BEH-ARDAŠĪR (Mid. Pers. Vēh-Ardaxšēr, Ar. Bahorasīr), name of two cities founded by the first Sasanian king of kings, Ardašīr I (r. 226-41), one west of the Tigris river opposite Ctesiphon and another (called Bardasīr and Bardašīr by the Arabs) in Kermān. The former, founded in about 230 a.d., was one of the seven towns that made up the complex of the Sasanian capital (Madāʾen) and has been identified by Gullini as the round, walled city.
The name of Beh-Ardašīr on the Tigris is attested in Sasanian times on seals and bullae, in inscriptions, and in Manichean texts. For the seals and bullae see the references in Sundermann, 1986, p. 298 (the name is written Vḥy/Vyḥ/Vḥ-ʾrtḥštl). In the inscription of Šāpūr I on the Kaʿba-ye Zardošt at Naqš-e Rostam the satrap Rastak of Vḥy-ʾrtḥštr (Mid. Pers. l. 34, Parth, l. 28, Gk. l. 66 Gue-Artaxarōn; Maricq, p. 331) is mentioned. In Manichean texts it is related that Mani stayed in this town (written Why-ʾrdhšyr and *Wyhrdhšyr; see Sundermann, 1981, pp. 26 with n. 1, 116 with n. 2, and 1986, pp. 278, 298). Jews called the town Bē-Ardašīr, Ardašīr, Hadrašīr, or Māḥōzē; Christians called it Bēt Harṭašīr, Bēt Hardašīr, or Sāleq (Seleucia, having transferred this name from the Hellenistic city nearby). It was mainly commercial and industrial, inhabited by wealthy Jews, and it housed the residence of the exilarch. The district called Kōḵē, in the southwestern quadrant (Tell Baruda) was the location of the cathedral church of the Nestorian catholicos. The mintmarks WH and WYH are now believed to stand for Vēh-Artaxšēr, and coins with the WYH mintmark have been found there dated as late as year 38 (i.e., a.d. 628) of Ḵosrow II Parvēz, who had a palace there near an orchard called Bāḡ al-Hendovān (Ṭabarī, I, p. 1043). By the sixth century parts of this city had been abandoned. The subdistrict (ṭasūj) of this city and the district (kūra) of which it was the capital were also called Vēh-Artaxšēr (Estān Ardašīr Bābakān in Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh, p. 7). A marzbān resided in a fort north of this city in about 420, and there is a seal impression of the mōbad of Vēh-Artaxšēr the šahrestān of Vēh-Artaxšēr.
Arabs called this city and its subdistrict Bahorasīr or Behrasīr, but abolished its administrative district following the conquest and combined its subdistricts (Beh-Ardašīr, Rūmaqān, Kūṯā, Nahr Dorqīt, Nahr Jawbar) with Beh-Qobād. After ʿAlī settled at Kūfa in 36/657, he appointed ʿAdī b. Ḥāreṯ b. Rowaym Šaybānī governor (ʿāmel) of Bahorasīr, and this city was a mint for post-reform dirhams. The exilarch and catholicos remained there until they moved to Baghdad after 145/762. There was a large fire temple there in the 4th/10th century and a village of Shiʿite farmers in the 7th/13th century, settlement being confirmed by coins found at Tell Baruda. Bahorasīr remained a small Shiʿite town in the 9th/14th and 9th/15th centuries.
See also ctesiphon; madāʾen.
Babylonian Talmud, Erubin, 57b. Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ, p. 262. Dīnavarī, pp. 163. Ebn Rosta, p. 186. Ḥamza, p. 46. Ṭabarī, I, pp. 819, 2232, 2431. Qazvīnī, Ketāb al-āṯār al-belād, Göttingen, 1848, II, p. 303. Yāqūt, I, p. 768; IV, p. 446.
A. Berliner, Beiträge zur Geographie und Ethnographie Babylonien im Talmud und Midrasch, Berlin, 1884, pp. 23-24.
A. D. H. Bivar, “A Sasanian Hoard from Hilla,” NC, 1963, p. 165.
Idem, Catalogue of the Western Asiatic Seals in the British Museum. Stamp Seals II: The Sasanian Dynasty, London, 1969, p. 39.
Camb. Hist. Iran III, pp. 120, 570, 724, 725, 758.
Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 95, 384ff., 493.
J.-M. Fiey, “Topography of Al-Madaʾin,” Sumer 23, 1967, pp. 15, 32.
Idem “Topographie chrétienne de Mahozé,” L’Orient syrien 12, 1967, pp. 399-400.
H. Gaube, Arabosasanidische Numismatik, Brunswick, 1973, p. 89.
R. Göbl, “Der Sasanidische Münzfund von Seleukia (Vēh-Ardašēr) 1967,” Mesopotamia 8-9, 1973-74, pp. 232-33, 246-48, 252.
G. Gullini, “Problems of an Excavation in Northern Babylonia,” Mesopotamia 1, 1966, pp. 20, 25, 33.
E. Honigmann and A. Maricq, “Recherches sur les Res Gestae Divi Saporis,” Mémoires de l’Académie Royale de Belgique 47/4, 1953, pp. 1-201, esp. pp. 43ff.
A. Maricq, “Res Gestae Divi Saporis,” Syria 35, 1958, pp. 295-360 (repr. in Classica et Orientalia, Paris, 1965, pp. 37-101). Markwart, Provincial Capitals, p. 102.
G. Miles, “The Iconography of Umayyad Coinage,” Ars Orientalis 3, 1959, p. 213.
M. Morony, “Continuity and Change in the Administrative Geography of Late Sasanian and Early Islamic al-ʿIrāq,” Iran 20, 1982, pp. 22-24.
Idem, Iraq after the Muslim Conquest, Princeton, 1984, pp. 143-44, 184, 189, 282.
A. Neubauer, La géographie du Talmud, Paris, 1868, p. 358.
Th. Nöldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 10, 16, 19ff., 352, 357.
Idem, “Zum Mittelpersischen,” WZKM 16, 1902, p. 7 (Nöldeke’s interpretation of Vēh- as “house” is in view of the Mid. Pers. and Parth. forms not correct).
F. D. Paruck, Sāsānian Coins, Bombay, 1924, pp. 186-87.
M. Streck, “Selcucia und Ktesiphon,” Der Alte Orient 16/2-4, 1917, pp, 27, 63.
Idem, “Madāʾin,” in EI1 III, pp. 75, 77, 78.
W. Sundermann, Mitteliranische manichäische Texte kirchengeschichtlichen Inhalts, Berliner Turfantexte 11, Berlin, 1981.
Idem, “Studien zur kirchengeschichtlichen Literatur der iranischen Manichäer II,” Altorientalische Forschungen 13, 1986, pp. 239-317.
R. Venco Ricciardi, “Trial Trench at Tell Baruda (Choche),” Mesopotamia 8-9, 1973-74, p. 20).
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: December 15, 1989
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Vol. IV, Fasc. 1, pp. 93-94