The Sassanids were Kurds not Persians

Written by: Dr Mahdi Kakei

Translated from Arabic by: Shwan Koshnaw , from

The vast majority of eastern and western historians, regard the Sassanids as Persians, while reliable historical sources unequivocally confirm that the Sassanids belong to the Kurdish people. The ancient Kurdish people must be brought to justice and the historical facts must be presented objectively and professionally, away from personal desires and racist tendencies.

The following evidences prove that the Sassanid dynasty was a Kurdish family:

1. Kurdistan is the home of (Sasan), who was the great-grandfather of the Sassanid kings, and moved to Persia to escape after a prophecy that his descendants would rule Ariana[1][2]. Thus we see that (Sasan) was Kurdish, was not a Persian and was not from the province of Persia, but he has attributed himself to (Bahman) who is the son of (Esfandyar) and grandson of Kiani king (Goshtasp) questionable proportions. Sasan was a herder of camel cattle of one of the feudal lords[1]. As (Dehkhoda) says in his encyclopedia that the father of the Sassanid king (Ardashir) is the Kurdish shepherd, Papak[3].

Dr. Rashid Yasemi, a professor at the University of Tehran, states that (Sasan), who is the grandfather of (Ardashir), is from the Kurdish clan of (Shwankara) and that the mother of (Papak) is the daughter of one of the heads of the Kurdish (Bazrangi) clans. The home of this clan is the Kurdish region of Fars Province. Yasemi adds that we can say that (Ardashir) is Kurdish[4].

Papak, the son of Sasan, belonged to one of the houses of fire for Anahita. Papak had a son called Ardashir who founded the Sassanid state. Ardashir was born in the city of Percy Polis, Persia, where his grandfather Sasan had already moved. Ardashir loved military life and became a top military commander. Ardashir’s brother was a state governor, but Ardashir revolted against his brother and forced him to relinquish his rule. After taking power, Ardashir expanded his kingdom, annexing the coasts of the Gulf of Hormuz, Ilam, Isfahan and Media.

2. Ardashir’s expanding of his kingdom worried the last king of the Parthia, the king (Ardavan IV), why he sent a messenger carrying a letter from him to (Ardashir), in which he was insulting him for his family’s background. This insulting letter was read by the Sassanid king (Ardashir) at the royal court in the presence of the Sasanian citizens. The letter included the following: (You have been your enemy and brought your death, you, Kurdish man who has brought up in the tents of the Kurds. Who authorized you to wear a crown?). Al-Tabari[5] and Ibn al-Atheer[6] refer to this letter. The letter of the Parthian king clearly states that the Sassanid dynasty was a Kurdish family.

The infidelity of the Sassanid kings because of their Kurdish origin and their affiliation with the Kurdish nation, was not limited to the Kiani king (Ardavan IV), but that the ruler of Armenia and Azerbaijan at the time of the Sassanid state, (Bahram Chopin) who was the son of (Bahram Goshtasp), also insulted the Sassanid king (Khosrau II “Parvez”) because he was a Kurd when (Bahram) tried to usurp the ruling from the king (Khosrau II), so he said to him (O son of the adulteress, who is raised in the tents of the Kurds…,) [7].

3. Sasan belonged to the Kurdish clan (Shwankara), whose members were engaged in grazing and agriculture. In the late era of the Buyid dynasty, the clan established a Kurdish dynasty in the name of (The Emirate of the Kurdish Shwankarah’s kings in Persia[8]. Eduard Karl Max von Zambauer mentions in his book that the members of (Shwankara) tribe descended from (Ardashir Papak), the founder of the Sassanid state and that Sasan’s wife is the daughter of a sheikh of the Bazarangi clan, who also belongs to the Shwankara tribe [9]. This family grew up in the Kurdish region, which was located in the province of Fars.

4. Yaqut al-Hamawi also states in his book (The Dictionary of Countries, written from 1224 to 1228[10], that when the Sassanid sultans, built the city of Mada’in, they built a district within Mada’in, named “Kurdabad”, as pride of their belonging to the Kurdish people. “Kurdabad” means “A district built by the Kurds. Yaqut al-Hamawi also mentions the names of six other districts in the city of Mada’in, in addition to (Kurdabad).

It is worth mentioning that the real name of (Mada’in) is (Madyan), which means in Kurdish (Medes), who are the ancestors of the Kurds. The Kurdish name of this city was altered by the Arabs from (Madyan) to (Mada’in) and the Persians called it (Tesfoun). The Sasanian king, Ardashir, also built a special city for the Kurds near the present-day city of Mosul, which he called “Buth Ardashir”[11].

Also, the Sassanid king (Qubad) and (Anushirwan) built more than thirty cities in the plain (Aran), and one of these cities bore the name (Malazkurd)[12][13]. The Kurdish designation of a district in the Sasanian capital and the construction of Kurdish cities by the Sassanids, are further evidence of that the Sassanids were Kurds.

  1. The Sasanian kings were nicknamed ” Khasrau “. The word consists of two Kurdish words; “khas” which means “good” in Kurdish[14] and the word “rau” which means “conduct or behavior” in Kurdish, thus the word ” Khasrau” means “well-behaved” i.e. “A respectable person, with a high status”. “The Persians took this title from Kurdish and transformed it into “Khosrau”. The words “Khas” and “Rau” do not exist in Persian. The Arabs, in turn, transformed this word into “Kisra” or “Kasra”. Thus, the Kurdish title of the Sassanid kings confirms their belonging to the Kurdish people.It is noteworthy that many people mistakenly think that the name of the Sassanid king was “Kisra”, during which the battle of Qadisiyah took place, while “Kisra” is the title of all the Sassanid kings, not the name of one of them, which is correspond to the word “majesty”, ” Excellency” and “Highness” that are now used to address kings, presidents and princes, respectively. Many kings of other peoples had their own titles as the Sassanids, for example the Roman kings were called “Caesar”, the Copt kings of “Pharaoh”, the kings of the Turks were called “Khagan”, the kings of Yemen were called “Taba”, the title of the kings of Abyssinia was “Najashi” and the title of the kings of Egypt was “Aziz” and so on.

    6. The names of the Sasanian kings were Kurdish, which indicate that they were Kurds.

  2. The name of three Sasanian kings was (Yazdkurd), which is composed of two words; (Yazd), which indicates that the Yazdanism was the religion of Sassanid dynasty; the word (Kurd) which refers to the Kurdish origin of the Sassanids.
  3. The name of two Sasanian kings was (Khsrau) As it is mentioned above, the word consists of two Kurdish words; “khas” which means “good” in Kurdish[9] and the word “rau” which means “conduct or behavior” in Kurdish, thus the word ” Khasrau” means “well-behaved” i.e. “A respectable person, with a high status”.
  4. The name of two Sassanid kings was (Ardashir), which is consisted of the Median word (Arda), which means (good) and the Kurdish word (Sher) which means (Lion), so their name means (The good lion). It is worth to mention that the Medes are the ancestors of the Kurdish people.
  5. The name of one of the Sassanian king was (Fairooz) or (Peeroz), which is a Kurdish word and means (blessed) or (hallowing).
  6. The name of four Sassanian kings was (Hormizd), which is an Arian name, borrowed from the name of (Hormes), which is a deity of the ancestors of the Kurds, Sumerians. With the passage of time, this name has been changed to (Ahura Mazda) or (Mazda) among the Arian peoples. Although, this name retained its original meaning after this change, meaning that it remained meaning a (deity).
  7. The name of four sassanian kings was (Bahram) or (Baram), and the name of two other kings was (Qobad). These two names are Kurdish names; the first name means (clever) and the second one means (king).
  8. There are some Sassanid names that are still prevalent among the Kurds, for example but not limited to, the name of the mother of the Sassanid king (Dara), is (Khamani)[14]. The name (Khamani) does not exist in Persian. Until now there are Kurdish, female and male people, bearing this name.
  9. (Hassan Per Nya) states that the Sassanids used to call (May) to the Medes[15]. This name is included in the names of the male Kurds to the present time despite the passage of more than 2500 years since the disappearance of the Median Empire, for example, the name (Maykhan). The word “Khan” accompanies the name “May”, where a person is not named by the name “May” alone, but the adjective “Khan” is added to it, which corresponds to the word “Majesty” and “His Excellency” used to address kings and heads of state, respectively, at the present time, because the Medes were noble Kurds. It is worth noting that the Median name (Mada) means in the Median language (great) or (large)[16].

It should be noted that when the Arabs occupied Kurdistan, the name (Mahat) was given to the centre of the Median authority by the Arabs, as (Mah) is the name of the Medes[16] and the suffix (at) is used for the plural in the Arabic language. (Al-Baladhari) states that after the occupation of Kurdistan by the Arabs in the Islamic era, some of the occupied regions of Kurdistan were divided into several regions, where the taxes (tribute) taken from each region were sent to Muslims living in a specific region[17]. Therefore, the Arabs used to call the name “Mah Kofa” on the city of “Dinawar” and its outskirts, because the tribute taken from the residents of the city of “Dinawar” and its dependencies were distributed to the new Muslim population living in the city of Kofa. Likewise, for the same reason, the name (Mah Basra) was given to the city of Nahavand, where the tribute obtained from the residents of Nahavand was given to the residents of the city of Basra who became Muslim after the Arab-Islamic occupation. Thus, the center of Media Empire was divided by the Arab occupiers into (Mah Kofa) and (Mah Basra).

  1. The Fathlawi family, which founded the Fathlawi emirate (1155 – 1432 AD), belonged to the Kurdish tribe Shwankara. Members of this family were descendants of the kings of Sassan[18]. Members of the ruling family of this emirate were Kurds, so their Sassanid ancestors must have been Kurds as well. It is worth mentioning that this emirate was established in southeastern Lorestan and ruled for two hundred and seventy-seven years. The kingdom included Lorestan and extended to the outskirts of the city of Isfahan, and in some periods also included the province of Khuzestan and the city of Basra.10. At the end of the era of the Buyids, the clan (Shwankara) established a Kurdish Emirate in the name of (Atabak of Kings of Shwankara Kurds in Persia[8]. The founder of the Sassanid state (Ardashir Papak) is descended from the clan of (Shwankara)[9]. Establishing of a Kurdish emirate by this clan, which belongs to the Sassanids, is a clear indication that the Sassanids are Kurds.
  1. The scholar (Masoud Muhammad) states that the Kurdish (Hawrami) dialect is the same as the Pahlavi language which was the language of the Sassanids. He refers to the book (The Lexicon in measures of the non-Arab’s poems), which is written by (Shams al-Din Muhammad bin Qais al-Razi). This author says in his book the following: I find the Iraqi people concerning with writing and singing in the Fahlawi (Pahlavi language), but there is no nice music of the Arabic saying and the Persian erotic poetry that have made them happy as:

The melody of Uraman (Hawraman) and Pahlavi verses[17].

The poetic verse of {(Hawraman melody) and (Pahlavi verse)} praises the Hawramani song and it is clear that the melody of the song is related to its language. This clearly indicates that the Kurdish Hawramani dialect is the Pahlavi language.

In respect to the Persians, a new Persian language was contrived after the decline of the Parthian (Arsacid) Empire in 226 BC and the appearance of the Sassanid kingdom. This new Persian language is called (Parseki language) to distinguish it from the Old Persian and Modern Persian languages[18]. The fact that the Pahlavi (Kurdish) language was the language of the Sassanids and the Persians had their own language (the Parseki language), confirms that the Sassanids were Kurds.

  1. The Sassanids have glorified the Kurdish ironsmith (Kawa), why the name of the flag of this empire was (flag of Kawyan). The word (Kawyan) is taken from the name of the ironsmith (Kawa) who is said to have made the vest of his ironsmith’s business as a flag and killed the unjust king (Zohak)[19]. The height of the flag was 12 cubits and its width was 8 cubits. The flag was made of tiger skin and inlaid with corundum, pearls and jewels.

At the battle of (Al-Qadisiyah) that took place between the Arab Muslims and the Sassanid state in the year 636 AD, the Arab Muslims defeated the Sassanids, so they seized the flag and gave it to the caliph (Omar bin Al-Khattab) with two daughters of the Sassanid king (Yazdkurd) whom were taken as captives, whose names were (Shajinan or Kibano) and (Sharbano). (Muhammad bin Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq) took (Shajinan) as his wife and (Hussain bin Ali bin Abi Talib) took (Sharbano) as his wife, whom is the mother of the Shiah imam (Zain Al-Abidin Ibn Al-Hussein). The adoption of Kawa flag by Sassanids is a further evidence of that the Sassanid dynasty was Kurdish[20].

  1. The book entitled (The Little History) of an unknown Nestorian Syrian author (his birth was after 680), talks about the history of the Nestorian Church and lists important historical events that occurred during the sixth and seventh centuries AD. On pages 100-102 of this book, the author lists important information about the origins of the Sassanids and about the Sassanid leader (Hormazdān) who was a military commander for the region (Khuzestan) in the Sassanid army. When the Arab Muslims overthrew the Sassanid state during the time of Caliph (Omar ibn al-Khattab), this Sassanid military commander was captured and taken to the Arabian Peninsula and killed there. The author of the book says that (Hormazdān)  is the cousin of the last Sasanian king (YazdKurd III) and the grandson of the king (Ardashir Papan). He also states that this Sassanid leader belongs to the ancestors of the Median Kurds. Also (Paravaneh Pourshariati) states that (Hormazdān) was a resident of Media[21], which means that he belonged to the Medes. The previous two sources clearly indicate that the Sassanids belonged to the ancestors of the Median Kurds, and this is a further evidence of that the Sassanid rulers were Kurds.
  2. The resistance of the Sassanid Empire to the Arab-Islamic invasion was mainly confined to the Kurdish regions, such as (Sharazur), (Mosul), (Helwan), (Nahawand) and (Jalawla), whose peoples defended the Sassanid Kurdish rule, while there was no significant resistance against this invasion in non-Kurdish regions. The Kurdish defence of the Sassanid state was a defense of their Kurdish state and their Kurdish rule.
  3. More than one hundred years ago, the Kurdish poet (Haji Qadir Koyî) (1817-1897 AD), wrote in one of his poems that the Sassanids are Kurds, and mentioned the names of two Sassanid kings, (Ardashir) and (Qubad). In his poem, he complains that the writing of history of the Kurdish people in Kurdish language is neglected. Here I select the following verses from his poem that I have translated from Kurdish into English:

The Kurdish individual who does not want to learn his mother tongue

surely his mother is a prostitute and his father is adulterer

Let’s me to tell you about things you don’t know!

The world of politics is beautiful if you are a master of its art

The Kurdish (Salah al-Din), (Nur al-Din),

(Azizan)* of (Jazera), (Mush) and (Wan),

(Muhalhal)**, (Ardashir), the lion (Daysam) ***,

(Qubad) and the hawks of the (Ardalan) princes,

all of them are surely real Kurds

Because of ignorance and illiteracy,

they have been disappeared from the history,

If the books and historical tablets and documents

had been written in our language

Our kings, rulers, princes should have been immortalized in the history,

they should have been remained as shining stars that would have illuminate the history

* (Azizan) are the ancestors of the (Badrakhanians), who ruled parts of Kurdistan (Jazeera, Moosh and Van districts) during the rule of the Islamic caliph Omar bin al-Khattab.

** (Muhallah) is (Muhalhal Shaznajani) who has defeated the (Seljuks) in the city of (Kermashan) and ruled the regions of Kermashan, Khanaqin, Kifri, Kirkuk, Sharazur and Sirwan.

*** (Daysam) is the Kurdish ruler who ruled (Azerbaijan) at the time of the (Abbasid Caliphate).

Thus, the trusted sources on which we have relied, confirm that the (Sassanids) were Kurds and that the battle of (Qadisiyah) that took place between the Arab Muslims, led by (Saad bin Abi Waqqas) and the (Sassanids) during the era of their last king, (Yazdkurd III), was a battle between the Arabs and the Kurds, but the occupiers of Kurdistan have falsified the history, stolen the Kurdish history and consider the (Sassanids) Persians.

The names of the Sassanid kings

We mention here the names of the twenty-four Sassanid kings, whose rule lasted for four hundred and twenty-six years (224 or 226 – 651 AD) which are as follows, arranged in chronological order of their rule:

  1. Ardashir I
  2. Shapur I
  3. Hormizd I
  4. Bahram I
  5. Bahram II
  6. Bahram III
  7. Narsi
  8. Hormizd II
  9. Azar Narsi
  10. Shapur II
  11. Ardashir II
  12. Bahram IV
  13. Yazdkurd I
  14. Bahram V
  15. Yazdkurd II
  16. Hormizd III
  17. Fairouz I (Perouz I)
  18. Blash (Walcash)
  19. Qubad I (Kava 1)
  20. Khosreu (JustAnushirwan)
  21. Hormizd IV
  22. Khosreu II (Parwez)
  23. Qubad II
  24. Yazdkurd III

In his book “Nuzhat Al-Quloob,” which he wrote in the fourteenth century AD, (Hamdallah Al-Mustawfi), mentioned that the king (Khusreu I) regulated taxes, the army, and state records. During his reign, the book ” Kalila and Dimna” was brought from India to the Sassanid Empire, and philosophical and literary schools reached their peak[22].

Because of lack of the Kurdish people of a Kurdish political entity to express their identity, record their history and preserve and develop their culture, language, and heritage, the Kurdish history has been subjected to unjust, theft, obliteration, cancellation, and unjust disturbance. This is due to that the occupiers of Kurdistan are trying to eradicate the Kurdish language and culture and eliminate the identity of the Kurdish people. The occupiers of Kurdistan are falsifying the Kurdish ancient history, to grant their occupation of Kurdistan, to abolish Kurdistan from the map of the Middle East, and to melt the Kurdish people by making them Turks, Persians, and Arabs.

The Kurdish people have a glorious history and that they are one of the oldest peoples in the region, and that the Sumerian, Elamite, Hurrian – Mitanni,  Hittite, Median and Sassanid civilizations, are witnesses to the nobility of the Kurdish people and their great contribution to building, developing, and advancing the human being civilization.

To highlight the true role of the Kurds in establishing the human civilization and getting to know their culture and history, it requires establishing Kurdish scientific centers to revive the Kurdish culture and to correct their history. The Kurds should search for their history in the folds of books, documents, in the halls of museums and archaeological sites and by excavating the monuments in the archaeological kingdoms of the Kurds and examine the correspondence and reports of governments and officials through carrying out objective scientific studies of the Kurdish history, to find the truth, despite the vandalism and theft and obliteration to which the Kurdish history has been subjected, especially since the Kurds lack a political entity to write their history according to the correct knowledge and information. The occupiers of Kurdistan have written the Kurdish history, so they have distorted, stolen and obliterated it. Among this distortion and theft, the Kurds should search, find and discover their history and put it within the reach of the Kurdish children and let the world knows the true history of the Kurds.

I do not demand here to falsify the history as did the last president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein in his campaign “Rewriting the History”, but rather I suggest the establishment of scientific centers to collect historical information about the Kurds and to classify, record, archive, compare with each other, filter them, analyze them, and then objectively and scientifically write the correct history information.


1. Abu al-Qasim al-Firdousi. Shahnameh, the Great Epic of the Persians. Translation of Samir al-Malty, p. 133, 134.

2. Ibn al-Balkhi. Farisnamah, part: The conditions of Shabankara, Kurds and Persia. Europe’s printing, p. 146.

  1. Ali Akbar Dahkhoda. A language letter. Volume III, Teheran University Press, year 1345 AH, page 3843.
  2. Ghulam Reza Rashid Yasmi. The Kurds and Their Ethnic and Historical Connection. Year 1369 AH, page 171. (In Persian).
  3. Mohammed bin Jarir Al-Tabari. History of Tabari. Volume II, Husseini Press, Egypt, 1336 AH, p. 57. (In Arabic).6. Ibn Ather. The Complete History, Volume I, p. 133. (In Arabic).
  4. Mohammed bin Jarir Al-Tabari. History of Tabari. Volume II, Husseini Press, Egypt, 1336 AH, p. 138. (In Arabic).
  5. Ibn al-Balkhi. Farisnamah, part: The conditions of Shabankara, Kurds and Persia. Europe’s printing, 150-153. (In Arabic).
  6. Zambauer. Dictionary of Genealogy and ruling families in the Islamic history. Directed by: Dr. Zaki Mohamed Hassan Beg and Hassan Ahmed Mahmoud. Translation of a part of the book chapters: Dr. Sayeda Ismail Kashef, Hafiz Ahmed Hamdi and Ahmed Mahmoud Hamdi, Printing House of al-Raed al-Arabi, Beirut, 1980, pages 351-352. (In Arabic).10. Yaqoot al-Hamawi. The Dictionary of Countries. Volume VII, p. 413. (In Arabic).

    11. Guy Le Strange. Countries of the Eastern Caliphate. Translation: Bashir Frances and Korkis Awwad. Publication of the Iraqi Scientific Society, Al-Rabta Press, Baghdad, 1954. (In Arabic).

  7. Sheikh Shams Al-Din Abi Abdullah Muhammad Abi Talib Al-Ansari Al-Sufi Al-Dimashqi. Elite of the Era in the wonders of land and sea. Reprinted in the city of Petersburg, in 1865, page 190. (In Arabic).
  8. Ali Akbar Dahkhoda. A language letter. Volume II, Teheran University Press, year 1345 AH, page 1631. (In Persian).
  9. Ali Akbar Dahkhoda. A language letter. Volume VII, Teheran University Press, year 1345 AH, page 9953. (In Persian).
  10. Hasan Pernia. History of ancient Iran or detailed history of ancient Iran. Volume I, with Introduction and Description: Mohammad Ibrahim Bastani Parizi, Tehran, Book World, 1362 AH, page 48. (In Persian).
  11. 16. Tavernier, Jan. Iranica in the Achaimenid period (ca. 550 – 330 B.C.): Lexicon of Old Iranian. Peeters Pblishers, Louvian, Belgium, 2007, p. 558.
  12. Browne, Edward G. (1919). A literary history of Persia: A literary history of Persia from the earliest times until Firdawsi. T. Fisher Unwin Ltd, London, page 19.
  13. Al-Baladhari. The Conquest of Countries, 2010, p. 375. (In Arabic).
  15. Ali Akbar Dahkhoda. A language letter. Volume VI, Teheran University Press, year 1345 AH, page 9307. (In Persian).
  16. Masoud Mohamed. The tongue of the Kurds. 1984, p. 60 — p 61. (In Arabic)
  17. The previous source, p. 39.
  19. Waly Foladi Mansoury. The Great Social Political History of Kalhor clan.
  20.  First volume, p. 169. (In Persian)
  22. Paravaneh The Parthians and the Production of the Canonical Shāhnamas : Of Pahlavi, Pahlavānī and the Pahlav. In: Henning Börn and Josef Wiesehöfer (eds.). Commutatio et Contentio Studies in the Late Roman, Sasanian, and Early Islamic Near East.  2008, p. 240.
  23. Al-MustawfiHamdallah Al-Qazwini. Nuzhat Al-Quloob). Leiden, 1915. (In Arabic)


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