Ardashir II, Sasanian King AD 379-383

Sunrise # 871 (this coin), SNS Type Ib/2, Gobl Type I/3, Saeedi AV 59, Superb Extremely Fine

Mint: Unknown.


Ardashir II was the brother of Shapur II. He came to the throne late in life and found himself in major confrontations with courtiers and nobles that lead to his downfall. It is not known whether he was killed or simply removed from power due to his advanced age. Ardashir exempted the population from taxation for the duration of his reign. He is given the title “Virtious” in Persian literature. There are contradictory reports on Ardashir’s conduct while he was the governor of the province of Adiabene (presently the Kurdistan province of Iraq) with regard to the brutal persecution of Christians. Such reports do not easily square with his good deeds such tax exemption. Ardashir II maintained a strong but peaceful position with the Romans. At the request of the Armenian nobility he supported the deposition of the Armenian king who was believed to be a Roman puppet. In return, the Armenians allowed a large garrison of Persian troops to be stationed in Armenia, a move that helped his successor negotiate a successful peace treaty with Rome. Given the short length of his reign, the coins of Ardeshir II are rare. His gold dinars are of the highest rarity with only a few examples are known. Ardashir has the same name as the founder of the dynasty. Thus he wears a crown that resembles the crown of Ardashir I. The reverse shows the fire altar without attendants similar to Ardashir I.