Hormizd (Ohrmazd) II, Sasanian King AD 303-309

Sunrise # 814 (this coin), SNS Type Ia/3d, Gobl Type I/1a, Extremely Fine

Mint: Unknown.


Hormizd II son of Narseh ruled for eight years. The historian have commented that he governed with an iron fist on his first several years alienating many. Thus he moderated his behavior and became far more popular and goverend with fairness. He is also been recorded to be a big supporter of agriculture. In his time Armenia became a Christian nation. Given the perpetual war between the Persians and Romans over Armenia, Hormizd sought to improve his relation with Armenia in order to influence and counter balance the alliance of Armenia with Rome. Hormizd gave his daughter Hormizddokht to the Armenian prince and future king of Armenia. In terms of art of coinage, a new element was introduced to the reverse of the coins and that was the image of a figure in the flame of the fire altar. Certainly the figure within the sacred fire represent divinity. There are some record of the Sasanian royal temples having underground chambers where choir or person can read and the voice through the opening of the fire alter were heard as if it was coming from the fire!. The figure might represent such ritual but also symbolizing the “divine voice of the sacred fire”. Hormizd II crown is also unusual as he wears winged eagle cap. The eagle is holding a pearl symbolizing water. Due to this interpretation, the crown has been considered to be a tribute to Persian and Armenian Goddess Anahit, the tall and beautiful maiden who was the Goddess of water, fertility and youth. Given Anahit being a common Goddess between the Armenians and Persians, and Hormizd II attempt to influence Armenia’s standing with Rome, affirms this interpretation.