image 3 of
03-03-02/33

Lessing,Erich,photographer (born 1923)

Emperor Valerian (ca. 200-260 CE) kneels in front of Sassanid King Shapur I (241 to 272 CE). After the battle of Edessa, Valerian was forced to seek terms with Shapur I. Sometime towards the end of 259, or at the beginning of 260, Valerian was defeated and made prisoner by the Persians (making him the only Roman Emperor taken captive). It is said that he was subjected to the greatest insults by his captors, such as being used as a human stepladder by Shapur when mounting his horse. After his execution, his skin was stuffed with straw and preserved as a trophy in the chief Persian temple. Only after the Persian defeat in the last Persia-Roman war three and a half centuries later, was his skin destroyed.

Naqsh-i-Rustam, Persepolis, Iran