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Ardashir III

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Ardashir III

Ardashir III
Great King (Shah) of Ērānshahr
Coin of Ardashir III.
Reign 6 September 628 – 27 April 629
Predecessor Kavadh II
Successor Shahrbaraz
Born 621
Died 27 April 629 (aged 8)
Burial Meshan
Father Kavadh II
Mother Anzoy the Roman
Religion Zoroastrianism

Ardashir III (Middle Persian:, New Persian: اردشیر سوم), (born c. 621 – 27 April 629) was king of the Sasanian Empire from 6 September 628 to 27 April 629.

Early life

Ardashir was the son of king Kavadh II (r. 628) and Anzoy the Roman, who was a princess from the Byzantine Empire,[1][2] which made Ardashir less popular among the Iranians who had recently been in a long and devastating war against the Byzantines. In 628, a devastating plague spread through western Iran, which claimed the lives of half of the population, including Kavadh II himself.


After the death of Kavadh II, the Wuzurgan elected Ardashir as his successor, who was only a 7 year old boy. In reality, however, he exercised little power and his empire was controlled by his vizier Mah-Adhur Gushnasp, whose duty was to protect the empire until Ardashir became old enough to rule. The Iranian historian al-Tabari says the following thing about Mah-Adhur Gushnasp's administration of the Empire; "Mah-Adhur Gushnasp carried on the administration of the kingdom in [such] an excellent fashion, [and with such] firm conduct, [that] no one would have been aware of Ardashir III's youthfulness."[3]

During the same period, a brother of Mah-Adhur Gushnasp named Narsi, was granted with Kaskar as a part of his domains,[4] However, even under a strong vizier, things were still looking grim in Iran; Factionalism had greatly increased among the Iranians, and several powerful factions which had emerged during the reign of Ardashir's grandfather Khosrau II, had gained firm control of important parts of Iran, while the Sasanian state was less-centralized than it had been under Ardashir's predecessors.

One year later, Shahrbaraz with a force of 6,000 men[1] marched towards Ctesiphon and besieged the city. Shahrbaraz, however, was unable to capture the city, and then made an alliance with Piruz Khosrow, the leader of the Parsig (Persian) faction, and the previous minister of the Empire during the reign of Ardashir's father. Shahrbaraz also made an alliance with Namdar Jushnas, the spahbed of Nimruz.[5] With the aid of these two powerful figures, Shahrbaraz captured Ctesiphon and executed Ardashir III, along with Mah-Adhur Gushnasp himself, including other promient Sasanian nobles. Shahrbaraz then ascended the Sasanian throne. According to Islamic sources, Ardashir was buried at an unknown place in Meshan.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Shahbazi (1986), pp. 381–382
  2. ^ Martindale, Jones & Morris (1992), p. 94
  3. ^ Pourshariati (2008), p. 179
  4. ^ Michael G. Morony, Iraq After the Muslim Conquest, 2005. (p. 157)
  5. ^ Pourshariati (2008), p. 180


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

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Ardashir III
Preceded by
Kavadh II
Great King (Shah) of Ērānshahr
6 September 628 – 27 April 629
Succeeded by
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