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Taq-e Bostan


Little cave of Shapur III. Photo Marco Prins. Taq-e Bostan ("the arch of the garden"): site of several Sasanian rock reliefs, on the northeastern outskirts of modern Kermanshah.

Small Cave

The small cave at Taq-e Bostan shows two kings, one of whom (the left one) is identified by an inscription as Shapur III (383-388). He came to power after much struggle, and presents himself standing next to his grandfather Shapur II (309-379), the great conqueror who had defeated the Romans - a victory he had celebrated with a relief at Taq-e Bostan. This representation is pretty original. Usual, a king showed that he was the lawful ruler by presenting himself as receiving power from the gods.

The identification of Shapur II is unproblematic, but it is far from certain that the inscription correctly identifies the king to the left as Shapur III, because his crown seems to be that of Ardashir III (r.379-383). It is certainly possibe that the monument was later "usurped" by Shapur III (compare Narseh's relief at Naqš-i Rustam).
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
Little cave of Shapur III. Photo Marco Prins. Little cave of Shapur III. Photo Marco Prins. Little cave of Shapur III. Photo Marco Prins.
Shapur III
Shapur II

Literature

Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 16 Nov. 2009
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other