Persian Military history and prowess

Nov 2013
This is more about Pre-Islamic Persian martial history. Islamic Persia was IMO more of a cultural power than a martial one; much like Al-Andalus.......

How would you say it held up? On one hand, it's martial record could get embarrassing (especially against the Greeks and Romans), but to conquer and secure a huge empire surrounded by worth enemies (Turks, Indians, Arabs, and Greco-Romans) does suggest a degree of martial prowess.

Parthians are often downplayed by critics who claim Carrahe was the exception and not the rule, but it's not a victory that a bunch of second raters would have been able to pull off against a Marian Legion......

Sassanid Persia had a sold 4 centuries of martial and administrative prowesss, though it did seem to have a bit of trouble with Heraclius.....

What is your assessment of the Pre-Islamic Persian military record?
Jan 2016
United States, MO
The fact that both the Byzantines and the Sassanians were able to sustain such heavy warfare for so long speaks to both Persian and Byzantine military capacity.
Apr 2018
The Parthian Empire was weaker because had a feudal model of ruling, while the Sassanid Empire was more centralized and organized.


Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
In general no state long survives which is very militarily weak. Sometimes militarily weak states can survive for awhile when neighboring states are disorganized or fighting each other but this period does not extend into centuries. If Parthians survived for centuries (they did) they could not have been weak. That does not mean they had the best military structure for long range conquests- Rome had a huge advantage there but still had problems with scale and distance.