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date: 11 December 2019

Ghaznavidlocked

  • Robert Hillenbrand

Extract

Islamic dynasty that ruled in Afghanistan, Transoxiana, eastern Iran and northern India from ad 977 to 1186. The founder was Sebüktigin (d 997), a Turkish slave employed by the Samanid dynasty, who eventually defied their authority and set up his own principality with its capital at Ghazna, now in Afghanistan. His son Mahmud (reg 998–1030) transformed this principality into a highly militarized empire. At first this expansion was achieved at the expense of the Samanid, Buyid and Qarakhanid dynasties, but Mahmud’s streamlined military machine also had a more ambitious target: 17 near-annual raids were launched between 1001 and 1024 against northern India, an ongoing holy war that made Mahmud’s name a byword for religious orthodoxy. It also brought vast booty and briefly made Ghazna a famous metropolis, with a fabulous mosque prinked out in gold, alabaster and marble, a university, madrasas, libraries, aqueducts and other public works. These campaigns also tilted Ghaznavid policies away from Iran, a weakness successfully exploited by the Saljuq dynasty at the battle of Dandanqan (...

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Encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden, 1954–)