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Buyid / Buwayhid / Daylamite - 932-1055

The Buyids emerged from the Caspian Sea area and established a series of loosely connected kingdoms throughout Persia and eastern Mesopotamia. There was a poor fisherman in the village of Dailam, on the Caspian, named Abu-'l-Buyah. His son collected an army, seized Isfahan in 933, was made Governor of Fars and 'Irak, and received from the Khalifah the title of Amiru-'1-Umar&, ' Chief of the Nobles.' Thus are dynasties formed in the East. The father, a poor fisherman, the son ruler of the principal part of Persia. The title of Amiru-'l-Umarfi. was equivalent to that of Maire du Palais in Merovingian France.

Buwayh, reputed to be a descendant of the ancient Kings of Persia, was the chief of a warlike clan of the Highlanders of Daylam, and like most of his countrymen had taken part in the frequent wars which disturbed the provinces bordering on the Caspian. Like them, also, he had transferred his services from the Samanids to the rising chieftain Mardawij the Ziyarid about 930 (318), and his eldest son 'Ali ('Imad-az-dawla) had been granted by Mardawij the government of Karaj.

'Ali, with the help of troops from Daylam and Gllan, soon extended his authority southwards, occupied Ispahan for a time, and annexed Arrajan 932 (320) and Nubandijan (321), whilst his brother Hasan (Bukn-al-dawla) drove the Arab garrison out of Kazirun. The two brothers then pushed on to the eastward, and joined by the third, Ahmad (Mu'izz-al-dawla), seized Shiraz (322).

The Caliph was forced to recognize them as his lieutenants, and when Mu'izz-al-dawla, working his way westward from Rinnan, and reducing the province of -Ahwaz (or Khuzistan), entered Baghdad itself in 945 (334), the Caliph -Mustakfi not only bestowed the honorific titles of 'Imad, Rukn, and Mu'izz aZ-dawla on the three brethren, but granted Mu'izz the rank and style of Amir-al- Omara, or Premier Noble, a dignity which was held by many subsequent members of the family. It is a mistake to say that they were ever given the title of Sultan, for they never styled themselves so on their coinage, but used the titles Amir and Malik. Their authority, nevertheless, was as absolute as any Sultan's in Baghdad, and the Caliphs were their abject puppets, though treated with outward homage, in spite of the Buwayhids' Shi'ite proclivities.

The brothers and their descendants divided Persia and Irak among themselves. In 977 Asadu-'d-Daulah, grandson of the fisherman, began to reign. He restored the sacred buildings at Kerbela, built hospitals for the poor at Baghdad, and made a famous dyke over the river Kur, near Persepolis, which (under the name of Band-Amir) still fertilizes the country. This great and good ruler died in 982, when his son and nephews contended for dominion. At length Majdu-'d-Daulah was taken prisoner by the famous Mahmud of Ghaznah; but the family retained the government of Shiraz some time longer, and the last died in the service of AlpArslan.

Division among the princes encouraged aggression, and the wide dominions of the Buwayhids fell piecemeal to the Ghaznawids, Kukwayhids, and Seljuks.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:45:33 ZULU