Here we detail about the top 8 Dynasties in the history of central Asia.
They are: 1. Dynasty of Hunnish Kings 2. Turkish Dynasties 3. The Turkish Ashena Dynasty 4. The Kshahrat Dynasty 5. Abbasi Dynasty (749-818) 6. Abbasi Dynasty (749-818) 7. Khitan Dynasty 8. The Ghaznavi Dynasty
Dynasty # 1. Dynasty of Hunnish Kings:
(i) Tumun Shanyu (250 B.C.):
It was just as China was being united under the Chin Dynasty that the Huns too were becoming united. The first king of the Huns, Shanyu Tumun, took full advantage of the anarchy that followed the death of the Chinese Emperor and in a manner worthy of his great descendant, Chengiz Khan, who was to come a thousand years hence, he plundered Aurdus and other provinces and made Aurdus his pasture land once more.
Coming down from the north the Huns again became neighbours of the Yuchis who were living in western Kansu. Tumun had great influence over the Hun people, but the greatest Shanyu among the Huns was his son Maudun under the influence of his younger wife, Maudun’s father tried to deprive Maudun of his heritage and to make his younger son the ruler. In order to get rid of Maudun he kept him as a hostage with the Yuchis and then attacked them, his object being to provoke the Yuchis to killing his son.
But Maudun managed to escape on a swift horse. His father tried to placate him by making him a chieftain over ten thousand but Maudun was not one to forget his father’s crime so easily. It is said that Maudun was the inventor of the singing arrow. He was an expert in its use and he took his revenge by making his father the target of his arrow.
(ii) Maudun (183 B.C.):
As soon as he became Shanyu, Maudun murdered the whole of his father’s family, keeping only one of his father’s wives for himself. At this time not only the Chinese and the Yuchis but even the ancient Tungus (Tung Hu, Hwan ) had also organised their tribes and it was with them that the Huns began to fight. A fierce battle took place between them on the sands of the Gobi desert and Maudun inflicted a severe defeat on them. Many of the Tungus were forced thereafter to become slaves, but some of them succeeded in escaping to the North-East where they gathered strength and again became a menace to the Huns.
Maudun was not only an able general, he also showed great ability in organising and administering the tribe. He defeated three of his rival tribes and made the Huns a great power. Maudun can in fact be considered as great a conqueror as Cyrus, Darius and Alexander. He defeated the Tungus and having thus secured himself against attack from the North he turned his attention to the Yuchis.
The Yuchis were also brave warriors and like the Huns they could shoot their arrows from horseback. It is quite possible that it was from the ancestors of this Scythian tribe that the Huns learnt the arts of war and the use of weapons. For a long time the Yuchis resisted the Huns, but in the end (176 or 174 B. C. ) they were forced to accept defeat and to leave their ancestral homelands of Kokonor and Lobnor.
Writing to the Chinese Emperor Venti ( 169-56 B.C. ) Maudun said, “I have united all the Tatar tribes who can bend the bow on horseback into one kingdom. I have destroyed the Yuchis and the Turbugtais, Lobnor and twenty-six kingdoms surrounding it are under my control. If you do not want that the Hung-Nu (Huns) should cross the Great Wall you should not allow the Chinese to come near the Wall. See also that my messenger returns safely and is not kept as a captive.”
(a) Administration etc:
Maudun’s kingdom extended from Korea in the East to Balkash in the West and from Baikal in the North to the Kwinlun Mountains in the South. During his father’s rule the Hun Kingdom was confined to his own tribe and the Huns contented themselves with occasional plundering raids into China in the South. But the old system was no longer suited to the vast kingdom that now existed and so Maudun had to establish a new one.
It has to be remembered that Hun society was patriarchal and that feudalism had not as yet spread amongst them. Whereas in China the peasants were no more than serfs or slaves and their children were the moveable chattels of the Chinese lords.
The pattern of Hun society was as follows:
The Hunnish form of the Chinese word for Shanyu (King) was Jengi. It is probable that it was from this that the word Chengis was derived. The complete title of the King was “Tengri-Kudu-Shan-Yu” (great son of God). To this day the word for God in the Mongol and Turkish languages is Tengri. Shanyu, the Hunnish King, was a leader and warrior with great influence, but he was under the control of the Aurdu or tribe.
This means the Holy One or the Just One. Under the Shanyu there were two Dugis—one of whom was called the Eastern and the other the Western Dugi. The Eastern Dugi was considered to be higher in status and was ordinarily regarded as the heir-apparent. Over the eastern part of the kingdom, the Eastern Dugi ruled and over the Western part the Western Dugi. Over the central part, that is the land where the Huns dwelt, the Shanyu himself ruled directly.
(iii) Rukle ( Kutlu ):
They too were two in number—Right and Left, of whom the status of the left Rukle was higher.
(iv) Under them were two generals:
Right and Left.
(v) Under them again were two ministers:
Further, as with the Right and left Kunlus, there were twenty-four persons with authority over one to ten thousand. In the Hun administration there were no distinctions between the rights of soldiers and civilians.
Apart from this the titles of the Huns were based on Horns which were probably sometimes used as decorations. Both the Dugis and both the Rukles were called “Four Horned“. Below them were the six-horned authorities. Both the Kutlus looked to the administration. The Dugis and twenty-four other leading officers had demarcated regions within which they could move about with their men and their cattle. They had the right to appoint officers over a thousand, a hundred or ten persons.
The queen of the Shanyus was called In Chi (Yen Chi ). She was chosen from amongst the three or four distinguished families. The family of the Shanyu was considered to be of a very high status. The divisions and titles created by the Huns were in use till the time of the Mongols and Turks. Timur also adopted the system of appointing officers over ten thousand, five thousand, one thousand and so on and this came to India in due course with his descendant, Babar.
(b) The New Year Festival:
This was the greatest national festival of the Huns which the Shanyu observed with immense pomp and splendour. Sacrifices were made at this time to the ancestors, to the gods, to Earth and to the spirits. There was another festival in the autumn at which horse-racing, camel fights and numerous other games were organised for the amusement of the soldiers and citizens and at the same time a census of the tribe was taken and taxes were levied on animals and wealth.
Crimes were few amongst the Huns and punishment was swift. It was meted out at the time of the two great festivals. Among the punishments were the death penalty and breaking of the knees. Crimes against property were punished by making the persons slaves of the whole tribe.
The New Year and Autumn Festivals were great political and religious assemblies and apart from organising these the Shanyu had to perform certain religious duties every day. In the morning he salutated the Sun and in the evening the Moon. Like the Chinese the Huns considered the left and the right directions auspicious. In an assembly the Shanyu always faced north while the Chinese Emperor always faced south.
Great importance was given to the phases of the Moon. For the opening of a military campaign the bright part of the Moon was considered auspicious and for returning the dark part. He who captured booty from the enemy was considered its rightful owner. To be able to cut off the head of the enemy was considered an act of the greatest heroism.
It seems that the Scythians also exercised an influence over the Huns, who, like the former, buried their dead together with all their valuables, but in their case no mound was built or tree planted over the grave nor was death an occasion for great mourning.
The Huns were not only cattle breeders but great warriors. Plunder amounted almost to a profession with them. One of their favourite tactics in battle was to pretend to be defeated and to simulate flight. After leading the enemy away in this manner hidden bands of trained soldiers would attack them from the rear. Maudun once trapped as many as three hundred and twenty thousand Chinese soldiers in this way.
The Chinese Emperor had reached a strongly fortified area a mile away from the modern Shensi but the greater part of his army was still far behind. Maudun, with three hundred thousand chosen soldiers, fell upon the Chinese; the Emperor was surrounded and remained so for seven days. It was with great difficulty that the Chinese forces were able to extricate their Emperor from the ring and they were obliged to submit to humiliating terms.
One of the corners of the ring thrown by Maudun had been weak and it was through this that the Chinese Emperor fled with his army. Maudun did not pursue them, but the Chinese were forced to give one of their Princesses, silk, valuable metals, jewels, rice, wines and other foodstuffs in exchange.
This marked the beginning of what later became a regular practice, namely, the marrying of Chinese princesses to powerful nomad kings. The Chinese calculated that the son of the princess would be partial towards his mother’s kinsmen.
After the death of the Chinese Emperor, Hung Ti, his widowed queen, Ki Tu, placed her son Y en11 on the throne and for twelve years ruled the kingdom herself on his behalf. Hunnish society, being patriarchal, had certain advantages over the Chinese, and thus caused many Chinese to flee to the Hun kingdom for shelter.
Persuaded by a flatterer from amongst these Chinese, Maudun sent a messenger to the Queen asking for her hand and heart. Some of her courtiers tried to incite her to offer battle in reply but others who were wiser counselled, “The children still sing songs of the flight of the Emperor“. The Queen therefore sent the conciliatory answer: “My teeth and hair, most respected King, are not worthy of your love“, and with this she sent two royal chariots as well as some fine horses and other presents. Maudun felt somewhat ashamed of himself and sending many Hunnish horses in return asked for pardon. Maudun reigned for a long time (36 years).
(iii) Chi Yu (Kuyuk 172 B. C.):
He was the son of Maudun whom the Chinese writers have called Lao Shan Shanyu. The Chinese Emperor sent a Chinese princess for the Shanyu and with her came a eunuch who soon became a great favourite with him, but under the influence of the Chinese princesses and the Chinese presents the Huns became ease-loving.
The eunuch disapproved of this and he exhorted the Huns: “Your entire tribe hardly numbers as many as the inhabitants of a few Chinese districts, yet you have been able to extend your sway over the Chinese. The secret of this has been your independence of China for your needs. But I find that day by day you are becoming greater lovers of Chinese goods. Remember that a fifth part of the wealth of China is enough to buy up all your men. Satin and silk are not as suitable for the rough life of your country as are wool and felt. Chinese spices and food that decay quickly are not as suitable for you as cheese and Kumish.”
He kept on warning them constantly in this way; and the letter he made them send in reply to the Chinese was not only a lengthy ultimatum, but it contained a long title for the Shanyu, “Great Shanyu of the Huns, Son of the Earth, equal to the Sun and the Moon etc.”
There came a day when the Chinese ambassador cast aspersions on the treatment accorded to the old by the Huns. In reply to this Chi Yu wrote: “When the Chinese go to battle do I not see the relatives of the soldiers forgoing so many things for the army? Among the Huns war is a profession. The old and the invalid cannot go to battle and so the best food is given to the warrior.”
“But sons and fathers sleep in the same tent. Sons marry their stepmothers. A brother shows no respect for his brothers’ wives,” taunted the Chinese.
To this he replied, “The Huns eat the flesh of their cattle and drink their milk. From season to season they roam from pasture to pasture with their animals. Their administration is simple. The relations between the rulers and their subjects are just and lasting. It is true that the son or the brother takes over the wives of his father or brothers, but the reason for this is the desire to safeguard the family. According to Chinese custom this may be a sin but it serves the interests of the family and the dynasty.”
He went on to say, “But in China, although the son and the brother may appear to refrain from such sinful behaviour, the result is rebellion, enmity and the destruction of the family. In your society the customs and laws are so degrading that they set up one class against another, make one man the slave of another. For food and clothing, you have to till the soil and tend the silk-worm. For your safety you have to build fortified towns. When the crisis comes, not one of you knows how to fight, and in times of peace you have to live by the sweat of your brow. Do not talk to me of the virtues of your sham society!”
Finally he added, “Chinese ambassador! You should talk less and confine yourself to seeing that the best quality silk and in full measure is sent to us; that rice, wine and other annual tributes come regularly. If the tribute is satisfying, it is useless to talk. As for us, we do not talk at all. If it is not satisfying, we shall plunder your territories.”
After ruling for seven years Chi Yu found it necessary to attack the Chinese. With 140,000 soldiers he went right up to the present ShyenFu and took a large number of men, animals and a considerable amount of wealth as booty. Meanwhile the Chinese busied themselves with preparations for war but were not ready by the time Chi Yu had finished his work. Panic reigned for many years and finally a treaty was signed on the terms that all territory north of the Great Wall belonged to the bowmen (Huns) and that to the south of it, to the people with caps and sashes (Chinese).
Dynasty # 2. Turkish Dynasties:
By the sixth century A. D., the Turkish Empire had spread from the Altai mountains to the Pacific Ocean and the Black Sea. The hub of the Western Turkish Empire was the old Wu-sun land, the Saptanada, which included Central Asia. The Trade route from China to the West traversed their kingdom. Passing Tashkend, Aliya-Ata and the Chu River in Saptanada, it then followed the southern banks of the Issikul and the Vedel Dande till it came to the Oxus (Terim valley).
This was the route followed by Sven-Chang in his travels from Central Asia to the Oxus. At that time the Chu valley was mainly agricultural land and was inhabited by the Sogdhians, who came from Khojend. Before the arrival of Sven-Chang the entire region from the Oxus to the Chu valley had the same culture, language, script, religion, robes, ornaments, customs and manners.
They used thirty-two alphabets derived from the Suriyani script and, like that of the Mongols, it was written in vertical columns. The Sogdhians were farmers, as well as traders. They followed the Mani religion. Their main trading centre, Suiyan town, was situated on the banks of the Sui river, south of the Kestak and Dande and up to the seventh century Suiyan was inhabited by large number of foreign traders. There were other towns, too, south of Suiyan, which had accepted Turkish over-lordship. It was near Suiyan that, later on, the tribe of the western Khan was to settle.
Isi Gi or Is Te, was the son of Tu Min, the first member of the dynasty, but the Turkish nomads followed the democratic procedure in choosing a successor. Isi Gi did not continue very long, as Ki Gin, who was the younger brother of Tu Min, assumed the title of Mu-Yu-Khan and became the ruler. The descendants of Isi-Gi later succeeded in establishing the Western Turkish dynasty.
Mu-Yu-Khan did much to strengthen the Turkish Empire, but the Turkish nobles gradually grew accustomed to a life of ease and luxury. Like their Hun ancestors they raided and plundered the Chinese borders, while China continued to appease them by sending gifts and giving Chinese princesses in marriage to Turkish nobles.
Dynasty # 3. The Turkish Ashena Dynasty:
We may gain an idea of the depths to which the Turks of this period had sunk from the following stone inscriptions:
“After Tu Min his brothers Mu Yu and To Ba succeeded as Khans and later his sons came to the throne. Among the Turks one brother fought against another, the son intrigued against the father. The Khans were generally stupid and cowardly and were looked upon with suspicion by the people. In such a situation it was easy for the Chinese to incite the people against the Khans and to divide their forces. The Turks were thus responsible for their own ruin which ultimately forced them to a status of slavery under the Chinese.”
The inscriptions go on to lament the fate of the Turks and to deplore the fact that in spite of the great sacrifices made by the Turkish people they had sunk so low.
Il Te Res or Gu Du Lu Khan (682 – 93 A. D.), was an Ashenian Prince. Distantly related to the Li and one of his important chieftains, he took advantage of the discontent prevailing among the Turks. While the people had their grievances against the Chinese, they had lost all confidence in the Khans of the To Ba dynasty. Using bribery and intrigue as his weapons II Te Res succeeded in placing himself at the head of a number of Turkish tribes.
Then he organised many successful raids and was able to amass huge wealth. He soon proclaimed himself Khan and distributed titles to his brothers. He himself was called Gu Du Lu Khan. Finding that his growing strength was becoming a source of danger, the Empress Wu sent an army against him but it was defeated by the Khan. He then turned his attention to the Western Turks who lived in the Sujia, Ili and Issikul valleys and while engaged in war against them he met his death.
At that time the capital of the Western Turks, Ju Ju, was situated on the banks of the Chu River. Ton Yu Kuk, one of the trusted advisers of Gu Du Lu dreamed of restoring the old glories of the Turks. The Chinese had released him in the hope that he would. Work against the Turks, but Ton Yu Kuk decided to throw in his lot with Gu Du Lu, though with the Khan’s death his influence waned.
Dynasty # 4. The Kshahrat Dynasty:
It is difficult to ascertain the exact relationship between the Yuchis of Bactria and the Kshahrats of India. It is possible that different tribes ruled over different parts of the territory. From coins, so far discovered it appears that prior to the arrival of these Bactrian Yuchis some other Yuchis came over to India. The earlier Yuchis, led by Mog, had their capital in Taxila, while the Bactrian Yuchis were in Bamiyan. Mog, Ipan and Rajubul, who ruled over various parts of the Yuchi Empire, were all of Kshahrat origin, hence it would be correct to describe the branch of the Scythians who came to India as being under the rule of the Kshahrat dynasty.
The first Scythian ruler in India about whom something is known, was Mog. There were a number of satraps under him in Ujjain and Mathura belonging to the same family. Mog also annexed Taxila to his kingdom. His earlier coins bore the inscription ‘King Mog’, but he seems later to have copied the Greek inscriptions and issued coins bearing the words “Rajati Rajas Mahatos Mous” i.e. “The king of Kings, Great Mog“. Mog was able to extend his empire right up to the Jhelum. Beyond that the descendants of Menander, Strat I and II and others were ruling and parts of the Punjab were under them.
After the emergence of the powerful kingdom of Mog in the west a number of independent republics between the Ravi and the Jamuna which had been suppressed by Menander, came to life again. Mathura was conquered by Mog and Rajubul became the main satrap of this region. When the Scythian Empire began to break up after the death of Mog, Rajubul set himself up as an independent King. Before him the Satrap Hogan had ruled over the area. Rajubul was succeeded by Sodas, who continued to rule till 10 B.C.
The coins issued by Mog bore the inscriptions “Bsaileus Mous“. They also bore the name of Hermeus the Greek Bactrian king of Kabul (Kapisha ) who was very likely later defeated by Mog.
It is difficult to get an exact picture of the situation in Central Asia at that time. In India the Scythians were later to be replaced by the Parthians, though the latter could not grow very strong in Bactria. From the 3rd to the 7th century A. D., the Sasani (Ira main ) dynasty ruled over the area and as a result of years of domination the Parthians had become so much a part of the people and had won such a place in the life of the country that the Sasanians continued to honour the Parthian nobles/especially those descendents of Soren, the Parthian general who lived near Tehran.
Not satisfied with driving the Yuchis out of Iran, the Parthians watched their growth in India with jealous eyes. The nomadic Yuchis had adopted many of the customs of the Iranians, including their title of Satrap. After Mog the Parthians ruled over North-Western India for about a quarter of a century.
Dynasty # 5. Umeyya Dynasty:
Ali was succeeded by the following thirteen Caliphs of the Umeyya dynasty:
(i) Mvavia I, 661-680.
(ii) Yazdi I 680-683.
(iii) Mvavia II, 683
(iv) Abdul Malik, 683-705.
(v) Valid I, 705-714.
(vi) Sulaiman, 714-717.
(vii) Omar II, 717-720.
(viii) Yazdi II 720-723.
(ix) Hisham, 723-742.
(x) Valid II, 742.
(xi) Yazdi III.
(xiii) Mervan II, 749.
Until the time of Mervan Mvavia I, the Arabs had not been able to consolidate their hold over Eastern Iran. In 662, Abdulla, the son of Emir succeeded in conquering Khurasan and was made Governor of that province.
After the conquest of Iran, the Arabs seized Khurasan, Balakh and Merv, but the Governors were frequently changed because the successes were short-lived. During the reign of Mvavia, a number of Governors were sent to Central Asia. They were Abdulla, the conqueror of Khurasan; Kais, the son of Hasan; Abdulla son of Khazim; Ziad who was Governor for two years and considered by the Caliph to be his brother; Hakim, who after becoming Governor of Khurasan, attacked Tukharistan and brought under his sway the area south-west of Balakh up to the Hindu Kush.
He was the first general to have been able to cross the Vakhshu, although he was not able to retain his hold over that region. He died in Merv and until the next Governor was appointed, Khulaid administered the area.
In 670, Rabi, the son of Ziad, became the new Governor. As a result of years of Arab rule many Arab families had settled in Khurasan and thus recruits for the army were always ready to hand. Arab soldiers preferred the comforts of the newly-conquered regions to the stern life of the Arabian deserts. Rabi fought against the Turks as well and raided the areas across the Vakhshu.
In 673, Rabi and his lieutenant died. In the Eastern Provinces the lieutenant governors appointed by the Caliph elected the Governor. Abdulla, the son of Rabi, was able to govern for no more than two years.
His son, Khulaid Hanfi, made his son in his turn the lieutenant governor of Pupha, Balakh and Khurasan, but Abdulla deposed Khulaid and proclaimed himself the governor. Before saying anything more about him we shall give a few facts regarding the influence of Islam over the people of the conquered territories.
While the Arabs used the sword to destroy the might of the enemy, Islam was their weapon to unite the vanquished and victors. It was natural for the oppressed and downtrodden classes of Iran to be attracted towards Islam because the Iranian religion, like that of the Hindus, practised untouchability.
Although the Arabs did not accord exactly the same treatment to non-Arab as to the Arab Muslims, the status of the conquered Muslim was far above than that of the non-Muslims of the highest caste among the conquered people.
During the period of the Arab conquests the peasants or landholders were the masters of the village and it was from them that the king’s bodyguards were recruited. The official religion of the Iranian people was Zorastrianism but in Khurasan and other far-off towns there was no official religion and Buddhists, Nestorians and Jews were all to be found in them. The followers of Mazd, who had been expelled from the Zorastrian fold, also took shelter in the outlying provinces where the influence of the official religion was not so strong.
Owing to the trade with China, many wealthy merchants lived in the commercial cities of central Asia. They were not just ordinary merchants, but owners of vast estates and fortified castles.
Although Sogdhia, Fargana and Tukharistan, were peopled by settlers and not by nomads, they valued courage very highly because they had to face the constant incursions of the barbarian nomads from the North. In Samarkand, there was a custom amongst them of keeping food and wine on a pedestal, and he who ate the food and drank the wine was considered to have offered a challenge to all adversaries.
The winner in the contest that ensued was declared the champion for the year. An Arab historian writing in 539 stated, “In arts and craft the Chinese are foremost, in philosophy the Greeks, in administration the Sasanis and in battle the Turks.”
Like the Rajputs of our country the rulers and chieftains of Central Asia, whether Turk or non-Turk, cared little for death. War was for them a sport. But owing to quarrels among themselves they often sided with the Arabs against one another. The Caliph Omar had made it a rule not to allow non-Muslims to wield arms because he could not trust them.
The Arabs were never content with political conquest, but always tried to impose their religion on the conquered peoples. The Hephtals, Scythians and Greeks who had come into Central Asia at an earlier time had tried to compromise with existing religious practices and to absorb the local Deities into their own religion.
But the Arabs had united under the banner of Islam and their campaign of conquest took on the character of a religious war, so that it was religious fanaticism that gave courage to their soldiers.
Hence there was no question in their case of any compromise with existing religions.
But Omar’s behests that “infidels” should not be permitted to hold arms under them were not heeded to in the time of the Caliph Umeyya and his governor Kutaib.
The Arabs preferred to raid and plunder a country repeatedly rather than to establish permanent control over it. Khurasan and Balakh were their main centres of operation.
The historian Tabri narrates that the rulers of numerous small kingdoms of Central Asia, would, whenever threatened by Arab raids, unite and pledge themselves to fight together against the common enemy. But unfortunately the pledge was constantly being broken. Naturally it was not possible for them to stand up to the Arabs single-handed.
Ubaidulla had collected a large army in Iraq (Mesopotamia). Crossing the Vakhshu, he reached the mountains of Bokhara and leading the assault in person -on the back of a camel, he raided Ramtin and Baikund.
The Princess of Bokhara, not daring to face the Arabs, fled to Samarkand, leaving behind in her haste a sandal valued at two lakh dirhams (1 dirhams – 25 grs. of silver ) and ultimately the Princess was forced to agree to pay an annual tribute to the Arabs. The Caliph rewarded Ubaidulla by making him the governor of Basra, but he died soon after.
Syed, the son of Osman, who became the next governor, raided Bokhara in violation of a treaty which he had singned earlier. The Princess had spent all her wealth in the struggle against Ubaidulla and she now had to hand over the city to the Arabs. Samarkand continued however to remain independent.
It was a city that had been established by many wealthy nobles and as a pledge of good behaviour eighty nobles were sent as hostages to Syed, but even he did not spare Samarkand and in the end that city too fell into his hands together with thirty thousand slaves and untold wealth.
The Queen of Samarkand asked for the return of the eighty nobles who were handed over to him as hostages and he promised to send them back across the river, but the nobles were shorn of their insignia and turned into common slaves. Preferring death to this life of ignominy, these eighty slaves slew the treacherous Syed and committed sucide.
After the murder of Syed, Salim, the son of Ziad, was made Governor of Khurasan. At this time a revolt had started in Sogdhia. After the treachery of Syed no one trusted the Arabs. Salim felt it necessary to crush the revolt and, making Merv his headquarters, he crossed the Amu Darya with 6000 spldiers and attacked Bokhara. The Queen of Bokhara offered to marry the Gorak, the Governor of Tarkhan, in return for his help.
Gorak arrived with a large force and wiped out most of the advance guard of the Arab army, but in the clash with the main Arab forces the Turks suffered a severe defeat. Enormous wealth came into the hands of Salim and every Arab soldier received a large sum as prize money.
He spared the Queen of Bokhara and in the two years of his rule he became extremely popular among the local converts. It is reported that some 2000 children born during his governorship were named after him.
Dynasty # 6. Abbasi Dynasty (749-818):
(i) Caliph Saffah Abul Abbas (750-754):
Mohammed Abhasi had used Abu Muslim as a tool to gain his objectives. Thus, with the help of Abu Muslim, the Hashim family was able to fulfil its age-old ambition, but on the eve of victory Mohammed Abbasi died. His younger son became the Caliph, assuming the name of Saffah (the bloody). It is not known why he chose to take this peculiar name. The Abbasi family had their headquarters in Kupha, while the Umeyya family had theirs in Damascus. Although the Persian language had gradually become extinct in Iraq, it was one of the capitals of Iran until the time of the Akhmani rulers.
The Selukans also established one of their capitals there, naming it Selukia. The Parthians also maintained a political centre in this place, as that helped them to operate against their rivals, the Romans. The Abbasis had their capital in Kupha, but it was shifted later to Baghdad.
For three centuries after the Muslim conquest during the period of the Umeyya and Abbasi dynasties, the official and court language of Iran was Arabic and it continued to be so until the pure Iranian dynasties Tahiri (818-832), Saffari (861-900) and Samani (892-896) revived the spirit of Iranian nationalism.
As soon as he was proclaimed Caliph, Abul Abbas gave orders for a general massacre of the Umeyya family. The followers of the Ali family had not forgotten the martyrs of Karbala. The cry went round (Kill! Kill! Kill!). In Mecca, Saffah’s uncle Daud and in Palestine, Abdulla hunted out and killed all descendants of the Umeyya family. On one occasion, Abdulla made a pretence of declaring an amnesty and invited seventy members of the Umeyya family to a feast. They fell into the trap and actually came and sat down to the meal.
At a given signal, Abdulla’s men fell upon them and they were murdered on the spot. Not content with killing the living members of the family, the Hashimites ordered the graves of the Umeyya Caliphs to be dug up and their bones crushed and scattered. After the initial victory had been won Syria was attacked and the Umeyya commander Huvair, surrendered in the town of Vasit.
In Khurasan too the hunt for individuals even remotely connected with the Umeyya family began, and this led to a series of revolts. The supporters of the Umeyya dynasty approached the Chinese Emperor Swen Chung (713-756) for help but the battles that were fought in Bokhara, Sogdhia and Fargana ended in their defeat at the hands of Ziad. With the establishment of the Abbasi kingdom another Iranian family came to the fore.
In Bactria there was a famous Buddhist monastery which had at one time been run by the Buddhist monks, but had later been handed over by one of the rulers of the monastery to his descendants, who came to be known as Parmaks. Later the “P” was changed into “B” as the Arabic script had no “P” sound. The Barmak family was converted to Islam, and for about half a century they were absolute in the vast kingdom of the Abbasi Caliph.
After the disintegration of the Western Turkish Empire, and at about this time, the Nomads succeeded in setting up a powerful kingdom of their own. They were encouraged by the Chinese, who did not like to see powerful rivals dominating Fargana and other cities on the silk route from China to the West. In 748, the Chinese forces reached Suyab, and the following year the ruler of Taskent was punished for not paying his feudal levies to the Emperor.
Chinese emissaries were sent to summon the ruler of Fargana too but he sought the support of the Arabs. By 751 Ziad defeated the Chinese forces, killing and capturing Chinese soldiers. This was in many respects a historic battle, because it decided whether Central Asia was to remain under Arab or Chinese control. Even after this defeat, the Chinese continued to help those who opposed the Arabs.
In the Terim valley the Arabs had come to terms with the Tibetans and as a result the Chinese forces could not concentrate all their strength in the Hi valley. Moreover, the Thang Emperor, Swan Chen was too much engrossed in his life of sensual pleasures to pay attention to Central Asia.
The expeditions against Khattal and Kush by Abu Daud, who had been appointed Governor of Balakh by Abu Muslim proved successful. Khattal Khudat fled to China, the ruler of Kush was killed and replaced by his brother.
The Abbasi Caliphate was founded with the help of Abu Muslim. Vambery writes in his History of Bokhara, “We take our hats off to Abu Muslim for his honesty. Within a surprisingly short period of time he succeeded in winning over all the Turks of Anturved and becoming so popular that to this day among the Uzbeks and Turkmenians legends are current describing the courage and wonderful deeds of Abu Muslim and comparing him to the great Caliph Ali.”
Complaints against Abu Muslim reached Baghdad and the Caliph was afraid that he might turn against him. In Samarkand, the Governor, Ziad, revolted against him at the instigation of the Caliph, but the outcome was exactly the opposite of what he had expected. Ziad was killed and the following year the Caliph also died. With the help of Abu Muslim Abul Jaffar, the neglected brother, succeeded to the Caliphate.
Abu Muslim was so popular that Ziad’s army sided with him. Ziad sought shelter in a village, but the peasants handed his head over to Abu Muslim. Nomani too tried to fight Muslim and ultimately paid with his life for his opposition. As for Abu Daud, Governor of Balakh, he went over to Abu Muslim,
(ii) Caliph Mansur (754-775):
Saffah had named his elder brother Abu Jaffar as his heir, but his uncle Abdulla was also an aspirant. Abu Muslim defeated Abdulla’s Syrian army with his Iranian forces and forced the latter to give up his claim. Although Mansur was indebted to Abu Muslim, he did not want to be a puppet in the hands of anyone. Abu Muslim realised this and tried to return to Khurasan.
The Caliph knew that the whole of Khurasan was behind Muslim, so he appointed him Governor of Syria and Egypt and called him for an interview at Maidun. Abu Muslim sent him the following reply; ‘A Sasanian King once stated that for a Minister the most dangerous period was when peace prevailed in the Kingdom…………. That is why I do not consider it very wise to be near you just now. But I shall remain a loyal subject. However, if I am not permitted to do so I shall be forced to abandon my loyalty.’
The Caliph wrote back:
‘I have understood your letter, but your circumstances are different from those of the evil ministers of the Sasanian rulers. A loyal and obedient minister like you need have no fear, even in times of peace. Although your concluding words leave room for doubt as to whether you fully accept my authority I hope you will return immediately with the messenger who carries this letter to you. May Allah save you from the evil influence of Safan who is trying to draw you into his clutches!’
Abu Muslim sent his final reply in these words; ‘I had a guide in you who came from the family of the prophet himself and from whom I expected to learn the precepts of Allah, but you led me astray and in the name of Allah you taught me to draw the sword and to banish all thoughts of mercy from my heart. I did all I could to make you the master. Now there is no course open for me other than to seek the mercy of Allah for my sins.’
Abu Muslim left for Khurasan. Mansur appointed Abu Daud as Governor and wrote to him that the Khurasanis had only remained loyal to Abu Muslim as long as he fought for the Abbasi dynasty. Now that he had become a rebel he deserved extreme penalty. Abu Daud showed the Caliph’s letter to the officers and men of the Khurasani army and they all accepted Abu Daud as their master.
Disappointed, Muslim agreed to serve the Caliph and left for Maidun, where he was murdered by assassins engaged by the Caliph. Thus ended the life of the great conqueror who had sacrificed six hundred thousand lives to establish the Abbasi Dynasty. He was then forty-five.
The Caliph now considered himself absolutely secure, but the followers of Abu Muslim soon went against him and began to support the Ali family. A revolt also took place in Khurasan and though it was suppressed, the rebels could not be entirely crushed. The Shiyas of Anturved and Iran soon began to regard Abu Muslim as a martyr and began to wear white clothes and use a white flag. They were accordingly known as the white- robed men.
Abu Daud tried his best to suppress them, but soon after these events he had a fall in the palace-yard which broke his back and as a result he died.
Abdul Jabbar was appointed the next Governor (757-758) and he executed Ansari the Arab Governor of Bokhara who was a supporter of the Shiyas. But this did not stop the revolt from spreading. The Caliph replaced Abdul Jabbar by his heir, Mehdi, who himself joined the rebellion.
Although the Abbasi Caliphs were Arabs, they were closely related by marriage and political ties with the Iranians, and this was why they always chose the Barmaks as their Chief Ministers. In spite of this the Iranian language did not get much encouragement. It was the Arab language that developed and flourished as a result of the translation of the Greek and Sanskrit Classics into Arabic.
The Umeyya dynasty had established their capital in Damascus, but as that city was largely under the influence of the Roman satraps, Mansur established a new capital in Baghdad.
The Abbasis tried their utmost to crush the Shias, who were followers of Ali and Abu Muslim. Claiming that they too belonged to the family of the Prophet, they tried to strengthen themselves, but the Arab tribes were not prepared to accept the descendents of Mohammed’s uncle, Abbas, in preference to those of his daughter, Fatima.
In 758, Mohammed and Ibrahim, the descendents of Imam Hasan revolted. Prior to this an Iranian sect, the Ravindis, had created serious disturbances and threatened the lives of the Caliphs. Thus there was discontent in Central Asia and Eastern Iran. North of Armenia, the Khazar Nomads were beginning to put considerable pressure, and the Caliph had to send his armies to Armenia to-ward them off. The Khazars were masters of the western shores of the Caspian, which had come to be known as the Bahira Khazar (Khozar Sea).
Mansur had also to contend against another Iranian sect, the Ustadsis. When the armies of this sect succeeded in defeating the Abbasi forces in Hirat, Sistan and other towns, the Caliph sent his commander-in-chief, Khazim, against them. Khazim succeeded in driving them into the mountains and there forced them to surrender.
Until Humaid, the son of the famous commander Kahatba, became the Governor of Khurasan, the Arabs had confined their conquest to the area west of the Hindu Kush mountains. Humaid also launched a crusade against Kabul. Although earlier, Sind and Multan had been included in the Caliphate by the Arabs, they did not dare attacking the Pathans (Pakhtoons). Humaid was determined to convert the whole of Kabul to Islam, but he did not meet with much success.
(iii) Caliph Mehdi (775-783):
When Mehdi, the son of Mansur, became the Caliph, Central Asia was already in the throes of strife and disturbance. He, therefore, appointed Abu Aun (775-76) as Governor in place of Humaid. Meanwhile, Mehdi himself was well aware of the situation in Khurasan. After the murder of Abu Muslim, the leadership of his followers was assumed by an illiterate person named Ishaq, who was also called Ali Turk because he had once been sent as an emissary to the Turks. Under Ishaq’s leadership the rebellion in Antarved had taken a serious turn.
He had proclaimed himself the living incarnation of Zoraster, so that he might establish his new religion among the Iranians. Although his revolt had been crushed, Abu Daud was killed by a member of this very sect. Abu Daud’s successor, Abdul Jabbar, had gone over to the rebels, but he was taken prisoner near Mervrud,
Dynasty # 7. Khitan Dynasty:
The founder of the Khitan dynasty was Apoki.The Khitans declared themselves independent of China and united themselves to settle in a region which they named Syang Lo Ko Muli, which means the two banks of the river. Each of their tribes had its own Chief. All the Chiefs joined together to elect a President who was given a bugle and flag as a symbol of his authority. This had also been the practice in the Syan Pi dynasty. In times of adversity the President could be removed from his post. The main occupation of the Khitans was horse breeding.
When the Shado Turkish dynasty replaced that of the Thangs in the 10th century, Apoki was the chief of the Khitan tribes and many Chinese had taken shelter with him in order to escape the political strife in China. Apoki built many towns in his territory, for unlike the other nomads, they had no aversion to a settled life. Finding that the Chinese had a very poor opinion of elective posts, Apoki decided to become a king. With selected followers, chosen from all the tribes, Apoki formed a special tribe of his own and modelled it as nearly as possible on the Chinese pattern. He also built a city in the Chinese style.
This was situated in an area that had plenty of cultivable land as well as salt and iron mines. He gave much facilities to Chinese traders and farmers so that they might cease to think of leaving his territory, but he imposed a tax on all those who took salt from it. On one occasion he organised a large celebration to which all the tribal chiefs were invited. Burying forever the custom of electing the President, he murdered all the tribal chiefs and proclaimed himself King.
Apoki was a very able and powerful ruler, but he was still formally a vassal of the Chinese Emperor. He decided to end this state of things and began to loot and plunder the territories between Jehol and Peking. In spite of opposition, he succeeded in reaching Peking.
There were many small tribes from which Apoki apprehended attack. One of this was the Botaskoi tribe, and he felt is necessary to crush them at the outset and it was in order to do this he maintained good relations with Shado. But after the death of Shado, when his son Mao Chi Li came to the throne and sent an emissary to him, Apoki cast his eyes and said: ‘How said! Your late Emperor and myself considered ourselves brothers. How is it that Mao Chi proclaimed himself the Emperor without consulting me?’
The emissary replied: ‘The new Emperor has been the commander-in-chief and has been in command of the army for twenty years. He has three hundred thousand trained soldiers under him. Who can dare oppose him.’
Apoki’s son was standing beside the emissary. He said: ‘Do not talk too much! Do you know the peasant saying that the cow that trespasses into another’s fields can be seized by the owner of the fields?
‘How dare you apply this to the Empepor who has been blessed by both man and God? When your own father threw overboard ancient traditions and poclaimed himself the Emperor, did anyone dare oppose him?” replied the emissary.
Apoki’s anger began to mount. “I can use Chinese“, he said “but I do not use a single Chinese word before my people lest they should learn to imitate the Chinese and become cowards like them. You would do well to return immediately and advise your master that I would like to meet him somewhere between Peking and Deng Ting Phu with two thousand men and that I shall sign a treaty with him there. If he will agree to hand over the plains of Peking to me I shall refrain from attacking him.’
Apoki attacked Botaskoi, seized their capital, renamed it “Purvi Tan” and made his son ruler of the city. Shortly after this Apoki died.
Apoki introduced a new script which resembled somewhat that of the Chinese. Certain inscriptions in this script have been found, but they have not yet been deciphered. Apoki’s tribesmen roamed with their cattle between Mongolia and Manchuria on the banks of the Taling river. It was there that hit capital Cutting was situated. The fifth Khitan Emperor built another capital 300 miles east of Mukden.
The Khitan rulers were very fond of hunting. Their hunting villas faced the east, because like the Indians the Khitans considered it auspicious to face in that direction. Instead of coins they used bales of silk and in their cities there were many silk factories. Buddhist monasteries were also built in large numbers. In addition, they had places of entertainment and houses of prostitution such as were to be found in the Chinese capital.
Houses for artisans, students and teachers were built along with Government offices.
Dynasty # 8. The Ghaznavi Dynasty:
(i) Subuk Tagin:
Subuk was an able administrator and a great soldier, and he contributed in large measure to the success of Alp Tagin. After the loss of Khurasan, it was Subuk Tagin who helped Alp in establishing a new kingdom in Ghazni. Even after the death of Alp Tagin, Subuk remained loyal to the Samanis, though power was fast slipping out of their hands.
(ii) Mahmud (997-1030):
Mahmud succeeded his father Subuk on the throne of Ghazni. After the death of the last of the Samani rulers, the Samani Empire was divided between the Karakhanis and the Ghaznavis, so that it was inevitable that rivalry would arise between the two dynasties. As neighbours, they realised that they had to come to terms with each other; they, therefore, negotiated a treaty under which the Vakhshu was accepted as the borderline between the two kingdoms.
Ilik Nasr gave his daughter in marriage to Mahmud in order to cement the alliance, but the treaty was soon violated by the Karakhanis. Nomads like the Karakhanis were not to be controlled, even by their own rulers.
While Mahmud was busy with his holy war against India, the Karakhanis sent two battalions to attack Khurasan, one led by Jafar Tagin and the other by Subasi Tagin. As soon as the news reached him Mahmud returned and both the Karakhani armies fled before him. When Ilik upbraided them, they said, “No one can stand before such weapons, such elephants and such armies”.
The next year Ilik himself took the field, and on the 4th of January 1008, a fierce battle was fought near the Sukhiyan bridge, twenty-four miles from Balakh. In this battle also the Karakhanis, not accustomed to the sight of Indian elephants, suffered defeat and lost thousands of their soldiers.
Another factor that lay behind the defeat of the Karakhanis, was the quarrel between Ilik and his brother. In the end, it was to Mahmud that they appealed for mediation, and he succeeded in patching up their quarrel. Ilik died in 1012.
(iii) Mahmud and Khwarezmshah:
After Mamun, his son, Abdul Hasan Ali, became the Khwarezmshah. After the defeat of Ilik at the hands of Mahmud, the Khwarezmshah became an ally of Mahmud Ghaznavi and married his sister. Later, when Hasan Ali was succeeded by his brother, Abul Abbas Mamun II, Mahmud gave another sister of his to him in marriage.
The friendship between Mamun and Mahmud did not last very long. The rift came when Mahmud signed a treaty with Ilik Khan and Tugan. This annoyed Mamun who refused to be a signatory to the treaty.
Mahmud decided to test his brother-in-law. He sent a messenger to him with the demand that he acknowledged his overlordship. This was resented by Mamun’s courtiers and hot words were exchanged between them and Mahmud’s emissary.
The Karakhanis tried their best to mediate the quarrel between the two and at last Mahmud allowed himself to be influenced by the persuasions of the Karakhani ambassador.
He wrote a letter to Mamun in which he told him that he had been waiting in Balakh with a huge army and would return to Ghazni only if the following terms were accepted:
1. His suzerainty should be acknowledged without equivocation.
2. Presents should be sent to him.
3. An unqualified apology should be offered in writing which should be carried by his nobles and Imams in person.
Khwarezmshah accepted all the conditions suggested, Mahmud’s name was proclaimed from the mosques of all the cities of Khurasan and nobles and priest were sent to him with valuable presents. But this surrender was not liked by Mamun’s subjects, who revolted under the leadership of Alp Tagin of Bokhara. The rebels set fire to the fortress and killed Mamun, whereupon his nephew, a seven-year-old child, was placed on the throne while real power was concentrated in the hands of Alp Tagin and his ministers.
Mahmud resolved to take stern measures against those who had kifled his brother-in-law, but only when his sister had been removed to safety. He, therefore, proceeded cautiously and sent an emissary with the innocent demand that his suzerainty be acknowledged and only the murderers be handed over to him. His emissary also suggested that Mahmud’s sister be returned to him as a placatory measure.
The inhabitants agreed to do so and were preparing to send presents to Mahmud in order that the treaty might be finalized when Mahmud, who had now got his sister back and was not prepared to let them off so lightly insisted on the surrender of the rebel leaders to him.
The Khwarezmians realised that there was now no escape from battle and they began to prepare for it. They tried to get the help of the Karakhanis, but they were too frightened of Mahmud to give any aid to Khwarezm.
The Khwarezmian army was routed and the rebel leaders, Alp Tagin arid Syed Tagin Khan, were taken prisoner and crushed to death as an example to those who dared shedding royal blood. The Khwarezmian army was driven in chains to Ghazni, where many were released to join the holy war against the ‘infidels’ in India.
The old Khwarezmian dynasty thus came to an end. Making his officer, Altuntash, Shah of Khwarezm, Mahmud founded a new dynasty.
The Karakhanis were none too happy to see the growing strength of Ghaznavi, but, embroiled as they were in internal quarrels they could do nothing to prevent it. Meanwhile, Mahmud’s trusted friend, Tugan Khan, succeeded in winning a decisive victory over an army of “infidels” from the East.
Tugan Khan and Ali Tagin were both sons of Tugan Khan I. Ali Tagin first went to Antarved during the reign of Ilik Nasr. Taking advantage of the weakness of the Karakhanis, Mahmud attacked them on the excuse that the people of the region had appealed to him to liberate them from the oppressive yoke of Ali Tagin.
When news of this reached Kadir Khan, the Chief Khan of the Karakhanis, he advanced from the east towards Samarkand. However, the two rulers met, exchanged presents and entered into friendly relations.
They decided to join hands in driving Ali Tagin out of Antarved and replacing him by Yugan Tagin, the second son of Kadir Khan. Mahmud’s daughter was given in marriage to Yugan Tagin, while Kadir Khan’s daughter was married to Mahmud’s second son, Mohammed whom Mahmud had marked as his heir.
But the plan could not be executed until Ali Tagin’s ally, the Turkmenian chief, Israel, had been tackled. He was arrested by a clever ruse, imprisoned in a fortress in the Punjab and his army destroyed. Ali Tagin had to flee to the desert and his wife, daughters, and all his property were seized by Mahmud.
Kadir Khan’s son, Yugan Tagin, approached his father-in-law, Mahmud, for help in occupying Antarved. Mahmud was more interested in his expedition to India however, and asked him to wait till his return.
Kadir Khan and his sons succeeded in taking Balasagun, but Ali Tagin continued to rule over Bokhara and Samarkand, while his brother, Tugan Khan, who had been driven out of Balasagun, made Aksikat his centre. Coins bearing his imprint have been recovered from Aksikat, but latter coins of this region bear the imprint of Kadir Khan which indicates that ultimately this place too fell into the latter’s hands.
In 1026, the Caliph sent a letter to Mahmud recognising his claim to all the territories conquered by him and conferring on him the title of ‘Ruler of the East’. The Caliph even accepted his demand that the Karakhanis be considered subordinate to him though they really enjoyed equal status.
On Tuesday, 30th of April, 1030, Mahmud breathed his last. During his lifetime, Muslim power had reached its zenith in the East. With his death the relations between the Karakhanis and Ghaznavis underwent a change.
Although Mahmud looted the wealth of India and the treasury of Ghazni overflowed with the spoils of his raids, the lot of the common man was miserable. The people received no share of the booty, yet they had to give their lives in the predatory raids he organised. He built beautiful gardens and huge monuments, but in order to maintain them such oppressive taxes were levied on the people that it was no wonder that they did not get any real pleasure from the festivities he occasionally organised in these gardens.
Mahmud’s zeal for religion was only a cover for the loot and plunder in which he was really interested. The religion of his courtiers also only served their selfish ends. They lived by flattering their ruler and continued to remain in his favour only so long as they carried out his dictates. His armies were composed of mercenaries, while he regarded the common people merely as a source of collecting taxes.
When the people resisted the Karakhanis, he disapproved of it and said that it was the duty of the people to pay taxes and bow to the rulers who happend to be strongest at the moment. Thus there was not a trace of democracy in his administration. He was a dictator pure and simple.
Arabic replaced Persian as the court language, because he did not approve of the people’s tongue being that of the official world.
In Mahmud’s kingdom the population was divided into two categories— the soldiers who were paid to serve, and the people whom the Sultan protected. Neither the soldier nor the ordinary subject dared going against the wishes of the Sultan and Mahmud’s secret agents watched even the movements of his own son.
Nizamulmulk tells a story of how on one occasion an officer got drunk at a party, and disregarding Mahmud’s advice decided to go home in that state. On his way home he was seized by the Turkish officer on duty and severely beaten. When he showed his weals to Mahmud, he was told: “This will teach you not to get drunk again“.
The Siyatnama describes another incident in Mahmud’s life. He was very ugly and on one occasion, when engaged in prayer, his eyes fell on the mirror. Just at this time his minister, Somsulkaffat Ahmed Hasan arrived and Mahmud said to him: “Do you know what I am thinking?”
“What, my lord?” asked the minister.
“I was thinking that I am so ugly that the people must dislike me. The people like a monarch who is good to look at.”
“My lord. I can tell you how to win the love and affection of your people.”
“If you spurn wealth and luxury the people will love you.”
Mahmud was highly impressed by the advice of his minister and it is said that after this he became generous and distributed his wealth amongst the people.
Mahmud was the first Muslim ruler to call himself Sultan.
Mahmud had made his son, Mohammed, the heir, but he was not able to rule very long for his brother Masood managed to wrest control of the kingdom from him in 1030. Masood inherited all his father’s vices and none of his virtues. He spent all his energies fighting against the Selzuks (Turkmenians) who had entrenched themselves in Antarved. But his subjects, who were groaning under his oppressive yoke, turned for help to Antarved, and it was the Selzuks who made use of this situation rather than the Karakhanis.
From a letter written by Khwarezmshah Altuntash to Masood, we can gain an idea of the actual relations between the Ghaznavis and the Karakhanis.
The Karakhanis, he wrote, “are not our friends. But we maintain good relations with them all the same, so that they may not incite others against us. Our real enemy is Ali Tagin, who has always hated us since the late Emir Mahmud drove his brother, Tugan Khan, out of Balasagun. Enemies can never become true friends, but it may be necessary to come to terms with them. At the same time we must maintain our armies in Balakh, Tukharistan, Swagnan, Termiz and Khuttal, because the enemy will always try to loot unprotected territory.”
Masood sent emissaries to Kadir Khan asking for the hand of his daughter for himself and his grand-daughter for his son. While negotiations were proceeding, Kadir Khan died and his elder son, Bogra Tagin, ascended the throne, assuming the title, Arsalan Khan. His second son, Yugan Tagin, assumed the title of Bogra Khan and began to rule over Talas and Isphajab.
Masood sent messengers to offer condolence on the death of their father and congratulations on their assuming the reins of power. The messengers returned with a bride for Masood and the marriage was celebrated with great pomp and splendour.
No agreement could be reached with Ali Tagin, the ruler of Antarved. Refusing to heed to the advice given by Altuntash, Masood tried to drive Ali Tagin out of Antarved. In the course of the Dattles that ensued, Altuntash also became involved and was severely wounded in the battle with Ali Tagin, who was aided by the Selzuks.
Altuntash’s minister tried his best to negotiate a settlement between Masood and Ali Tagin and was ultimately successful. Ali Tagin then returned to Samarkand, but Altuntash died on his way to his capital.
Masood’s attack opened the eyes of Ali Tagin to the necessity of unity amongst the Karakhanis. He agreed to accept Arsalan Khan as his sovereign, and coins bearing the imprint of Arsalan and Bogra Khan were issued in Samarkand.
After the death of Altuntash, his son, Haroun, became the Shah of Khwarezm.
By virtue of its geographical position, Khwarezm always managed to retain its independence. It is difficult to approach Khwarezm from Antarved, because of the Karokum desert that lies between. The approach from Merv is equally difficult on account of the Kizilkum desert. To the west and north of Khwarezm lie the equally impassable deserts of Kipchiak and Usturt. The only easy approach to the place is over the Vakhshu river, but this passes through terrain that can easily be defended by a handful of soldiers.
After the death of Altuntash, Masood made his son, Syed, the Shah of Khwarezm, and Haroun was allowed to remain only as a nominal ruler. Discontent was natural and it flared up further when news reached Khwarezm that Haroun’s brother had been killed at Masood’s court. Haroun decided to ally himself with Ali Tagin and the Selzuks and they launched a joint attack against Termiz. Masood’s commander in Termiz, Beg Tagin, was killed in the engagement.