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Shērōē (also spelled Shīrūya, New Persian: شیرویه), better known by his dynastic name of Kavad II (Middle Persian: 𐭪𐭥𐭠𐭲Kawād; New Persian: قباد Qobād or Qabād), was king (shah) of the Sasanian Empire briefly in 628. He was the son of Khosrow II (r. 590–628), whom he succeeded after having him overthrown in a coup d'état. Kavad's reign is seen as a turning point in Sasanian history, and has been argued by some scholars as playing a key role in the fall of the Sasanian Empire.

Kavad II
𐭪𐭥𐭠𐭲
King of kings of Iran and Aniran
Coin of the Sasanian king Kavad II (cropped), minted at Susa in 628.jpg
Coin of Kavad II, minted at Ray in 628
Shahanshah of the Sasanian Empire
Reign25 February 628 –
6 September 628
PredecessorKhosrow II
SuccessorArdashir III
Born590
Died6 September 628(628-09-06) (aged 37–38)
Dastagird
SpouseAnzoy the Roman
IssueArdashir III
HouseHouse of Sasan
FatherKhosrow II
MotherMaria
ReligionZoroastrianism

Background and riseEdit

Sheroe was the son of Khosrow II, the last prominent king (shah) of the Sasanian Empire, and Maria, a Greek woman, who was reportedly a Byzantine princess. Sheroe was later imprisoned by his father, who wanted to ensure the succession of his favorite son Mardanshah, the son of his favorite wife, Shirin. His father's reputation had been ruined during the last phase of the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628. In 627, the Sasanian general Rhahzadh was slain and Dastgerd, the king's favorite residence, had been sacked into oblivion by Byzantine emperor Heraclius, who was advancing towards the nearby Sasanian capital of Ctesiphon. In 628, Sheroe was released by the feudal families of the Sasanian Empire, which included the Ispahbudhan spahbed ("army chief") Farrukh Hormizd and his two sons Rostam Farrokhzad and Farrukhzad; Shahrbaraz of the House of Mihran; the Armenian faction represented by Varaztirots II Bagratuni and finally the kanarang of the eastern Sasanian province of Abarshahr.[1]

ReignEdit

On 25 February, Sheroe, along with his commander Aspad Gushnasp, captured Ctesiphon and imprisoned Khosrow II. He then proclaimed himself as shah of the Sasanian Empire and assumed the dynastic name of Kavad II. He proceeded to have all his brothers and half-brothers executed, including the heir Mardanshah, who was Khosrow's favourite son. The murder of all his brothers, "all well-educated, valiant, and chivalrous men",[2] strapped the Sasanian dynasty of a future competent ruler, and has been described as a "mad rampage" and "reckless".[3] Three days later he ordered Mihr Hormozd to execute his father. However, after the regicide of his father, Kavad also proceeded to have Mihr Hormozd killed.[4] His sisters Boran and Azarmidokht reportedly criticized and scolded him for his barbaric actions, which made him filled with remorse.[5]

Due to Kavad's actions, his reign is seen as a turning point in Sasanian history, and has been argued by some scholars as playing a key role in the fall of the Sasanian Empire.[3] The overthrow and death of Khosrow culminated in a chaotic civil war, with the most powerful members of the nobility gaining full autonomy and starting to create their own government. The hostilities between the Persian (Parsig) and Parthian (Pahlav) noble-families were also resumed, which split up the wealth of the nation.[2] With the agreement of the Iranian nobles, he then made peace with the victorious emperor Heraclius, which allowed the Byzantines to (re)gain all their lost territories, their captured soldiers, a war indemnity, along with the True Cross and other relics that were lost in Jerusalem in 614.[6]

Kavad also appointed Armenian nobleman Varaztirots II Bagratuni as marzban (general of a frontier province, "margrave") of Sasanian Armenia, and appointed Ishoyahb II (628–645) as the new Catholicos (Eastern Patriarch) of the Nestorian Church of the East (at Seleucia-Ctesiphon).[7] Kavad later died from plague after a few months' reign on 6 September 628. The grandees (wuzurgan) of the empire elected his eight-year-old son Ardashir III. In reality, however, he exercised little power and his empire was controlled by his vizier Mah-Adhur Gushnasp, whose duty was to protect the empire until Ardashir became old enough to rule.

MarriageEdit

A passage of the Chronicle of Edessa identifies "Anzoy the Roman" as the wife of Kavad II and mother of Ardashir III. She was probably a Christian princess from the Byzantine Empire.[8]

In popular cultureEdit

Siroe is the subject of operas by a number of composers on a libretto by Metastasio, including Pasquale Errichelli, Johann Adolph Hasse, Leonardo Vinci, Antonio Vivaldi and George Frideric Handel.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pourshariati 2008, p. 173.
  2. ^ a b Shahbazi 2005.
  3. ^ a b Kia 2016, pp. 255-256.
  4. ^ Al-Tabari 1985–2007, v. 5: p. 398.
  5. ^ Al-Tabari 1985–2007, v. 5: p. 399.
  6. ^ Oman 1893, p. 212.
  7. ^ Nahal Tajadod, Les Porteurs de Lumière, Plon, Paris, 1993, 323–324.
  8. ^ Martindale, Jones & Morris 1992, p. 94.

SourcesEdit

Kavad II
Preceded by
Khosrow II
King of kings of Iran and Aniran
25 February 628 – 6 September 628
Succeeded by
Ardashir III