24. KHOSREW or CHOSROES II. PURWIZ, reigned from A. D. 590 or 591 till 628, and was the son of HORMUZ IV.
It has been related in the preceding article how he ascended the throne, lost it against Bahram, and recovered it with the assistance of the emperor Mauricius.
In this expedition the Greek army was commanded by Narses, a general scarcely less eminent than the great eunuch, and who destroyed the hopes of the usurper Bahram in two great battles on the river Zab.
The adherents of Bahram were severely punished by Chosroes, who continued to live in peace with Constantinople as long as Mauricius lived, and even kept a Greek body guard, so that Persia was entirely under Greek influence.
But when the murderer and successor of Mauricius, the tyrant Phocas, announced his accession to Chosroes by Lilius, the same person who had spilt the blood of Mauricius, the Persian king, threw the ambassador into a dungeon and declared war to avenge the death of his benefactor (603). Owing to the prowess of the Persians, and the bad choice Phocas made of his generals after he had removed Narses from the command, the arms of Chosroes met with extraordinary success.
He conquered Mesopotamia and its great bulwarks Dara, Amida, Edessa, and overran all Asia Minor, making the inhabitants of Constantinople tremble for their safety. Nor was his progress checked through the accession of Heraclius, in 610, who sued in vain for peace. Syria yielded to Chosroes in 611, Palestine in 614, Egypt in 616, and in the same year Asia Minor was completely conquered, a Persian camp being pitched at Chalcedon, opposite Constantinople, where the Persians maintained themselves during ten years.
It was not before 621 that Heraclius showed himself that extraordinary man he really was, and saved the Eastern empire from the brink of ruin.
The history of his splendid campaigns has been given in his life with sufficient details to make its repetition here superfluous. Borne down by a series of unparalleled misfortunes, and worn out by age and fatigue, Chosroes resolved, in 628, to abdicate in favour of his son Merdaza, but Shirweh, or Siroes, his eldest, anticipated his design, and at the head of a band of noble conspirators seized upon the person of his father, deposed him on the 25th of February, 628, and put him to death on the 28th following.
The Orientals say that Chosroes reigned six years too long; and it is rather remarkable that his great antagonist Heraclius also outlived his glory. No Persian king lived in such splendour as Chosroes; and however fabulous the Eastern accounts respecting his magnificence may be, they are true in the main, as is attested by the Western writers. Chosroes was summoned by Mohammed to embrace the new doctrine, but replied with contempt to the messenger of a " lizard eater," as the Persians used to call the wandering tribes of the Arabs. His successors held a different language.