TEHRAN, Aug. 27 (MNA) -- Although the history of modern feminism only began in the early nineteenth century, Purandokht, an Iranian empress of the Sassanid dynasty, was a pioneer of feminism in the seventh century.

“Whether the monarch is a man or a woman, he or she must protect the country and act with justice,” Empress Purandokht said some 1400 years ago, in one of the few documented feminist statements of the ancient world.


Purandokht’s observation was recorded in a letter she wrote to her army, making her one of the early lights of the struggle for equality between women and men.


The empress was also referred to as Buran or Boran in some sources.


The son of Khosro II, Kavadh II Sheroe (Siroes), was raised to the throne in opposition to his father after the great victories of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. He put his father and eighteen brothers to death, began negotiations with Heraclius, but died after a reign of a few months.


As the daughter of Khosro II, Purandokht was an important heir to the throne, since other contenders were only nephews or cousins.


When Purandokht ascended to the throne, she attempted to bring stability to the empire. This stability was brought about by a peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire, the revitalization of the empire through the implementation of justice, reconstruction of the infrastructure, lowering of taxes, and minting coins.


The empress was clearly acknowledged as the sovereign monarch from 629 to 631 CE, since throughout the empire various mints struck coins in her name.


According to historian Mohammad-Baqer Vosuqi, the Achaemenid era was a time of equality between men and women. Workshops were mostly run by women who earned even higher salaries than men. They were the designers of the most beautiful arts of Persepolis. But, it was just the opposite during the Sassanid era. Women had no rights and it was in this time that Purandokht was crowned.


Ferdowsi also refers to Purandokht in his epic poem the Shahnameh. She was committed to reviving the memory and prestige of her father, during whose reign the Sassanid Empire had grown to its largest territorial extent.


Purandokht died in Merv sometime around 636 CE, the year the Arabs captured Ctesiphon, which brought about the collapse of the Sassanid Empire.






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