IrSasn1

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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥

♠ Original name ♣ Sassanid Empire I ♥

♠ Alternative names ♣ Iranshahr; Sasanian Empire; Sassanid Empire; Sassanian Empire; Sasanid Dynasty; Sassanid Dynasty ♥ Iranshahr. [1]

♠ Peak Date ♣ 309-379 CE ♥ Long reign of Shapur II (309-379 CE). Peace and security within empire. [2]

'Secular' or king's power was probably at its height in the early fifth century.

"first synod of the Nestorian Church was convened in 410" during reign of Yazdgerd I (399-420 CE).[3] "Persian Christianity became officially recognized and the Nestorian Patriach resided at the royal city of Ctesiphon; he and the Jewish exilarch became responsible for their coreligionists."[4]

Temporal bounds

♠ Duration ♣ 205-487 CE ♥

_Sasanid Period 1_ 205-487 CE

Conquest from 205 CE

"The Sasanian campaign to control the province of Persis/Fars had begun in 205-6, when the father of Ardashir I, Pabag, had dethroned the local ruler of the city of Istakhr, the capital of Fars, by the name of Gozihr."[5] Later sources claimed Pabag was a priest at a fire-temple in Istakhr.[6]
"King Papak, who usurped the crown of the Pars rulers, played a major role in unifying the land. He apparently had to wage a difficult struggle against the central Parthian government."[7]

Empire from 226 CE (with God-king and Achaemenid ideology)

King Papak's adopted son Ardashir inherited the crown. He was from the family of Sasan.[8]
The first Sasanian 'King of Kings' was Ardashir I who was crowned in 226 CE at Ctesiphon.[9]
Early Sasanids in their imperial ideology "considered themselves from the lineage of the gods" and used the Achaemenid title "King of Kings."[10]
Size of court and bureaucracy increases between Ardashir I and Shapur I (240-270 CE). Military success under Shapur I (240-270 CE) and Shapur II (309-379 CE). [11]

Rise of Zoroastrian Church under Kerdir 274 CE

Under Bahram II (274-293 CE) "the Sasanian kings lost much of their religious power as caretakers of the Anahid fire temple to Kerdir, who became the judge of the whole empire. ... from this point on, the priests acted as judges throughout the empire, and court cases were probably based on Zoroastrian law except when members of other religious minorities had disputes with each other."[12]
Zoroastrian priest Kerdir "began the persecution of the religious minorities in the empire, such as the Jews, Christians, Manichaeans, Mandeans, and Buddhists. ... Mani ... was imprisoned and put to death in 276 with the blessing (and to the relief) of Kerdir."[13]

Status quo from 294-325 CE (Zoroastrian control)

presumably the situation is the same under kings Narseh (293-303 CE) and Hormizd II (303-309 CE) and during the infancy of Shapur II when "the court and the Zoroastrian priests ran an empire that was secure and stable enough structurally and administratively to survive without a strong monarchy"[14]

Long reign of Shapur II and rise of court/bureaucracy

Under Shapur II, power of the nobility and priests increased substantially.[15] Does this imply at some point following the church of Kerdir and his persecutions the influence of priests diminished - perhaps due to the rise of the bureaucracy/court which may have accellerated during the infancy of Shapur II?
Time of Shapur II has been referred to as a golden age.

Violence begins from 379 CE

An inscription relates that Ardashar II (379-383 CE) purged "the great men and holders of authority to reduce their power."[16] The sophisticated, centralised bureaucracy was now "under the control of the priests" and its chief priest, with Kingship relegated to the status of a secular institution.[17] Ardashar may have purged a court/bureaucracy which had become over-mighty during the long (70-year) reign of Shapur II. This would have favoured the Zoroastrian priests.
The kings that followed Ardashar II (379-383 CE) "all met a violent end."[18] that appears to mean up to 420 CE: Shapur III, Wahram IV, Yazdgird I, Shapur IV, Khosrau the Usurper (?). this elite conflict reflects a power-struggle between the court/bureaucracy and the Zoroastrian church.

recognition of Nestorian Christianity 410 CE; ends with usurper 420 CE

Yazdgerd I (399-420 CE) called "the sinful one"[19] by Zoroastrian literature because he went against the wishes of the Zoroastrian priests.
the 'secular' kings become powerful enough to challenge the priests. Under Yazdgerd I (399-420 CE) Christianity was officially recognized.[20]
"first synod of the Nestorian Church was convened in 410" during reign of Yazdgerd I (399-420 CE).[21] "Persian Christianity became officially recognized and the Nestorian Patriach resided at the royal city of Ctesiphon; he and the Jewish exilarch became responsible for their coreligionists."[22]

Persecution of Christians and Jews from c.420 CE

Bahram V (420-438 CE) and Yazdgird II (438-457 CE) persecuted Christians
"Bahram V continued and intensified the persecution of Yazdagird's last days." Forced conversions. Property confiscated. Churches destroyed. [23]
Yazdgird II (438-457 CE) is noted for his persecution of Christians and Jews.

Infighting from 457 CE, famine and Hephthalites

Hormizd III (457-459 CE) defeated in battle by Peroz (459-484 CE) who was aided by Hephthalites (?)
Seven-year famine (464-471)
War with Kidarites and Hephthalites
Peroz captured by Hephthalites
Balash (484-488 CE) was deposed by nobility and priests.[24]
The first reign of Kavad I (488-496 CE) was ended by "dissatisfied nobility and priests" who had him imprisoned.[25]


_Sasanid Period 3_ 488-642 CE

Reforms during the long reigns of Kavad I and Khusrau I

Kavad I (499-531 CE) 21. Khusrau I (531-579 CE)
Khusrau I (531-579 CE) promoted minor nobility and reduced the power of aristocrats and their estates. Deghans became tax collectors. "For the first time, the power of the landed nobility was restricted and all the taxes were in the hands of the king."[26]
Khusrau I is credited with wise leadership and is known as "Plato's philosopher king."[27] In 570s CE Sasanian Empire was "at the apex of its glory and power, headed by a philosopher king" (Khosrau I).

Instablity from 579 CE

Hamizid IV (579-590 CE), who followed Khosrau I, had many enemies at court, killed many of the nobility and was harsh to the priests.
Hormizd IV deposed 589-590 CE by general and nobility who put on the throne his son, Khusrau II.[28]
Khusrau II forced to flee to Byzantium for the years 590-591 CE by Bahram but recruited an Armenenian army to regain the throne.[29]
Kushrau II was deposed by nobility and priests in 628 CE.[30] Khosrau II (590-628 CE) was forced to seek shelter in Byzantine Hierapolis against a challenger king, Wahram Chubin, who minted coins 590-591 CE. Khosrau II regained the throne (purges?) and then the empire reached its greatest territorial extent. Khosrau II was deposed by priests and nobility in 628 CE.
Kavad II (628-630 CE) conducted a fratricide, killing all the male heirs in the Sasanid family, and was assassinated.[31]
By 630s CE the empire was in confusion, had disintegrated into regional power-bases and internal conflict when Khuzistan fell to Caliph Umar. Arabs conquered the Sasanid stronghold (Persis) in 650 CE.


♠ Degree of centralization ♣ unitary state ♥ [32]

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ alliance ♥

Alliance with Hephthalites to defeat Kidarites.[33]

Marriage alliance between Hormizd II (303-309 CE) and the king of Kabul.[34]

Supra-cultural relations

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣ Parthian Empire II ♥ Persis homeland [35] which is Fars Province, Iran, which makes Parthian Empire the preceding polity. Sasanids originate from Parthian province of Persis.
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ continuity ♥
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣ Sassanid Empire II ♥
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ Persian ♥
♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ [3,000,000-3,500,000] ♥ km squared.

♠ Capital ♣ Ctesiphon; Dastagird; Ecbatana ♥ Ctesiphon: 270-499 CE First two rulers based in Persis homeland. [36] Ctesiphon was the administrative capital, seat of the king and the most important for economic and strategic reasons.[37] Ecbatana was a summer capital.[38] Istakhr in Fars was an administrative, religious and economic centre that also was "the ideological heart of the empire, since the temple of the dynasty's fire - the coronation place of many Sasanian rulers - was situated there."[39] Dastagird was a capital during the reign of Khurau II.[40]

♠ Language ♣ Pahlavi ♥ "The most widespread languages during the Sasanian era were Middle Persian (or Pahlavi), Parthian, Sogdian, Khwarizmian, Khotanese Saka and Bactrian; various texts in these languages are extant."[41] In Iraq: "Parsi-speaking Zoroastrians ruled Iraq, but the local populations were Aramaic-speaking Nestorians and Jews" [42] "Although we know little of Parthian administrative practice we may assume it provided the basis for the Sasanian administration that followed it in a closely related form of Middle Persian, and in a related script, in the 3rd century AD."[43]

General Description

The Sassanids came from the Parthian province of Persis near the Zagros mountains of western Iran. Ardashir I defeated the last Parthian ruler Ardawan (Artabanus IV) in 224 CE and claimed the title "King of Kings" in imitation of the ancient Archaemenids. The early Sassanid rulers claimed a divine descent until powerful Zoroastrian priests ended this by the 4th century. The long reign of Shapur II (309-379 CE) saw the peak of peace and security within the empire[44] that had a total population of perhaps 5 million people.

In the early period royal cities were built and administered by shahrabs who ruled as petty kings.[45] Centralization occurred in the later Sassanid period when the empire was split into four parts each ruled by a spahbad who had civil and military powers.[46]

The size of Persian court and bureaucracy notability increases between Ardashir I and Shapur I (240-270 CE).[47] Institutions of administration continued to evolve from those present in the Parthian era[48] a grand vizier now present at the central government in the capital Ctesiphon whose remit encompassed control of the diwans, diplomatic affairs as well as occasional stints as commander of the army.[49] By the fifth century the centralized bureaucracy was sophisticated enough that "the death of a king would not bring the empire down."[50]

Rise of Zoroastrian Church under Kerdir 274 CE had monumental impact on Persia with the persecution of religious minorities (Christians, Manichaeans, Mandeans, Jews and Buddhists)[51]. The Zoroastrian priests had initially tolerated rival religious such as Manichaeism until Shapur I (240-270 CE) but Mani was eventually executed.[52] By the time of Bahram II (274-293 CE) the Sasanian kings themselves had lost their own religious freedom as caretakers of the Anahid fire temple to a priest called Kerdir "who became the judge of the whole empire. ... from this point on, the priests acted as judges throughout the empire, and court cases were probably based on Zoroastrian law except when members of other religious minorities had disputes with each other."[53]

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ [2,600,000-2,700,000]: 220-300 CE; [3,100,000-3,200,000]: 301-498 CE ♥ KM2 [54] 2,300,000: 230 CE; 2,400,000: 250 CE; 2,500,000: 270 CE; 2,600,000: 290 CE; 2,700,000: 310 CE; 2,800,000: 330 CE; 2,900,000: 350 CE; 3,000,000: 370 CE; 3,100,000: 390 CE; 3,200,000: 410 CE; 3,300,000: 430 CE; 3,400,000: 450 CE; 3,420,000: 470 CE; 3,440,000: 490 CE

♠ Polity Population ♣ 5,000,000 ♥ People.

McEvedy and Jones (1978) Iran: 4 million; Iraq: 1 million.[55]

300 CE Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Transoxania, Pakistan
400 CE Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Transoxania, Pakistan

♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ 100,000: 220-360 CE; 250,000: 361-498 CE ♥ People. Ctesiphon 250,000: 361-400 CE.[56] Ctesiphon 100,000: 300 CE. [57]

Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ [5-6] ♥ [58]

1. Capital

2. Provincial capitals
3. District capitals (shahrestan)
4. Large towns
5. Villages
(6. Hamlets)


♠ Administrative levels ♣ 6 ♥

Early Sassanid period

administration in provinces and districts "did not differ greatly from that under the Parthians."[59]
In the early period "royal cities, almost equivalent to semi-independent kingdoms, were built" administered by a shahrab.[60]
Centralization occurred in the later Sassanid period when the empire was split into four parts each ruled by a spahbad who had civil and military powers.[61]


1. King of Kings[62]

_Central government_

2. Grand Vizier
Administration based in Ctesiphon
"Sassanid administration was headed by a Grand Vizier, who was in charge of political and diplomatic affairs. On occasion he commanded the army in the field. He also headed the divans (ministries), which were directed by secretaries expert in their various fields."[63]
3. Secretaries of a divan (ministry)[64]
4. Scribe in central administration inferred
5. Manager of state-run granary inferred, silk workshops
"As with the Parthians, the economy was based on agriculture."[65]
"State monopolies rivalled private concerns; in particular, raw silk from China was woven at workshops in Susa, Gundeshapur and Shustar."[66]
6. Worker in state-run granary inferred or silk workshop

_Provincial government_

2. Shahrabs[67]
Semi-independent vassal kingdoms (Merv, Kerman, Sakastan, Adiabene, Iberia, Makran, Mesene, Kushanshahr and Armenia). They had:
rulers called shahrabs, appointed by King of Kings[68]
"royal" capital cities[69]
military garrison[70]
The ruler of Armenia had a special title: "Great King of Armenia." It was the base for many new regents.[71]
3. Head of district level government[72]
4. Official of a division called rustag (number of villages)[73]
This administrator reported to a local government official?
5. Deghan of a division called deh (village)[74]

An exilarch was the civic cheiftain officer for the Jewish community. He collected taxes and represented the Jews at the imperial court.[75]

♠ Religious levels ♣ [4-5] ♥

_Zoroastrianism_ "or more exactly Mazdaism"[76]

Third-century CE Zoroastrian two priests were highly influential in the development of Zoroastrianism as the Sasanid state religion (three if we include Pabag, the founder of the Sasanian dynasty, who was a priest).

Kerdir "may be considered the father of the Zoroastrian church in this period, as he was the one who attempted to make Zoroastrianism into a uniform body, with a unified doctrine, attached to the state."[77]
"The Sasanian sources state that Tosar was responsible for the codification of the Avesta ... Kerdir brought about the organization of the church and a religious hierarchy."[78]


1. King of Kings (until Shapur II)

2. Ohrmaz mowbed (chief priest)[79] mowbedan mowbed[80]
mowbedan mowbed was the "head of the religious order"[81]
Kerdir was one powerful Zoroastrian priest, caretaker of the Anahid fire temple at time of Wahram II (274-293 CE).[82]
"When Sassanid kings were raised to the throne they received the insignia of royal authority from the chief Mobedh who held the highest religious office."[83]
3. mowbed (district level) (head priest)[84]
"important functions and carried out legal as well as religious and administrative duties.[85]
4. mow/mog
The magus (mow/mog) had a higher status and later was also involved in economic and legal matters. Above him was the chief magus (mowbed), who held an important position and was probably the main religious authority throughout the empire."[86]
4-5. herbeds (teacher priests)[87]
"instructed the people in daily ritual, prayer, and tradition and tended the fire."
"Three major fire-temples were established for the three classes ... Smaller fire-temples existed in the villages and towns, attended by a teacher-priest (herbed)."[88]

"Magians had a hierarchy parallel to that of the state, a hierarchical judicial administration specifically for Zoroastrians, a cult, scriptures, religious laws, and distinctive customs. It was the religion of the elite and rulers."[89]

Eight different priests required for some Zoroastrian rituals e.g. vispered ritual and the videvad sade purification ritual "who took up specific positions in the ritual area, also described in the Nirangestan."[90]

haoma-pressing priest (hawanan)
fire-lighting priest (atr-wakhsh)
presenting priest (frabertar)
tending priest, who brings water (abert or danu-uzwaza, which refers to the river Danu)
washing priest (asnatar)
mingling priest (raethwish-kar)
auditing priest (sraoshawarz)
one who brings sacrificial animal (pasu-wazah)

Comprehensive source on Zoroastrian religion: Moazami (2016) "Zoroastrianism: Religious texts, theology, history and culture."[91]

_Nestorian Christianity_

"first synod of the Nestorian Church was convened in 410" during reign of Yazdgerd I (399-420 CE).[92] "Persian Christianity became officially recognized and the Nestorian Patriach resided at the royal city of Ctesiphon; he and the Jewish exilarch became responsible for their coreligionists."[93] "The Sasanian state used the churches as intermediaries to regulate and tax the population."[94]

1. Patriach

"Persian Christianity became officially recognized and the Nestorian Patriach resided at the royal city of Ctesiphon".[95]
the Sasanid king "organized a Christian Persian church that grew in number, and many in the royal family and the nobility, especially the women, gravitated toward this religion."[96]
2. Catholicos in province
"The Christian community was headed by the Catholicos"[97]
"The Catholicos in each province oversaw the Christian congregation and provided money and guidance for the community."[98]
3. Metropolitan
"The Sasanians appointed a catholicos or patriarch and a metropolitan to preside over the bishops in parallel with the Sasanian administrative hierarchy." [99]
4. Bishops of Bishoprics
"According to al-Biruni, Christianity had reached Merv within 200 years of the birth of Christ and the first reference to a Merv bishopric dates to the year 334."[100]
5. Heads of Churches
"by the end of the Sasanian period there were churches and bishoprics established throughout the empire, and many from the royal family also converted to Christianity."[101]
"Royal permission was required for the election of the heads of churches, for construction of buildings, for burials, and even for the issue of monastic rules."[102]
6.


_Judaism_

1. Exilarch (Resh Galut)[103]

2. Rabbis[104]
3.


_Buddhism_

"The Buddhas of Bamiyan and a number of Iranian texts in the Sogdian and Khotanese languages are testaments to the importance of Buddhism in eastern Iran."[105]


_Manicheanism_

"Manicheans moved east and westward, through some still remained in Iran, to write down their tradition and spread it among all people."[106]

Manichaean community in Merv mid-3rd CE.[107]

♠ Military levels ♣ [7-9] ♥

Like the Achaemenids, the Sasanids likely used the decimal system to organize the Spah (army). The title Hazarmard/Hazarbad means "chief of a thousand." [108]

Khusrau I (later Sassanid period) changed the command structure. "Previously the entire army had been under the command of an officer known as the spahbad. Now, four commanders were appointed, each in charge of the troops of one-quarter of the country. Each of these newly created commanders had a deputy called a marzban."[109]

1. King

2. Great commander (Vuzurg-Framander. Managed state affairs whilst monarch on military expedition).
3. Commander-in-Chief (Eran-Spahbad, also an Andarzbad, Counsel to King).
4. Spah (lead by a Spahbad, army general)
Padgospan (his assistant)
Padan (his officers)
5. Gund (large regular division, lead by Gund-Salar)
5 or 6?. Immortals (10,000, commanded by a Varthragh-Nighan Khuadhay)
6. Drafsh (known to be a unit of 1,000 soldiers) - Is this the level of the Framandar, battlefield commander?
6. Royal Guard (1,000, commanded by a Pushtighban-Salar)
7. Vasht (small company)
(8. Unit of 10 soldiers?)
9. Individual soldier

Other units:[110]

Saravan (Commanded by an Aspbad and a Sadar)

Professions

♠ Professional military officers ♣ absent ♥ Sasanid society had four classes: warriors, scribes, priests, and commoners. The warriors (Arteshtaran) were an hereditary elite.[111]

Seven aristocratic families dominated the military and government leadership positions. All except the Sassans were Parthian in origin. [112]

House of Sassan, Aspahbad-Pahlav (Gurgan), Karin-Pahlav (Shiraz), Suren-Pahlav (Seistan), Spandiyadh (Nihavand), Mihram (Rayy), Guiw

Before the reforms of Khusrau I (later Sassanid period) "all nobles, great and small, had been obliged to equip themselves and their followers and serve in the army without pay, but Khusrau issued equipment to the poorer nobles and paid a salary for their services. Consequently, the power of the great nobles - who frequently had their own private armies - was reduced."[113]

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ absent ♥ "Payment for service might have arisen because of the vast income from silver mines, among other sources." [114]

Before the reforms of Khusrau I (later Sassanid period) "all nobles, great and small, had been obliged to equip themselves and their followers and serve in the army without pay, but Khusrau issued equipment to the poorer nobles and paid a salary for their services. Consequently, the power of the great nobles - who frequently had their own private armies - was reduced."[115]

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ present ♥ Under Shapur I Zoroastrian hierarchy becomes tied to state. (240-270 CE) [116]

Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ present ♥ Bureaucracy had scribes (dibirs), treasurers (ganzwars) and market inspectors (wazarbed). [117]

♠ Examination system ♣ inferred absent ♥ Achaemenids had an examination system within their Persian bureaucracy - presumably long lost by this period?

♠ Merit promotion ♣ inferred absent ♥

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ inferred present ♥ Mints.

Law

♠ Formal legal code ♣ {absent; present} ♥

absent

"codified law did not exist in Sasanian Iran" the Book of a Thousand Judicial Decisions "cannot be considered a legal code. It is one of the collections that were compiled as manuals for the administration of justice."[118]
Codification of Sasanian law occurred Khusrau I - Khusrau II. [119] later Sasanid period

present

"In the specialist literature, the Madigan has become known as the 'Sasanian Legal Code'. ... It is possible to reconstitute practically the entire system of Iranian law on the basis of the mass of information contained in the Code."[120]
According to the Dankard, a judge had to consider the Avesta, its Pahlavi translation and commentaries, and "the consesus of the Righteous (ham-dadestanith i wehan)".[121]
The law was based on religion, specifically "the Holy Scripture of the Avesta and its translation and commentaries in Pahlavi".[122]
Court cases judged on Zoroastrian law, unless both parties from another religion. [123] Codification of Sasanian law occurred Khusrau I - Khusrau II c.531 CE. [124]
Link between Iranian law and Zoroastrian religion shown in Madigan-i hazar dadestan [Book of a Thousand Judicial Decisions] c620 CE, author "was a contemporary of Khusrau II."[125]

♠ Judges ♣ present ♥

The highest legal official was the mowbedan mowbed, the top religious leader within the Zoroastrian church[126], whose precise relationship with the sahr dadwaran dadwar (the judge of the judges of the State, the head of the state judges)[127] is unknown. The mowbed were priest judges.[128] Judges known as rads were among other city officials including tax officials who "represented the central government and were responsible to provincial administrators".[129] The king could "pass judgement in criminal cases, as we may conclude from the Acts of the Christian Martyrs (see Wiessner 1967)."[130]

♠ Courts ♣ inferred present ♥

"Not obeying an order to appear in court was regarded as an obstruction of justice (azismand)".[131]

The highest legal official was the mowbedan mowbed, the top religious leader within the Zoroastrian church[132], whose precise relationship with the sahr dadwaran dadwar (the judge of the judges of the State, the head of the state judges)[133] is unknown. The mowbed were priest judges.[134] Judges known as rads were among other city officials including tax officials who "represented the central government and were responsible to provincial administrators".[135] The king could "pass judgement in criminal cases, as we may conclude from the Acts of the Christian Martyrs (see Wiessner 1967)."[136]

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣ absent ♥

The law was based on religion, specifically "the Holy Scripture of the Avesta and its translation and commentaries in Pahlavi".[137]

The highest legal official was the mowbedan mowbed, the top religious leader within the Zoroastrian church[138], whose precise relationship with the sahr dadwaran dadwar (the judge of the judges of the State, the head of the state judges)[139] is unknown. The mowbed were priest judges.[140] Judges known as rads were among other city officials including tax officials who "represented the central government and were responsible to provincial administrators".[141] The king could "pass judgement in criminal cases, as we may conclude from the Acts of the Christian Martyrs (see Wiessner 1967)."[142]

Specialized Buildings: polity owned

♠ irrigation systems ♣ present ♥ e.g. Nahravan canal. In later Sassanid period extensive areas brought into cultivation by Khusrau I.[143] "From the earliest times [in Babylonia], the flow of water was controlled for agricultural purposes by an elaborate system of canals, sluices, dams, embankments, and dikes."[144] Irrigation canals.[145] "Dam construction and qanat or tunnel excavation are among the inventions of Iranians. It is written of Shapur I in the necropolis tabloid that Shapur constructed dams over rivers using funds from his treasury to save farmers from drought. Shapur has said, 'In Susa (modern day Khuzestan) I built so many dams to relieve farmers of a need for water."[146]
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣ present ♥ "In the year 326 AD when the city of Susa was destroyed during an earthquake, Shapur ordered it to be rebuilt with all the urban facilities, including water flowing in every house, a sewer system and a laundry in each neighbourhood (Hashami, 2010)."[147]
♠ markets ♣ inferred present ♥ State had market inspectors (wazarbed).[148]
♠ food storage sites ♣ present ♥ Imperial granaries. [149]

Transport infrastructure

built and maintained by the state.

♠ Roads ♣ present ♥ [150]
♠ Bridges ♣ present ♥ Stone bridge 500 meters in extent.[151] "A number of bridges built during Shapur I's reign had dual utility, meaning that the bridges foundations were constructed in such a manner as to enable collection of water, while the main structure joined the two banks of the river."[152]
♠ Canals ♣ present ♥ in Mesopotamia? probably first under Khosrau I (531-579 CE).
♠ Ports ♣ inferred present ♥ "China and glass, textiles, garments, amber, papyrus and spices were imported; pepper and nard from Media, corn, cattle and manufactured goods were exported."[153]

Special purpose sites

♠ Mines or quarries ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Information

Writing System

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Written records ♣ inferred present ♥ "The most widespread languages during the Sasanian era were Middle Persian (or Pahlavi), Parthian, Sogdian, Khwarizmian, Khotanese Saka and Bactrian; various texts in these languages are extant."[154]
♠ Script ♣ inferred present ♥ Pahlavi script, Manichaean script ("variant of the Syriac script"), Parthian script.[155] "The most widespread languages during the Sasanian era were Middle Persian (or Pahlavi), Parthian, Sogdian, Khwarizmian, Khotanese Saka and Bactrian; various texts in these languages are extant."[156]
♠ Non-phonetic writing ♣ absent ♥
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Kinds of Written Documents

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Calendar ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Sacred Texts ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Religious literature ♣ present ♥ "Iranians were familiar with Greek philosophy from the Achaemenid period. This acquaintance was deepened in Sasanian times, leading to the influence of Greek philosophy on Zoroastrian religious works."[157] "Translations of, and commentaries upon, the Avesta ... in Middle Persia (also known as Pahlavi), as well as books written on the basis of oral traditions of Avestan material".[158] Zoroastrian priestly writing: "Middle Persian texts." Commentaries on Avesta. Philosophy and debate. Apocalyptic. Didactic. Geographical and epic. Legal. Cultural. Dictionaries. [159] Zoroastrian scriptures kept in the Avestra. [160]
♠ Practical literature ♣ inferred present ♥ "There were several handbooks in Pahlavi dealing with institutions, court manners and ceremonies, the duties of the various social classes, the rules of battle, the arts of warfare (horsemanship and shooting), and games and entertainments (such as polo, chess and backgammon."[161]
♠ History ♣ present ♥ "Important events of the reign of each of the Sasanian kings were written down and preserved in the imperial archives, a practice that probably dates from the very beginning of Sasanian rule."[162] "in about the 5th century, priests attached to the Sassanid court began to compile an immense chronicle, the Khwaday Namag" [163] - however the "Book of Kings" might also be considered fiction, but to the extent it is a pretense at a history it is historical writing. "The idea of compiling a written national history for the Iranians appeared toward the end of the Sasanian period, especially at the time of Khusrau I, during whose reign books were either written in Pahlavi or translated from other languages, such as Syriac, the Indian languages and Greek."[164]
♠ Philosophy ♣ inferred present ♥ "Iranians were familiar with Greek philosophy from the Achaemenid period. This acquaintance was deepened in Sasanian times, leading to the influence of Greek philosophy on Zoroastrian religious works."[165] Advice to kings genre: "Several works discussed government policies and ways and means of governing the kingdom. Among them is the Name-i Tansar [Letter of Tansar], written by Tansar (or, in the correct form, Tosar), the Zoroastrian mobad (high priest) at the time of Ardashir I, in response to Gushnasp, king of Tabaristan. ... changes were made to it in later periods, particularly during the reign of Khusrau I.[166]
♠ Scientific literature ♣ inferred present ♥ "Iranian interest in Indian philosophy and science during the Sasanian period is demonstrated by translations into Middle Persian of Indian works on mathematics, astronomy and medicine, and of belles-lettres and didactic texts".[167] in volume more in later Sassanid period than the first Court doctors, including Indian doctors, suggest Indian medical works likely translated.[168] However, most scientific literature translated was from Syriac and Greek.[169] "astrologers and the various kinds of medical specialists".[170]
♠ Fiction ♣ inferred present ♥ "The interest in oral literature in pre-Islamic Iran meant that, apart from state or commerical records and documents and, on rare occasions, religious works, nothing was written down until the Sasanian period. Secular oral literature was preserved orally by gosan (poet-ministrels) or khunyagar (story-tellers)."[171] Religious and secular writings but secular writings "written within the framework of Zoroastrian religious beliefs".[172] "Epic stories, frequently in verse, remained an oral form until the Sasanian period and some were used in the compilation of the Khwaday-namag [Book of Lords] ... in Pahlavi."[173] must have been written fiction of Greek works or derived from Greek works, even if only read by Greeks themselves, in the cities, which may still have had Greek communities. on the basis of Persian tradition only though the code would appear to be inferred absent at this time.

Money

♠ Articles ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Tokens ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Precious metals ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Foreign coins ♣ inferred present ♥ "Banking was well advanced."[174]
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ present ♥ Coinage from Ardashir I. [175] "Striking coins was always a royal prerogative, and during the entire Sasanian history the typology employed is the same over the entire empire, proving that the mints always were under control of the royal central authorities."[176] "Sasanan coinage of silver and copper, more rarely of gold, circulated over a wide area".[177] Drachms (fine silver), half-drachms, obols, half-obols, tetradrachms ("poor silver alloy")[178] Khusrau II, later Sassanid period, was the last ruler to issue gold coins.[179]
♠ Paper currency ♣ absent ♥

Postal System

♠ Couriers ♣ present ♥ There was a postal system under the Sassanids.[180]
♠ Postal stations ♣ present ♥ "In Persia the postal service appears to have originated in the Achaemenid period. ... There were way stations where the couriers could rest and where fresh horses could be obtained. ... Under the Sasanians a similar postal system appears to have been in operation; in a peace treaty concluded with Byzantium in a.d. 561 one clause stipulated that envoys should be supplied with mounts at the postal stations maintained by both empires."[181] The barid of the Islamic era thought to have been based on earlier system of postal stations.
♠ General postal service ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥

Military Technologies

Military use of Metals

♠ Copper ♣ inferred present ♥ bronze is made with copper. Copper weapons present in preceding Parthian polity [182]
♠ Bronze ♣ inferred present ♥ present in preceding Parthian polity [183]
♠ Iron ♣ inferred present ♥ present in preceding Parthian polity [184]
♠ Steel ♣ present ♥ "It is believed that Indian steel was exported in the early centuries A.D. and was known even in the time of Alexander. By the sixth century there is more definite evidence of the manufacture of Damascene swords and the steel used for this purpose came from India."[185] Artaxerxes II of Persia (Achaemenids, ruled around 400 BCE) had a Greek physician called Ctesias of Cnidus who was impressed by his sword of Indian steel.[186][187] Use of Damascene steel certainly by 540 CE: "This unique type of steel was a major technological innovation and Iran played an important role in its production over the centuries. Circumstantial evidence suggests that a trade in a special steel, conceivably the ingots from which damascene steel was made, was underway in the Parthian and Sasanian period. Sometime after 115 A.D. the Parthians were importing iron (steel) from some point to the east" [188] "High-carbon steel was being produced in the eastern Iranian region from the tenth century CE."[189]

Projectiles

♠ Javelins ♣ present ♥ [190]
♠ Atlatl ♣ absent ♥ new world weapon
♠ Slings ♣ present ♥ [191]
♠ Self bow ♣ inferred absent ♥ inferred absent from presence of more powerful composite bow.
♠ Composite bow ♣ present ♥ Composite bow of Central Asian design, made out of horn, wood and sinew. Had a range of 175 meters, accurate within 50-60 meters.[192] at the muster parades of Khusrau I (second Sassanid period) cavalry units required to have "mail, breastplate, helmet, leg guards, arm guards, horse armour, lance, buckler, sword, mace, battle axe, quiver of thirty arrows, bow case with two bows, and two spare bow strings."[193]
♠ Crossbow ♣ inferred present ♥ "the Persian nawak, also known by its Arabic name of majra or mijrat. An early reference is the use of it by the Sassanid Persians against the Arabs in +637 when it was termed qaus al-nawakiyah (the tube bow). In the Islamic world extraordinary distances were shot with this device." [194] Present in preceding and succeeding polities.
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ present ♥ "Adapting Roman methods, Sassanid siege technology advanced greatly between the first and sixth centuries. The Sassanians employed offensive siege weapons such as scorpions, ballistae, battering rams, and moving towers."[195]
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ absent ♥ First known use during Byzantine Empire.
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ absent ♥ Inferred as came later. [196]
♠ Handheld firearms ♣ absent ♥

Handheld weapons

♠ War clubs ♣ inferred present ♥ "During the reign of the first King Khosrow, or Chosroes (531-79), a cavalryman's equipment consisted of body armor, breastplate, helmet, greaves and arm shields, horse armor, lance, sword, club, battleaxe, a quiver with thirty arrows, two reflex bows, and two replacement strings."[197]
♠ Battle axes ♣ present ♥ Battleaxe.[198]
♠ Daggers ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Swords ♣ present ♥ Sword.[199][200]
♠ Spears ♣ present ♥ "The main weapon of the "cataphracts," as the cavalrymen were called, was the bow, which eventually gave way to the lance."[201] Heavy lances.[202] Lance.[203]
♠ Polearms ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Animals used in warfare

♠ Dogs ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Donkeys ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Horses ♣ present ♥ As with the Parthians that preceded them, the bulk of the Sasanian military was made up of cavalry. This enabled rapid response to multiple borders. The heavy armoured knight, the Savaran Knights, made up the Sasanian elite cavalry. [204]
♠ Camels ♣ [present; absent] ♥ [205]
♠ Elephants ♣ present ♥ "The Christians of the Sasanian Empire were also persecuted when the city of Susa, which was the hotbed of Christian activity, was razed by the elephants of The Sasanian army.[206] According to Ammianus Marcellinus (XXIII, 6.75-80) "All of them without exception, even at banquets and on festal days, appear girt with swords; an old Greek custom".[207] Present "despite the enormous logistic requirements."[208]

Armor

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Leather, cloth ♣ present ♥ "The Persian royal horses are caparisoned, each one bearing rows of badges or symbols. Such trappers could have been of leather or quilted fabric with the de- vices applied in precious metals."[209]
♠ Shields ♣ present ♥ Mostly used by heavy infantry and foot archers. One-piece leather hide, later wicker-work and rawhide. Paighan siege workers used large shields made of goat wool. Sasanian cavalry did not use large shields. In the later Sasanian Empire a small buckler shield was sometimes worn on the left forearm.[210] "The cavalry do not appear to have used shields in the Early Sasanian period."[211]
♠ Helmets ♣ present ♥ Two-piece, ridge helmet and the four-part Spangenhelm. Later designs incorporated mail to protect the face. [212] Conical helmets.[213]
♠ Breastplates ♣ present ♥ Armoured knight had protection for the torso, arms and legs.[214] "During the reign of the first King Khosrow, or Chosroes (531-79), a cavalryman's equipment consisted of body armor, breastplate, helmet, greaves and arm shields".[215]
♠ Limb protection ♣ present ♥ [216] Illustration of Shapur I shows "laminated thighguards which terminate above the knee". [217] "During the reign of the first King Khosrow, or Chosroes (531-79), a cavalryman's equipment consisted of body armor, breastplate, helmet, greaves and arm shields".[218]
♠ Chainmail ♣ present ♥ Mail armour. [219] Chainmail: "by the time of the Muslim conquestions it was probably the main form of body armour for both Byzantine and Sassanian soldiers."[220] Mail and lamellar armour.[221] Chainmail: "by the time of the Muslim conquestions it was probably the main form of body armour for both Byzantine and Sassanian soldiers."[222] Mail and lamellar armour.[223] at the muster parades of Khusrau I (second Sassanid period) cavalry units required to have "mail, breastplate, helmet, leg guards, arm guards, horse armour, lance, buckler, sword, mace, battle axe, quiver of thirty arrows, bow case with two bows, and two spare bow strings."[224]
♠ Scaled armor ♣ present ♥ Scale armour. [225] Mail and lamellar armour.[226]
♠ Laminar armor ♣ present ♥ Laminated armour. [227] Mail and lamellar armour.[228]
♠ Plate armor ♣ unknown ♥


Naval technology

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ inferred present ♥ Lacking early on, some ships later in period? Certainly in second Sassanid period they controlled Persian Gulf with Navy.[229]

Fortifications

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ inferred present ♥ basic defensive technology
♠ Ditch ♣ inferred present ♥ basic defensive technology
♠ Moat ♣ inferred present ♥ moat at Hatra in this period?
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ suspected unknown ♥ unknown whether walls were mortared
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ suspected unknown ♥ [230] Sassanid city planning incorporated walls.[231] unknown whether walls were mortared
♠ Fortified camps ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Complex fortifications ♣ present ♥ [232] Most Sasanian cities were fortified.[233] "The acme of Sasanian military construction is represented by the fortifications of Darband, which stood across the road along the west coast of the Caspian; their construction began under Yazdgird II (438-457). The defences include the city’s northern and southern walls, the citadel and a wall strengthened by stone forts that stretched 40 km to the Caucasus mountains."[234]
♠ Long walls ♣ 195 ♥ KM. Great Wall of Gorgan. Khusrau I rebuilt "Sadd-i Isakandar ('Alexander's barrier'), or Sadd-i Anushirvan... the wall of Tammisha, running from the mountains to the seashore and closing the eastern approach to Mazandaran" on the Gurgan plain. "Khusrau is also supposed to have rebuilt the wall and defences of Darband in the Caucasus."[235]
♠ Modern fortifications ♣ absent ♥

Phase II Variables (polity-based)

Institutional Variables

♠ RA ♣ Edward A L Turner ♥

Limits on Power of the Chief Executive

Power distributed

♠ Constraint on executive by government ♣ present ♥ During the infancy of Shapur II (309-379 CE) "the court and the Zoroastrian priests ran an empire that was secure and stable enough structurally and administratively to survive without a strong monarchy. This scenario also signaled to the courtiers and the nobility that the empire could be managed without a powerful king."[236] "Sassanid administration was headed by a Grand Vizier, who was in charge of political and diplomatic affairs. On occasion he commanded the army in the field. He also headed the divans (ministries), which were directed by secretaries expert in their various fields."[237] "[Manuals for the administration of justice" contain "general information about the rights of specific state departments and officials"[238] The Book of a Thousand Judicial Decisions contains "passages from official edicts and decrees."[239] The king often recruited administrators to the bureaucracy from outside the dominant families. This new class known as "'the grandees and nobles' had the function, in effect, of checking the power of the great families from encroaching. This class included the high state officers, ministers, heads of the administration, and royal officials. Its growth and development introduced a new element into society".[240] That society was "based on descent groups which were the most influential political, religious, and economic units."[241] Sasanids agreed to be the guardian of Theodosius II, the son of and successor to the East Roman Emperor Arcadius (383-408 CE). From this time "guardianship of the hiers to the throne of the respective empires" was sometimes requested and granted on both sides. The fact this helped to secure the succession possibly indicates "each were more fearful of internal opposition than of each other."[242] Balash (484-488 CE) was deposed by nobility and priests.[243] An inscription relates that Ardashar II (379-383 CE) purged "the great men and holders of authority to reduce their power."[244] Fifth century kings were "generally weak, and the nobility and the Zoroastrian priests were able to conduct their activities at the expense of the royal power."[245] The first reign of Kavad I (488-496 CE) was ended by "dissatisfied nobility and priests" who had him imprisoned.[246] Head of "seven great families", with lineages from the Achaemenid period, who were feudal rulers. At least before the sixth century fiscal reforms of Khusrau I the peasants paid taxes to them in addition to the Sasanid rulers, and they held both civil and military office.[247]
♠ Constraint on executive by non-government ♣ present ♥ During the infancy of Shapur II (309-379 CE) "the court and the Zoroastrian priests ran an empire that was secure and stable enough structurally and administratively to survive without a strong monarchy. This scenario also signaled to the courtiers and the nobility that the empire could be managed without a powerful king."[248] "Sassanid administration was headed by a Grand Vizier, who was in charge of political and diplomatic affairs. On occasion he commanded the army in the field. He also headed the divans (ministries), which were directed by secretaries expert in their various fields."[249] "[Manuals for the administration of justice" contain "general information about the rights of specific state departments and officials"[250] The Book of a Thousand Judicial Decisions contains "passages from official edicts and decrees."[251] The king often recruited administrators to the bureaucracy from outside the dominant families. This new class known as "'the grandees and nobles' had the function, in effect, of checking the power of the great families from encroaching. This class included the high state officers, ministers, heads of the administration, and royal officials. Its growth and development introduced a new element into society".[252] That society was "based on descent groups which were the most influential political, religious, and economic units."[253] Sasanids agreed to be the guardian of Theodosius II, the son of and successor to the East Roman Emperor Arcadius (383-408 CE). From this time "guardianship of the hiers to the throne of the respective empires" was sometimes requested and granted on both sides. The fact this helped to secure the succession possibly indicates "each were more fearful of internal opposition than of each other."[254] Balash (484-488 CE) was deposed by nobility and priests.[255] An inscription relates that Ardashar II (379-383 CE) purged "the great men and holders of authority to reduce their power."[256] Fifth century kings were "generally weak, and the nobility and the Zoroastrian priests were able to conduct their activities at the expense of the royal power."[257] The first reign of Kavad I (488-496 CE) was ended by "dissatisfied nobility and priests" who had him imprisoned.[258] Head of "seven great families", with lineages from the Achaemenid period, who were feudal rulers. At least before the sixth century fiscal reforms of Khusrau I the peasants paid taxes to them in addition to the Sasanid rulers, and they held both civil and military office.[259]
♠ Impeachment ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Social Mobility

Status

Elite status

♠ elite status is hereditary ♣ present ♥ Sasanid society had four classes: warriors, scribes, priests, and commoners. The warriors (Arteshtaran) were an hereditary elite.[260] Seven aristocratic families dominated the military and government leadership positions. All except the Sassans were Parthian in origin. [261] The warriors (Arteshtaran) were an hereditary elite.[262] Some of the powerful families at the top of the Sasanid state "held hereditary offices, both civil and military".[263] Formal "charters of rank (gah-namag)" showed an individual's precise status in relation to society and the king.[264] Nobles were also graded among themselves.[265] The sahryaran (local dynasties), waspuhragan (princes), wuzurgan (heads of aristocratic families), azadan (other noblement). Membership of one of these noble grades was a prerequisite for "access to any state or court office of importance."[266] "Next-of-kin marriage assumed increasing importance in Zoroastrian teachings during later Sasanian and early Islamic periods. Religious leaders encouraged this form of marriage on the grounds that it emulated the act of creation ... Priests argued that marriage within the family produced stronger males, more virtuous females, and higher quality and quantity of children, and it protected the purity of the race and propagated it".[267]

Religion and Normative Ideology

♠ RA ♣ Enrico Cioni; Edward A L Turner ♥

Deification of Rulers

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ present ♥ "The Sasanians identified Iran as the place where the ‘good religion’ (MP weh den) predominated. As seen on Ardashir’s investiture relief above, for Sasanian monarchs it was all about the xwarrah, the divine fortune or glory, which was brought to the king, and then to the land and its inhabitants through the bestowal of power by Ohrmazd. [...] The image of a ram appears on Sasanian stucco work and personal seals as a symbol of the xwarrah. The xwarrah is also indicated in various motifs on the crowns of Sasanian monarchs, such as a bird with a pearl in its beak. The significance of the diadem of rule as the repository of xwarrah is evidenced on the Sasanian inscription of Narseh (293-302 CE) at Paikuli, which tells of the punishment of one Wahnam, who had been ‘driven by Ahriman and the devs’ to place the crown on the head of a false ruler. Wahnam’s punishment was to be bound and brought to Narseh on a maimed donkey, and then killed." [268]

"Early Sasanian art is of the proclamatory type. Designed to assert the divine nature of kingship and to reinforce the state religion, Zoroastrianism".[269]

The King of Kings was the "representative of Ohrmazd on earth and the enemy of the followers of Ahriman."[270]

Sasanian iconography and inscriptions say the rulers are blessed by the gods [271], but have not descended from them.

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ present: 205-300 CE; [present; absent]: 301-399 CE; absent: 400-499 CE ♥

300 CE

Early Sasanids in their imperial ideology "considered themselves from the lineage of the gods" and used the Achaemenid title "King of Kings."[272] However, the Kayanid (Avestan) ideology was used from the fourth to sixth centurey CE.[273]
"In official inscriptions the Sasanian kings called themselves 'Mazda - worshipping majesty, of the race of the gods'. According to Ammianus Marcellinus (XXIII, 6.5), the Sasanian king considered himself 'brother of the sun and moon. On reliefs, 'in the language of transparent symbols, the King of Kings is shown as the earthly incarnation of the supreme deity.'"[274]
"Early Sasanian art is of the proclamatory type. Designed to assert the divine nature of kingship and to reinforce the state religion, Zoroastrianism".[275]
The King of Kings was the "representative of Ohrmazd on earth and the enemy of the followers of Ahriman."[276]
Under Bahram II (274-293 CE) "the Sasanian kings lost much of their religious power as caretakers of the Anahid fire temple to Kerdir, who became the judge of the whole empire. ... from this point on, the priests acted as judges throughout the empire, and court cases were probably based on Zoroastrian law except when members of other religious minorities had disputes with each other."[277]

400 CE

"By the end of the fourth century, the sacral aspect of kingship was curtailed by the increasingly powerful Zoroastrian clergy, and from the sixth century onwards it gravitated toward the title and conception of xwarrah (glory) of the King of Kings of Iranians."[278]
"The Sasanians also emphasized the millenarian aspect of Zoroastrianism, which waited for the savior to usher in the end of the world and of time."[279]

625 CE

Early seventh century, Queen Boran minted ceremonial gold coins "that stated she was the restorer of her lineage, the race of gods, which was emphasized in the early Sasanian period."[280]

Note that Ammianus Marcellinus is only one source and a Roman one at that so perhaps there could be political bias here - reporting one case as if it was a general feature of the Sasanid elites. however, an {absent; present} code could be appropriate the Phase II human sacrifice variable - at least for early Sasanid history. did the early Sasanid kings "claim the power of life and death over slaves and commons" because they considered themselves "from the lineage of the gods" , "of the race of the gods", the "earthly incarnation of the supreme deity"? The idea among the Sasanid elite must have been powerful because it was around even in the early seventh century when Queen Boran attempted, against the ideology of the Zoroastrian authorities, to be the "restorer of her lineage, the race of gods".


Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

(CC: I have changed the following ideology codes to reflect Zorastrianism reinforcing equality, based on the descriptions provided. Particularly the following quotations,'Zoroastrian eschatology held that the potential for resurrection and salvation was universal', and Mazdakism, advocated "egalitarianism in terms of sharing wealth and property, including women" and briefly resulted in "a land redistribution that diminished the power of both the priestly and upper classes, and benefitted the lower classes in both Iran and the client states to the west")

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ present ♥ Zoroastrian eschatology held that the potential for resurrection and salvation was universal [281]. However, in the fifth century, a new sect, Mazdakism, advocated "egalitarianism in terms of sharing wealth and property, including women" and briefly resulted in "a land redistribution that diminished the power of both the priestly and upper classes, and benefitted the lower classes in both Iran and the client states to the west" [282]. This, as well as the emphasis placed in both iconography and inscriptions on the exhalted status of rulers and priests [283], suggests that the Zoroastrianism practiced by the Sasanians drew a stark line between rulers and commoners.

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ present ♥ Zoroastrian eschatology held that the potential for resurrection and salvation was universal [284]. However, in the fifth century, a new sect, Mazdakism, advocated "egalitarianism in terms of sharing wealth and property, including women" and briefly resulted in "a land redistribution that diminished the power of both the priestly and upper classes, and benefitted the lower classes in both Iran and the client states to the west" [285]. This, as well as the emphasis placed in both iconography and inscriptions on the exhalted status of rulers and priests [286], suggests that the Zoroastrianism practiced by the Sasanians drew a stark line between rulers and commoners.
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ present ♥ Zoroastrian eschatology held that the potential for resurrection and salvation was universal [287]. However, in the fifth century, a new sect, Mazdakism, advocated "egalitarianism in terms of sharing wealth and property, including women" and briefly resulted in "a land redistribution that diminished the power of both the priestly and upper classes, and benefitted the lower classes in both Iran and the client states to the west" [288]. This, as well as the emphasis placed in both iconography and inscriptions on the exhalted status of rulers and priests [289], suggests that the Zoroastrianism practiced by the Sasanians drew a stark line between rulers and commoners.
♠ production of public goods ♣ inferred present ♥ Balali, Keulartz and Korthals link Zoroastrian ethics to the construction of qanats, an ancient irrigation system, in pre-Islamic Iran. Through the Zoroastrian exhortation to carry out 'good deeds', they argue that the worshipper 'is directed to relieve the poor, to irrigate and cultivate the soil, to provide food and fresh water in places where needed, and to devote the surplus of his wealth in charity to the well-being and prosperity of his fellow man'.[290] However, the focus of their article is on the lessons we could learn from 'traditional' systems of water management, rather than on rigorous historical analysis. It is unclear to what extent worshippers of Ahura Mazda in this specific polity actually laboured to produce public goods, directed solely by their religious values.

Moralizing Supernatural Powers

♠ Moral concern is primary ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is certain ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing norms are broad ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is targeted ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement of rulers ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by elites ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by commoners ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in afterlife ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in this life ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is agentic ♣ present ♥

These data were reviewed by expert advisors and consultants. For a detailed description of these data, refer to the relevant Analytic Narratives, reference tables, and acknowledgements page. [291] [292] [293]

References

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  8. (Litvinsky, Shah and Samghabadi 1994, 466-467) Litvinsky, B. A. Shah, Hussain, M. Samghabadi, R. Shabani. The Rise of Sasanian Iran. in Harmatta, Janos. Puri, B. N. Etemadi, G. F. eds. 1994. History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Volume II. The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizatins 700 B.C. to A.D. 250. UNESCO Publishing.
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  10. (Daryaee 2012, 200) Daryaee, Touraj. The Sasanian Empire (224-651 CE). in Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press. Oxford.
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