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The Colossal Statue of Shapur, Powerful King of the Sassanian Empire

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 21:17
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The Colossal Statue of Shapur, Powerful King of the Sassanian Empire

The Colossal Statue of Shapur is the name given to a carved figure of the 3rd century AD Sassanian ruler, Shapur I. This giant statue is located in a limestone cave known as the ‘Shapur Cave’, which is situated in the Zagros Mountains in southern Iran. This cave lies about 6 km (3.7 miles) from the ancient city of Bishapur, which is said to have been founded by Shapur himself. This statue of Shapur is often regarded as one of the most outstanding sculptures produced by the Sassanians that is still in existence today.

The Zagros Mountains in Iran

The Zagros Mountains in Iran (Stefan Jürgensen / Flickr)

Shapur I, King of Kings

Shapur I (known also as ‘Shapur the Great’) was the second shahanshah (meaning ‘king of kings’) of the Sassanian Empire, who reigned from around 239 AD to 270 AD. Shapur is perhaps best known for his military campaigns against the Roman Empire, during which a Roman emperor, Gordian III, was killed on the battlefield. Another, Philip the Arab, sued for peace, and paid a huge indemnity to the Sassanians, and yet another, Valerian, was captured, and later died in captivity. The commemoration of these military victories may be seen in several rocks reliefs, such as those at Naqsh-e-Rustam and Bishapur.

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