Yezdijird I. or Yezdijird Ulathim
13. YEZDIJIRD, or JESDIGERD I. (Ἰσδιγέρδης
), surnamed ULATHIM, or the SINNER, the son or brother of the preceding, reigned from A. D. 404, or earlier, to 420 or 421.
He is commonly called Yesdigerd.
He stood on friendly terms with the emperor Arcadius, who, it is said, appointed him the guardian of his infant son and successor, Theodosius the Younger. We refer to the life of Arcadius for more information respecting this strange story. Yesdigerd is described by the Eastern writers as a cruel and extravagant man, whose death was hailed by his subjects as a blessing, but the Western writers speak of him as a model of wisdom and moderation. If the latter are right, they had perhaps in view the peace of a hundred years, which, through the instrumentality of the empress Pulcheria, Arcadius is said to have concluded with him.
But if we admit the correctness of the former opinion, we are at a loss to explain it, unless we presume that the Persian fireworshippers cast disgrace upon the name of their sovereign because he showed himself cruel against the Christians, and this we can hardly admit.
It is more probable that he was represented as a tyrant, in consequence of having dealt severely with the powerful aristocratic party.
As to the Christians, he was for several years their decided friend, till Abdas, bishop of Susa, wantonly destroyed a firetemple, and haughtily refused to rebuild it when the king ordered him to do so. His punishment was death, and one or two (Sozom. 9.4) persecutions ensued against the Christians.