Elam, Elamite Haltamti or Hatamti, Akkadian Elamtu, also called Susiana, ancient country in southwestern Iran approximately equivalent to the modern region of Khūzestān. Four prominent geographic names within Elam are mentioned in ancient sources: Awan, Anshan, Simash, and Susa. Susa was Elam’s capital, and in classical sources the name of the country is sometimes Susiana.
Throughout the late prehistoric periods, Elam was closely tied culturally to Mesopotamia. Later, perhaps because of domination by the Akkadian dynasty (c. 2334–c. 2154 BCE), Elamites adopted the Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform script. Eventually Elam came under the control first of the Guti, a mountain people of the area, and then of the 3rd dynasty of Ur. As the power of Ur in turn declined, the Elamites reasserted their independence.
Elam (3000–530 BCE):
Although the boundaries of Media were never completely fixed, it is more or less identical to the northwest of modern Iran. Its capital Ecbatana is modern Hamadan; its western part is dominated by the Zagros mountains and border on Assyria; to the south are Elam and Persis; in the arid east, the Caspian Gate is the boundary with Parthia; and Media is separated from the Caspian Sea and Armenia by the Elburz mountains.
The country was (and is) dominated by the east-west route that was, in the Middle Ages, known as the Silk road; it connected Media to Babylonia, Assyria, Armenia, and the Mediterranean in the west, and to Parthia, Aria, Bactria, Sogdia, and China in the east. Another important road connected Ecbatana with the capitals of Persis, like Persepolis and Pasargadae.
Media controlled the east-west trade, but was also rich in agricultural products. The valleys and plains in the Zagros are fertile, and Media was well-known for clover (which is still called medicago), sheep, goats, and the horses of the Nisaean plain. The country could support a large population and boasted many villages and a few cities (Ecbatana, Rhagae, Gabae). The Greek author Polybius of Megalopolis correctly calls it the most powerful of all Asian countries, and it was generally recognized as one of the most important parts of the Seleucid and Parthian Empires.
The Achaemenid Persian empire was the largest that the ancient world had seen, extending from Anatolia and Egypt across western Asia to northern India and Central Asia. Its formation began in 550 B.C., when King Astyages of Media, who dominated much of Iran and eastern Anatolia (Turkey), was defeated by his southern neighbor Cyrus II (“the Great”), king of Persia (r. 559–530 B.C.). This upset the balance of power in the Near East. The Lydians of western Anatolia under King Croesus took advantage of the fall of Media to push east and clashed with Persian forces. The Lydian army withdrew for the winter but the Persians advanced to the Lydian capital at Sardis, which fell after a two-week siege. The Lydians had been allied with the Babylonians and Egyptians and Cyrus now had to confront these major powers. The Babylonian empire controlled Mesopotamia and the eastern Mediterranean. In 539 B.C., Persian forces defeated the Babylonian army at the site of Opis, east of the Tigris. Cyrus entered Babylon and presented himself as a traditional Mesopotamian monarch, restoring temples and releasing political prisoners. The one western power that remained unconquered in Cyrus’ lightning campaigns was Egypt. It was left to his son Cambyses to rout the Egyptian forces in the eastern Nile Delta in 525 B.C. After a ten-day siege, Egypt’s ancient capital Memphis fell to the Persians.
A crisis at court forced Cambyses to return to Persia but he died en route and Darius I (“the Great”) emerged as king (r. 522–486 B.C.), claiming in his inscriptions that a certain “Achaemenes” was his ancestor. Under Darius the empire was stabilized, with roads for communication and a system of governors (satraps) established. He added northwestern India to the Achaemenid realm and initiated two major building projects: the construction of royal buildings at Susa and the creation of the new dynastic center of Persepolis, the buildings of which were decorated by Darius and his successors with stone reliefs and carvings. These show tributaries from different parts of the empire processing toward the enthroned king or conveying the king’s throne. The impression is of a harmonious empire supported by its numerous peoples. Darius also consolidated Persia’s western conquests in the Aegean. However, in 498 B.C., the eastern Greek Ionian cities, supported in part by Athens, revolted. It took the Persians four years to crush the rebellion, although an attack against mainland Greece was repulsed at Marathon in 490 B.C.
Darius’ son Xerxes (r. 486–465 B.C.) attempted to force the mainland Greeks to acknowledge Persian power, but Sparta and Athens refused to give way. Xerxes led his sea and land forces against Greece in 480 B.C., defeating the Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae and sacking Athens. However, the Greeks won a victory against the Persian navy in the straits of Salamis in 479 B.C. It is possible that at this point a serious revolt broke out in the strategically crucial province of Babylonia. Xerxes quickly left Greece and successfully crushed the Babylonian rebellion. However, the Persian army he left behind was defeated by the Greeks at the Battle of Plataea in 479 B.C.
Much of our evidence for Persian history is dependent on contemporary Greek sources and later classical writers, whose main focus is the relations between Persia and the Greek states, as well as tales of Persian court intrigues, moral decadence, and unrestrained luxury. From these we learn that Xerxes was assassinated and was succeeded by one of his sons, who took the name Artaxerxes I (r. 465–424 B.C). During his reign, revolts in Egypt were crushed and garrisons established in the Levant. The empire remained largely intact under Darius II (r. 423–405 B.C), but Egypt claimed independence during the reign of Artaxerxes II (r. 405–359 B.C). Although Artaxerxes II had the longest reign of all the Persian kings, we know very little about him. Writing in the early second century A.D., Plutarch describes him as a sympathetic ruler and courageous warrior. With his successor, Artaxerxes III (r. 358–338 B.C), Egypt was reconquered, but the king was assassinated and his son was crowned as Artaxerxes IV (r. 338–336 B.C.). He, too, was murdered and replaced by Darius III (r. 336–330 B.C.), a second cousin, who faced the armies of Alexander III of Macedon (“the Great”). Ultimately Darius III was murdered by one of his own generals, and Alexander claimed the Persian empire. However, the fact that Alexander had to fight every inch of the way, taking every province by force, demonstrates the extraordinary solidarity of the Persian empire and that, despite the repeated court intrigues, it was certainly not in a state of decay.
Alexander the Great was an ancient Macedonian ruler and one of history’s greatest military minds who, as King of Macedonia and Persia, established the largest empire the ancient world had ever seen. By turns charismatic and ruthless, brilliant and power hungry, diplomatic and bloodthirsty, Alexander inspired such loyalty in his men they’d follow him anywhere and, if necessary, die in the process. Though Alexander the Great died before realizing his dream of uniting a new realm, his influence on Greek and Asian culture was so profound that it inspired a new historical epoch—the Hellenistic Period.
Where Was Alexander the Great From?
Alexander III was born in Pella, Macedonia, in 356 B.C. to King Philip II and Queen Olympias—although legend had it his father was none other than Zeus, the ruler of the Greek gods.
Philip II was an impressive military man in his own right. He turned Macedonia (a region on the northern part of the Greek peninsula) into a force to be reckoned with, and he fantasized about conquering the massive Persian Empire.
After the death of Alexander III of Macedon in 323 B.C., the territories he had conquered were divided between his generals, the so-called Diadochi. Alexander’s friend Seleucus Nicator (r. 312–281 B.C.) became king of the eastern provinces—approximately modern Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, together with parts of Turkey, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The huge kingdom had two capitals, which Seleucus founded in around 300 B.C.: Antioch in Syria and Seleucia in Mesopotamia (Iraq). Seleucus established a dynasty that lasted for two centuries, during which time Hellenistic art, a fusion of Greek and Near Eastern artistic traditions, developed and flourished.
Around 246 B.C., the Seleucids lost substantial territory in the east, as a nomadic group called the Parni settled in the satrapy (administrative district) of Parthia in northern Iran. In the same period, the satrapy of Bactria (Afghanistan) claimed independence. However, the Seleucid king Antiochus III “the Great” reconquered much of these regions between 209 and 204 B.C. when he campaigned in the east as far as India. In the west, the Seleucid king fought several wars with his fellow Macedonians, the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt. The Egyptian forces were crushed in 200 B.C., and the Ptolemies were forced to cede Palestine to Antiochus, who was proclaimed conqueror of the East.
In 196 B.C., Antiochus crossed the Hellespont and two years later had added the region of Thrace to his empire. This brought the Seleucid empire into direct contact with the dominant Mediterranean power of Rome. In 190 B.C., Roman soldiers for the first time set foot in Asia, and the following year a Seleucid army of 75,000 met Roman forces numbering only 30,000 at the Battle of Magnesia. Despite the odds, Antiochus was completely defeated, and the Seleucid empire lost its possessions in Anatolia (Turkey).
In 168 B.C., Antiochus IV desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem. In response, the Hasmonaean family organized a guerrilla army against the Seleucids. The leader of the Jewish forces, Judah, known as the Maccabee (“hammer”), captured the Temple and eventually drove the Seleucids out of Palestine. In the same period, the Parni were establishing their power across Iran and Mesopotamia, forming the Parthian empire: Seleucia was captured in 141 B.C. By the first century B.C., Seleucid power was further undermined when King Tigranes of Armenia expanded his kingdom into Syria. This brought Roman forces back to Asia, and in 64 B.C. the Roman general Pompey arrived in Antioch, having established Syria as a Roman province and bringing to an end the remnants of the Seleucid kingdom.
1)Seleucus I (305–281 BCE) [one of Alexander’s commanders]
2)Antiochus I Soter (292–261 BCE) [son]
3)Antiochus II Theos (261–246 BCE) [son]
4)Seleucus II Callinicus (246–225 BCE) [son]
5)Seleucus III Soter (225–223 BCE) [son]
6)Antiochus III the Great (223–187 BCE) [son of #4]
7)Seleucus IV Philopator (187–175 BCE) [son]
8)Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164 BCE) [son of #6]
9)Antiochus V Eupator (164–162 BCE) [son]
10)Demetrius I (162–150 BCE) [son of #7]
11)Alexander Balas (150–146 BCE) [son of #8]
TheParthian or Arsacid Empire was the most enduring of the empires of the ancient Near East. After the Parni nomads had settled in Parthia and had built a small independent kingdom, they rose to power under king Mithradates the Great (r.171-138 BCE). The Parthian Empire occupied all of modern Iran, Iraq, and Armenia, parts of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, and – for brief periods – territories in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine. The end of this loosely organized empire came in 224 CE, when the last Arsacid king was defeated by one of his vassals, the Persians of the Sasanian dynasty.
The chronology of the Arsacid kings of the Parthian Empire (and Armenia) is less well-understood than, for example, the sequence of Seleucid and Ptolemaic kings or the emperors of Rome. This information is based on the researches by G.R.F. Assar, as published in “Iran under the Arsakids, 247 BC – AD 224/227” in: Numismatic Art of Persia (2011). After 52 CE, another branch of the Arsacid dynasty ruled in Armenia (more).
1)Arsaces I (247–211 BCE)
2)Arsaces II (211–191 BCE) [son]
3)Phriapatius (191–176 BCE) [cousin?]
4)Phraates I (176–171 BCE) [son]
5)Mithradates I (171–138 BCE) [brother]
6)Phraates II (138–127 BCE) [son]
7)Artabanus I (127–124 BCE) [son of #3]
8)Mithradates II (123–88 BCE) [son]
9)Gotarzes I (95–90 BCE) [grandson of #3]
10)Orodes I (90–80 BCE) [brother?]
11)Sinatruces (77–70 BCE) [son of #3?]
12)Phraates III (70–57 BCE) [son]
13)Mithradates III (57–54 BCE) [son]
14)Orodes II (57–38 BCE) [brother]
15)Phraates IV (38 BCE–2 CE) [brother]
16)Phraates V (2–4 CE) [son]
17)Orodes III (6 CE) [son?]
18)Vonones I (8–12 CE) [son of #16]
19)Artabanus II (10–38 CE) [?]
20)Tirdates II (35–36 CE) [grandson of #16]
21)Vardanes I (40–47 CE) [son of #20]
22)Gotarzes II (40–51 CE) [brother]
23)Vonones II (51 CE) [son of #22]
24)Vardanes II (54–58 CE) [son?]
25)Vologases I (51–78 CE) [son of #24]
26)Vologases II (77–80 CE) [son]
27)Pacorus I (78–105 CE)
28)Artabanus III (80–90 CE)
29)Khosrow I (109–129 CE)
30)Vologases III (105–147 CE)
31)Mithradates IV (129–140 CE)
32)Vologases IV (147–191 CE) [son]
33)Vologases V (191–208 CE)
34)Vologases VI (208–228 CE) [son]
35)Artabanus IV (216–224 CE) [brother]
In 224 CE, after the Arsacid empire had suffered a series of military defeats and economic downturns, the vassal king of Fars, Ardashir, defeated the Arsacid king Artabanus IV in battle and founded a new dynasty named after his grandfather Sasan. Ardashir built the Sasanian empire on a set of principles: restoring the Achaemenid legacy, making Zoroastrianism the state religion, and centralizing the king’s power. As part of this program, the Sasanian kings intentionally obliterated remnants of Parthian rule, reorganizing society along new lines.
The change in politics naturally led to a change in society and culture. Sasanian monarchs invested in the agriculture and economy of their empire, with the construction of canals, roads, and fortifications. Many new cities were founded, and Mesopotamia soon had the greatest estimated population density of the ancient world. Though Zoroastrianism was elevated to the primary religion – the government and the magi class cooperated to ensure this – many other religious traditions found followers in the empire. Christianity – especially Syriac and Armenian varieties – spread freely, as did Manicheanism, Buddhism, and Judaism.
Sasanian art blossomed under elite patronage, especially with scenes of hunting, dancing and feasting. Precious metals were a primary medium in this tradition, as illustrated by silver vessels widely circulated both within and beyond the empire’s borders. Sasanian glassware, made by master craftsmen, became popular across the Silk Road. New architectural styles were developed as well, such as the iwan (which in Islamic times would adorn the exteriors of many mosques across the world) and the vaulted roof. Both of these architectural forms were on display in the capital Ctesiphon, where the one of largest vaulted roofs ever built sheltered the entrance to the palace.
Threatened by the Roman Empire in the west as well as steppe nomads to the north, the Sasanians built a formidable military to defend the Iranian heartland. The final great war of antiquity between Khusro II (r. 590-628 CE) and the Byzantine emperor Heraclius witnessed the temporary loss of Ctesiphon and sparked profound political upheaval. Shortly thereafter, Arab armies overwhelmed the capital and the empire collapsed, sending the final members of the Sasanian royal family into exile in China.
The Arab conquest ushered in a new political and religious epoch. However, Sasanian culture exercised a profound influence on the new Muslim world. Across numerous areas of cultural, intellectual, and religious life, Sasanian models continued to shape society under Islamic rule.
1)Ardashir I (224–240 CE) [grandson of Sasan]
2)Shapur I (240–270 CE) [son]
3)Hormizd I (270–271 CE) [son]
4)Bahram (Wahram) I (271–274 CE) [brother]
5)Bahram II (274–293 CE) [son]
6)Bahram III (293 CE) [son]
7)Narseh (293–302 CE) [son of #2]
8)Hormizd II (302–309 CE) [son]
9)Adurnarse (309 CE) [son]
10)Shapur II (309–379 CE) [brother]
11)Ardashir II (279–283 CE) [brother]
12)Shapur III (383–388 CE) [son of #10]
13)Bahram IV (388–399 CE) [brother]
14)Yazdgerd I (399–420 CE) [son of #12]
15)Bahram V (Gur) (420–438 CE) [son]
16)Yazdgerd II (438–457 CE) [son]
17)Hormizd III (457–459 CE) [son]
18)Piruz (Peroz) (459–484 CE) [brother]
19)Balash (Walash) (488–488 CE) [brother]
20)Kavad (Kawad) I (488–496/498–531 CE) [son of #18]
21)Jamasp (Zamasp) (496–498 CE) [brother]
22)Khosrow I (Anushirvan) (531–579 CE) [son of #20]
23)Hormizd IV (579–590 CE) [son]
24)Bahram VI Chubin (590–591 CE) [usurper]
25)Wistahm (usurper) (591 CE) [maternal uncle of #26]
26)Khosrow II (Aparviz) (591–628 CE) [son of #23]
27)Kavad II (Shiroe) (628 CE) [son]
28)Ardashir III (628–629 CE) [son]
29)Shahrbaraz (629 CE) [usurper]
30)Boran (Buran, Puran) (630–631 CE) [daughter of #26]
31)Azarmidokht (632 CE) [sister]
32)Yazdgerd III (632–651 CE) [grandson of #26]
The Umayyad Caliphate was one of the most powerful and expansive of the Islamic Caliphates. It was also the first of the Islamic dynasties. This meant that the leader of the Caliphate, called the Caliph, was typically the son (or other male relative) of the previous Caliph.
When did it rule?
The Umayyad Caliphate ruled the Islamic Empire from 661-750 CE. It succeeded the Rashidun Caliphate when Muawiyah I became Caliph after the First Muslim Civil War. Muawiyah I established his capital in the city of Damascus where the Umayyads would rule the Islamic Empire for nearly 100 years. The Umayyad Caliphate was brought to an end in 750 CE when the Abbasids took control.
Map showing the expansion of the Islamic Empire under the Caliphate
Map of the Islamic Empire
What lands did it rule?
The Umayyad Caliphate expanded the Islamic Empire into one of the largest empires in the history of the world. At its peak, the Umayyad Caliphate controlled the Middle East, parts of India, much of North Africa, and Spain. Historians estimate the Umayyad Caliphate had a population of around 62 million people, which was nearly 30% of the world’s population at the time.
1)Mu‘awiya I (661–680 CE)
2)Yazid I (680–683 CE) [son]
3)Mu‘awiya II (683–684 CE) [son]
4)Marwan I (684–685 CE)
5)Abd al-Malik I (685–705 CE) [son]
6)Al-Walid I (705–715 CE) [son]
7)Sulaiman (715–717 CE) [brother]
8)Umar II (717–720 CE) [son of #4]
9)Yazid II (720–724 CE) [son of #5]
10)Hisham I (724–743 CE) [brother]
11)Al-Walid II (743–744 CE) [son of #9]
12)Yazid III (744 CE) [son of #6]
13)Ibrahim (744 CE) [brother]
14)Marwan II (744–750 CE) [grandson of #4]
Under the Abbasid caliphate (750–1258), which succeeded the Umayyads (661–750) in 750, the focal point of Islamic political and cultural life shifted eastward from Syria to Iraq, where, in 762, Baghdad, the circular City of Peace (madinat al-salam), was founded as the new capital. The Abbasids later also established another city north of Baghdad, called Samarra (an abbreviation of the sentence “He who sees it rejoices”), which replaced the capital for a brief period (836–92). The first three centuries of Abbasid rule were a golden age in which Baghdad and Samarra functioned as the cultural and commercial capitals of the Islamic world. During this period, a distinctive style emerged and new techniques were developed that spread throughout the Muslim realm and greatly influenced Islamic art and architecture.
Since the style set by the capital was used throughout the Muslim world, Baghdad and Samarra became associated with the new artistic and architectural trend. As virtually nothing remains from Abbasid Baghdad today, the site of Samarra is particularly significant for understanding the art and architecture of the Abbasid period. In Samarra, a new way of carving surfaces, the so-called beveled style, as well as a repetition of abstract geometric or pseudo-vegetal forms, later to be known in the West as “arabesque,” were widely used as wall decoration and became popular in other media such as wood, metalwork, and pottery. In pottery, Samarra also witnessed an extensive use of color in decoration and, possibly, the introduction of the technique of luster painting over a white glaze. Admired for its glittering effect reminiscent of precious metal, luster painting, the most notable technical achievement at the time, spread in the following centuries from Iraq to Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Spain and eventually also contributed to the development of ceramic decoration in the Western world. In terms of architecture, along with the palace of Jawsaq al-Khaqani (ca. 836 onward), the mosques of al-Mutawakkil (848–52) and Abu Dulaf (859–61) in Samarra were important in setting the style that was emulated in regions as far as Egypt or Central Asia, where it was adapted to need and taste.
In the tenth century, Abbasid political unity weakened and independent or semi-autonomous local dynasties were established in Egypt, Iran, and other parts of the realm. Following the capture of Baghdad by the Buyids (932–1062) and Seljuqs (1040–1194) in 945 and 1055, Abbasid caliphs retained little more than moral and spiritual influence as the heads of Orthodox Sunni Islam. The Abbasid realm witnessed a brief revival under caliphs al-Nasir (r. 1180–1225) and al-Mustansir (r. 1226–42), when Baghdad once again became the greatest center for the arts of the book in the Islamic world and the Mustansiriyya Madrasa (1228–33), the first college for the four canonical schools of Sunni law, was built. However, this burst of artistic vitality came to a temporary halt with the sack of Baghdad by the Ilkhanid branch of the Mongols in 1258. Though surviving Abbasids fled to Mamluk Egypt, these caliphs would only have nominal influence. The end of the Abbasid caliphate thus marked the end of the universal Arab-Muslim empire.
1)Al-Saffah, Abdullah (750–754 CE)
2)Al-Mansur, Abdullah (754–775 CE) [brother]
3)Al-Mahdi, Muhammad (775–785 CE) [son]
4)Al-Hadi, Musa (785–786 CE) [son]
5)Al-Rashid, Harun (786–809 CE) [brother]
6)Al-Amin, Muhammad (809–813 CE) [son]
7)Al-Ma’mun, Abdullah (813–833 CE) [brother]
8)Al-Mu‘tasim, Abbas (833–842 CE) [brother]
9)Al-Wathiq, Harun (842–847 CE) [son]
10)Al-Mutawakkil, Jafar (847–861 CE) [brother]
11)Al-Muntasir, Muhammad (861–862 CE) [son]
12)Al-Musta‘in, Ahmad (862–866 CE) [grandson of #8]
13)Al-Mu‘tazz, Muhammad (866–869 CE) [son of #10]
14)Al-Muhtadi, Muhammad (869–870 CE) [son of #9]
15)Al-Mu‘tamid, Ahmad (870–892 CE) [son of #10]
16)Al-Mu‘tadid, Ahmad (892–902 CE) [grandson of #10]
17)Al-Muktafi, Ali (902–908 CE) [son]
18)Al-Muqtadir, Jafar (908–932 CE) [brother]
19)Al-Qahir, Muhammad (932–934 CE) [brother]
20)Al-Radi, Ahmad (934–940 CE) [son of #18]
21)Al-Muttaqi, Ibrahim (940–944 CE) [brother]
22)Al-Mustakfi, Abdullah (944–946 CE) [son of #17]
23)Al-Muti, al-Fadl (946–974 CE) [son of #18]
24)Al-Ta’i, Abdulkarim (974–991 CE) [son]
25)Al-Qadir, Ahmad (991–1031 CE) [grandson of #18]
26)Al-Qa’im (1031–1075 CE) [son]
27)Al-Muqtadi, Abdullah (1075–1094 CE) [grandson]
28)Al-Mustazhir, Ahmad (1094–1118 CE) [son]
29)Al-Mustarshid, al-Fadl (1118–1135 CE) [son]
30)Al-Rashid, Mansur (1135–1136 CE) [son]
31)Al-Muqtafi, Muhammad (1136–1160 CE) [son of #28]
32)Al-Mustanjid, Yusuf (1160–1170 CE) [son]
33)Al-Mustadi, Hasan (1170–1180 CE) [son]
34)Al-Nasir, Ahmad (1180–1225 CE) [son]
35)Al-Zahir, Muhammad (1225–1226 CE) [son]
36)Al-Mustansir, Mansur (1226–1242 CE) [son]
37)Al-Musta‘sim, Abdullah (1242–1258 CE) [son]
Tahirid dynasty, (821–873 CE), Islamic dynasty of Khorāsān (centred in northeastern Persia), which owed nominal allegiance to the Abbasid caliph at Baghdad but enjoyed virtual independence. The dynasty—generally considered to be the first native Iranian Islamic dynasty—was founded by Ṭāhir ibn al-Ḥusayn, a successful military general awarded the eastern lands by the caliph. Ṭāhir’s successors pushed their dominion as far as the Indian frontier.
1)Tahir I (821–822 CE)
2)Talha (822–828 CE) [son]
3)Abdullah I (828–845 CE) [brother]
4)Tahir II (845–862 CE) [son]
5)Muhammad (862–873 CE, Khorasan only) [son]
TThe Saffarids or the Saffarid dynasty was a Persian empire. They ruled in Sistan from 861–1002. Sistan was a historical region in southeastern Iran, southwestern Afghanistan and northwestern Pakistan. Their capital was Zaranj, located in present-day Afghanistan.
The Saffarids used their capital Zaranj as a base for an aggressive expansion eastward and westward. They first invaded the areas south of the Hindu Kush, and then overthrew the Tahirid dynasty, annexing Khorasan in 873. By the time of Ya’qub’s death, he had conquered the Kabul Valley, Sindh, Tocharistan, Makran (Balochistan), Kerman, Fars, Khorasan, and nearly reached Baghdad but then suffered a defeat by the Abbasids.
The Saffarid dynasty did not last long after Ya’qub’s death. His brother and successor, Amr bin Laith, was defeated at the Battle of Balkh against Ismail Samani in 900. Amr bin Laith was forced to surrender most of his territories to the new rulers. The Saffarids were confined to their heartland of Sistan, and with time, their role was reduced to that of vassals of the Samanids and their successors.
1)Yaqub I (867–879 CE) [son of Layth]
2)Amro I (879–901 CE; deposed, died 902) [brother]
3)Ali (879–893 CE; pretender) [brother]
4)Tahir (901–909 CE) [grandson of #2]
5)Laith (909–910 CE) [son of #3]
6)Mohammad (910–911 CE) [brother]
7)Amro II (912–913 CE) [great-grandson of #2]
8)Ahmad I (923–963 CE) [married granddaughter of #2]
9)Khalaf I (963–1002 CE) (son)
The last Magian of name and power appears to be Mardavige the Dilemite [Mardawij, the Ziyarid], who, in the beginning of the 10th century, reigned in the northern provinces of Persia, near the Caspian Sea. But his soldiers and successors, the Bowides [Buwaihids], either professed or embraced the Mahometan faith; and under their dynasty (A.D. 933-1020 [932-1023 in Ispahan and Hamadhan; but till 1055 in Firs, in Irak and in Kirman.
The Ziyarid dynasty was founded by Mardawij b. Ziyar (928-935), whose successors were Zahir addaula (ud-daula, ed-dowleh] Abu Mantur Washmagir (935-967), Bistun (967-976), Shams al Ma’ali Qabus (976-1012), Fuhk itl Ma’ali Manushahr (1012-1029) Anushirwim (1029-1042). They were Alyite in religion. They were of progressively less importance under the Samanids, and were ultimately expelled by the Ghaznevids.
The southern shore of the Caspian had never been well affected to the Caliphate, and the followers of ‘All had repeatedly established their heterodox power in these regions; nor were the Samanids more successful than the Caliphs in maintaining their authority there. Taking advantage of this, Mardawij b. Ziyar, descended from a long line of princes, made himself independent in Tabaristan and Jurjan, and even occupied Ispahan and Hamadhan, and pushed his forces as far as Hulwan, on the Mesopotamian frontier, between the years 928-931 (316-319). He was the patron of the Buwayhids, and gave ‘All b. Buwayh his first appointment as governor of Karaj.
Mardawij held his dominions as titular vassal of the ‘Abbasid Caliph: his brother and successor -Washmaglr paid nominal homage to the Samanids as well. After the rise of the Buwayhids in 932 (320), the authority of the Ziyarids scarcely extended beyond the borders of Jurjan and Tabaristan; and Kabus was even exiled for 18 years (371-389) by the Buwayhid Mu-ayyid-al-dawla. On his return, however, he recovered Gilan as well as his former provinces, in which his sons succeeded him, until dispossessed by the Ghaznawids.
1)Mardavij (928–934 CE) [son of Ziyar]
2)Voshmgir (934–967 CE) [brother]
3)Bistun (967–976 CE) [son]
4)Qabus (976–1012 CE) [brother]
5)Manuchehr (1012–1031 CE) [son]
6)Anushirvan (1031–1043 CE) [son]
The Buyid dynasty (also spelled Buwayhid; Persian: آل بویه, romanized: Āl-e Būya), was a Shia Iranian dynasty of Daylamite origin, which mainly ruled over Iraq and central and southern Iran from 934 to 1062. Coupled with the rise of other Iranian dynasties in the region, the approximate century of Buyid rule represents the period in Iranian history sometimes called the ‘Iranian Intermezzo’ since, after the Muslim conquest of Persia, it was an interlude between the rule of the Abbasid Caliphate and the Seljuk Empire.
1)Ali Imad al-Dowleh (934–949 CE, Fars)
2)Hasan Rokn al-Dowleh (935–976 CE, Ray) [brother]
3)Ahmad Muizz al-Dowleh (945–967 CE, Iraq) [brother]
4)Fana Khosrow Azud al-Dowleh (949–983 CE) [son of #2]
5)Shirzil Sharaf al-Dowleh (983–989 CE) [son]
6)Marzuban Samsam al-Dowleh (989–998 CE) [brother]
7)Firuz Baha al-Dowleh (998–1012 CE) [brother]
8)Fana Khosrow Sultan al-Dowleh (1012–1024 CE) [son]
9)Marzuban (1024–1048 CE) [son]
10)Fulad Sutun (1048–1062 CE) [son
Samanid dynasty, (819–999 CE), Iranian dynasty that arose in what is now eastern Iran and Uzbekistan. It was renowned for the impulse that it gave to Iranian national sentiment and learning.
The four grandsons of the dynasty’s founder, Sāmān-Khodā, had been rewarded with provinces for their faithful service to the Abbasid caliph al-Maʾmūn: Nūḥ obtained Samarkand; Aḥmad, Fergana; Yaḥyā, Shāsh (Tashkent); and Elyās, Herāt. Aḥmad’s son Naṣr became governor of Transoxania in 875, but it was his brother and successor, Ismāʿīl I (892–907), who overthrew the Ṣaffārids in Khorāsān (900) and the Zaydis of Ṭabaristān, thus establishing a semiautonomous rule over Transoxania and Khorāsān, with Bukhara as his capital.
1)Nasr I (875–892 CE)
2)Isma‘il I (892–907 CE) [brother]
3)Ahmad I (907–914 CE) [son]
4)Nasr II (914–943 CE) [son]
5)Nuh I (943–954 CE) [son]
6)Abd al-Malek I (954–961 CE) [son]
7)Mansur I (961–976 CE) [brother]
8)Nuh II (976–997 CE) [son]
9)Mansur II (976–999 CE) [son]
10)Abd al-Malek II (999 CE) [brother]
11)Isma‘il (II) (999–1001 CE) [brother]
The Ghaznavid, dynasty or the Ghaznavid Empire soon replaced the Samanid dynasty as rulers of medieval Persia and ruled for about two centuries from about 970 to 1187.
The Ghaznavids were a Turkish dynasty, whose empire, like that of the Samanids, extended over what is now Central Asia, Afghanistan and most of what is now Iran.
Two military families arose from the Turkic slave – soldiers of the Samanids — the Simjurids and Ghaznavids. Alp Tigin, the general of the Samanids, founded the Ghaznavid fortunes when he established himself at Ghazna (Ghazni, Afghanistan) in 962. When the Samanid Emir ‘Abd al-Malik I died in 961 CE, there was a succession crisis between ‘Abd al-Malik I’s brothers. A court party instigated by men of the scribal class—civilian ministers as contrasted with Turkic generals—rejected Alp Tigin’s candidate for the Samanid throne. Mansur I was installed, and Alp Tigin prudently retired to Ghazna.
Alp Tigin was succeeded at Ghazna by Sebuk Tigin, who made himself lord of nearly all the present territory of Afghanistan and of the Punjab by conquest of In 997, Sebuk Tigin died and his son Ismail succeeded him. Ismail’s older brother Mahmoud who was away fighting the Samanids, jailed Ismail and came to be ruler the following year. Mahmoud completed the destruction of the Samanids and lesser dynasties.
Mahmud carried out seventeen expeditions through northern India establishing his control and setting up tributary states. His raids also resulted in the looting of a great deal of plunder.
The Ghaznavid rulers did not call themselves Shahs or Caliphs, and adhered to the more modest title of Emir or Amir, suitable to a provincial governor, until the later part of the dynasty when some rulers called themselves Shah and even Sultan. Though they were originally of Turkish stock, the Ghaznavids were thoroughly assimilated under the Samanids and continued the growth of Persian culture and language.
The last Ghaznavid ruler was Khosrau Malik, who ruled over northern india. He was defeated by Muhhamad of Ghur, ending the Ghaznavid empire
Alp Tigin (963-977)
Sebük Tigin, (Abu Mansur) (977-997)
Mahmud (Yamin ud-Dawlah ) (998-1030)
Mohammed (Jalal ud-Dawlah) (1030–1031)
Mas’ud I (Shihab ud-Dawlah) (1031–1041)
Mohammed (Jalal ud-Dawlah (second time) (1041)
Maw’dud (Shihab ud-Dawlah) (1041–1050)
Mas’ud II (1050)
Ali (Baha ud-Dawlah) (1050)
Abd ul-Rashid (Izz ud-Dawlah) (1053)
Toğrül (Tughril) (Qiwam ud-Dawlah) (1053)
Farrukhzad (Jamal ud-Dawlah) (1053–1059)
Ibrahim (Zahir ud-Dalah) (1059–1099)
Mas’ud III (Ala ud-Dawlah) (1099–1115)
Shirzad (Kemal ud-Dawlah) (1115)
Arslan Shah (Sultan ud-Dawlah) (1115–1118)
Bahram Shah (Yamin ud-Dawlah ) (1118–1152)
Khusrau Shah (Mu’izz ud-Dawlah) (1152–1160)
Khusrau Malik (Taj ud-Dawlah) (1160–1187)
The Seljuqs (also Seljuk or Seljuq Turks) were a Muslim dynasty of originally Oghuz Turkic descent that ruled parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the eleventh to fourteenth centuries. They set up an empire known as “Great Seljuk Empire” that stretched from Anatolia to Punjab and was the target of the First Crusade. Increasingly fractured by fighting among independent Seljuk principalities, the once great Seljuk Empire was weakened during the first two crusades, gave way to the Ayyubid dynasty under Saladin, and finally crumbled during the Mongol invasions. It was ultimately succeeded by the Ottoman Empire, which inherited much of his cultural foundation.
The dynasty marked the beginning of Turkic power in the Middle East. The Seljuks are regarded as the cultural ancestors of the Western Turks, the present-day inhabitants of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan. They are also remembered as great patrons of Persian culture, art, literature, and language.
1)Tughrul Beg (1037–1063 CE)
2)Alp Arslan (1063–1072 CE) [nephew]
3)Malek Shah (1072–1092 CE) [son]
4)Mahmud I (1092–1093 CE) [son]
5)Barkiyaruq (1093–1104 CE) [brother]
6)Malek Shah II (1104–1105v CE) [son]
7)Mohammad Tapar (1105–1118 CE) [son of #3]
8)Ahmad Sanjar (1118–1157 CE) [son of #3]
The origins of the Imperial Khwarezmshah family goes back to Anushtegin, who was a Turkish-origined palace officer in the Seljuk court. Anushtegin’s son Qudbaddin Mohammed was appointed as the governor of the Khwarzem province by the Seljuk Sultan Berqyaruq in the year 1098. During his governorship, he assured his family’s place in the region and after his death in 1128, his son Atsiz was appointed as the new governor by the Seljuk Sultan Sanjar.
Atsiz was a ruthless ruler; he laid heavy taxes on the people and began capturing strategic positions of the region. Sanjar organized three campaigns on Atsiz, and even tough Atsiz’s forces were defeated, Sanjar let him to govern the region, because a new danger was coming from the Steppes: the Kara-Khitai. After Sanjar’s army was crushed by these nomadic people at the Battle of Qatwan in 1141, Atsiz declared his independece but he submitted the Seljuk protectorate after Sanjar escaped from the rebel Oghuz. After Atsiz died in 1156, he was succeded by his son Il-Arslan.
Rise to Power:
After Sanjar’s death in 1157, Il-Arslan proclaimed his independence, defeated the Kara-Khitai and the Qarakhanids and captured important Transoxian towns like Bukhara and Samarkand. He died in 1172 and his son Alaeddin Takish became the new Khwarezm Shah.
Alaeddin Takish was a brilliant ruler and a good general. He defeated the Kara-Khitai and brought the Kipchaks under Khwarezmshah rule. He invaded Khorasan in 1183 and destroyed the Iraqi Seljuks in 1194. He spent his last years in fighting with the Assassins and captured the fort of Arslan-Gusha, one of their most important strongholds. He died in 1200 and his son Alaeddin Mohammed sat on the Khwarzemshah throne.
The early years of Alaeddin Mohammed’s reign were spent for the struggle against the other Khwarezmshah princes. In 1214, he destroyed the Kara-Khitai Empire and the Gurid Sultanate of India. He also expanded the borders of the empire up to the Persian Gulf. Another campaign he was planning was the Invasion of China; altough China was already invaded by the Mongols.
1)Qutb al-Din Mohammad I (1097–1127 CE)
2)Ala al-Din Atsiz (1127–1156 CE) [son]
3)Il Arslan (1156–1172 CE) [son]
4)Ala al-Din Takesh (1172–1200 CE) [son]
5)Ala al-Din Mohammad II (1200–1220 CE) [son]
6)Jalal al-Din Mingburnu (1220–1231 CE) [son]
The Ilkhanate (also spelled Il-khanate or Il Khanate in Persian: سلسله ایلخانی), was one of the four khanates within the Mongol Empire. It was centered in Persia, including present-day Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and western Pakistan. It was based, originally, on Genghis Khan’s campaigns in the Khwarezmid Empire in 1219-1224, and the continual expansion of Mongol presence under the commands of Chormagan, Baiju, and Eljigidei. Il-Khan means “subordinate Khan” and the dynasty was in theory under the authority of the Great Khan, although they lost contact with him. They unified much of Iran following several hundred years of political fragmentation. Adopting Islam, they oversaw what has been described as a Renaissance in Iran. They oscillated between Sunni and Shi’a Islam, though after the beginning of the Safavid dynasty Iran would become officially Shi’a. Although the Khanate disintegrated, it brought stability to the region for about a century. Their rule is usually dated from 1256 to 1353.
1)Hülegü Khan (1256–1265 CE) [grandson of Chinggis Khan]
2)Abaqa Khan (1265–1282 CE) [son]
3)Ahmad Tegüder (1282–1284 CE)
4)Arghun (1284–1291 CE) [son of Abaqa]
5)Gaykhatu (1291–1295 CE) [son of Abaqa]
6)Baydu (1295 CE) [grandson of Hülegü via father Taragay]
7)Ghazan (1295–1304 CE) [son of Arghun]
8)Öljeitü Khodabandeh (1304–1317 CE) [son]
9)Abu Sa‘id Bahadur (1317–1335 CE) [son]
10)Arpa Khan (1335–1336 CE)
Timurid dynasty, (fl. 15th–16th century CE), dynasty of Turkic-Mongol origin descended from the conqueror Timur (Tamerlane). The period of Timurid rule was renowned for its brilliant revival of artistic and intellectual life in Iran and Central Asia.
After Timur’s death (1405), his conquests were divided between two of his sons: Mīrānshāh (died 1407) received Iraq, Azerbaijan, Moghān, Shīrvān, and Georgia, while Shāh Rokh was left with Khorāsān.
Between 1406 and 1417 Shāh Rokh extended his holdings to include those of Mīrānshāh as well as Māzandarān, Sīstān, Transoxania, Fars, and Kermān, thus reuniting Timur’s empire, except for Syria and Khuzistan. Shāh Rokh also retained a nominal suzerainty over China and India. During Shāh Rokh’s reign (1405–47), economic prosperity was restored and much of the damage wrought by Timur’s campaigns was repaired. Trading and artistic communities were brought into the capital city of Herāt, where a library was founded, and the capital became the center of a renewed and artistically brilliant Persian culture.
1)Timur (Tamerlane) (1370–1405 CE)
2)Pir Muhammad (1405? CE) [grandson of Timur]
3)Shah Rukh (1405–1447 CE) [son of Timur]
4)Khalil Sultan (1405–1409 CE)
5)Ulugh-Beg (1447–1449 CE) [son of Shah Rukh]
6)Abd-al-Latif Mirza (1449–1450 CE) [son of Ulugh-Beg]
7)Abu Said (1451–1469 CE) [nephew of Khalil Sultan]
8)Husayn Bayqara (1469–1506 CE)
The Qara Qoyunlu or Kara Koyunlu (Persian: قره قویونلو, Azerbaijani: Qaraqoyunlular قاراقویونلولار), also known as the Black Sheep Turkomans, were a Persianate Muslim Turkoman monarchy that ruled over the territory comprising present-day Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, northwestern Iran, eastern Turkey, and northeastern Iraq from about 1380 to 1468.
The Kara Koyunlu were vassals of the Jalāyirid dynasty of Baghdad and Tabrīz from about 1375, when the head of their leading tribe, Kara Muḥammad Turmush (reigned c. 1375–90), ruled Mosul. The federation secured its independence with the seizure of Tabrīz (which became its capital) by Kara Yūsuf (reigned 1390–1400; 1406–20). Routed by the armies of Timur in 1400, Kara Yūsuf sought refuge with the Mamluks of Egypt but by 1406 was able to regain Tabrīz. He then secured the Kara Koyunlu position against threats from the Ak Koyunlu (“White Sheep”), a rival Turkmen federation in the province of Diyār Bakr (modern Iraq), and from the Georgians and Shīrvān-Shāhs in the Caucasus and Timur’s successors in Iran. The capture of Baghdad in 1410 and the installation of a subsidiary Kara Koyunlu line there hastened the downfall of the Jalāyirids themselves.
Despite the dynastic struggles for primacy in the years following Kara Yūsuf’s death (1420) and continuing Timurid pressure, the Kara Koyunlu maintained a firm grip on their possessions. Jihān Shāh (reigned c. 1438–67) established a temporary peace with the Timurid Shāh Rokh, who had helped him gain the Kara Koyunlu throne. But after Shāh Rokh’s death in 1447, Jihān Shāh annexed portions of Iraq and the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula as well as Timurid western Iran. Jihān Shāh’s rule was repeatedly troubled by his rebellious sons and by the semiautonomous Kara Koyunlu rulers of Baghdad, whom he expelled in 1464. An attempt to take Diyār Bakr from the Ak Koyunlu in 1466 ended in Jihān Shāh’s defeat and death, and within two years the Kara Koyunlu succumbed to the superior Ak Koyunlu forces.
1)Qara Muhammad (1380–1389 CE)
2)Qara Yusuf (1389–1420 CE)
4)Jahan Shah (before 1440s?–1467 CE)
Ak Koyunlu, also spelled Aq Qoyunlu, Turkish Akkoyunlular, English White Sheep, Turkmen tribal federation that ruled northern Iraq, Azerbaijan, and eastern Anatolia from 1378 to 1508 CE.
The Ak Koyunlu were present in eastern Anatolia at least from 1340, according to Byzantine chronicles, and most Ak Koyunlu leaders, including the founder of the dynasty, Kara Osman (reigned 1378–1435), married Byzantine princesses.
In 1402 Kara Osman was granted all of Diyār Bakr in northern Iraq by the Turkic ruler Timur. The strong presence of the Kara Koyunlu (“Black Sheep”), a rival Turkmen federation, in western Iran and Azerbaijan temporarily checked any expansion, but the rule of Uzun Ḥasan (1452–78) brought the Ak Koyunlu to fresh prominence. With the defeat of Jihān Shāh, the Kara Koyunlu leader, in 1467 and the defeat of Abū Saʿīd, the Timurid, in 1468, Uzun Ḥasan was able to take Baghdad, the Persian Gulf, and Iran as far east as Khorāsān. The Ottoman Turks were simultaneously (1466–68) moving eastward in Anatolia, threatening Ak Koyunlu domains and forcing Uzun Ḥasan into an alliance with the Qaramānids of central Anatolia. In 1464 the Ak Koyunlu had already turned to the Venetians, enemies of the Ottomans, in an attempt to stave off the inevitable Ottoman attack. Despite promises of military aid, the Venetian arms never were provided, and Uzun Ḥasan was defeated by the Ottomans in Tercan (modern Mamahatun) in 1473.
1)Qara Osman (Uthman) (1403–1435 CE)
2)Eleven different claimants in this twenty-two-year period
3)Uzun Hasan (1457–1478 CE)
5)Ya‘qub (1481–1490 CE)
7)Rustam (1494–1497 CE)
8)Tripartite division before defeat by Safavids:
Alwand Aq-Qoyunlu (1497–1501 CE)
Murad (died 1514)
The Safavids were a dynastic family that ruled over modern-day Iran. They sustained one of the longest running empires of Iranian history, lasting from 1501 to 1736. At the height of their reign, the Safavids controlled not only Iran, but also the countries we now know as Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Armenia, eastern Georgia, parts of the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, as well as parts of Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Soon after the Safavids rose to power, they established Twelver Shiism (the largest branch of Shi’a Islam), as the official religion of their dynasty. This distinguished the Safavids from their neighboring and rival empires—the Ottomans (to their west in Turkey), and the Mughals (to their east in India). The Ottomans and Mughals adhered to Sunni Islam. While Shi’a and Sunni share many core Islamic beliefs, the main difference has to do with who succeeded the Prophet Muhammad upon his death in 632. The Sunnis believed the leader should be elected amongst the people, while the Shi’a believed the leader should follow the lineage of Prophet Muhammad’s family.
Safavid art and architecture reflected this adoption of a Shi’a identity. They invested a great deal of their capital into the building and decoration of shrines of Shi’a saints. This encouraged pilgrimages across the great stretch of the Safavid empire, in places such as Karbala and Najaf, two cities in central Iraq. Shi’a Islam is still the official state religion of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Safavids are therefore widely known for bringing this historic change to the region. However, the original ancestral line of the Safavids was a religious order of Sufi mystics that lived in Ardabil, a city now in Azerbaijan (Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam that originated during the Umayyad caliphate).
Shah Ismail, the founder of the Safavid dynasty, rejoined the western and eastern halves of the Iranian plateau through military achievement. Prior to the rise of the Safavids, the region was broken up into a mosaic of autonomous states, all governed by local rulers. The emergence of the Safavids marked the first time the region was ruled by Persian kings since the Sasanian dynasty (an empire dating back to the seventh century). Because the Safavids forged an empire of vastly different regions, each with unique artistic tastes and styles, early Safavid artists worked diligently to create a cohesive visual identity that nevertheless reflected the diversity the new Safavid dynasty controlled. This aesthetic was developed even further by Shah Abbas I (who reigned from 1588–1629), the dynasty’s most prolific builder and patron of the arts. Collectively, the Safavids produced one of the richest eras of art production in Islamic history, spanning arts of the book, exquisite textiles, and monumental architecture.
1)Isma‘il I (1501–1524 CE)
2)Tahmasp I (1524–1576 CE) [son]
3)Isma‘il II (1576–1578 CE) [son]
4)Mohammad Khodabandeh (1578–1587 CE) [son of Tahmasp I]
5)Abbas I (1587–1629 CE) [son]
6)Safi I (1629–1642 CE) [grandson]
7)Abbas II (1642–1666 CE) [son]
8)Sulayman (Safi II) (1667–1694 CE) [?]
9)Soltan Hosein (1688–1726 CE) [son of Sulayman], Afghan invasion in 1722
10)Tahmasp II (1729–1732 CE; pretender) [son]
Nader Shah ousted the brief Aghan Hotaki Dynasty from Iran, conquered Afghanistan, Khiva, Iraq, restored Persian suzerainty over the Caucasus, invaded the Punjab, sacked Delhi, capital of the once powerful Mughal Empire. Terminating the Safavid Dynasty in 1736, he established the Afsharid Dynasty.
Following his assassination in 1747, his empire quickly disintegrated.
The Emirate of Khwarezm or Khiva resumed its independence; the Durrani Empire in Afghanistan established independence; the Ottoman Empire retook Iraq. In 1750 the Afsharid Dynasty was ousted by the Zand Dynasty in all provinces of Iran except for Khorasan. Here the descendants of Nader Shah held on to power until 1796, when Khorasan was annexed by the Qajar Dynasty . The Afsharid capital, from 1750 to 1796, was Mashhad.
1)Nader Shah (1736–1747 CE)
2)Adel Shah (1747–1748 CE) [nephew]
3)Ibrahim Shah (1748–1749 CE) [brother]
4)Shahrukh Shah (1748–1796 CE) [grandson of Nadir Shah]
5)Sulayman II (1750 CE) [grandson of Shah Soltan Hosein]
The Zand Dynasty in 1750 ousted the Afsharid Dynasty (established by Nader Shah 1736) everywhere in Iran except for Khorasan, where it was to last until 1796. The Zand Dynasty was succeeded by the Qajar Dynasty in 1794. Capital Shiraz.
1)Karim Khan Zand (Wakil) (1751–1779 CE)
2)Abol Fath Khan (1779 CE) [son]
3)Sadiq Khan (1780–1782 CE) [brother of Karim Khan]
4)Ali-Morad Khan (1781/2–1785 CE) [nephew of Zaki?]
5)Ja‘far (1785–1789 CE) [son of Sadiq Khan?]
6)Lotf Ali (1789–1794 CE) [son of Ja‘far]
In 1779, following the death of Moḥammad Karīm Khān Zand, the Zand dynasty ruler of southern Iran, Āghā Moḥammad Khān (reigned 1779–97), a leader of the Turkmen Qājār tribe, set out to reunify Iran. By 1794 he had eliminated all his rivals, including Loṭf ʿAlī Khān, the last of the Zand dynasty, and had reasserted Iranian sovereignty over the former Iranian territories in Georgia and the Caucasus. In 1796 he was formally crowned as shah, or emperor. Agha Moḥammad was assassinated in 1797 and was succeeded by his nephew, Fatḥ ʿAlī Shāh (reigned 1797–1834). Fath ʿAlī attempted to maintain Iran’s sovereignty over its new territories, but he was disastrously defeated by Russia in two wars (1804–13, 1826–28) and thus lost Georgia, Armenia, and northern Azerbaijan. Fatḥ ʿAlī’s reign saw increased diplomatic contacts with the West and the beginning of intense European diplomatic rivalries over Iran. He was succeeded in 1834 by his grandson Moḥammad, who fell under the influence of Russia and made two unsuccessful attempts to capture Herāt. When Moḥammad Shāh died in 1848 the succession passed to his son Nāṣer od-Dīn (reigned 1848–96), who proved to be the ablest and most successful of the Qājār sovereigns. During his reign Western science, technology, and educational methods were introduced into Iran and the country’s modernization was begun. Nāṣer od-Dīn Shāh exploited the mutual distrust between Great Britain and Russia to preserve Iran’s independence.
When Nāṣer was assassinated by a fanatic in 1896, the crown passed to his son Moẓaffar od-Dīn Shāh (reigned 1896–1907), a weak and incompetent ruler who was forced in 1906 to grant a constitution that called for some curtailment of monarchial power. His son Moḥammad ʿAlī Shāh (reigned 1907–09), with the aid of Russia, attempted to rescind the constitution and abolish parliamentary government. In so doing he aroused such opposition that he was deposed in 1909, the throne being taken by his son. Aḥmad Shāh (reigned 1909–25), who succeeded to the throne at age 11, proved to be pleasure-loving, effete, and incompetent and was unable to preserve the integrity of Iran or the fate of his dynasty. The occupation of Iran during World War I (1914–18) by Russian, British, and Ottoman troops was a blow from which Aḥmad Shāh never effectively recovered. With a coup d’état in February 1921, Reza Khan (ruled as Reza Shah Pahlavi, 1925–41) became the preeminent political personality in Iran; Aḥmad Shāh was formally deposed by the majlis (national consultative assembly) in October 1925 while he was absent in Europe, and that assembly declared the rule of the Qājār dynasty to be terminated.
1)Agha Mohammad Khan (1789–1797 CE)
2)Fath Ali Shah (1797–1834 CE) [nephew]
3)Mohammad Shah (1834–1848 CE) [grandson]
4)Naser al-Din (1848–1896 CE) [son]
5)Mozaffar al-Din Shah (1896–1907 CE) [son]
6)Mohammad Ali Shah (1903–1909 CE) [son]
7)Ahmad Shah (1909–1925 CE) [son]
Reza Khan was the founder of this dynasty. The history of Pahlavis begins with him. He was an officer in the Cossack Brigade. With the help of the British government, he became the minister of defense and later the prime minister. Eventually, he took absolute control of the government. Even the Majlis could not stop him. He indicated remarkable proficiency and discipline in the realm of the Cossack Brigade, the only military force of Iran.
Then, with the invisible support of General Ironside, the commander-in-chief of British Home Forces, he reached the ultimate power. He suppressed the uprisings of Khorasan, Azarbaijan, Gilan, and Khuzestan. Then, the Majlis deposed Ahmad Shah and announced the end of the rule of the Qajar dynasty.
With the title of the commander-in-chief, Reza Khan was appointed the temporary ruler of Iran. Within a few months, through a coronation ceremony, he was declared the king of Iran. This is how the history of Pahlavis started.
History of Pahlavis & Modernization Activities
His main goal was to establish an authoritative centralized government. To reach this, he had decided to shift the ruling system from monarchy to republic. The clergies opposed the idea of a republic system because they considered it an imitation of then anti-religious movements of Turkey.
His government’s ambitious plans were focused on what he called modernization of Iran. Unlike previous ruling eras, Reza Shah imposed limitations on the power of clergymen. This caused some hidden struggle between him and clergies, which later did not remain hidden either.
Reza Shah’s major activities were making military service compulsory and establishing a permanent army (both were opposed by clergies). Othe major accomplishments of his government were:
The developing of large-scale industries, executing major infrastructure projects, initiating a national public education campaign and increasing the number of schools, regulating taxes and customs’ income to finance the budget of the government, reforming judicial system, building and broadening roads, building bridges, digging tunnels, building a cross-country railroad system, issuing certificate of birth, taking census of the country, founding a statistic organization, founding a registration organization for official documents, founding “Bank Melli Iran” (Iranian National Bank), extending the organizational power, etc.
Mohammad Reza Shah’s Period
Political parties and press found a chance to resume their activities. Mohammad Reza was only a ruler in his palace and busy with formal ceremonies. USSR was planning to annex Iranian Azarbaijan to its Azarbaijan. Having taken Iran’s complaint to the United Nations and diplomatic negotiations with Moscow, Iran succeeded in persuading Soviet forces to withdraw their troops from Iran.
Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin came to Tehran in 1943, the capital of Iran, to discuss the scope and the timing of military operations against Germany. This is what is referred to as the “Tehran Conference” held in the embassy of the USSR. Among the different decisions they made, it was agreed that they would guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of Iran. Besides, they promised to assist Iran in the postwar era. This conference was held in Tehran without informing the Iranian king, Mohammad Reza Shah!
During the history of Pahlavis, people were not satisfied with the policies of the two kings. Dissatisfied with the politicians not taking him into consideration, Mohammad Reza Shah decided to enter into the political scene of Iran. Promised to be supported by Shah, Hazhir, and Sa’ed, two politicians helped him into the realm of the country’s political issues.
Shah had also inherited the commandership of the military forces from his father. He imposed censorship on the press and began to arrest his opponents. More supervision was imposed on the legislative elections so that only the court-approved politicians could enter the Majlis.
Despite all his efforts, finally, the representatives of the opposition were elected. They voiced their opposition to Shah from within the Majlis. Dr.Mohammad Mosadeq was chosen as prime minister. He started to liberalize the political atmosphere of Iran. The political campaign among parties and journalistic activities were revived. Shah had to suffice to his constitutional monarchial rights instead of reigning with absolute power. Dr.Mohammad Mosadeq’s advocating the nationalization of oil industry resulted in success. The head and staff of the British oil company left Iran.
1)Reza Shah (1926–1941 CE)
2)Mohammad Reza Shah (1941–1979 CE) [son]
Iran’s Islamic Revolution shook the world in 1979, with currents that continue to be felt today.
1)Ayatollah Khomeini (1979–1989 CE)
2)Ayatollah Khamenei (1989–until now)