ABSTRACT

With seminal events of the fifth century, the plot of the Islamic conquest narrative further develops, while its trajectory becomes ever clearer. This chapter analyzes the character of the Sasanian king Bahram V Gur, paying particular attention to the depiction of his relationship with the Lakhmid suzerain, al-Mundhir I, who was given the responsibility of rearing the young Bahram, and later aided in his taking the throne. It shows how the Muslim authors intended to emphasize both the high culture of the Lakhmids and their influence in Sasanian imperial affairs, and to demonstrate that Bahram's bravery and eloquence stemmed from his hearty Arab upbringing. It briefly examines the report of the disastrous defeat of Bahram Gur's grandson Piruz I at the hands of the Hephthalites. The chapter argues that the Hephthalites'/Turks' routing of the Iranians is portrayed in the early Islamic narrative tradition as an ominous precursor for later battles between the Iranians and the Arabs.