Pars was the birthplace of the Sasanian Dynasty. For more than four hundred years, this province held an important political, economic and religious status within the Empire in spite of westward shift of the capital to Ctesiphon during the earlier phase of the Sasanian reign.
Istakhr was the main political and religious centre in Pars during the Sasanian period. From Ardashir I to Yazdgerd III the Sasanian kings were crowned at the Ardashir fire temple in Istakhr. The presence of the royal treasury at Istakhr gives further evidence of the importance of the region to the Sasanians. During the Arab Muslim invasions, Istakhr resisted more than any other place in the province against the invaders, and its final fall brought the whole province under the control of the Muslim invadors. The religious significance of Pars is further manifested in a series of religious inscriptions produced by Kerdir, chief Mobed of the Sasanians in the second half of the third century A.D. Literary references provide evidence of other, smaller towns within Pars that can be considered as smaller religious or ideological centers. Furthermore, one of the three major holy fire temples of the Sasanians, Azar Farnbagh (adur i farnbay), is believed to be the Kariyan fire temple in Ardashir Khurrah of Pars.
Politically, Pars was of a greater importance during the early phases of the Sasanian period as attested by considerable number of the royal inscriptions and stone reliefs of the early Sasanian kings. Economically, among the five provinces of Pars, the coastal regions of Ardashir Khurrah and Shapur Khurrah province had a considerable economic and logistical importance within the Sasanian Empire.
The present book brings together the data available about Pars during the Sasanian period, specifically from an administrative and historical geography point of view based on the available literary and material resources including Pahlavi or Middle Persian, non-Persian and Islamic sources, Sasanian royal and other Pahlavi inscriptions, rock reliefs, coins, seals and sealings as well as archaeological data collected during surveys and excavations. Having the sources identified and analyzed, the book turns to the detailed examination of the administrative organization and historical geography of Sasanian Fars by describing the status of Pars in the administrative structure of the Sasanian Empire followed by an examination of the internal administrative division of the province. Sasanian toponyms in Pars, recorded in the aforementioned sources, are presented and discussed in the format of an alphabetical catalogue. Every available record of the given toponym is described followed by a brief section on its identification. Each part also includes illustrations, maps and tables. A separate section focuses on the mint towns within the province. The considerable number of Sasanian coins minted in Pars indicates the fact that the local mints produced a large quantity of coins, and that they were among the most active mints of all the Sasanian provinces. The role of Pars as a nexus of maritime trade between the East and West during the period may have necessitated such high levels of coin production within the province. Settlements, communication networks, trade and religious centers of Pars are also discussed in the two final parts of the book.