Shahanshah Narseh the Great

Shahanshah of the Ivanshar and Lord of all Corners of the World Narseh Rasanid (a.k.a. "Dhū'l-Aktāf" (He who Pierces Shoulders)

The great Shahanshah of the Rasanids, Narseh I, is commonly remembered as Narseh the Great due to his lifetime of rule and for his rabid military expansion in the west and north.

Mental characteristics

Personal history

Posthumously born to the previous King of Kings of the Rasanids, Verthragna I. An infant Narseh was kept on the throne of his birthright by nobles at the imperial capital of Sura so as to maintain their own power during the long era of Narseh's youth. According to Rasanid tales and accounts, Narseh was the only ruler of the Ivanshar to be crowned "in utero" with his mother having a crown placed over her womb.

As he came of age, Narseh showed signs of not only immense self-control but also of a clear vision for his realm. At this time, the Empire of the Ivanshar had suffered a series of military defeats, not only to the Rasenna to the west but also from the Elyad people of their east who continually routed Rasanid armies in their mountainous fortress strongholds. The Elyads would be the first target of the new Shah and so at the beginning of 586 B.E, the seventeen-year-old Narseh led a strong Rasanid army into the eastern mountains and systematically brought the Elyads to numerous battles to which they were unaccustomed. Three victories in the east are known and each was supposedly said to have devastated the Elyads greatly. According to the Rasanid scribes, famed for their grandiose exaggerations, the dead of the Elyads were so numerous that the bodies blocked riverways and led to drought in the region for decades. Court scribes also detail the final surrender of the combined Elyad chieftains to Narseh. A surrender in which the cowed Elyads refused to even say the name of their enemy, calling him instead Dhū'l-Aktāf which means He who Pierces Shoulders. The final account of the series of wars states,

"During the rulership of Verthragna, the easterner riders came; they took the lone city of Khorig, and for many years with contempt they resisted us. Until the day great Narseh came to rulership; he destroyed the easterners and took the wealth of their land, brought many of their wisest rulers to their knees before him, and the immortal rule descended over the land."

With his eastern frontier more firmly under his control, and with the establishment of garrison troops in key strongholds, the way for converting the polytheistic Elyads was opened. Post-Rasanid Elyad ballads often make mention of the religion of their forbearers and describe them with contempt. Under Narseh, the Elyads came to be ruled by a man from the Lakhi tribe called Mundhir ibn Amir Fausulani, who ruled exclusively due to the support he received from the Shah.

  Among the highest priorities for Narseh during his rule was the tensions on his western border. Since the days of his grandfather, the first Rasanid ruler Istashir, the Rasanids had largely been at peace with their powerful western neighbor the Rasenna. Narseh's father Verthragna had even hosted a Rasennan retinue in his court, led by the future Magister Militum Flavius Aelianus. Under the rule of Narseh, the western frontier would become the new battleground between the two great powers as Narseh envisioned extending his rule to the banks of the Aulon river which meant the conquest of the coast of Natresh which the Rasenna held so dear. First on the agenda of the Shah was the taking of the important fortress city of Durris. Durris had a long history as a key stronghold in the east since its capture by the Rasenna during the Drassid era. Taking Durris would be a mighty task but following up on its capture would be the true test as an immediate Rasennan response would come and would come with the full weight of the imperial tagma and theme troops. To counter this, Narseh would use Rasanid gold to fund would be usurpers who rose sporadically in defiance of the current Emperor Julius Macellus. Macellus' ten-year reign would be plagued with instability in part due to Narseh's funding of his opponents.

By 575 B.E, Narseh launched his great invasion of the Rasennan east and much sooner than anticipated, took Durris by siege. With Durris, the Rasanids held a key fortress from where to spread out and attack other towns and cities in the area, going so far as to threaten to occupy the entire coast of Natresh. By the time the beleaguered Rasennan army arrived in the east, they were exhausted due to previous wars along their Rhor border with a Herodi tribe called the Ferthungi. Emperor Macellus had forced his army all the way from the Rhor river to the east and with their arrival, a truly daunting task lay before them in the strong Rasanid defense of their newly won territory. when the Rasenna attacked, the army defeated them at the Battle of Amida, a battle which sent the emperor into a panic as he risked everything on the success of this eastern campaign.

Not humbled by his defeat, the Rasennan emperor boldly marched his army east, into the Ivanshar in a mad dash to force the army to return home and defend their own lands. After a series of reports came of the Rasennans taking key cities along the border, the call was finally made to muster and return home to throw the Rasennans back. These reports turned out to be false and a small force was defeated at Tzvin by the desperate emperor who paraded his small victory greatly. Macellus then used a ploy as he sent two supposed deserters with a message to Narseh saying that the Rasenna were retreating from the Ivanshar in a panic. According to sources, the eager and rash commander Tigranis, son-in-law of the Shah, aggressively called for the army to pursue the Rasennans to which Narseh was forced by his men to agree. Caught in the trap, the large Rasanid army commanded by Tigranis was ambushed and destroyed by Macellus, with the remainder of the Rasanids calling for an end to the war. The defeat at Abasiz was shocking, due to the aggressiveness of Tigranis, the Rasenna were able to ambush the Rasanid army and defeat them in the open field. Narseh left for the capital and instructed his governor Baraz to negotiate peace with the Rasenna.

While defeat was not ideal, Narseh lost little in the west, peace was established with Macellus but soon Macellus would be murdered by his own troops and according to the outlining words of the treaty, the Rasanids were free to do as they wished with the emperor who they signed the treaty with deceased. With a weak emperor in Libius on the throne, Narseh felt little resistance as he led his army west and captured the town of Tziere after a long and arduous six-month siege. By the time that a Rasennan response was finally made, much of the east had once more returned to Rasanid hands. At the subsequent battles of Lanys and Amdes, Rasanid withdrawal tactics had made Rasennan victories very hollow. The overeager Rasenna pursued the "fleeing" Rasanids to the large city of Tigres where the remaining Rasanid army surrounded the Rasennans and defeated them. The meek emperor Libius had not been at the battle and desperately sued for peace which granted very favorable terms for Narseh. The important frontier towns of Tziere, Erem, and finally Durris were surrendered to the Rasanids and the Rasenna would pay 11,000 tons of gold for every year of peace between the two empires.

Narseh returned to Sura in triumph, carting the first of a series of vast sums of gold paid to him by the Rasenna and with an innumerable amount of captured slaves, cattle, and a plethora of noble Rasennan women who would go on to marry high ranking Rasanid nobles. However, all was not perfect for the victorious Shahanshah as he now was forced to contend with a massive invasion to his north by supposed Zhors. In accounts, these Zhors were called Alkhans a name that marks them as potentially being Yarmeg in origin. Narseh was initially successful in dealing with the Alkhans but soon lost a battle against them on the banks of the mighty Aulon and was forced to withdraw and make peace with the marauders. Despite his loss, Narseh would eventually win the long war with the Alkhans as he settled the nomads in separate regions of his empire where they slowly would adopt Rasanid living.

With peace finally secured, the remainder of Narseh's reign would be spent pulling the center of gravity of the two imperial nations closer and closer towards him. With the Rasennan entangled in a series of civil wars and rebellions, Narseh would bring about an era of prosperity for the Ivanshar. Vast building complexes were completed in Sura and other imperial cities with a canal connecting Sura to the mighty Oxin river, itself draining to the Cassenan Sea. In religious matters, Narseh is said to have been a patron of Mihr, a more warlike aspect of the Drassid deity Ahura. Worship of Mihr spread rapidly under Narseh so much so that supposedly, in the Rasennan east, cults of Mihr became popular for the soldiers of the themes and had to be repeatedly stamped out in fear that this would lead to Rasanid sympathies.

Eventually, Narseh died in 532 and was nominally succeeded by his son Narseh II. By Narseh's death, the Rasanid Empire was stronger than ever before, considerably larger than when he came to the throne, the eastern and western enemies were pacified and the Ivanshar had largely controlled much of the key fortresses of the west. Narseh is regarded as one of the most important kings of the Ivanshar, nearly on par with the legendary Azad I. However, his successors were largely less successful than he. The argument can be made that Narseh achieved so much due to the instability of the Rasenna but no conclusions can be made for sure. Nevertheless, Narseh is forever remembered with the simple name of "The Great", a name he still undoubtedly deserves.


Given a proper royal education by palace eunuchs and scribes at his educational destination of Stiphan


Shahanshah of the Rasanid Empire of the Ivanshar

Accomplishments & Achievements

Series of victories in wars with the Elyads
Capture of Durris, Tziere and Erem
Victorious at the Battle of Amida

Failures & Embarrassments

Militarily defeated in his first war with the Rasenna
Defeated at Tzvin and Abasiz
Militarily defeated by the Alkhans

Intellectual Characteristics

Cunning and Methodical

Morality & Philosophy

Security through forced cooperation

Personality Characteristics


Security of his empire from threats to his west and east

Virtues & Personality perks


Vices & Personality flaws

Heavy Handed
Date of Birth
28th of Modia
Date of Death
22nd of Larce
603 B.E 532 B.E 71 years old
Circumstances of Birth
Son of the departed Shahanshah Verthragna
Circumstances of Death
Died of old age at his capital of Sura
Sura, Rasanid Capital
Place of Death
Sura, Rasanid Capital
Quotes & Catchphrases
"Shake the tree and soon the apples will fall."
Ahura and the Drassid Pantheon
Aligned Organization
Character Prototype
Shapur II
(The Elyad people, famed for their rugged defense of their homeland and for their great defeat by Narseh I)
(Tigranis, son-in-law of Narseh and defeated at the Battle of Abasiz)
(Narseh in formal, military regalia)
(Queen Ifra, longtime wife of Narseh and a woman of intellect and presence in the court of Sura)
(Narseh's eldest and favorite daughter Shirin, wed to Tigranis)


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