Ghaznavid dynasty

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Ghaznavid Empire at its greatest extent
Ghaznavid Empire at its greatest extent

Ghaznavid dynasty


The Ghaznavid dynasty (Persian: غزنویان) was a Muslim dynasty of Muslim dynasty, who ruled from Persia, Transoxania, and the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent from 975 to 1186. The dynasty was founded by Sebuktigin Ghazna (today's Ghazni province in Afghanistan) after the death of his sister-in-law Alp Tigin, who was a renegade former general of the Samanids from Balkh north of the Hindukush in Khorasan.
Although the dynasty was of Central Asian Turkish origin, it was quite persianized in terms of language, culture, literature and customs and is therefore considered by some to be "Persian dynasty" rather than Turkish.
The son of Sebuktigin, Mahmud of Ghazni, extended the Ghaznavid empire to the Oxus River (Amu Darya), the Indus Valley and the Indian Ocean to the east, and to Rey and Hamadan in modern Iran in the west. Under the rule of Mas'ud I, the Ghaznavid dynasty began to lose control of its western territories after the battle of Dandanaqan to the Seljuqs, resulting in a restriction of its holdings to today's Afghanistan, western Punjab and the Balochistan region . In 1151 Sultan Bahram Shah Ghazni lost to Ala'uddin Hussain of Ghor.

Rise to power
Two military families emerged from the Turkish slaves' guards of the Samanids, the Simjuriden and Ghasnavids, who ultimately became catastrophic to the Samanids. The Simjurids received an appanage in the Kohistan region in eastern Khorasan (northern Afghanistan). Samanid Generals Alp Tigin and Abu al-Hasan Simjuri competed for the domination of Khorasan and the control over the Samanid empire by placing on the throne which they could dominate after the death of Abd al-Malik I. reads the poem the Shahnameh to Mahmud of Ghazni by painter Vardges Sureniants.jpg

Ferdowsi reads the poem the Shahnameh

to Mahmud of Ghazni by painter Vardges


When 'Abd al-Malik died in 961, it created a subsequent crisis between his brothers. A tribunal, initiated by Scribal class men-civilian ministers and Turkish generals-rejected the candidacy of Alp Tigin for the throne of the Samanids.Mansur I was instead installed, and Alp Tigin carefully returned to the south of the Hindu Kush, where he founded the Ghaznavid dynasty in Ghazna in 962. The Simjurids enjoyed control over Khorasan south of the Oxus River (Amu Darya) were heavily afflicted by a third major Iranian dynasty, the Buwayhide, and could not survive the collapse of the Samanids and the rise of the Ghasnavids.
The fighting of the Turkish slave generals to dominate the throne with the help of the relocation of loyalty from the ministerial leaders of the court demonstrated and accelerated the Samanid decline. Samanid weakness drew in Transoxania the Qarluq Turks, which had recently converted to Islam. They occupied Bukhara in 992 and founded in Transoxania the Qarakhanid, or Ilek Khanid, dynasty. After the death of Alp Tigin in 993, Ishaq ibn Alptigin, followed by Sebuktigin, took the throne. Sabuktigin's son Mahmud agreed with the Qarakhanids, recognizing the Oxus River as their mutual limit.

Sebuktigin, the son-in-law of Alp Tigin, began the expansion of the new kingdom by capturing Samanid and Shahi territories, including most of today's Afghanistan and a part of Pakistan. The Persian historian Ferishta from the 16th century registers the genealogy of Sebuktigin as it is from the Sassanid emperors: "Subooktu-geen, the son of Jookan, the son of Kuzil-Hukum, the son of Kusil-Arslan, the son of Ferooz Yezdijird , King of Persia. "Modern historians believe, however, that this is an attempt to connect with the history of ancient Persia. After the death of Sebuktigin, his son Ismail claimed the throne for a temporary period, but was defeated and captured by Mahmud in the battle of Ghazni in 998.

Mahmud son Sebuktigin
In 997, Mahmud, another son of Sebuktigin, succeeded the throne, and Ghazni and the Ghaznavid dynasty are unbroken. He ended the conquest of the Samanid and Shahi territories, including the Ismaili Kingdom of Multan, Sindh, as well as some Buwayhid territory. After all, the reign of Mahmud was the golden age and the height of the Ghaznavid empire. Mahmud carried out seventeen expeditions through North India to establish his control and establish tributary conditions, and his attacks also led to the plundering of plunder. He founded his authority from the borders of Ray to Samarkand, from the Caspian Sea to the Yamuna.

Ghaznavid Minaret
Ghaznavid Minaret

During the reign of Mahmud (997-1030) the Ghasnavids settled 4,000 Turkmen families near Farana in Khorasan. In the year 1027, the governor of Tus, Abu l'Alarith Arslan Jadhib, led military strikes against neighboring settlements because of the Turkmen settlements. The Turkmen were defeated and dispersed to neighboring countries. [10] Although up to 1033 Ghaznavid governor Tash Farrash has devoted 50 Turkmen chieftains to attacks in Khorasan. The wealth brought back from the Indian expeditions to Ghazni was enormous, and contemporary historians (eg, Abolfazl Beyhaghi, Ferdowsi) give glowing descriptions of the grandeur of the capital and the generous support of the conqueror's literature. Mahmud died in 1030.

Twin sons of Mahmud
Mahmud left the kingdom to his son Mohammed, who was mild, tender, and soft. His brother Mas'ud asked for three provinces, which he had won with his sword, but his brother did not agree. Mas'ud had to fight against his brother, and he became king, dazzling and imprisoned Muhammad as a punishment. Mas'ud was not able to preserve the empire and after a catastrophic defeat in the battle of Dandanaqan in 1040, he lost all the Ghaznavid countries in Iran and Central Asia to the Seljuks, plunge the realm into a "time of sorrow" . His last act was to gather all his treasures from his forts, hoping to bring together an army and a regiment of India, but his own forces plundered the wealth, and he re-declared his blind brother as king.The two brothers exchanged their positions: Muhammad was lifted out of jail, and Mas'ud was taken to a dungeon, where he was murdered in 1040 after a ten-year reign. The son of Mas'ud, Madood, was governor of Balkh, and in 1040, after hearing his father's death, came to Ghazni to claim his kingdom. He fought with the sons of the blind Muhammad and prevailed. However, the empire collapsed soon and most kings did not submit to Madood. In a span of nine years, four other kings claimed the throne of Ghazni.

In 1058, Mas'ud's son Ibrahim, a great calligraph who wrote the Koran with his own pen, became king. Ibrahim restored a cut-off empire on a firmer foundation by establishing a peace agreement with the Seljuks and restoring cultural and political ties. Under Ibrahim and his successors the empire enjoyed a period of lasting peace. Deadened by its western country, it was increasingly supported by riches originating from raids in North India, where there was stiff resistance from Indian rulers such as the Paramara of Malwa and the Gahadvala of Kannauj. He reigned until 1098.


GHAZNAVID Mahmud 999-1030 silver dirham
GHAZNAVID Mahmud 999-1030 silver dirham

Masud III became king for sixteen years, without a great event in his lifetime. When he died in 1115, the signs of weakness in the state showed, with the inner conflict between his sons ending with the rise of Sultan Bahram Shah as a Seljuk vassal. Bahram shah defeated his brother Arslan for the throne in the Battle of Ghazni in 1117.

Sultan Bahram Shah
Coin of Mas'ud I of Ghazni, derived from Shahi Designs, with the name of Mas'ud in Arabic.
Sultan Bahram Shah was the last Ghaznavid king who ruled Ghazni, the first and chief Ghaznavid capital, ruled thirty-five years. In 1148 he was defeated by Saif-ud-din of Ghor, but he conquered Ghazni again next year. Ala'uddin Hussain, a Ghorid king, conquered the city of Ghazni in 1151 for the revenge of his brother Kutubbuddin's death, who was King's son-in-law, but was publicly punished and killed for a minor crime. Allauddin Ghor then broke the whole town and burned it for 7 days, after which he became famous as "Jahânsoz" (world burner).Ghazni was restored to the Ghasnavids by the intervention of the Seljuks, who came to Bahram's aid. Ghaznavid battles with the Ghurids continued in the following years as they nibbled on Ghaznavid territory and Ghazni and Zabulistan lost a group of Oghuz Turks before they were captured by the Gurids. Ghaznavid power continued in northwest India until the conquest of Lahore by Khusrau Malik in 1186.

Military and tactics
The core of the Ghasnavid army was mainly Turks, as well as thousands of native Afghans who were trained and assembled from the area south of the Hindus in what is now Afghanistan. During the reign of the Sultan Mahmud, a new major military training center was set up in Bost (now Lashkar Gah). This area was known for smithies, where war weapons were established. After the capture and conquest of the Punjab region, the Ghaznavids began to employ Hindu Indians in his army.


Like the other dynasties that rose from the remains of the Abbasid caliphate, the Ghaznavid administrative traditions and the military practice came from the Abbasids. However, there were unique changes that met the requirements of the geographic situation of the Ghaznavid dynasty. Because of their access to the Indus Ganges Plains, the Ghaznavids developed the first Muslim army during the 11th and 12th centuries to use battle sailors in the battle. The elephants were protected by armor on the fronts. The use of these elephants in other regions that the Ghaznavids fought, especially in Central Asia, to which the elephant was a strange weapon.

State and culture
According to Clifford Edmund Bosworth:
"The Ghaznavid Sultans were ethnic Turkish, but the sources, all in Arabic or Persian, do not allow us to estimate the persistence of Turkish practices and ways of thinking among them, but the fact that the essential basis of the Ghaznavid military support has always been theirs Turkish soldiers, there was always a need to be adapted to the needs and aspirations of their troops. There is also evidence of the perseverance of a Turkish literature culture among the early Ghaznavids (Köprülüzade, pp. 56-57).The sources, however, illustrate that the exercise of the political power and the administrative apparatus of the Sultans, who formed it, very quickly entered into the Perso-Islamic tradition of statehood and monarchy, the ruler as a distant figure, accompanied by divine favor Over a mass of merchants, craftsmen, peasants, etc., whose supreme commandment was obedience in all respects, but above all in the payment of taxes. The fact that the bureaucracy's staff, who was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Sultan and who had raised the income to support the Sultan's way of life, and the financing of the professional army, were Persians who led the country's administrative traditions.
"The persianization of the state apparatus was accompanied by the Persianization of High Culture at the Ghaznavid Court ... The level of literary creativity was as high among Ebrāhīm as among his followers to Bahrāmšāh, with such poets as Abu'l-Faraj Rūnī, Sana'i, We know from the biographical dictionaries of poets (taḏkera-ye šo'arā) that the court in Lahore of Ḵosrow Malek had a number of fine poets, None of his Diwan has unfortunately survived, and the translator, in the elegant Persian prose of Ebn Moqaffa, of KALILA wa Demna, Abul-Ma'ali Nasr-Allāh bh mohammad, served the Sultan for a time as his chief secretary, the Ghaznavids The phenomenon of a dynasty of Turkish slaves origin, which became Persianised to a much greater extent than other contemporary dynasties of Turkish origin such as Seljuks and Qarakhanids. "
The Persian literature culture experienced a renaissance among the Ghaznavids in the 11th century. The Ghaznavid court was so famous for its support of Persian literature that the poet traveled Farrukhi from his home region to work for them. The poet Unsuri's short collection of poems was devoted to Sultan Mahmud and his brothers Nasr and Yaqub. Another poet of the Ghaznavid court, Manuchehri, wrote numerous poems on the advantages and advantages of drinking wine.
Sultan Mahmud, modeled the Samanid Bukhara as a cultural center, made Ghazni into a center of learning, the invitation of Ferdowsi and al-Biruni. He even tried to persuade Avicenna, but was rejected. Mahmud preferred to publish his fame and glory in Persia and hundreds of poets gathered at his court. He brought entire libraries from Rayy and Isfahan to Ghazni and even demanded that the Khwarizmshah court send his men of learning to Ghazni. Because of his invasion of Rayy and Isfahan, Persian literary production was inaugurated in Azerbaijan and Iraq.
The Ghaznavids continued to develop Persian historiography, initiated by their predecessors, the Samanids. An example of this is the historian Abul-Fazl Bayhaqis Tarikh-e Beyhaqi, who was written in the second half of the 11th century.

Statue of Ferdowsi in Rome Italy
Statue of Ferdowsi in Rome Italy

Although the Ghaznavids were of Turkish origin and their military leaders were generally of the same stock, as a result of the original participation of Sebuktigin and Mahmud in the Samanid affairs and in the Samanid cultural environment, the dynasty was completely persianized, so that in practice a can not Their rule over Iran is a foreign rule. They also copied their administration system from the Samanids. Regarding the cultural mastery and support of the Persian poets, they were far more Persian than the ethnically Iranian Buyid rivals, whose support for the Arabic letters is widely known to the Persian.
The historian Bosworth explains: "In fact, the Ghaznavids, with the adoption of Persian administrative and cultural paths, rejected their original Turkish steppes and largely integrated them into the Perso-Islamic tradition." As a result, Ghazni developed into a major center of Arabic learning.
With Sultan Mahmud's invasions of North India, the Persian culture was founded in Lahore, which later produced the famous poet Masud Sa'd Salman. Lahore, under the Ghasnavid rule in the 11th century, attracted Persian scholars from Khorasan, India and Central Asia and became a major Persian cultural center.
The Persian culture, founded by the Ghasnavids in Ghazna and East Afghanistan, survived the Ghurid invasion in the 12th century and lasted until the invasion of the Mongols.

The Ghaznavid Empire grew to cover much of today's Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Northwest India. The Ghaznavid rulers are generally credited with the spread of Islam to the Indian subcontinent. The Ghaznavids not only benefited from the wealth gained through the raids of the Indian cities, but also the demanding tribute from the Indian Rajas. The Ghaznavids benefited from their position as an intermediary in the trade routes between China and the Mediterranean. They were not, however, able to hold power for long, and the Seljuks had taken their Persian territories by 1040, and a century later the Ghurids took over their remaining subcontinent lands.

This is an incomplete list of battles fought by the Ghaznavids.

India/Pakistan Turkmenistan Afghanistan Iran

( Color legend for the location of the battle )

YearNameLocationGhaznavid commanderOpponentVictor
988 1st Battle of Laghman near Laghman Sabuktigin Jayapala(Kabul Shahi) Ghaznavids
991 2nd Battle of Laghman near Laghman Sabuktigin Jayapala(Kabul Shahi) Ghaznavids
994 Battle of Herat near Herat Sabuktigin Abu Ali Simjuri(Simjurids) Ghaznavids(Sabuktigin is appointed Amir of Khurasan, Balkh and Herat)
998 1st Battle of Ghazni Ghazni Ismail of Ghazni (Amir of Ghazna) Mahmud Mahmud of Ghazna is made Amir of Ghazna.
1001 Battle of Peshawar Peshawar Mahmud of Ghazni Jayapala(Kabul Shahi) Ghaznavids
1005-6 Siege of Multan Multan Mahmud of Ghazni Fateh Daud Ghaznavids
1008 Battle of Balkh Balkh Mahmud of Ghazni Ahmad Arslan Qara Khan(Kara-Khanids) Ghaznavids
1009 Battle of Ohind Ohind Mahmud of Ghazni Anandapala(Kabul Shahi) Ghaznavids
1027 Battle of the Indus River   Mahmud of Ghazni Jats Ghaznavids
1033 Siege of Sarsawa near Saharanpur Mas'ud I of Ghazni   Mas'ud I
1035 Battle of Nasa Plains Tabaristan Begtoghdi(Ghaznavid chamberlain) Chaghri Beg(Seljuq Turks) Seljuq Turks
1037 Siege of Hansi near Delhi[13] Mas'ud I of Ghazni   Mas'ud I
1038 Battle of Sarakhs Sarakhs Ghaznavid governor of Khurasan Tughril(Seljuq Turks) Seljuq Turks
1038 Battle of Rey Rey   Muhammad ibn Rustam Dushmanziyar(Kakuyids) Kakuyid dynasty
1040 Battle of Dandanaqan near Merv Mas'ud I of Ghazni Chaghri Beg, Tughril(Seljuq Turks) Seljuq Turks
November 1040 Siege of Zaranj Zaranj Abu l-Fadl(Ghaznavid commander) Ertash(Seljuq Turks) Abu l-Fadl joined Seljuq Turks and Zaranj was occupied.
19 March 1041 Battle of Nangrahar near Jalalabad Muhammad(second son of Mahmud) Maw'dud(eldest son of Masud) Maw'dud defeats Mohammad and gains Ghaznavid throne.
1043-44   Tokharistan Maw'dud Alp Arslan(Seljuq Turks) Seljuq Turks
1045-6   near Zaranj   Ertash(Seljuq Turks) Ghaznavids
1051 Battle of Hupyan Hupyan Toghrul of Ghazna Alp Arslan Ghaznavids
1051 Siege of Taq Sistan Toghrul of Ghazna(slave general) Kotwal Hilal Daraqi(Saffarids) Saffarids retain Taq
1116 Battle of Tiginabad Tiginabad(near Kandahar)[24] Arslan Shah (Sultan of Ghaznavid Empire) Bahram-Shah Arslan Shah
1117 2nd Battle of Ghazni plain of Shahrabad, near Ghazni[26] Arslan Shah (Sultan of Ghaznavid Empire) Ahmad Sanjar
Ahmad Sanjar(Sultan of the Great Seljuq Empire)
12 May 1149 Battle of Sang-i Surakh Near upper part of the Helmand River Bahram-Shah Saif ad-Din Suri (Ghurids) Bahram Shah
June 1170   (near Kannauj)   Jayachandra(Gahadvala dynasty) Gahadvala dynasty
1186 Siege of Lahore Lahore   Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad(Ghurid dynasty) Ghurid Dynasty


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