Shapur I (shäpōrˈ) [key] or Sapor I säˈpôr, d.272, king of Persia (241–72), son and successor of Ardashir I, of the Sassanid, or Sassanian, dynasty. He was an able warrior king. Although he was defeated by the Roman emperor, Gordian III, in 242, he halted Gordian's advance at Misiche in 244. Gordian's successor, Philip (Philip the Arabian), concluded a peace with him guaranteeing Shapur's power in Armenia and Mesopotamia. In 260 he achieved his greatest triumph by defeating the Roman emperor Valerian at Edessa—a landmark in the decline of Rome. The rise of Odenathus of Palmyra cut into Shapur's territories and even threatened Ctesiphon. Yet Shapur not only maintained Persian power in the west but also rebuilt Persian economy. He promoted a program of public works, and in later years he commissioned the translation of numerous Greek and Indian writings. He placed Mani, the founder of Manichaeism, under his protection.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.