ARDESHIR A. D. 202. BABEGAN*, whom our writers call Artaxares, was the son of Sassan, a man originally in a low station of life, but descended from a son of Ardeshir the Long-handed, who was disinherited in favour of Homáï. He was surnamed Babegán from Babeg, his grandfather, who was a Persian prince of eminent rank, and was so pleased with the amiable qualities of Sassan, his shepherd, that he gave him his daughter in mar­riage. Ardeshir was bold and warlike, yet a wise and learned prince, and is said to have composed two excellent books, the first, a Cár­nâma*, or a Commentary of his life and actions, the second, a moral work, of which Nushirván the Great, some ages after, published a second edition. These were employments truly worthy of great Princes; but the Kings of Europe have not written many Cárnâma’s, nor given many lessons of morality.

SHAPOR*, A. D. 242. son of Ardeshir, whom we call Sapores, built many cities in Persia, and rebuilt that of Níshapór*, which the Macedonians had destroyed. A. D. 242. The name of this city is compounded of Shapór added to or Néï, a reed, because its ruins were overgrown with reeds, when Shapór first saw it. This Prince was very success­ful in his wars against the Roman Emperors: he reduced all Syria and Cilicia, and took Valerian prisoner, but was checked in his career by the more fortunate arms of Odenatus. In his reign Máni* a Painter, having learned by the con­versation of some Christians, that the Redeemer had promised to send a Comforter after him, formed the wild design of passing for the Paraclete; and, as no opinions are so absurd, which many will not embrace, he soon drew together a mul­titude of proselytes. Shapór was enraged at this imposture, and wished to punish the author of it; but Mani found means to escape, and fled into Eastern Tartary as far as the borders of China, having first told his followers, that he was going to heaven, and promised to meet them in a certain grot, at the end of the year. In his retreat he amused himself with painting a number of strange figures and views, which, at the year’s end, he showed to his disciples, as a work given to him by angels: he was a very ingenious artist, and had a lively fancy, so that his pictures, which were finely coloured, easily persuaded the credulous multitude, in the infancy of the art in Asia, that they were really divine; they were bound together in a book called Erteng*, which is often alluded to by the Persian poets, one of whom, addressing himself to A. D. 242. a great Painter, says, The point of thy pencil draws a line over the leaves of Erteng, that is, effaces them*. Máni, by a whimsical mixture, blended in his doctrine the Metempsychosis of of Brahma and Vishnú*, and the two Principles of Zeratúsht, together with several tenets of the Alcoran, and even of the Gospel; yet this motley religion, ridiculous as it may seem, was followed even by Bishops and Patriarchs. Our writers call the professors of this sect Manicheans, but they should, by analogy, be called Manians. The Impostor was put to death in the reign of Baharam, grandson of Shapor: had he been, like Mahomed, a successful Warrior, instead of an obscure Artist, his religion would, perhaps, have been spread over all Asia; for it was the miraculous privilege of the true faith alone, to make its way, in defiance of persecution, by the force of its indisputable Truth, and the sanctity of its precepts.

HORMOZD*, A. D. 272. or Hormizdas, as our histo­rians call him, had the advantage of a graceful person, and an agreeable air; but he was neither active nor warlike. He was much addicted to study, and strongly inclined to favour Mani, whom his son, as it was said above, afterwards destroyed.

BAHARAM*, A. D. 274. son of Hormuz, after the death of Mani, led a peaceful and studious life. He was surnamed The Beneficent, and used to say, that Good-nature and Benevolence could not be defined separately, because they were the aggregate of all Virtues. His adopted son, who succeeded him, paid little regard to this maxim, and his violence procured him the name of Khálef, or, The Unjust*; but it is said that he changed his temper and conduct upon the remonstrances of his Nobles.

There was nothing memorable in the reign of his successor Narsi*, whom we call Narses: Hormozd II. his son, was a just and magnificent prince; he raised a Court of Judicature in his Metropolis, in which he sometimes presided in person; and he built, it is thought, the city of Hormuz in Carmania, the name of which was afterwards given to the Island in the Persian Gulf, which our travellers call Ormus.

SHAPOR, A. D. 349. whom the Arabians name DHU LACTAF*, or, The Round-Shouldered, was taken prisoner by the Greek Emperor, and, during his captivity, many of his finest provinces were laid waste; but having recovered his liberty by the help of the Emperor’s Mistress, he returned to Azarbigian, where he made himself known to his A. D. 309. people, and soon after totally defeated the Greeks: in memory of this action he built the city of Cazvin*, which, for its singular beauty, was also named Gemalabád*. His grandson Baharam had but a short reign, which was dis­turbed by frequent rebellions. It was usual for the Persian Kings to give their sons some con­siderable government with the title of Sháh; that of Carmania was allotted to Baharám, who assumed, in consequence of it, the surname of Kermanshâh*, which our writers have corrupted into Carmasat.

The reign of his son Yézdegerd had nothing in it, that deserves to be related.

BAHARAM A. D. 35?? the Fourth*, or the Sixth, as some authors reckon him, was educated in Ara­bia, and had some difficulty to recover the throne of Persia, which the Nobles of his father’s court had, in his absence, given to a prince named Kesri. The adventures of this King are related at large by the poet Câtebi, some of whose fictions have been transplanted into the Persian histories, where we are told, with great solemnity, “that he challenged Kesri to snatch the diadem from two hungry lions, between whom he had placed it; that he slew the two lions, and took the diadem; that he travelled into India in A. D. 351. a private character, and married the King’s daughter, having gained his favour by killing a furious elephant, and by defeating another Indian Prince, who had invaded the country.” These relations have the air of Persian tales; but we may be assured, that he repulsed the Eastern Tartars, who, as usual, had passed the Oxus in his reign; and that, having no other enemies, he spent the remainder of his life in hunting. His favourite prey was a beast called Gúr, which seems to be the Onagrus, or Wild Ass; and it is said that he was killed in a chace. The word Gúr, which signifies a tomb, as well as a wild ass, gave occasion to a pun of some Persian wit, which was circulated after Baharâm’s death: See, says he, how Baharám, who chased the Gúr, or wild ass, all his life, was at length chased and taken by Gúr, or the tomb*.

The successor of Baharam was Yezdegerd II. a wise and resolute prince, whose soldiers were so fond of him, that they gave him the surname of Sipâhdóst, or, Beloved by the army*. He left his throne to his younger son Hormuz, surnamed Firzâma*, or, The Prudent; but that prince was dethroned, in less than a year, by his elder brother Firúz.

FIRUZ*, A. D. 459. having deposed his brother by the help of Khoshnavâz, a King of the Indoscythians, soon forgot his obligation to him, and turned his arms against his protector; but he was con­stantly defeated by that prince, and was at last obliged to conclude a dishonourable peace. The people, whom the Greeks call Indoscythians, and the Persians Haïatelis, inhabited the mountains between Candahar and India, and were, perhaps, nearly the same with the Afgans, who ruined the Persian Monarchy in the present age.

Belash and Cobad succeeded Firúz; the second of them was the father of Nushirván the Great, before whom Jamásp, or, as we call him, Zamaspes, reigned one year.

NUSHIRVAN*, A. D. 530. better known in Europe by the name of Cosroës, reigned till near the close of the sixth century; he was a Prince of eminent virtues, fortunate in war, and illustrious in peace. MAHOMED, who was born in his reign, calls him The Just King, a title more honourable than that of Great, which we are apt to bestow so wantonly upon the oppressors of mankind. All the moral writers of Persia, and principally Sádi, in his Bostán, or Garden, and Jámi, in his Beharistán, or, Mansion of the Spring, are fond of reciting the maxims of this Monarch, and of illustrating their lessons of morality by his example.

His A. D. 530. son Hormúz was far from imitating his father’s virtue; he was at last dethroned by his General Baharám, whom some authors reckon among the Kings of Persia.

KHOSRU A. D. 590. PARVIZ* was a magnificent and amiable monarch: he fought against the Greek Emperors with great success, but was at length defeated by Heraclius. He is said to have mar­ried a daughter of the Emperor Maurice, named Irene: the Persians call this princess Shirin, or Sweet, and the progress of her love for Parvíz furnished Nezámi, and other poets, with the subject of an entertaining Romance; they tell us that a certain Statuary, named Ferhad, was in love with the same lady, and pierced through the heart of a large mountain, either to gratify his mistress, or to employ his melancholy hours. There is an elegant couplet of Jámi on this cele­brated Beauty and her lovers: When Shirín, says he, opened her lips, that shed sweetness around, she stole the heart of Parviz, and the soul of Fer­had*.

This prince is said to have received a letter from Mahomed, inviting him to embrace the new sect of the Arabians; but, as he was extremely addicted to the popular religion of his country, he tore the letter with great disdain.

Parviz, A. D. 590. if we believe the Easterns, was a lover of Musick, and a patron of those who professed that art: his chief Musician was Barbúd, who composed a favourite tune called Aurengi, or Royal, and invented a sort of lute, known by his name; whence M. d’Herbelot supposes, a little too hastily, that the Greeks formed their word Barbiton, not reflecting, that Anacreon and Horace used that word many ages before the birth of Parviz. The Persians, like the ancient Greeks, call their musical modes, or Perda’s, by the names of different countries or cities, as the mode of Ispahan, the mode of Irak, the mode of Hejáz, or the Arabian mode. Whether these modes, like ours, mean a succession of sounds relating by just proportions to one principal note, or only a par­ticular sort of air, it has not been in my power to learn. If we may argue from the softness of the Persian language, the strong accentuation of the words, and the tenderness of the songs which are written in it, we may conclude that the Persians must have a natural and affecting melody, which is, certainly, true musick; but they seem to be very little acquainted with the Theory of that sublime art: and, indeed, the Europeans knew as little of it, till it was explained to them by Rousseau of Geneva, who has written upon the subject like a Philosopher, an Artist, and a Man of Taste.

After A. D. 623. the death of Parviz, the Empire began to decline: the five Princes, and the two Queens, who succeeded to Shirúieh, or Siroes, as they were eminent neither in peace nor in war, are not worthy of a place in History.

The A. D. 636. Arabs, under the command of Omar, were perpetually making inroads upon the Persian Empire, and finally overthrew it by the defeat of YEZDEGIRD*, who was killed in the middle of the seventh century; and by his death the family of Sassan became extinct.