Sapor was the name of kings of the Iranian (Sas(s)anid) dynasty, of which the most famous was Sapor I, son of Artaxerxes I (Ardashir) and co-regent with him 240-241. He continued, with spectacular success, his father's policy of aggression against Rome, taking full advantage of the internal crisis in the Roman empire. After Hatra (Al-Hadt) and the Roman outposts in Mesopotamia fell to the Sas(s)anians in the late 230s and early 240s, Gordian III started a counter-offensive, but was defeated in the battle of Misiche (near
Ctesiphon) (244), and died soon afterwards. The subsequent peace treaty between Sapor and Philip forced the Romans to pay a great deal of ransom. A further attack by Sapor led to the occupation of Armenia, the devastation of Syria, and the fi.rst conquest of Antioch (252-253). The third campaign of the Sas(s)anid 'King of Kings, King of Iran and non-Iran', as he called himself, saw the capture of Valerian (260) and Persian raids into Syria, Cilicia and Cappadocia. It was left to Septimius Odaenathus, dynast of Palmyra [Tadmor], to play a major role in forcing Sapor to withdraw from Roman territory (262-266). In addition to his military achievements (listed in his inscription at Naqsh-i-Rustam, the Res Gestae Divi Saporis, and depicted in his famous rock-reliefs), Sapor was honoured for his grandiose building operations (he used the labour of Roman captives), and for his relations with the religious leader Mani (founder of the Manicheans), who began his preaching in the Roman empire at the time of Sapor's investiture.