Научная статья на тему 'Destruction of the ādur gušnasp temple in ādurbādagān as a revenge for abduction of the Holy Cross from Jerusalem in the context of the letters of Heraclius'

Destruction of the ādur gušnasp temple in ādurbādagān as a revenge for abduction of the Holy Cross from Jerusalem in the context of the letters of Heraclius Текст научной статьи по специальности «История. Исторические науки»

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ROMAN-PERSIAN WARS / IRAN / ĀDUR GUšNASP / HERACLIUS / XUSRō II PARVēZ / ŠAHRWARāZ / THE TRUE CROSS / РИМСКО-ПЕРСИДСКИЕ ВОЙНЫ / ИРАН / АДУР-ГУШ-НАСП / ИРАКЛИЙ / ХОСРОВ II ПАРВЕЗ / ШАХРВАРАЗ / ЧЕСТНОЙ КРЕСТ

Аннотация научной статьи по истории и историческим наукам, автор научной работы — Maksymiuk Katarzyna Iwona

In 614 kust-ī nēmrōz spāhbed Šahrwarāz captured Jerusalem. Among the trophies brought from the city he took the relics of the Holy Cross. The current article analyzes the religious aspects of the last great war between Iran and Byzantium based on correspondence of Heraclius (610-641). The main goal is an attempt for replying the question whether destruction of the main Zoroastrian Ādur Gušnasp in Ādurbādagān was in fact a revenge for the capture of the True Cross?

Текст научной работы на тему «Destruction of the ādur gušnasp temple in ādurbādagān as a revenge for abduction of the Holy Cross from Jerusalem in the context of the letters of Heraclius»

ИСТОРИЯ ДРЕВНЕГО МИРА

UDC 94(357)

K. I. Maksymiuk

DESTRUCTION OF THE ADUR GUSNASP TEMPLE IN ADURBADAGAN AS A REVENGE FOR ABDUCTION OF THE HOLY CROSS FROM JERUSALEM IN THE CONTEXT OF THE LETTERS OF HERACLIUS

In 614 kust-l nemroz spahbed Sahrwaraz captured Jerusalem Among the trophies brought from the city he took the relics of the Holy Cross. The current article analyzes the religious aspects of the last great war between Iran and Byzantium based on correspondence of Heraclius (610-641). The main goal is an attempt for replying the question whether destruction of the main Zoroastrian Adur Gusnasp in Adurbadagan was in fact a revenge for the capture of the True Cross?

Key words: Roman-Persian wars, Iran, Adur Gusnasp, Heraclius, Xusro II Parvez, Sahrwaraz, the True Cross.

At the break of 613/614 the armies of Xusro II Parvez (590-628)1 with active support of 20000 Jewish army under Nehemiah ben Hushiel and Benjamin of Tiberias captured Jerusalem. Several months later a mutiny of the Christians broke during

1 Kaegi W. E. Heraclius: Emperor of Byzantium. Cambridge, 2003. P. 74-81; Howard-Johnston }. Pride and fall: Khusro II and his regime, 626628 //La Persia e Bisanzio, atti del Convegno internazionale sul tema (Roma 14-18 ottobre 2002). R., 2004. P. 93-113; Pourshariati P. Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab Conquest of Iran. L.; N. Y., 2008. P. 130-160; Crawford P. The War of the Three Gods. Romans, Persians, and the Rise of Islam. B., 2013. P. 28-31, 38-46; Wood Ph. The Chronicle of Seert. Christian Historical Imagination in Late Antique Iraq. Oxford, 2013. P. 176-220.

which Nehemiah was murdered2. The Jews requested support from Sahrwaräz — the commander of Iranian army stationed in Caesarea Maritima3. In the second half of April 614 kust-i nemröz spähbed besieged Jerusalem and after about 20 days recaptured the city4. According literary description Jerusalem was

2 Antiochos Strategos. 502-517; Sebeos. 115.

3 Tabari lists three commanders of Xusrö II Parvez active on the Western front. Rumiyüzän was sent to Syria and Palestine, Sähen was to capture Egypt and the lands of Nubia, the third was Farruhän (Farrukhän). According to Tabari Farruhän „was of Sahrwaräz rank" and led the expedition against Constantinople (Tabari. 1002). As far as identity of Sähen is clear, identification of the remaining commanders is disputable. It is believed that Rumiyüzän should be identified with Sahrwaräz who undoubtedly captured Jerusalem in 614. Bosworth in his comment to Tabari identifies Sahrwaräz with Rumiyüzän and Farruhän (Tabari. 1002. P. 318-319. Ann. 745, 749). Basing on Sebeos. 115, Thomson (Sebeos. P. 63. Ann. 391) assumes that the commanders listed in Armenian sources: Razmiozan and Khoream, are in fact Sahrwaräz; Based on the studies of Gyselen (Gyselen R. The Four Generals of the Sasanian Empire. Some Sigillographic Evidence. R., 2001. Seals 2d/2, 2d/l, 2d/2) it should be assumed that Sahrwaräz was the member of the Mehrän family (Pahlav) and held the office of kust l nemröz spähbed. On the role of the Parthian clans in military see: Maksymiuk K. The Parthian Nobility in Xusrö I Anösirvän Court / / Elites in the Ancient World. Vol. 2 / Ed. by D. Okon, P. Briks. Szczecin, 2015. P. 189-198; Maksymiuk K. The Pahlav-Mehrän Family Faithful Allies of Xusrö I Anösirvän / / Метаморфозы истории. 2015. Вып. 6. С. 163-179. P. Pourshariati has no doubts that Goräz (Guräz) mentioned in Säh-näma of Ferdowsi (t. VIII.43.63-64) must be identified with Sahrwaräz ("Boar of the Empire") (see: Pourshariati P. Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire. P. 142-149).

4 Antiochos Strategos. 503-505; Agapius. 451; Chron. 1234. 93;

Chron. 724. 113; Chron. Pasch. 704-705; Mika'el Rabo. 11.1; Sebeos. 115; Tabari. 1007. Discussion of dating: Foss C. The Persians in the Roman Near East (602-630 AD) // JRAS. 2003. № 2. P. 149-170; Ben-Ami D., Tchekha-nouets Y., Bijousky G. New Archaeological and Numismatic Evidence for the Persian Destruction of Jerusalem in 614 CE / / Israel Exploration Journal. 2010. Vol. 60. P. 204-221; Stoyanoo Y. Archaeology Versus Written Sources: the Case of the Persian Conquest of Jerusalem in 614 / / Acta Mu-

seii Varnaensis. 2011. № VIII-1. P. 351-358; According to classical sources its christian inhabitants were slaughtered (Antiochos Strategos. 506-507; Sebeos. 115), Avni (Avni G. The Persian Conquest of Jerusalem (614 C.E.): An Archaeological Assessment // BASOR. 2010. № 357. P. 35-48) dates

7 group grave located by Mamilla pool for the time of Iranian invasion; on top of that 35,000, including Patriarch Zachariah, were to be deported to Iran (Antiochos Strategos. 511-514; Sebeos. 116).

to be demolished which has been partially confirmed by the recent archaeological survey5. From the ideological perspective the key event was carrying the relics of the Holy Cross from Jerusalem by Sahrwaraz6.

Below considerations aim in analyzing the "religious" aspects of Heraclius' (610-641) expedition to Iran in the light of imperial correspondence7. The main question examined is whether destruction of Zoroastrian temple Àdur Gusnasp in Àdurbâdagân8 was retaliation for the capture of the True Cross9?

5 Alternative view is demomstrated by J. Magness (Magness J. A re-Examination of the Archaeological Evidence for the Sassanian Persian Destruction of the Tyropoeon Valley // BASOR. 1992. № 287. P. 67-74) who states that the destruction within the city came from the later periods. The problem in their dating is the earthquake of 628 and Arab invasion of 638.

6 Antiochos Strategos. 515-516; Theoph. 6106; Chron. 724, 146; Chron. 1234. 93; Mika'el Rabo. 11.1; Chron. Pasch. 704-705; Tabari. 1002.

7 See: Baynes N. H. The Restoration of the Cross at Jerusalem / / EHR. 1912. № 106. P. 287-299; FrolowA. La vraie croix et les expéditions d'Héra-clius en Perse / / Revue des Etudes Byzantines. 1953. № 11. P. 88-105; Grumel V. La reposition de la vraie croix à Jérusalem par Héraclius. Le jour et l'année // Zeitschrift fiir Byzantinistik. 1966. Bd. 1. S. 139-149; Dri-jvers J. W. Heraclius and the Restitutio Crucis. Notes on Symbolism and Ideology / / The Reign of Heraclius (610-641). Crisis and Confrontation / Ed. by J. Reinink, B. Stolte. Leuven, 2002. P. 175-190; Bergamo N. Expedi-tio persica of Heraclius: Holy War or Crusade? / / Porphyra. 2008. № 12. P. 94-107; Stoyanov Y. Defenders and Enemies of the True Cross: The Sasa-nian Conquest of Jerusalem in 614 and Byzantine Ideology of Anti-Persian Warfare. Vienna, 2011. P. 67-69.

8 Boyce M. Adur Gushnasp // EIr. 1985. Vol. 1. P. 475-476.

9 See: Hioureas V. "o Kpcrccov IIepooKpàxr|ç ô nopooÀàxpr|ç éÇo9(D0r| Xoopôr|ç": The Portrayal of Chosroes II in George Pisides' Herakleias / / Sasanika. 2013. № 5. [Electronic resource]: URL: http://sasanika.org/ wp-content/uploads/GardPaper5-Hioureas-George-Pisides.pdf (date of access: 31.10. 2016): "Herakleios retaliated for the sacking of Jerusalem and the theft of the True Cross when he polluted the sacred fire temple by throwing corpses into the waters of the sacred lake, among other things. He destroyed the Zoroastrian temple, and in this way demonstrated, at least for the eyes of his Empire, that the war against the Sassanian was a religious one"; Boca-Winters K. The Last Battle: The Dënkard and the Post-Zoroastrian World // Sasanika. 2013. № 3. [Electronic resource]: URL: http: / / sasanika.org/ wp-content/uploads/ e-sasanika-GP3-Baca-Winters.pdf (date of access: 31.10.2016): "Perhaps the biggest blow to Zo-roastrians was the sack of the sacred Zoroastrian fire temple Atur Gusnap, where Sasanian emperors would make pilgrimages and ordinary Zoroas-

The destruction of Adur Gusnasp

In 622 Heraclius launched a counteroffensive in the East10. In course of military actions Roman forces destroyed in 624 the temple in Adur Gusnasp11. "And when the emperor reached the town of Ganzak (308) <he refreshed his army in its suburbs. The Persians who had taken refuge with him said that Khusro had destroyed with fire all the crops in those parts on his way to the town of Thebarmais> in the east, wherein were the temple of Fire and the treasure of Croesus, king of the Lydians, and the deceit of the coals. Having seized these items, he (Khusro) had marched to Dastagerd. Setting out from Ganzak, the emperor reached Thebarmais; and he entered (it) and burnt down the temple of Fire and burnt down the entire city" (Theophan. A. M. 6114) (transl. by C. Mango); "Heraclius marched on with 120,000 to go to the court of the Persian king. He travelled through the regions of the north, making directly for the city of Karin; and having reached Dvin in Ayrarat, he ravaged it and Nakhchawan. Proceeding to Gandzak in Atrpatakan, he also destroyed the altars of the great Fire which they called Vshnasp" (Sebeos. 124) (transl. by R. W. Thomson); "So putting out all that fire, you left nothing, excluding that as is said a small spark to burn Chosroes" (Pisides. 2.229-230) (transl. by V. Hioureas); "They will remove Adur Gusasp from its place... on account of (the devastation of) these armies, Adur Gusasp will be carried to Padasxwargar" (Zand i Vahman Yast. pp. 467, 469) (transl. by B. N. Dhabhar).

Fire played enormous role in Zoroastrian religion12. The priests were obliged to sustain the fire burning on the altars to

trians would make devotions to Ohrmazd, in retaliation for Xusro II having "stolen" the True Cross".

10 Howard-Johnston J. Heraclius' Persian Campaigns and the Revival of the East Roman Empire, 622-630 // War in History. 1999. № 6. P. 1-44; Maksymiuk K. Geography of Roman-Iranian Wars. Military Operations of Rome and Sasanian Iran. Siedlce, 2015. P. 92-98.

11 Kaegi W. E. Op. cit. P. 127; Dizaji M. G. Disintegration of Sasanian Hegemony over Northern Iran (AD 623-643) // IrAnt. 2011. № 46. P. 315329; According to Payne (Payne R. A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoro-astrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity. Oakland, 2015. P. 177) this event was presented as the act of piety of the Byzantine army.

12 See: Maksymiuk K. Zaratusztrianizm w okresie sasanidzkim. Zarys problematyki / / Istoria religij v Ukraini: naukovij soricnik / Red. O. Kiri-cuk, M. Omel'cuk. L'viv, 2016. S. 15-24.

celebrate Ohrmazd13. This fire was identified with Truth and Order — asa. Three kinds of fire were worshipped: Atas Dadgah, Atas Adoran and Atas Bahram (Fire of Victory), with the latter being believed the most14. Three great fires of the highest grade existed in the Sasanian period (Atas Bahram — was worshipped in all temples15). Adur Gusnasp (in Media) — which was a temple of the royal and knightly fire, in Adur Farnbag temple (in Pars)16 — a fire of the priests was worshipped. Third — Adur Burzen-Mihr (in Parthia)17 was a peasants' fire temple. The political importance of Adur Gusnasp increased especially in 4th century AD when a new habit of visiting the temple by each newly crowned ruler was introduced18.

The religious aspect of the conflict in the literary sources describing the campaign of Heraclius

A. Sebeos quotes a letter of Xusro II addressed to Heraclius in 622/623, which was to be read in the presence of the patriarch of Constantinople and placed in front of the altar: "Let not your vain hope deceive you. For that Christ who was not able to save himself from the Jews — but they killed him by hanging him on a cross — how can the same save you from my hands?" (Sebeos. 123) (transl. by R. W. Thomson). Genuineness of the letter had been convincingly denied by R. W. Thomson19.

13 Schippman K. Die iranischen Feuerheiligtümer. B., 1971.

14 Boyce M. On the Sacred Fires of the Zoroastrians // BSOAS. 1968. Vol. 31. № 1. P. 52-68.

15 Gyselen R. Les grands feux de l'empire Sassanide: quelques témoignages sigillographiques / / Religious Themes and Texts of pre-Islam-ic Iran and Central Asia: Studies in Honour of Professor G. Gnoli / Ed. by C. Cereti, M. Maggi, E. Provasi. Wiesbaden, 2003. P. 131-138.

16 Boyce M. Adur Farnbag // EIr. 1985. Vol. 1. P. 474.

17 Boyce M. Adur Burzen Mihr// EIr. 1985. Vol. 1. P. 472-473.

18 Al-Mas'udi. P. 137; Bivar H. Estakr i: History and Archaeology / / EIr. 1997. Vol. 8. P. 643-646.

19 Sebeos. P. 79-80; Frendo (Frendo J. D. The Territorial Ambitions of Chosroes II: an Armenian View? / / Florilegium. 1985. Vol. 7. P. 3036) supports its historicity. The discussion of the reply of Heraclius: Speck P. Das geteilte Dossier. Beobachtungen zu den Nachrichten über die Regierung des Kaisers Herakleios und die seiner Söhne bei Theophanes und Nikephoros Poikila. Bonn, 1988. S. 127-128 and: Zuckerman C. Au sujet de la petite Augusta sur les monnaies d'Héraclius / / RN. 1997. T. 152. P. 477.

B. According to Theophanes the emperor was making references to religion in his several speeches addressed to the army. 15 April 624 in Nicomedia he celebrated Easter with his army20, and at the beginning of the campaign he was to say: "Men, my brethren, let us keep in mind the fear of God and fight to avenge the insult done to God. Let us stand bravely against the enemy who have inflicted many terrible things on the Christians. Let us respect the sovereign state of the Romans and oppose the enemy who are armed with impiety... Let us stand bravely, and the Lord our God will assist us and destroy the enemy" (Theophan. A. M. 6114) (transl. by C. Mango). In 625 during the campaign in Persarmenia: "May we win the crown of martyrdom so that we may be praised in the future and receive our recompense from God" (Theophan. A. M. 6115) (transl. by C. Mango). However the question must be raised in reference to the above quote — was the emperor promising the soldiers the status of a martyr or should one interpret the expression in the context of "byzantine rhetoric"21? In September of 627 before entering Xuzestan Heraclius was to say: "Know, o brothers, that no one wishes to fight with us, except God and His Mother who bore Him without seed, and this that He may show His might (since salvation does not lie in the abundance of soldiers and weapons, but to those who trust in His mercy) He sends down His aid" (Theophan. A. M. 6118) (transl. by C. Mango).

It might seem that the last fragment is a direct guide and a clue allowing us to accept that Heraclius' expedition had a religious character however one should also turn attention to the statement of Bergamo who wrote: "This last passage could be very useful for understanding the difference between the Holy War in Byzantium and the Crusade. The salvation of the Christian lie in the Theotokos and God's mercy and not in martyrdom"22.

C. Special emphasize on religious character of the expedition of Heraclius can be found in the panegyrics of George Pisides23.

20 Kaegi W. E. Op. cit. P. 124.

21 Flaig E. ,Heiliger Krieg': Auf der Suche nach einer Typologie / / HZ. 2007. Bd. 285. S. 295.

22 Bergamo N. Op. cit. P. 105.

23 Frendo D. The Early Exploits and Final Overthrow of Khusrau II (591-628): Panegyric and Vilification in the Last Byzantine-Iranian Conflict // BAI. 1995. Vol. 9. P. 209-214; Whitby M. Defender of the Cross: George of Pisidia on the Emperor Heraclius and His Deputies / / The Propaganda of Power: The Role of the Panegyric in Late Antiquity / Ed. by

The poet compares the emperor to the biblical and classical figures24. "The one worshiping the flame, Chosroes, has been put in darkness. Again the fire, and again the Persian furnace Is being put out by the second Daniel" (Pisides. 1.13-18) (transl. by V. Hioureas).

George Pisides presents in his poems the war with Persia as a conflict between Christianity and Zoroastrianism, does he not highlight the fact of return of the relics of the True Cross25. This fact is at least worth consideration.

D. The description of the circumstances of returning of the True Cross was included in so-called Pseudo-Sapuh. According to this text the Cross was placed in Ganzak, and was taken by Heraclius from there. "He [Heraclius. — K. M.] marched to the land of Persia with 100,000 warriors. When king K'asre heard of the Roman emperor's coming, he gathered his forces and went to meet him in battle and to draw up ranks in the plain of T'avrez26. The Roman army attacked him, captured K'asre the Persian king, bound him in iron bonds, and went to the city where K'asre dwelt. They besieged it, and in three days took the city and destroyed the castle. Opening the treasury, he found there the saving wood of Christ's Cross and rejoiced greatly. Seizing much booty, he took captive all the land of Persia, depopulated it of men and animals, and led (them) into captivity" (Pseudo-Sapuh. 60-61) (transl. by R. W. Thomson).

Credibility of this source is doubtful. According to its Author Heraclius vanquished Xusrô II and captured Ganzak taking the relics of the True Cross from there. Next the emperor was to sign

M. Whitby. Boston, 1998. P. 253-254; Huber I. Ansichten eines Zivilisierten iiber die unzivilisierte Welt: Das Sàsàniden-Bild des Georgios Pisides und sein historischer Wert fiir den spàtantiken Iran / / Klio. 2008. Bd. 90. H. 1. S. 162-192.

24 Interpretation of the events of the first half of 7th century in the Near East in apocalyptical scripts is presented by Ubierna (Ubierna P. Recherches sur l'apocalyptique syriaque et byzantine au Vile siècle : la place de l'Empire romain dans une histoire du salut / / Bulletin du Centre d'études médiévales d'Auxerre. 2008. T. 2. [Electronic resource]: URL: http://cem. revues.org/10895 (date of access: 19.05. 2016)).

25 Howard-Johnston J. Witnesses to a World Crisis: Historians and Histories of the Middle East in the Seventh Century. Oxford, 2010. P. 31.

26 "...The city of Ganjak and to the capital (city) which they call 'the Golden City', that is T'awrez" (Pseudo-Sapuh. 55) (transl. by R. W. Thomson).

the peace treaty defining the new delineation of the borders with Xusro27 (sic!). Pseudo-Sapuh does not mention the destruction of the Adur Gusnasp temple at all.

The analysis of the letters of Heraclius

Xusro II Parvez was assassinated on 28 of February 62828. His successor Kawad Seroye initiated the negotiations aiming to end the war with Byzantium. On March 24th the envoys of the new Iranian king arrived to Heraclius who stationed with his troops in Ganzak. According to Theophanes Kawad informed the emperor about the events in Ctesiphon and presented the conditions of the peace treaty. The proposal of return of the True Cross was one of them: "Then Shiroe wrote to the emperor to give him the good tidings of the slaying of the foul Khusro; and after making with him a permanent peace, he handed back to him all the imprisoned Christians and the captives held in every part of Persia together with the patriarch Zachariah and the precious and life-giving Cross that had been taken from Jerusalem by Shahrvaraz, when the latter captured Jerusalem" (Theophan. A. M. 6118) (transl. by C. Mango).

Genuineness of the information contained in this passage can be supported by the fact that in the letter of February 28th 628 addressed to Xusro, Kawad II mentions among the reasons of the uprising against the king the matter of the Holy Cross. "Moreover, you regarded your rightful obligations to him lightly and refused to grant his request of you regarding the return of the wooden [True] Cross, to which neither you nor any of your fellow countrymen had any entitlement or need" (Tabari. 1047) (transl. by C. E. Bosworth).

However the memorandum presented by the envoys of Kawad which was quoted by Chronicon Paschale29 does not mention the retribution of the relics30.

According to Nicephorus the case of the relics of the Holy Cross was raised only in the reply given by Heraclius who requested its return31. "He also made a fervent plea concerning the

27 Pseudo-Sapuh. 61.

28 Chron. Pasch. 728, 731; Sebeos. 127; Chron. Khuz. 29; Movses Daskhurants'i. 11.12-13; Tabari. 1045.

29 Chron. Pasch. 735-737.

30 P. Speck (Speck P. Op. cit. S. 336) believes that Theophanes is credible source and it was Kawad who was to return the Cross.

31 The contents of the letter known only from shortened version in Nicephorus. An attempt to reconstruct the text: Oikonomides N. Corre-

Holy Cross, which Sarbaros had removed from Jerusalem. (Seiroes) promised to deliver it if he was able to find it" (Nicephorus. 15) (transl. by C. Mango).

The credibility of this information was put in doubt by Mango who however does not provide any justification of his opinion32. Zuckerman on the other hand find the information genuine33. It seems that in this case one should consider the record of Sebeos who does not mention returned of the True Cross when writing about the contents of the letters from Heraclius to Kawad34.

The decisive argument supporting the view stating that the case of the Holy Cross was not negotiated by Heraclius and Kawad is the letter sent by the emperor to Constantinople on April the 8th 628. The letter was read solemnly on March 15th in Hagia Sophia35. The emperor described the detailed course of the finished campaign in Iran and reported the political changes within Persian state however does not mention the Holy Cross.

After the death of Kawad (September/ october 628)36, Heraclius proposed Sahrwaraz aid in gaining Iranian throne37. Heraclius and Sahrwaraz met on 17 July 629 at Arabissos Tripotamos in Cappadocia38. One of the conditions of the agreement was returning of the Cross. "Then Heraclius swore to him that he would give him that kingdom, and promised it likewise to his sons after him, and as large a force as might be necessary. He made as his prime request from him the Life-bearing Cross which he had taken into captivity from Jerusalem. Then Khoream swore to him, saying: 'When I reach the royal court, I shall immediately make a search for the Cross and shall have it brought to you'" (Sebeos. 129-130) (transl. by R. W. Thomson); "Now, in these days Heraclius asked Shahrbaraz to dispatch it [the Cross. — K M.] (to him) and he (Shahrbaraz) agreed and expedited it to him" (Agapius. 468) (transl. by R. G. Hoyland).

spondence between Heraclius and Kavadh-Siroe in the Paschal Chronicle (628) // Byzantion. 1971. Vol. 41. P. 269-281.

32 Nicephorus. P. 182-183.

33 Zuckerman C. Heraclius and the Return of the Holy Cross / / Constructing the Seventh Century / Ed. by C. Zuckerman. P., 2013. P. 200.

34 Sebeos. 128.

35 Quoted by: Chron. Pasch. 727-734.

36 Chron. Khuz. 29; Sebeos. 129.

37 Sebeos. 129; Chron. 724.147.

38 Frendo D. Byzantine-Iranian Relations before and after the Death of Khus-rau II: a Critical Examination of the Evidence // BAI. 2000. Vol. 14. P. 27-47.

According to numerous records it was Sahrwaräz who finally returned the Cross: "But in the 17th year however after the capture of Jerusalem, in the 3rd year after the murder of Khosro, in the 21st year after the accession of Heraclius, the 3rd indiction, the Persian general Rasmi-Ozan slew the Persian king Artasir, whom we mentioned above. He seized the kingdom, became an ally of the Greeks, and bestowed on the King Heraclius the life-giving tree, the Cross of Christ, as the treasure of the whole world, and as the richest of gifts, and he gave it him" (Antiochus Strategos. 516) (transl. by F. C. Conybeare); "When peace has concluded, Sarbaros immediately returned to the Romans both Egypt and all the eastern lands after withdrawing the Persians that were there; and he send to the emperor the life-giving Cross" (Nicephorus. 17) (transl. by C. Mango); "Then the blessed Heraclius sent reliable men to Khoream for the Lord's Cross. Having searched with great diligence, finally he gave it to the men who had come. They took it and promptly departed" (Sebeos. 130) (transl. by R. W. Thomson); "And Shahrvaraz honoured those of the Romans who were with him and returned the wood of the Cross which Khusro had taken from Jerusalem, and placed it in the box, which he despatched with David, who had been sent with him from the country of the Romans" (Chron. Seert. 93) (transl. by I. Shahid); "He [Sahrwaräz. — K. M.] dismissed the Romans who had accompanied him, and they returned to Heraclius. Together with them he sent to Heraclius the wood of the Lord's cross, which they had brought back from Jerusalem and had been deposited in the Persian treasury, along with a countless number of presents" (Chron. Khuz. 30) (transl. by M. Greatrex).

According to Tabari, Börän had sent the Holy Cross back to the Roman Emperor. "She [Börän. — K. M.] restored the wood of the [True] Cross to the ruler of Byzantium through the intermediacy of the Catholicos called Ishu'häb" (Tabari. 1064) (transl. by C. E. Bosworth).

The embassy to Emperor Heraclius, led by the catholicos Iso yab III, is mentioned in Chronicle of Seert'''', but according to author of chronicle the wood of the Cross was returned by Sahrwaräz. On April 27th Ardasir III was killed and the real power in Ctesiphon was taken over by Sahrwaräz40. He was to remain on

39 Chron. Seert. 237.

40 Tabari. 1062; Chron. Khuz. 29; Shahbazi A. Sh. Ardasir III // EIr. 1986.

the Iranian throne for over 40 days41 so he was murdered on June the 9th 630 the earliest42. It is impossible that the wood of the Cross was returned by Börän. Attributing of returning of the Cross to this female successor of the Sasanids by the Authors related to the official Iranian historiography might have resulted from intention to avoid mentioning any positive actions of the usurper.

On March 21st 63043 the return of the Holy Cross to Jerusalem took place44. Heraclius celebrated the victory of Christian Byzantium over Zoroastrian Iran. The ceremony itself was carried on March 21st (Wednesday — a day with no meaning for Christian religion) the same day as the spring equinox the "New Year's Day" (Nowruz)45, the holiest day of the Zoroastrian ritual calendar. Because of this date the emperor achieved not only political46 and religious aspect of this event but also an eschatological. The aspect was to symbolize the beginning of the new age, a beginning of a new era with Heraclius becoming its pivotal figure47.

Conclusion

Despite various records suggesting religious character of the war carried between 622-628 by Heraclius in Iran, the analyze of the imperial letters allows refuting of the hypothesis that the

Vol. 2. Fasc. 4. P. 381-382. Shahbazi provides incorrect date of death 29 April, 629. The error must be a typing one as in the text of his article Shahbazi determines the reign of Ardasir for 18 months with the beginning at September 628.

41 Tabari. 1063.

42 Panaino A. Women and Kingship: Some Remarks about the Enthro-nization of Queen Börän and her sister *Azarmiguxt / / Erän und Anerän: Studien zu den Beziehungen zwischen dem Sasanidenreich und der Mittelmeerwelt / Hrsg. von J. Wiesehöfer, Ph. Huyse. München, 2006. P. 225.

43 Zuckerman C. Heraclius and the return of the Holy Cross. P. 197. Analyzes dating of this event and raises the hypothesis that "the Holy Cross was returned to Jerusalem twice, in 629 and in 630".

44 Sebeos. 131; Antiochos Strategos. 516; Theophan. A. M. 6120; Nice-phorus. 18; Chron. 1234. 103.

45 Boyce M. Nowruz i. In the pre-Islamic Period / / 2016. [Electronic resource]: URL: http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/nowruz-i (date of access: 19.05.2016).

46 The political-economic situation of Herclius in years 628-633 is discussed by W. Kaegi: Kaegi W. E. Op. cit. P. 192-228.

47 Drijvers J. W. Heraclius and the "Restitutio Crucis": Notes on Symbolism and Ideology // The Reign of Heraclius (610-641): Crisis and Confrontation / Ed. by G. J. Reinink, B. H. Stolte. Leuven, 2002. P. 175-190.

destruction Adur Gusnasp temple was retaliation for the abduction of the relics of the Cross from Jerusalem.

The decisive argument in above discussion is the letter written by Heraclius on April the 8th 628 where the emperor described the war with Xusro II Parvez. The emperor announced ending of the war there however did not mention a word about returning of the Cross; therefore it is impossible to assume that initiating of the military actions in Iran was done under the banner of retribution of the Cross. Therefore if regaining of the Cross was not the reason of the war than destruction of the Adur Gusnasp temple could not be a revenge for the abduction of the relics.

It is also worth considering whether the return of the Cross was real factor in setting the peace treatises (with Kawad Seroye and later with Sahrwaraz). Perhaps one should find the role of the Cross in this case as a habitual gift normally exchanged at the initial phases of negotiations between the empire and Iran48?

The Sculptural Decoration on the North Portal of the Cathedral of Mren ca. 639-640 (Thierry M., Thierry N. La cathédral de Mren et sa decoration / / Cahiers Archaéologiques. 1971. T. 21. P. 70. Fig. 29)

48 On Iranian and Byzantine diplomacy see: Nechnevn E. Embassies, Negotiations, Gifts: Systems of East Roman Diplomacy in Late Antiquity. Stuttgart, 2014. P. 113-116; Maksi/miitk K. Duo ophthalmoi ton kosmon — The Problem of Reverence in Irano-Roman Relations of the Sasanid Period (in press).

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Maksymiuk Katarzyna Izvona, Dr. habil, Professor of the Institute of History and International Relations, Faculty of Humanities (University of Natural Sciences and Humanities; Siedlce, Poland); e-mail: szapur2@poczta.onet.pl

Разрушение храма Адур-Гушнасп в Адурбадагане

как месть за похищение Святого Креста из Иерусалима в контексте писем императора Ираклия

В 614 г. сасанидский полководец, «спахбед юга» (kust-i nemroz spahbed) Шахрвараз захватил Иерусалим. Среди вывезенных из города трофеев был и Святой Крест. В настоящей статье анализируются религиозные аспекты последней великой войны между Ираном и Византией с опорой на переписку императора Ираклия (610-641). Автор пытается дать ответ на вопрос: являлось ли разрушение главного зороастрийского храма Адур-Гушнасп в Адурбадагане на самом деле местью за «пленение Святого Креста»?

Ключевые слова: римско-персидские войны, Иран, Адур-Гуш-насп, Ираклий, Хосров II Парвез, Шахрвараз, Честной Крест.

Максимюк Катажина Ивона, хабилитированнъш доктор, профессор гуманитарного факультета Института истории и международных отношений (Университет естественных и гуманитарных наук; Седлъце, Польша); эл. почта: szapur2@poczta.onet.pl