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224 AD – 651 AD
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Derafsh Kaviani
The Sassanian Empire or Sassanid Persian Empire (pronounced /sæˈseɪniən/, /ˈsæsənɪd/; also spelled Sasanid or Sasanian), known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran, was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 CE to 651 CE. The Sassanid Empire, which succeeded the Parthian Empire, was recognized as one of the main powers in Western and Central Asia, alongside the Roman-Byzantine Empire, for a period of more than 400 years.

The Sassanid Empire was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Arsacid Empire and the defeat of the last Arsacid king, Artabanus V. According to the Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania , "at its largest point in the seventh century the Sassanid Empire included territory in contemporary Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Oman, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and parts of Kazakhstan, Pakistan, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Kyrgyzstan. and Tajikistan." The native name for the Sassanid Empire in Middle Persian is Eran Shahr which means Aryan Empire. According to legend, the vexilloid of the Sassanid Empire was the Derafsh Kaviani. It was also hypothesized that the transition toward the Sassanid Empire represents the end of struggle of ethnic proto-Persians with their close migrant ethnic relatives, the Parthians, whose original homeland was in modern-day Central Asia. The Sassanid empire, during Late Antiquity, is considered to have been one of Persia's/Iran's most important and influential historical periods, and constituted the last great Iranian empire before the Muslim conquest and the adoption of Islam. In many ways, the Sassanid period witnessed the peak of ancient Persian civilization. Persia influenced Roman civilization considerably during the Sassanid period. The Sassanids' cultural influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe, Africa, China and India. It played a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asian medieval art.