Power Wars: Divided Territories and Growing Gaps

  February 20, 2022   Read time 4 min
Power Wars: Divided Territories and Growing Gaps
In 337/948-9 al-Marzuban, enraged by an insult his envoy had suffered from the Buyid Mu'izz al-Daula, decided to wrest Ray from the hands of Rukn al-Daula.

The latter succeeded by diplomatic overtures to delay al-Marzuban's campaign until the arrival of auxiliary armies from his brothers and with their support thoroughly defeated him near Qazvin. The Sallarid was captured. The Dailamite chiefs of his army who escaped gathered around Muhammad b. Musafir and brought him to Ardabil, while Vahsudan, who apparently had been left by al-Marzuban as his deputy, withdrew to Tarum. Muhammad soon offended the Dailamites again and was forced to flee to Vahsudan, who imprisoned him in a castle where he died before 341/953. Rukn al-Daula in the meantime had provided Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Razzaq, the former governor of Tus who had deserted the Samanids, with an army to conquer Azarbaijan. In this situation Vahsudan sent Daisam there, presumably to aid the sons of al-Marzuban during the latter's absence, since he knew the country well and would gain the support of the Kurds. As Ibn 'Abd al-Razzaq invaded Azarbaijan, Daisam withdrew to Arran. In 338/949-50 Ibn 'Abd al-Razzaq after a setback left for Ray, and Daisam gained control over Azarbaijan and Armenia.

In 341/952-3 al-Marzuban, having escaped from his prison, sent an army against Daisam, who had usurped the rule in Azarbaijan. Daisam was defeated near Ardabil, as the Dailamite chiefs of his army deserted him, and fled to Armenia where the Christian princes aided him. A year later he was expelled from there, too, and sought refuge in Baghdad with Mu'izz al-Daula, who gave him a royal reception. In 343/954-5 Rukn al-Daula made peace with al-Marzuban and married his daughter. Daisam lost hope in Buyid aid to regain his kingdom and joined the Hamdanids. After receiving aid from Saif al-Daula of Aleppo, he occupied Salmas in 344/955-6 acknowledging the suzerainty of the Hamdanid. He was expelled by al-Marzuban and at first found shelter with the Ardzrunid Derenik, son of Gagik. Under pressure from al-Marzuban, Derenik later arrested and surrendered him to the Sallarid, who blinded and imprisoned him. He was killed after the death of al-Marzuban by supporters of the latter.

After the capture of Daisam, al-Marzuban's reign remained undisturbed until his death in 346/957. A list of his tributaries in the year 344/955-6 quoted by Ibn Hauqal shows that his suzerainty was recognized by most of the petty princes in the Caucasus area and Armenia. Before his death al-Marzuban named his brother Vahsudan as his successor. The commanders of the fortresses refused, however, to surrender them to him obeying the previous instructions of al-Marzuban which had provided for the successive rule of al-Marzuban's sons Justan, Ibrahim and Nasir. Unable to impose his authority Vahsudan returned to Tarum. Justan gained control in Azarbaijan while Ibrahim ruled in Dvin as his deputy. Vahsudan's efforts to sow discord among his nephews soon bore fruit, especially as Justan devoted more and more time to his harem. In 349/960 a grandson of the caliph al-Muktafi, Ishaq b. 'Isa, revolted in Gilan adopting the caliphal name al-Mustajir bi'llah and found support among the Sunnis of western Gilan. The former vizier of Justan, who had escaped from prison, invited him to come to Miiqan where he gathered supporters for his cause. Justan and Ibrahim defeated them, and the 'Abbasid was captured and died in prison.

Shortly afterwards Vahsudan succeeded in luring Justan and Nasir together with their mother to Tarum, where he imprisoned them. Then he sent his son Isma'Il to take over the rule in Azarbaljan. When Ibrahim in Armenia gathered an army to oppose Isma'il and free his brothers, Vahsudan executed them and their mother. Ibrahim was driven out of Azarbaljan by the supporters of Isma'il, but retained control of Armenia. Just as he again had assembled a strong army, Isma'l? died, between 351/962 and 354/965 according to numismatic evidence. Ibrahim now occupied Ardabil and devastated the domains of Vahsudan, while the latter fled to Dailaman. In 35 5/966 Ibrahim was defeated by an army of Vahsudan, who had returned to Tarum. Deserted by his army Ibrahim sought refuge in Ray with Rukn alDaula, while Vahsudan put his son Nuh in charge of the government of Azarbaljan. Rukn al-Daula treated his brother-in-law most generously and sent his vizier Ibn al-'Amld with an army to reinstate him in his domains. Ibn al-'Amid conquered Azarbaljan and ordered its administration. Then he wrote to Rukn al-Daula proposing to dispossess the Sallarid since he would be unable to keep the country under control and would squander its wealth, but Rukn al-Daula refused to betray the good faith of Ibrahim and recalled the vizier.

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