22. HORMUZ or HORMISDAS IV., the son of Khosrew, reigned from A. D. 579 till 590.
He carried on his father's war with the Greeks, to the disadvantage, though not to the disgrace, of Persia. Some time before Khosrew died, the general Justinian had advanced as far as the Caspian, which he explored by means of a Greek navy, the first that was seen on those waters since the time of Seleucus Nicator and Antiochus I. Soter, kings of Syria, whose admiral Patrocles first displayed the Greek flag on the Caspian. Seventy thousand prisoners were sent by Justinian to Cyprus, where they settled. Upon this Justinian penetrated into Assyria.
In consequence of a defeat sustained by the Persian Tamchosroes, Justinian was recalled, and replaced by Mauritius, who soon retrieved the fortune of the Greek arms, and in the very year when Chosroes died (579) he took up his winter-quarters in Mesopotamia, from whence, in the following year, he penetrated into lower Mesopotamia and routed a Persian army.
He gained another victory in 581, and Tamchosroes perished in the battle. But Maurice having succeeded the emperor Tiberius in that year, his general in the East, Mystacon, was twice worsted, and the armies of Hormisdas were victorious till 586, when Philippus destroyed the Persian host at Solacon near Dara. His successor Heraclius was still more successful.
In the great battle of Sisarbene, in 588, the Persians were annihilated, and their camp was taken. Hormuz now concluded an alliance with the Turks, who, however, turned suddenly against him, after having been admitted into Media, and Persia would have been lost but for the splendid achievements of Bahram, who drove the barbarians back into their steppes, and compelled them to pay themselves the tribute which they had demanded from Persia. Bahram was rewarded with ingratitude, and being supported by the aristocracy turned against the king, who now reaped the fruits of his former conduct against the grandees. While Bahram advanced upon the royal residence, Hormuz was seized by Bindoes, a royal prince; and a nation that knew no other form of government than the most absolute despotism, now beheld the anomalous sight of their king being tried by the grandees, sentenced to lose his throne, to be deprived of his sight, and to end his days in captivity. Hormuz persuaded the grandees to place the diadem on his second son, but he was too much detested to meet with compliance, and his eldest son Chosroes was chosen in his stead. Bahram protested against this election with sword in hand, and Chosroes, unable to cope with him, fled to the camp of the emperor. During these troubles the blinded Hormuz was murdered by Bindoes (590).
The events have been more fully related in the life of the emperor Mauricius. King Hormuz would have met with a better fate had his father's excellent minister, Abu-zurg-a-mihir, commonly called Buzurg, continued to live at his court, from which old age obliged him to retire soon after the accession of Hormuz.
According to some writers, Buzurg had been minister to king Cobades (502-531); but we can hardly believe that he discharged his eminent functions during so long a period as sixty years. However, the thing is possible. This Buzurg still lives in the memory of the people as one of the greatest sages.
He introduced the study of Indian literature into Persia, and thence also he imported the most noble of games, chess.