Large Sasanian city on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, the ruins are near present-day Falluja, ca. 60  km. west of Baghdad. Shapur I (241–72) fortified, or rebuilt, a pre-Sasanian town, the official name became Peruz Shapur ‘Victorious Shapur’, commemorating his victory over the Roman Emperor Gordian  III in 243. Some sources, however, connect the city with Shapur  II (310–79) and his victory over the Roman Emperor Julian in 363. The city’s popular name ‘Ambāra’ (Arab. al-Anbār) means ‘magazine; storehouse’, and refers to its strategic function as an arsenal of victuals and weapons for the fortified places along the western frontier. The earliest reliable information comes from the historians Ammianus Marcellinus (XXIV 2,9–22; d. ca. 395) and Zosimus (III 17,3–18,6; ca. 500). Ammianus saw the city (Piri-sabora) with his own eyes during the campaign of Emperor Julian. He describes it as large and populated, with a citadel and a double wall. Zosimus reports that the city (Bērsabōra) was second in rank after the Sasanian capital Ctesiphon. During the first centuries of Islam, al-Anbār remained prosperous, being the residence of the Abassid Caliphs al-Saffāḥ (750–54) and al-Manṣūr (754–75) until the latter moved to the new capital Baghdad (762). The city declined until the end of the first millennium; in 1262 it was sacked by the Mongols.

Al-Anbār was a see of the Ch. of E., first mentioned in the 5th cent. The main sources (surveyed by J.-M. Fiey) are the Synodicon Orientale and the ‘Book of the Tower’ (Kitāb al-majdal, ed. H. Gismondi). Several bps. are known, the last known was consecrated in 1111. Three of them became Cath.: Ṣliba Zka (713–28), Theodosios (853–58), and Yoḥannan bar Narsai (884–91). Eliya of al-Anbār was elected patr. in 937, but failed to receive the Caliph’s approval. There were two monasteries in al-Anbār: St. Quryaqos and the famous one of Mar Yonan. The Jewish community in al-Anbār (probably identical with Pumbedita) was founded in the 4th cent. It was one of the largest in Babylonia (the sources are surveyed by A. Oppenheimer). A second Peruz Shapur is on the eastern bank of the Tigris near the Khabur inflow.


  • F. C. Andreas, ‘Ambara’, in PRE , vol.1 (1894), 1790–5.
  • Chabot, Synodicon Orientale.
  • Fiey, Assyrie chrétienne, vol. 3, 230–9.
  • Fiey, Pour un Oriens christianus novus, 51, 166.
  • H.  Gismondi, Maris, Amri et Slibae De Patriarchis Nestorianorum Commentaria (1896–99).
  • E.  Honigmann and A. Maricq, Recherches sur les Res gestae divi Saporis (1952), 47–8, 114–8.
  • A.  Maricq, ‘Classica et Orientalia 5: Res gestae divi Saporis’, Syria 35 (1958), 295–360. (with photographs of the ruins)
  • J. Oelsner, in Der Neue Pauly 1 (1996), 575–7.
  • A.  Oppenheimer, Babylonia Judaica in the Talmudic period (1983), 351–68.
  • J. Schmidt, ‘Pirisabora’, in PRE , vol.40 (1950), 1724–25.
  • M. Streck (and A. Duri), in EI , vol. 1, 484–5.

How to Cite This Entry

Andreas Juckel , “al-Anbār,” in al-Anbār, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay,

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Andreas Juckel , “al-Anbār,” in al-Anbār, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018),

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Juckel, Andreas. “al-Anbār.” In al-Anbār. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018.

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