Khosru I. or Khosru Anushirwan
21. KHOSRU, or KHOSREW I., called CHOSROES I. (Χοσρόης
) by the Greeks, surnamed ANUSHIRWAN (Nushirwan), or "the generous mind," one of the greatest monarchs of Persia, reigned from A. D. 531 till 579.
He inherited the war against the Greeks. We have spoken above of the strange story that Khosrew was to be adopted by Justin.
He was already on his way to Constantinople, when he was informed that the quaestor Proclus had raised objections of so grave a nature against the adoption that the ceremony could not take place, Khosrew consequently returned, and it is said that he felt the insult so deeply as to seek revenge in carrying destruction over the Roman empire.
The first war was finished in 532 or 533, Justinian having purchased peace by an annual tribute of 440,000 pieces of gold. One of the conditions of Khosrew was, that seven Greek, but Pagan, sages or philosophers who had stayed some time at the Persian court, should be allowed to live in the Roman empire without being subject to the imperial laws against Pagans.
This reflects great credit upon the king.
The conquests of Belisarius excited the jealousy of Khosrew, and although he received a considerable portion of the treasures which the Greek found at Carthage, he thought it prudent to draw the Greek arms into a field where laurels were not so easily gained as in Africa. To this effect he roused the Arab Almondar, king of Hira, to make an inroad into the empire, and as he supported him, hostilities soon broke out between Constantinople and Ctesiphon also.
The details of this war, which lasted from 540 to 561, have been given in the life of Justinian I.
The emperor promised an annual tribute of 40,000 pieces of gold, and received the cession of the Persian claims upon Colchis and Lazica.
The third war arose out of the conquest of Yemen and other parts of Arabia, from which country the Persians drove out an Abyssinian usurper, and placed a king of the ancient royal family on the Homeritic throne, who remained consequently a vassal of Khosrew.
The power of the Persian king was already sufficiently great to inspire fear to the emperor Justin II., and as the conquest of Arabia afforded Khosrew an opportunity of continually annoying Syria and Mesopotamia by means of the roving tribes on the northern borders of Arabia, the emperor resolved upon war. Turks of Central Asia, and Abyssinians from the sources of the Nile, were his allies.
At the same time (569) the Persarmenians drove their Persian governors out, and put themselves under the authority of the emperor, so that Khosrew also had a fair pretext for war.
This war, of which Khosrew did not see the end, broke out in 571, and as its details are given in the lives of the emperors Justin II., Tiberius II., Mauritius, and of Justinian, the second son of Germanus, we shall not dwell further upon these topics.
We must consider Khosrew as one of the greatest kings of Persia.
In his protracted wars with the Romans he disputed the field with the conquerors of Africa and Italy, and with those very generals, Tiberius and Mauritius, who brought Persia to the brink of ruin but a few years after his death. His empire extended from the Indus to the Red Sea, and large tracts in Central Asia, perhaps a portion of eastern Europe, recognised him for a time as their sovereign.
He received embassies and presents from the remotest kings of Asia and Africa. His internal government was despotic and cruel, but of that firm description which pleases Orientals, so that he still lives in the memory of the Persians as a model of justice.
The communist Mazdak was put to death by his order, after his doctrines had caused a dangerous revolution in the habits and minds of the people, as is shown by the fact that his doctrine of community of women, so utterly adverse to the views of the Oriental nations, had taken a firm root among the Persians. His heart bled when Nushirad, his son by a Christian woman, and a Christian himself, rose in arms against him, but he quelled the rebellion vigorously, and Nushirad perished.
The administration of Khosrew provided for all the wants of his subjects; and agriculture, trade, and learning were equally protected by him.
He bestowed the greatest care upon re-populating ravaged provinces, and rebuilding destroyed cities and villages ; so that every body could be happy in Persia, provided he obeyed the king's will without opposition. At Gondi Sapor, near Susa, he founded an academy apparently on the model of the Greek schools at Athens, Alexandria, &c.
He caused the best Greek, Latin, and Indian works to be translated into Persian; and had he been an Arsacid instead of a Sassanid, Persia might have become under him an Eastern Greece.