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Abū al-Husayn Bajkam
Bajkam
al-Mākānī (Arabic: أبو الحسين بجكم المكاني‎), referred to as Bajkam, Badjkam or Bachkam (from Bäčkäm, a Persian and Turkish word meaning a horse- or yak-tail[1]), was a Turkish military commander and official of the Abbasid
Abbasid
Caliphate. A former ghulam of the Ziyarid dynasty, Bajkam entered Abbasid
Abbasid
service following the assassination of the Ziyarid ruler Mardavij
Mardavij
in 935. During his five-year tenure at the Caliphate's court at Baghdad, he was granted the title of amir al-umara, consolidating his dominance over the Caliphs ar-Radi and al-Muttaqi and giving him absolute power over their domains. Bajkam
Bajkam
was challenged throughout his rule by various opponents, including his predecessor as amir al-umara, Muhammad ibn Ra'iq, the Basra-based Baridis, and the Buyid dynasty
Buyid dynasty
of Iran, but he succeeded in retaining control until his death. He was murdered by a party of Kurds
Kurds
during a hunting excursion in 941, shortly after the accession of al-Muttaqi as Caliph. Bajkam
Bajkam
was known both for his firm rule and for his patronage of Baghdad
Baghdad
intellectuals, who respected and in some cases befriended him. His death led to a void in central power, resulting in a brief period of instability and fighting in Baghdad.

Contents

1 Early military career and service under Ibn Ra'iq 2 Amir al-umara 3 Death and ensuing anarchy 4 Character 5 References 6 Sources

Early military career and service under Ibn Ra'iq[edit] Details of Bajkam's early life are unknown. He was one of the ghilman (military slaves, usually of Turkish origin) of the Daylamite
Daylamite
warlord Makan ibn Kaki
Makan ibn Kaki
in northern Iran. Makan took care of the young Bajkam's training and education, something for which the latter showed his gratitude by adopting his patron's name as his nisba (surname).[1] After Makan, Bajkam
Bajkam
entered the service of Mardavij, founder of the Ziyarid dynasty, who came to control Daylam, Jibal
Jibal
and Tabaristan.[1] Mardavij
Mardavij
mistreated his ghilman, who consequently murdered him at Isfahan
Isfahan
in January 935, an act in which Bajkam
Bajkam
may have been complicit.[1][2] After Mardavij's death, most of the ghilman in Ziyarid service dispersed. Bajkam
Bajkam
and his fellow officer Tuzun assumed the leadership of a large group and, after first offering their services to the new governor of Jibal, Hasan ibn Harun, proceeded to the Abbasid
Abbasid
court at Baghdad.[1][3] At first, their offers were rejected by the court, where the Caliph's Hujari bodyguards jealously guarded their prerogatives, but the ghilman were eventually taken into the service of Muhammad ibn Ra'iq, governor of Basra
Basra
and Wasit in southern Iraq. Now known as Bajkam
Bajkam
Ra'iqi, Bajkam
Bajkam
created a large military force under his command consisting of his own followers as well as additional Turks and Daylamites summoned from Jibal.[1] In early November 936, the Caliph al-Radi (reigned 934–940) bestowed the newly created title of amir al-umara ("commander of commanders") on Ibn Ra'iq, who was effectively granted absolute control over the Caliphate. This provoked the reaction of various provincial governors as well as that of powerful interest groups in Baghdad
Baghdad
itself, such as the caliphal bodyguards. Against them, Ibn Ra'iq employed Bajkam
Bajkam
and his Turkish supporters. With their aid, he managed to neutralize the Hujari and Saji guard units, after which, in February 937, Bajkam
Bajkam
was rewarded with the posts of sahib al-shurta (chief of police) and governor of the eastern provinces.[1][4] Far more difficult and protracted was the war against the ambitious governor of Ahwaz, Abu Abdallah al-Baridi, who aimed to supplant Ibn Ra'iq.[1] Al-Baridi's family was of Basran origin, and had served the Abbasids in various roles as officials before managing to assert a weak hold over Khuzistan.[2] Ibn Ra'iq himself was defeated and forced to leave Basra
Basra
to the Baridis, but Bajkam
Bajkam
saved the situation by scoring two major victories, despite being outnumbered, that allowed him to take possession of Khuzistan. The hard-pressed al-Baridi now turned to his powerful neighbour, the Buyid
Buyid
ruler of Fars, Ali ibn Buya, for help. Ali's brother Ahmad soon took over Khuzistan, and Ibn Ra'iq was forced to offer possession of the province as an independent domain if Bajkam
Bajkam
would recover it. Bajkam
Bajkam
however was repulsed by the Buyid
Buyid
forces, and fell back to Wasit.[1][2] Ignoring Ibn Ra'iq's orders to retake Khuzistan, Bajkam
Bajkam
remained at Wasit, and began plotting to depose Ibn Ra'iq himself. To this end, Bajkam
Bajkam
began seeking allies: he offered the governorship of Wasit to the Baridis, and through the former vizier Ibn Muqla, who wished to avenge himself on Ibn Ra'iq for his own downfall and confiscation of his property, gained the covert support of Caliph al-Radi himself.[1][5] In September 938, Bajkam
Bajkam
led his troops from Wasit to Baghdad. Ibn Ra'iq tried without success to impede his advance by destroying the great dams of the Nahrawan Canal
Nahrawan Canal
and flooding the plain, but Bajkam's army entered the Abbasid
Abbasid
capital without opposition, and al-Radi immediately transferred Ibn Ra'iq's title of amir al-umara to Bajkam.[1][4] Amir al-umara[edit]

Map of Iraq
Iraq
in the 9th–10th centuries

Despite the continued relegation of al-Radi to a ceremonial role, the relationship between the Caliph and Bajkam
Bajkam
was strong, with al-Radi praising Bajkam
Bajkam
for his harsh discipline and referring to the latter as his "protégé". Al-Radi
Al-Radi
was appreciative of Bajkam's respect for his position as Caliph, and promised his support for the amir al-umara.[5] In October–November 938, Bajkam
Bajkam
and the Caliph campaigned against the influential Hamdanid
Hamdanid
emir of Mosul, Hasan ibn Abdallah, who had taken advantage of the turmoil in Iraq
Iraq
to cease forwarding his province's revenue to Baghdad. Although Bajkam's army captured Mosul, Hasan fled before him to the remotest corners of his domain, where Bajkam's forces pursued him in vain. In the meantime, the local population resented the presence of the caliphal troops and launched guerilla warfare against them, while Ibn Ra'iq used Bajkam's absence to take control of Baghdad
Baghdad
at the head of a Carmathian
Carmathian
force. These developments forced Bajkam
Bajkam
to negotiate with his rivals: the Hamdanids were restored in their province in exchange for the payment of the tax arrears, and Ibn Ra'iq was bought off with the governorship of the provinces of Tariq al-Furat, Diyar Mudar, Qinnasrin and al-'Awasim, which were also claimed by the Ikhshidids
Ikhshidids
of Egypt. This arrangement allowed Bajkam
Bajkam
and the Caliph to return to Baghdad
Baghdad
in February 939.[1][6] Bajkam, having consolidated his control over Baghdad, now turned to face the threat posed by the Buyids. To this end, he strengthened his ties with the Baridis of Basra, by handing over Wasit, as previously agreed, appointing Abu Abdallah al-Baridi as vizier of the Abbasid court (although the latter remained at Wasit and did not visit Baghdad), and, finally, by marrying himself to one of al-Baridi's daughters.[1] Bajkam's success against the Buyids was mixed: Wasit was saved from Buyid
Buyid
attack, and the Baridis led a successful campaign in Susiana, but an expedition into Jibal
Jibal
was crushed by the third Buyid brother, Hasan.[1] The alliance with the Baridis quickly soured, however, as al-Baridi still maintained his ambition of replacing Bajkam, and ajkam was aware of this. In late August 940, Bajkam removed al-Baridi from the vizierate and launched an attack on Wasit, which the Baridis abandoned without resistance.[1] In the meantime, the Baghdad
Baghdad
was in turmoil as religious violence had become commonplace, with fanatical members of the Hanbali
Hanbali
school imposing their tenets on the general populace.[7] In December 940, al-Radi died.[1][8] Bajkam
Bajkam
remained at Wasit, but sent his secretary to Baghdad
Baghdad
to convene a council of Abbasid aristocrats, who selected al-Muttaqi (r. 940–944), al-Radi's brother, as Caliph.[9] Bajkam
Bajkam
also sent a slave named Takinak to the deceased Caliph's palace, the Dar al-Sultan, to procure various items, including the valuable al-Yatimah pearl.[8][10] He also obtained three female slaves from al-Radi's palace, whose singing he remembered from his earlier visits to the Caliph.[8] Among al-Muttaqi's first actions as Caliph was the confirmation of Bajkam
Bajkam
as amir al-umara. Despite al-Muttaqi's gesture of support, Bajkam
Bajkam
still faced opposition among the semi-autonomous provincial governors, including al-Baridi.[9] Death and ensuing anarchy[edit] Bajkam
Bajkam
opened a campaign against al-Baridi in early spring 941. His lieutenants were at first defeated by the Baridis, whereupon Bajkam himself left Wasit to take the field. On his way to join his army, however, he was informed that his generals had achieved a major victory over the Baridis, and decided to return to Wasit. On 21 April 941, while travelling, he took part in a hunting excursion, during which he and his party inadvertently encountered a band of Kurdish brigands. During a brief skirmish, Bajkam
Bajkam
was slain when one of the Kurds
Kurds
stabbed him in the back with his lance.[1][9] Bajkam's unexpected death created a power vacuum in Baghdad, with disagreements between Daylamite
Daylamite
and Turkish forces prompting the former to join the defeated al-Baridi.[9] With their assistance, he marched on Wasit and Baghdad, capturing them, but was soon forced to flee due to the disorder that followed his usurpation of power. A Daylamite
Daylamite
chief named Kurankij replaced him as de facto ruler of Baghdad, but he imposed tyrannical rule, and al-Muttaqi appealed to the former amir al-umara Ibn Ra'iq for assistance.[9] Ibn Ra'iq soon retook control of Baghdad, but political turmoil did not cease with his re-installation as amir al-umara. Once again, al-Baridi captured the city, and Ibn Ra'iq fled with the Caliph to Mosul, from where the Hamdanid
Hamdanid
rulers launched a successful attempt to restore them. The Hamdanid
Hamdanid
emir Hasan, after ordering the assassination of Ibn Ra'iq, was made amir al-umara and given the laqab of Nasir al-Dawla
Nasir al-Dawla
("Defender of the Dynasty"). In 943, the Hamdanids were forced to retreat to Mosul
Mosul
when Tuzun, one of Bajkam's officers, seized power with military support; the following year, Tuzun captured, blinded, and deposed al-Muttaqi, assuming the role of amir al-umara. The Caliph's brother, al-Mustakfi (r. 944–946), was appointed as his successor. The competition for control of the Caliph ended in 945, when the Buyid
Buyid
Ahmad took over the position of amir al-umara with the title of Mu'izz al-Dawla. This begun the period of undisputed Buyid
Buyid
control over Baghdad
Baghdad
and Iraq, which lasted until the Seljuk conquest in the 1050s.[11] Character[edit] Despite his slave origin, Bajkam
Bajkam
was educated in Arabic (although he reportedly did not speak it for fear of making mistakes), respected by intellectuals and was known to seek the company of such men as al-Suli and the physician Sinan ibn Thabit. It is in their writings that glimpses of his character survive. According to the researcher Marius Canard, Bajkam
Bajkam
was "covetous of power and money, he did not hesitate to resort to dissimulation and ruse, corruption and torture to attain his ends; he was at times cruel, though his bravery was legendary, and was more upright in character than Ibn Ra'iq". Bajkam
Bajkam
was also solicitous for the welfare of his subjects, and especially the inhabitants of Wasit cherished his memory.[1] References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Canard (1960), pp. 866–867 ^ a b c Nagel (1990), pp. 578–586 ^ Busse (1975), p. 256 ^ a b Muir (1924), p. 569 ^ a b Mottahedeh (2001), p. 92 ^ Muir (1924), pp. 569–570 ^ Muir (1924), pp. 570–571 ^ a b c Qaddūmī (1996), p. 191 ^ a b c d e Muir (1924), p. 572 ^ Shalem (1997), p. 43 ^ Muir (1924), pp. 572–580

Sources[edit]

Busse, Heribert (1975). " Iran
Iran
under the Būyids". In R.N. Frye. The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 4: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 250–304.  Canard, Marius (1960). "Badjkam". In Gibb, H. A. R.; Kramers, J. H.; Lévi-Provençal, E.; Schacht, J.; Lewis, B.; Pellat, Ch. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume I: A–B. Leiden: E. J. Brill. pp. 866–867. ISBN 90-04-08114-3.  Muir, William (1924). The Caliphate: Its Rise, Decline, and Fall. Edinburgh: John Grant.  Mottahedeh, Roy P. (2001). Loyalty and leadership in an early Islamic society (Revised ed.). London [u.a.]: Tauris. ISBN 1860641814.  Nagel, Tilman (1990). "Buyids". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IV, Fasc. 6. Iranica Online. pp. 578–586. Retrieved 27 October 2012.  Qaddūmī, Ghādah Hijjāwī (1996). Book of Gifts and Rarities: Kitāb al-hadāyā wa al-tuạf. Forewords by Oleg Grabar and Annemarie Schimmel. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0932885136.  Shalem, Avinoam (1997). "Jewels and Journeys: The Case of the Medieval Gemstone Called al-Yatima". Muqarnas. XIV. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 

Preceded by Muhammad ibn Ra'iq amir al-umara of the Abbasid
Abbasid
Caliphate September 938 – 21 April 941 Succeede

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