Apranik was a Military Commander and Resistance Leader of the Persian Sasanian Empire in the 7th century.
The daughter of Piran, a renowned Persian general, Apranik was raised in a time when the Sasanian Empire was coming to the end of it’s 400-year existence, having been weakened by war with the Byzantine Empire. Motivated by national pride, Apranik followed in her father’s footsteps and joined the army after finishing her schooling. She rose through the ranks from a petty officer to becoming a fully-fledged Commander.
When the Sasanian Empire fell to a full-scale invasion by the Islamic Rashidun Caliphate, Apranik took command of major battalion of the surviving Persian Army and mounted an ongoing war of resistance against their conquerors. She found that conventional warfare did not work against the guerilla tactics employed by the Caliphate soldiers, who often melted away into the desert. In response she led the Persians in hit-and-run attacks designed to inflict maximum damage in a short time.
While the Empire was never restored, Apranik’s determination and refusal to surrender inspired a wider movement of resistance. She is said to have died fighting in combat as it was preferable to capture. The white horse she rode became a symbol of freedom still recognised today and she inspired a number of other Persian female resistance fighters who were nicknamed ‘Apraniks’.