Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Surena – The Heroic One

Surena is also known as Rustaham Suren Pahlav, a Parthian during the 1st century BC and a member of the House of Suren who was well known for defeating the Romans in the Battle of Carrhae. Suren means `the heroic one, Avestan sura meaning strong, exalted.

General Surena was the son of Arakhsh and Massis and was one of the most distinguished men in wealth, birth as well in honor that was paid to him and the Surenas were one of the most outstanding families in the Parthian empire.

After King Hydrodes was defeated and expelled from Parthia, the Surena recaptured the Kingdom. Surena ranked next to the king, both in courage and ability and was the foremost Parthian of his time. He had no equal both in stature and personal beauty.

Whenever he travelled on his own in the country, he was often accompanied by a huge harem of concubine which needed two hundred wagons to transport including military campaigns which also included 1,000 dromedaries, 1,000 armored cavalry, with more Iight armed cavalry who acted as escorts while the total number of this cavalry along with his vassal and slaves amounted to around 100,000 men.

 At the coronation of the King of Parthia, he had the right to be the first to place the crown on his head being an ancient privilege of his family.

Surena Gained Recognition

The Surena gained recognition due to the defeat of the Roman commander Crassus in 53 BC and the family became influential later with the right to crown the Parthian kings at the beginning of the third century BC.

When Crassus decided to capture the Parthian Empire at the battle of Carrhae, he was reduced to one of the most embarrassing situation of the Roman Army by Surena and his men. When he was given the option to surrender, Crassus had asked his men to take flight and sent them all to their deaths and the Surena chased them and killed all of them while Crassus was personally beheaded by the Surena and molten gold was poured down his neck. Such was his pitiful end at the hands of the Surena.

Description of Great Suren by Plutarch

Plutarch description of the great Suren was, `the Suren was not an ordinary person, but in fortune, family and honor, he was the first after the king and in point of courage and capacity, and in size and beauty, superior to the Parthian during his time.

If he went on excursion in the country, he went along with his baggage and two hundred carriages for his concubines and was attended by a thousand heavy armed horse with many more of the light armed that rode before him. He had the hereditary privilege in his family of placing the crown or the diadem on the king’s head.

It was Surena who conquered for him the great city of Selucia, the first to scale the wall and beat his enemy with his own hands and though he was not even thirty years of age, his counsel esteemed the best and his discernment seemed very strong.

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