Shapur I

Shapur I (also spelled Shabuhr I; Middle Persian: 𐭱𐭧𐭯𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭩, romanized: Šābuhr) was the second Sasanian King of Kings of Iran. The dating of his reign is disputed, but it is generally agreed that he ruled from 240 to 270, with his father Ardashir I as co-regent until the death of the latter in 242. During his co-regency, he helped his father with the conquest and destruction of the Arab city of Hatra, whose fall was facilitated, according to Islamic tradition, by the actions of his future wife al-Nadirah. Shapur also consolidated and expanded the empire of Ardashir I, waged war against the Roman Empire , and seized its cities of Nisibis and Carrhae while he was advancing as far as Roman Syria. Although he was defeated at the Battle of Resaena in 243 by Roman emperor Gordian III (r. 238–244), he was the following year able to win the Battle of Misiche and force the new Roman Emperor Philip the Arab (r. 244–249) to sign a favorable peace treaty that was regarded by the Romans as "a most shameful treaty".[1]

Shapur I
King of Kings of Iran and non-Iran[lower-alpha 1]
Reconstruction of the Colossal Statue of Shapur I by George Rawlinson, 1876
Shahanshah of the Sasanian Empire
Reign12 April 240 – May 270
PredecessorArdashir I
SuccessorHormizd I
DiedMay 270
al-Nadirah (?)
IssueBahram I
Shapur Mishanshah
Hormizd I
Shapurdukhtak (?)
HouseHouse of Sasan
FatherArdashir I
MotherMurrod or Denag

Shapur later took advantage of the political turmoil within the Roman Empire by undertaking a second expedition against it in 252/3–256, sacking the cities of Antioch and Dura-Europos. In 260, during his third campaign, he defeated and captured the Roman emperor, Valerian. He did not seem interested in permanently occupying the Roman provinces, choosing instead to resort to plundering and pillaging, gaining vast amounts of riches. The captives of Antioch, for example, were allocated to the newly reconstructed city of Gundeshapur, later famous as a center of scholarship. In the 260s, Shapur suffered setbacks against Odaenathus, the king of Palmyra. According to Shapur's inscription at Hajiabad, he still remained active at the court in his later years, participating in archery. He died of illness in Bishapur, most likely in May 270.

Shapur was the first Iranian monarch to use the title of "King of Kings of Iranians and non-Iranians"; beforehand the royal titulary had been "King of Kings of Iranians". He had adopted the title due to the influx of Roman citizens whom he had deported during his campaigns. However, it was first under his son and successor Hormizd I, that the title became regularised. Shapur had new Zoroastrian fire temples constructed, incorporated new elements into the faith from Greek and Indian sources, and conducted an extensive program of rebuilding and refounding of cities.

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