Civilization V Customisation Wiki

The Sassanid Empire led by Shapur II is a custom civilization by TopHatPaladin, with contributions from janboruta and JFD. It was released as part of the Civ V 10th Anniversary event.

This mod requires Brave New World.


Sassanid Empire[]

(excerpted from full Sassanid civilopedia)

The Sassanid Empire was founded in the city of Istakhr, by King Ardashir of Persis. Internal discord in Parthia prevented the Arsacid dynasty from realizing how much power Ardashir was consolidating, and so they were powerless to stop him from being crowned Shahanshah in 224. Ardashir then rapidly expanded throughout the region of Persia, a wave of conquests that would be continued by his son, Shapur I. Shapur I would be a vigorous ruler who expanded the Sassanid Empire into Bactria and Roman Mesopotamia, as well as founding major cities such as Nishapur. However, around the turn of the fourth century, the restoration of Roman power would push back the Sassanids' western border.

After the death of Hormizd II in 309, a lack of suitable living heirs forced the Sassanids to crown his unborn son as Shapur II. Shapur II would be another active king, leading a successful revanche in Mesopotamia and conquering much land in Arabia, although he would lose control of Bactria. Shapur II would be followed, however, by several relatively undistinguished kings. Bahram V (r. 421-438) would be one of the most significant rulers in the fifth century, repulsing Hephthalite invasions and increasing Sassanid control of Central Asia. The fifth century also saw much volatility in religious policy, as Christians were alternatingly tolerated and persecuted.

Shapur II[]

Shapur II was the longest-reigning king in Persian history, ruling for the entirety of his 70-year life. After the death of Hormizd II in 309, all of Hormizd's living children were killed or driven off, leaving a power vacuum; legend holds that this crisis was resolved by placing a crown upon the womb of Ifra Hormizd, thus crowning the unborn Shapur II in utero.

Upon reaching the age of 16 and receiving the full powers of kingship, Shapur launched a campaign against the Arabs in 325. He crossed the Persian Gulf and brought most of eastern Arabia under Sassanid sway, introducing Zoroastrianism to the region and even launching raids as far west as Medina. Shapur's westward ambitions also led him to war with Rome, as he sought to reverse the gains that the Roman Empire had made during Constantine's reign. The first Roman war in Shapur's reign lasted from 337 to 350, and although the Sassanids were consistently successful in battle, the war ended inconclusively, since Shapur could not manage to successfully capture the city of Nisibis. Shapur was then forced to leave Rome alone for a few years to repel an invasion from the Kidarites; then, in 358, Shapur launched a second - and much more successful - war against the Roman Empire. When this war concluded in 361, Rome ceded Georgia and Armenia to the Sassanids, as well as providing numerous hostages to Shapur; Shapur used these hostages to help in rebuilding the city of Susa.

Shapur's campaigns in the east are less well-attested. Persian-style gold coins have been found in Sindh, suggesting that the Sassanids maintained at least some control there, but its details are ill-known. The Sassanids also lost control of Bactria in the last decade of Shapur's reign.

Internally, Shapur was a significant city builder. The cities he founded included Vuzurg-Shapur and Eranshahr-Shapur; he also rebuilt the damaged cities of Susa and Nisibis. Shapur also responded to the Christianization of Rome by doubling down on his own religion. Under his reign, the compilation of the Avesta texts was completed, and Christians came to be increasingly persecuted. The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, a fifth-century texts, claims that over 16,000 Christians were killed under Shapur's auspices. Conversely, however, the Jews were able to live with relative freedom under Shapur.

Dawn of Man[]

LS PNG Shapur

Art by TopHatPaladin

"Great Shapur, Shahanshah of the Sassanid Empire, brother of the sun and moon, king of the four corners! In your seventy years as king, you vastly expanded the power and prestige of the Persian realm. You claimed land from the Kushano-Sasanians to the east, the Arabs to the south, and the Romans to the west; the last of these campaigns even reduced Georgia and Armenia to vassals under your control. You were also a staunch defender of the Zoroastrian faith, assembling the Avesta and crushing the Christianity of the hated Romans. Nor were you purely destructive - you also built and rebuilt numerous cities, including Susa, Nisibis, and Vuzurg-Shapur.

Shapur II, your people still think wistfully about the glorious achievements of your reign. Can you once more create a Sassanid Empire that no opponents can even hope to match? Can you build a civilization that will stand the test of time?"

Introduction: "You stand in the presence of the Shahanshah of Iran! You are surely familiar with my accomplishments, so I shan't bore you by repeating them."

Defeat: "Impossible... the eternal fire has been extinguished. How could it have come to this?"

Unique Attributes[]

Sassanid Empire (Shapur II)
IconPNG Shapur

Art by TopHatPaladin

Brother of the Sun and Moon

Cities connected to the Capital Capital yield FaithIcon Faith when gaining Population, scaling based on distance from the Capital. May purchase Workers and Settlers with FaithIcon Faith.

IconPNG Aswar

Art by TopHatPaladin

Aswar (Horseman)
  • May be purchased with FaithIcon Faith
  • +25% Strength Combat Strength (15 vs. 12)
  • +25% Strength Combat Strength against Melee units
IconPNG FireTemple

Art by TopHatPaladin

Atroshan (Temple)
  • +1 Food Food, increasing to +2 if its city is connected to the Capital Capital
  • Yields a burst of Food Food when making a Faith purchase in its city
City List
  1. Ctesiphon
  2. Istakhr
  3. Gundeshapur
  4. Gor
  5. Shushtar
  6. Veh-Ardashir
  7. Susa
  8. Nishapur
  9. Arbela
  10. Ecbatana
  11. Bishapur
  12. Ray
  13. Zaranj
  14. Nahavand
  15. Spahan
  16. Merv
  17. Amol
  18. Karkh Meshan
  19. Yazd
  20. Ganzak
  21. Vahman-Ardashir
  22. Samarkand
  23. Balkh
  24. Gurgan
  25. Sanjan
  26. Bukhara
  27. Mosul
  28. Ahvaz
  29. Vuzurg-Shapur
  30. Darabgerd
  31. Harev
  32. Narmashir
  33. Dastagird
  34. Kath
  35. Tus
  36. Pushang
  37. Afrasiyab
Spy List
  • Ardashir
  • Bahram
  • Narseh
  • Hormizd
  • Yazdegerd
  • Barbad
  • Kayad
  • Nakisa
  • Zurvandukht
  • Shushandukht
IconPNG Sassanid


Peace Theme War Theme
Link Link
Sacred Fires by Richard Beddow Warriors of Ahura by Richard Beddow

Mod Support[]

Additional Achievements[]

We Didn't Start the Atar

  • Win the game on any difficulty setting as the Sassanid Empire.

Reforms of Mazdak

  • As the Sassanids, purchase a Great Person in a city that has an Atroshan and 3 or less Population.

Unique Cultural Influence[]

"Our people are now buying your carpets and worshipping at your sacred fires. I worry that the rest of the world will also succumb to the influence of your culture."

Full Credits List[]

Steam Workshop
Latest Version: v 1
Last Updated: 24 April 2021


  • TopHatPaladin: Design, Code, Art, Text
  • Janboruta: Civ Icon, Map
  • JFD: Faith purchase interface
  • danrell: Unit Model
  • Richard Beddow: Music
10th Anniversary Collection [edit]
Day 1
America (James Madison)Egypt (Senusret III)Holy Roman Empire (Frederick II)Aztecs (Itzcoatl)England (Henry V)Umayyads (Al-Walid I)Mycenae (Agamemnon)Jin (Sima Yan)France (Jeanne d'Arc)
Day 2
Sassanids (Shapur II)Japan (Shigeru Yoshida)Lanna (Mangrai)SenecaRussia (Elisabeth)Ottomans (Orhan)Mughals (Aurangzeb)Rome (Trajan)Songhai (Sonni Ali)
Day 3
Golden Horde (Öz Beg Khan) • Kassites (Kurigalzu I) • Māori (Potatau Te Wherowhero) • Goguryeo (Gwanggaeto) • Spain (Isabella II) • Denmark-Norway (Frederick II) • Inca (Tupac Yupanqui)
Day 4
Sweden (Christina) • Carthage (Mago)White Huns (Toramana)Ethiopia (Iyasu I)Mayans (Lady Xoc)Trebizond (Alexios II)Austria (Karl Renner)The Isles (Somerled)Anglo-Dutch (William III)
Day 5
Venice (Domenico Selvo)Zulu (Cetshwayo)Medang (Rakai Pikatan)Poland-Lithuania (Tadeusz Kosciuszko)Brazil (Medici)Portugal (Sebastiao de Carvalho)The Idrisids (Idris I)Assyria (Tiglath-Pileser III)Shoshone (Washakie)
TopHatPaladin's Civilizations [edit]
AyutthayaGhaznavid EmpireGolden HordeGugeKakatiyaKetNorthern YuanPala EmpireRashtrakutaSassanidsSogdianaTang
Egypt (Senusret III)Fatimid Caliphate (al-Mahdi Billah)Fatimid Caliphate (al-Mu'izz)GhanaLubaNamibiaSokotoSomaliaZulu (Cetshwayo)
France (Louis XI)Franks (Clovis)GaelsHoly Roman Empire (Frederick II)Holy Roman Empire (Otto I)LatviaRome (Romulus)
AleutAztec (Tlacaelel)BoliviaCheyenneColonial BrazilGuaycuruHohokamOmaguaTarascan StateWampanoagYellowknives