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Hormizd IV of Persia

Hormizd IV, son of Khosrau I, reigned as king of Persia from 578 to 590.

He seems to have been imperious and violent, but not without some kindness of heart. Some very characteristic stories are told of him by Tabari (Noldeke, Geschichte d. Perser und Arhalter unter den Sasaniden, 264 ff.). His father's sympathies had been with the nobles and the priests. Hormizd protected the common people and introduced a severe discipline in his army and court. When the priests demanded a persecution of the Christians, he declined on the ground that the throne and the government could only be safe if it gained the goodwill of both concurring religions. The consequence was that he raised a strong opposition in the ruling classes, which led to many executions and confiscations.

When he came to the throne he killed his brothers, according to the oriental fashion. From his father he had inherited a war against the Byzantine empire and against the Turks in the east, and negotiations of peace had just begun with the emperor Tiberius, but Hormizd haughtily declined to cede anything of the conquests of his father. Therefore the accounts given of him by the Byzantine authors, Theophylact, Simocatta (iii. 16 if.), Menander Protector and John of Ephesus (vi. 22), who give a full account of these negotiations, are far from favourable.

In 588 his general, Bahram Chobin, defeated the Turks, but in the next year was beaten by the Romans; and when the king superseded him he rebelled with his army. This was the signal for a general insurrection. The magnates deposed and blinded Hormizd and proclaimed his son Khosrau II king. In the war which now followed between Bahram Chobin and Khosrau II. Hormizd was killed by some partisans of his son (590).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.