Sarab-e Bahram


Sarab-e Bahram ("Bahram's well"): site of a Sasanian rock relief in Iran.

Sarab-e Bahram general view
Sarab-e Bahram general view

The Iranian king Bahram II (276-293) was not the strongest ruler of the Sasanian dynasty. Having lost a war against the Roman emperor Carus, he accepted the loss of Armenia and Mesopotamia; he had some difficulty in suppressing a revolt by his brother Hormizd; and he lost power to the Zoroastrian high priest Kartir. Still, Bahram II left no less than ten rock reliefs.

One of them can be found at Sarab-i Bahram, north of Bishapur along the Royal Road. It is 2.66 m high and 4 m wide, and shows how four courtiers salute their king with a typical gesture with the hand (which is still made by the Luri nomads who live in this area). The king himself is seated on his throne, resting upon his sword, and can be recognized by his crown, which is also shown on his coins.

The rock relief of Sarab-e Bahram
The rock relief of Sarab-e Bahram

It is the oldest Sasanian rock relief on which the king faces the spectators. The man with the sword to the far left is Bahram's vizier Papak, recognizable by the flower on his cap, and the second man from the left is Kartir, with the scissor-like badge. The other two dignitaries, resting on their swords, cannot be identified.



... to Patrick Charlot for sending the second of these photos.

This page was created in 2013; last modified on 14 August 2020.