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The Dailamites or Deylamites were an Iranian people who inhabited the mountainous areas of northern Iran on the south coast of the Caspian Sea . They have been valued as soldiers since the time of the Sassanid Empire and for a long time opposed the Arab conquest of Persia and the subsequent Islamization . In the 930s the Dailamite Buyid dynasty emerged and ruled over large parts of Persia until the arrival of the Seljuks in the middle of the 11th century.


The Dailamites lived in the highlands of Dailam , part of the Elburs Mountains between Gilan and Tabaristan . The earliest Zoroastrian and Christian sources suggest, however, that the original Dailamites came from the area around the Tigris River , where Iranian-speaking peoples like the Dimli live today. They spoke the Deilami language , a north-west Iranian dialect similar to that of the neighboring Gilaks . The Nestorians spread through the proselytizing of Johannes von Daylam from among Daylamites and dioceses are mentioned in the area until the 790er years; however, they could have continued into the 14th century. During the Sassanid rule, they were valued as high quality infantrymen. According to the Eastern Roman historians Prokop and Agathias , they were a warlike people and trained in hand-to-hand combat. Each Dalamite warrior was armed with a sword, shield, and spears or javelins. The Dailamites supported the rebellion of Bahram Chobin against Chosrau II , but he later employed 4,000 Dailamites in his bodyguard. The Sassanid general Wahriz , who was sent by Chosrau I to conquer Yemen in 570 , was probably also of Dailamite origin and his troops also included Dailamite contingents.

After the Persian defeat at the Battle of Kadesia, these Dailamite bodyguards, along with other Persian units, deserted to the attacking Arabs and converted to Islam . Despite this, the Dailamites managed to resist the Arab conquest of their homeland under the leadership of their own local leaders for centuries. This led to ongoing war and looting in Dailam. Under the Arabs, the old Sassanid border fortress of Qazvin retained its role as a bulwark against Dailamite incursions. According to the historian At-Tabarī , the Dailamites, along with the Turks, were at times viewed as the worst enemies of the Muslims. The Abbasids conquered parts of the region but were never able to effectively control them. During the reign of Harun al-Rashid , several Shiites fled to the Dailamites, most of whom had remained pagan, with the exception of a few Zoroastrians and Christians, to avoid persecution. Among these refugees were the Alides , among whom the Dailamites began to convert to Shiite Islam. Despite this, a strong Iranian identity was retained in the Dailamites, coupled with anti-Arab sentiments. The local Ziyarid dynasty, for example, continued to celebrate originally Iranian and Zoroastrian holidays.

The modern descendants of the Dailamites are the Delaim or Dulaim tribe . Another modern Iranian ethnic group that probably goes back to the Dailamites are the Caspians and the Zaza . The Zaza refer to themselves as Dimli or Dimla, which apparently goes back to the word Dailam.


Individual evidence

  1. Michael Fishbein, "e History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of the Marwanids AD 685-693 / AH", SUNY Press, 1990. Page 90 Excerpt: "The Daylamites were a Persian people that lived in the Gilan area in the north Iran was alive, they served the Sassanids as mercenaries and were stubbornly independent, despite all the Muslim campaigns against them.
  2. Dadagi, Farnbagh. Bahar, Mehrdad. "Bundahishn." Tus, 1991
  3. ^ Duus (EDT) Extra, D. (Durk) Gorter, Guus Extra, The Other Languages ​​of Europe: Demographic, Sociolinguistic and Educational Perspectives, Multilingual Matters (2001). ISBN 1-85359-509-8
  4. a b c d e f g Encyclopedia Iranica
  5. Frrokh (2007), pp. 201, 224, 231
  6. Farrokh (2007), p. 269
  7. a b Price (2005), p. 42
  8. Farrokh (2007), pp. 274-275.
  9. http://www.zazaki.de/englisch/articels/dimili-asatrian-iranica.pdf