102 A Cornelian Seal of The Sasanian King Shapur II

102 • A Cornelian Seal of The Sasanian King Shapur II

Iran, 309–379 AD
Size: 4.7 × 3.4 cm

Shapur II is known as ‘the Great’, because during his long reign the Sasanian Empire saw its first golden era. He was the tenth Sasanian king, and the dynasty’s longest reigning monarch. He was an energetic and successful general, against the Arabs, the newly Christianized Roman Empire, and the kingdom of Armenia. He also campaigned successfully in Sind, where this seal was originally found. During his reign the Avesta was completed, and among the major cities he founded was Nishapur.

The Sasanian kings of Iran are identified by the shapes of their crowns. The precise sequence of kings and their crowns is established by the coinage. An exceptional feature of this seal is the two hunting scenes below the king’s bust, showing him on horseback firing arrows at a pair of fleeing gazelles. Replacing an inscription with these images is a statement of imperial power.

The report of the scientific examination by Striptwist Laboratory is available.