Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Isdigerdes II., king of Persia
Isdigerdes (2) II., king of Persia, the son and successor of Vararanes V. All modern writers place his death A.D. 457, but differ somewhat as to the length of his reign. For its commencement Rawlinson thinks the best evidence is for 440. Soon after he declared war against the Roman empire. Theodosius II. shortly made peace with him, and Isdigerd then undertook a war, which continued many years (443–451), against the Tatars of Transoxiana. He attempted to force the Zoroastrian religion on Christian Armenia. In this he was ably seconded by his vizier Mihr-nerses, whose proclamation, still extant, embodies the Zoroastrian objection to Christian doctrine [Mesrobes]. It was answered in a council of eighteen Armenian bishops, headed by the patriarch Joseph, at Ardashad in 450. This document, also extant, is a lengthened apology for Christianity and contains a detailed confession of faith, with a resolution of adhering to it couched in these terms: "Do thou therefore inquire of us no further concerning these things, for our belief originates not with man. We are not taught like children; but we are indissolubly bound to God, from Whom nothing can detach us, neither now nor hereafter, nor for ever, nor for ever and ever" (Hist. of Vartan, tr. by Neumann, 1830). Isdigerd's attempt to convert Armenia to Zoroastrianism was manifestly dictated by a desire to detach the country from the Christian Roman empire. In 451 he attacked the Armenians. They endeavoured to secure the help of the emperor Marcian, who was, however, paralysed through fear of Attila and the Huns. In 455 or 456 the Persians triumphed in a great battle, wherein the patriarch Joseph and many nobles were taken prisoners and martyred. Agathias, iv. 27; Tabari, Chronique, iii. 127; Clinton, Fasti Romani, i. p. 546; Tillem. Emp. vi. 39; Saint-Martin, Mém. sur l’Armén. vol. i. p. 322; Pathkanian, Histoire des Sassan. in Journal Asiatique (1866), pp. 106–238; Mordtmann, Zeitschrift der deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, t. viii. 70; Rawlinson's Seventh Or. Monarchy (1876), c. xv. p. 301, where other authorities will be found. Pathkanian's article gives a list of writers who have treated of this period. Isdigerd II. was succeeded by Perozes.