Abu Kalijar Marzuban, also known as
Samsam al-Dawla (c. 963 –
December 998) was the
Buyid amir of
Iraq (983–987), as well as Fars
Kerman (988 or 989 – 998). He was the second son of 'Adud
Abbasids recognized his succession and conferred upon
him the title Samsam al-Dawla. He lacked the qualities of his father
'Adud al-Dawla and failed to have a grip upon his state affairs. His
rule was marked by revolts and civil wars.
1.1 Early life and rise
1.2 Early reign
1.3 Regaining his lost position
1.4 Losing power
Early life and rise
Buyid amirates in ca. 970
Abu Kalijar Marzuban was born in 963, he was the son of Adud al-Dawla
and Sayyida ibn Siyahgil, a daughter of Siyahgil, an Gilite
ruler. Thus making
Abu Kalijar Marzuban distantly related to
Ziyarid dynasty, who were descended from a sister of the Gilite ruler
Harusindan, who was the father of Siyahgil.
During 'Adud al-Dawla's lifetime,
Abu Kalijar Marzuban was assigned
the governorships of
Oman and Khuzestan. Despite Marzuban's
status as second son (Shirdil being the eldest), he was considered to
be his father's heir. This issue was never completely clarified by
'Adud al-Dawla before his death, resulting in a succession crisis.
Marzuban, who was in
Baghdad when his father died, at first kept his
death secret in order to ensure his succession. When he made the death
of his father public, he took the title "Samsam al-Dawla".
Shirdil also laid his claims to the succession, and from his province
Kerman invaded and captured Fars. He took the title "Sharaf
al-Dawla". Sharaf al-Dawla's invasion of Fars provided two more of
Samsam al-Dawla's brothers,
Taj al-Dawla and Diya' al-Dawla, to set up
their own rule in
Basra and Khuzestan. In Diyar Bakr, a
Badh ibn Hasanwaih took power and forced
Samsam al-Dawla to confirm
him as its ruler. To the north, Samsam al-Dawla's uncle Fakhr al-Dawla
ruled an extensive territory from Ray. The rulers of
Khuzestan soon acknowledged
Fakhr al-Dawla as senior amir, making the
latter the most powerful of the Buyids and moving the senior amirate
Iraq to Jibal.
Iraq in the 9th–10th centuries
Despite Fakhr al-Dawla's power, it was
Sharaf al-Dawla who posed the
largest threat to Samsam al-Dawla. He recovered
Buyid Oman, which had
earlier seceded to Samsam al-Dawla. In 983, the Turkic soldiers of
Iraq betrayed Samsam al-Dawla, and went towards to the court of Sharaf
al-Dawla. However, his relative from his mother's side Ziyar ibn
Shahrakawayh managed to make most of them change their mind and stay
loyal to Samsam al-Dawla.
In 985, a
Dailamite chief Saffar ibn Quddawiyah revolted against the
authority of Samsam he joined with (Shirdil. Saffar lead a force
against Samsam to Baghdad. Samsam sent a stronger force in retaliation
consequently Saffar was defeated. In early 986 Samsam captured Basra
and Khuzestan, forcing the two brothers to flee to Fakhr al-Dawla's
territory. During the same period, another
Dailamite named Asfar ibn
Kurdawayh rebelled against Samsam al-Dawla, and changed his allegiance
to Sharaf al-Dawla.
However, Asfar quickly changed his mind, and declared allegiance to
the latter's other brother Abu Nasr Firuz Kharshadh, who was shortly
given the honorific epithet of "Baha' al-Dawla." However, Samsam
al-Dawla, with the aid of Fuladh ibn Manadhar, suppressed the
rebellion, imprisoned Baha al-Dawla, and executed his supporters
executed, including Bahram ibn Ardashir al-Majusi. Samsam al-Dawla
then made peace with Sharaf al-Dawla, and agreed to release Baha
However, Sharaf betrayed Samsam, and quickly marched against him.
Sharaf occupied Ahwaz, then sent his forces to Wasit which fell to him
in 986 AD. From there Samsam marched to Baghdad. Before any
confrontation could take place, there was a revolt in the army of
Samsam, He was therefore defeated and forced to surrender. There upon
Baghdad fell to Sharaf and Samsam was put in prison.
Regaining his lost position
Map of Fars and its surrounding regions in the 9th–10th centuries
Sharaf al-Dawla's death in 988 or 989 provided
Samsam al-Dawla with
the opportunity to make a return to power. Despite having been
partially blinded shortly before Sharaf al-Dawla's death, he managed
to escape from prison and with the aid of Sharaf al-Dawla's former
vizier Ala ibn Hasan, wrested control of Fars,
Kerman and Khuzestan
from his brother Baha' al-Dawla, who had succeeded Sharaf al-Dawla.
Baha' al-Dawla and his brother found their positions threatened
by Fakhr al-Dawla. The latter invaded
Khuzestan in an attempt to split
the two brothers' territories. This act prompted the both of them to
draw up an alliance.
Samsam al-Dawla recognized
Baha' al-Dawla as the
Iraq and Khuzestan, while he himself kept Arrajan, Fars and
Kerman. Both promised to consider each other as equals, and took the
title of "king".
Baha' al-Dawla attempted to get rid of Samsam al-Dawla. He took
the title of Shâhanshâh and invaded the latter's territory. His
forces were defeated, however, and
Samsam al-Dawla regained Khuzestan.
He even gained control of the
Buyid territories in Oman. In order to
further strengthen his position,
Samsam al-Dawla decided to recognise
Fakhr al-Dawla as senior amir, submitting to his authority.
Fakhr al-Dawla's death in 997, coupled with Samsam al-Dawla's
increasing troubles within his realm, made
Baha' al-Dawla the
strongest of the
Buyid princes. He gained the support of the Kurdish
ruler Badr ibn Hasanwaih and prepared for the expedition. The invasion
began in December of 998. Scarcely had the campaign begun, however,
Samsam al-Dawla was murdered by one of the sons of 'Izz al-Dawla
Isfahan while fleeing from Shiraz.
Baha' al-Dawla took Shiraz,
defeated 'Izz al-Dawla's sons, and reunited Iraq, Fars and Kerman.
^ Donohue 2003, p. 87.
^ Madelung 1975, p. 219.
^ Madelung 1975, p. 211.
^ The Buwayhid dynasty of
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^ Kennedy 2004, p. 235.
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Amir (in Fars & Kerman)
In Fars (934–1062)
Abu Mansur Fulad Sutun
Abu Sa'd Khusrau Shah
Abu Mansur Fulad Sutun
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