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Relations between the kings and nobility of Sassanid Persia

By James Robert Daniel Carey

Abstract

The following thesis is an investigation into the nature of the relationship between the Shahanshahs (‘King of Kings’) of Sassanid Persia and their chief subjects, with particular focus on the period from the end of the fifth century until the middle of the seventh. The intent is to contribute an understanding of the manner in which this\ud relationship did or did not change during the period in question. The primary materials used have been the literary sources that remain extant, particularly the work of al-Tabari, but also those of the various Roman and Byzantine writers where appropriate.\ud \ud Although it would have been possible to treat the subject in a thematic manner, it was simpler to lay it out in a chronological fashion. In accordance with this, each of\ud the three chapters corresponds with a period of Sassanid history. The introduction is concerned with the source material and its relevance to the question at hand. The\ud first chapter investigates the years from the accession of Ardashir I to the death of Kavad. The second focuses on the reforms of Khusrau I and their relevance to the relationship while the final chapter continues until the fall of the Empire to the Muslim invaders. The conclusion then ties all of the previous chapters together and concludes the argument.\ud \ud The principal contention, as set out in the second and third chapters in addition to the conclusion, is that there was no measurable alteration to the relationship between the Shahanshahs and their nobles caused by the reforms of Khusrau I, nor did it appear to alter substantially during the entirety of the Empire. The evidence bears this out,\ud both that of the Arabic sources and the Byzantine writers

Topics: DS
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:842

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