Domestic policy of Shapur II

Author(s):  Dmitriev V.A., candidate of Sciences, associate Professor, Pskov State University, Pskov, Russia, dva_psk@mail.ru

Issue:  Volume 46, № 1

Rubric:  Topical issues of world history

Annotation:  In the existing historiography, Sasanian shahanshah Shapur II the Great (309–379) is considered almost exclusively as a conqueror, whose entire reign passed in wars with neighboring countries and peoples. To a large extent, it is true, but it is also quite obvious that such a high level of Sasanians’ external activity during the reign of Shapur II would not have been possible without the establishment of a stable and effective administrative and political system within the Iran itself. In this regard, the article examines the main directions and results of the internal policy of Shapur II. From a formal point of view, Shapur acted in the same way as his predecessors, preserving the system of government that has developed over the century, which has elapsed since the emergence of Sasanian Iran. However, the state ideology and religion have undergone very profound changes during Shapur’s reign. As a result, Sasanid’s realm became a highly centralized empire with a strong shahanshah’s power, and this circumstance was an essential condition for the renewal of wide expansion under Shapur the Great, during which Sasanian Iran finally secured the status of one of the leading powers in the world of Late Antiquity.

Keywords:  Sasanian Iran, Šāpur II, domestic policy, state ideology, religion, Zoroastrianism, persecu-tions, Kayanids, Ādurbād-ī Mahrspandān.

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