1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hormizd

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21852801911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 13 — HormizdEduard Meyer

HORMIZD, or Hormizdas, the name of five kings of the Sassanid dynasty (see Persia: Ancient History). The name is another form of Ahuramazda or Ormuzd (Ormazd), which under the Sassanids became a common personal name and was borne not only by many generals and officials of their time (it therefore occurs very often on Persian seals), but even by the pope of Rome noticed above. It is strictly an abbreviation of Hormuzd-dad, “given by Ormuzd,” which form is preserved by Agathias iv. 24-25 as name of King Hormizd I. and II. (Ὁρμισδάτης).

1. Hormizd I. (272–273) was the son of Shapur I., under whom he was governor of Khorasan, and appears in his wars against Rome (Trebellius Pollio, Trig. Tyr. 2, where Nöldeke has corrected the name Odomastes into Oromastes, i.e. Hormizd). In the Persian tradition of the history of Ardashir I., preserved in a Pahlavi text (Nöldeke, Geschichte des Artachsir I. Pāpakān), he is made the son of a daughter of Mithrak, a Persian dynast, whose family Ardashir had extirpated because the magians had predicted that from his blood would come the restorer of the empire of Iran. Only this daughter is preserved by a peasant; Shapur sees her and makes her his wife, and her son Hormizd is afterwards recognized and acknowledged by Ardashir. In this legend, which has been partially preserved also in Ṭabari, the great conquests of Shapur are transferred to Hormizd. In reality he reigned only one year and ten days.

2. Hormizd II., son of Narseh, reigned for seven years five months, 302–309. Of his reign nothing is known. After his death his son Adarnases was killed by the grandees after a very short reign, as he showed a cruel disposition; another son, Hormizd, was kept a prisoner, and the throne reserved for the child with which a concubine of Hormizd II. was pregnant and which received the name Shapur II. Hormizd escaped from prison by the help of his wife in 323, and found refuge at the court of Constantine the Great (Zosim. ii. 27; John of Antioch, fr. 178; Zonar. 13.5). In 363 Hormizd served in the army of Julian against Persia; his son, with the same name, became consul in 366 (Ammian. Marc. 26. 8. 12).

3. Hormizd III., son of Yazdegerd I., succeeded his father in 457. He had continually to fight with his brothers and with the Ephthalites in Bactria, and was killed by Peroz in 459.

4. Hormizd IV., son of Chosroes I., reigned 578–590. He seems to have been imperious and violent, but not without some kindness of heart. Some very characteristic stories are told of him by Ṭabari (Nöldeke, Geschichte d. Perser und Araber unter den Sasaniden, 264 ff.). His father’s sympathies had been with the nobles and the priests. Hormizd protected the common people and introduced a severe discipline in his army and court. When the priests demanded a persecution of the Christians, he declined on the ground that the throne and the government could only be safe if it gained the goodwill of both concurring religions. The consequence was that he raised a strong opposition in the ruling classes, which led to many executions and confiscations. When he came to the throne he killed his brothers, according to the oriental fashion. From his father he had inherited a war against the Byzantine empire and against the Turks in the east, and negotiations of peace had just begun with the emperor Tiberius, but Hormizd haughtily declined to cede anything of the conquests of his father. Therefore the accounts given of him by the Byzantine authors, Theophylact, Simocatta (iii. 16 ff.), Menander Protector and John of Ephesus (vi. 22), who give a full account of these negotiations, are far from favourable. In 588 his general, Bahram Chobin, defeated the Turks, but in the next year was beaten by the Romans; and when the king superseded him he rebelled with his army. This was the signal for a general insurrection. The magnates deposed and blinded Hormizd and proclaimed his son Chosroes II. king. In the war which now followed between Bahram Chobin and Chosroes II. Hormizd was killed by some partisans of his son (590).

5. Hormizd V. was one of the many pretenders who rose after the murder of Chosroes II. (628). He maintained himself about two years (631, 632) in the district of Nisibis.  (Ed. M.)