried to introduce a new universal world religion, shapurII_Sasanian Dynastycombining elements of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Buddhism.

528 — Mazdak advocated abolition of private property, the division of wealth, as well as nonviolence and vegetarianism. His ideas brought about a major class struggle between the peasants and the nobility. He could be considered the world’s first “communist/socialist.”

531-579 — The reign of Khosrow I (Anushiravan) marked the height of the Sasanian dynasty. He promoted scholarship and sponsored the translation of Indian and Greek scientific and medical texts into Middle Persian or Pahlavi, Persia’s native language. By the time of Khosrow I, Jondi Shahpur’s library had amassed one of the largest collections of books in the world. He also gave refuge and financial assistance to philosophers fleeing oppression in the Byzantine Empire. Khosrow I was also a populist king, possibly a reflection of Mazdak’s ideology and the civil conflicts that subsequently ensued. He made himself available to all his subjects; anyone could rattle his chain of justice and have an audience with the king. His famous prime minister, Bozorgmehr, reportedly invented the game of backgammon.

570 — The Prophet Mohammad was born.

608-622 — The long war between the Sasanians and the Byzantines significantly weakened both sides.

622 — Fearing persecution for his beliefs, the Prophet Mohammad migrated from Mecca to Medina. His migration or Hijra marked the birth of Islamic civilization and the starting point of all Islamic calendars. God conveyed the beliefs of Islam to the Prophet Mohammad through the angel Gabriel in a series of visions and revelations. Muslims consider the Prophet Mohammad as the last prophet in a line of prophets that includes the prophets Moses and Jesus.

629-632 — Two consecutive female monarchs ruled over the Sasanian Empire, Purandokht and her sister Azarmidokht. Purandokht signed a peace treaty with the Byzantines.

632 — The Prophet Mohammad died. Subsequently, his revelations were gathered and compiled into the holy book of Islam – The Koran.