SSS 21. King Khushru / Cosroe I, Nosherwan Ādel (531-579) (Part 7 – last)

War with the new Caesar

One day, king Noshirwan received the news of the death of the Roman Caesar. Immediately he sent an ambassador to the Caesar’s son offering him condolences and wishing him success as the new Caesar. He also  mentioned that he had asked for prayer that prophet Christ’s blessings be with him, and assured him of military help, if he may need it.

The new Caesar, however, did not treat the ambassador with due respect. In his reply he stated that he did not need the Iranian king’s sympathy. He further stated that he suspected that the sympathy was false and was expressed so that the payment of taxes may continue as before.

When king Nosherwan received the reply, he was very unhappy. He vowed to avenge this insult and never to support the Romans again. He immediately set up an army and attacked Rome. When the Caesar came to know of this he also sent an army. The two armies met near Sakila (Syria) at the fort of Aleppo. The Iranian army captured the fort in no time. Thirty thousand Roman soldiers were captured. As king Nosherwan went to the battle ground to inspect it, he got the message that the ambassador of the Roman Caesar along with forty Roman philosophers had come to see him. The wise men apologized to the king about the immature behaviour of their Caesar. They agreed to pay him as much tax as he wanted. King Nosherwan ended the war and returned to Ctesiphon.

Nosherwan’s lasting legacy : Tāq-i-Kasrā / Aywān-i-Kasra

The Tāq-i-Kasrā also known as Aywān-i-Kasra, is a majestic palace built by Noshirwan around 540 CE. It is the only surviving remains of the Sasanian majesty in Ctesiphon, now near Baghdad. The arched aywān hall, open on the front side, and the throne room behind the arch are almost 100 feet high.

Today, the main portico of the audience hall, is all that is left of the structure. It is known as the Arch of Ctesiphon, and is the largest single-span free-standing arch/vault of unreinforced bricks in the world. It is considered one of the Wonders of the World, in Iraq.

The ruins of Tak-iKasra, as it stood about 100 years back
An artist’s visualization of the original Tak-i-Kasra  

The king looks for an heir

When the king was seventy four years old, he realized that it was the due to select an heir. He had six sons, of which Hormazd was the eldest.

He called his wise men and asked, “O Wise ones! I depend on you to secretly find out if Hormazd is fit enough to be the next king, and would he be kind and compassionate towards his subjects?” The wise men started investigating in earnest and reported every activity of Hormazd to the king.

Then the king called upon his council of ministers, headed by Buzorg-meher, to test the prince. Several philosophical and practical questions were asked to which the prince gave satisfactory replies, and he was chosen as the successor to his father. In his last will and testament, king Nosherwan declared his decision to give the crown and the throne to prince Hormazd. He gave admonitions to the prince which would help him run the empire. Then, the king gave an elaborate description as to how he should be consigned to the Dakhma, how his body should be prepared for the final journey.

Dreams about Prophet Mohammad

King Noshirwan spent his days in seclusion and prayers. About a year after his declaration of his heir, he had a dream as he slept after his night prayers. In the dream, he saw a brilliantly shining child come out at night and happily climb a very tall staircase having forty steps, which was nearby. When he reached the top, his brightness lighted up the whole world, except the palace of the king.

A brilliantly shining child at night happily climb a staircase with forty steps, and reaching the top, his brightness lighting up the whole world

In the morning, a startled Nosherwan woke up and narrated the dream to Buzorg-meher. After pondering for some time, the wise sage said, “O great king!There is deep meaning underlying the dream. After about forty years, a man will emerge from among the Arabs, who will cause great disruption among the Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians. The entire Iranian empire will be shaken. This man will be remembered for centuries.

The next night he dreamt that his entire palace came crashing down on him, amidst shouts “The emperor’s palace has crumbled down.” Startled, the king got up and immediately called Buzorg-meher. On narrating the dream, he was told that it conveyed that the child he saw in his dream had already been born.

After a few days, king Noshirwan king passed away after a long and illustrious reign of forty eight years. Buzorg-meher grieved for a long time after his king’s death. His body was prepared for the final journey, and he was consigned to the Dakhma, as per the instructions given by him when he had handed over the throne to his eldest son Hormazd IV.