Ancient Persian Propaganda at Bishapur

The Shapur City or Bishapur is a city built by a defeated Roman Army and their Emperor Valerian. Shapur had many reliefs carved depicting his greatest victories in the battlefield and can still be seen along the sides of the Tang-e Chowgan gorge and under the graves entrances at Naqsh-e Rustam. Shapur is easy to spot since he is the largest and grandest figure in the scenes. The defeated are usually found decapitated with what remains lying under the hooves of horses and the living bowing down to the Persian mounted victors.  Unfortunately, an aqueduct built along the gorge in the 1960’s and later removed in the later 1970’s made a distinct mark along the reliefs seen below.

Reliefs along the water in Bishapur and in the hillside at Naqsh-e Rostam have managed to stay well-preserved considering this was an area where many battles were fought, earthquakes frequent the area and citizens have put there immediate needs before maintainance and preservation of its ancient past.

Reliefs at Tang-e Chowgan gorge showing victories of Shapur I over Roman troops
Bishapur: Relief (similar to older relief of Ardasir I at Naqsh-e Rostam below) depicting King Bahram I and supreme god Ahura Mazda
Reliefs at Tang-e Chowgan gorge showing victories of Shapur I over Roman troops
Reliefs near Bishapur along the Tang-e Chowgan gorge showing victories of Shapur I over Roman troops
Reliefs at Tang-e Chowgan gorge showing victories of Shapur I over Roman troops
Reliefs at Tang-e Chowgan gorge showing victories of Shapur I over Roman troops
Reliefs at Tang-e Chowgan gorge showing victories of Shapur I over Roman troops
Enemies of Shapur I pay tribute to the King

Down the street at Naqsh-e Rustam…

Naqsh-e Rostam
The oldest relief (left) of Naqsh-e Rostam of Ardašir I and (right) first relief of Bahram II
Naqsh-e Rostam
Investiture Relief of the Sasanian king Ardašir I (224-241) is the oldest Sasanian monument at Naqš-i Rustam on the left
Naqsh-e Rostam
Bahram II with his relatives Bahram I, Shapur I, and Ardašir, the founder of the dynasty standing to his left but right of Ardasir’s relief
Naqsh-e Rostam
Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rustam of Shapur (on horseback) with Philip the Arab made Emperor of Rome and defeated Emperor Valerian.

Shapir I and his army defeated the Romans in the battle of Edessa – seen here in animated form.  The romans captured Emperor Valerian  and took the remaining warriors back to build the city of Shapur. Valerian spent the rest of his life being constantly humiliated and tortured here. Legend even states he was used as a stepping stool by Shapur when he needed to mount his horse.

Naqsh-e Rostam:  Shapur (on horseback) with Philip the Arab and Emperor Valerian
Shapur, newly appointed Roman Emperor Philip the Arab and defeated Valerian along with relief of equestrian battle between Bahram II and Roman Ruler Carus

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