Amr ibn al-Layth

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Amr ibn al-Layth
Amir of Saffarid dynasty
Reign 879–901
Predecessor Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar
Successor Tahir ibn Muhammad ibn Amr
House Saffarid
Father Layth
Born Unknown
Karnin, modern-day Afghanistan
Died 902
Baghdad
Religion Sunni Islam

Amr ibn al-Layth or Amr-i Laith Saffari (Persian: عمرو لیث صفاری‎) was the second ruler of the Saffarid dynasty of Iran from 879 to 901. He was the son of a whitesmith and the younger brother of the dynasty's founder, Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar.

Biography[edit]

Said to have started as a mule-driver and a mason, he later fought alongside his older brother and in 875 became governor of Herat. When Ya'qub died in Fars in 879, Amr managed to become the successor of the Saffarid throne over his brother Ali ibn al-Layth, who was the preferred choice of both Ya'qub and the army. After Amr's accession, he made peace with the Abbasids. The Caliph was forced to acknowledge the reality of the Saffarids' domination, and reached a modus vivendi with them, perhaps hoping, according to Hugh N. Kennedy, to harness them in a partnership analogous to that which the Tahirids had enjoyed in previous decades. Consequently, the Saffarids were recognized in their possession of Khurasan and eastern Persia as well as Fars, while the Abbasids were to exercise direct control over Jibal, Rayy and Isfahan.[1][2]

In 884, the Bavandid ruler Rustam I, after being repelled from Mazandaran by the Zaydi ruler Muhammad ibn Zayd, arrived to the court of Amr, and requested his aid to reclaim the Bavand throne. With the aid of Amr, Rustam was allowed to return to his domains in Mazandaran.[3] In 897 Rayy was handed over to the Saffarids by the Abbasids, who could not manage to hold over the city against Zaydi invasions.[2][4][5]

The Abbasid–Saffarid partnership in Iran was most clearly expressed against the intrepid general Rafi ibn Harthama, who had made his base in Rayy and posed a threat to both caliphal and Saffarid interests in the region. The Abbasid caliph al-Mu'tadid sent the Dulafid Ahmad ibn Abd al-Aziz to seize Rayy from Rafi, who fled and made common cause with the Zaydis of Tabaristan in an effort to conquer Khurasan from the Saffarids. With Amr mobilizing anti-Alid sentiment against him and the expected assistance from the Zaydis failing to materialize, Rafi was defeated and killed in Khwarazm in 896. Amr, at the pinnacle of his power, sent the defeated rebel's head to Baghdad, and in 897 the Caliph transferred control of Rayy to him.[6]

Death[edit]

The partnership finally collapsed after Mu'tadid appointed the Saffarid ruler Amr ibn al-Layth as governor of Transoxiana in 898, which was ruled by his rivals, the Samanids. Al-Mu'tamid encouraged Amr to confront the Samanids, but in the event, Amr was crushingly defeated and taken prisoner in 900. The Samanid ruler, Isma'il ibn Ahmad, sent him in chains to Baghdad, where he was executed in 902, after al-Mu'tadid's death. Al-Mu'tadid in turn conferred Amr's titles to Isma'il ibn Ahmad, but the Saffarid remnant under Tahir proved sufficiently resilient to thwart the caliphal attempts at regaining Fars and Kirman for several more years. It was not until 910 that the Abbasids managed to regain the coveted Fars province.[1][7][8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kennedy 1993, pp. 759–760.
  2. ^ a b Bonner 2010, p. 336.
  3. ^ Madelung 1993, pp. 595–597.
  4. ^ Mottahedeh 1975, p. 78.
  5. ^ Kennedy 2004, pp. 182–183.
  6. ^ Bosworth 1975, p. 120.
  7. ^ Bosworth 1975, pp. 121–122.
  8. ^ Bonner 2010, pp. 336–337.

Sources[edit]

Preceded by
Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar
Saffarid amir
879–901
Succeeded by
Tahir ibn Muhammad ibn Amr