Ghaznavid Dynasty

The Ghaznavid dynasty was of Turkish origin. It was founded by Saboktekin, a former Turkish slave who was recognized by the Samanids as governor of Ghazna (modem Ghazni, in Afghanistan). As the Samanid dynasty weakened, Saboktekin consolidated his position and expanded his domains as far as the Indian border. His son Mahmud continued the expansionist policy, and during his reign, Ghaznavid power reached its zenith. Mahmud created an empire that stretched from the Oxus to the

Indian Ocean. In the west he captured (from the Buyids) the Iranian cities of Rey, Esfahan, and Hamadan. A devout Muslim, Mahmud was the first to carry the banner of Islam into the heart of India. Although the Ghaznavids were proud of their Turkic descent, Mahmud encouraged the use of Persian, and the greatest Persian epic, Shah-Nameh (pp44-46), was completed by Ferdowsi at his court. Among the other great Persians at Mahmud's court were Biruni, an outstanding scholar of encyclopedic knowledge, and Abolfazl Beyhaqi, the writer of a remarkable history of the Ghaznavids, the first major prose work in New Persian. Mahmud's son, Masud I, could not keep the integrity of the empire. Challenged by Seljuk Turks, he lost most of his territories, but retained possession of eastern Afghanistan and northern India, where the Ghaznavids continued to rule until 1186.

867-903 - Rule of the Safarid dynasty in Sistan 871-899 - Alfred the Great of England

875-999 - Rule of the Samanid dynasty in Khorasan 922 - First Persian most important Sufi and mystic al-Hallaj is sentenced to death for heresy 928-1077 - Rule of the Ziarid dynasty

936-973 - Otto 1 the Great of Germany

940 - Rudaki, first major poet of the Modern Persian language 945-1055 - Buyid rule; the influence of the Abbasid caliphs is limited to the moral and spiritual spheres as the heads of Orthodox Sunnite Islam

950-1020 - Ferdowsi, poet of the greatest Iranian epic "Shah-Nameh" (pp44-46)

the empire and its administrative organization were left unsolved. Moreover, Iranians who gladly accepted Islam, which freed them from the dictates of the taboo-ridden and excessively ritualized Zoroastrian-ism, could not bear invaders in their homeland. Numerous rebellions took the form of peasant revolts in Azerbaijan and Khorasan. Soon the first Iranian dynasties threatened the Abbasid empire with dreams of Iranian independence. Purely Iranian states were formed in the main part of Iranian territory (Tahirids in Khorasan with Nishapur as the capital, Saffarids in Sistan, Samanids in wealthy Transoxanian and east Khorasanian cities, Ziarids in Tabarestan, and Gorgans and Buyids all over Iran excluding the Samanid properties). The Buyids shared with the Samanids the fame for having brought to fruition the Iranian renaissance.

Miniature from "Maqamat" by Hariri shows the pilgrim caravan to Mecca.

Important Seljuk Kings:

Toghrol Beik - 1037-1055 Alp Arslan - 1063-1072 Malek Shah - 1073-1092 Sanjar- 1117-1157

Examples Seljuk Architecture Iran

The tomb-tower of Gonbad-e Sorkh (Red Dome) in Maragheh in northwestern Iran is a typical example of Seljuk architecture characterized by its distinctive brickwork.

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