Narseh, Sasanian King AD 293-303

Sunrise # 808, SNS Type Id/3c, Gobl Type II/2, Extremely Fine

Mint: Unknown.


Narseh (also written as “Narse” in Western literature and “Nersie” in the Near Eastern languages) was the last remaining son of Shapur I. He was acting as governor of a vast stretch of the Sasanian Empire in the east when he was approached by elements of the military, priesthood and aristocracy to replace Bahram II’s son, Bahram III. A revolt or coup twas engineered by Narseh’s supporters and as a result, he became the seventh monarch of the Sasanian Dynasty. He was ca ontemporary of the Roman emperor Diocletian and his commander (son-in-law) Galerius. Most of Narseh’s reign was spent confronting Rome over Armenia. Narseh’s major victory at Callinicum (near modern day Raqqa in Syria) was reversed by his defeat in the Battle of Satala where Narseh’s wife, sister and number of his children were captured by the Romans. The details of this incident are shrouded in mystery but it forced Narseh to sue for peace. The treaty which resulted had much more favorable terms for the Romans than for the Persians. Narseh died not long after peace was established between the two empires. Muslim historians have credited Narseh with founding several cities that survive to this day. One is the fortress and settlement of Tashkent (known as Tashkura in Turckic literature) in the Oasis of Chach on the silk road, the capital of present-day Uzbekistan. Narseh is also credited with the foundation of a city called Narseh Gerd, modern Takrit in Iraq.