Ardashir II

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Ardashir II was the tenth Sassanid King of Persia from 379 to 383.

He is believed by some to be the son and by others to be the brother of Shapur II. However, it is well-known that under the reign of his predecessor, Shapur II of Persia (309–379), Ardashir II had served as governor-King of Adiabene, where he had reportedly persecuted Christians.

However, the acts of brutality against Christians attributed to him severely contradict the unanimous view that he was the most kind and virtuous of the Sassanian rulers. Ardashir II was given the epithet "Nihoukar" or "Beneficient" by the Persians. The Arabs called him "Al Djemil" or "the Virtuous". According to the "Modjmel-al-Tewarikh," he took no taxes from his subjects during the four years of his reign, and thereby secured to himself their affection and gratitude.

Relations With Armenia

Soon after his accession, events in Armenia seemed to occupy Ardashir's attention. Arshak II's son Pap had been murdered during Shapur's reign and the Romans had replaced him with a certain Varazdat who was a distant member of the Arshakuni family. However, real power was in the hands of a certain Moushegh who appeared to be a noble in the Armenian court. Moushegh was suspected of having conspired with the Emperor of Rome and was murdered by Varazdat. This act roused the indignation of Moushegh's brother Manuel who rebelled against Varazdat and with the support of Persia deposed him and placed upon the Armenian throne Zermandukht, the widow of Pap and Arshak III, Pap's son, who made Manuel the Sparapet or Commander-in-chief. In return for their services, Manuel allowed the Persians to maintain a garrison in Armenia.

But this arrangement did not work for long. A nobleman named Meroujan wrongly informed Manuel that the commandant of the Persian garrison desired to capture him. Enraged, Manuel fell upon the ten thousand Persian soldiers stationed in Armenia and murdered them. But Manuel died soon afterwards and confusion followed. Desirous of maintaining peace in the borderlands, the Roman Emperor Theodosius I and Ardashir II decided upon a treaty. But Ardashir II died in 383 before the treaty could be signed. The treaty was eventually signed and ratified by his son Shapur III in the year 384.

References

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