Historical Information on the Samanis!
The Abbasi, Asad Kasri, who was Governor from 723 to 736 helped Behram Chaubin to become the ruler of Saman. Behram became a convert to Islam and named his son Asad.
He had four sons, who played an important part in suppressing the revolt of Rafi. In appreciation of their services the Caliph directed Gussan, the Governor of Khurasan, to appoint the four sons, Nuh, Ahmed, Yahiya and Ilyas, Emirs of Samarkand, Fargana, Shash-Ausrushana and Hirat respectively. Gussan’s successor, Tahir retained all of them in their posts and later they founded the Samani dynasty.
1. Nasr (875-92),
2. Ismail (893-907),
3. Ahmed (907-14),
4. Nasr II (914-42),
5. Nuh (943-54),
6. Abdul Malik (954-61),
7. Nasr III (961),
8. Mansur (961-976),
9. Nuh II (976-97),
10. Mansur II (997-99),
11. Abdul Malik II (999),
12. Muntsir Nuh Nasr.
Muwaffak, the brother of the Caliph Motmid, appointed Nasr ruler over the whole of Antarved. Thus Nasr’s kingdom extended from the banks of the Vakhshu to the far east. It is not known exactly when he became independent of Khurasan.
In 874, Hussain marched from Khwarezm against Bokhara. After resisting for five days the inhabitants of the city surrendered on certain conditions. Hussain however, violated the terms of the agreement and the people rose in revolt. Hussain took shelter in the fort and under cover of night he fled leaving behind the treasure he had collected. This treasure was divided by the rebels among themselves and as a result many of the families of Bokhara became wealthy overnight. They did not succeed, however, in restoring peace and so they sought the aid of Nasr.
Nasr sent his brother, Ismail, to help them and he was able to subdue Khwarezm. Ismail became the Emir of Bokhara and proved himself an able administrator and a brave soldier by suppressing in merciless fashion the dacoits and criminals who had been disturbing the peace of Bokhara. As many as four thousand of these dacoits were killed between Ramatin and Paikund alone.
From the 25th of June, the writ of Nasr began to run in Bokhara replacing that of Yakub. But within a short time Ismail became unpopular because he broke his earlier promises to the people. The landless peasants, suffering from ruthless exploitation, were forced to take to a life of brigandage and even Nasr began to suspect loyalty of his brother.
In the end, to the great relief of the inhabitants of this region Nasr was forced to take action against Ismail. Nasr summoned his friend, Rafi, the ruler of Khurasan to his aid and the latter succeeded in restoring peace between the two brothers. Ishaq, another of Nasr’s brother, was appointed Emir of Bokhara, while Ismail was made the Revenue Collector of the region.
In 887, however, Nasr came to learn that both Ismail and Ishaq had begun to conspire against him and so he summoned his army from Fargana and attacked them. Ismail defeated Nasr in battle but treated him with honour and allowed him to return to Samarkand, where he continued to rule in peace till his death in August 892.
After the death of Nasr Ismail became the ruler of Antarved and Khwarezm but he maintained his capital in Bokhara. By this time, the Abbasi Caliphs had been reduced to the status of nominal rulers who were content distribute titles in exchange for gifts and the Caliph Motzid, duly sent letters appointing Ismail ruler of this region.
Ismail was a fanatical Muslim and he lost no time in launching a crusade against the infidels of the north. The Buddhists and Christians of Taraz put up a stout resistance, but ultimately succumbed to the superior force of Ismail and were obliged to accept Islam. Ismail converted the main Church of the city into a Mosque from which the name of the Caliph was proclaimed after the Namaz.
After looting riches from the city he returned to Bokhara. But the Saffar Emir Amr also had his eyes on Antarved. So Ismail was forced to send an army against him, which surrounded Balakh. Amr was taken prisoner and sent in chains to the Caliph who rewarded Ismail by making him Satrap of Khurasan, Turkestan, Antarved, Sindh and Jurzan.
During the reign of Ismail peace prevailed in the kingdom and separate Emirs were appointed for each town in this region. The war against the northern infidels was also continued.
Ismail not only brought peace to Bokhara but also prosperity. He took steps to beautify the town and many of his buildings of fine architecture still exist. For a long time Bokhara was the cultural centre of the East since it gave birth to many poets, philosophers and religious teachers.
Apart from Bokhara, his capital, Merv, Tehran, Neshpor, Amul,. Multan, Hirat and Balakh also became flourishing cities. Ismail died in 907.
His son Ahmed inherited a vast and well-administered empire, but he had to face growing threat from the Dailmi dynasty in the west which was making a bid to extend its rule over the whole country.
Ministers played quite an important role in the Samani Empire. Most of them were Turks, as were most of the army officers. It was probably due to their influence that Ahmed took the decision to replace Persian by Arabic, although Persian was the popular language as well as that of the court. This was one of the-factors that contributed to his growing unpopularity, which at last assumed such serious proportions that in 914 he was murdered by some of his own slaves.
Ahmed’s reign will be remembered in history because of the great Islamic scholar, Abdulla Bokhari, who lived in this period. His world Hadis-Jame- As-Sahib, is still regarded by Muslims all over the world as being authoritative and of great importance. The great Persian poet, Abul Hasan Rud also lived and wrote in this period.
Another great contemporary of them in the Islamic world was the philosopher, Pharabi (870-950). Before him, Islamic scholars had confined their efforts to translation, but now the Islamic world began to produce its own philosophers the greatest among whom being Pharabi. Just as Kindi was the philosopher of Baghdad, so was Pharabi that of Bokhara. His full name was Abu Nasr Alpharabi and he was born at a place called Vasiz, in the district of Pharab. His father, Mohammed, had been the keeper of a fortress and was probably of Turkish origin.
Pharabi was a man of independent ideas which he acquired from the various influences at work within the country. It has to be kept in mind that in spite of all the efforts of the Arabs and other Muslim rulers, Islam had not yet spread to the whole of Central Asia. Christianity, Buddhism and Nestorianism were still very much alive in these regions.
Pharabi received his education in such towns as Samarkand and Bokhara and was also for some time a disciple of the Christian scholar, John. Besides philosophy, Pharabi was well versed in mathematics, astrology, literature and medicine and he even wrote a treatise on Music. He is reported to have been a master of seventy languages.
Turkish was his mother tongue, but Persian was the language spoken in the land of his birth, while Arabic, being the language of Islam, was naturally mastered by him. Besides this he knew Suriyani, Itrani and Greek, as well as other languages.
Pharabi lived for many years in Baghdad and Aleppo, where he was a great favorite bf the ruler, Saifudaula. The Sufis, the Greek Sophists, and Buddhist monks, all had their influence on Pharabi. He died in Damascus at the age of eighty.
Any country would take pride in thinkers like Pharabi and Bu Ali Sina. Soviet Uzbekistan and Tazikistan are doing all they can to honour these great sons of theirs. Their works are being collected and research workers are writing commentaries on them. Many of their writings have been published, while modern Soviet poets have composed songs in praise of these noble sons of Central Asia.
Europe owes debt of gratitude to these Arab thinkers, because it is through them that Europe became acquainted with the thoughts of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, which led to the Great Renaissance. Pharabi’s contribution to the revival of Aristotle’s thought is invaluable.
The sequence and arrangement of his writings as made by Pharabi in the course of his research, are still followed throughout the world. Pharabi has written a number of commentaries on Aristotle’s Dialectics, Metaphysics, Ethics and Politics, as well as on other aspects of his philosophy.
From the time of Nasr another rival Iranian dynasty had begun to take its root in the west, the Dailmi, which was linked by ties of marriage with the Samani dynasty.
Nasr was succeeded by his son Nuh I who had an uneventful reign.
Next came Abdul Malik, the son of Nuh. Only one event of importance took place during his reign. This was the foundation of the Ghaznavi dynasty by Alp Tagin, a Turkish officer in the Samani court. In December 956, Alp Tagin killed an important Samani dignitary, Bakar, the son of Malik. The Samani court thereupon replaced Alp Tagin by Abu Mansur, who had been Governor of Tus. Alp Tagin fled to Ghazni where he set up a new dynasty in 962.
Subuk Tagin, a Turkish slave, who had been brought from Neshpor by Alp Tegin, proved to be a man of great ability. His talents were recognised and in 977 Alp Tagin’s successor surrendered his throne to him. Subuk Tagin won considerable fame due to his conquests in Afghanistan and India. His son Mehmud Ghaznavi subsequently succeeded in bringing about the downfall of the Samani dynasty.
Abdul Malik was succeeded by his son Nasr III, but as he died shortly after his accession, Mansur, the brother of Abdul Malik, became the ruler of the Samani Empire. He married the grand-daughter of the Dailmi ruler, Ruknudayla. Alp Tagin, who was at this time Governor of Khurasan refused to accept Mansur as his Emir and entrenched himself in Ghazni. Mansur and Alp Tagin both died in the year 976.
As soon as Nuh came to the throne, Subuk Tagin, who was supporting Alp Tagin’s successor, crossed the Vakshu and attacked the Samani Empire. Nuh and Subuk Tagin met in Kish where Subuk Tagin decided to accept Nuh as his sovereign and to take the oath of loyalty. In return, Nuh handed over the provinces of Nasa and Abivard to Subuk, but these province were being administered by Abu Ali, who, while agreeing to give up Nasa, refused to hand over Abivard.
Nuh marched against him and with the help of Subuk Tagin, won a decisive victory. The Samani court conferred the title of “Nasruddinudaula” on Subuk and “Saifudaula” on his son, Mehmud, who was also made Governor of Khurasan. He later succeeded in annexing Khwarezm by imprisoning its ruler, Abu Ali.
Thus the Ghaznavis became a powerful force in the south of the Samani Empire. Meanwhile, the Karakhani Nomads began their raids from the north and eventually Nuh was left in direct control only of a small part of Antarved. Feeling too weak to face these attacks alone, he appealed for help to Subuk Tagin who marched in with a large army.
Subuk Tagin sent word that Nuh should meet him in Kish, but as Nuh’s minister, Abdulla thought it beneath his master’s dignity he declined. At this Subuk Tagin felt insulted and sent his sons Mehmud and Bugurachuk to teach Nuh a lesson. Nuh immediately climbed down and accepted all the demands of Subuk Tagin, including the dismissal of his minister Abdulla, who was handed over to Subuk in chains. In his place, Subuk’s man, Abu Nasr Ahmed was installed.
Subuk Tagin decided not to fight the Karakhanis, but to come to a settlement with them. The Katwan desert was agreed upon as the border between the Samani Empire and Karakhani territory and Phayak was made Governor of Samarkand. Thus Subuk Tagin was now master of the area south of the Vakhshu, while Khurasan had already slipped out of the hands of the Samanis.
On the 23rd of July 997, Nuh II breathed his last.
Bu Ali Sina (980-1037):
Bu Ali Sina was a thinker who contributed to the development of Islamic thought to its highest pinnacle. He was a contemporary of the philosopher Maskavia, the great poet Firdausi and also of the great scholar and traveller, Albarauni. Sina actually met Maskavia while he carried on a correspondence with Albarauni. He was born in Aphsan near Bokhara in 980, and his full name was Abu Ali A1 Hussain Yaand Abdulla Ibn Sina. He received his early education at home and derived inspiration from the writings of Pharabi. Like Pharabi, Sina’s birthplace was in Uzbekistan.
Sina was born in a family of free thinkers and he has written that from his childhood he was used to hearing his father and uncle discussing Greek philosophy.
After completing his preliminary education, Sina made a special study of philosophy and medicine. When only seventeen years of age he was successful in curing Nuh II of a serious disease and this resulted in securing free access for him to the court library. With regard to this library he wrote in later years. “I entered a building with many rooms. Each room had heaps of books stacked in piles. There was a room full of books on Arabic literature and poetry, another room full of law books. Each room was a storehouse of knowledge pertaining to some branch of science. There were rare books in that collection the names of which no one had heard. I had never come across such a collection earlier nor did I ever see its equal afterwards. I took full advantage of this opportunity and began to appreciate the relative importance of the various sciences”.
There is a story current that Sina destroyed this collection so that others might not share the fruits of this knowledge, but this does not appear to be credible. It does not fit in with the character of Sina nor does it seem likely that the Samani ruler, Nuh, would have permitted such a thing.
What really happened was that these books were scattered throughout Central Asia, so that many were lost in the course of time. It is indeed only since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 that an attempt has been made to restore the collection.
The Taskent library, which had only five hundred manuscripts before the Revolution, has now fifty thousand and their catalogue runs into several volumes. The work of printing these valuable manuscripts has also been taken up by the authorities.
As has been said Sina’s patron, Nuh II, died in 997, by which time the Samani empire had begun to disintegrate and the Karakhanis having infiltrated right up to Bokhara. Sina could hardly have looked for any encouragement in his research from these barbarian nomads and in fact he had to go from court to court in search of employment and was given small posts as writer or teacher.
Ultimately, he became a minister under the ruler of Hamdan, but when the latter died he was thrown into prison. After his release he took his employment under Alaudaula, the King of Aphsan, and when Alaudaula conquered Hamdan, he again moved to that city and it was there that he died at the age of 57 in the year 1037. His grave it still preserved in Hamdan, which, be it noted, was the first capital of the earliest Iranian dynasty, the Madra dynasty.
Sina did not write commentaries or notes on the Greek philosophers. “There is no dearth of commentaries,” he would say, “what is needed is independent thinking based on their works.” He gave expression to his conclusions in his works “Shafa” (medicine), “Isharat” (signs) and “Najat” (freedom). From the age of twenty seven till his death he did not waste a single moment.
He used to spend the whole day doing official work or teaching students and the whole night, pen in hand, producing his great works. Sina had such command over language that he wrote books of science, medicine and law in verse. He was equally at home in Arabic and Persian and wrote poems in both the languages. Spontaneity and simplicity were the essence of his peotic style.
Mansur II (997-999):
Control of his administration at first lay in the hands of his minister, Abdul Muzaffar Mohammed Vargashi. Later it was taken over by the army commander, Phayak. Abu Mohammed Ishijabi had then been ruling over Antarved but when he was threatened by Abdul, who had escaped from prison, he revolted and sought help from the Karakhani ruler, Ilik Nasr Khan, whose father, Bogra Khan Haroun had once marched to Bokhara in 992 in an attempt to conquer Antarved.
This time, when Ilik Nasr came to Samarkand at the invitation of the rebels, Mansur fled from the capital to Amul, but Phayak decided to remain loyal to the Samani dynasty. He reconquered Bokhara and installed Mansur as ruler once again. Beg Tujun was appointed commander of Khurasan.
Mansur tried to effect a reconciliation between Phayak and Beg Tujun, but Phayak secretly instigated the ruler of Kohistan, Abul Kasim to attack Beg Tujun. Beg Tujun succeeded in defeating his opponents and in July he marched into Bokhara. By this time Phyak and the minister Vargashi were at loggerheads. Mansur tried to patch up the quarrel, but Phayak was adamant and in the end Vargashi was banished to Bujgan.
The most serious problem that confronted the Samani court was the quarrel between Beg Tujun and Mehmud Ghaznavi. Mehmud had become master of Ghazna after defeating his brother. Meanwhile, Khurasan had become the satrapy of Beg Tujun, but Mehmud was not prepared to renounce his claim Mansur tried to pacify him by offering him Termiz, Balakh and Chirag, but Mehmud would agree to nothing less than the whole of Khurasan. When fie attacked Beg Tujun and forced him to leave Neshpor, Beg Tujun and Phayak suspected Mansur of complicity with Mehmud Ghaznavi. Mansur was, therefore deposed from the throne of Samarkand, had his eyes gouged out and was sent to Bokhara.
After Mansur, Abulfavarish Abdul Malik was proclaimed Emir. Mehmud Ghaznavi now apprehended serious danger because of the united strength of his rivals which was further reinforced by Abul Kasim Simzori. All his efforts to arrive at a settlement with them having failed, he gathered all his forces and succeeded in defeating his rivals, and took possession of Khurasan.
The Caliph, Kadir wrote to Mehmud asking him to acknowledge his suzerainty pointing out that it was their refusal to recognise the Caliph that had led to the downfall of the Samanis. Abdul Malik and Phayak fled to Bokhara followed by Beg Tujun. Phayak died that very summer. Ilik Nasr put an end to the Samani dynasty by throwing Abdul Malik and many other Samani princes into prison.
Even when the last blows were being dealt against their dynasty, the Samani princes were quarrelling amongst themselves. This gave Ilik Nasr an opportunity to occupy Bokhara without opposition. Ismail, the brother of Mansur II, attempted to resists but was taken prisoner and sent to Uzgand. He managed to escape however, disguised as a woman. In 999, the Karakhanis succeeded in crushing all opposition, but were unable to re-capture Ismail.
In the beginning, the Sogdhians did not side with the Samani rulers, but later some of them changed their minds and began to support Ismail, who assumed the title of Muntsir, the victor. Muntsir was soon able to collect an army, which was placed under the command of a Turk, Arsalan Yalu.
Yalu was successful in defeating the Karakhani Governor of Bokhara and the remnants of the Karakhani army fled to Samarkand, where they tried to take a stand with the help of its governor, Tagin Khan. Here too, however, they had to suffer a defeat. After this, Ilik himself marched at the head of a large army against Muntsir and Yalu and forced them to flee to Iran.
In Khurasan, Muntsir was obliged to contend against Nasr, the brother of Mehmud Ghaznavi, but here again he proved unsuccessful. Muntsir held his commander, Yalu, responsible for his repeated defeats and put him to death. Meanwhile, Nasr destroyed the remnants of Muntsir’s army.
Muntsir now fled-to Antarved, where he succeeded in converting the Guz Yuvgu to Islam and with his help he was able to inflict a defeat on Ilik Khan near Samarkand in 1003. As many as eighteen officers of Ilik’s army were taken prisoner by the Guz, but as they did not hand them over to Muntsir the latter began to suspect that the Guz were about to enter into a pact with the enemy.
He therefore left them and fled across the Vakhshu with a small contingent of 300 mounted and 400 foot-soldiers and sought shelter of the ruler of Khwarezm but was refused. Once again, in his attempt to take Nasa and Abivard, a battle was fought in Bokhara, where he was defeated.
Fortune now however began to favour him. The Sogdhians had launched a crusade for the re-establishment of their ancient dynasties. The leader of these crusaders in Samarkand, the son of Alamdar, came over to Muntsir. The Guz, too, repenting their past actions, joined hands with him. With these forces Muntsir succeeded in defeating Ilik Khan at Burnamaz in May-June 1004. But this victory proved shortlived for Ilik gathered his resources and reinforcements from the north and again faced Muntsir in the desert between Jizak and Khawas.
The Guz, more interested in the sacking of the Burnamaz, did not take part in the battle, and one of Muntsir’s officers having deserted him with a part of the army, Muntsir again had to flee towards Khurasan. As he was advancing towards Bokhara, his soldiers deserted him and surrendered to Ilik’s officers, while the remains of his army were surrounded and wiped out on the banks of the Vakhshu. With great difficulty Muntsir managed to escape, taking with him only eight of his trusted followers. In 1005 the chieftain of an Arab tribe betrayed him and he was killed. Thus did the Samani dynasty come to an end.
The Administrative System of the Samanis:
The Arab administration in Central Asia followed the pattern set up by the Sasanis. The Caliph was the Supreme Ruler responsible to God alone. The Samanis accepted the suzerainty of the Caliph and never laid any claims to sovereignty. The charter issued to them by the Caliphs conferred only limited rights on the Samani rulers.
Iranian tradition enjoined upon all rulers to look after the interests of their subjects and they devoted considerable attention to building canals, waterways, viaducts, bridges, forts, roads and townships and in beautifying their cities with architectural monuments.
Their administration was divided into two main parts:
Ever since the time of Ismail the practice had been in vogue of importing slaves to act as armed bodyguards of the ruler, but military service was not confined to them alone.. The sons of local nobles as well as peasant families were also called upon to serve in the army. In fact, during the period of the Samani dynasty the majority of the people of Central Asia was armed and took part in wars and rebellions.
Talented Turkish youths who were specially purchased as slaves for military service were given training on the following lines, as laid down by the Selzuki minister, Nizamulmulk:
(I) In the first year they were trained as ordinary infantrymen, taught how to look after horses and given coarse clothes to wear.
(ii) In the second year they were given a uniform and a horse to ride.
(iii) After the third year’s training the slaves were provided with a special waistband.
Thus it went on. In the fifth year they were given more expensive clothes and in the sixth, a special uniform for parade on ceremonial occasions. After the seventh, the slave would be given the rank of camp commander, three orderlies to serve under him and a black felt cap embroidered with silver thread. Later on the slave could become a section commander, or even a full commander.
(iv) The Supreme Chief of the army was called Hajiba Buzurg, and was given a rank equal to that of the leading courtiers.
(v) Other posts in this department were those of Gate Warder, Chief Steward, Cup bearer, etc.
Among the Samanis, Provincial Governors were mostly selected from the ruling family, but occasionally the slaves rose to high posts, as for instance, Simzori, Alp Tagin, Tash and Phayak. They were not given these posts before attaining the age of thirty five.
The buidings that housed the civil administrators stood on the maidan known as Registan.
The civil administrators were:
1. The Minister,
2. The Treasurer,
3. The Aide-de-Camp,
4. The Chief Warder,
5. The Post Master,
6. The Chief Justice,
7. The Dewan Musharif,
8. The Dewan Khas, who looked after the personal estate of the Emir.
a. The Minister was Chief of the bureaucracy. Jauhani, Balami and Uthi, were among the important Samani ministers.
b. Kaziul Kuzzat. He was the Chief Justice of the entire kingdom. The provinces had similar judges, who were known as “Hakims”.
c. The Mullahs, or priests, acquired considerable influence with the spread of Islam. Abu Abdulla was the Chief of the Mullahs. The Chief Mullah was known at first as “Ustad”, later as “Muphti”, and later still as “Shakulislam”. Teachers were known as “Danishmand”. The Governor was called “Vali”.
d. Local dynasties. There were a number of noble families with considerable local influence. The most important of these were in Khwarezm, Isphajab and Swagnan.
The early rulers of Khwarezm considered their dynasty to be very old. After the Arab conquest they grew weak and split into two, the southern part having its capital in Kat and being ruled over by the Shah of Khwarezm; that of the north having its capital in Gurganj and a ruler known as the Emir. In 995, the Emir of Gurganj conquered Kat and assumed the title of Shah of Khwarezm.
The ruling dynasty of this place was also an ancient dynasty which paid an annual tax of four coins and a broomstick to their nominal sovereign. Its influence extended over an area east of Sir Darya and west of Saptanada, which became part of the Samani Empire.
Their rulers had been known in ancient times as Swagan Khudat, but after their conversion to Islam they began to call themselves Emirs. The ruling dynasty of Swagnan continued to exist even after the fall of the Samani Empire.
The ruler of Khuttal was known as Khuttalan Shah, or Sher Khuttalan. The ruling family claimed descent from Behram Gor, who ruled in the 5th century A. D.
The nobles of the Samani cities were known as “Rais” i. e. the wealthy people.
3. Trade and Industry:
During the period with which we are now dealing the towns were famous for the following articles:
Soap and boats.
Fine garments, carpets, copper lamps, saddles, fat, scented oils, meat and melons.
Red felt, drinking cups, leather, sulphur and matting.
Furs and skins of various kinds, wax, eating vessels, long Sumerian caps, amber, swords, amulets, slaves. Many of these goods were imported from Siberia, Bulgaria and other places. Fruits, such as grapes, raisins, almonds, etc., were also to be had in plenty. Striped satin cloth for presentation, carpets and blankets, cheese, yeast and fish, were all to be had here. Boats made in Termiz were marketed in Khwarzem.
Brocade, large copper vessels, artistically designed cups, tents, bridles for horses, clothes of all kinds, silken garments, and paper. The Arabs learnt paper-making from the Chinese, who had discovered the art in the second century after Christ. By the tenth century, Samarkand paper had replaced the leather writing parchment from all the Muslim countries.
Soft wool and woollen cloths.
Leather jackets, tents robes, leather caps, decorated bows, stitching needles and scissors, Chinese porcelain.
Isphajab and Fargana:
White cloths, weapons, copper, iron and Turkish slaves.
Horses and mules.
Horses and mules.
Antarved, the area between the Vakhshu and the Sir Darya, did not depend on other countries either for articles of necessity or for luxury goods because; as a result of Chinese influence the development of its industries had taken place rapidly. At first, mainly Chinese imports were to be found in the markets, but with the development of local industry the influx of Chinese articles declined.
Silk and cotton from Jarphasan were famous throughout the Muslim world and Metal goods, especially the weapons of war made in Fargana, were in great demand in Baghadad. Even hard coke was to be had here.
In the Second century after Christ, the Chinese traveller Chang Kyan, wrote of this region: “Here are to be found mountains of black stone which burns like wood.” The existence of coal gave a great fillip to the development of metallurgy. Chinese and Egyptian influence played a great part in the development of the art and industry of Antarved. The melons of Khwarezm, packed in ice, were exported to Baghdad for the use of the Caliphs. A melon that reached there in good condition was valued at 700 dirhams.
The Northern Nomads exchanged their animals and hides for cloth and other articles. Caravans from Khwarezm travelled to Khurasan in the south, across the Volga and the Caspian in the west, just as they went to the nomad territories in the north. Khwarezmian merchants amassed wealth and property in all the towns of Khurasan and took great interest in the development of culture and learning. It was in the household of a Khwarezmian merchant that Albarauni was born and brought up.
A worker in a coppersmith’s shop is reported to have been paid 15 dirhams a month. This, however, is no indication of the actual wage-rates prevailing then.
The income of the Samani Empire amounted to about four-and-a half crores of dirhams. Expenditure was confined mainly to maintenance of the army and its officers, which rose up to a sum of two crores of dirhams annually. The expenditure of the Samanis was so heavy that they ultimately imposed death duties.
Land was divided up into huge estates owned by feudal lords. The Simzore family owned the whole of Kohistan and the Turkish slave, Alp Tagin owned five hundred villages in Khurasan and Antarved. He also possessed a palace, a garden, a caravansary and a bath, in every town.
Taxes were levied on streams and land. Horses which were taken to the Amu Darya for use of its water were taxed two dirhams and their riders one dirham. Deeds registering the purchase of Turkish slaves were bought for as much as seven thousand dirhams. Turkish women slaves however could be bought and sold without any such deeds.