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Ziyarid dynasty

Ziyarid dynasty


Map of the Ziyarid dynasty, lighter blue shows their greatest extent for a small period of time.
Capital Isfahan
Languages Persian
Religion Zoroastrianism (930–935)[1]
Sunni Islam (935-1090)
Government Monarchy
 •  930-935 Mardavij (first)
 •  1087-1090 Gilanshah (last)
Historical era Middle Ages
 •  Established 930
 •  Disestablished 1090

The Ziyarid dynasty (Persian: زیاریان‎‎) was an Dailamite[2] dynasty that ruled Tabaristan from 930 to 1090, and at its greatest extent, ruled much of present-day western and northern Iran.


  • Origins 1
  • History 2
  • Art and architecture 3
  • Ziyarid rulers 4
  • Family tree 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Sources 8


The dynasty was descended from Vardanshah, leader of the Dailamite Arghich tribe, a tribe which traced its descent back to the legendary Arghush Farhadan, who was the ruler of Gilan, and lived during the time of Kai Khosrow.[3] Vardanshah had a son named Ziyar, who married a sister of the Gilite king Harusindan, who bore him a son Zoroastrian named Mardavij. Mardavij later served another Dailamite named Asfar ibn Shiruya, but later betrayed the latter and conquered Tabaristan, which led to the foundation of the Ziyarid dynasty, which he named after his father.


Mardavij then began aggressively expanding his territories, killing Asfar and capturing several important cities in Iran, such as Hamadan, Dinavar, Kashan, Isfahan, Shiraz[4] and Ahvaz.[5] He further planned to restore the Sasanian Empire through conquering Baghdad and ousting the Abbasid caliphate, but was instead murdered in 935.[5] After Mardavij's death, his brother and general Vushmgir, was crowned as the new Ziyarid ruler in Ray.

Gorgan from Samanid control.

However, Vushmgir soon decided to acknowledge Samanid supremacy, and in 936 he also turned over Gorgan to Makan.[6][7] Turning against Hasan, he retook Isfahan in 938. In 939 or 940 the Samanid governor Sari, al-Hasan ibn al-Fairuzan, who was a cousin of Makan and blamed the Ziyarid for his death. Vushmgir defeated him, but al-Hasan convinced Abu 'Ali Chaghani to invade Tabaristan. Vushmgir was forced to recognize Samanid authority again. Hasan furthered the Ziyarid's troubles by retaking Isfahan in 940.

When Abu 'Ali Chaghani left for Samanid Bavandids of the mountains in eastern Tabaristan, then to the court of the Samanid Nuh I. Al-Hasan meanwhile allied with Hasan, but when Ibn Muthaj took Ray from the Buyids in 945, he recognized Samanid authority. Still, in 945 Vushmgir captured Gorgan with Samanid support, but did not manage to retain his rule there. It was only in 947 when he was able to take Gorgan and Tabaristan from al-Hasan with the help of a large Samanid army.

In 948

  • Edmund Bosworth, C. "ZIYARIDS". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition. 
  • Nazim, M. (1987). "Mākān b. Kākī". In Houtsma, Martijn Theodoor. E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936, Volume V: L–Moriscos. Leiden: BRILL. pp. 164–165.  
  • Busse, Heribert (1975). "Iran under the Būyids". In R.N. Frye. The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 4: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 250–304. 


  1. ^ A. Christian Van Gorder, Christianity in Persia and the Status of Non-Muslims in Modern Iran, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), 81 n27.
  2. ^ Ziyarids, C.E. Bosworth, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol.XI, Ed. P.J.Bearman, T.Bianquis, C.E.Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P.Heinrichs, (Brill, 2002), 539.
  3. ^ Madelung 1975, p. 212.
  4. ^ Madelung 1975, p. 213.
  5. ^ a b Ziyarids, C.E. Bosworth, Encyclopaedia Iranica, (October 1, 2010).[2]
  6. ^ Nazim (1987), pp. 164–165
  7. ^ Madelung (1975), p. 213
  8. ^ The Minor Dynasties of Northern Iran, C.E. Bosworth, The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 4, ed. W. Madelung, (Cambridge University Press, 1975), 214.
  9. ^ The Exact Sciences, E.S.Kennedy, The Cambridge History of Iran: The period from the Arab invasion to the Saljuqs, Vol. 4, 394.


See also


Family tree

Ziyarid rulers

One of the most famous architectural works of Ziyarid dynasty is the Gonbad Kavous (meaning the "Dome of Qabus"). The tomb is one of the earliest architectural monuments with a dated inscription surviving in post-Islamic Iran. The tomb, built of fired brick, is an enormous cylinder capped by a conical roof. The circular plan, broken by 10 flanges, is 17 m in diameter, and the walls are 5.2 , thick. The height from base to tip is 49 m. Legend has it, that the body of Qabus was enclosed in a glass coffin which was suspended by chains from the interior dome inside the tower.

Art and architecture

Anushirvan died in 1059 and was succeeded by his cousin Keikavus, the celebrated author of the Qabus nama, a major work of Persian literature. Keikavus died in 1087, and was succeeded by his son Gilanshah. Gilanshah's reign, was, however, short; in 1090, the Nizari Ismaili state under Hassan-i Sabbah invaded and conquered his domains, which ended Ziyarid rule in Tabaristan.

Due to his tyrannical rule, Qabus was in 1012 overthrown by his own army, and was succeeded by his son Manuchihr, who quickly recognized the sovereignty of Mahmud of Ghazni, and married one of his daughters. Manuchihr died in 1031, and was succeeded by his son Anushirvan Sharaf al-Ma'ali whom Mahmud of Ghazni had chosen as the heir of the Ziyarid dynasty. From 1032 to 1040, the real power behind the throne was held by Abu Kalijar ibn Vayhan, a relative of Anushirvan. In 1035, Abu Kalijar stopped paying tribute to the Ghaznavids, which resulted in a Ghaznavid invasion of Tabaristan. Abu Kalijar, after having learned the consequences of not paying tribute to the Ghaznavids, agreed to continue in paying tribute. This gave Anushirvan the opportunity to imprison Abu Kalijar, and gain a firm over his kingdom. In 1041/1042, the Seljuqs, now the new masters of Khorasan, invaded Anushirvan's domains, which forced him to accept their authority.

[9] Vushmgir was killed by a boar during a hunt in 967, shortly after a Samanid army had arrived for a joint campaign against the Buyids. He was succeeded by his eldest son


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