era is one of the most influential periods in Iran's
history. It also marks the second rise of a great Persian empire, a dynasty that rivaled its predecessor, the Achaemenids
who too, like the Sassanids were native to the province of Pars, and in some instances the Parthians
, in glory and power. Although it was at war with the Roman Empire
for centuries during the Roman-Persian Wars
, the Sassanid Empire
met its demise this time not by the Byzantine-Roman Empire
, but by emerging Arab Muslims
from its southern borders.
Sassanid society was divided into four classes: priests, warriors, secretaries, and commoners. The latter formed the bulk of the population, served as its sole tax base, and remained its poorest class.Khosrau I
's military and taxation reforms had no effect on social status and may have actually worsened life for the commoners. This contributed to people's discontent in later years.
At the climax of Khosrau II's
ambitious Byzantine territory conquests in the Levant, taxes rose dramatically, and most people could not pay. Years of Sassanid-Byzantine wars had ruined trade routes and industry, the population's main income sources. Rapid turnover of rulers and increasing provincial landholder power further diminished the Sassanids. Over a period of fourteen years and twelve successive kings, the Sassanid Empire weakened considerably, and the power of the central authority passed into the hands of its generals. Even when a strong... Read More