Queen of Persia
First reign
Reign 17 June 629 – 16 June 630 AD
Predecessor Shahrbaraz
Successor Shapur-i Shahrvaraz
Second reign
Reign 631–632 AD
Predecessor Azarmidokht
Successor Yazdegerd III
Born 590
Died 632
House House of Sasan
Father Khosrow II
Religion Zoroastrianism or Christianity

Boran[1][2][3] (Middle Persian: ;[1] 590–628 or 631) was empress regnant of the Sasanian Empire. Boran was the daughter of emperor Khosrow II. She was the first and one of only two women to rule the Sasanian Empire; the other was her sister and successor, Azarmidokht). Various authors place her reign between one year and four months to two years.[4]

Her name appears as Bōrān (or Burān) on her coinage.[1][5] The Persian poet Ferdowsi refers to her as Porandokht in his epic poem, the Shahnameh. She was committed to revive the memory and prestige of her father, during whose reign the Sasanian Empire had grown to its largest territorial extent.

Family and early life

Boran was the daughter of Khosrow II. Since her father was said to have had a shabestan with over 3000 concubines,[6] it is not known if her mother was one of these concubines or the king's favorite wife Shirin. Boran also had many other siblings and half-siblings named Mardanshah, Juvansher, Farrukhzad Khosrow V, Kavadh II, Shahriyar, and Azarmidokht. In 628, her father was deposed by the Sasanian nobles in favor of her brother Kavadh II, who executed the king along with 30 of their brothers out of fear of competition and rivalry (except Juvansher and Farrukhzad Khosrau V who managed to hide). Boran officially reproached Kavadh for his barbaric actions.[3]

Some months later, Kavadh died of a plague, and was succeeded by his 7-year-old son Ardashir III, who himself one year later was killed by the Sasanian general Shahrbaraz, who usurped the Sasanian throne.

First reign

Forty days later, Shahrbaraz was murdered by the faction of the Ispahbudhan nobleman Farrukh Hormizd,[7] which was known as the Pahlav (Parthian) faction. Boran was shortly proclaimed queen in Ctesiphon by Farrukh's faction. Boran was herself related to the Ispahbudhan family through her grandmother. She shortly appointed Farrukh Hormizd as the chief minister of the Empire. Boran then attempted to bring stability to the Sasanian Empire by the implementation of justice, reconstruction of the infrastructure, lowering of taxes, and minting coins. However, after some time she was deposed in 630, and Shapur-i Shahrvaraz, the son of Shahrbaraz and a sister of Khosrau II, was made king of Sasanian Empire. However, he was not recognized by the faction of the general Piruz Khosrow, which was known as the Parsig (Persian) faction. Shapur-i Shahrvaraz was thus deposed in favor of Azarmidokht,[8] the sister of Boran.

Second reign

Her sister, Azarmidokht, was then placed on the throne.[3] In order to seize power, Farrukh Hormizd asked Azar to marry him. Not daring to refuse, she had him killed with the aid of the Mihranid Siyavakhsh, who was the grandson of Bahrām Chōbin, the famous spahbed and briefly shahanshah. She was however, shortly assassinated by the latter's son Rostam Farrokhzād, who was now the new leader of the Pahlav faction.

After the murder of Azarmidokht by Rostam Farrokhzad, the latter restored Boran to the throne. Boran shortly made a meeting with the Pahlav and Parsig faction, where both factions agreed to work together.

She desired a good relationship with the Roman Empire, therefore she dispatched an embassy to Emperor Heraclius led by the dignitaries of the Persian church.[9] Heraclius sent Boran a formal invitation to visit Constantinople.[3] However, after one year of reign she was found suffocated by a pillow in her bed. According to some sources she was murdered by Piruz Khosrow, thus ending the Parsig-Pahlav alliance and resuming hostilities between the two factions.[10]


  1. 1 2 3 Daryaee, T. (1999). The Coinage of Queen Boran and Its Significance for Late Sasanian Imperial Ideology. Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 13, 77-82.
  2. Chaumont, M. (1989). BŌRĀN. In Encyclopædia Iranica (Vol. IV, p. 366).
  3. 1 2 3 4 Farrokh, K. (2007). Downfall of the Sasanians and the Islamic conquests. In Shadows in the Desert : Ancient Persia at War (p. 262, 263).
  4. BŌRĀN. (1989, December 15). Retrieved May 8, 2015, from
  5. "For instance her gold coins bear the Middle Persian legend: , Burano faré afzuto (lit. Buran's glory/splendor be increased)". Bayani, B. (n.d.). (پادشاهی پوراندخت ملکه ساسانی و پژوهشی درباره ی سکه های زمان او) (p. 31).
  6. al-Tabari, History of the Prophets and Kings, vol. 2
  7. Pourshariati (2008), p. 175
  8. Pourshariati (2008), p. 204
  9. Guidi, I. (1903). Chronicle of Seert. In Anonymous Syriac Chronicle (Vol. II, p. 237).
  10. Pourshariati (2008), pp. 218


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Borandukht.
Preceded by
Monarch of Persia
17 June 629 – 16 June 630
Succeeded by
Shapur-i Shahrvaraz
Preceded by
Monarch of Persia
Succeeded by
Yazdegerd III
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