The Iranian History 363 AD


The Battle Of Ctesiphon (Tisfun)

May, 26, 363 AD

This Silver plate shows Sassanid king Shapour II Hunting. He is mounted on the back of a deer pushing his dagger into its neck. Shapour II (309-379) became king when he was a fetus! During Shapour II's reign, the Sassanid Empire reached its glory again.After the death of Constantinus 2 on Nov, 3, 361, Julianus Apostata proclaimed the sole Emperor of Rome. He spent more than 2 years preparing for an expedition against the Sassanid Empire. Intelligence from Roman spies suggested that Shapour 2’s departure from capital was the best time for an all out attack on Tisfun. Julianus set out with an army of 90,000 men on March, 5, 363.
Such a surprise attack without declaring war is a characteristic of low-life bandits and does not fit a real Emperor. Nevertheless, the main Sassanid army was on a mission to stop the Huns incursions in Asia Minor. When Shapour heard about the Roman army approaching, they were already close to Capital Tisfun. He returned towards his capital but it was a long way and he was counting on comparatively few Iranians left for defense
What some historians call the Battle of Tisfun, took place on May, 29, 363 A.D. in a place about 36 km north of Tisfun near today’s Baghdad. The veteran Persian commander, Sepahbod Merena and his brigade of top-notch spearmen and mounted cavalries took Julianus Apostata by surprise and engaged the immense invading army immediately. Merena’s brave soldiers started reckless charges and ripped through Roman infantry formations in a flash, inflicting some casualties. This hit-and-run strategy confused the enemy and the Roman army was stalled.
But after the second day, the Roman army started closing in towards Tisfun when first Persian light cavalry enforcements headed by Shapour 2 arrived. The news brought more courage to the Persian army and caused great fear among Roman commanders who were expecting an easy victory. Now, fully armored Persian knights known to Romans as Cataphracts showed up wielding their Gorz among rows of Roman mercenaries, blowing tens of heads off at a time. Some of the Roman army deserted the field and the rest started retreating towards Samara on June, 16th.
Then, the Iranian army’s mounted cavalries engaged columns of Roman army in sporadic skirmishes in order to prevent them from regrouping while main brigades of the Sassanid army were slowly taking the fleeing enemy under siege. The ring was closed at the Battle of Samara, on June, 26th and there was no way out. Julianus was wounded by the shot of a spearman before he was taken captive alive. He was brought before Shapour and kneeled for mercy before he died.
In order to save their lives, Roman commanders offered a treaty with Shapour 2, surrendering; giving up territorial claims on Armenia, Mesopotamia, Kurdistan and Eastern Turkey. (Updated: Jul, 11, 2010)

The Battle Of Samara

Jun, 26, 363 AD

Valerian Philip ShapourAfter more than 2 years in preparation for a counter-strike against Iran, Julianus Apostata gathered an unprecedented army of 90,000 Franks, Germans, and Croatians to punish Shapour 2. He used Shapour's absence from capital as an opportunity and marched towards Tisfun on March, 5, 363. Shapour's main army was on mission to stop the Huns in Asia Minor. Julianus did not face much resistance until he got close to Tisfun. When Shapour heard about the Roman army approaching, he returned towards his capital but it was a long way and he was counting on comparatively few Iranians left for defense
The Persian army leaded by General Merena faced Julianus on May, 29, about 36 km north of Tisfun. The Roman army was stalled by veteran Iranian soldiers. Despite the fact that Iranians were outnumbered, their experience and bravery surprised the Roman invaders. After a couple of days, news came that Shapour's armored army was approaching. The Roman mercenaries retreated towards Samara.
But soon Shapour joined Merena forces who had found courage and were chasing the invading army. On June, 26, the Iranian forces took the Roman army under siege before they could enter a defensive position. A spearman wounded Julian Apostata while he was escaping and he died the same night.
Defeated Roman generals asked for a cease-fire and made an accord with Shapour. They gave up all claims in Asia. All disputed areas in Kafkas, Palestine, Syria, and Anatolia were given back to Iranians and Zoroastrians were given the right to practice freely in Roman territory. Shapour 2 who had became king before birth and his reign was longer than his life had once again extended Iranian territory from China to the Mediterranean Sea.
One of the items in the peace treaty with Romans was for them to raise the Iranian Kaviani flag in every city on their way back home, and so they complied. (Updated: Sep, 28, 2008)

English-Persian Glossary
  • Julianus Apostata : ژوليانوس مرتد(Flavius Claudius Julianus)
  • Constantinus : کنستانتينوس
  • Iranian Army : ارتش ايران Media_Files
  • Mesopotamia : بين النهرين(Beynolnahrain) ميان‌رودان Media_Files
  • Asia Minor : آسياي کوچک آسياي صغير
  • Shapour 2 : شاپور دوم(Shahpur II Zolaktaf,Shapour II) شاهپور 2 ذوالاکتاف Media_Files
  • Kurdistan : کردستان(Kordestan) Media_Files
  • Ctesiphon : تيسفون
  • Palestine : فلسطين Media_Files
  • Sassanid : ساساني(Sasanian) Media_Files
  • Anatolia : آناتولي(Asia Minor,Anadolu,Turkey) ترکيه،آناتولي Media_Files
  • Sepahbod : سپهبد(Spahbod) اسپهبد
  • Kaviani : کاوياني Media_Files
  • Armenia : ارمنستان(Armanestan,Armenistan) Media_Files
  • Iranian : ايراني‌ اهل‌ ايران‌ ، وابسته‌به‌ ايران‌ Media_Files
  • Persian : فارسي(Farsi,Parsi) ايراني پارسي Media_Files
  • Shapour : شاپور(Shapur,Shahpur) شاهپور Media_Files
  • Baghdad : بغداد Media_Files
  • Samara : سامرا(Samarra, Samera)
  • Tisfun : تيسفون(Ctesiphon, Tisfoun) مدائن Media_Files
  • Turkey : ترکيه Media_Files
  • Merena : مرنا
  • Roman : رومي Media_Files
  • China : چين Media_Files
  • Syria : سوريه Media_Files
  • Gorz : گرز(Gada,Mace,Club,Virge) گرزه،کوپال Media_Files
  • Asia : آسيا
  • Rome : رم روم Media_Files
  • Huns : هونها(Hephtalites)
  • Iran : ايران Media_Files

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