From today, we start our series of Serialised Stories of the Sasanian dynasty from the Iranian epic Shahnameh, with historical traditional inputs.
The establishment of the Sasanian Empire opened a brilliant epoch in the history of Iran. The kings of this dynasty restored to a great extent the glory of ancient Iran and revitalized the Zarathushti religion. The province of Pars gained complete independence and its kings, like those during the pre-Achaemenid period, ruled over an empire.
After the downfall of the Achaemenian empire, the Seleucid dynasty of the Greeks ruled over Iran for about eighty years from 330 BC to 247 BC. For five centuries after the downfall of the Seleucid dynasty in Iran, the Parthians/Arshkanians ruled.
However, in the province of Pars, people lived in independent states under the provincial kings. They preserved and practiced their national, ancestral Zoroastrianism religion, without outside influence. Zoroastrian traditions and religion were supreme in Pars and hence the even Greeks could not influence it much. Zoroastrianism was preserved in its pristine form and the sacred books of the Avesta were preserved orally. Thus it was in Pars that the Zoroastrian renaissance commenced.
This renaissance spread throughout the Iranian empire after Ardeshir, the king of Pars, defeated the Median emperor in 226 CE and consolidated his power as the emperor of Iran. Re-gathering of the scattered Avestan Nasks commenced and was accomplished during this period. Reigns of many kings were marked by religious activities like setting up of religious schools and establishing consecrated fires, in spite of the fact that the empire included large populations of other religions too.
Though the Sasanian kingdom was predominantly Zoroastrian, a large part of it, especially in the West, was occupied by the Christians. These regions were often the bone of contention during the wars in the last century of the Sasanian Empire.
The Sasanian era also witnessed vast strides in architecture, learning, the arts and the military. The birth of Prophet Mohammed and the spread of Islam marked the later part of this dynasty.
From tomorrow we start with the story of Ardeshir Bābekān / Pāpakān, the founder of the Sasanian dynasty.
(The abbreviation SSS in the title implies Shahnameh Stories Sasan)