Mahmud of Ghazni

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Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni and the boy Ayaz: Mahmud (in blue) stands on the right and shakes the sheikh's hand while Ayaz stands behind him. The figure to the right of the three is Shah Abbas I , who did not rule until 600 years later. The painting can be seen in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.
Mahmud and Ayaz (miniature painting, 15th century)

Mahmud of Ghazni ( Persian محمود غزنوی, DMG Maḥmūd-i Ġaznavī ; born October 2, 971 ; died on April 30, 1030 ), actually Yamin ad-Daula wa-Amin al-Milla Abu 'l-Qasim Mahmud ibn Sebüktigin (Yamīn ad-Daula wa-ʾAmīn al-Milla Abu' l-Qāsim Maḥmūd ibn Sebüktigin) , Maḥmūd for short ibn Sebüktigin , is the most famous ruler from the Ghaznawid dynasty of Turkish origin . By undertaking numerous campaigns - including to northern India - he established an important Islamic empire with the center of Ghazna , which he ruled from 998 until his death. According to Mahmud, his two sons Muhammad and Masud ruled .

Beginning and main features of his rule

Mahmud was the son of Sebüktigin (ruled 977-997), a semi-independent governor of the Samanid emirs Bukhara in Ghazni. His mother was the daughter of a Persian dignitary from Zabulistan . When the power of the Samanids fell, Sebüktigin was called in 993/94 by the Emir Nuh II (r. 976–997) to help put down a revolt of two army commanders in Khorasan . As he was successful, land and troops were transferred to him and his son Mahmud was given supreme command of the army in Khorasan with its headquarters in Nishapur .

After the death of his father in 997 Mahmud ousted his brother Ismail (r. 997) from power in Ghazni. Soon after, in October 999, Abd al-Malik II , the emir of the Samanids overthrew , so that Mahmud was also rid of his former rulers. Under his rule, Ghazni - already an important trading center - developed into a cultural center and became the capital of an empire that soon spanned present-day Afghanistan , large parts of modern Iran and Pakistan, and parts of northwest India. Some important personalities - including the great poet and Mahmud underpaid creator of Shahnameh Firdausi and the polymath al-Biruni - lived and worked temporarily at Mahmud's court.

Mahmud's regime from power of the Mamluks held together -Armee, the Persian bureaucracy samanidischem example and not least from the legitimacy, giving it the Abbasids - caliphate in Baghdad as Sultan granted. The "grease in this gear" was the booty that Mahmud of Ghazna regularly made during his raids and raids. The coinage increased by the conquests also stimulated trade through Ghazni and Mahmud's empire, while the countless slaves were used in trade and commerce. Everything together should (actually) consolidate the power of the Ghaznavids - in any case, it strengthened Mahmud's reputation as a successful conqueror who remained independent of his misdeeds over the centuries.

Mahmud's love affair with the young slave Malik Ayaz has become legendary.

Mahmud's constant wars overwhelmed the state's capabilities. For example, when the irrigation system was destroyed in 1011, a famine broke out in Khorasan that claimed many victims. His military regime was so unpopular with the population that ten years after Mahmud's death it quickly collapsed in many areas as a result of the lost battle of Dandanqan against the Seljuks .

Campaigns and warfare

The Ghaznavid Empire
The grave of Mahmud von Ghazni on a lithograph from the period 1839–42

As ruler, Mahmud of Ghazni commanded numerous campaigns. Several times he came here to Khorasan ( Merv , Nishapur, Balkh , Herat ) Sīstān , Ghor and into the field of Qarachaniden to Transoxiana before and in 1017 he captured the rich oasis of Khorezm , as its regent he the Mamuniden fell and by the Harun, Ghaznavid Governor of Khwarezm replaced .

In addition, Mahmud of Ghazni also undertook campaigns in the north of India ( Nagarkot , Kannauj , Meerut , Gwalior , Ajmer , Kathiawar ), to Gandhara and in the Punjab ( Multan , Lahore ), which are inhabited by Buddhists , Jainas and Hindus . As with the war against the Shiite Buyids in Djibāl ( Rey , Isfahan , Hamadan ) - whose rule Mahmud ended in 1029 - religious motives also played a role ( Ghāzī tradition), but it was mainly about forays . Temple cities in particular (such as Ujjain , Maheshwar , Dwarka and especially Somnath ) were targets, as great riches were hidden in them. Mahmud of Ghazni's army robbed the temples and then destroyed them. The Islamic authors keep this silent or point out that Mahmud's warfare had nothing to do with Islam, but was common. In fact, there have always been some Hindus in Islamic service and vice versa. During his temporary occupation of Reys in 1029, Mahmud had Ghazni Ismailis crucified and their religious and philosophical writings burned at their feet.

His cavalry , mounted archers with Arab horses, achieved great successes against the Indian troops, which were mainly based on war elephants and infantry and thus less agile. In addition, he used a clear division of his armed forces into different units, which allowed him to perform superior tactical maneuvers. Conversely, he used the captured Indian war elephants in his campaigns against the Qarachanids. The reason for the victories of the Muslims is less in the military superiority than in the lack of cohesion in the Indian military apparatus , in which the Rajput nobility adhered to various disadvantageous codes of honor (e.g. no weapons or armor, the questioning heroism; sparing a captive or third-party opposition) and often acted too proud and undisciplined on the battlefield.

Religious politics

Like his father Sebüktigin, Mahmūd promoted the Karrāmites and Hanafites in the first years of his rule . He made the preacher and ascetic Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Ishāq Ibn Mahmaschādh, leader of the Karrāmites of Nishapur, his confidante and had a ribāt built for him on the way to Sarach . After 1012 Mahmud withdrew his protection from the Karramites. From then on he promoted the Shafiite madhhab more and also related followers of this discipline in important diplomatic missions. According to a report by the Shafi'i scholar Al-Juwayni narrated the crossing Mahmud from the Hanafi took place on schafiitischen Madhhab after him the Shafi'i scholar al-Qaffāl al-Marwazi (d. 1026) in Merv a salad presented in hanafitischer and schafiitischer version would have.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Bosworth, in EI2, 1991, pp. 65 ff.
  2. ^ Peter Lamborn Wilson , Karl Schlamminger: Weaver of Tales. Persian Picture Rugs / Persian tapestries. Linked myths. Callwey, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-7667-0532-6 , p. 118 f.
  3. ^ Peter Lamborn Wilson, Karl Schlamminger: Weaver of Tales. Persian Picture Rugs / Persian tapestries. Linked myths. 1980, p. 118 f.
  4. Jorit Wintjes : Introduction. In: Konrad Goehl : Avicenna and its presentation of the medicinal effects. With an introduction by Jorit Wintjes. Deutscher Wissenschafts-Verlag, Baden-Baden 2014, ISBN 978-3-86888-078-6 , pp. 5–27, here: pp. 30 f.
  5. ʿAbd al-Ġāfir ibn Ismāʿīl al-Fārisī: al-Muntaḫab min as-Siyāq li-tārīḫ Nīsābūr. Ed. Muḥammad Aḥmad ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz. Dār al-Kutub al-ʿilmīya, Beirut 1989. pp. 22 f.
  6. ^ Clifford Edmund Bosworth: Karrāmīya. In: The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition . Vol. IV, pp. 667a-669b. Here p. 669a.
  7. Heinz Halm: The expansion of the šāfiʿischen law school from the beginning to the 8th / 14th. Century . Ludwig Reichert, Wiesbaden, 1974. pp. 49f, 115.
  8. See also Tilman Nagel : Die fortress of faith. Triumph and Failure of Islamic Rationalism in the 11th Century. Munich 1988. pp. 179-198.