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The Ghaznavid, dynasty or the Ghaznavid Empire soon replaced the Samanid dynasty as rulers of medieval Persia and ruled for about two centuries from about 970 to 1187.


The Ghaznavids were a Turkish dynasty, whose empire, like that of the  Samanids, extended over what is now Central Asia, Afghanistan and most of what is now Iran

Two military families arose from the Turkic slave - soldiers of the Samanids -- the Simjurids and Ghaznavids. Alp Tigin, the general of the Samanids, founded the Ghaznavid fortunes when he established himself at Ghazna (Ghazni, Afghanistan) in 962. When the Samanid Emir 'Abd al-Malik I died in 961 CE, there was a succession crisis between 'Abd al-Malik I's brothers. A court party instigated by men of the scribal class—civilian ministers as contrasted with Turkic generals—rejected Alp Tigin's candidate for the Samanid throne. Mansur I was installed, and Alp Tigin prudently retired to Ghazna.

Alp Tigin was succeeded at Ghazna by Sebuk Tigin, who made himself lord of nearly all the present territory of Afghanistan and of the Punjab by conquest of  In 997, Sebuk Tigin died and his son Ismail succeeded him. Ismail's older brother Mahmoud who was away fighting the Samanids, jailed Ismail and came to be ruler the following year. Mahmoud completed the destruction of the Samanids and lesser dynasties.

Mahmud carried out seventeen expeditions through northern India establishing his control and setting up tributary states. His raids also resulted in the looting of a great deal of plunder.

The Ghaznavid rulers did not call themselves  Shahs or Caliphs, and adhered to the more modest title of Emir or Amir, suitable to a provincial governor, until the later part of the dynasty when some rulers called themselves Shah and even Sultan. Though they were originally of Turkish stock, the Ghaznavids were thoroughly assimilated under the Samanids and continued the growth of Persian culture and language.

The last Ghaznavid ruler was Khosrau Malik, who ruled over northern india. He was defeated by Muhhamad of Ghur, ending the Ghaznavid  empire

Ghaznavid Amirs

  • Alp Tigin (963-977)
  • Sebük Tigin, (Abu Mansur) (977-997)
  • Ismail (997-998)
  • Mahmud (Yamin ud-Dawlah ) (998-1030)
  • Mohammed (Jalal ud-Dawlah) (1030–1031)
  • Mas'ud I (Shihab ud-Dawlah) (1031–1041)
  • Mohammed (Jalal ud-Dawlah (second time) (1041)
  • Maw'dud (Shihab ud-Dawlah) (1041–1050)
  • Mas'ud II (1050)
  • Ali (Baha ud-Dawlah) (1050)
  • Abd ul-Rashid (Izz ud-Dawlah) (1053)
  • Toğrül (Tughril) (Qiwam ud-Dawlah) (1053)
  • Farrukhzad (Jamal ud-Dawlah) (1053–1059)
  • Ibrahim (Zahir ud-Dalah) (1059–1099)
  • Mas'ud III (Ala ud-Dawlah) (1099–1115)
  • Shirzad (Kemal ud-Dawlah) (1115)
  • Arslan Shah (Sultan ud-Dawlah) (1115–1118)
  • Bahram Shah (Yamin ud-Dawlah ) (1118–1152)
  • Khusrau Shah (Mu'izz ud-Dawlah) (1152–1160)
  • Khusrau Malik (Taj ud-Dawlah) (1160–1187)


Ami Isseroff

Nov 8, 2010


Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information:   Persia

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Encyclopedia of the Middle East

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The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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