In Persia, the Sassanid Empire was established from 224-651 A.D. Sassanids consciously sought to revive Iranian traditions that were eradicated under the influence of Greek culture 1. In 540 Khosrow I, also known as Chosroes I, Husraw I, Khusro I, Chusro I, and Khosrau I, built a new city called Veh az Antiok Khosrow. The royal seal of Khosrow displays the image of a wild boar 2. Shahrbaraz was Khosrow's most gifted military talent. In 604, rule of the Sassanians fell to Farrokhan "Shahrbaraz", which translates into "the Boar of the Empire" 3. This terrifying and intimidating title was rightfully earned through his conquest of Egypt and the Levant. Eventually hahrbaraz's military might would split the Byzantine Empire in half 4.
While the Byzantine Empire would recover in the 10th century, Shahrbaraz and the Sassanid Empire forced territorial and cultural losses that took centuries of recovery. Historically, the boar was the animal associated with the Zoroastrian yazata Vahram, the epitome of victory. Shahrbaraz's dexterity in military command and his warlike persona made him a perfect representation of the iconic wild boar 5.
Kings of the Sassanid Empire also engaged in boar hunting. Sassanian remains show the royal sportsman engaged in the pursuit of the wild boar 6. The cultural influence of the boar can also be seen in Sassanian art. The symbolism of the wild boar can be seen in Sassanian stucco friezes, stone reliefs, royal silver plates, and textiles 7. Additional symbols of the boar are seen in currency, which depicts the King and Queen wearing a boar crown 8. The representations of wild boars in Sassanian culture are that of truth and spirit. Detailed human forms are often portrayed as inferior alongside the boar, a testament to its iconic influence 9. Today, Iran has become a popular destination for wild boar big game hunting.
- 1 - "Sassanid Empire." Iran Chamber Society, n.d. <link>
- 2 - "Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Iran, 500-1000 A.D." Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, n.d. <link>
- 3 - Lewis, David L. God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570 to 1215. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008. <link>
- 4 - Farrokh, Kaveh and Angus McBride. Sassanian Elite Cavalry AD 224-642. Long Island City, NY: Osprey Publishing 2005. <link>
- 5 - "Battle of al-Qadisiyyah." Middle East Explorer, n.d. <link>
- 6 - Rawlinson, George. The Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy. London: Longmans, Green, 1876. <link>
- 7 - "Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Iran, 500-1000 A.D." Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, n.d. <link>
- 8 - Mallon-McCorgray, T.K. "Varhran II." grifterrec.com. Grifter, n.d. <link>
- 9 - Rawlinson, George. The Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy. London: Longmans, Green, 1876. <link>