"King of kings of Iran and Aniran"

Coin showing Balash and a fire altar with two attendants.
Reign 484–488
Predecessor Peroz I
Successor Kavadh I
Born Unknown
House House of Sasan
Father Yazdegerd II
Religion Zoroastrianism

Balash (Persian: بلاش یکم), (in the Greek authors, Balas; the later form of the name Vologases), was the nineteenth king of the Sasanian Empire from 484 to 488. He was the brother and successor of Peroz I (457484),[1] who had died in a battle against the Hephthalites who invaded Iran from the east.[2]


Balash was made King of Persia following the death of his brother Peroz fighting the Hephthalites at the Battle of Herat. Immediately after ascending the throne, he sought peace with the Hephthalites, which cost the Sasanians a heavy tribute. Little is known about Balash, but he is perceived by eastern sources as a mild and tolerant ruler. He was very tolerant of Christianity, which earned him a reputation among Christian authors, who described him as a mild and generous monarch. Nevertheless, it would seem that Balash was only a nominee to the powerful nobleman Sukhra.[3]

At the announcement of the death of Peroz, the Iranian nobles of Persian Armenia became eager to go to Ctesiphon to elect a new sovereign. This allowed the Armenians under Vahan Mamikonian to liberate Armenia from the Sasanians. Given the situation of the weakness in Persia, Balash did not send an army to fight the rebels, which forced him to conclude peace with the Armenians. The conditions of the peace were as follows:

(i) All existing fire-altars in Armenia should be destroyed and no new ones should be constructed.[4]
(ii) Christians in Armenia should have freedom of worship and conversions to Zoroastrianism should be stopped.[4]
(iii) Land should not be allotted to people who convert to Zoroastrianism
(iv) The Persian King should, in person, administer Armenia and through the aid of Governors or deputies.[4]

In 485, Balash appointed Vahan Mamikonian as the marzban of Armenia. A few months later, a son of Peroz named Zarir rose in rebellion. Balash, with the aid of the Armenians, put down the rebellion, captured and killed him.[4]

In 488, Kavadh, another son of Peroz, revolted; although he was initially unsuccessful, he sought the assistance of Hephthalites and arrived in Ctesiphon at the head of a large Hephthalite contingent. As a result, Balash was deposed by Sukhra,[5] and Kavadh was installed as emperor.[6]


  1. The Political History of Iran under the Sasanians, R. N. Frye, The Cambridge History of Iran, volume 3, Ed. Yarshater, 149.
  2.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Balash". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 239.
  3. Schindel (2013), pp. 136-141
  4. 1 2 3 4 The Political History of Iran under the Sasanians, R. N. Frye, 149.
  5. Pourshariati (2008), p. 78
  6. Touraj Daryaee, Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, (I.B.Tauris, 2010), 25.


Preceded by
Peroz I
Great King (Shah) of Persia
Succeeded by
Kavadh I
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