Firuzabad, Relief II


Ardašir Khureh ("fame of Ardašir): Sasanian city in Persis, modern Firuzabad. Except for the city, there is a castle, a palace, a large relief celebrating Ardašir's victories, and a small relief commemorating his investiture (discussed on this page). 

The second Sasanian rock relief near Firuzabad is better visible than the first one: it is close to the remains of an old bridge, and clearly visible across a small river. It is a kilometer north of the first one, close to the castle, along the road from Ardašir Khureh to Shiraz.

Firuzabad, Relief II

The two reliefs are different in composition, but thematically connected. Whereas the first relief represents king Ardašir's fight against the Parthian king Artabanus IV in 224, the second reliefs shows the investiture: how Ardašir received power from the supreme god Ahuramazda. It can probably be dated briefly after 226, when Ardašir had captured the Parthian capital Ctesiphon.

From left to right, you can see Ahuramazda, a small altar, king Ardašir, a page with a fly whisk, and three Persian noblemen; the god gives a diadem adorned with rubees, the symbol of royal power, to Ardašir. The three noblemen may be Ardašir's sons, in which case the first of them will be the crown prince, Shapur.

One of the interesting aspects of this relief is that it shows - for the first time - the supreme god as a human being, which was not common in Iranian art and may be a western influence.