Shapur I, Sasanian King AD 240-272

SNS Type IIc/Ib, Style P, Gobl type I/1, Sunrise #740, Superb Extremely Fine

Mint C: Ctesiphon.


Shapur I, the son and successor of Ardashir I, inflicted a devastating defeat on the Roman Armies near the city of Edssa (in modern day Turkey). He successfully waged war against the expanding Roman power in the east and defeated three Roman emperors, Valerian, Gordian and Philip the Arab. His victory over these emperors have been immortalized in a series of rock carvings near the ancient city of Istakhr. His coinage established the reverse type that was in use to the end of the dynasty showing a fire altar flanked by two attendants. The obverse follows the text established by Ardashir I. The flowing hair and mural crown (sometimes with ear flap and sometimes without) became a highly influential image which was not only followed by his successors with some variations but also influenced imagery and design of coinage of medieval Europe. During his reign Shapur allowed the prophet “Mani” to preach his religion. Mani is the founder of Manichaeism. This religion with its strong dualism and barrowings from Christianity became highly popular across the Near East, Arabian peninsula, India and Central Asian as far,Xinjiang in Western China. Mani dedicated his book Shapugaun to Shapur I for his generosity in allowing him to preach his religion. Manichaeism eventually was crushed by Shapur’s son and successor Bahram I,at the behest of the Zoroastrian priesthood who saw Mani as an agitator and a threat to their power. However, the Manichaeans survived underground. Some migrated to Europe where centuries later they became known as “Cathars” in France, Spain and Italy and “Bogomils” in Eastern Europe. The Albigensian Crusade of the Middle Ages was waged against of Cathars.