Sky burial outside Mtskheta
Mihr-Mihroe (died 554), in Middle Persian either Mihr-Mihrōē or Mihrmāh-rōy; in Byzantine sources Mermeroes (Greek: Μερμερόης), was a 6th-century Sasanian Persian general, and one of the leading commanders of the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars of the time.
Biography [ edit ]
Nothing is known of his early life, but Mihr-Mihroe is recorded as an old man by 555. He first appears in summer 530, during the Iberian War, when he led an army of 30,000 in an invasion of Byzantium's Armenian provinces. However, he was defeated near Satala by the Byzantine generals Sittas and Dorotheus and had to withdraw. In summer 531, following the narrow Persian victory at Callinicum and a series of minor reversals in Armenia and northern Mesopotamia, the Persian shah, Kavadh I (r. 488–531), sent Mihr-Mihroe along with Bawi and Kanarang to capture the Byzantine stronghold of Martyropolis. The two commanders laid siege to the city, but after receiving news of Kavadh's death, and with their troops suffering from the cold winter, they concluded a truce and withdrew to Persian territory.
In 542, after the renewal of hostilities in 540, Mihr-Mihroe was dispatched by Khosrau I (r. 531–579) against the Byzantine fortress of Dara, but, according to Corippus, he was defeated and captured by the fort's commander, John Troglita. Mihr-Mihroe reappears in 548, when he was sent at the head of a large army to relieve the fortress of Petra in Lazica, which was under siege by a combined Byzantine-Lazic force. As the Byzantine commander, Dagisthaeus, had neglected to safeguard the mountain passes with sufficient men, Mihr-Mihroe was able to move into Lazica, brushing aside the Byzantine detachments. He relieved the siege of Petra and reinforced its garrison, but lacking supplies for his army, he was forced to withdraw to Dvin in Persian Armenia, leaving behind some 3,000 men garrisoning Petra and further 5,000 under Phabrizus to keep the supply route open.
These forces were defeated in the next year by the Lazi and the Byzantines, and the new Byzantine commander, Bessas, laid siege to Petra. In spring 551, Mihr-Mihroe marched to relieve the fortress once again, but before he could do this, it fell to Bessas's troops, who dismantled the city walls. He then turned towards the Lazic capital, Archaeopolis, seizing the forts of Sarapanis and Scanda in the process. He laid siege to Archaeopolis, but his attacks were repulsed. As his army suffered from lack of supplies, he was forced to abandon the siege and head west, to the fertile province of Mocheresis, which he made his base of operations. Over the subsequent winter of 551/552, he strengthened his control over eastern Lazica (including the region of Suania), while his peace overtures to the Lazic king Gubazes II (r. 541–555) failed. Reinforced with mercenaries recruited among the Sabirs, in 552 he attacked the Byzantine-Lazic strongholds of Archaeopolis, Tzibile, and a third unnamed fort, but was again repulsed and withdrew to Mocheresis.
In 554, through a ruse he succeeded in dislodging the Byzantines from Telephis, their most forward position, causing a general retreat along the Phasis river. He did not pursue them, however, or otherwise press his advantage, due to his own army's lack of supplies. After strengthening his own forts including Onoguris, he returned to Mocheresis. There he fell ill, and withdrew to Iberia; he died of his illness at Mtskheta in the summer of 555. Agathias has described his burial; a sky burial that was according to the Zoroastrian orthodoxy (see dakhma). Agathias praises the old Mihr-Mihroe as a good general:
A brilliant organiser and an excellent tactician, he was above all a man of intrepid spirit. When he was already an old man and had long been crippled in both his feet so badly that he was unable even to ride a horse he displayed the stamina and endurance of a young man in his prime. Nor did he fail to take part in the actual fighting, but borne on a litter he would move about the ranits of battle, exhorting and encouraging his men and issuing timely and accurate instructions he struck terror imto the hearts of the enemy and reaped the fruits of many a victory. Never indeed was there a more striking illustration of the fact that brains and not brawn are the prerequisite of a good general.
He was old, lame, and unable to ride, but brave, experienced, and "energetic as a youth".
References [ edit ]
- Henry Fynes Clinton (1853). An Epitome of the Civil and Literary Chronology of Rome and Constantinople: From the Death of Augustus to the Death of Heraclius. University Press. pp. 235–.
- Encyclopaedia Iranica, edited by Ehsan Yar-Shater, Routledge & Kegan Paul Volume 6, Parts 1-3, page 281a
- Rezakhani & Nicholson 2018.
- Martindale, Jones & Morris 1992, p. 884.
- Greatrex & Lieu 2002, p. 91.
- Greatrex & Lieu 2002, pp. 94–95.
- Greatrex & Lieu 2002, pp. 111–112.
- Greatrex & Lieu 2002, p. 117.
- Greatrex & Lieu 2002, p. 119.
- Greatrex & Lieu 2002, p. 120.
- Martindale, Jones & Morris 1992, pp. 884–885; Greatrex & Lieu 2002, p. 91.
- Jong, Albert De (1997). Traditions of the Magi: Zoroastrianism in Greek and Latin Literature. BRILL. p. 236. ISBN 9789004108448.
- Agathias (2011). The Histories. Walter de Gruyter. p. 56. ISBN 978-3-11-082694-4.
- Bury, J. B. (2013). History of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. 2: From the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian. Courier Corporation. p. 117. ISBN 9780486143392.
- Tyler, Moses Coit (1897). Mediæval history. R. S. Peale, J. A. Hill. p. 1309a.
Sources [ edit ]
- Greatrex, Geoffrey; Lieu, Samuel N. C. (2002). The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (Part II, 363–630 AD). New York, New York and London, United Kingdom: Routledge (Taylor & Francis). ISBN 0-415-14687-9. CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Martindale, John Robert; Jones, Arnold Hugh Martin; Morris, J., eds. (1992). The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Volume III: A.D. 527–641. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-20160-5. CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Rezakhani, Khodādād; Nicholson, Oliver (2018). "Mihr-Mihroe". In Nicholson, Oliver (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198662778. CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)