ARDAŠĪR-ḴORRA, one of the five administrative divisions (kūra) of Fārs, in Sasanian and early Islamic times (the other four being enumerated under the Sasanians as Šāpūr-Ḵorra, Arraǰān, Eṣṭaḵr and Dārābīerd). The name means literally “glory of Ardašīr,” with reference to the founder of the Sasanian monarchy, Ardašīr I, son of Pāpak, just as Šāpūr-Ḵorra (lying to the west of Ardašīr-Ḵorra) refers to Ardašīr’s son Šāpūr I (r. A.D. 240-ca. 272). Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh (p. 47) says that Fārs was divided into five kūras, but in fact enumerates six: Eṣṭaḵr, Sābūr [-Ḵorra], Ardašīr-Ḵorra, Dārābīerd, Arraǰān and Fasā. This corresponds in practice with the enumeration of Maqdesī (Moqaddasī), over a century later, who mentions six kūras, as those above but with Fasā now called Shiraz, plus three districts (nawāḥī) of al-Rūḏān, Nayrīz, and Ḵasū (p. 421).
Ardašīr-Ḵorra formed the southwestern kūra of Fārs. It comprised a mountainous hinterland of the southern Zagros chain—much of the territory inhabited later by the Qašqāʾī tribe—containing the administrative center of the kūra, Gūr/Fīrūzābād (see below); with its mountainous topography and extreme climate, this was accounted by the geographers as sardsīr. The Zagros foothills and the coastal plain, along the Persian Gulf, on the other hand, comprised an extensive garmsīr or hot region. This contained inland the town of Tavvaǰ, and along the coast the ports of Rīšahr, Naǰīram, Sīrāf (q.v.) and Hozū, Sīrāf in particular playing an extensive commercial role in the Gulf and Indian Ocean trade, together with the offshore islands of Naḵīlū, Šayḵ Šoʿayb, Hendarābī, and Qays (Kīš). This coastal region was in early Islamic times divided into three sīfs or shores, named after Arab tribes from Bahrain or Aḥsā who had crossed the Gulf to colonize the Fārs shores: from west to east, Sīf Moẓaffar, Sīf Zohayr (whose hinterland was known as Īrāhestān), and Sīf ʿOmāra (which had a celebrated fortress Qaḷʿat al-Dīkdān or Ḥeṣn Ebn ʿOmāra).
According to Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh (p. 44) the kūra of Ardašīr-Ḵorra comprised the rostaqs Jūr, Mīmand (Meymand), Ḵabr (Ḵafr), al-Ṣīmkān, al-Borǰān, Korān, Karbanǰān, Ḵavārūstān, Kīr, Kīzarīn, Abzar, Samīrān, Tavvaǰ, Kārzīn, Sīnīz, Sīrāf, Kovār, al-Rovayḥān, and Kām-Fīrūz (cf. Eṣṭaḵrī, pp. 104-107; Maqdesī, pp. 447-48—assigning them respectively to the garmsīr and sardsīr—and Yāqūt [Beirut] I, p. 146).
The capital of the kūra, Gūr (Arabized form, Jūr) is said to have been constructed by Ardašīr on the site of his victory over the Parthian king Artabanus V, probably in A.D. 224, as a circular town with gates at the cardinal points of the compass, and adjacent to Ardašīr’s palace where he had lived before his successful rebellion (cf. Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 93-94, with illustration of surviving ruins). Within the town he also built a lofty platform or tower, called Ṭerbāl, which Ebn Ḥawqal compares to a similar edifice at Balḵ (i.e. like a Buddhist stupa, or in the context of Fārs, a ziggurat?). The Sasanian emperor is also said to have constructed nearby a fire-temple which the historian Masʿūdī says he visited (Ebn Ḥawqal, pp. 278-79, tr. Kramers, p. 274; Masʿūdī, Morūǰ IV, p. 78). Gūr and Eṣṭaḵr strenuously resisted the Arabs when they invaded Fārs in the 630s and 640s and were not conquered by ʿAbdallāh b. ʿĀmer b. Korayz till 29/649-50 (Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ, pp. 315, 389-90). Fārs was, of course, always an important center for the Zoroastrian faith, and surviving jewels carry inscriptions relating to the mōbeḏ of Ardašīr-Ḵorra (Christensen, op. cit., p. 118). The fire-temple mentioned by Masʿūdī as still in existence attests the continued florescence of Zoroastrianism in Ardašīr-Ḵorra for at least three centuries after the Muslim invasions, and we further know that in the Sasanian period at least, Nestorian Christianity flourished. According to the records of the Synod of 430, the metropolitan of Fārs had his seat at Rīv-Ardašīr, Islamic Rīšahr, on the coast, and there was a bishopric at Ardašīr-Ḵorra (i.e. Gūr) itself before 540, indicating that Christianity tended to spread from Lower Mesopotamia and the coastlands into the mountainous hinterland of Fārs (see Markwart, Ērānšahr, p. 27).
Gūr subsequently had its name changed from the inauspicious early form (Pers. gūr “grave”) to Fīrūzābād “Victory town” by the Buyid ʿAżod-al-dawla, who used frequently to visit it, according to Maqdesī (p. 432; see Fīrūzābād).
See also Nozhat al-qolūb, pp. 113-14, 118, 125.
Le Strange, Lands, pp. 248-94, 256-57.
Ebn al-Balḵī, pp. 132-41; tr. Le Strange, “Description of the Province of Fars in Persia at the Beginning of the Fourteenth Century A.D.,” JRAS, 1912, pp. 35-50 (detailed survey of the subdivisions of the kūra).
(C. E. Bosworth)
Originally Published: December 15, 1986
Last Updated: August 11, 2011
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Vol. II, Fasc. 4, pp. 384-385