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Bahram V of Persia

Bahram V, king of Persia (420-439), son of Yazdegerd I, after whose sudden death (or assassination) he gained the crown against the opposition of the grandees by the help of al-Mondhir[?], the Arabic dynast of Hira[?].

He promised to rule otherwise than his father, who had been very energetic and at the same time tolerant in religion. So Bahram V began a systematic persecution of the Christians, which led to a war with the Roman empire. But he had little success, and soon concluded a treaty by which both empires promised toleration to the worshippers of the two rival religions, Christianity and Zoroastrianism.

Bahram deposed the vassal king of the Persian part of Armenia and made it a province. He is a great favourite in Persian tradition, which relates many stories of his valour and beauty, of his victories over the Romans, Turks, Indians and Africans, and of his adventures in hunting and in love; he is called Bahram Gur, "Zebra," on account of his love for hunting, and in particular, huting zebras.

In reality he seems to have been rather a weak monarch, after the heart of the grandees and the priests. He is said to have built many great fire-temples, with large gardens and villages (Tabari).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

  • A note about 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica entries on the Sassanid kings: I have noticed that most of the entries view the wars between the Persians and Rome/Byzantine as if the root of the conflict was about Christianity or how the Christians were treated in Iran. This is completely false. The Christians in Iran for all practical purposes were a non-entity or non-issue at that time. The conflicts with the Romans goes back to long before the advent of Christianity. They were for a variety of reasons, but religion hardly palyed a role as a contributing factor for these conflicts. I will try to gradually correct the entries, but I can sure use some impartial helping hands here. --Keyvan 15:41 Apr 11, 2003 (UTC)



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