Alphabetic Index : A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Search β):



(Wikipedia) - Samanid Empire   (Redirected from Samanid)
Samani سامانیان
←   ←   ← 819–999 →   →
The Samanid Empire at its greatest extent under Isma'il ibn Ahmad
Capital Balkh (Modern day Afghanistan), Bukhara
Languages Persian (religious decree/mother tongue), Arabic (art/science)
Religion Sunni Islam
Government Emirate
 -  819–855 Yahya ibn Asad
 -  999 'Abd al-Malik II
Historical era Medieval
 -  Established 819
 -  Disestablished 999
 -  928 est. 2,850,000 km² (1,100,391 sq mi)
Today part of  
History of Greater Iran Pre-modern
Until the rise of modern nation-states
Proto-Elamite civilization 3200–2800 BC
Elamite dynasties 2800–550 BC
Bactria-Margiana Complex 2200–1700 BC
Kingdom of Mannai 10th–7th century BC
Median Empire 728 –550 BC
Scythian Kingdom 652–625 BC
Achaemenid Empire 550–330 BC
Seleucid Empire 330–150 BC
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom 250-125 BC
Parthian Empire 248–BC 224
Kushan Empire 30–275
Sassanid Empire 224–651
Afrighid dynasty 305–995
Hephthalite Empire 425–557
Kabul Shahi kingdom 565–879
Dabuyid dynasty 642–760
Kingdom of Alania 8th-9th century–1238/1239
Patriarchal Caliphate 637–651
Umayyad Caliphate 661–750
Abbasid Caliphate 750–1258
Tahirid dynasty 821–873
Zaydis of Tabaristan 864–928
Saffarid dynasty 861–1003
Samanid dynasty 819–999
Sajids 889/890–929
Ziyarid dynasty 928–1043
Buyid dynasty 934–1055
Sallarid dynasty 941–1062
Ghaznavid Empire 975–1187
Ghurid dynasty 1149–1212
Seljuq Empire 1037–1194
Khwarazmian dynasty 1077–1231
Ilkhanate 1256–353
Kartids dynasty 1231–389
Muzaffarid dynasty 1314–1393
Chupanid dynasty 1337–1357
Jalayerid dynasty 1339–1432
Timurid Empire 1370–1506
Qara Qoyunlu Turcomans 1407–1468
Aq Qoyunlu Turcomans 1378–1508
Safavid Empire 1501–1722
Mughal Empire 1526–1857
Hotaki dynasty 1722–1729
Afsharid dynasty 1736–1750
Zand Dynasty 1750–1794
Durrani Empire 1794–1826
Qajar Dynasty 1794–1925
History of Afghanistan
Ancient Proto-Elamite civilization Indus valley civilization Oxus civilization Aryans Medes Achaemenids Seleucids Mauryans Greco-Bactrians Indo-Greeks Indo-Scythians (Sakas) Indo-Parthians Kushans Sassanids Indo-Sassanids Kidarites Hephthalites
2300–1800 BC
2200–1800 BC
2100–1800 BC
1700–700 BC
728–550 BC
550–330 BC
330–150 BC
305–180 BC
256–125 BC
180–130 BC
155–80? BC
20 BC – 50? AD
135 BC – 248 AD
Medieval Kabul Shahi Rashidun Caliphate Umayyads Abbasids Tahirids Saffarids Samanids Ghaznavids Ghorids Khwarezmids Ilkhanate Khiljis Kurts Timurids Arghuns Mughals Safavids
Modern Hotaki dynasty Afsharid dynasty Durrani Empire Emirate of Afghanistan Kingdom of Afghanistan Republic of Afghanistan Democratic Republic of Afghanistan Islamic State of Afghanistan Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
since 2001
  • Book
  • Category
  • Portal
  • v
  • t
  • e

The Samani dynasty (Persian: سامانیان‎, Tajik: Сомониён - Sāmāniyān), also known as the Samanid Empire, or simply Samanids (819–999), was a Sunni Persian Empire in Central Asia, named after its founder Saman Khuda, who converted to Islam despite being from Zoroastrian theocratic nobility. It was a native Persian dynasty in Greater Iran and Central Asia after the collapse of the Sassanid Persian empire caused by the Arab conquest.


The Samanids, a dynasty of Persian dehqan origin, reigned for 180 years, encompassing a territory which included Greater Khorasan (including Kabul), Ray, Transoxiania, Tabaristan, Kerman, Gorgan, and west of these provinces up to Isfahan. At the peak of their power, the Samanids controlled territory extending as far south as the Sulaiman Mountains in Quetta, Ghazni and Kandahar, and as far as Qazvin in the west. The Samanids were descendants of Bahram Chobin, and thus descended from the House of Mihrān, one of the Seven Great Houses of Iran. In governing their territory, the Samanids modeled their state organization after the Abbasids, mirroring the caliph's court and organization. They were rewarded for supporting the Abbasids in Transoxania and Khorasan, and with their established capitals located in Bukhara, Balkh, Samarkand, and Herat, they carved their kingdom after defeating the Saffarids.

With their roots stemming from the city of Balkh (then, part of Greater Khorasan) the Samanids promoted the arts, giving rise to the advancement of science and literature, and thus attracted scholars such as Rudaki, Ferdowsi, and Avicenna. While under Samanid control, Bukhara was a rival to Baghdad in its glory. Scholars note that the Samanids revived Persian more than the Buyids and the Saffarids, while continuing to patronize Arabic to a significant degree. Nevertheless, in a famous edict, Samanid authorities declared that "here, in this region, the language is Persian, and the kings of this realm are Persian kings."


The Samanid Empire was the first native Persian dynasty to arise after the Muslim Arab conquest. The four grandsons of the dynasty's founder, Saman Khuda, had been rewarded with provinces for their faithful service to the Abbasid caliph al-Mamun: Nuh obtained Samarkand; Ahmad, Fergana; Yahya, Shash; and Elyas, Herat. Ahmad's son Nasr became governor of Transoxania in 875, but it was his brother and successor, Ismail Samani who overthrew the Saffarids and the Zaydites of Tabaristan, thus establishing a semiautonomous rule over Transoxania and Khorasan, with Bukhara as his capital. In 893, Ismail invaded and defeated the Karluk Turks, taking Talas and converting the Nestorian church there into a mosque. Ismail's son, Ahmad, sent two military excursions (911 & 912-913) into Sistan to re-establish Samanid control over the Caspian provinces.

The Samanids defeat the Saffarids and Zaydids

Samanid rule in Bukhara was not formally recognized by the caliph until the early 900s when the Saffarid ruler 'Amr-i Laith had asked the caliph for the investiture of Transoxiana. The caliph, Al-Mu'tadid however sent the Samanid amir, Ismail Samani, a letter urging him to fight Amr-i Laith and the Saffarids whom the caliph considered usurpers. According to the letter, the caliph stated that he prayed for Ismail who the caliph considered as the rightful ruler of Khorasan. The letter had a profound effect on Ismail, as he was determined to oppose the Saffarids.

The two sides fought in Balkh, (now modern-day Afghanistan), during the spring of 900. During the battle, Ismail was significantly outnumbered as he came out with 20,000 horsemen against Amr's 70,000 strong cavalry. Ismail's horsemen were ill-equipped with most having wooden stirrups while some had no shields or lances. Amr-i Laith's cavalry on the other hand, were fully equipped with weapons and armor. Despite fierce fighting, Amr was captured as some of his troops switched sides and joined Ismail. D. G. Tor suggests that the defections to the Samanid side were because of Ismail's raids into Central Asia had given him the reputation of being a successful holy warrior.

Isma'il thereafter sent an army to Tabaristan in accordance with the caliph's directive. The area at that time was then controlled by the Zaydids. The Samanid army defeated the Zaydid ruler Muhammad ibn Zayd and the Samanids gained control of the region.

Cultural and religious effortsMonument of Amir Ismail Samani in Tajikistan.

The Samanids revived Persian culture by patronizing Rudaki, Bal'ami and Daqiqi. They also determinedly propagated Sunni Islam. However, the Samanids repressed Ismaili Shiism but were more tolerant of Twelver Shiism. Islamic architecture and Islamo-Persian culture was spread deep into the heart of Central Asia by the Samanids. Following the first complete translation of the Qur'an into Persian, during the 9th century, populations under the Samanid empire began accepting Islam in significant numbers.

Through zealous missionary work as many as 30,000 tents of Turks came to profess Islam and later under the Ghaznavids more than 55,000 under the Hanafi school of thought. The mass conversion of the Turks to Islam eventually led to a growing influence of the Ghaznavids, who would later rule the region.

Agriculture and trading were the economic basis of Samanid State. The Samanids were heavily involved in trading - even with Europe, as thousands of Samanid coins that have been found in the Baltic and Scandinavian countries testify.

Another lasting contribution of the Samanids to the history of Islamic art is the pottery known as Samanid Epigraphic Ware: plates, bowls, and pitchers fired in a white slip and decorated only with calligraphy, often elegantly and rhythmically written. The Arabic phrases used in this calligraphy are generally more or less generic well wishes, or Islamic admonitions to good table manners.

Decline and fall

The power of the Samanids began to crumble in the latter half of the 10th century. In 962, one the ghulams, Alp Tigin, commander of the army in Khurasan, seized Ghazna and established himself there. His successors, however, including Sebük Tigin, continued to rule as Samanid "governors". With the weakened Samanids facing rising challenges from the Karakhanids for control of Transoxania, Sebük later took control of all the provinces south of the Oxus and established the Ghaznavid Empire.

In 992, a Karakhanid, Harun Bughra Khan, grandson of the paramount tribal chief of the Karluk confederation Sultan Satuq Bughra Khan, captured Bukhara, the Samanid capital. Harun died shortly afterwards, however, and the Samanids returned to Bukhara. In 999, Nasr b. Ali, a nephew of Harun, returned and took possession of Bukhara, meeting little resistance. The Samanid domains were split up between the Ghaznavids, who gained Khorasan and Afghanistan, and the Karakhanids, who received Transoxania; the Oxus River thus became the boundary between the two rival empires. The Samanid Isma'il II al-Muntasir escaped from Karakhanid captivity and attempted to restore the Samanid dynasty, but he was killed by an Arab bedouin chieftain in 1005.


In commending the Samanids, the epic Persian poet Ferdowsi says of them:

کجا آن بزرگان ساسانیان ز بهرامیان تا به سامانیان

"Where have all the great Sassanids gone? From the Bahrāmids to the Samanids what has come upon?"

According to a Bukharian historian writing in 943 stated that Ismail Samani:

"was indeed worthy and right for padishahship. He was intelligent, just, compassionate person, one possessing reason and prescience...he conducted affairs with justice and good ethics. Whoever tyrannized people he would punish...In affairs of state he was always impartial."

The celebrated scholar Nizam al-Mulk, in his famous work, Siyasatnama, stated that Ismail Samani:

"was extremely just, and his good qualities were many. He had pure faith in God (to Him be power and glory) and he was generous to the poor - to name only one of his notable virtues.

The Somoni currency of Tajikistan is named after the Samanids. A notable airline based in Dushanbe is also named Somon Air. Also, the highest mountain in Tajikistan and in the former Soviet Union is named after Ismail Samani. The mountain was formerly known as "Stalin Peak" and "Communism Peak" but was subsequently changed to the Ismoil Somoni Peak.

Samanid Amirs Bukhara Samarkand Ferghana Shash Herat
Saman Khuda سامان خدا (A Persian landowner from the village of Saman in Balkh province in northern Afghanistan, he arrived in Merv to the court of the Abbasid governor of Khorasan, Asad ibn Abdullah al-Qasri under whose influence he became a Muslim and served the governor till his death. He was the founder of the Samanid dynasty)
Asad ibn Saman اسد ابن سامان
Nuh ibn Asad نوح ابن اسد 819–841/2 Ahmad ibn Asad احمد ابن اسد 819–864/5 Yahya ibn Asad یحییٰ ابن اسد 819–855 Ilyas ibn Asad الیاس ابن اسد 819–856
Ahmad ibn Asad احمد ابن اسد 819–864/5 Ibrahim ibn Ilyas ظہیر الدین محمد بابر 856–867
Abu Ibrahim Isma'il ibn Ahmad ابو ابراہیم اسماعیل بن احمد 892-907 Nasr I نصر ابن احمد 864 - 892 Ya'qub ibn Ahmad یعقوب ابن احمد ؟ Tahirids
Abu Ibrahim Isma'il ibn Ahmad ابو ابراہیم اسماعیل بن احمد 892-907
Ahmad ibn Isma'il احمد بن اسماعیل 907 - 914
Nasr II ابوالحسن نصر بن احمد 914 - 943
Nuh ibn Nasr نوح بن نصر 943 - 954
Abd al-Malik ibn Nuh I عبدالملک بن نوح 954–961
Abu Salih Mansur ibn Nuh I ابو صالح منصور بن نوح 961–976
Nuh ibn Mansur‏ نوح بن منصور 976–997
Abu'l-Harith Mansur ibn Nuh II ابو الحارث منصور بن نوح 997 - 999
Abd al-Malik ibn Nuh II عبدالمالک بن نوح 997 - 999
Isma'il Muntasir ibn Nuh II اسماعیل منتصر بن نوح 997 - 999

Tags:Abbasid, Abbasid Caliphate, Achaemenid, Achaemenid Empire, Afghanistan, Arab, Arabic, Asia, Avicenna, Bactria, Baghdad, Bal'ami, Balkh, Bukhara, Caliphate, Capital, Caspian, Communism, Dynasty, Elamite, Ferdowsi, Ferghana, Gorgan, Greater Iran, Greater Khorasan, Greco, Herat, Hotaki, Ilkhanate, Indus, Iran, Isfahan, Islam, Islamic, Islamic Republic, Islamic art, Ismail Samani, Ismaili, Jalayerid, Kabul, Kandahar, Kazakhstan, Kerman, Khan, Khorasan, Kyrgyzstan, Mamun, Margiana, Medes, Mughal, Muslim, Muzaffarid, Nestorian, Oxus, Pakistan, Parthian, Parthian Empire, Persian, Proto-Elamite, Qajar, Qazvin, Rashidun, Ray, Safavid, Saffarid, Samani, Samanid, Samarkand, Sassanid, Seleucid, Shahi, Shiism, Sistan, Soviet, Soviet Union, Stalin, Sultan, Sunni, Tahirid, Tajikistan, Timurid, Transoxiana, Turkmenistan, Umayyad, Uzbekistan, Wikipedia, Zand, Zand Dynasty, Zaydid, Zoroastrian

See Also:Samanian Dynasty

See All 3 items matching Samanid in Media Gallery

The statue of Mansour Hallaj in Shiraz wax Museum Samanid era Sufi poet and preacher fell at odds with mainstream clerics soon after he started asking for reforms. His famous verse means with my death, I'll revive.
Qanun of Medicine : Samanid scientist Avicenna operating on a woman, operation tools are displayed top-left. His Canon of Medicine was long a standard work in the field.
Hamedan: A statue of Abu Ali Sina (Avicenna), the great Iranian philosopher and scientist who is known as the father of modern medicine with his famous book Qanun which introduced scientific medical approaches. His statue stands in front of his mausoleum.
Related History Articles:

Add definition or comments on Samanid

Your Name / Alias:
Definition / Comments
neutral points of view
Source / SEO Backlink:
Anti-Spam Check
Enter text above
Upon approval, your definition will be listed under: Samanid

Happy Shahrivargan 1393

Home About us / Contact    Products    Services    Iranian History Today    Top Iran Links    Iranian B2B Web Directory    Historical Glossary
Copyright @ 2004-2013 All Rights Iranian