Samsam al-Daula

Samsam al-Daula

Marzuban (c. 963-December 998) was the Buyid amir of Iraq (983-987), as well as Fars and Kerman (988 or 989-998). He was the second son of 'Adud al-Daula.

During 'Adud al-Daula's lifetime, Marzuban was assigned the governorships of Buyid Oman and Khuzestan. Despite Marzuban's status as second son (Shirdil being the eldest), he was considered to be his father's heir. This issue was never completely clarified by 'Adud al-Daula before his death, resulting in a succession crisis. Marzuban, who was in Baghdad when his father died, at first kept his death secret in order to ensure his succession. He was invested by the caliph, and when he made the death of his father public, he took the title "Samsam al-Daula".

Shirdil also laid his claims to the succession, and from his province of Kerman invaded and captured Fars. He took the title "Sharaf al-Daula". Sharaf al-Daula's invasion of Fars provided two more of Samsam al-Daula's brothers, Taj al-Daula and Diya' al-Daula, to set up their own rule in Basra and Khuzestan. In Diyarbakr, a Kurd named Badh ibn Hasanwaih took power and forced Samsam al-Daula to confirm him as its ruler. To the north, Samsam al-Daula's uncle Fakhr al-Daula ruled an extensive territory from Ray. The rulers of Basra and Khuzestan soon acknowledged Fakhr al-Daula as senior amir, making the latter the most powerful of the Buyids and moving the senior amirate from Iraq to Jibal.

Despite Fakhr al-Daula's power, it was Sharaf al-Daula who posed the largest threat to Samsam al-Daula. He recovered Buyid Oman, which had earlier seceded to Samsam al-Daula. In early 986 he captured Basra and Khuzestan, forcing the two brothers to flee to Fakhr al-Daula's territory. He then took on Samsam al-Daula; by May or June 986 the latter was compelled to recognize Sharaf al-Daula as senior amir. Some time afterwards, however, a revolt against Samsam al-Daula's rule arose, which led to violence between the Turks and the Dailamite troops. With Iraq slipping into chaos, Sharaf al-Daula decided to intervene. He entered Baghdad in 987, deposed Samsam al-Daula and imprisoned him in Fars.

Sharaf al-Daula's death in 988 or 989 provided Samsam al-Daula with the opportunity to make a return to power. Despite having been partially blinded shortly before Sharaf al-Daula's death, he managed to escape from prison and wrested control of Fars, Kerman and Khuzestan from his brother Baha' al-Daula, who had succeeded Sharaf al-Daula. Both Baha' al-Daula and his brother found their positions threatened by Fakhr al-Daula. The latter invaded Khuzestan in an attempt to split the two brothers' territories. This act prompted the both of them to draw up an alliance. Samsam al-Daula recognized Baha' al-Daula as the ruler of Iraq and Khuzestan, while he himself kept Arrajan, Fars and Kerman. Both promised to consider each other as equals, and took the title of "king".

In 991 Baha' al-Daula attempted to get rid of Samsam al-Daula. He took the title of "Shâhanshâh" and invaded the latter's territory. His forces were defeated, however, and Samsam al-Daula regained Khuzestan. He even gained control of the Buyid territories in Oman. In order to further strengthen his position, Samsam al-Daula decided to recognize Fakhr al-Daula as senior amir, submitting to his authority.

Fakhr al-Daula's death in 997, coupled with Samsam al-Daula's increasing troubles within his realm, made Baha' al-Daula the strongest of the Buyid princes. He gained the support of the Kurdish ruler Badr ibn Hasanwaih and prepared for the expedition. The invasion began in December of 998. Scarcely had the campaign begun, however, when Samsam al-Daula was murdered by one of the sons of 'Izz al-Daula while fleeing from Shiraz. Baha' al-Daula took Shiraz, defeated 'Izz al-Daula's sons, and reunited Iraq, Fars and Kerman.


* R. N. Frye (1975). "The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume Four: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs". ISBN 0-521-20093-8

*Nagel, Tilman. "Buyids", Encyclopaedia Iranica.

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