Shapur III, Sasanian King AD 383-388
Sunrise # 874, SNS type II/1b, Gobl Type II/6a, Saeedi Av 59, Mint State
Shapur III was son of Shapur II (the Great) and came to the throne after his uncle Ardashir II was removed from power by the nobles and priesthood. Shapur III concluded the peace negotiations that Ardashir II had begun. In the peace treaty that lasted nearly four decades, Persia and Rome divided Armenia into two separated kingdoms, one allied to Rome and the other larger kingdom to Persia, which eventually became known as Persarmenia. Shapur III was assassinated by the nobles on one of his hunting excursions after a reign of five years. According to historians, he was not a flamboyant ruler and governed justly. Unfortunately, the very long reign of his father Shapur II (70 years) and the growth of the power of the nobles who were accustomed to the status quo did not allow him or his successors to make substantive changes. If they did, they were removed from power or killed. This exceedingly rare gold dinar of Shapur III shows him without the imperial crown. He typically appears in one of two crowns on his silver and gold coins. The reverse depicts a fire altar flanked by two attendants.