Khosrau II (Aparviz), Sasanian King AD 590-628
Sunrise # 986, Malek 6-7, Gobl Type III/4, Saeedi AV 94, Mint State
Mint: Unknown. Year: 21.
Khosrau II (Khosrau Parviz), also written as Khosrow, Chosroe and Xusro, is the last Great King of the Sasanian dynasty. He came to throne after defeating Bahram VI and Vistahm who had rebelled against his father Hormizd IV. He married the Byzantine emperor Maurice’s daughter Mary (Miryam) who was a Christian. Emperor Maurice was killed by Phocas who proclaimed himself the new emperor in AD 602. At that time, Khosrau was in the 12th year of his reign and given his relationship with Maurice, relations between the Persians and the Byzantines had been peaceful. The murder of Maurice opened old wounds and sparked a war that expanded quickly and became known as the “last war of antiquity”. This epic struggle changed the social fabric of Near East forever. Khosrau, claiming to avenge Maurice’s murder, invaded Byzantine territory and major cities of the Near East began to fall. Antioch, Damascus, Tyre, Jerusalem and finally Alexandria were captured. When Jerusalem was captured, the remains of the “True Cross”, one of the holiest relics of Christianity, were carried to Ctesiphon, the capital of the Sasanian Empire. This story has been immortalized in the paintings of Renaissance master Piero della Fransca in the Cathedral of San Francesca in Italy. The war continued for nearly two decades and drained the resources of both empires. After a successful counter-offensive by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius that reversed all the Sasanian gains, the Persian nobility removed, arrested and executed Khosrau II. This rare gold coin was minted in the 9th year of the struggle against the Byzantines, which was the most aggressive period of the Sasanian conquest. The obverse depicts Khosrau II and the reverse features the goddess Anahit. The text on these coins typically refers to Khosrau II as “King of Kings who freed the world from fear”. Stories of Khosrau II his love for Shirin, his Armenian wife, were immortalized by two great poets, Ferdowsi and Nezami. He was a great patron of music and the most important musicians of the time performed at his court.