The Mirdasid dynasty
), also called the Banu Mirdas
, was an Arab
dynasty that controlled the Emirate
more or less continuously from 1024 until 1080.
The Mirdasids were members of the Banu Kilab
tribe that had been present in northern Syria
for several centuries. Like the other Arab tribes of the region, the Mirdasids were Shi'a Muslims
. Such Arab tribes were susceptible to the propaganda of the Qarmatians
, who denounced the wealth of the urban Sunni
population. As a result, they were given to Shia sympathies.
However, as a result of the expansion of the Seljuk Turks
into the area they were constrained to convert to Sunni Islam under Rashid al-Dawla Mahmud
Unlike other Arab tribes of the Syrian province
that managed to establish their autonomy or independence in the late 10th/early 11th centuries, the Mirdasids focused their energies on urban development. As a result, Aleppo prospered during their reign. The Mirdasids demonstrated a high degree of tolerance to Christians
, favoring Christian merchants in their territories and employing several as viziers
. This policy, no doubt influenced by comparatively good relations with the Christian Byzantine Empire
, often upset the Muslim population.
The early history of the Mirdasid dynasty is characterized by constant pressure from both the Byzantines and the Fatimids
. By mixing diplomacy (the Mirdasids were vassals of both the Byzantines and Fatimids several times) and military force, the Mirdasids were able to survive against these two powers.
Militarily, the Mirdasids had the advantage of light Arab cavalry, and several Arab groups in the region, such as the Numayrids
and their own Kilabi brethren, provided valuable assistance. Later on, the Seljuks supplanted the Byzantines and Fatimids as their primary antagonist; the Turks' light cavalry was superior to their own and the Mirdasids had a much more difficult time dealing with them. The Mirdasids had resorted to recruiting Turkic mercenaries into their armies, although this caused its own problems, as the Turks began to acquire an increased role in the government.
List of Mirdasid emirs
Genealogy of the Mirdasid dynasty
After the overthrow of the Hamdanids
in 1004, Aleppo had been ruled by several princes nominally subordinate to the Fatimids. It was from these individuals that Salih ibn Mirdas
took the town in 1024.
When he died fighting the Fatimids five years later, his two sons Shibl al-Daula Nasr
and Mu'izz al-Daula Thimal
succeeded him, although Nasr quickly became sole amir. Despite a victory
over the Byzantines in Azaz
in the next year he became a Byzantine vassal. Later he transferred his allegiance to the Fatimids. However, the Fatimid governor of Damascus, Anushtakin al-Dizbari
, killed Nasr in battle and took Aleppo 1038.
Nasr's brother Thimal managed to recover Aleppo in 1042 and eventually made peace with the Fatimids. He was a vassal of both the Byzantine Emperor and Fatimid Caliph. Troubles with the Kilab, however, caused him to give up Aleppo to the Fatimids in exchange for several coastal towns. The Kilab threw their support behind Thimal's nephew Rashid al-Daula Mahmud
, who took Aleppo in 1060. Thimal returned and in 1061 regained Aleppo from Mahmud, but died a year later.
After Thimal's death a succession dispute emerged between Mahmud and Thimal's brother 'Atiyya ibn Salih
, leading to a split in the Mirdasid domains. Mahmud controlled the western half, while 'Atiyya controlled the east. In order to gain an edge over Mahmud, 'Atiyya recruited a band of Turks, but they later defected to Mahmud, forcing 'Atiyya to give up Aleppo in 1065.
The Turks began moving into northern Syria in greater numbers, forcing Mahmud to convert to Sunni Islam and become a vassal of the Seljuk sultan. Mahmud's death in 1075, followed by that of his son and successor Nasr ibn Mahmud in 1076, resulted in Nasr's brother Sabiq ibn Mahmud
becoming amir. Conflicts between him and members of his family, along with several different Turkish groups, left the Mirdasid domains devastated, and in 1080, prompted by Sabiq, the Uqailid
Sharaf al-Daula Muslim took over Aleppo. The Mirdasids maintained a level of influence in the region after the loss of Aleppo, and attempted to stem the advance of the First Crusade
According to the Sharafnama
the Kurdish Mirdasi dynasty, ruling Eğil
, took its name from the Mirdasids. Part of the Mirdasids had fled to this region after Salih ibn Mirdas had been killed in 1029. The ruling dynasty allegedly commenced in the early 11th century, when a mystic by the name of Pir Mansour travelled from Hakkari
to the village of Pîran
, close to the fortress of Egil. He attained widespread fame among the local Kurds and Mirdasids, and his son Pir Bedir took the fortress of Egil by force and initiated the dynasty's rule over the region.
- ^ a b c Burns, Ross (2013). Aleppo, A History. Routledge. p. 99. ISBN 9780415737210.
- ^ Bianquis 1993, p. 115.
- ^ a b c d e Bianquis 1993, p. 117.
- ^ Bianquis 1993, p. 116.
- ^ a b c d Bianquis 1993, p. 118.
- ^ a b c Bianquis 1993, p. 119.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bianquis 1993, p. 120.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Bianquis 1993, p. 121.
- ^ Bedlîsî, Şerefxanê (2014). Şerefname: Dîroka Kurdistanê. Translated by Avci, Z. Viranşehir: Azad. ISBN 978-605-64041-8-4.
- ^ Minorsky, Vladimir (1978). The Turks, Iran, and the Caucasus in the Middle Ages. London: Variorum Prints. ISBN 0-86078-028-7.
Last edited on 24 April 2021, at 12:30
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