Bavand dynasty

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Bavand dynasty

Map of the Bavand dynasty at its greatest extent under Shah Ghazi Rustam
Capital Perim
Common languages
Sunni Islam
Twelver Shia Islam
Farrukhzad (first)
Hasan II (last)
Historical era Middle Ages
  Afrasiyabid conquest
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Derafsh Kaviani flag of the late Sassanid Empire.svg Sasanian Empire
Afrasiyab dynasty Blank.png

The Bavand dynasty (Persian : باوندیان) (also spelled Bavend), or simply the Bavandids, was an Iranian dynasty that ruled in parts of Tabaristan (Mazandaran) in what is now northern Iran from 651 until 1349, alternating between outright independence and submission as vassals to more powerful regional rulers.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

Tabaristan Historical region of Iran

Tabaristan, also known as Tapuria, was the name applied to Mazandaran, a province in northern Iran. Although the natives of the region knew it as Mazandaran, the region was called Tabaristan from the Arab conquests to the Seljuk period.

Iran Islamic Republic in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital, largest city, and leading economic and cultural center.



The dynasty itself traced its descent back to Bav, who was alleged to be a grandson of the Sasanian prince Kawus, brother of Khosrow I, [1] and son of the shah Kavad I (ruled 488–531), who supposedly fled to Tabaristan from the Muslim conquest of Persia. He rallied the locals around him, repelled the first Arab attacks, and reigned for fifteen years until he was murdered by a certain Valash, who ruled the country for eight years. Bav's son, Sohrab or Sorkab (Surkhab I), established himself at Perim on the eastern mountain ranges of Tabaristan, which thereafter became the family's domain. [2] [3] The scholar J. Marquart, however, proposed an alternative identification of the legendary Bav with a late-6th-century Zoroastrian priest ("magian") from Ray. [2] [4] P. Pourshariati, in her re-examination of late Sasanian history, asserts that this Bav is a conflation of several members of the powerful House of Ispahbudhan: Bawi, his grandson Vistahm and his great-nephew Farrukhzad. [5] She also reconstructs the events of the middle 7th century as a civil war between two rival clans, the Ispahbudhan and Valash's House of Karen, before the Dabuyid Farrukhan the Great conquered Tabaristan and subdued the various local leaders to vassalage. The Dabuyid house then ruled Tabaristan until the Abbasids subdued the region in 760. [6]

Kawus was the eldest son of Kavadh I, the Sasanian emperor of Iran. During the late reign of his father, Kawus was appointed as governor of Tabaristan, and was given the title of Padishkhwargar Shah.

Khosrow I Iranian sovereign

Khosrow I ; also known as Anushiruwan the Just, was the King of Kings (Shahanshah) of the Sasanian Empire from 531 to 579. He was the successor of his father Kavad I (488–531). Khosrow I was the twenty-second Sasanian Emperor of Persia, and one of its most celebrated emperors.

Kavad I King of the Sassanid Empire

Kavad I was king (shah) of the Sasanian Empire from 488 to 531, with an interruption of two years. A son of Peroz I, he was crowned by the nobles in place of his deposed and unpopular uncle Balash. His reign saw the uprising of Vakhtang I of Iberia, the rise of Mazdakism, as well as the Anastasian War and the Iberian War against the Byzantine Empire. During Kavad's reign, massive fortification activities were conducted in the Caucasus, including Derbent.


It is at the time after the Abbasid conquest that the Bavandids enter documented history, with Sharwin I, in later tradition accounted the great-grandson of Surkhab I. [2] The dynasty is commonly divided into three major branches: the Kayusiyya, named after Kayus ibn Kubad, the Arabicized name of the family's legendary ancestor Kawus son of Kavad, which ruled from 665 until 1006, when the family's rule was ended by Qabus ibn Wushmagir. [4] Several members of the family continued to rule in various localities thereafter, giving rise to the second line, the Ispahbadhiyya, in 1073. Their capital was Sari, [1] and their rule extended over Gilan, Ray and Qumis as well as Tabaristan, although they were mostly vassals of the Seljuqs and later of the Khwarezmshahs. The line was ended in 1210 with the murder of Rustam V, and the Khwarezmshah Muhammad II took over direct control of the region. [4] The third line or Kinakhwariyya was established in 1237 following the Mongol invasions and the widespread anarchy that prevailed, and lasted, as a vassal of the Mongols, until the final end of the dynasty in 1349. [4]

Sharwin I was the fifth ruler of the Bavand dynasty from 772 to 817. He was the son and successor of Surkhab II.

Sari, Iran City in Mazandaran, Iran

Sari is the provincial capital of Mazandaran and former capital of Iran, located in the north of Iran, between the northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains and southern coast of the Caspian Sea. Sari is the largest and most populous city of Mazandaran.

Qūmis, was an important province in pre-Islamic Persia, lying between the southern Alborz chain watershed and the northern fringes of the Dasht-e Kavir desert. In Sassanian period, it was separating the provinces of Ray and Gurgan. Qumis remained a small province of medieval Islamic Persia. Its western boundaries lay in the eastern rural districts of Ray, while in the east it marched with Khurasan. It was bisected by the Great Khurasan Road, along which was situated the major cities of Khuwar, Semnan, Shahr-i Qumis, and Bistam. and in its southeastern extremity was located the town of Biyar.

Kayusiyya line

Following the demise of the Dabuyids, two major local dynasties were left in Tabaristan: the Bavandids in the eastern mountains and the Karenids, who also appropriated the heritage of the Dabuyid rulers, in the central and western mountain ranges. Both claimed Sasanian origin and titelature, with the Bavandids styling themselves as "kings of Tabaristan" and, like the Karenids, claiming the title of ispahbadh . [7]

Sharwin I, along with the Karenid ruler Vandad Hormozd, led the native resistance to Muslim rule and the efforts at Islamization and settlement begun by the Abbasid governor, Khalid ibn Barmak (768–772). Following his departure, the native princes destroyed the towns he had built in the highlands, and although in 781 they affirmed loyalty to the Caliphate, in 782 they launched a general anti-Muslim revolt that was not suppressed until 785, when Sa'id al-Harashi led 40,000 troops into the region. [8] Relations with the caliphal governors in the lowlands improved thereafter, but the Bavandid and Karenid princes remained united in their opposition to Muslim penetration of the highlands, to the extent that they prohibited even the burial of Muslims there. Isolated acts of defiance like the murder of a tax collector occurred, but when the two princes were summoned before Harun al-Rashid in 805 they promised loyalty and the payment of a tax, and were forced to leave their sons behind as hostages for four years. [9]

Khalid ibn Barmak was a member of the powerful Persian Barmakids family. When Balkh the native town of Barmakids fell to the Arabs in 663(?), Khalid ibn Barmak and his brothers moved to the garrison town of Basra in Iraq, where they converted to Islam. Their ancestor was a Pramukh, a title borne by the high priest in the Buddhist temple of Nawbahār.

Harun al-Rashid the fifth Abbasid Caliph

Harun al-Rashid was the fifth Abbasid Caliph. His birth date is debated, with various sources giving dates from 763 to 766. His epithet "al-Rashid" translates to "the Orthodox," "the Just," "the Upright," or "the Rightly-Guided." Al-Rashid ruled from 786 to 809, during the peak of the Islamic Golden Age. He established the legendary library Bayt al-Hikma in Baghdad in present-day Iraq, and during his rule Baghdad began to flourish as a center of knowledge, culture and trade. During his rule, the family of Barmakids, which played a deciding role in establishing the Abbasid Caliphate, declined gradually. In 796, he moved his court and government to Raqqa in present-day Syria.

After his death in 817, Sharvin was succeeded by his grandson, Shahriyar I, who managed to evict the Karenid Mazyar from his own realm. Mazyar fled to the court of the Caliph al-Ma'mun, became a Muslim and in 822/23 returned with the support of the Abbasid governor to exact revenge: Shahriyar's son and successor, Shapur, was defeated and killed, and Mazyar united the highlands under his own rule. His growing power brought him into conflict with the Muslim settlers at Amul, but he was able to take the city and receive acknowledgement of his rule over all of Tabaristan from the caliphal court. Eventually, however, he quarreled with Abdallah ibn Tahir, and in 839, he was captured by the Tahirids, who now took over control of Tabaristan. [10] The Bavandids exploited the opportunity to regain their ancestral lands: Shapur's brother, Qarin I, assisted the Tahirids against Mazyar, and was rewarded with his brother's lands and royal title. In 842, he converted to Islam. [2] [11]

Shahriyar I was the sixth ruler of the Bavand dynasty from 817 to 825. He was the grandson and successor of Sharwin I. Before Shahriyar became ruler of the Bavand dynasty, he was taken as hostage by Harun al-Rashid to Baghdad, where Shahriyar stayed for four years until he was allowed to return to Tabaristan.


Mazyar, was an Iranian prince from the Qarinvand dynasty, who was the ruler (ispahbadh) of the mountainous region of Tabaristan from 825/6 to 839. For his resistance to the Abbasid Caliphate, Mazyar is considered one of the national heroes of Iran by twentieth-century Iranian nationalist historiography. His name means "protected by the yazata of the moon".

Al-Mamun the seventh Abbasid Caliph

Abu al-Abbas Abdallah ibn Harun al-Rashid, better known by his regnal name al-Ma'mun, was the seventh Abbasid caliph, who reigned from 813 until his death in 833. He succeeded his half-brother al-Amin after a civil war, during which the cohesion of the Abbasid Caliphate was weakened by rebellions and the rise of local strongmen; much of his reign was consumed in pacification campaigns. Well educated and with a considerable interest in scholarship, al-Ma'mun promoted the Translation Movement and the flowering of learning and the sciences in Baghdad. He is also known for supporting the doctrine of Mu'tazilism and the rise of the inquisition (mihna), and for the resumption of large-scale warfare with the Byzantine Empire.

This period saw the rapid Islamization of the native population of Tabaristan. Although the majority accepted Sunni Islam, Shi'ism also spread, especially in Amul and the neighboruing areas of Astarabad and Gurgan. Thus, in 864, a Zaydi Alid, Hasan ibn Zayd, was invited to Tabaristan, and with support from the Daylamites took over control of the province. [12] The Bavandids remained steadfastly opposed to the Alid dynasty throughout its existence, and Qarin's grandson Rustam I was to pay with his life for this: in 895, the Alid supporter Rafi' ibn Harthama tortured him to death. [13] The Sunni Samanids drove out the Alids in 900, but in 914 a relative of Hasan ibn Zayd, Hasan al-Utrush, managed to drive out the Samanids, restore Alid control over the province, and force even the Bavandids and Karinids to accept his rule. [14]

The history of the Bavandis is detailed in the works of Ibn Isfandiar and Mar'ashi which belong to the genre of local histories that gained popularity in Iran after 1000 AD. We know that they were related to the Ziyarid dynasty, through the marriage of Mardanshah, the father of Ziyar, to the daughter of one of the Bavandi kings. The prominence of the Bavandi kings apparently continued throughout the Seljuq and Mongol period. One of their greatest kings, Shah Ghazi Rustam, is reported to have seriously defeated the Ismailis who were gaining prominence in Tabaristan and to have made significant progress in consolidating power in the Caspian provinces.

After the Mongol conquest, the Bavandis continued to rule as local strongmen of Tabaristan and sometimes Dailam. Their power was finally brought down around 1350 when Kiya Afrasiyab of the Afrasiyab dynasty, themselves an offshoot of the Bavandis, managed to kill Hasan II of Tabaristan, the last of the mainline Bavandi kings.


The Bavandids stressed their lineage with the Sasanian Empire. As late as the early 13th-century, their coronation customs were assumed to go back to the remote past, as depicted thorough by the 13th-century Iranian historian Ibn Isfandiyar; [15]

Bavandid rulers




See also

Related Research Articles

Khurshid of Tabaristan last Dabuyid ispahbadh of Tabaristan

Khurshid, erroneously designated Khurshid II by earlier scholars, was the last Dabuyid ispahbadh of Tabaristan. He succeeded to the throne at an early age, and was supervised by his uncle as regent until he reached the age of fourteen. Khurshid tried to assert his independence from his vassalage to the Caliphate, supported various rebellions and maintained diplomatic contacts with Tang China. Finally, the Abbasids conquered his country in 759–760, and captured most members of his family. Khurshid fled to Daylam, where he ended his life.

Hasan ibn Zayd

Al-Ḥasan ibn Zayd ibn Muḥammad ibn Ismā‘il ibn al-Ḥasan ibn Zayd, also known as al-Da‘ī al-kabīr, was an Alid who became the founder of the Zaydid dynasty of Tabaristan.

Dabuyid dynasty

The Dabuyid or Gaubarid Dynasty was a Zoroastrian Iranian dynasty that started in the early seventh century as an independent group of rulers, reigning over Tabaristan and parts of western Khorasan. Dabuyid rule over Tabaristan and Khorasan lasted from ca. AD 642 to the Abbasid conquest in 760.

Farrukhan the Little, also surnamed the Deaf (Korbali), was a member of the Dabuyid dynasty, which ruled Tabaristan as independent monarchs in the century after the Muslim conquest of Persia. The brother of the ispahbadh Dadhburzmihr, Farrukhan governed Tabaristan between 740/41 and 747/48 as regent for his underage nephew, Khurshid.


The Paduspanids or Baduspanids were a local dynasty of Tabaristan which ruled over Royan, Nur and Rostamdar. The dynasty was established in 655, and ended in 1598 when the Safavids invaded their domains.

Surkhab I was the second ruler of the Bavand dynasty from ca. 673 to 717.

Surkhab II was the fourth ruler of the Bavand dynasty from 755 to 772. In 760, his overlords, the Dabuyids, under Khurshid of Tabaristan, revolted against the Abbasid Caliphate. Khurshid, was, however, defeated, and fled to Daylam, where he made a counterattack against the Abbasids, but was once again defeated. After learning that his family was captured by the Abbasids, Khurshid poisoned himself. This marked the end of the Dabuyid dynasty; however, other dynasties such as the Bavandids, Karenids and Zarmihrids, who were all formerly subject to the Dabuyids, continued to control parts of Tabaristan as tributary vassals of the Abbasid government. Surkhab II died in 772, and was succeeded by his son Sharwin I, who would later along with the rulers of Tabaristan revolt against the Abbasids and massacre all the Muslims in Tabaristan.

Vindadhhurmuzd, also known by the more correct form of Vandad Hormozd, was the ruler of the Qarinvand dynasty from 765 to 809.

Qarin I, was the eighth ruler of the Bavand dynasty from 839 to 867.

Rustam I, was the ninth ruler of the Bavand dynasty from 867 to 896. He was the successor and son of Qarin I.

Sharwin II, was the tenth ruler of the Bavand dynasty from 896 to 930.

Rustam II, was the twelfth ruler of the Bavand dynasty from 964 to 979. He was the brother and successor of Shahriyar II.

Quhyar, was the ruler of the Qarinvand dynasty, ruling briefly in 839 until his assassination.

Al-Marzuban, was the thirteenth ruler of the Bavand dynasty from 979 to 986. He was the son and successor of Rustam II. In some sources, his name was changed to Rustam ibn al-Marzuban, which caused confusion among the historians, and made them think that they were two people.

Shahriyar III, was the sixteenth ruler of the Bavand dynasty from 986 to 987, and briefly in 998 after a short disruption during his reign. He was the nephew and successor of Sharwin III.

Rustam V, was the ruler of the Bavand dynasty from 1205 to 1210. He was the son and successor of Ardashir I.

Qarinvand dynasty

The Qarinvand dynasty, or simply the Karenids, was an Iranian dynasty that ruled in parts of Tabaristan (Mazandaran) in what is now northern Iran from the 550s until the 11th-century. They considered themselves as the inheritors of the Dabuyid dynasty, and were known by their titles of Gilgilan and Ispahbadh. They were descended from Sukhra, a Parthian nobleman from the House of Karen, who was the de facto ruler of the Sasanian Empire from 484 to 493.


  1. 1 2 Bosworth 1968, p. 27-28.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Madelung 1984, pp. 747–753.
  3. Pourshariati 2008, pp. 292–293.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Frye 1986, p. 1110.
  5. Pourshariati 2008, pp. 289–294.
  6. Pourshariati 2008, pp. 304–318.
  7. Madelung 1975, pp. 200–202.
  8. Madelung 1975, p. 202.
  9. Madelung 1975, pp. 202, 204.
  10. Madelung 1975, pp. 204–205.
  11. Madelung 1975, pp. 205–206.
  12. Madelung 1975, pp. 206–207.
  13. Madelung 1975, p. 207.
  14. Madelung 1975, pp. 207–209.
  15. Babaie & Grigor 2015, p. 157.