Ghurid dynasty

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Ghurid Sultanate
Sūrī, Shansabānī

 

1011–1215
 

Map of the Ghurid dynasty at its greatest extent under Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad
Capital Firuzkuh[1]
Herat[2]
Ghazni (1170s-1215)[3]
Lahore (winter)
Languages Persian (official & court)[4]
Religion Sunni Islam
Government Hereditary monarchy
Malik/Sultan
 -   ???–1011 Muhammad ibn Suri (first)
 -  1214-1215 Ala al-Din Ali (last)
History
 -  Established 1011
 -  Disestablished 1215
Today part of

The Ghurids or Ghorids (Persian: سلسله غوریان‎; self-designation: Shansabānī and Sūrī) were a native Sunni Muslim dynasty of Eastern Iranian, possibly Tajik, origin, ruling at their zenith over parts of modern-day Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.[5] The dynasty ruled from 1011 to 1215 and succeeded the Ghaznavid Empire.[6] Their empire was centered in Ghor Province or Mandesh, now in the center of Afghanistan. It encompassed Khorasan in the West and reached in the East to northern India, as far as Bengal.[7] Their first capital was Fīrūzkūh in Ghor, which was later replaced by Herat,[2] while Ghazni[3] and Lahore were used as additional capitals, especially during the winter seasons. The Ghurids were patrons of Persian culture and heritage.[8]

The Ghurids were succeeded in Persia by the Khwārazm-Shāh dynasty and in northern India by the Mamluk dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate.

Origins[edit]

In the 19th century, some European scholars, such as Mountstuart Elphinstone, favoured the idea that the Ghurid dynasty relate to today's Pashtun people,[9][10][11] but this is generally rejected by modern scholarship, and, as explained by Morgenstierne in the Encyclopaedia of Islam, is for "various reasons very improbable".[12] Instead, the consensus in modern scholarship (incl. Morgenstierne, Bosworth, Dupree, Gibb, Ghirshman, Longworth Dames and others) holds that the dynasty was most likely of Tajik origin.[13][14][15] Bosworth further points out that the actual name of the Ghurid family, Āl-e Šansab (Persianized: Šansabānī), is the Arabic pronunciation of the originally Middle Persian name Wišnasp, hinting at a (Sasanian) Persian origin.[16]

The Ghuristan region remained primarily populated by Hindus and Buddhists till the 12th century. It was then Islamised and gave rise to the Ghurids.

The rise to power of the Ghurids at Ghur, a small isolated area located in the mountain vastness between the Ghaznavid empire and the Seljukids, was an unusual and unexpected development. The area was so remote that till the 11th century, it had remained a Hindu enclave surrounded by Muslim principalities. It was converted to Islam in the early part of the 12th century after Mahmud raided it, and left teachers to instruct the Ghurids in the precepts of Islam. Even then it is believed that paganism, i.e. a variety of Mahayana Buddhism persisted in the area till the end of the century.[17]

Language[edit]

The language of the Ghurids is subject to some controversy. What is known with certainty is that it was considerably different from the Persian used as literary language at the Ghaznavid court. Nevertheless, like the Samanids and Ghaznavids, the Ghurids were great patrons of Persian literature, poetry, and culture, and promoted these in their courts as their own. There is nothing to confirm the recent surmise (as claimed in the Paṭa Khazāna) that the Ghurids were Pashto-speaking,[18] and there is no evidence that the inhabitants of Ghor were originally Pashto-speaking.[13] Contemporary book writers refer to them as the "Persianized Ghurids".[19]

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

Before the mid-12th century, the Ghurids had been bound to the Ghaznavids and Seljuks for about 150 years. Beginning in the mid-12th century, Ghor expressed its independence from the Ghaznavid Empire. In 1149 the Ghaznavid ruler Bahram-Shah of Ghazna poisoned a local Ghūrid leader, Qutb al-Din Muhammad, who had taken refuge in the city of Ghazni after having a quarrel with his brother Sayf al-Din Suri. In revenge, Sayf marched towards Ghazni and defeated Bahram-Shah. However, one later year, Bahram returned and scored a decisive victory against Sayf, who was shortly captured and crucified at Pul-i Yak Taq. Baha al-Din Sam I, another brother of Sayf, set out to avenge the death of his two brothers, but died of natural causes before he could reach Ghazni. Ala al-Din Husayn, one of the youngest of Sayf's brothers and newly crowned Ghurid king, also set out to avenge the death of his two brothers. He managed to defeat Bahram-Shah, and then had Ghazna sacked and burned and put the city into fire for seven days and seven nights. It earned him the title of Jahānsūz, meaning "the world burner".[20] The Ghaznavids retook the city with Seljuq help, but lost it to Oghuz Turks.[20]

In 1152, Ala al-Din Husayn refused to pay tribute to the Seljuks and instead marched an army from Firuzkuh but was defeated and captured at Nab by Sultan Ahmed Sanjar.[21] Ala al-Din Husayn remained a prisoner for two years, until he was released in return for a heavy ransom to the Seljuqs. Meanwhile, a rival of Ala al-Din named Husayn ibn Nasir al-Din Muhammad al-Madini had seized Firuzkuh, but was murdered at the right moment when Ala al-Din returned to reclaim his ancestral domain. Ala al-Din spent the rest of his reign in expanding the domains of his kingdom; he managed to conquer Garchistan, Tukharistan, and Bamiyan, and later gave Bamiyan and Tukharistan to Fakhr al-Din Masud, starting the Bamiyan branch of the Ghurids. Ala al-Din died in 1161, and was succeeded by his son Sayf al-Din Muhammad, who shortly died two years later after being killed in a battle.

The Ghurids at their zenith[edit]

Sayf al-Din Muhammad was succeeded by his cousin Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad, who was the son of Baha al-Din Sam I, and proved himself to be a capable king. Right after Ghiyath's ascension, he, with the aid of his loyal brother Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad, killed a rival Ghurid chief named Abu'l Abbas. Ghiyath then defeated his uncle Fakhr al-Din Masud who claimed the Ghurid throne and had allied with the Seljuq governor of Herat, and Balkh.[22]

In 1173, Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad reconquered the city of Ghazna and assisted his Ghiyath in his contest with Khwarezmid Empire for the lordship of Khorasan. Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad captured Multan and Uch in 1175 and annexed the Ghaznavid principality of Lahore in 1186. He was alleged by contemporary historians to exact revenge for his great grandfather Muhammad ibn Suri. After the death of his brother Ghiyath in 1202, he became the successor of his empire and ruled until his assassination in 1206 near Jhelum by Khokhar tribesmen (in modern-day Pakistan).[23]

Decline and fall[edit]

A confused struggle then ensued among the remaining Ghūrid leaders, and the Khwarezmids were able to take over the Ghūrids' empire in about 1215. Though the Ghūrids' empire was short-lived, Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad's conquests strengthened the foundations of Muslim rule in India. On his death, the importance of Ghazna and Ghur dissipated and they were replaced by Delhi as the centre of Islamic influence during the rule of his successor Sultans in India.[24]

Cultural influences[edit]

The Ghurids were great patrons of Persian culture and literature and lay the basis for a Persianized state in India.[25][26] They also transferred Iranian architecture of their native lands to India, of which several great examples have been preserved to this date (see gallery). However, most of the literature produced during the Ghurid era has been lost.

Out of the Ghurid state grew the Delhi Sultanate which established the Persian language as the lingua franca of the region – a status it retained until the fall of the Mughal Empire in the 19th century.

Ghurid dynasty[edit]

Titular Name(s) Personal Name Reign
Malik
ملک
Muhammad ibn Suri
? – 1011
Malik
ملک
Abu Ali ibn Muhammad
1011–1035
Malik
ملک
Abbas ibn Shith
1035 – 1060
Malik
ملک
Muhammad ibn Abbas
1060 – 1080
Malik
ملک
Qutb al-din Hasan
1080 – 1100
Abul-Muluk
ابولملک
Izz al-Din Husayn
1100–1146
Malik
ملک
Sayf al-Din Suri
1146–1149
Malik
ملک
Baha al-Din Sam I
1149
Malik
ملک
Sultan al-Muazzam
سلطان بن معظم
Ala al-Din Husayn
1149–1161
Malik
ملک
Sayf al-Din Muhammad
1161–1163
Sultan Abul-Fateh
سلطان ابوالفتح
Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad
1163–1202
Sultan Shahāb-ud-din Muhammad Ghori
سلطان شہاب الدین محمد غوری
Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad
1202–1206
Sultan
سلطان
Ghiyath al-Din Mahmud
1206-1212
Sultan
سلطان
Baha al-Din Sam III
1212–1213
Sultan
سلطان
Ala al-Din Atsiz
1213-1214
Sultan
سلطان
Ala al-Din Ali
1214-1215
Khwarazmian conquest
  • Blue shaded rows signifies Ghurid vassalage under the Ghaznavids.
  • Yellow shaded rows signifies Ghurid vassalage under the Seljuks.
  • Green shaded row signifies Ghurid vassalage under the Khwarazmian dynasty.


Bamiyan Branch[edit]

Titular Name(s) Personal Name Reign
Malik
ملک
Fakhr al-Din Masud
1152–1163
Malik
ملک
Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Fakhr
1163–1192
Malik
ملک
Abul-Mu'ayyid
Baha al-Din Sam II
1192–1206
Malik
ملک
Jalal al-Din Ali
1206–1215
Khwarazmian conquest


Ghurid family tree[edit]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Suri
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad ibn Suri
(???-1011)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Abu Ali ibn Muhammad
(1011-1035)
 
Abbas ibn Shith
(1035-1060)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad ibn Abbas
(1060-1080)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Qutb al-din Hasan
(1080-1100)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Izz al-Din Husayn
(1100-1146)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sayf al-Din Suri
(1146-1149)
 
 
Shuja al-Din Muhammad
 
 
Qutb al-Din Muhammad
 
 
Baha al-Din Sam I
(1149)
 
Nasir al-Din Muhammad Kharnak
 
Ala al-Din Husayn
(1149-1161)
 
 
 
 
Fakhr al-Din Masud
(1152–1163)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ala al-Din Ali
(1214-1215)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad
(1163–1202)
 
 
 
Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad
(1202–1206)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Shams al-Din Muhammad
(1163–1192)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sayf al-Din Muhammad
(1149–1157)
 
 
Ala al-Din Atsiz
(1213-1214)
 
Baha al-Din Sam II
(1192–1206)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ghiyath al-Din Mahmud
(1206-1212)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jalal al-Din Ali
(1206–1215)
 
 
 
Ala al-Din Muhammad
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Baha al-Din Sam III
(1212–1213)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Firoz Koh in Ghur or Ghor (a region to the west of Ghazni), the Ghurids' summer capital
  2. ^ a b Firuzkuh: the summer capital of the Ghurids, by David Thomas, pg. 18.
  3. ^ a b The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art & Architecture: Three-volume set, by Jonathan Bloom, Sheila Blair, pg. 108.
  4. ^ The Development of Persian Culture under the Early Ghaznavids, C.E. Bosworth, Iran, Vol. 6, (1968), 35.
  5. ^ C. E. Bosworth: GHURIDS. In Encyclopaedia Iranica. 2001 (last updated in 2012). Online edition.
  6. ^ Kingdoms of South Asia – Afghanistan in Far East Kingdoms: Persia and the East
  7. ^ Encyclopedia Iranica, Ghurids, Edmund Bosworth, Online Edition 2001, ([1])
  8. ^ Finbarr Barry Flood, Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval "Hindu-Muslim" Encounter, (Princeton University Press, 2009), 13.
  9. ^ Elphinstone, Mountstuart. The History of India. Vol. 1. J. Murray, 1841. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. Link: "...the prevalent and apparently the correct opinion is, that both they and their subjects were Afghans. " & "In the time of Sultan Mahmud it was held, as has been observed, by a prince whom Ferishta calls Mohammed Soory (or Sur) Afghan." p.598-599
  10. ^ A short history of India: and of the frontier states of Afghanistan, Nipal, and Burma, Wheeler, James Talboys, (LINK): "The next conqueror after Mahmud who made a name in India, was Muhammad Ghori, the Afghan."
  11. ^ Balfour, Edward. The Cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, Commercial Industrial, and Scientific: Products of the Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal Kingdoms, Useful Arts and Manufactures. 3rd ed. Vol. 2. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1885. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. Link: "IZ-ud-DIN Husain, the founder of the Ghori dynaasty, was a native of Afghansitan. The origin of the house of Ghor has, however, been much discussed, – the prevailing opinion being that both they and their subjects were an Afghan race. " p.392
  12. ^ G. Morgenstierne (1999). "AFGHĀN". Encyclopaedia of Islam (CD-ROM Edition v. 1.0 ed.). Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV. 
  13. ^ a b M. Longworth Dames, G. Morgenstierne, and R. Ghirshman (1999). "AFGHĀNISTĀN". Encyclopaedia of Islam (CD-ROM Edition v. 1.0 ed.). Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV. ""... there is no evidence for assuming that the inhabitants of Ghūr were originally Pashto-speaking (cf. Dames, in E I1). If were are to believe the Paṭa Khazāna (see below, iii), the legendary Amīr Karōṝ, grandson of Shansab, (8th century) was a Pashto poet, but this for various reasons is very improbable ..."" 
  14. ^ Encyclopaedia Iranica, "Ghurids", C.E. Bosworth, (LINK): ". . . The Ghurids came from the Šansabānī family. The name of the eponym Šansab/Šanasb probably derives from the Middle Persian name Wišnasp (Justi, Namenbuch, p. 282). . . . The chiefs of Ḡūr only achieve firm historical mention in the early 5th/11th century with the Ghaznavid raids into their land, when Ḡūr was still a pagan enclave. Nor do we know anything about the ethnic stock of the Ḡūrīs in general and the Šansabānīs in particular; we can only assume that they were eastern Iranian Tajiks. . . . The sultans were generous patrons of the Persian literary traditions of Khorasan, and latterly fulfilled a valuable role as transmitters of this heritage to the newly conquered lands of northern India, laying the foundations for the essentially Persian culture which was to prevail in Muslim India until the 19th century. . . ."
  15. ^ Encyclopaedia of Islam, "Ghurids", C.E. Bosworth, Online Edition, 2006: "... The Shansabānīs were, like the rest of the Ghūrīs, of eastern Iranian Tājik stock ..."
  16. ^ Encyclopaedia Iranica, "Ghurids", C.E. Bosworth, (LINK); with reference to Justi, "Namenbuch", p. 282
  17. ^ Medieval India Part 1 Satish Chandra Page 22
  18. ^ Encyclopaedia of Islam, "Ghurids", C.E. Bosworth, Online Edition, 2006: "... There is nothing to confirm the recent surmise that the Ghūids were Pashto-speaking [...] the Paṭa Khazāna "Treasury of secrets", claims to include Pashto poetry from the Ghūid period, but the significance of this work has not yet been evaluated ..."
  19. ^ Finbarr Barry Flood, Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval "Hindu-Muslim" Encounter, (Princeton University Press, 2009), 13.[2]
  20. ^ a b Encyclopedia Iranica, Ghaznavids, Edmund Bosworth, Online Edition 2007, (LINK)
  21. ^ Ghurids, C.E. Bosworth, Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol.2, Ed. Bernard Lewis, C. Pellat and J. Schacht, (E.J.Brill, 1991), 1100.
  22. ^ The Iranian World, C.E. Bosworth, The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 5, ed. J. A. Boyle, John Andrew Boyle, (Cambridge University Press, 1968), 163.
  23. ^ Balaji Sadasivan, The Dancing Girl: A History of Early India, (ISEAS Publishing, 2011), 147.
  24. ^ Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press 2002
  25. ^ Ghurids, C.E.Bosworth, Encyclopaedia Iranica, (15 December 2001);[3]
  26. ^ Persian Literature in the Safavid Period, Z. Safa, The Cambridge history of Iran: The Timurid and Safavid periods, Vol.6, Ed. Peter Jackson and Laurence Lockhart,(Cambridge University Press, 1986), 951;"...Ghurids and Ghurid mamluks, all of whom established centres in India where poets and writers received ample encouragement.".

Sources[edit]

  • C. Edmund, Bosworth (2001). "GHURIDS". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  • Frye, R.N. (1975). "The Ghaznavids and Ghūrids". In Frye, R.N. The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 5: The Iranian world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 157–165. ISBN 0-521-20093-8. 

External links[edit]