September 14, 2023

Arran Shah Javanshir (Juansher, Caucasian Albanian King) 628–637 CE

The bust of Arran (present-day Azerbaijan) Shah Javanshir, Great Pahlav House of Mehran, Sculptor: Fuad Abdurahmanov, Baku, Azerbaijan

Prince and General (Pahlavi: spāhbed) Javanshir (Juanšer) was a member of the Great Pahlav (means Parthian) House of Mehrān and son of Arrān šâh Varaz-Grigor (628 – 637 CE), which had a Zoroastrian name Gadvsnasp before his second baptizing into Dyophysite Orthodox Christianity. 

The Mehrān House was one of the Seven Great (wuzurgān) Pahlav Houses of the Sasanian Empire claiming its descent to the Arsacids of Parthia. The Pahlav House of Mehrān held high -ranking positions in the Sasanian hierarchy and occupied high command over the frontline in the north, leading the negotiations with the Khaqan of Turks

In 16-19 November 636, in the famous Battle of al-Qadisiyyah between the Sasanians and Muslim Arabs, Prince Javanshir was the commander (spāhbed) of the Arrān (Albanian) troops, which were a part of the Sasanian Imperial Army under the command of the famous Iranian hero and general (spāhbed) Rostam Farrokhzad of Ādurbādagān (Azerbaijan).

In 637, Javanshir with 3000-4000 troops, helped arrange šāhān šāh Yazdgerd III’s evacuation from the Sasanian capital Ctesiphon sieged by Muslims.

Sasanian King Yazdgerd III awarded Javanshir two golden spears and shields and acknowledged his bravery, awarding a flag – the Standard of Jamshid (Derafš-e Kāvīān - King's flag) which was the highest honor for loyalty and bravery.

Derafš-e Kāvīān - King's Flag, sometimes called the Standard of Jamshid

Before the final defeat of the Sasanian army in the Battle of Nahavand in 642, Javanshir arrived in Ādurbādagān (Azerbaijan). One can assume that he planned to resume command of the Sasanian Ādurbādagān military in the wake of Rostam’s death and because of Yazdgerd’s strong will to collect a new army in Media to fight the Arabs. However, Rostam’s brother Farrukhzad was assigned Ādurbādagān’s spāhbed and Javanshir fled back to Arran's capital city of Partaw (now Barda, present-day Azerbaijan).

After the collapse of the Sasanian Empire, Muslim Arabs offered to Arrān šhāh Javanshir to become a ruler of the entire Ādurbādagān šahr, but he refused it for obscure reasons. Soon after in 680 CE, Javanshir was killed during Christian service at Partaw’s Arranian (Albanian) dyophysite orthodox church. Arran Shah Javanshir was married to a Khazar's Princess. 

Javanshir fortress, reconstruction, Ismayili region, Republic of Azerbaijan


Mahir Khalifa-Zadeh, "Adurbadagan and Arran (Caucasian Albania) in the Late Sasanian Period", International Journal of History, 2023, Vol 5, Issue 2, pp 15-18


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