Sassanian Elite Cavalry AD 224-642

Sassanian Elite Cavalry AD 224-642

4.1 6
by Kaveh Farrokh, Angus McBride

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The Sassanians ruled the last great imperial Empire of Persia before the Arab conquests of the 7th century. Rome's only equal in the classical world, the Sassanian Empire had an enormous impact on the development of architecture, mythology, arts, music, military tactics and technology. Within the Sassanian military, the cavalry was the most influential element, and

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The Sassanians ruled the last great imperial Empire of Persia before the Arab conquests of the 7th century. Rome's only equal in the classical world, the Sassanian Empire had an enormous impact on the development of architecture, mythology, arts, music, military tactics and technology. Within the Sassanian military, the cavalry was the most influential element, and Sassanian cavalry tactics were adopted by the Romans, Arabs, and Turks. Their cavalry systems of weaponry, battle tactics, Tamgas, Medallions, court customs, and costumes influenced Romano-Byzantine and medieval European culture, and this book allows the reader to see how a little-studied eastern power affected the development of cavalry traditions in the western world.

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Osprey Publishing, Limited
Publication date:
Elite , #110
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Barnes & Noble
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Sassanian Elite Cavalry AD 224-642 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quite good for a short non specialist book. And quite nice pictures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, even if I can't call myself an expert about Sassanians, I've found this book very well made and absolutely matching the reuired good level of the others Osprey's books I own. I've been fashinated about sassanians because of this publication and I'm searching for more, but seems hard material to find. Recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As I finished reading the posted herein reviews of Dr. Farrokh's little volume (64 pages or some 25-30000 words) I was amazed how much misinformation the reviewers had managed to put in to spite this truly fine attempt at the military elites of the most forgotten civilization of the Antiquity â¿¿ the Sassanian Iran/Persia. For once it seems to me that this scholar is astonishingly knowledgeable about the subject matter - the Sassanian military and history. I know a bit about Osprey format and audience that this 'knowledge' leads me to conclude that their editors must have had awfully difficult task cutting this presentation, what I think is evident as it resulted in some confusion here and there. Nevertheless this little volume is a success story of their editing, for author's scholarship and intent has been preserved and the book delivers its promised contents -the history of the Sassanian military elite, definitely in more scholarly, research based quantities than all the previous Osprey and Montvert publications on this subject combined. I feel that the maps probably fell victims to the slashing knife of the editor, but the exchange of the map space for text is not a handicap but an asset here, for the author and 'helping' editors managed to squeeze more information in textual form than your average Osprey book of this format. But I also feel the the merciless slashing knife of editors was behind the deletion of the very important information on the ancient breeds and types of Sassanian horses - the most essential part of the cavalry, any cavalry , I presume. The editors at Osprey usually omit that inforamtion from their books, e.g., look at these titles 'the Sarmatians, ' 'Tudor Knight,' cited 'Parthians and Sassanians' etc. Anyway, the book feels restrained in many ways, and this is the general feel of most of Osprey books, except for the new series that are quite large volumes, so let's hope this subject will be expanded into such larger volume format. Nothwistanding the overcrowding here and there, the book is worth the purchase price many times over, as not much can be found about the Persian heavy cavalry in late Roman times in today's literature â¿¿ the seminal work of Dr. Mielczarek on the cataphracts (amroured mounted lancers - notably an Iranian invention) is out of print. Here you can find almost all you want (in such a small space) about the Sassanian Persian cataphract (heavy lancers) cavalry - Savaran of 3-7th centuries AD, along with information on the supporting troops, allied troops etc. The author, constrained by his editors, even manages to elaborate on the uniqueness of the Arab commanders of the Conquest period, that I feel puts to rest the claim of this author's Persian nationalism as raised here by one of the reviewers. On the other hand, for the very first time we hear about the great victories of the Sassanians against the mighty Romans and Byzantines, their influence on the late Roman military and later Byzantine armies (tactics, dress, weapons, equipment), their wars with newly risen powers of the Eurasian steppe who replaced the Iranian nomads - the Turks. The author who is also a linguist specializing in the Iranian languages, does talk about the Kurds as Iranian peoples, their role in the Sassanian military, and 'peshmerga' is absolutely a rightful word for those allied Kurdish warriors. Dr Farrokh uses ancient writers with an open mind, and free of partiality, but he obviously is intended to present the Sassanian Savaran cavalry and their Empire from their own perspective, and not from the perspective of the Romans and their Western admirers. He does it with a cool admiration for the bygone civilization, clearly fascinated by the galloping ironclad knights who could become jeweled court dandies, and that is what permeates this book. And thus this remarkable little volume puts the last pre-Islamic Iranian war machine in proper context in respect to the development
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a useful book in that it adds quite a bit to what¿s available for information on the Sassanids, but it has some notable drawbacks. The first is that the author assumes the reader has a good knowledge of the history of Sassanid Iran and its various rulers and wars. There are also no maps, and only the most rudimentary of battle diagrams. The second problem is a certain vagueness as to who the author is actually discussing, the so-called Savaran. It¿s not clear whether he is talking about just the elite `guard corps¿ of or Sassanid cavalry in general, and this becomes rather confusing. There is virtually no discussion of the social categories they came from, their home life or economic background, organization, degree of professionalism, the workings of the Empire, and so on. The author also appears to take some liberties with historical continuities, ethnology, and linguistics, as well as mentioning female warriors and other things with little supporting evidence, and accepting some rather farfetched heroic imagery as fact. The other problem is a fairly obvious dose of Iranian nationalism in the author¿s approach, a thing which gets in the way of the nuts and bolts of history and tactics¿for one thing, the author focuses almost entirely on Sassanid victories over the Romans, particularly Shapur II¿s defeat of three Roman emperors. Sassanid defeats and shortcomings are mostly omitted¿there is no mention of the victories of the Illyrian emperors, Heraclius at Nineveh, and only a gloss on Muslim invasion. While the book does use a number of narrative sources largely unexplored by Western writers, such as the Khuzistan Chronicle and Al-Turabi¿s histories, the author otherwise relies mostly on the same collection of statues, reliefs, and museum artifacts that David Nicolle and other Osprey contributors have been mining for years. The book also includes several `thumbnail sketches¿ detailing clashes between Roman armies under Julian the Apostate, Belisarius, and so on with their Sassanid opposite numbers. These are interesting, but somewhat one-sided and lacking in detail. I must also admit that the artwork is not up to Mr. McBride¿s usual standard of excellence, including a number of errata and generally poor composition.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The information is pretty good. Actually adds to what we knew from men-at-arms 175. At times it feels as if the author has taken some liberties with the history, most prominantly regarding the names (calling the Jan-Ouspar troopers 'Peshemergas' a very modern Kurdish word, as an example). But over all it is an OK text. The illustrations are not up to the task at all. Angus McBride is a superb illustrator. I do not know what was going on while he was working on this book. Definitely not up to his very high standard. I wish Osprey would do a better job in representing one of the most enigmatic and least understood empires of the late antiquity.