Yazaman al-Khadim

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Yazaman or Yazman, surnamed al-Khadim ("the eunuch") was governor of Tarsus for the Abbasids and chief military leader in the Muslim borderlands with the Byzantine Empire in Cilicia (the ath-thughur ash-Shamiya) from 882 to his death in 891. He is celebrated for his naval raids against the Byzantines.[1]


Yazaman appears for the first time in September/October 882. At the time he was a servant (mawla) of al-Fath ibn Khaqan, and was attacked and imprisoned by the governor of the Cilician borderlands, Khalaf al-Farghani, who had been appointed by Ahmad ibn Tulun, the autonomous ruler of Egypt and Syria. Yazaman was freed by the local people, who then rose up and rejected Tulunid rule, appointing Yazaman as their leader instead and returning to Abbasid allegiance. Ibn Tulun then marched on Tarsus, but the inhabitants opened the sluice gates and flooded the plain around the city, forcing Ibn Tulun to return to Damascus without achieving anything.[2][3]

In 883, Yazaman faced a large Byzantine army sent against Tarsus, under the command of the Domestic of the Schools, Kesta Stypeiotes. Yazaman attacked the Byzantine camp at Bab Qalamyah, some 12 km from Tarsus, during the night of 11 September, catching the Byzantines by surprise. The Byzantine forces scattered, Stypeiotes and the strategoi of Anatolikon and Cappadocia were killed, and much booty was captured.[1][4] Yazaman led a major naval raid soon thereafter against the fortress of Euripos (Chalkis), comprising 30 large ships (of the type called koumbaria in Greek), but it was beaten off with great loss by the local governor of Hellas, Oineiates.[1] The historian al-Tabari records that Yazaman also led a land raid in 886 and a naval raid in 888, during which he captured four Byzantine ships.[5]

Despite his earlier opposition to them, in 890 Yazaman swore allegiance to the Tulunids, under Ibn Tulun's son Khumarawayh.[2][6] Yazaman died on 23 October 891, during another raid against Byzantine territories. He was besieging the Byzantine fortress of Salandu, when he was wounded by a catapult. This caused the Arabs to break off the siege, and he died on the way back. His troops carried him to Tarsus, and buried him there.[7] He was succeeded by Ahmad ibn Tughan al-Ujayfi.[2] Tarsus remained under Tulunid control until 897, when it was recovered by the Abbasids.[1]

According to the 10th-century account of al-Mas'udi (The Meadows of Gold, VIII, 74–75) his fame was such that he was among the ten illustrious Muslims whose portraits were displayed in Byzantine churches in recognition of their valour.


  1. ^ a b c d Pryor & Jeffreys 2006, p. 62.
  2. ^ a b c Stern 1960, pp. 219–220 (note 20).
  3. ^ Fields 1987, pp. 81–82.
  4. ^ Fields 1987, pp. 143–144.
  5. ^ Fields 1987, pp. 152, 157.
  6. ^ Fields 1987, p. 162.
  7. ^ Fields 1987, p. 175.


Preceded by
Khalaf al-Farghani
Governor of Tarsus
after 890 for the Tulunids
October 882 – October 891
Succeeded by
Ahmad ibn Tughan al-Ujayfi