The Sasanian Empire (/səˈsɑːniən, səˈseɪniən/), officially known as Eranshahr ("Land/Empire of the Iranians") was the last Iranian empire before the early Muslim conquests of the 7th–8th centuries AD. Named after the House of Sasan, it endured for over four centuries, from 224 to 651 AD, making it the longest-lived Persian imperial dynasty. The Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire, and re-established the Persians as a major power in late antiquity alongside its neighbouring arch-rival, the Roman Empire (after 395 the Byzantine Empire).
|Common languages||Middle Persian (official)|
|Ardashir I (first)|
|Yazdegerd III (last)|
|Historical era||Late Antiquity|
|28 April 224|
• The Iberian War
|550||3,500,000 km2 (1,400,000 sq mi)|
|History of Iran|
The empire was founded by Ardashir I, an Iranian ruler who rose to power as Parthia weakened from internal strife and wars with the Romans. After defeating the last Parthian shahanshah, Artabanus IV, at the Battle of Hormozdgan in 224 AD, he established the Sasanian dynasty and set out to restore the legacy of the Achaemenid Empire by expanding Iran's dominions. At its greatest territorial extent, the Sasanian Empire encompassed all of present-day Iran and Iraq, and stretched from the eastern Mediterranean (including Anatolia and Egypt) to parts of modern-day Pakistan as well as from parts of southern Arabia to the Caucasus and Central Asia. According to legend, the vexilloid[lower-alpha 2] of the Sasanian Empire was the Derafsh Kaviani.
The period of Sasanian rule is considered to be a high point in Iranian history and in many ways was the peak of ancient Iranian culture before the conquest by Arab Muslims under the Rashidun Caliphate and subsequent Islamization of Iran. The Sasanians tolerated the varied faiths and cultures of their subjects, developed a complex and centralized government bureaucracy, and revitalized Zoroastrianism as a legitimizing and unifying force of their rule. They also built grand monuments, public works, and patronized cultural and educational institutions. The empire's cultural influence extended far beyond its territorial borders—including Western Europe, Africa, China, and India—and helped shape European and Asian medieval art. Persian culture became the basis for much of Islamic culture, influencing art, architecture, music, literature, and philosophy throughout the Muslim world.