Bahram V. or Bahram Gour
14. BAHRAM or VARANES V., surnamed GOUR, or the " WILD ASS," on account of his passion for the chase of that animal, reigned from A. D. 420 or 421 till 440.
He was the eldest son of Yesdigerd I., and inherited from him the hatred of the aristocracy, who tried, but in vain, to fix the diadem on the head of Chosroes or Khosrew, a royal prince.
In their civil contest Bahram was victorious.
The persecutions against the Christians were continued by him to such an extent, that thousands of his subjects took refuge within the Roman dominions.
He showed the same intolerant and fanatical spirit towards the Arsacid Ardishir or Artaxerxes, whom he had put on the throne of Armenia, and whom he endeavoured to convert by compulsion. Seeing his dominions depopulated by a constant tide of emigration, he claimed his fugitive subjects back from Constantinople, a demand which Theodosius nobly declined to comply with.
The consequence was a war, which broke out in 421, or at least shortly after the accession of Bahram.
In the province of Arzarene the Persian army under Narses was completely routed, and the courier (Palladius) brought the joyful tidings in three (?) days from the Tigris to the Bosporus. The Greeks, however, failed in the siege of Nisibis, and the Persians in their turn were driven back from the walls of Amida, whose bishop, Acacius, set a generous example to the patriotism of its inhabitants.
The chief source for the history of this war is an ecclesiastical writer, Socrates, whence we naturally find it mixed up with a great number of wonders and marvellous tales, so that we at once proceed to its termination, by the famous peace of one hundred years, which lasted till the twelfth year of the reign of the emperor Anastasius.
This peace was negotiated by Maximinus and Procopius on the part of the Greeks, and Bahram bound himself to molest the Christians no further, but his promise was not strictly kept by his successors. During his reign Armenia was divided between the Romans and the Persians, whose portion received the name of Persarmenia.
The latter years of the reign of this king were occupied by great wars against the Huns, Turks, and Indians, in which Bahram is said to have achieved those valorous deeds for which he has ever since continued to be a favourite hero in Persian poetry. The Eastern writers relate several stories of him, some of which are contained in Malcolm's work quoted below, to whom we refer the student, for they are well worth reading. Bahram was accidentally drowned in a deep well together with his horse, and neither man nor beast ever rose again from the fathomless pit.
This is historical, and the well was visited by Sir John Malcolm, and proved fatal to a soldier of his retinue.