The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 17 (part 7)

Let’s carry on with events in the century from Justinian to Heraclius and the rise of Islam.  Eutychius now returns to events in Persia, where the new King Hormizd IV made himself unpopular and was murdered.  His son Chosroes II fled to the emperor Maurice for help.  This seemingly trivial action was to have immense consequences, whose impact is being felt even now.

22. Hurmuz, son of Anushirwān, king of the Persians, became famous for [his] violent character, [his] harshness and [his] tyranny.  He oppressed his people, making life difficult, and he imprisoned a number of his subjects, depriving them of their ranks.  He was behaving in this way, when Khaqan rose up against him at the head of a large army.  Hurmuz sent him against a man named Bahram, also called Sūnīr, at the head of twelve thousand warriors.  Bahram Sūnīr killed Khaqan and took possession of his soldiers.  After having destroyed Khaqan, Bahram remembered the violent character of Hurmuz, his despotic conduct and the bad opinion he had of his generals and soldiers, and was afraid to return to him.  Sūnīr then rebelled, while he was still in Khurasan, and refused obedience.  The soldiers of Iraq also rebelled against Hurmuz because of his misrule and declared him deposed.  However they were afraid to kill him.

23. Hurmuz had a son named Kisra, who was then far away from him in Adharbayğān.  Made aware of what was happening to his father, he moved with his men to bring him help, but this failed, and he fled into the territory of Rum to get help from king Maurice and ask him to send with him an army in order to go to the rescue of his father.  With him were eight of his advisers, and his uncles Nibdi and Nistām, who were advising him what to do.  Hearing about this, Kisra said to them: “Come, tell me what you have decided.” They answered: “We do not think that you should leave this country before we have killed Hurmuz; we worry, in fact, that when you reach Maurice, king of Rum, Hurmuz may write to the king Maurice, telling him that we fled from him, and so there will happen something very unpleasant.”  They went to Hurmuz and killed him.  Then they returned to Kisra and went with him on the road until they came to a monastery along the way and spent the night there.  When they awoke, they were taken by surprise by a group of horsemen who Sūnir Bahram had sent to look for them.  Seeing the riders they felt lost.  But Nibdī said to them: “You go and leave me here.  I know how to get us out of this mess.”  They mounted on their horses, and went on their way.  Nibdī then ordered the porter to bolt the door of the monastery.  Meanwhile, the horsemen had arrived and had surrounded the monastery.  Nibdī then went out onto the terrace and said to them: “Kisra sends to say that we are in your hands, but asks you, if you judge opportune, to let us stay in this place for the rest of the day.”  They agreed.  Once it was night, Nibdī climbed once again on the terrace, showing himself to the horsemen and said to them: “Kisra sends to say that we will be thankful if you will allow us to spend this dark night here.  As soon as dawn comes we will come down to you and we will get on the way”.  They agreed.  Nibdī continued to behave with them in this way until it was certain that Kisra and those who were with him were now unattainable and far away.  Then he revealed to the soldiers of Bahram how things were, and they took him prisoner and brought him to Bahram where they told him what had happened to them.  The king felt great admiration, and arranged for his brother named Bahram, son of Siyāwukhsh, to hold him captive.  [Nibdī] approached the said Bahram.  Inviting him to make an act of submission to Kisra and intriguing to unravel the loyalty of Sūnir, he said: “I think it’s better for you to look for ways to kill Sūnīr, and to deserve a high reputation with Kisra”.  He continued to send him one messenger after another, until he gained his heart and he took it upon himself to kill Sūnīr.  But Sūnir noticed this, and ordered them to kill him.  Nibdī managed to escape without being recaptured.


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