عنوان مقاله [English]
One of the most detailed narrations about the Sasanians in Chinese texts is the reports of Jiu Tangshu and Xin Tangshua on the Last Sasanian Kings. These reports also include the political characteristics of Sasanian Iran, the developments of the turbulent years after Khosrow II (528-628 AD) and the death of Yazdgerd III (651-632 AD) and his descendants in China. Since the different information in Jiu Tangshu and Xin Tangshu contains contradictory reports on the Sasanian kings, the researcher must use analytical and comparative methods in order to provide correct information on the Sasanians. Due to the importance of their information about the last years of the Sasanian Empire, the present article tries to compare the historiographical features and the narratives of these two texts to determine their correctness and inaccuracy. This study will show that since the Xin Tangshu’s style of historiography was based on a "regular chronology of events", the Sasanian narrative in Xin Tangshu is more accurate and authentic. This research will provide us valuable information on the last Sasanians in Tang texts.
Due to a lack of comprehensive studies on the contact between Sasanian and Tang, the researcher must identify information on Sasanians from a variety of primary sources, including historical, literary, and archaeological, integrating them with modern studies. The project follows historical perspective with philological and historiographical tools. Comparative analysis will be one of the important methods that will be used in this research. In some cases, there are no sufficient data about a particular period or event. For instance, in the case of inscriptions of two Sasanian princes, some conclusions can be drawn by using the method of comparative study of archaeological, written and art historical sources. Information on the Sasanians can be found in a variety of Historical and Archaeological sources including two statues of Sasanian princes and other Sasanian cultural elements at the Qianling Mausoleum. The inscriptions of two statues are; for example, one unique case on Sasanian interaction with Tang’s emperors. Information on these two inscriptions allows us to see how was the life of the last Sasanians in Tang’s court.
Western and Iranian scholars have used the information of these two inscriptions to suggest that Pērōz and Nanmei (a high-Ranking Persian nobleman) had important positions at Tang’s court. Although their interpretations of these inscriptions are important, their attention has largely been limited to a general and even wrong description of these two statues. For instance, they have stated that these two inscriptions can be read on the back of two statues, but indeed, they made mistake because these two inscriptions on the statues have been eroded before 1958 and their contents are only available in Li Haowen’s book “Chang’an Zhitu.”
In addition, some parts of two statues’ heads were discovered and matched with the two statues on the right side. One of these two heads is interestingly important for us in order to study Sasanians in Tang’s court. The features of this head are very similar to the facial type of a banqueting prince on a plate, found in Lugovka (Perm region), in 1909. The features of the statue with curly hair, Parthian moustache and Chinese garment in Qianling Mausoleum are very close to the facial type of the banqueting prince on Lugovka plate, can be in fact, a new clue to confirm that this statue also belongs to a Sasanian prince who lived in China and Tokharistan.
One of the most important information about ancient Iran in Chinese texts, is the Sasanian accounts of Jiu Tangshu and Xin Tangshu. The parts related to the Sasanians are in the chapter 198 of Jiu Tangshu and chapter 221 of Xin Tangshu. Both books at first provide a report on the location of Sasanian Iran, its capital, population, number of cities, geography and culture. In this part, the only obvious difference is in Xin Tangshu's reference to the Sasanian ancestor (Ou Yangxiu, 1975: j. 221, 6258). These two books begin the account of Sasanian political events with narratives from the years after 605 AD. In this section, there are some differences between the two works. Information on Yazdegerd and his descendants in the Central Asia or at the Tang court appears in the variegated works of Muslim authors, Later Middle Persian Literature, and Chinese sources. Together with Middle Persian texts and Early Islamic sources, the Chinese texts provide the earliest written records about the last Sasanians in Central Asia and China. The Jiu Tangshu (舊唐書), or “Old book of the Tang,” is the first official dynastic history (zhengshi 正史) of the Tang dynasty 唐 (618-907). It was compiled under the direction of Liu Xu (劉昫) and Zhang Zhaoyuan (張昭遠) during the Later Jin period (後晉, 936-946). The Xin tangshu (新唐書), or “The new book of the Tang dynasty,” is the second official dynastic history (zhengshi 正史) of the Tang dynasty (唐, 618-907). It was written during Northern Song period (北宋, 960-1126). And the book Cefu yuangui (冊府元龜), or Outstanding Models from the Storehouse of Literature is one of the so-called “four large books” (sòng sì dà shū, 宋四大書) of the Northern Song. Collectively, they cover more than five hundred years.
The account of the last Sasanians in the Jiu Tangshu is a vague, and probably contains factual errors. For example, the section regarding Pērōz (here called, Bilusi) is quite different from what is presented in the Xin Tangshu. According to the Jiu Tangshu, Pērōz was captured by the Turkish prince of Ṭoḵārestān, while the Xin Tangshu correctly has Pērōz’s son, Narseh, captured by the Turkish prince of Tocharistan. Errors, like this in the account of the last Sasanians in the Jiu Tangshu, are a reflection of the limited information with which the author had available. Since the Jiu Tangshu was revised during the Song Dynasty and published as the Xin Tangshu, or the New Book of Tang, the account of the last Sasanians in the Xin Tangshu appears more reliable because it was written at a time of peace when the authors had access to additional sources of information. In fact, the author of Xin Tangshu based his accounts strictly on what he considered reliable evidence, including reliable materials, and eliminated any material that he was unable to verify. Thus, we can regard the account of the last Sasanian in the Xin Tangshu as containing highly relevant information which we can use to reconstruct a fairly realistic image of Sasanians’ kings in the last years of this dynasty.
After discussing the historiography of the Tang period, the author quotes the narrations of Tang texts related to the survivors of Yazdgerd III in the Tang court to show the mistakes of Jiu Tangshu to determine the reasons for the originality of Xin Tangshu. In fact, access to archaeological data in China has led Iranian researchers in recent years to study more cultural materials and cultural exchanges between Iran and China. In fact, unfamiliarity with the classical Chinese script, has caused the Iranian scholars do not know the details of the reports of these two texts of Tang history about the Sasanians. The author believes that Xin Tangshu has described the political, cultural and social developments of Iran in the late Sasanian period in more details. Moreover, this article provides new interpretations of the statues of Pērōz and Nanmei which are constructive for understanding the history of last Sasanians. As it was mentioned, the information of these statues tells us that Pērōz and Nanmei had important positions at Tang’s court.