The Tanûkhids (Arabic: التنوخيون) or Tanukh (Arabic: تنوخ) were originally from the Qahtani ( Arabic : قحطانيون) confederation of Arab tribes, sometimes characterized as Saracens. They first rose to prominence in northern Arabia and south of Syria in the 3rd century BCE. Both Lakhmid and Tanukhid inscriptions have been found at Umm al-Jimal in Jordan and Namara in Syria.The ancient Tanukhi tribal confederation was largely taken over by several branches of the large Al Azd tribe. They were joined in the 11th century by other Qahtani tribes from southern Arabia, such as the Banu Ma'an. The Ma'an tribe settled in the Lebanon Mountains on order of the governor of Damascus to defend against the encroaching Crusaders. Most Ma'an's in Lebanon later became Druze.They were later defeated by a rival Qais tribe who had also became Druze, the Qaysi Druze.
In the late 2nd century, a branch of the tribe of Azd, from Southern Arabia, migrated to Al-Hasa where Tanukhids were settling. The Azdies allied with the Tanukhids, becoming part of the confederation. The two sheikhs (tribal leaders) of Tanukh gave up the rule to certain Malik ibn Fahm the Azdite (196-231), who led them into Iraq and Oman, and after some skirmishes he controlled all of Oman, and parts of Iraq, he was succeeded by his brother 'Amr ibn Fahm who reigned for a short period, later Jadhima ibn Malik reigned (233-268). He incorporated in war with Palmyra, and after its fall, he took control of much of the lands it previously controlled. After Jadhima's death, he was succeeded by his sister's son 'Amr ibn Adi the Lakhmid, because Jadhima had no sons, thus establishing the Lakhmid dynasty. Other parts of Tanukh settled in Syria.
In the 4th century CE, the Tanukhids formed a major grouping of Rome's allies in the East, ranging from Syria in the north to the Gulf of Aqaba, areas into which they had migrated from southern Arabia after the rise of Sassanian influence in Yemen a century previous. The Tanukhids played a key role in the defeat of Zenobia's forces by Emperor Aurelian and served as foederati in the Roman East. In 378, their Queen Mavia led them in a revolt against Emperor Valens. A truce was struck and was respected for a time, with Mavia even sending a fleet of cavalry in response to Roman requests for assistance in staving off an attack by the Goths. The alliance crumbled under Theodosius I, with the Tanukhids again revolting against Roman rule.
- Ball, 2001, pp. 97-102
- Shahîd, Rome and the Arabs: a Prolegomenon to the Study of Byzantium and the Arabs (Washington: Dumbarton Oaks) 1984. The opening volume of Shahîd's multi-volume history of Byzantium and the Arabs.