Yazdgird (Yazdgard) I, Sasanian King AD 399-420

Sunrise # 918 (this coin), SNS type Iia/1a, Gobl Type II/1, Saeedi AV 65, Almost Extremely Fine

Mint; Uncertain.


Yazdgird I was son of Bahram IV and was crowned after the assassination of his father. He is one of the most magnanimous kings in the history of Sasanian empire. His protection and friendship with Christians and their leaders brought him great admiration by Christians however enraged the Zoroastrian priesthood. In the record left by the Moslem historians, he was given the title of “Bezehkaar” meaning “Sinner” by his Zoroastrian priests due to his friendly treatment of Christians and other minorities. Yazdgird chaired the religious council of Seleucia which was the first council of its kind to address the Eastern branch of Christianity active through out the Near East and reestablished the seat of patriarchy after Shapur II had abolished it due to his persecution of Christians. As a leader and King Yazdgird did not take advantage of the weakness of the Roman Empire at the time when the Roman Empire was engulfed in internal uprisings and external threat accross all frontiers. At this critial times, the Roman Emperor Arcadius requested Yazdgird to provide protection for his son Theodosius II by adopting him. Yazdgird gladly accepted and warned the Roman nobility that any danger against the young prince will bring about a major conflict with Persia. It is unfortunate that such a magnificient chapter in Perso-Roman history was ignored as well as written off as hoax by some later and biased historians. Yazdgird I death is shrouded in mystery and legends. The traditional folk legend has it that he was killed by the kick of a horse who came from the sea! Other stories indicate his death as a result of assassination given his unpopularity among the priesthood. Yazdgird I is also the founder of the city of Yazd in modern Iran which is a UNSECO World Heritage Site due to its architecture that incorporates ingenius passive ventilation system for cooling in hot arid climate. In this exceptionally rare gold dinar Yazdgird appears without a crown however wears a head band with a crescent moon on the front. The crescent moon and the moon goddess has connections with the rites of Goddess Anahit.