- Ardeshir Bābekān also known as Ardeshir Pāpekān, was the founder of the Sasanian dynasty, the last of the Zoroastrian empire, by defeating the Parthian emperor Artabanus/Ardavan V. His life history is recorded in the Pahlavi book Karnamak-i-Artakhshir-i-Pāpakān “Book of Deeds of Artakhshir-i-Pāpakān.” His father Sasan, was in the service of Pāpak/ Bābak, the king of Pars, whose daughter he later married.
- Ardeshir became an accomplished prince. When the Parthian Emperor Ardavan heard of him, he invited him to his court at Ray, assuring him royal treatment. During his stay at Ray, Ardeshir excelled in arts, sports and military skills.
- Emperor Ardavan felt insecure at prince Ardeshir’s bravery and self-confidence. Making him guilty of a crime he did not commit, he placed him under house arrest. Ardeshir managed to escape, raise an army, attack and defeat Ardavan.
- Ardeshir became the emperor in 226 AC. He was a staunch Zoroastrian. Dastur Tansar was his principle Advisor, with whose help he rejuvenated the Zoroastrian religion and started the process of gathering the scattered Avesta texts and translating them to Pahlavi. He also ordered several Ātash Bahrāms to be established at various places. During his reign, another pious priest Mobed Arda Viraf, journeyed to heaven and hell and returned back to relate his experiences. These are related in the book “Arda Wiraz Namag”.
- Ardeshir was a benevolent and wise king, a valiant warrior, a skillful organizer, and an efficient administrator. He was involved in long drawn wars with the Romans, especially the Roman Emperor Alexander Severus. Later Ardeshir conquered Mesopotamia, Kurdistan and Kerman. He passed away in 241 AC leaving his empire to his son Shapur I.