BAHMAN-ARDAŠĪR (or Forāt Maysān), town and subdistrict in Maysān in lower Iraq. The town of Forāt is known from the first century A.D. as a fortified terminus for caravan trade on the left bank of the lower Tigris, eleven or twelve miles downstream from Charax. Formerly identified with the town of Tanūma, opposite ʿAššār (Obolla), Forāt has been located by Hansman at Maḡlūb, 17.4 km (10.8 miles) southeast of Jabal Ḵīāber (Charax). Called Peraṯ ḏe Mayšan in Syriac, this town was the see of the metropolitan bishop of Mayšān by 310.
According to Ḥamza and Ebn al-Faqīh, Bahman-Ardašīr was founded or rebuilt by the Sasanian Ardašīr I (r. 226/7-245). Some sources (Ṭabarī, I, p. 687; Ṯaʿālebī, Ḡorar, p. 378, cf. p. 485; Mojmal, p. 54) attribute its foundations to Bahman son of Esfandīār, but the earliest attested use of this name is in 544 when the Nestorian bishop of Vahman-Ardašīr is called the metropolitan of Mayšan. Bahman-Ardašīr is also named as one of the four subdistricts (ṭasāsīj) of the kūra/ostān of Šāḏ-Bahman (Maysān, Kūra Dejla) by Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh, Qodāma, and Yāqūt, although Yāqūt also identifies Bahman-Ardašīr as the entire kūra of Forāt al-Baṣra. The contraction, Bahmanšīr, was used both for the town and for the lower Tigris estuary. The PR mintmark on Sasanian coins may not stand for Forāt as is often claimed, because that was not the official Sasanian name and it has not been found on Arab-Sasanian coins, although Forāt was a mint for post-reform Islamic dirhams from 81/700 until 96/714-15.
After the conquest of Forāt by ʿOtba b. Ḡazwān in 14/635, it remained a center of local Muslim administration and was involved in revolts by the Zanj in 70/689-90, 75/695 and during the 3rd/9th century. By the 7th/13th century Forāt was in ruins.
For ancient Forāt see Pliny, Natural History 6.32; S. N. Nodelman, “A Preliminary History of Characene,” Berytus 13, 1960, p. 102; J. Hansman, “Charax and the Karkheh,” Iranica Antiqua 7, 1967, pp. 25, 46, 52.
For the Nestorian bishopric see J. B. Chabot, Synodicon Orientale, Paris, 1902, pp. 71, 89, 94, 321, 350, 321; J. M. Fiey, Assyrie chrétienne, Beirut, 1968, III, pp. 263-64.
For Bahman-Ardašīr as a town and subdistrict see Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh, p. 7; Qodāma b. Jaʿfar, Ketāb ḵarāj, Leiden, 1889, p. 235; Ebn al-Faqīh, p. 198; Ḥamza, pp. 38, 46; Ebn Qotayba, al-Maʿāref, ed. Ṯ. ʿAkkāša, Beirut, 1960, p. 654; Yāqūt, I, p. 770, III, pp. 227, 861-62; J. Markwart, Ērānšahr, p. 41; M. Morony, “Continuity and Change in the Administrative Geography of Late Sasanian and Early Islamic al-ʿIraq,” Iran 20, 1982, p. 35; idem, Iraq after the Muslim Conquest, Princeton, 1984, pp. 159-60.
On coins see F. Paruck, “Mint-marks on Sasanian and Arab-Sasanian Coins,” Journal of the Numismatic Society of India 6 1944, p. 118; R. Göbl in F. Altheim and R. Stiehl, eds., Ein Asiatischer Staat, Wiesbaden, 1954, pp. 87-88; idem, Sasanidische Numismatik, Brunswick, 1968, p. 84; A. Bivar, “A Sasanian Hoard from Hilla,” Numismatic Chronicle, 1963, p. 168; J. Walker, A Catalogue of the Arab-Sasanian Coins, London, 1941, pp. cxxxiii-cxxxiv, cxli.
For the Muslim conquest of Forāt see Ṭabarī, I, p. 2379; Yāqūt, IV, p. 468.
For the Zanj at Forāt see Balāḏorī, Ansāb al-ašrāf, Greifswald, 1883, XI, pp. 304-05, 308; Wakīʿ, Aḵbār al-qożāt, Cairo, 1366/1945, II, p. 57; Ṭabarī, III, pp. 1757-64; Ebn al-Aṯīr (repr.), I, p. 384; H. Halm, Die Traditionen über den Aufstand Ali ibn Muhammad des “Herrn der Zanj”, Bonn, 1967, pp. 59-60, 72-74.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 24, 2011
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