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Ziyarid Dynasty (928-1042)

The last Magian of name and power appears to be Mardavige the Dilemite [Mardawij, the Ziyarid], who, in the beginning of the 10th century, reigned in the northern provinces of Persia, near the Caspian Sea. But his soldiers and successors, the Bowides [Buwaihids], either professed or embraced the Mahometan faith; and under their dynasty (A.D. 933-1020 [932-1023 in Ispahan and Hamadhan; but till 1055 in Firs, in Irak and in Kirman.

The Ziyarid dynasty was founded by Mardawij b. Ziyar (928-935), whose successors were Zahir addaula (ud-daula, ed-dowleh] Abu Mantur Washmagir (935-967), Bistun (967-976), Shams al Ma'ali Qabus (976-1012), Fuhk itl Ma'ali Manushahr (1012-1029) Anushirwim (1029-1042). They were Alyite in religion. They were of progressively less importance under the Samanids, and were ultimately expelled by the Ghaznevids.

The southern shore of the Caspian had never been well affected to the Caliphate, and the followers of 'All had repeatedly established their heterodox power in these regions; nor were the Samanids more successful than the Caliphs in maintaining their authority there. Taking advantage of this, Mardawij b. Ziyar, descended from a long line of princes, made himself independent in Tabaristan and Jurjan, and even occupied Ispahan and Hamadhan, and pushed his forces as far as Hulwan, on the Mesopotamian frontier, between the years 928-931 (316-319). He was the patron of the Buwayhids, and gave 'All b. Buwayh his first appointment as governor of Karaj.

Mardawij held his dominions as titular vassal of the 'Abbasid Caliph: his brother and successor -Washmaglr paid nominal homage to the Samanids as well. After the rise of the Buwayhids in 932 (320), the authority of the Ziyarids scarcely extended beyond the borders of Jurjan and Tabaristan; and Kabus was even exiled for 18 years (371-389) by the Buwayhid Mu-ayyid-al-dawla. On his return, however, he recovered Gilan as well as his former provinces, in which his sons succeeded him, until dispossessed by the Ghaznawids.

The Ziyarid prince of Tabaristan, Qabils b. Washmgfr, entitled Shamsu,l-MaiAll ("the Sun of the Heights" reigned A.D. 976-1012) was important as a patron of letters, if not as a poet. To him al-Bi'runl dedicated his "Chronology of Ancient Nations " [al-Athari^l-b&qlya mina 1-^urhnPlAhdliya, edited and translated into English by Dr. Sachau), in the preface of which work he thus speaks of him (Sachau's translation, p. 2):- "How wonderfully hath He whose Name is to be exalted and extolled combined with the glory of his noble extraction* the graces of his generous character, with his valiant soul all laudable qualities, such as piety and righteousness, carefulness in defending and observing the rites of religion, justice and equity, humility and beneficence, firmness and determination, liberality and gentleness, the talent for ruling and governing, for managing and deciding, and other qualities which no fancy could comprehend and no mortal enumerate !"

No Persian work is more interesting or amusing to read than the book of moral precepts and rules of life composed in AD 1082 by Kei-Kaus, the grandson of Kabus, the Ziyarid prince. It deals in a charming and witty fashion with duty towards parents, age and youth, hunting, polo, marriage, education, the sciences of medicine, astrology and mathematics ; indeed, few subjects are ignored and we gain a real insight into the Oriental point of view, everything being analysed in the most simple language by a writer who anticipated the Polonius of Shakespeare and also the Badminton Library. Incidentally, some fifty anecdotes, many of historical value, enrich the work.1

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:45:43 ZULU